Case | HBS Case Collection | April 1996

Confronting the Third Industrial Revolution

by David A. Moss

Abstract

Comprises three pieces. The first piece, which forms the body of the case, is adapted from a speech delivered by the author before the Harvard Business School Political Forum in early 1995. Originally entitled "The Economic Foundations of American Social Policy: Yesterday and Today," the speech attempts to place current discussions about a Third Industrial Revolution in historical perspective. The second piece, presented in the appendices, includes excerpts from speeches by three major policy figures--Representative Newt Gingrich, presidential candidate Patrick Buchanan, and Secretary of Labor Robert Reich. Each of these speakers identifies profound changes in the U.S. economy and suggests specific public policy responses. The 11 data exhibits that form the final piece of the case offer an overview of U.S. economic performance from 1960 to 1994. The primary theme linking these materials together is the notion that the United States is now in the midst of an economic transition. What remains uncertain, of course, is the precise nature of the transition. Is it really as profound or as far reaching as the various authors suggest?

Keywords: Transition; Policy; Economy; Government and Politics; Society; United States;

Citation:

Moss, David A. "Confronting the Third Industrial Revolution." Harvard Business School Case 796-161, April 1996.