When the economist Lester Thurow speaks (or writes), many people listen. His 1980 best seller, "The Zero Sum Society," spoke of the need for painful adjustments to maintain economic growth and rising living standards. In 1992, "Head to Head: The Coming Economic Battle Among Japan, Europe and America" heralded the age of global competition, which he revisited last year in "The Future of Capitalism."

Mr. Thurow, 58, has been a professor of management and economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology since 1968 and was dean of MIT's Sloan School of Management from 1987 to 1993. In this interview with Jennifer Kingson Bloom, he turned his economist's eye on banking and technology.

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