Recapturing the Spirit of Enterprise

By George Gilder | Go to book overview

7
A SAD HEART IN A PERSONAL JET

Wayne E. Copeland, Jr., is a born entrepreneur who in the early 1980s found his best investment. Most of the time he has been rich--although the late 1980s were not to be good to him. In 1981 he was wealthy enough to fly a personal jet from his home in Norman, Oklahoma, to distant airports to meet with writers on economics and tell his story. I got the treatment one night--a ride in the yellow-and-blue-striped Sabre Liner from Orlando to ClearU+00A water, Florida; Milton Friedman was next on the schedule. Wayne Copeland was that rich; rich enough to run a yellow-and-blue taxi for Milton Friedman. But his story--being a distinctly American tale of the 1970s and early-1980s economy--is not altogether a success story, and his "best investment" was not exactly what one would expect from a then thirty-nine-year-old entrepreneur with an ambition to change sharply the architectural and intellectual horizons of his city, now renowned chiefly as the home of the University of Oklahoma football team. Wayne Copeland devoted his "best investment" to the politics of transforming the U.S. tax structure, with its nominally high rates riddled with loopholes, and with its endless traps and complexities, into a simple flat-rate system. In part, he succeeded, and learned the pains of Pyrrhus amid Oklahoma's crash of oil and S&Ls.

Like so many business venturers, he was thrust into the role as a small boy when his father--another compulsive entrepreneur--left the family in Oklahoma to seek his fortune in California. Wayne Junior found himself assuming the male role in the family. Also like many other entrepreneurs from broken homes,

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Recapturing the Spirit of Enterprise
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents iii
  • Foreword v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • I - THE ECONOMY OF HEROES 1
  • 1 - The Enigma of Enterprise 3
  • 2 - A Patch of Sand 15
  • 3 - The Real Economy 37
  • 4 - The Explorer 55
  • 5 - The Man Who Wanted to Clean the Water 71
  • 6 - The Cuban Miracle 97
  • II - THE EUTHANASIA OF THE ENTREPRENEUR 119
  • 7 - A Sad Heart in a Personal Jet 121
  • 8 - The Outsider Trading Scandal 139
  • 9 - Capitalism Without Capitalists 149
  • 10 - Wealth in the 1990s 169
  • III - THE GREAT TRANSITION 185
  • 11 - The Curve of Growth 187
  • 12 - Japan's Entrepreneurs 215
  • 13 - America's Digital Revolution 245
  • 14 - The Rise of Micron 265
  • 15 - The Dynamics of Entrepreneurship 295
  • Index 327
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