Robert B. Reich, in The Work of Nations, describes the radical changes the nations of the world are undergoing because of the emerging global economy. He offers suggestions for actions nations might take in response to these changing conditions, and warns about the dangers they face if they are not vigilant in taking such actions. He focuses on the impact of the global economy not only on the American economy, but also on American
society. He is deeply concerned about what he sees as the decline of national concerns and goals, and the creation on an increasingly divided society along have/have not lines. He argues convincingly that the shared historical/economic/social concerns of the nation are disintegrating, and that the result will be a fragmented society. He asks important questions the nation must ponder if it is to stay afloat in the economically and culturally in the future:
Are we still a society, even if we are no longer an economy? Are we bound together by something more than the gross national product? Or has the idea of the nation-state as a collection of people sharing some responsibility for their mutual well-being become passe? (9).
Reich ultimately offers no hard answers to these questions, but he does describe clearly and in-depth the effects the changing global economic reality have had through the 1980s on the United States. As a high-ranking member of the Clinton Administration, Reich is in a position to put some of his ideas into action, but it is obvious that it will take a raising of the consciousness of the nation as a whole if the United States is to successfully meet the challenges and opportunities of that transformed global reality.
Reich also makes clear the result for the nation and the world if action is not taken to meet those challenges imaginatively and forcefully:
The direction we are heading is reasonably clear. If [current trends continue], laissez-faire cosmopolitanism would bec...