AMERICA FOR SALE by Kenneth C. Crowe


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A strident, insubstantial argument for curbing stepped-up flows of offshore capital into the U.S. economy. As a practical matter, much of Crowe's material does not support his case. Close to half the text, to start with, dwells on the unavailing efforts of Adnan Kashoggi, Ghaith Pharaoh (Bert Lance's pal), and other so-called eco-invaders to establish American beachheads. Crowe also tries to track the role played by major banks, securities brokers, big-time attorneys, and business executives in the domestic investment of foreign lucre. While he produces no evidence of impropriety or conspiracy on the part of middlemen, he persists in seeing them as a latter-day species of fifth columnist. Nor do the numbers add up for Crowe. His census of U.S.-based companies with annual revenues of $100 million or more in which overseas interest have at least a 10 percent stake has only 91 names. All told, he is forced to concede that foreign investors own less than 4 percent of corporate America's voting stock. Unfortunately, bottom-line facts of this sort tend to be overwhelmed by lengthy accounts of isolated takeovers, e.g., the contested purchase of Copperweld Corp., a medium-sized steelmaker, by a Rothschild-controlled holding company. Equally annoying is Crowe's predilection for innuendo. U.S. branches of banks domiciled abroad, for instance, are characterized as an ""alien presence,"" and the Arab members of OPEC are repeatedly referred to as ""midget nations"" or ""nouveau fiche oil kingdoms."" Conspicuously absent, moreover, is information on American investments abroad ($150 billion at last count) or a perspective on the growing interdependence among industrial democracies and resource-rich Third World nations. In sum, Crowe presents a one-dimensional and almost paranoid assessment of America's open-door investment policies--an important issue that, in book form at least, awaits thoughtful analysis.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1978
Publisher: Doubleday