Recapturing the Spirit of Enterprise

By George Gilder | Go to book overview

5 THE MAN WHO WANTED TO CLEAN THE WATER

"There was water everywhere," Milos Krofta remembers. It was 1935 in Ljubljana, then in Yugoslavia, at the country's largest and most advanced papermaking factory. It was always wet; water was always spraying from some pipe or dripping from a vat or leaking from a valve. It bothered him. A blond, erect, fastidious young man who had been the youngest engineering graduate in the history of the local university, he was now studying for his doctorate in paper manufacture at a leading technical university of the day, Darmstadt in Germany. Between his trips north to the school, he was also working as an assistant technical manager in the plant, assigned to find ways of reducing the costs of production. The son of one of the owners of the company, he expected soon to play a still more significant role. And he kept slipping on water.

It was perfectly natural for a paper mill to be wet. Papermaking is mainly a matter of processing an array of fluids. Although the final product is a tissue of dry cellulosic fibers, for most of the productive steps the moving pulp, the so-called half-stuff, is a slurry of between 95 and 99 percent water. This flux of intact and freely flowing cellulose fibers is beaten into a cohesive pulp. Then the "white water" residue left over from the pulping process is recirculated to dilute the mixture and speed its flow. Spread into a thin homogeneous film or web, it runs down a wire-mesh screen that finally strains away the water, leaving the fibers and fillers to be shaped, dried, heated, treated, and gently rocked and rolled into paper, while the wastes are flushed away and forgotten.

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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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