Re: Crash Test Wham-O: GM (General Malaise) Hits the Wall
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I agree with what you wrote Patrick. The gov’t should not be in a position to dictate what the consumers drive. The attack on capitalism by Moore and others is unjustified. If GM makes inferior products, they will sell less than the competition. Continue this for a long time and they will go backrupt. Which is where we are now. Let them go backrupt without gov’t bailouts! If the gov’t has it way we could be driving an East German Trabant (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trabant) because not many consumers are going to buy a $40,000 Chevy Volt! Maybe with gov’t incentitives (handouts) the price would come down to $35,000. Let’s get the gov’t out of manufacturing and out of our banking system too.
So there seem to be a lot of libertarian-slanted rants here about the Moore piece. I am not a Moore apologist by any stretch, but the thing that is lacking in all these rants is an alternative proposal.
I did not read Michael Moore as saying that the Gov’t would produce cars that you are forced to buy. I read his piece as saying that the Gov’t would produce trains and busses that would be used to provide a 21st century transportation system.
That’s not going to happen with private companies alone. Every single transportation system worldwide is supported by governments. That is because all governments (except ours) realize that an effective, efficient transportation system is critical to economic prosperity. I have used trains all over the world, in China, Japan, Europe, S. America, and here in the US. Our system is absolutely pathetic in comparison.
Transportation systems are like the military. They are not a function you want to just assume will "get taken care of" by private enterprise. They require coordinated action at the country-wide scale. That is, for example, why we moved from a system of private toll roads to a system of public roads. The private toll roads didn’t work: you could be easily blocked in getting around by any private individual who was having a bad day or got greedy and wanted to charge you an exorbitant fee to cross their bridge. Is that really the kind of future you want for us?
I am not a government apologist. I run a small business that provides alternatives to cars (cargo bicycles, electric bicycles, etc). The last thing I want is for the government to go into business producing more cars that will keep people driving. I think GM was a large, sclerotic company that needed to die. But the question is, where do we go from here? Just shed all those jobs and wait for private industry to pick it up? It is not going to happen. The capital isn’t available. Not unless we want to sell it all off to foreign investors, which would be unpalatable politically.
No, this is a chance to provide a new way forward, and I read the Moore piece as proposing exactly that. I wish when people tear ideas down in the name of "liberty" they would propose a realistic alternative solution. Because "liberty" is not a solution, if you don’t have food, water, or the ability to move about.