The State of the Nation: Retrospect and Prospect
Five leaders of business, television, education, government, and labor address themselves in this book to the problems concerning their fields and consequently concerning the entire American citizenry. With an eye on the past history of the United States, these men discuss the various problems of the present and future and how we are to cope with them using the lessons and values of the past, as well as recognizing new concepts and ideas that have arisen.
Karl R. Bopp, former President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, concerns him self with the problem of eliminating unemployment of men and capital without resorting to total economic planning. Frank Stanton, former President of the Columbia Broadcasting System, asks who shall determine what the people see on television and whether there is an alternative to "the public verdict" of applause or rejection. Earl J. McGrath, former U. S. Commissioner of Higher Education, raises questions relating to the performance of students and teachers at all levels of our educational establishment. Who should go to college? What differences in curricula should be encouraged? What practices and conditions will produce those intellectual and moral qualities we desire in our citizenry?
Milton Katz, former Director of International Legal Studies at Harvard University, discusses the problem of increasing public understanding of the government's conduct of foreign affairs. What is the proper "mix" of professionally trained public servants and talented political "transients"? How can public antipathy to expanding "bureaucracy" be overcome in the interest of raising the quality of our foreign affairs personnel. George W. Taylor, Professor of Industry at the University of Pennsylvania and a member of President Kennedy's Advisory Committee on Labor Management Relations, notes that the "creative responses" required to maintain the nation's economic equilibrium run "deeply against the grain of our traditional thinking." How shall we respond to conflicts of private interests (labor and management) that pose threats to, or actually damage, the general welfare? Do we need institutional arrangements to defend the public interest when great economic powers collide, and, if so, what should be the role of government in these arrangements?
These five men do not purport to know all of the answers to the great issues of our society. Implicit in their discussions is an invitation to the reader to enter into a dialogue with them, to examine his or her own ideas while scrutinizing theirs, to seek out further data, to confirm, to refute, or to modify.
The State of the Nation: Retrospect and Prospect is an invaluable book for those interested in the problems of society. It is a summons to Americans to realize their responsibilities and privileges as citizens of a democracy in the permanent pursuit of perfection.
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