Business & Finance: Gulliver Unbound

"The whole world is watching us, amazed at the exhibition of a giant who cannot pull himself together even to take care of his own needs." Like the pangs of conscience during a hangover, these words of wise old Bernard Baruch in mid-1946 were perhaps overfraught with a sense of guilt. But at the time they seemed fully warranted.

For the U.S. in 1946 rid itself of wartime controls as a giant might escape from a straitjacket—roaring, ripping and kicking, with little regard for himself or the bystanders. Nevertheless, Gulliver, freed, defeated most of...

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