Hi All, I've been slow on the uptake here on the Palast story, Mitt Romney's Bailout Bonanza and Tom Gaulrapp's diary on the Bain practice of stealing jobs and taking them to China.
That is not to say I haven't been paying attention overall but the daily gobsmacks from the Republicans are hard to sift through some days. And I'm a big picture person who delves into the details when interested, invested or extremely knowledgeable. There are so many brainiacs on the KOS, sometimes it boggles the mind. I defer to you and then draw my own conclusions and make comments, or don't because some Kossack has already posted my exact thoughts.
I'm going to post some points I think are obvious, but remain unsaid, regarding the two aforementioned stories. First off, they are both auto related, supply chain, manufacturing stories. The U.S. used to be the largest manufacturer of goods of any type. China has overtaken us in manufacturing which is one the one hand not amazing because they have 5-6 times the population we do, yet they are taking our innovations, making them on the cheap and then selling it all back to us. By and large I believe the Chinese are just like us. They aren't responsible for the cheap crap they make, they go to work and produce products with the raw materials they are given. Somebody higher up the food chain does the buying of the material and the machinery, they just show up and do what their job entails, and I believe they do it very well.
Another thing these two stories have in common is the compartmentalization of supply chains for manufacturing. We are dealing with vehicles here for the sake of argument and the two companies involved. GM is a brand that designs and builds with component parts that they mainly don't manufacture but rely on to be made, by other smaller specialized vendors. In many cases, Ford, GM and various other car makers all utilize the supply chain of smaller specialized businesses so they can assemble their end product, which in turn rely on vendors of raw materials like plastics and metal. Raw material takes you back to the bigs, mining and petroleum unfortunately, and the financial and commodities sectors ultimately. For a real shock, read how Goldman Sachs has a new profit/control niche in metals , or don't if you steam up easily. Basically put, GS is stockpiling metals and controlling the the amount it lets into the market and keeping their profits sky high and slowing down business and manufacturing activity....because they can. It's very like the market in diamonds. Also it's ironic they located their huge warehousing sites in Detroit.
So you see the squeeze play? Bain can get on the phone to Goldman Sachs, inter alia and say "We want this company. We both have positions on the raw materials and their client companies so we can make them heel and acquire them. Stop the availability or affordability of "X"." Bain and Goldman Sachs have metastasized themselves into virtually everything we use or buy. They're stepping on almost every investment instrument available. If they don't control it, they can get on the phone ask whoever does to play ball or threaten them. And they're global.
My first reaction to the Sensata debacle is that the employees should set up shop and make the widgets they were making before and sell them to GM et al. Same with Delphi. The knowledge base is already there along with plenty of design engineers that could design well enough to get around intellectual property issues. They should make a better product at the same price point and take their place in the chain again. This presents obstacles of course.
The employees are out of jobs and probably don't have a lot of money for a start up. I have no idea what type of contracts Bain can exert on clients. ie., have GM and others promised to buy the Chinese widgets? Financing is an issue as are the raw materials, but I think that can be overcome through recycling. We have so much junk around we could build a new world from the cast offs. And the new company would have to be employee owned and managed on an egalitarian basis. Freeport has a stake in this, they're losing a chunk of their tax base.
In the new economy we need to examine every purchase we make. I'm not so sure Bain's Sensata is more cost effective, nor does it do anything for our economy or the environment, shipping the infrastructure to China and shipping product back uses petrol, a lot of it. Can end users reply on timely shipments to satisfy their assembly schedules? Assume it's not about the money but the control they can exert on people here and in China, let's be frank, the goal is control. The Chinese product isn't going to lower the cost of cars. It's a tactic to make people here desperate and depress our economy. The only way to fight back is to compete and blow the "free market" wide open. And we must do this all over the place in every market, with every product and every service. Otherwise we're toast. We're just disposable parts in a global cog fighting over the lowest bid.