Corporations: A Matter of Chemistry

In 1952, as it approached the end of its first century in business, New York's "Old Lady of Hanover Square"—W. R. Grace & Co.—appeared to be sinking into the feebleness of age. For generations, Grace Line ships had raced unchallenged along the west coast of South America, trading cargoes of coffee, cacao and sugar and piling up 90% of Grace's multimillion-dollar profits. But after World War II, as subsidized Latin American merchant marines sprang up to compete for cargoes and challenged Grace's trading supremacy, the company's profits fell from $13,000,000 in...

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