1980 – Packard Speeches

Box 4,  Folder 29 – General Speeches


January 3-4 1980 – Productivity and Technical Change, an address given at a conference on the Postwar Changes in the American Economy, sponsored by the National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc., Key Biscayne, FL


1/3/80, Copy of text of Packard’s speech


“In the two decades that reached from the mid-1940s to the mid-1960s,” Packard says, “the United States had a healthy economy , characterized by rapid economic growth and low inflation, and propelled by great technical progress.  This technical progress helped generate annual increases in productivity in excess of 3 percent, and was a major contributor to the overall well-being of the economy.”


Packard also points to the economies of Europe and Japan which recovered from the destruction of World War II, “and by 1965,” he says “were achieving annual productivity increases even larger than those in the U.S. ; in the case of Japan alone, productivity was increasing at annual rates of from 6 to 8 percent.


“Since about 1970, the rates of improvement in productivity have declined in the major industrial countries of the world, with corresponding declines in the health of their economies from the robust decades following the war. This serious deterioration in the well-being of the free world economy has been of great concern to businessmen, economists, and people in government at many levels. It is difficult to find much to be said that has not already been said about the subject. Yet the problem is so important that it is imperative that the search for answers continue and that action which will improve the situation be identified and undertaken.”


Packard says that “It seems to be generally agreed among both economic scholars, managers and government executives that improvement in productivity would be helpful in reducing inflation and promoting economic growth.


And he says that the productivity of a business enterprise is influenced primarily by management and technological innovation.


Looking at each of these, he says “Management plays a major role in determining the structure of the organization, influences the quality of supervision, provides training for the workers and works to motivate employees. There can be significant improvement in productivity from management-directed activity, as shown by the range of productivity that can be measured between well managed and poorly managed enterprises.


“While productivity gains can be made by management leadership that encourages people to work harder and work smarter, technology is the base of most major gains in productivity.


“The use of better tools, better equipment and better manufacturing processes is the only way productivity can be improved once management’s contribution has been optimized. Even with the handicap of poor management practices, better tools, equipment and processes will usually improve productivity.”


[The reason] “industrial productivity has been higher in Europe and Japan since the war, is at least in part,” he says, “because new plants employing the most modern equipment were built to replace those destroyed during the war, while plants in the United States continued to operate with older, less productive equipment. Also, many of the industries in these countries were playing a catch-up game.


“Inflation, coupled with the government’s traditional fiscal and tax policies, have made the replacement of older equipment more and more expensive and difficult, although the investment tax credit allowance is a step forward. It is one of the few incentives left to industry to improve productivity through new equipment.


“A more liberal depreciation policy would also help in the more rapid replacement of older equipment, although to be effective, management would have to place less emphasis on short-term profits.


“Nearly every enterprise could improve its productivity by the more extensive use of the newer and more productive equipment that is already available, but the greatest contribution clearly must come from the acceleration of the discovery and the innovative application of new technology.


“Technology is an important contributor to productivity in areas beyond development of better, more effective equipment and processes. Technology makes its most dramatic contribution to productivity in the creation of entirely new products from which new business enterprises and entirely new industries develop.”


Packard points to several examples of new industries created in the United States: “Automobiles, aircraft, plastics and chemicals, electronics, communications, and computers are just a few,” he says.


“The creation of a new industry based on technology requires the innovative application of scientific knowledge to do something that is useful and that needs to be done.


“The process can involve innovative application of old technology, but the most dramatic examples come from the discovery of new technology. A recent example is the invention of the transistor and related solid-state electronics technology, followed by the development of large-scale integrated circuits.


“This new technology has made possible the modern computer industry. Thousands of new products and new business enterprises have been generated in this multibillion-dollar industry in which again the United States was, and still is, in the lead.


“Computers have made a considerable contribution to increased productivity throughout industry, although there may be some debate about just how much . The industry itself has achieved productivity gains estimated at 35% per year reflected in lower prices and increased performance.


To achieve such large gains, Packard says two ingredients are necessary. “One is the discovery of new scientific knowledge. The other is the creation of the proper environment, the incentives and the resources to encourage the innovative application of the new technology to something useful that needs to be done. Both ingredients are necessary to support a productive research and development endeavor.


“We often discuss research and development without considering that a very wide range of activities is involved. Research is generally considered to be the search for new knowledge, but more often it involves gaining a better understanding of what is already generally known. Development generally means practical application of scientific knowledge to produce new tools, new processes, and new products. Here, sometimes, research in terms of a search for new knowledge is also needed, and this no clear line can be drawn between research and development, and indeed they are often linked together.”


