Business: Play It Again, Uncle Sam

Nothing inspires the U.S. to deeds of technological derring-do like a national emergency. Government and industry join to beat their traditional swords into plowshares—or into synthetic rubber, aluminum, manned rockets and various products needed for survival. Many times the Government has met tremendous challenges by setting clear goals, guaranteeing markets and assigning specific projects to private companies.

This happened during World War II, when the nation was galvanized by fear that Germany would produce the first atomic bomb, and the Government-funded, $2 billion Manhattan Project unlocked the secrets of nuclear fission....

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