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Forecast for industry is topic of April 6-7 conference

Cambridge, MA--An assessment of industry productivity and future prospects will be the focus of the second international Conference on the Future of Industry in Advanced Societies at MIT on April 6 and 7. The meeting will bring together an invited group of 200 business, government and academic leaders from the US and abroad to evaluate economic changes in North America, Europe and Asia and the ability of industry to respond to new competitive challenges. The conference is part of the ongoing research program at the MIT Center for Industrial Performance that grew out of the well-known Made in America study of the late 1980s.

"Only a few years ago the decline of American industrial performance was widely perceived to be endangering this nation's economic future," said Professor Richard Lester, director of the center. "Today, many think the United States has regained its lead in global competition. To move beyond this cycle of self-doubt and self-congratulation, we need to examine critically the strengths and weaknesses of the industrial structures and practices that are now emerging around the world." Professor Lester is co-chairing the conference with Professor Suzanne Berger of political science, who also played a major role in the original study.

Plenary Sessions are:

  • Corporate leaders look to their futures: identifying the next industrial challenge
  • Fundamental research and industrial performance
  • Societal choices and the information infrastructure
  • The research and industrial base for the new security agenda With John Deutch, Deputy Secretary of Defense speaking on the research and technology requirements of the new post-cold war security agenda
  • Industry and the future of jobs and wages in advanced societies

On the morning of Friday, April 7, the conference will break into roundtable sessions to discuss new research findings and challenges in several key areas. The Roundtables will cover: Rethinking the National Laboratories; Core Industries, New Technologies; Competition, Jobs and Wages; New Developments in Industrial Ecology; The Transformation of the Defense Industry; Work, Design and the Social Mind; New Findings from the Sloan Human Resources Network; The Productivity Impacts of Information Technology; Changing Management Needs in the Future of the Pharmaceutical Industry; and Supplier Relations in the Aircraft and Auto Industries.

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