Packard says there has been considerable discussion recently about whether the United States is falling behind in research and development, but the discussion does not always made a distinction between the discovery of new basic knowledge and the whole host of other activities that goes on under the heading of R & D.


“The number of patents issued is often used as an index of the level of R & D, but only a few patents involve new basic knowledge. Most patents involve the use of existing technologies. The number of patents issues may be a general indication of the country’s scientific and engineering activity, but this is not a good indication of the level or quality of basic research.”


Packard feels “The United States should consider new and more effective ways to increase the level of research and development in domestic industry with particular emphasis on how to encourage a higher level of basic research by industry. We should also lo9ok for ways to improve effectiveness of established and continuing federally supported research and development.


“One suggestion to encourage an increase in the level of R & D by industry is to allow a federal tax credit for R & D. There is not doubt that the establishment of such a tax credit would encourage management to increase the level of funding and activity. However, unless this credit were established only for increases in R&D above previous levels, we would find that the credit would be used to pay for a great deal of work that would have been done anyway.


“Since a substantial part of the cost of R & D is in the instrumentation and equipment required, the investment credit might be increased by an additional percentage, say 10 to 20 percent of cost for machinery and equipment used in research and development. Faster write-off of equipment and facilities used for R & D would also help. There would be some definition problems here, as there would be for tax credits for total or incremental R & D expenditures, but I believe they would be less troublesome.”


“I believe the entire Department of Energy program for support for R & D would be e-examined to make sure all promising areas of basic research are adequately funded. Here the program should be patterned after the brilliant Office of Naval Research program established in 1946. This ONR program deserves a great deal of credit for keeping the United States ahead of the world in many areas of technology. Federal support, through the ONR, made it possible for Stanford University to create an outstanding program in electronics in the two decades after the war….Stanford could not have made these important contributions in electronic research and education without the finding provided by ONR. The ‘Silicon Valley’ could not have happened without this federal support to Stanford University.


“Federal funding of R & D should emphasize basic research, since it has been shown that adequate finding of basic research in all promising areas of technology will have a high payoff over the long run. Development, on the other hand, will be done better by the private business sector.


“The imaginative application of scientific knowledge to create new products, new business enterprises and new industries is called innovation. The economic and social climate of the United States has fostered innovation from the early days of the Republic. Yankee ingenuity it was called in the 19th century. The combination of pioneering attitudes, unlimited risk capital, incentives to innovate and new technical knowledge have always made up the magic formula for the development of new products and the building of new industries, as well as productivity improvement in the old.


“Serious questions are being raised as to whether pioneering attitudes are disappearing in the United States. Societal attitudes that advocate no growth, claim big is bad, and express increasing dissatisfaction with the material side of life, probably combine to foster the idea that increasing productivity should not have a high priority on the list of human endeavors. The availability of risk capital has been reduced by federal tax policy, and other government policies have reduced incentives and established formidable hurdles in the path of technical innovation.


“The changes in federal tax policy in 1970, which increased the capital-gains tax, effectively dried up sources of risk capital for the establishment of new technical enterprises in the United States.


“A Small Business Administration study showed that new capital acquired by small firms through public offerings of equity dropped from a level in 1969 of 548 offerings, which raised nearly 1.5 billion dollars, to 4 offerings in 1975, which raised 16 million dollars.


“Fortunately, the capital-gains tax rate was reduced last year, and venture capital is again becoming available for new and small business enterprises, where a great deal of innovation takes place.”


Packard turns to stock options and says that “During the late 1950s and early 1960s when a great many new electronics companies were being established, the availability of stock options caused many scientists and engineers to leave older established firms and cast their lot with newly formed firms. If the firm became successful, the rewards were great, for then the stock option was exercised, the stock had considerable value. The gain was not taxed until the stock was sold.


“The recipient could either hold the stock in the hope of further gain or sell it and pay the tax  from time to time as funds were needed.”


“Congress, in an action to prevent what it thought was a tax loophole, made stock options taxable when exercised, and the recipient usually had to sell the stock to pay the tax. To compound the problem,  an SEC

regulation prevented the person from selling the stock for a considerable time after it was received if the person involved had a management role.


