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Thurow, Lester Carl, 1938-, American economist, b. Livingston, Mont.; grad. Williams College, 1960; M.A. Oxford, 1962; Ph.D. Harvard, 1964. Professor of management and economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Thurow is an influential writer and lecturer who is often consulted about national economic policies. He served (1964-65) on President Lyndon Johnson's Council of Economic Advisors, then taught at Harvard (1966-68). He moved to MIT in 1968, becoming dean (1987-93) of the MIT Sloan School of Management. He was also an economics columnist for the New York Times (1980-81) and a contributing editor (1981-83) for Newsweek. Among his many books are The Zero-Sum Society (1980), The Zero-Sum Solution: Building a World-Class American Economy (1985), Head to Head: The Coming Economic Battle among Japan, Europe, and America (1992), The Future of Capitalism (1996), Economics Explained (with R. L. Heilbroner, rev. ed. 1998), and Building Wealth (1999).
Lester Carl Thurow (born 1938) is a former dean of the MIT Sloan School of Management and author of numerous bestsellers on economic topics.

Thurow was born in Livingston, Montana. He received his B.A. in political economy from Williams College in 1960, where he was Phi Beta Kappa as a junior, and a Tyng Scholar. Thurow was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship, and went to Balliol College, Oxford to read Philosophy, Politics and Economics, graduating in 1962 with first class honors. He received a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University in 1964.

Thurow is on the board of directors of Analog Devices, Grupo Casa Autrey, and E-Trade. Thurow was also one of the original founders of the Economic Policy Institute in 1986.

Thurow is currently an economics columnist for, among others, the Boston Globe and USA Today. He was previously an economics columnist for and on the editorial board of the New York Times, and was a contributing editor to Newsweek.

Thurow is a longtime advocate of a political and economic system of the Japanese and European type, in which governmental involvement in the direction of the economy is far more extensive than is presently the case in the United States – a model that has come to be known as "Third Way" philosophy. He has achieved some notoriety for books he wrote in the 1980s suggesting that the Soviet Union, due to their command economy, posed a significant economic threat to the United States. In 1989, two years before the USSR imploded, he wrote, "Can economic command significantly... accelerate the growth process? The remarkable performance of the Soviet Union suggests that it can... Today the Soviet Union is a country whose economic achievements bear comparison with those of the United States."

His best selling book, Head to Head: The Coming Economic Battle Among Japan, Europe and America published in 1993, compares economic growth and living standards among Japan, Europe, and the USA.

His other books include:

  • Fortune Favors the Bold: What we must do to build a new and lasting global prosperity (2003).
  • The Future of Capitalism: how today's economic forces shape tomorrow's world (1996).
  • The Zero-sum Solution: building a world-class American economy (1985).
  • Dangerous Currents: the state of economics (1983).
  • The Zero-sum Society: distribution and the possibilities for economic change (1980).

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