C. D. Jackson

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C. D. Jackson

Background

"The establishment of "Enterprise America" was one of Jackson's most outstanding contributions to the ideology of the postwar period. Enterprise America was to transform private domestic business, long suspicious of and inimical toward government, into a co¬operative effort involving international expansion, military defense for international business expansion, government support, and interchangeable business-government personnel practices. This glo¬bal feat was to be popularized by a massive public-relations cam¬paign. Enterprise America involved a complex operation based on a very simple theory.

"For Jackson, the world was crudely simple: The United States was the "all-important part" of the world. Business was the "all-important part" of the United States; and "businessmen are the important men in the U.S.-Q.E.D." America was "a business na¬tion" and, according to C. D. Jackson, everybody-farmers, workers, philosophers, artists, buyers, manufacturers, sellers-were all part of that fact. They were all united by the business of America-now "involved all around the world." But in 1949, de¬spite that unity, Jackson observed a "power vacuum" that represented "the greatest single challenge that has ever confronted the U.S. businessman." It was not only "the greatest opportunity on Earth," it was the most urgent. Because of increased "communist competition," it might be the businessman's "final challenge!"

"To meet that challenge, private enterprise needed to do the unusual, the outrageous: ally itself with the State. In a speech entitled "Who Will Win the Cold War Between Free Enterprise and Statism?" delivered to a group of conservative businessmen who had for the past twenty years opposed all New Deal/Fair Deal legislation that extended the concerns of government, C. D. Jackson proclaimed:

"One thing that private enterprise cannot do abroad is to create a favorable climate for U.S. investment-that's a job for the U. S. Government, and it's a job that it is today honor-bound to do...

"To create a favorable climate for U.S. investment" throughout the world was the goal. The shift into Enterprise America was the means. Jackson's vision involved more than an alliance, it involved" NEXT PAGE "the takeover of the machinery of government by the interests of capital. And Jackson was very specific about that: Given "thechallenge of the power vacuum… WHO shall assume the responsibility for a functioning America… ? Shall it be the State, eager, plausible, and prepared-or shall it be Enterprise, the businessman, who by his works has shown… that he is the most competent administrator of the welfare of this country." Jackson then presented a three-part plan that actually became a blueprint for that takeover. Through ECA, the Point Four Program, and participation at all levels of the Washington bureaucracy, business would merge with the State, and Enterprise America would be affirmed." (Cook, 1981, 124-5)

Resources

  • Cedric Larson, "The Council for Democracy", Public Opinion Quarterly, volume 6, 1942.
  • Blanche Wiesen Cook, "The declassified Eisenhower", Doubleday Books, 1981.