“In effect stock options as incentives for technical people to follow their pioneering spirit were largely eliminated. There is now an effort to restore the stock-option incentive, and to do so would restore an important stimulus for technical people to undertake risky, but potentially profitable ventures in newly established enterprises.”


Next, Packard turns to the area of government regulations since 1070, and the negative effect the growth of this added paper work has had on the ability of engineers to design better production equipment and methods.


“In many cases,” he says, “technical people have been required to spend much of their time dealing with regulatory problems instead of doing the kind of engineering and scientific work that would otherwise contribute to productivity improvement.


“Government regulations, in fact, may be the largest and most important factor in the decline of productivity in the United States. Regulations have been a serious problem in every aspect of industrial expansion. The nuclear power industry may represent the worst of this situation.


“It should require from four to five years to design, build and bring on line a new power plant, but regulatory procedures have extended the time required three fold. It now takes from twelve to fifteen years to bring a new plant on line. We may reach the point where it will be impossible to build a nuclear power plant or anything else in the United States because of excessive regulation.


“Regulatory procedures are causing costly delays in even the most non-controversial projects. I am involved in building an aquarium on the shore of Monterey Bay. Although everyone thinks it is a great idea, it is taking a full year to get approvals from all of the agencies involved. Ten years ago, only a month or so would have been required. It is impossible to keep architects and engineers working productively in this kind of a situation.


“Regulations have seriously reduced the productivity of new product development in every industry. The introduction of new drugs has become much more expensive and time consuming, and even in the development of electronic instruments, which have few health and safety problems, the regulatory agencies involved have increased development time and cost.


“The impact of government regulation on small or newly forming enterprises is even more serious. The OSHA code book contains some 28,000 regulations, and OSHA is only  one of many, many regulatory agencies. It is utterly impossible for an individual entrepreneur starting a new business to know understand and deal with all of these regulatory matters and still have any time or energy left to deal with the mainstream work of his enterprise. It is not surprising that fewer new technically oriented firms are being started today. What is surprising is that there are any.


“We need to find a way to apply more common sense judgment to matters of regulations that we can continue to preserve and protect all the important things in our society…things like the environment, individual dignity and the freedom to innovate and produce.


“From my experience I have concluded that there is a significant decline in productivity because of the changes in societal attitudes I have already alluded to, and also changes in managerial attitudes and policies.


“Specifically, if management people developed a better appreciation of the influence of technology on productivity, basic research would receive more support in the private sector. If management people put more emphasis on long-term performance instead of quarter-to-quarter or even year-to-year results, better decisions that affect productivity would be made.


“In conclusion, there are a number of things the federal government can do to improve the productivity of our economy. The government can and should give a higher priority to increasing productivity in every action that is taken which has a significant impact on the economy. This applies to tax policy, regulatory policy, regulatory policy and policies that affect federal support of R & D.


“I believe the private sector can and should do a better job as well. I believe productivity would improve if managers place more emphasis on long-term performance, as I mentioned earlier.


“If both the federal government and the private business sector gave productivity a higher priority among all of their other concerns, this would also influence the attitude of the general public. It would help bring about a general realization that there can be no improvement in the economic well-being of the average individual without an improvement in the overall productivity of our economy.


“To the extent the importance of productivity improvement to the welfare of the individual is understood and accepted, I am convinced a better climate for productivity will be established.”


1/3/80, Copy of typewritten text of speech, double spaced and all capitals for easier reading at podium. Many handwritten notations by Packard. (These were incorporated in the text above.)

1/3/80, Two copies of a printed booklet containing Packard’s speech

1/3/80, Earlier draft of Packard’s speech in his handwriting

1/3/80, Earlier typewritten draft of speech

1/30/80, Copy of letter sent to conference participants from Martin Feldstein of NBER,  with a ‘summary of our discussions at Key Biscayne’

1/3-4/80, Copy of typewritten program for the conference

3/15/79, Letter to Packard from Martin Feldstein giving the results of research on the effects of inflation on the taxation of corporate income.

9/14/79, Copy of an internal HP memo to Packard from Austin Marx, HP Economist, discussing U. S. competitiveness in world markets.

8/23/79, Letter to Packard inviting him to present a paper on the above subject. Attached to this letter is a copy of  a statement [in 1939] by Dorothy Thompson on the ‘Signs of Decay,’ [in a democracy] for which she credits Plato.

