If you want to understand the real enduring strength of America as a nation, look at the Dow Jones industrial average. Not the record 12,000 level reached this month � that may last no longer than a day or a week. Look instead at the 30 companies that make up the Dow index. Only two of the original 30 companies in the index in 1930 � General Electric and General Motors � are still there today. Most of today�s Dow components � the Microsofts and Intels � weren�t even around 50 years ago.
If you look at the relevant stock market indices for Germany, France or even Britain, you will find them dominated by companies that have been around for generations. America by contrast, has mastered the art of creative destruction. This vast competitive openness, combined with entrepreneurial spirit, keeps the country constantly innovating and regenerating.
Gerard Baker, Iraq is just a comma, not a death sentence
3 thoughts on “Quote of the Day”
Funny how wars come & go in Europe but the same old industries hang on. Here, we haven’t been devastated, we just keep starting over. I’ve always thought Jefferson’s theory about having a revolution every twenty years was a pretty dumb idea – but maybe he was right, we’ve just done it in a different way: we have whole new people in government & whole new economic powers every generation or so.
In theory, one would hope that a company that had been around for generations would be able to continually renew itself–after all, we expect democratic governments to adapt to the times without being replaced with whole new institutions. Technological and industry change do not inherently prevent this: IBM could have dominated the world of the PC; Baldwin Locomotive could have been the leader in diesels; and steel companies could have taken advantage of the opportunities in plastics. But it rarely seems to work out that way in practice.
Off topic, well, at least about the analogy rather than the essence: the witty Time essay by Pico Iyer on the comma. My students’ wake up when I tell them who Gary Gilmore was and throw in an anecdote about Ruskin’s punctuationless manuscripts is pricelss; I imply that their inability to punctuate tells me much about their minds. And it probably does. (Though I’d just as soon people didn’t read define my “issues” that are doubtless revealed in my peculiarities of style & punctuation.)
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