The New Old Economy: Networks, Institutions, and the Organizational Transformation of American…

Hardcover | October 15, 2005

byJosh Whitford

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American manufacturing is in obvious crisis: the sector lost three million jobs between 2000 and 2003 as the American trade deficit shot to record highs. Manufacturers have increasingly decentralized productive responsibilities to armies of supplier firms, both domestically and abroad. Manyhave speculated as to whether or not manufacturing is even feasible in the United States, given the difficulties.Josh Whitford's book examines the issues behind this crisis, looking at the emergence of a 'new old economy', in which relationships between firms have become much more important. Whitford shows that discussion of this shift, in the media and in the academic literature, hits on the right issues -globalization, de-industrialization, and the outsourcing of production in marketized and in network relationships - but in an overly polarized way that obscures as much as it enlightens.Drawing on the results of extensive interviews conducted with manufacturers in the American Upper Midwest, Whitford shows that the range of possibilities is more complex and contingent than is usually recognised. Highlighting heretofore unexamined elements of constraint, contradiction, andinnovation that characterize contemporary network production models, Whitford shakes received understandings in economic and organizational sociology, comparative political economy, and economic geography to reveal ways in which the American economic development apparatus can be adjusted to bettermeet the challenges of a highly decentralized production regime.

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American manufacturing is in obvious crisis: the sector lost three million jobs between 2000 and 2003 as the American trade deficit shot to record highs. Manufacturers have increasingly decentralized productive responsibilities to armies of supplier firms, both domestically and abroad. Manyhave speculated as to whether or not manufactu...

Josh Whitford is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Columbia University. He received his MA and PhD in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin, where he was the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship (spent at the European University Institute in Italy) and the Lumpkin Award for the best dissertation in sociology, 2002-03. He then sp...
Format:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.75 inPublished:October 15, 2005Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199286019

ISBN - 13:9780199286010

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Table of Contents

IntroductionPart I: The New Old Economy1. A New Production Paradigm for a New Old Economy2. Networks, Noise, and Institutional ChangePart II: Networks and the Organizational Transformation of American Manufacturing3. The Decentralization of American Manufacturing4. Collaboration in Practice: The Cost Reduction (Incremental Innovation) Waltz5. Uncertainty and Contradiction in the New Old EconomyPart III: Institutions and the Relational Reconstruction of Regional Political Economy6. It Couldn't Happen Here? Public Policy, Regional Institutions, and Inter-Firm Collaboration in the US7. Toward the Relational Reconstruction of Regional Political Economy

Editorial Reviews

...presents a new benchmark in work that fuses organisational sociology and comparative political economy, primarily because it overturns common assumptions both about how firms work in the U.S. economy, as well as what we may call the logic of the firm.