10/4/79, Letter to Packard from Martin Feldstein saying he is delighted that Packard is willing to participate in the conference

10/12/79, Letter to Packard from Martin Feldstein discussing plans for the conference

10/18/79, Letter to Packard from Martin Feldstein enclosing a copyright form for his signature. The agreement dated 10/30/79 is attached.

11/15/79, Letter to Packard from Martin Feldstein asking that he bring a copy of his speech for NBER use

12/7/79, Copy of a memo to all conference participants from Maureen Kay of NBER, discussing handling of expenses

1/10/80, Letter to Packard from Martin Feldstein thanking him for participating in their conference and presenting his ‘stimulating’ address

2/19/80, Note from Martin Feldstein sending him a paperweight which was made up for the NBER in commemoration of their sixtieth anniversary

3/4/80, Copy of a letter to Martin Feldstein from Packard thanking him for his note of Feb. 19

3/21/80, Copy of a memo to authors of papers given at the NBER conference asking that they return the copies of each manuscript sent for review

8/19/80, Letter to Packard from Martin Feldstein discussing copies of the publication NBER prepared resulting from the conference

1/6/81, Letter to Packard from Martin Feldstein enclosing an advance copy of the volume of papers presented at the conference

1/28/81, Letter to Packard from Charles E. McLure, Jr. of the NBER saying they are sending 100 copies of their publication, even though Packard didn’t order any

10/30/81, Letter to Packard from Martin Feldstein thanking him for HP’s contribution to the Bureau


1/79 Copy of a paper  prepared by the Bureau  titled ‘Inflation and the Taxation of Capital Income in the Corporate Sector’

1/79, Copy of an address, titled ‘The Comparative Advantage of Government’ given by George P. Shultz at the conference in Key Biscayne

December 1979, Copy of demographic tables concerning population size and composition

Box 4, Folder 30 – General Speeches


May 19, 1980, Challenges of the Decade of the 80s, The 1980 National Computer Conference, Anaheim, CA


5/19/80, Typewritten text of speech, all in capitals, double spaced, with several handwritten notations by Packard


Packard says he would like to make a few comments about some of the trends he sees in the computer business. He says these include “technology, incentives for innovation, people, capital and productivity.”


“One of the positive trends in this industry,” he says, “…has been the increasing number of participants. I remember computer conferences in the late 1950s when the papers and exhibits were dominated by a small number of firms. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say those conferences were dominated by one firm and included a small number of others.”


Packard notes that there are people from over a hundred organizations at this conference, and ever 400 exhibitors. “This is a good trend, and I believe it will continue. I do not see shake out in the industry in the next decade, rather I see an increasing number of participants.”


In giving reasons why he predicts this trend, he says, “…first, I believe both the hardware and software are becoming easier to deal with…High level languages are making computers more friendly to the users and many more people are now writing their own programs. Add to this the fact that computers are invading every facet of our economy, in fact, every facet of our society.


“For example, I see that at this conference you will be discussing computers in the laboratory, the factory, the office and the home. Applications include the library, the hospital, and postal service, solar energy and process control, and I note from your program that the movies, TV sporting events, and the performing arts are now coming under computer control.


“These factors combine to make it more possible today than it was ten years ago for a new or small enterprise to find an important area, make a useful contribution and build a successful business in the computer industry.”


Although he says the U.S. has been able to maintain world leadership in computers and computer technology, he says he believes this leadership will be challenged in the next decade.


“Japan, with industry and government working together unlike the U.S., has made a commitment to become a world leader in computers. Japan in recent years has become very competitive in many industries including some areas of high technology. They have made a strong commitment to quality in products and during the last several years they have become very competitive in IC and other electronic products used in computers. Our company is buying substantial amounts of components from Japan simply because they are substantially better in quality and reliability. If U.S. industry does not keep a high commitment to quality and reliability, Japanese computers could be real competitors in the decade ahead.”


Packard sees the U. S. challenged by computer manufacturers in Europe as well. “…but the Soviet computer industry will not be a major competitor except in the Soviet market…. The Peoples Republic of China also desperately wants to develop a modern computer capability. China is a long way behind, and during the next decade it will be a potential customer, not a potential competitor. “


Packard says it is important that the U.S. maintain its position of leadership in the computer industry and he mentions some matters which he says will be important if the U.S. is to do so.


“In addition to quality and product reliability, continuing world leadership by the U.S. computer industry will be dependent on continuing U.S. world leadership in the basic technology we use. The U.S. has been the world leader in computer science, solid state electronics, large scale integrated circuits, memory technology, and in many other areas of essential technology needed to develop, manufacture and apply the best computers.


