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American business must develop a professional guild and judge itself if it is going to satisfy the needs of the national economy, Carl Kaysen, director of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, N.J., last night.
Speaking in the second of two Oliver Wendell Holmes Lectures last night, Kaysen continued his theme that free competition cannot solve modern social problems.
Nationalizing industries or creating more regulatory agencies would not be better in the long run, Kaysen said. Government-instituted controls cannot keep pace with a repidly changing technical economy because the agencies are forced by political restraint to play a "catch-up game" with the market, he explained.
The economy needs internal constraints on enterprise to change its goals, he said. These constraints would be provided by a new professional attitude in business. "Business has never had a standard of professional criticism," he added.
Kaysen called for greater publication of the decisions that are made in business and then informed criticism by knowledgeable persons in business and related fields.
Citing auto safety as an example, Kaysen said auto manufacturers should publish the history of their research into a safety device, which would then be reviewed by competent judges in the field.
Private industries should be allowed to reinvest profits in the corporation, "provided they feel the impulse to spend these profits on social projects," Kaysen said. In this way the ineffectiveness of large corporations and separate foundations designed to solve economic problems would be eliminated.
For example, he explained, Ford can do more for relocation of displaced workers by putting profits into employment programs than by giving money to the Ford Foundation for relocation studies, he said.
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