Jonah Goldberg is worried that government ownership of GM will take us into the disastrous anti-market zone of Nazi-style state corporatism. (via Steve Benen)
“Well, I mean, we saw — I mean, it’s funny. I mean, again, you know, I’m not calling Barack Obama a Hitler and I’m not calling him Nazis and all the rest. But, you know, in fascism, we saw the people’s car. We call it the Volkswagen, where the state said what we’re going to do is we’re going to take over the auto industry — government and business and unions are going to get together and we’re going to create cars to fill a political need rather than a market need and give people these cars.”
Oh noes! What might happen if the government were to turn GM into Volkswagen???
In case the chart isn’t easily readable, GM stock has gone from about 50 to 0.6 a share over the past 5 years; VW is up from about 100 to 243 a share. VW gained market share this year, going from 10% to over 11% of the world market, and actually had rising sales in China in Q1 even as overall sales there fell 8%. Global VW sales are down just 4% as overall global auto sales have fallen over 10% in the crash. All of this has been good news for VW’s major shareholders: Porsche and…the German state of Lower Saxony.
Meanwhile GM, obviously, is bankrupt. And as we all know, “the people’s car”, the Volkswagen Beetle, was a disastrous market failure that nobody ever bought the longest-running, best-selling auto design in history, with 21,529,464 units produced between 1938 and 2003, when the last Beetle rolled off the line in Mexico.
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