“Japan and several other countries are increasing their R. & D in the fields of computer technology, and if they gain a significant advantage in any area of technology important to future computer development, it could become a serious matter for our industry.


“Much of the basic research in this country is being done in the laboratories of a few of the larger companies, notably the Bell Labs and IBM. It is to the credit of these organizations that they have made the technology they have generated available to the industry on reasonable terms. There has been good research at other, smaller firms and at a number of university laboratories. But I believe it is essential for this industry to make a larger commitment to more basic research.”


Packard says “…it is important for every computer firm to maintain a high level of research and development in its own laboratories. Smaller firms can seldom justify doing much basic research, but what they do is sometimes very important. They can often be more innovative in taking advantage of technology that is already available – development rather than basic research.”


Packard encourages “…every firm to try to find some good university program where work is being done in technology relevant to your company’s interest and help accelerate this work with more financial support. Even small firms can help support basic research at universities and can sometimes get a head start on important new technology in this way.”


“Some have suggested that the industry should ask for help from the federal government for more support of research and development with grants, more research contracts or other direct funding.


While more federal funding might be helpful, I would much prefer to see computer companies commit more funds to support increased research and development in their own laboratories or at university laboratories with the close collaboration of their technical people.”


Packard says some people have suggested tax credits as a way of encouraging more R. & D., but he says “I believe they would be very difficult to administer so as not to pay for much research and development that would have been done anyway.


“One interesting argument for tax credits is that they would help those firms which already have a high level of R. & D. since such firms create more new jobs, have the most export business, and thus help with the balance of payments – thus it would be in the national interest to give them more help.”


But Packard says “I firmly believe that more research and development funded by the industry, and under its close supervision, would be the best course to take. I can think of no better insurance for maintaining world wide leadership than increased investment in research and development made and supervised by people in the industry.


Continuing to look at ways for the United States to maintain its position of leadership in innovation and productivity in the computer industry, Packard says that  “An industry environment that nurtures creativity and productivity is essential.


“The industry has generally enjoyed such an environment over the last several decades. There have been relatively few government controls or restraints on us.


“Little air pollution, water pollution or noise pollution are generated; product safety problems are not difficult and governmental regulation of the industry has been minimal, although production of semi-conductors and PC boards has been made more difficult and expensive by environmental controls. There has been some anti-trust activity against some larger companies, which, in my view has been hardly justified.”


Packard points out that as the industry becomes larger and more pervasive in society, governmental interest is likely to increase. “I think,” he says, “you should be careful not to invite more governmental involvement in your industry by asking the government for more help with your problems. With the possible exception of help in matters like trade agreements where government-to-government negotiation is necessary, it is better not to have the government involved. The federal government almost always has its price for its help, and the benefits are often not worth the price.


“Despite this warning, as the industry continues to grow in the decade ahead, it will also become more mature and will have to pay more attention to its relationships with the government. I am sure there will be pressures for more legislation and regulatory action that will impact on us, sometimes in negative ways. Chief Executive Officers will have to take more time in dealing with the government at the federal, state and local levels as the 1980s unfold. They must not back away from doing so. The Chief Executive Officer is always more effective than a lower level executive in dealing with your senator or your congressman Because the time to influence legislation is while it is being considered, you must become involved early in any proposed legislation that will affect your company or the industry.”


“The Business Roundtable is an organization composed only of Chief Executive Officers and has been very effective in dealing with Federal legislation and regulation. The California Roundtable has been organized here in this State to deal more effectively with the State Government, and similar organizations are being established in other states.”


“Dealing with new legislation and governmental relations problems will take more time in the decade of the 1980s than they have taken in the past, and they must be given a high priority.


“I would encourage everyone in the computer business to take a more active part in working with government people on legislation and regulations at all levels.


“Your efforts should not be directed at getting the government to solve your problems, for if they can solve them at all, it will be in a way you won’t like. Your efforts in working with the government should be to preserve the environment which will allow you the freedom of action to continue into the decade of the 1980s the great progress this industry has produced in the 1960s and 1970s.”


Packard talks about the need for technically qualified people, saying, “…the availability of enough highly educated, skilled and motivated people will be an important determinant of progress in the decade ahead. There has been great competition among the firms in this industry for scientists, engineers, technicians – technical people of all kinds. The colleges and universities have not been graduating as many people as we can use. There will be a more difficult problem in the next decade.


