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The Balance of the Forces toward Growth and Regression

Shall we accentuate the positive? Absolutely yes—but under the conditions where this is objectively called for, where it will in fact work. . . .

Another thing that has to be said very clearly and made far more conscious than it now is in the management literature is that Drucker and the other theorists are assuming good conditions and good luck, good fortune. It is perfectly true that these assumptions are valid in the United States at this time. It is just as true that they are probably not valid or at least not as valid in other countries and would not be valid in the United States if there were some kind of atomic catastrophe, for instance. We will be more realistic as scientists if we phrase the question in a more sober, a more realistic, way. For instance, what do we mean by “good conditions” and “bad conditions,” what forces, what changes in our society could change the dynamic balance toward regression instead of toward growth? What would simple economic scarcity do, for instance?

It is after all conceivable that if a fair proportion of the American population were killed, the whole structure would fall apart since it is so delicately balanced, and we might suddenly change from a complex industrial society to a jungle, hunting society. Obviously, Drucker’s principles then would not apply. To trust people then, to ...

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