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« Champagne wishes and caviar dreams | Main | Airport insecurity »

Oct 30, 2008

Comments

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RBM

Yeah, I know 'to big to fail'. Right.

Spag

Great. Big government causes the problem and so we get more big government as a solution.

justcorbly

So... Detroit's insistence on making cars and SUV's that no one wanted to buy has nothing to do with this, eh? People who bought Toyotas and Hondas and Nissans are all just a bunch of socialists?

Big Corporations created this problem. But, I forget, the right thinks GM, Ford and Chrysler are the essence of the free market.

Spag

Wrong analysis. Detroit used to make cars. Then it became a health care provider along with a car maker. Toyota, Honda and Nissan stuck to making cars. Now why did Detroit get into the health care business that drove up the cost of their cars and made them less competitive?

Ed Cone

Because people need healthcare, and company-sponsored healthcare was the American system for much of the modern era.

In Japan (and Germany), national health systems cover auto workers, allowing the car companies to focus on building cars. Carmakers in those countries have eaten our lunch.

But they've also done so by building better cars, rather than focusing on enormous SUVs.

eric

@Spag: "Now why did Detroit get into the health care business that drove up the cost of their cars and made them less competitive?"

Because the U.S., alone among industrialized nations, failed to implement a national health care system after WWII. It was in the post-War era that the UAW (following the lead of the United Mine Workers) negotiated with the Detroit Big 3 (such as they were back then) to provide health insurance as an employee benefit.

Japan, by contrast, has a universal health care system -- which includes a "social insurance" component for corporate employees like those at Toyota, Honda, and Nissan. Meanwhile, here in the U.S., Toyota, Honda, and Nissan do indeed provide health coverage for their employers. In fact, Toyota has gone so far as to establish its own on-site health care center at its Kentucky plant. Which would, I suppose, make Toyota even more of a "health care provider" than GM, Ford, or Chrysler.

eric

@Spag: "Now why did Detroit get into the health care business that drove up the cost of their cars and made them less competitive?"

Because the U.S., alone among industrialized nations, failed to implement a national health care system after WWII. It was in the post-War era that the UAW (following the lead of the United Mine Workers) negotiated with the Detroit Big 3 (such as they were back then) to provide health insurance as an employee benefit.

Japan, by contrast, has a universal health care system -- which includes a "social insurance" component for corporate employees like those at Toyota, Honda, and Nissan. Meanwhile, here in the U.S., Toyota, Honda, and Nissan do indeed provide health coverage for their employers. In fact, Toyota has gone so far as to establish its own on-site health care center at its Kentucky plant. Which would, I suppose, make Toyota even more of a "health care provider" than GM, Ford, or Chrysler.

RBM

Reading many hours on an energy board with global posters has made me realize the blame game is a bit more nuanced.

The same US companies that sell SUV's and king cab long box dualies sell a much different product in other countries.

The most inclusive perspective is one of how human greed can be manipulated.

The primary dynamic of this is a positive feedback loop. 'Consumers' were manipulated into thinking they needed wasteful private transport vehicles by advertising and when the makers sold their product they continued more advertising in the same vein.

See Adam Curtis's work for background.

For a simplistic worldview of this see
Pogo: We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us.

Becky Ford

Cars, and more recently, SUVs have been status symbols of American brawn. We needed more brain in the auto industry. And to think what a time Henry Ford had convincing enough people at first to replace their horses and buggies with his gas-eating contraptions. Now the muscle-headed illuminati have a major failing industry on their hands. Can't tinker your way out of this one, Mr. Ford.

Becky Ford

P.S. No relation to moi.

scharrison

"Detroit used to make cars."

Then they realized that making good dependable cars wasn't economically sound. What you do is: you make a piece of shit that is in constant need of replacement parts (which of course you exclusively provide via warranty), that will literally fall apart three days after the short warranty period ends, forcing owners to trade up to the newest piece of shit, in a non-stop migration of metals and petroleum byproducts pulled from the ground and deposited in automobile graveyards.

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