The purpose of this paper is to reflect on some policy possibilities and outcomes for three countries of interest suggested in Porter’s The Competitive Advantage of Nations.
This research was both exploratory and qualitative in nature and utilized an in-depth case study approach of three major international economies reflecting previous observations in The Competitive Advantage of Nations. Personal contemporaneous observations of individuals in the countries of interest were complemented by current secondary information. The three countries selected for analysis, South Korea, Sweden and the USA, reflected different stages of development at the time The Competitive Advantage of Nations was published and certainly different progress since then.
The Competitive Advantage of Nations advocated new, constructive and actionable roles for government and business. These observations can now be tested after a reasonable time of development. In terms of development, Korea would appear to be the star of the group; Sweden has made strong progress in comparison with other members of the European Union. Although there are areas of strength, the USA recently has lost much of the edge it had at the time of the Advantage’s publication.
Because this research was built on case studies, one has the reservations common with that approach. On the other hand, case studies are acknowledged as useful in the identification of important variables in situations in which there is little control over events in a real-world context.
Countries must go their own way and find their own paths to success. In some ways, directions are suggested by Schumpeter (1942/1975) and in others, by Porter (1990/1996). Chance appears to have played a role in development in each instance, but government, seen as a fifth determinant possibility by Porter, heavily affected outcomes in each instance.
Although relying heavily on Porter, results add insight into the development of economies over time.
L. Wilson, T., Lindbergh, L. and Graff, J. (2014), "
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