Government: Fighting Influence with Influence

"At the risk of being called a defeatist," said Alcoa President John D. Harper, "I question whether this situation is likely to reverse itself in the foreseeable future. In fact, Government influence is likely to accelerate."

Harper was talking about the amount of power that Washington, whether or not sanctioned by law, can bring to bear on industry. Harper is an authority on the subject: last November, when the aluminum industry proposed a price hike, Administration aides summoned him to Washington and, by threatening to dump Government-held surplus aluminum onto the market, pressured him into rescinding the increase, in keeping...