Richard Nixon on Corporations

President of the U.S., 1968-1974


Open American business schools in each East European country

Since their liberation from Soviet domination, the people of Eastern Europe have learned tearing down a corrupt old regime has always been easier than building a just new order.

A united Europe has not only advantages but also disadvantages for the United States. We clearly benefit from the rise of a stronger and more cohesive political unit to balance Moscow, thereby permitting a reduction in our military role in Europe. We will also gain from having more active partners in Europe to grapple with regional crises around the world.

We should open American business schools in each East European country to teach skills required to make the nuts and bolts of capitalism work. These nations need not only financial but also human capital. Those who advocate a Marshall Plan for Eastern Europe are totally unrealistic. While the nations of Eastern Europe, like those of Western Europe after WWII, are democracies, they do not have a management class capable of effectively using such aid.

Source: Seize the Moment, by Richard Nixon, p.114-119 , Jan 15, 1992

Greed is not good, but wealth is, if used for good purpose

Undeniably, the salaries and bonuses some overrated CEO's receive are obscene. This is a function not so much of greed but of starry-eyed boards of directors who think their publicity-conscious management superstars can walk on water. But if a $1 million executive has just one $2 million idea a year, he has more than earned his keep. A profitable corporation, earning big dividends for its shareholders, adding jobs each year, paying taxes, is an essential institution of a modern democracy.

When people are out of work, corporate executives earning 7 figures a year make easy targets. But in better times, they make decisions that put people back to work.

Greed is not good. But wealth is, if it is used to good purpose. While capitalism may be driven by greed, it produces wealth, and democratic institutions help a society decide how its wealth should be used. Communism punishes greed by seizing wealth, and then totalitarian institutions are needed to manage the grinding poverty that is produced instead.

Source: In The Arena, by Richard Nixon, p.124 , Jul 2, 1990

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Page last updated: Feb 22, 2022