Friday, August 27, 2010

Business Weenies – We’re Doomed

OK. Today I read about the slumping economy in a couple of places. One place was a blog I occasionally read and the other was the Chicago Tribune. The basic problem seems to be that businesses won’t hire because consumers won’t buy. What we have is a lack of demand.

What I think we have is a lack of cojones on the part of the free market capitalists. Consumers won’t spend because they are 1) paying down debt, 2) worried about becoming unemployed, or 3) unemployed. Government is tapped out – no more stimulus money. Both the blog and the article said that corporations are sitting on $2 Trillion (yes, with a “T”) of cash due to record profits the last three years. And they are the ones that are afraid? They’re the only ones with the money to make a difference and they are too shortsighted and timid to do anything about it.

I’m reading a biography of Henry Ford. He was smart enough to understand that for mass production to be practical, you need mass consumers. So, he paid workers far above the prevailing wage at the time (though ironically, he despised unions). He could think long-term. If the industrialists that made this country great were as timid and shortsighted as the current crop of business leaders we would still be using covered wagons and plowing fields with oxen. Pathetic.

1 comment:

Perplexio said...

This morning I was listening to Big John Howell on the radio on my way into work (560 WIND). He was interviewing a scientist who was lamenting the cancellation of the space program and its unintended consequences. It actually got me to thinking about this post of yours.

The scientist mentioned that the Space Program in the sixties inspired a generation of future scientists and the space program brought about several technological advancements that later ended up in the consumer market. He mentioned that the Chinese have an active space program with a goal to be on the moon by 2020 and that their space program will inspire a generation of Chinese children to be scientists and to be innovative.

I realize that we live in different economic times right now, but could the lack of enthusiasm for the space program be a contributing factor? I mean in the 60s the space program symbolized shooting for the stars, it rewarded a certain thinking outside the box. Has the lack of that trickled into the business world and created a generation of businessmen that would rather play it safe than take calculated and educated risks? To try new things?