I expect this article will make me in the neighborhood of at least 300,000 new enemies. That’s how many employees GM has. However, the unfortunate thing about truth is that it is relentless and apathetic. Please don’t confuse the messenger with the cause.
The reason GM should be allowed to fail is because in its current state, its production overcapacity, if maintained by government money, can only churn out even more cars that nobody wants or can afford to buy. In other words, it would only prolong the inevitable.
The fact that its management team clung to the illusion of perpetual growth and refused to acknowledge the irrefutable business cycle demonstrates gross incompetence, the result of which should be annihilation. That’s what’s going to happen regardless of how much money is pumped into General Motors or the economy in general. It is the excess liquidity in the system that exacerbates the peaks and troughs of natural business cycles, and so pouring more and more into the system only confounds the economy’s natural ability to repair itself through an unfettered continuation of the cycle.
Bear in mind that all that GM represents is not going to disappear in a puff of smoke if they declare bankruptcy. The assets will merely be re-allocated to other automotive corporations, and the industry itself will become slightly more efficient, and contract as it needs to. Autoworkers who are skilled and reliable will have to add resourceful to their repertoire to stay viable in a contracting economy. There are just too many autoworkers and zippo demand for their product.
Since everybody’s had access to all the cheap liquidity for nearly a decade now, and has got two cars and a parking lot full of brand new recreational vehicles (if they haven’t yet been located by repo man), pumping capital into GM is like trying to continue filling up a bathtub with water after its already full. It only makes a big mess, the water is wasted, and the more you continue trying, the bigger the mess gets and the more the resource is wasted.
The situation we’re in should be a plain signal to the world’s leaders that over-capacity across all industries, fuelled by years of near-zero cost credit, is the result of excess liquidity. The economy, contrary to modern economic theory, simply cannot expand ad infinitum no matter how cheap money is. This only causes overproduction of resources, overproduction of products, and volatility in the business cycle.
On the off chance that isn’t clear enough, hear it is again:
Perpetual economic growth is impossible.
I think this is the fundamental flaw in all of our G8 leadership’s assumptions. If we were to allow the economy to undulate in terms of growth and contraction in a uniform wave pattern, much as nearly all natural systems in biology and physics do, then our existence perhaps becomes sustainable.
The current economic policies cause artificially high concentrations of demand because the net result of excess speculation on the long side in any market creates the illusion of physical demand, which in turn promotes productivity. We end up consuming our finite natural resources prematurely, and the truly destructive effect will be felt more acutely as generations progress. Imagine your grandson or granddaughter trying to buy real estate or gas or gold after decades of increasing real demand (population expansion) and diminishing production of everything due to shortage of raw materials. Imagine the prices.
Trying to force continuous and perpetual economic growth through credit and monetary expansion is just plain suicidal, in the long term. It aggravates peaks and troughs into angry jagged lines that inflate the casualties both human and economic obscenely. The revision in economic policy required to facilitate that reality does not, at this time, appear to be forthcoming. At least, not while George Bush is still flapping his gums and swaggering around the podium playing president.
His address to the G20 meetings makes it clear that he is still preoccupied with asserting U.S. unilateralism when it comes to joint foreign policy decisions. I don’t know what the G20 leaders were hoping for. This meeting should not have happened until Obama was in the driver’s seat. I’m sure they all realize that now. It's clear that Bush seeks to establish credit for initiating the recovery that also is not yet forthcoming.