Recapturing the Spirit of Enterprise

By George Gilder | Go to book overview

9
CAPITALISM WITHOUT CAPITALISTS

The prevailing theory of capitalism suffers from one central and disabling flaw: a profound distrust and incomprehension of capitalists. With its circular flows of purchasing power, its invisible- handed markets, its intricate interplays of goods and moneys, all modern economics, in fact, resembles a vast mathematical drama, on an elaborate stage of theory, without a protagonist to animate the play.

The prevailing assumption is that at any particular time the economy is a problem with a small number of solutions--limited by tastes, technologies, and natural resources--which can be expressed as a set of simultaneous equations. Within this scheme, the acknowledged role of the capitalist or entrepreneur is to mediate marginally among all the limiting conditions. Even his leading academic advocates see him as a mere "scout of opportunities," a puppet of price signals, a servant of sovereign consumers. A dependent variable, the entrepreneur rapidly vanishes into the shadows of such imperious factors of production as land, labor, and capital, such massive numbers as money and aggregate demand.

The Marxists, surprisingly, have provided a grander and in some ways more accurate view. Karl Marx himself acknowledged the supreme productive genius of the bourgeoisie and assigned to the capitalist phase a central, if transitory, role in economic progress. But the left fantasizes a tiny elite of tycoons wielding the powers of enterprise rather than an immense class of entrepreneurs and aspiring businessmen--perhaps 50 million in the

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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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