“Demographic changes will reduce the number of young people aged eighteen to twenty-four by an estimated 21 per cent between 1981 and 1995.


“If educated and skilled people are to be available to the industry at a level adequate to support continuing growth, something will have to be done to educate a larger share of young people in the disciplines needed.


“Many firms are already working on this problem by increasing in-house education and training, but colleges and universities will continue to be the main source for the people we will need. I believe the industry should undertake to increase its support of those universities and colleges which are educating the kind of people the industry needs. For us, to increase our support of the kind of higher education on which we are so dependent is a high priority in self interest.”


Packard suggests individual firms and industry associations make college and university support a high priority, and he gives a rule of thumb amount of at least one percent of pre-tax earnings, adding that “…industry growth will be limited in the decade of the 1980s unless enough of the right kind of people are available.”


“It is not enough to provide more resources for colleges and universities to educate more young people in the disciplines we will need. More needs to be done also to encourage the brightest and best young people to choose an educational program that has potential benefit for our industry.


“Career patterns are often set at an early age and, furthermore, if pre-college education is not adequate, young people will not qualify for the kind of an education they need to be future contributors to our industry.


“For this reason, whatever you can do to stimulate the interest of young people at the high school level in computer and computer-related science could be of great benefit to your  industry in the years ahead. Young people seem to have an innate interest in computers and computer-related activities and whatever the industry can do to stimulate that interest could have a very large pay-off in the future.”


Saying that, while the computer industry has not been especially capital intensive in the past, equipment is becoming more expensive, and he sees capital requirements as likely to increase at a moderate rate.


“Risk capital has been an important factor in stimulating innovation by making it possible for an entrepreneur with a new idea to obtain the necessary funds. Also, stock options have stimulated innovation by making it possible for a person without capital to gain substantial reward for creative work.”


“Stock options were made very much less valuable when the law was changed to make the stock gain taxable when the option was exercised rather than when the stock was sold.


“The capital gains tax was reduced last year and more risk capital is becoming available. A return to the previous rules on stock options would help maintain a better environment for innovation. I believe the Congress is receptive to a change in the tax law, and I encourage you to make your voices heard on any changes in the tax laws that will encourage capital formation and provide more reward for innovation. These are immensely important matters for this industry.”


Packard says he believes the computer industry “…is in a position to make very large contributions to improvements in productivity throughout business and industry in the decade ahead.


“As I look at the application of computers in the affairs of my company, from computer aided design through factory and office management, to world wide communications, and in many other areas, it is clear that my company is vastly more productive today in every facet of its business because of the computers we are using. Moreover, we are doing many important jobs that simply could not be done without computers.


“I am sure the great improvements in productivity we have achieved within our company with computers, and I might add, largely our own computers, accurately mirrors what is going on today throughout industry and business. I clearly see productivity improvement from computers continuing at an accelerated pace throughout the next decade.


“I believe also,” he says, that productivity within the industry will continue at a high rate. I have already mentioned the importance of new technology, highly educated and motivated people, an environment that nurtures innovation and adequate capital, including risk capital.


“These are the ingredients of productivity wherever they are found, and I am sure they will abound in this industry throughout the decade of the 1980s.


“In conclusion, I want to repeat that I am very bullish on the future of the computer industry. You all can be very proud of what you have done since the pioneering efforts of Atanasoff, Eckert, and Mauchly [See 5/15/80 below]. In thinking about the great progress you have made, I am reminded of an old adage my father used to quote to me when I was a young man in high school in the 1920s, over fifty years ago. He would always tell me when he thought I had done a good job on some project, ‘Good work deserves still more good work,’ I commend that adage to this great industry as a guide for the decade of the 1980s”


3/17/80, Internal HP memo from Ross Snyder to Margaret Paull (Packard’s secretary), suggesting he may wish to fly down to Los Angeles in a company plane with a group of HP computer people.

3/24/80, Memo to Packard from Ross Snyder telling him the conference people would like to know the title of Packard’s speech.

3/31/80, Letter to Packard from Herbert B. Safford, General Chairman 1980 National Computer Conference, inviting him to speak to their conference on the morning of May 19, 1980.

