Yesterday was a holiday in the US. Little news from that quarter.
But while Americans were enjoying their backyard barbecues, the rest of the world turned.
“Obama plans ‘leaner’ car industry,” says the BBC.
While most readers will focus on the last three words of that sentence, we direct your attention to the first two. The subject is the important part…not the predicate.
That the car industry may or may not get ‘leaner’ is of little interest to us. It will do what it needs to do. But that the president of the United States of America is now creating the business plan for an automobile company is surely a sign of something big. The world has already turned…perhaps more than we realize.
It was only a few months ago…we’re almost sure…that a private company figured out for itself how it would compete. If it was well- managed – and lucky – it would grow. If it made a serious mistake, it would go out of business…leaving the premises vacant for another entrepreneur.
Americans not only accepted this model, they applauded it. They thought the “free enterprise” system was the best in the world. They believed it was responsible for their wealth…their progress…and their place in the world.
Now, they seem to have come to believe something else: that the president of the United States – an elected politician – should have a direct say in how individual private enterprises are organized and run.
But these are the same people who elected Bill Clinton and George W. Bush – twice! They’ll believe anything…
“Power Pendulum Swings Toward Washington,” says another paper.
People think capitalism has failed them. They never understood what capitalism was…and wouldn’t have wanted it at all if they had known what it was all about. Still, that doesn’t mean they won’t come up with something worse…
Capitalism is full of what Galbraith called “innocent frauds.” The capitalists try to exploit the workers. The workers try to take advantage of the capitalists. And the managers try to put one over on them both.
But now, the innocent frauds of capitalism are being replaced by the brute force of government. Now, the Obama team is calling the shots itself.
What does Barack Obama know about the car business? Ha…ha…ha…
Oh, you and your silly questions…
The role of government is commonly misunderstood. It is thought to be an impartial judge…an objective arbiter between competing interests, always asserting the common interest over the narrow interests of the competitors themselves. It is nothing of the sort. It has its own interests…its own delusions of competence…its own lusts for power and money.
When the pendulum swings towards Washington it is always bad news. For no matter how big a mess GM’s owners, managers and workers made of the auto business…Washington is sure to make a bigger one.
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