Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Where I Come From...

... is a popular country western song.  It is a toe tappin fun ditty.   But where I come from is something less colorful.  Maybe a good writer could put a better face on it, I don't see how.  I come from Detroit, the Motor City.  A place that seems bent on self destruction and is too, what, I guess "obtuse" is a polite way to say it, too obtuse to realize it is too pathetic to be a laughing stock.  

I left during one of the many downturns in the Auto industry.  Mine was 1981.  The price of oil drove gas prices up and the Big Three were completely unprepared to deal with the instant change in consumer sentiment.  Foreign economy cars gave small companies that were a joke months before the entry they needed to do what the automakers could never in their hubristic minds conceive, an opening to surpass the Big Three.  

At the time, unemployment was running at 25%, and in every family I knew, the main breadwinner was out or work.  I was running restaurants, and though it was still a scornful excuse for a profession, it kept bread on the table, and enabled me to leave.  The thing I learned living elsewhere, and remember to this day, is how nice it was to work in cities where people came to work ready to work, where they were not marking time till the plant called them back, where they could be inspired to work with a good attitude.  I never wanted to return to Detroit. 

So what should we do with businesses that are repeatedly out managed, out produced, out marketed, out positioned, out planned, out executed?  Should we let them have another chance?  

Did you know the number of auto worker in the USA who don't work for the big three number about half of those who do?  And did you know these workers make about the same wage as those who do?  Toyota, Honda, Kia, BMW, etc. are doing fine here, and there are parts of the country that appreciate these employers.  Read about this in William Perry's blog, Carpe Diem.  

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