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Friday, November 14, 2008

Computer Says Yes

Josh Marshall has a question:
Could GM really go under in the next couple months because the Democrats who'd bail the company out are currently at the mercy of the electorally discredited Republicans who want to use the crisis to crush one of the last major manufacturing unions?

Of course, one should point out that Marshall's "because" here, while true enough and awful enough as it is, is actually the last of a string of such becauses that all had their part in the fiasco. That "because" would little likely be in play at all had GM been making cute fuel efficient cars and electric cars that people want rather than stubbornly making crappy unsexy refrigerator-box gas-hogs and crowing about how "innovative" that strategy was for some reason year after year while the bright brainless boys at the top really made their gazillions in paper profits (time for another bonus, fellas!) by eviscerating their American union workers and outsourcing more and more and more.

1 comment:

jimf said...

Interesting article from a few months ago
( ):

Cover Story May 15, 2008
"GM: Live Green or Die
The lumbering, money-losing giant finally sees
that gas engines are a losing bet. But is it too late?"
by David Welch

"In April of 2005, General Motors (GM) Chairman and
Chief Executive G. Richard Wagoner Jr. convened his
management team for a monthly strategy session. . .
That's when Vice-Chairman Robert A. Lutz spoke up. Lutz. . .
has a certain genius for challenging conventional wisdom.
Maybe, he told GM's brain trust, it was time to build another
electric car. . . [I]t was a provocative suggestion—and
Lutz knew it. Two years earlier, General Motors had killed
its experimental EV1 electric car and set off a public
relations furor. The environmental lobby was deaf to GM's
assertions that the EV1, leased to a limited number of people
but not sold, would never have earned its maker any money. . .

By the time Lutz revisited the issue in 2005, Toyota Motor's
quirky Prius hybrid had turned the Japanese automaker into a
poster boy for the environmental movement and cast a greenish
halo over the entire company. By contrast, GM, at least in the
popular imagination, had tunnel vision; it was still making
gasoline hogs like the Hummer and fighting congressional
efforts to boost fuel economy. GM executives were furious
Toyota was winning green cred despite making its own fuel
suckers. But no one at the meeting wanted to hear about
electric cars. "We lost $1 billion on the last one. Do you
want to lose $1 billion on the next one?'" Lutz recalls one
executive saying. "It died right there."

Myopia. Fear. Inertia. All had a seat at the table in Detroit
that day. . ."

Sic transit gloria mundi. I still remember my visit to the
Futurama II at the New York World's Fair when I was 12.

"I believe in lasers in the jungle, lasers in the jungle
somewhere. . ."

9668EB36E75BA58C4825698A000F4C8C ).