Leonard Baker pinpoints June 5, 1963 as the inception of ""the guaranteed society."" On that date, President Kennedy initiated the SST program (supersonic transport), with the government backing industry 6.5 dollars to one for its development, thus guaranteeing success. While Mr. Baker believes that government should enlarge opportunity, he does not think it should ensure profits. In this vein he surveys and analyzes the merchant marine, a private commercial operation which exists on federal subsidies; the mining of kerogen from oil shale (privately, with public funds for research and development on public lands and with inexpensive, defacing methods); patents (should one company have a monopoly on products developed with public funds?); the guaranteed annual income--""minted moonlight,"" and alternatives or guidelines (Moynihan's family allowance; pay people to learn). Finally the author proposes moves toward a creative society (""It is time again for enough good men to lead and to respond"") and the priority of national need over self-interest. Whether or not one lines up with Mr. Baker on every issue, his analyses are fair, informative, and worth consideration.