Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Now, they are talking about a "bail-out" for the auto industry, and of course we would be bailing out the banks first. My economic theory that people will invest only in those things they understand comes into play. Because we have moved so strongly away from manufacturing and creative making in schools, the manufacturing in America has been severely under capitalized. That means it lagged behind its overseas competitors in the development of new technologies, and efficiency, and its products suffered. The only way it has managed to compete at all over the last few years has been by making over-sized technologically retarded behemoth gas guzzlers for the intellectually and morally challenged American public which seems to have recently come to its senses as a result of inflated gas prices and declining job market.

So now, we are being asked to invest American tax dollars in what has been a declining industry. You just know the bankers won't get it. They, with few exceptions have made little or nothing real in their whole lives. They just won't understand what it means to be creatively engaged in making something that is real. But I think we should give it serious consideration.

So of course, the challenge is to develop an auto industry that does much more than the same old stuff. Can it become the heart and soul of the creation of the green industrial revolution that we so desperately need, liberating us from our fossil fuel dependency and addiction to foreign oil? Here, I'm not just talking about greener cars, but also the wind farms to power them.

There is always reason for hope that from crisis, opportunity will emerge.


  1. Hi Doug. Since reading your blog, I've seen that we have common ground in some views, but not always. But that's okay too. I was thinking about this yesterday and wondered why does the auto industry not use private investors to rebuild their plants? And I then answered my own question: because to get private investors to buy into it, they'd have to convince them of their ability to return the investment some day, and it is just too risky for most people to say, Yeah, I'll let them use my money to do that. So, instead, us, the little guys, the tax paying Americans will fund it instead, with no guarantee of a return on our investment.

    There was a time when businesses paid their own way, or they went under. Somehow we have come to think we cannot afford to allow big businesses to fail. I disagree. I think the new ideas and ambition to manifest the ideas would surface if we would stop doling out money to save those who have failed already.

  2. The point here isn't to bail them out and allow the continuity of failed policy, but to invest in a new greener environment. Maybe we should let them fail first, but that seems painful, and would impose a major shock to an already lagging economy.

    We all are to blame for the current problem in that we have raised generations of investment bankers instead of inventors.

    I was thinking this morning of the books I read as a child, like biographies of great inventors. Do we inspire children with biographies of great bankers? Imagine "Norman Greenspan, Boy Banker". No way.

    If people only invest in that which they understand, they will have no understanding of the need to invest in manufacturing and infrastructure if they have no knowledge of what is required.

    So we have created Schools and Universities where a lot of common, human things are largely ignored to the detriment of our culture.

  3. Anonymous11:40 AM

    What a complex issue. I don't think there is any easy answer to "let 'em fail vs. don't let 'em fail." What seems evident is that business as usual must end! Not sure how this fits in, but I am recalling the article I sent a few months ago ("Shopcraft as Soulcraft") and specifically the description of Henry Ford's first auto assembly line. None of his workers wanted to work on it! Prior, each had INDIVIDUALLY built a complete car, one at a time, and had such pride in their workmanship. On the assembly line they were bored doing one small task over and over and over and over. As I recall, Ford had to PAY THEM MORE to get them to keep working for him! Is there a message there?????

  4. Sadly, I think we could continue to exchange thoughts about it, but it will not matter. The bail out will happen and we can only hope, that something good comes from it.

    It wasn't really that long ago Chrysler was getting a bail out. Should we just plan on doing this every 20 years or so?

    It's a rhetorical question of course.