Recapturing the Spirit of Enterprise

By George Gilder | Go to book overview

4
THE EXPLORER

The prophesied depressions of the period were not merely economic. Now was launched a new religion of disaster as the opiate of the publishing classes. For decades, like doomsday adventists, they have been gathering at the tops of glass towers in mid- Manhattan, gazing into the lowering clouds for glimpses and portents of profitable gloom. Remember The Closing Circle? The greenhouse effect? The Alar panic? The death of Lake Erie? The coming ice age? The Limits to Growth? The end of the family? The Day We Almost Lost Detroit? Intellectuals throng every new theory of catastrophe and shun only a solvable problem, a reasonable remedy, a market solution.

In 1973, it seemed, much of America was awaiting retribution for guilt-ridden riches--listening for an avenging word. First it came from the desert: Colonel Qaddafi, Sheik Yamani, and the shah of Iran, posturing as nemeses for the prodigal and oil-addled West. Then it echoed at the White House in Washington, on Capitol Hill, and at conferences of scholars at MIT, Berkeley, and Harvard. A demoralized science of economics mated with a series of other dismal disciplines to produce a geology, an ecology, even a physics of despair. The word was "crisis," and the crisis was energy: entropy, scarcity, exhaustion.

In any such crisis, the people turn anxiously to experts, for understanding and consolation, for explanations and remedies. The experts on energy soon came forth in numbers, from the Federal Energy Administration, the Ford Foundation, the Harvard Business School, the Committee for Economic Development, the National Academy of Engineering, the White House Energy Policy and Planning staff, the National Academy of Sciences, 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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