Why General Motors Should Not Be Given a Bail Out
General Motors is one of those companies that I eagerly despise. Like corporate whores such as Walmart and Verizon, they are obsessed with growth and care nothing about this Earth. To many people, this is not an issue at all as our semi-capitalist society has become so obsessed with purchasing and having that if a situation arises where we can’t purchase (such as the current economic recession) or we can’t have (such as the mortgage crisis that lead up to this situation), our entire world falls apart. Think about that, right now we’re considered to be in a recession, not because we’re really losing all that much (compared to how much we’ve gained over the past 50 years), but because we’re not growing as quickly as we were in recent history. You, dear reader, are a consumer and nothing else – you simply represent a portion of your country’s GDP and you are expected to earn money working a job which will help provide more things for you to spend the money you’ve earned. We value spending more than saving, working more than living. It’s a fact, and yes I realize that people everywhere will deny this fact — we’re not just cogs in a wheel, we’re human beings — that is mostly untrue. You are only as important as how much money you spend. If you think it’s not true, quit kidding yourself and think about how many people would give a shit if that bum you pass every day dies vs. how big of a deal our society would make if Branson or Trump were to die.
That is what sickens me about giant conglomerations like Verizon and Walmart, that they are amassing power and wealth with no regard to what is best for mankind as a whole. Walmart fucks over its own employees by paying them less than it costs to survive, not providing adequate (if any) healthcare and at times even enslaving them. Walmart then turns around and fucks its customers by crushing all of the competition (so now you either work at Walmart or you don’t work at all) and forcing it’s suppliers to lower their goods’ quality. Verizon tries to prevent the natural growth of the Internet by stifling competition even as the Internet fights back.
The best part about it is that people end up screwing themselves as well. “I can’t afford to shop anywhere by Walmart right now,” is a common response, but it’s also a giant copout. You can afford it, you most certainly can afford it, you just choose not to afford to so. The reality is that 90% of the stuff we buy we don’t need anyway, so the situation isn’t that you can’t afford it, but that you’re choosing to contribute to the downfall of your own community. It’s that simple and unfortunately people would rather live a simple life covered in the veil of ignorance than face the consequences of what they’re doing and work towards changing their own lifestyles for the better of humanity as a whole.
It’s a daunting task, I know, I remember when I first began to really look at the injustices of the world and realized that if I wanted to live true to myself it would require major changes. They didn’t all happen at once, and there are always things that people will do which they’ll know in the back of their minds is immoral. I, for one, smoke cigarettes. I wish I didn’t, and have tried many times to stop. In fact, I’m currently trying right now, it’s a never ending cycle. Tobacco companies are evil and have literally built a business on killing people, not just creating a product that kills people, but via advertising and marketing ploys they have literally murdered people by hiding the truth. Sure, the people were responsible for their own actions and there is plenty of “cigarettes kill you” information out there, but if you’re constantly given a gun and told that aiming it at yourself and pulling the trigger will make you look cool, calm down, feel good and be a better conversationalist, then eventually you might find yourself pulling the trigger.
What does this have to do with GM asking for a bailout?
General Motors, and the other car companies up in Detroit, have screwed themselves. The planet and the intelligent people on it have been asking for smaller and/or more fuel efficient and/or more progressive cars for a long time. When Toyota’s Prius was first released you couldn’t buy one they were in such high demand, people were on waiting lists for a month or more to get one. And what was GM doing? Building bigger and bigger SUVs. General Motors has had poor leadership for the past 30 years and it’s time that, as a capitalist society, they are allowed to die off because of that.
I would not classify GM as being evil for that misguidance in leadership, though. If a company dies due to bad decision making it doesn’t make them a bad company, but it might — and should be allowed to — allow them to go out of business. If major lending banks go under that may have a giant impact on our economy, for sure, because it will be hard for smaller banks to fill in that void if they simply don’t have the cash to get up and start doing so. If a car company dies, though, there are a dozen other ones there to fill their shoes. Toyota isn’t going to have a moment of silence for a dead GM, they’ll simply step up production.
The reason that General Motors is evil, truly a horrid company, is a long story, dating back to 1936. Imagine a world more like the Rice a Roni commercials or Mr. Rogers neighborhood. One where streetcars chimed up and down city streets delivering passengers to their destinations. It was a time when every American didn’t think they were entitled to at least one car, before we were all so fat and when public transportation wasn’t viewed as something for the poor. The streetcar was alive and conquering the hills of Pittsburgh and dozens of other cities, and people liked to ride on them. They were easy to understand (you get on, the streetcar has a fixed route, when you get to where you’re going you get off), comfortable (rail vehicles don’t knock you around like buses do), and efficient (often times streetcars are more reliable because they don’t suffer the ails of traffic accidents, rush hours, etc.)
But alas, society as a whole must have rejected streetcars right? That’s why they’re not around anymore, isn’t it?
Nope. What actually happened was General Motors started buying all of the streetcars that existed in cities all across the country. They bought the streetcar companies and replaced them with buses. This not only resulted in a decline of the streetcar, but eventually in a decline of mass transportation as buses are much less convenient than streetcars.
General Motors, along with several other companies involved, was convicted on monopoly charges and fined $5000. The owners of these companies were fined $1. This was in 1949, so in today’s dollar amounts that fine would have been less than $50.
$50 for destroying an entire industry as important as mass transit!
Fortunately, though, what we got out of the scandal was even better than mass transit. Today every American is entitled to own a car and is fatter and lazier for it. We all get to watch our jobs go overseas to people who are willing to work harder for less pay because we’ve eliminated ourselves from the equation. We spend up to 50% of our income on health care because we’re all so unhealthy. And I, personally, have been upsetted and given reason to write another blogpost!
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