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December 22, 2016
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July 26, 2010
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May 23, 1981
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Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2010/07/26: CIA-RDP90-00552R000303420006-5 :L1; APPEARED ON PAGE Lewis H. Lapham A New Breed Of Horatio Algers when the United States agreed the other day to protect American automobile interests against raiding by the Japanese,-- hardly anybody had , the poor taste to mention the Republican doctrine of get-. ting government off people's backs. Suddenly, government was neither too big nor too rich to do a favor for a friend.: Apologists for a de facto quota on Japa nese cars explained that the entrepre- neurial spirit in the United States was in. a sickly condition. Until such time As, the_ invalid was back on his feet, government=- would do what was necessary to arrest k; slackening of enterprise and prevent fui Cher withering of the national soul. ' ---- Much the same explanation accompa nies the administration's defense of itsn budget. The country must reduce taxes. and curtail federal spending because the "spirit that made this nation great sup-.. posedly has drifted away on the, wind- like smoke from a pioneer's campfire. Although at odds with the facts, Presi=-Z dent Reagan presented the same line''oC' gibberish as one of the major themes of his campaign. Various troubled authoci?.. ties-captains of industry, professors ox., economics, critics in residence.--prq;;, vided a steady supply of reports b.6-` moaning losses of productivity, of profit,; of adventurous capitalism. Except when'-? 'talking about first-round draft choices? ir&- the NFL, the authorities describe a'naw~ tion of timid wage_ slaves, herded'r through the cattle pens of corporationNm stumbling into swamps of bureaucratic.' regulation, too intimidated by taxes and. regulation to take the old-fashioned'riske" necessary to lay up treasure not only iii a Heaven but also in Florida real estate." ..'A Listening to these-anthems of despair, I . wondered what company the Republicaips, might be keeping. Perhaps they believed- the revelations of The New York Review- ' of Books, or maybe' they. had heard too;: many of Jimmy Carter's sermons. ; d THE WASHINGTON POST 23 May 1981 My own limited observations suggest' that-the entrepreneurial spirit never has- enjoyed more robust health. Over the, last 10 years, the country has given rise, to a generation of freebooters as merci- less, artful and rapacious as any of its predecessors in the chronicle of Amer- ican greed. It is hard to get through an airport or hotel lobby without being ac- costed by somebody with a deal: in silver futures, minimalist painting, fried chicken franchises, genetic engineerit or supply-side politicians. Within the profession, Venture Capital Journal keeps the box score and reports that in 1980 the record sum of $900 mil- lion appeared in venture capital markets. ?The drug trade prospers, and so db port nographers. Cash transactions conducted out of sight of the IRS are estimated to be $150 billion per annum in an "under- ground economy." Every, week the news- papers announce yet another merger of as- sets worth as much as the gross national product of Peru. Promoters of cable televi- sion scribble deals on the backs of en-, velopes and hand out road. maps' to: El 'Dorado. Like speculators in 19th-century railroads, the cable operators have -ae- quired a government subsidy-in the form of a broadcasting license, instead of. a right of way through the center of town or 100,000 acres in California-and they seek to establish local monopolies. Never has there been a time so ripe with promises of extravagant return on investment. Why then do the authorities still insist upon so bleak a rhetoric? Per- haps they are objecting to a disorderly redistribution of wealth. Perhaps the wrong sort of people seem to be making. all the money_ The present generation of promoters sells theories and services instead of goods, charging exorbitant freight rates for transporting images rather than for shipping wheat or hogs. The, cites swarm with agents, lawyers, lobbyists, consultants, analysts and middlemen of a disposition sufficiently predatory to have done credit to the plucky heroes of Horatio Alger. They reap immodest profits from manufacturing expensive paper-tax shelters, joint ventures, buy- outs, federal licenses, tax exemptions, i bankruptcies, foundation studies, polii- cal slogans, movie rights, acquisitions, takeovers and CIA estimates of'-the Now that it has become easier to achieve a market result through the manipulation of symbols and images- the writing of legislation as well as the minting of celebrity-even members ,.of Congress unknown to FBI agents dressed up like sheiks can think of them- selves as entrepreneurs. . The entrepreneurial spirit in the United States has not vanished; rather,' it has shifted its field of advantage. The resent- ment of older and more settled interests-- among them the automobile and' steel in- dustries, the television networks and .the established religions-expresses itself in prophecies of economic and mora' col- lapse. Not being privy to the new division of spoils, advocates of the old capitalist order argue that God is dead. 01981. Network News, Inc. The writer is editor of HarPer's biaga~ne. Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2010/07/26: CIA-RDP90-00552R000303420006-5