Recent writings on competitiveness fall into three almost disjointed clusters. One is oriented toward firms. A second is concerned with macroeconomic conditions. A third is about national industrial policies. Writings in each of the three perspectives purport to give a virtually complete explanation as to why American companies have been faring so badly recently in international competition. Each of the explanations is plausible, and yet they are completely different. This article aims to describe each of them and to sketch out how they might be joined with each other to arrive at a more integrated perspective.
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