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Blame U.S. for Part of Industries' High Costs

April 28, 1985

In his article "If Smokestack Industries Fade, All Will Suffer" (April 21) Lester C. Thurow makes the valid point that our standard of living will suffer if our industry is not productive and competitive.

But he strays into academic fantasy land when he puts major blame for the decline of our Rust Belt industries on increased overhead due to the growth of industrial bureaucracies.

As specific proof that "private bureaucracies" are growing he notes that the number of accountants increased last year by 12% though the gross national product was up only 6.4%.

However, he makes no mention of countertrends such as companies' dramatic cuts in middle management in response to foreign competition. Worse, he seems blind to the enormous overhead costs of the taxes which support government bureaucracies.

To stay productive, the private sector needs competition, both domestic and foreign. And the public sector, where competition is not feasible, needs a leaner diet of money.

This may mean fewer grants to professors of economics, but they too will share along with the rest of us in the benefits of a more efficient economy.



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