4/10/80, Copy of a letter to Herbert B. Safford form Ross Snyder, giving the title of Packard’s speech as ‘Challenges of the Decade of the 80s’

5/12/80, Internal HP memo from Ross Snyder to HP representatives who will be at the conference, giving answers to questions they may get from the press

5/12/80, Copy of  a memo from Ross Snyder to HP representatives at the conference giving travel details

5/15/80, HP memo to Packard from Ross Snyder giving some comments on the draft of his speech

5/15/80, Memo to Packard from Ross Snyder cautioning him on his reference to Atanasoff, Eckert, and Mauchly. Snyder’s comments are hereby quoted:


‘Here are my reasons for suggesting that you omit any reference to the invention of the first electronic computer, and instead refer to ‘the pioneering efforts of Atanasoff, Eckert and Mauchly.”


‘My advisers are Larry Curran, news editor of Electronics, David Gardner and Linda Flato of Datamation, all of whom reported on the Atanasoff law suit.


‘In late 1973 Judge Roy Larsen of the U. S. Federal District Court issued a decision in the Honeywell/Univac case, after ten or twelve years of litigation. The decision was not appealed. The court concluded that Atanasoff, in the winter of 1937-38, constructed an electronic computer incorporating the stored program and binary logic, as well as sequential computation. The court also accepted evidence that Mauchly visited Atanasoff’s laboratory in the years before Mauchly and Eckert designed ENIAC. The computer establishment, my advisers say, gradually has begun to credit Atanasoff, without wanting to subtract from the extraordinary accomplishments of Mauchly and Eckert. More and more, when references are made to the first electronic computers, all three names are being mentioned.’


5/22/80, Letter to Packard from Robert J. Baumann asking for a copy of his speech

5/28/80, Letter to Packard from Norman G. Einspruch asking for a copy of his speech

5/28/80, Letter to Packard from William C. Coker, taking issue with some of Packard’s comments

6/6/80, Copy of a letter from Packard to William C. Coker saying  “The purpose of my comments about semiconductor components quality was to stir up our industry a bit. I think, as a matter of fact, they are already stirred up and probably the situation is improving.’

6/?/80, Letter to Packard from Gene Chao, Ph.D.,Tektronix, asking for a copy of the speech

6/3/80, Letter to Packard from R. L. Simpson, Alberta Solicitor General, asking for a copy of the speech

6/4/80, Letter to Packard from Curtis W. Garrett, asking for a copy of the speech

6/13/80, Letter to Packard from Herbert B. Safford thanking him for speaking at the conference


5/22/80, Page from San Jose Mercury News reviewing Packard’s speech

6/80, Copy of ‘afips’ ?? newsletter which covers the conference

2/1/81, Page from San Jose Mercury News with article about Packard’s speech



Box 4, Folder 31 – General Speeches


December 1, 1980, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Seattle, WA


Packard was invited to address this group and talk about any subject of his choice. When pressed for a title for their publicity purposes he suggested “Why don’t you use a title ‘Observations on the National Scene,’ that will give me the opportunity to talk about either politics, electronics, or some thing else.”


12/1/80, Handwritten notes for his speech, much of it in outline format, written by Packard. No typewritten transcription of the actual speech was made.


Packard says he is going to share some speculations about the coming Regan [Reagan] Administration, and review some trends in the national scene going back to 1965.


“The outcome of the election of 1980 indicates some basic changes in political scene from 1965 – 1970; basic changes in our society.


“The outcome was determined by a more active role by conservatives – perception of failure of liberal programs.


“Regan as President will have more leeway in what he can do – constrained by economic climate.


“The economic climate cannot be changed much unless the political climate can be changed.


“Tax cut – personal, capital formation. Increased Defense spending – balanced budget. 1980 will have been a watershed election for our country.


“Bring more experienced people to Administration. Have to achieve a better balance among political and social factions – whether or not remains to be seen.


“Trends in political scene – traditional, conservative, liberals.


“Something new began to develop about 1965 – activism, civil rights, environmental concern”


“In 1970s limited resources concept – small is beautiful – Viet Nam was a catalyst. Activism on campus, Europe, Japan, Red Guard, cultural revolution in PRC.


“One important factor: President Reagan: people want change,


“1979 – 62% –  Americans [felt we] should get used to the fact that our wealth is limited; we are not likely to become better off.


1970 – 30%” –  Traditional American attitude: American Dream, life will be better if not for me certainly for my children.”


“President Carter elected because people want change. The Senate outcome perhaps a better indicator.


“Not just honesty – a real feeling that there is something wrong with what has been going on – a new approach is needed.


“Daniel Yankelovitch –  public attitude survey firm.


