The industrial world is often pictured in...


April 25, 1992

COMPETITION IN the industrial world is often pictured in terms of long-established companies versus newcomers. But long-established, The Economist of London points out, isn't always as long as corporate drum-beaters would have us believe:

"Most of the company names which now seem like immutable fixtures either did not exist or were still obscure when our grandfathers were children. . . Of the 100 firms heading Fortune's first list of America's 500 biggest companies, published in 1956, only 29 can still be found in the top 100 of its latest list, published on April 1.

"Of the 100 biggest non-American firms listed in 1956, only 27 were still there in 1989, the last time the magazine published such a list. Within the span of one working life, well over two-thirds of the world's biggest companies were jostled out of the way by faster-growing firms."

The Economist goes on to observe that history counts for little in the business world. It's what a company will do in the future, not what it did in the past, that counts. And expectations about its future profits are usually expressed in terms of its stock price. Then it notes that three of the top four companies ranked by sales on the latest Fortune 500 list rank very near the bottom in terms of profits. Biggest, it appears, isn't always best.

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EMMYLOU HARRIS, our favorite country songbird, has a new sound and a new look. Always versatile and always as eager to explore the older roots of country music as to blaze new trails, Ms. Harris has gone back to a softer sound and is now performing with the all-acoustic Nash Ramblers. That kind of music is easier on her voice.

Of equal interest to some of her fans, however, is her new look -- a full head of gray hair. That's natural gray, of course.

At 44, Ms. Harris says she sees no reason to hide her gray -- after all, she's earned it. Moreover, she says, she's got better things to do with her time than to spend it coloring her hair.

How refreshing -- a singer who cares more about her music than her image!

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LAST YEAR, a Falkland Islands fisheries patrol boat chased an unlicensed Taiwanese vessel an astounding 5,000 miles across the Atlantic and into the Indian Ocean before giving up the pursuit near Madagascar, Reuters news service reported.

The islanders now have "hot pursuit" agreements with the Argentines (who once fought to take them over) to help stop illegal fishing raiders. The Taiwanese vessel was caught fishing illegally in the Falkland's natural resource zone, the news agency said.

Think the Falklanders were angry?

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