A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Saturday, December 20, 2008

King Canute in Detroit?

King Canute had a way about him. He knew the waves would wash around his temporary beach throne. His courtiers, probably as sycophantic as those today, had tried a publicity stunt. Canute replied, when the waves had done their stuff, "Let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings, for there is none worthy of the name, but He whom heaven, earth, and sea obey by eternal laws".

There are empty gestures in Detroit today. The American automotive industry is in crisis. With much posturing over the last few weeks, the US government has succumbed to bailout these lumbering giants. They have until 31st March to get their act together.

The losers here are the American public. They have a semi nationalised car industry on the way, with no sign of giving the buying public what they want. It's not as if cars are not being bought in the US. They are. It's just not as many of the ones Rick Wagoner makes. So the market is skewed to protect jobs. But it is the taxpayer who will end up the poorer, including the General Motors' workers.

In the UK, various retail businesses are doing very well because they are giving the customers what they want. Poundland, Primark and Aldi. Woolworths went to the wall because they didn't do that.

If General Motors goes to the wall, it won't be a catastrophe. Instead of $17 billion going into some analyst's number crunching machine, that money could be better spent assisting those who need to find alternative work. Because there are people out there who can run businesses, can give the public what we want, and do care about the future.

The French have a saying. "If you drain the swamp you don't consult the frogs". George Bush should have stuck to his guns. But he threw them in the swamp a long time ago!


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