The first three years into the twenty-first century have not been a high-water mark for American business management. Both businessmen and the general public have suffered through accounting scandals, management malfeasance, and blatant greed that make the actions of the old robber barons look tame. Governmental legislation and regulation have been enacted to restore the public confidence in business managers and to protect private investors. This turmoil and the resultant backlash of reform can be viewed as a cycle that will correct itself and permit business to resume as normal. But what if it doesn’t?

In the summer of 2001, I gave a speech to a gathering of automotive executives, entitled “Fixing a Broken Economic Model—A Case ...

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