By David Knoke
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Additional info for Changing Organizations
If political money bought special access to the corridors of power, lobbying coalitions could push their cases before elected and appointed government officials, thus potentially influencing legislative and regulatory outcomes. Unfettered capitalism's apparent successes threaten democratic political principles, as Lester Thurow (1996:242) recognized: Democracy and capitalism have very different beliefs about the proper distribution of power. One believes in a completely equal distribution of political Generating Change 21 power, "one man, one vote," while the other believes that it is the duty of the economically fit to drive the unfit out of business and into economic extinction.
Alas, the bursting speculative "bubble" sent Japanese stock prices and Tokyo real estate values plummeting in the early 1990s. A decade of nongrowth exposed Japan as just another high-income player struggling to find a competitive edge. Meanwhile, the four Little Tigers (South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong before its reversion to China) roared onto the world economic stage, closely followed by Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Their bellows became muted groans when their 1997-1998 currency debacles and sharp recessions disclosed their rickety crony-capitalist underpinnings.
Many corporations also abetted a similarly precarious predicament, promising generous retiree benefits but greatly underfunding their pension obligations. When elderly workers eventually discover their inability to make ends meet with paltry government and company pension checks, more of them may stay in the labor force past the traditional retirement age. However, if senior employees remain in their jobs, the upcoming generations could experience slower progress up the corporate ladder. Not all implications of an aging workforce are ominous: Companies often believe older employees are more loyal, reliable, and competent than younger replacements.
Changing Organizations by David Knoke