Business: The Case For--and Against--Nationalization

SEVERAL years ago, Louis Armand, former head of the French national railways, lunched with seven U.S. railroad presidents. At that time, he recalls, "I remarked that sooner or later they would have to face up to the question of nationalizing American railroads. They all roared with laughter." Last week, in the midst of the Penn Central's financial fiasco, no one was laughing at the idea any more. Transportation Secretary John Volpe warned Congress that if the Administration's bill to guarantee loans for railroads fails to pass, and other roads fall into bankruptcy, the only alternative would be for the Government...

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