Memo To: Silicon Valley
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Trashing the Telecosm
If I had to pick the 10 most important people in the world, excepting myself of course, George Gilder would make the list. Remember that George is a communicator and my chosen profession was journalism, so he gets a head start on my list. Thatís because I believed with Holy Scripture that civilization began with the Word; before that, we were merely speechless primates. Then there was the influence of our Founding Fathers, who decided the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution should guarantee freedom of speech and of the press. In 1977, while I was writing The Way the World Works, one of the most important books of the 20th Century (along with The Joy of Cooking and The Starr Report, according to the National Review), George was writing Poverty, and had run into a blind alley.
The Lord works in mysterious ways, though, and it turned out that George and I had the same editor at Basic Books, Midge Decter, one of the most important people in my life who was not a relative, girlfriend or wife. After I had completed six chapters of TWTWW, Midge called and told me about a poor soul name George Gilder who heard about my manuscript from her and asked if he could read it. Sure, I said, and in the twinkling of an eye (George being a speed-reader), he decided to change the direction of Poverty to Wealth and Poverty, a book so good that it took him out of poverty and made him immensely wealthy in a relatively short period of time. (Iím a poor drudge by comparison.)
Soon after, while he was still in his thirties, George decided that he might never surpass me in the field of political economics, given my head start, and that if he wanted to be the best at something, he had to concentrate on the new world opening to civilization and the Word through the invention of semiconductors. So he decided to live on his royalties and spend a few years back in school studying quantum physics. There is nobody on Earth who now both understands the telecosm and is able to broadcast its mysteries to the universe better than George. (If you have a competitive name, please call me collect.) Iím waxing euphoric about the fellow because he wrote an op-ed for Mondayís Wall Street Journal about the intersection of monetary policy, regulatory policy and the telecosm that ONLY he could have written. He sees how the Forces of Darkness have conspired in our Government to crush the dot.com babies and what must be done to bring them back to life. One wishes Silicon Valley would get the message.
Please do me a favor and read it, then print it out and put it someplace where you can read it again in five or ten years, when the rest of us have caught up with George, and you will be able to appreciate his insights as you probably cannot now. I assure you that the editors of the Journal who decided to run the op-ed, ďTumbling Into the Telechasm,Ē only understand a fraction of it, but they are as awed of George as are the rest of us. Like Tiger Woods, he is now the very best in the world at what he tries to do. Yes, he makes a mistake now and then, but that only sends him back to the practice range.