“Industrial Vision

Egalitarian Vision

Quality of Life Vision


“We are moving toward better balance between these three sectors of society.


Industrial Vision

Traditional American conservatism

Protestant Ethic

Hard work – achievement, enterprise

A person gets ahead by effort and ability – not entitlement

Great wealth  – more for everybody


“Egalitarian Vision

Traditional American Liberalism

Government solves problems

High level social justice

People deserve benefits by entitlement rather than earning

Socialism and Communism (not Communists)


Quality of Life Vision

Downgrade material wealth

The ‘good life,’ leisure

Physical and psychological fitness

Better with less

Ranks professional and affluent people

You may recognize sons and daughters


“These three divisions [are] over simplifications


“Activities in 1965:President Kennedy, Johnson, Viet Nam


“By 1968 – Country badly fractionated: Nixon, Humphrey, Wallace


“Nixon came to office – hostile Congress, hostile press

Had to solve Viet Nam

Had to build base for future


“My personal experience:

“Reduced Defense [budget] – 3 billion – 6 weeks


“1969 Balanced budget


“Nixon Doctrine

Cooperation with allies

Confrontation to Negotiation

Strength to deter aggression


“Moved to increase domestic programs [as] percent of Federal budget


[Packard writes out this chart:]


“[Budget Item-billions]           1970                                        1972


Defense                                   40.8                                         33.8

Human Relations                    36.9                                         42.0

EPA                                        262M                                      2.143

Water pollution                       252M                                      2.0

Aid to Transportation            24                                            38                                (non highway)

Model Cities                           86                                            450

Open space land                     43                                            100

Child Care                               300                                          900

Income security                      40                                            60

Grants to States                      6                                              11


“Here we had a President, certainly considered conservative; most closely Industrial Vision when it came to domestic programs, looking very much like Egalitarian or Quality of Life


“Many of these things done by Congress.


“Nixon recognized that he had to build a constituency to be re-elected. He acted in response to the attitude reflected in society.


“How impartial imperative for self-survival is.


Cabinet meeting fall of 1971, not rendering judgment on President Nixon.


“Gov. Regan man on a platform very much like Nixon – first term – what will he do – be able to do.


“1972, Nixon won – He was perceived to be strong in international affairs. He could get substantial support from liberals.


“McGovern was too radical for even those troubled times.


“Watergate – Lost years for America


“Ford – Period of healing


“Carter badly beat Ford, but people wanted a change


“Honesty Regan and inept Senate clearly a change in public attitude.


“A swing toward conservatism, a disillusion with liberal programs.


“The trend was supported by more active business ‘think tanks, AEI vs. Brookings, Business Roundtable


“Business activity in State races


“Regan will come into office with a much better political climate.


“The hold-over members of both houses will have read the handwriting on the wall. A honeymoon of six months or perhaps more.

“Want to be on board if it works


“Want to say they gave him a chance of it does not.


No one thinks we can turn the clock back to the good old days.


“Best we can hope for is a better balance among the three political segments a better balance in the decade of the 1980s between the Industrial Vision, the Egalitarian Vision and the Quality of Life Vision.


“Each of us can help if we take a more active role in the political process whenever we have the chance.


“I for one continue to be optimistic about the future. I terms of my company, I see the opportunities we have ahead to be as good if not even better than the opportunities we had in the past. When I sit with your Board [Boeing Company Board of Directors] and see the new programs you are working on here at Boeing my optimism for the future is further confirmed, and other Boards.


“Business and industry in America has not been helped by our Federal Government in recent years. My optimism about the future of America has been reinforced by the outcome of the 1980 election.


“Let’s hope and pray President Regan has the wisdom and ability to lead our country in a new direction in the decade of the 1980s.


November, 1980, Copy of AIAA  flyer announcing the forthcoming dinner meeting where Packard will speak

6/24/80, Letter to Packard from Jerome C. Baer, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, inviting Packard to speak to their membership

7/28/80, Copy of a letter to J. C. Baer, at Boeing, saying he will be able to attend the dinner and speak to the group

10/16/80, Copy of a letter from Packard to J. C. Baer. In response to a phone call from Baer asking for the title of Packard’s address, Packard says he doesn’t have one yet, but suggests ‘Observations on the National Scene,’ as a general area for discussion.

11/10/80, Letter to Packard from J.C. Baer offering to help in travel arrangements.

12/3/80, Letter to Packard from J. C. Baer thanking Packard for speaking to their group.