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  •  The unfortunate part is (none)

    that the top executives who have been the leaders of the most foolish directions will still make out like bandits, and the thousands of regular production workers and even the "high level" engineers will get the shaft, on account of nothing that they did.

    If the engineers are told: "Make pluggable hybrids", they would, and would like the challenge.

    If they're told: "Make the F-950 MongolianTurbonator", then off they will make the crushingest trucks on the planet.

    •  Except that.... (none)
      ....they were told to make Hummers, and they knew it was stupid, and they stayed.

      The self-interested lame bureaucratic complicity of allegedly "high level" mechanics with executive stupidity at GM is so extreme that they have no claim on victim status at all.

      And the complicity of the UAW and the line workers isn't much better. "I had a good contract to continue working in a eco and sociopathic enterprise, so I couldn't leave and besides, as a blue collar drone, I'm not responsible for what I make," is not a rationale that provides much in the way of moral standing or redeeming cultural value.

      It's all karmic payback for the Reuther Brothers purging the communists and socialists and dropping all demands for union participation in corporate decisionmaking. And now the tab for the Faustian bargain has come due.

      •  People working for GM in the 60s and 70s (none)
        who were staying there for the pensions had no reason to expect that their company was eventually going to renege on its promises (as GM will probably end up doing wholesale) and dumping the obligation onto taxpayers.  Don't blame the workers for doing what a rational person would have expected was sensible.

        "If you [just] wanted to reduce ignorance, you could ... abort every Republican baby in this country, and your ignorance rate would go down."

        by Major Danby on Tue Oct 11, 2005 at 03:20:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  By the Seventies (none)
          and the first influx of efficient Japanese automobiles in conjunction with the first oil embargo, it was clear that GM was a big, dumb, parasitic organization that had no intention of manufacturing products that were socially or environmentally responsible, and was in fact actively hostile to assuming any responsibility for its broader impact on North America or the world.

          If knowingly working for a parasitic and destructive corporation, whether as a manager or as a line worker, is "doing what a rational person would have expected was sensible" then the bar is set so low -- or as Moynihan might have put it "deviance is defined down to such an extent" -- as to absolve individuals of any meaningful moral responsibility for their existence.

          It's less about the pensions than it is the work one is willing to do in return for the (illusory) promise of a guaranteed free lunch at the end of the shift.

          •  I think you've just defined 80 to 90% (none)
            or more of American workers as having insufficient moral responsibility to justify one's caring about what happens to them and their dependents.

            Please make a list of employers that it's acceptable for someone to work for while still retaining the right to your sympathy if things go bad.  I'm sure people would love to restrict their employment choices to that approved set.  By the way, do "good" companies ever go kaput?

            /sarcasm

            I do understand your point, but frankly it's the equivalent of the Religious Right preaching abstinence.  Might be a great idea, but people aren't going to do it.  I think it's reasonable to expect people to exert some responsibility in choosing their employers without saying that if they have to make some compromises to get by then they're undeserving of compassion and respect.

            By the way, the fate of GM may have been clear to you and E. F. Schumacher by the mid-70s, but I remember those times as still being when Japanese cars were considered junky by the general public, so I think you're using 20-20 hindsight, to the extent it matters.

            "If you [just] wanted to reduce ignorance, you could ... abort every Republican baby in this country, and your ignorance rate would go down."

            by Major Danby on Wed Oct 12, 2005 at 08:31:06 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

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