Recapturing the Spirit of Enterprise

By George Gilder | Go to book overview

2
A PATCH OF SAND

Lease a man a garden
And in time he will leave you
A patch of sand.
Make a man a full owner
Of a patch of sand
And in time he will grow there
A garden on the land
.

Such ancient wisdom cleaves some of the clearest lines among the lands of the world: between wasted barrens held only on lease from an all-powerful state and fruited plains worked with full rights to property and profit. But this ancient law of the garden met a harsh test in early 1909 on the fully titled homestead of Charles Richard Simplot. A hard-bitten farmer of Scotch and Huguenot forebears, with a wiry frame, keen eyes, and a long bulging nose, he fought for food from dry scrubby sands amid the tough sagebrush of the Idaho frontier.

Some weeks before, he had left behind in Iowa a fertile spread and a young wife, heavy with child. Seeking more space and freedom, he had traveled northwest in two "immigrant" boxcars filled with his horses and cattle and machinery for his new farm, and a stove, beds, and a piano for his house. He had unloaded in Burley, in the midst of the Idaho "desert," and moved eight miles up the Snake River toward his holding in Declo.

He had chosen a hard land to farm, with a climate of

-15-

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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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