June 4th, 2012
02:59 PM ET

How to keep America competitive

How do you make a small business, a conglomerate or even a country competitive? Michael Porter answers that questions for CEOs and world leaders every day.

Porter is widely recognized as the world's most influential and most cited thinker on management and competitiveness. A founder of the consulting firm Monitor, he is also a professor at Harvard Business School and the author of 18 books.

Watch the entire interview, above, from Sunday's "Fareed Zakaria GPS" or download the entire show on iTunes.

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Topics: Business • Economy • GPS Show

soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. j. von hettlingen

    Porter made a point. Good products justify higher prices and wages. Swiss watches are extremely popular in the emerging markets and manufacturers of exclusive brands have no difficulty in selling watches at $ 100.000 a piece. The German BMW or Merceds Benz sell their cars in China like doughnuts. So high-end products and marketing psychology are what it takes to sell to people who want to outdo their peers.

    June 4, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Reply
  2. Asahel Barnes

    Great article that explains what a lot of C.E.O.'s are thinking and putting things off seas. It seems that we don't have as many skilled workers because we are all shooting for the stars and trying to market ourselves. Everyone has a place some are to go to collage others to do machine operation. We each need to understand our place and do the work we feel our hearts move to and not what the television says is hot today

    June 4, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Reply
    • cubensis

      Exactly. So many people are being pushed to enter fields they have no desire to be in. There are only so many doctors and nurses and so many plumbers and electricians. You can't have everyone doing the same thing.

      June 6, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Reply
  3. Matt A.

    Without explicitly saying so, Mr.Porter is criticizing the U.S. STEM educational structure. Most Americans are familiar with the flaws–not the least of which is the overwhelming cost of obtaining an advanced degree at a U.S. university.

    That said, the inadequacy is most felt in.

    I've always wondered how much longer the corporate sales and marketing wizards could grip the average consumer to purchase the latest upgrade of an IPad or IPod.

    I understand Moore's Law–probably all too well.

    I also understand the economic forces facing the world. Mr. Porter may feel that major corporations are largely immune
    from the macro picture, to a point. Corporations seems to be chasing the low cost of production, wherever they can find it.

    June 4, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Reply
    • Gary Dee, Portland, Oregon

      Matt, the only flaw in your argument is that US citizens have wide access to generous scholarships and fellowships if they have an interest in pursuing STEM (and the hard, hard, hard work) at a Master's and Ph.D. level. Most of those awards go unclaimed.

      June 10, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Reply
  4. BallsDropped

    America didn't drop the ball. The GOP drops the ball by letting college costs increase to a point of no return. Only the rich can afford it.

    June 5, 2012 at 10:42 am | Reply
    • SAM

      The GOP didn't "drop the ball" by letting college costs increase "to a point of no return." Talk about ignorant statements. I'm going into my third year in college and I pay virtually nothing to go. A part time job and full time summer job more than pays for all of my living costs and tuition each year, I don't need to take a single loan. The only reason college tuition is raising is:
      As our economy took off during the early 2000's states provided promises (salaries, pensions, benefits) to union workers (public school and university faculty) thinking that the economic growth would continue. However, since taking away these benefits and promises is unpopular, states are being forced to increase tuition costs as our economy slowed down and debt rose.
      I receive not a single dollar from my parents for college and I have an incredibly easy time paying for it and keeping up with my Aerospace Engineering classes at the University of Florida. "Only the rich can afford it?", you say?
      So are you saying that the state should reduce the salaries and benefits of our teachers and professors, "BallsDropped"? The irony is, that IS the answer, but you wouldn't know enough to realize that.

      June 5, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Reply
      • ET53

        In a business economy, contracts are almost sacred. There was a contract made with the faculty and teachers which should not be breached because of a short term crisis. Without proper compensation the best teachers will leave to go where the money is, or failing that leave the field in search of a living wage. Teaching is a calling and should be rewarded not demonized. Teacher's unions represent teachers and the students they teach. Try affording a baby sitter for your kids instead of the paltry sum paid most teachers. You will begin to see why the most important adults in most children's lives deserve better pay than those CEO's who continually get rewarded for failure.

        June 6, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • cubensis

      You can go to college for free or almost free. Don't forget about community colleges, that is what they are there for. I am in my last year and outside of books and student fees I haven't paid for anything. And to hell with people saying that you can't get a good education from a CC, because many top teachers from colleges and universities in the area teach there.

      June 6, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Reply
  5. joe anon 1

    america's holy grail is slavery.

    america is all about slavery, near slavery, and killing, and theft.

    time for america to go.

    June 5, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Reply
  6. marc

    I think he over emphasizes productivity. We have too many people to all be highly trained. And the idea of a worker taking pride and higher pay for productivity is often not because of the worker but rather the computers and robots that s/he works with. In other words, this increase in productivity is not really worker based at all as a lower wage worker can often be trained to operate the computer and robots as well so these jobs are transferred overseas as well (due to superior business climate overseas, with only the proximity and transportation cost a factor for staying in the US). The answer IS to lower wages (and expectations).

    June 6, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Reply
  7. Frank P. Mora

    Just do more for less. Lower energy costs (natural gas) and automation. The cost: increased unemployment. It's all happening.

    June 6, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Reply
  8. ✠ RZ ✠

    Over time, it seems the accepted norm was for the public to pass on their form of problems to the government. And the government's form of problems would in turn get passed back onto the public. Keep this up long enough, and add in the corruption and waste factors all along he way, and you endup like get Greece. A country whose problem is so large that neither the government, nor the people can realistically manage it.

    June 7, 2012 at 4:25 am | Reply
  9. johnson kattathra

    I lived in canada for 5 years before I moved to US.
    Fareed says immigration in canada works. Well educated People come to canada with all their life time savings and spend that money to find out that employers want canadian experience. Then most of these immigrants end up with assembly line jobs, loading and unloading jobs in warehouses(cheap labor for employers ). People living outside canada read on the government and non governmental websites that life will be very good if you immigrate to canada. I know many Accountants, pharmacists, doctors, engineers doing assembly line jobs and working at gas stations because they are not given an opportunity to integrate into the work force. I feel canada is bringing in well educated people from all over the world to work in the ware houses and gas stations for 8- 10 dollars an hour. Some immigrants make fun saying they were given steel toed boots at the airport when they arrived.

    June 10, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Reply
  10. Max Brooks from Florida

    To start, we NEED to legalize the industrial growth of hemp (marijuana plant).

    Hemp is perfectly legal to own in America and it is perfectly legal to create products with hemp. It is illegal to actually grow the hemp here in America. As a result, America is the world's largest importer of hemp by a staggering margin, and most of it comes from China.

    Whether or not you think smoking marijuana should be a crime is irreverent because smoking marijuana could still be illegal even though hemp is industrially grown (like it is in China). Hemp has tens of thousands of uses, including FUEL, and our agricultural sector could see massive growth from this change.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:30 am | Reply
  11. Jim b

    What was the name of the book of the week?
    Thanks, Jim

    June 12, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Reply

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