Themes

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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 226

In The Work of Nations , author and professor Robert B. Reich states that Adam Smith's ideas on laissez-faire economics is irrelevant, or at least limited, in today's age because the concept of the national economy was eradicated by globalization. In the book, Reich states that goods and services are...

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In The Work of Nations, author and professor Robert B. Reich states that Adam Smith's ideas on laissez-faire economics is irrelevant, or at least limited, in today's age because the concept of the national economy was eradicated by globalization. In the book, Reich states that goods and services are transnational, and that the American economy influences and is influenced by the global economy. Although the book was published in 1992, the economic recession during 2008 and 2009 proved Reich's theory to be correct.

Reich also believed that technological advances in the 21st century would change the global economy. Today, this can be seen with the rise of the "gig economy" (e.g. Uber, freelancing, etc.) and the Internet's impact on every industry and field of work.

Another underlying theme in the book, although not thoroughly explored by Reich, is the importance of education in combating unemployment in the new global economy. When jobs become more technologically-complex, or when new industries develop (e.g. programming, 3D design, software engineering, etc.), there will be a need for well-educated people.

Reich also opined that foreign investments in the United States should be embraced rather than criticized. This is in line with the overall theme of the book: globalization. Reich believes that a collectivist mindset should be beyond the concept of the "nation" and should be expanded towards a global way of thinking.

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