There doesn’t seem to be a lot of com­ment on the fact that Gm has announced a shut­down of four plants; the facil­i­ties were pro­duc­ing trucks and SUVs, and only an inbred cretin like Bush could pos­si­bly be sur­prised at the news “news” that big fat-​​assed gas pig­ging vehi­cles are not what we want or need on this planet. They’re even con­sid­er­ing dump­ing the Hummer brand, about a decade too late for it to do any­one any good.

That this is a beau­ti­ful exam­ple of thought­less, mind­less con­sumerism — the ulti­mate out­come of pure “free mar­ket” eco­nom­ics — is some­thing which seems to be escap­ing many people.

Ideally, a corporation’s CEO will, among other things, look to the future of his com­pany with wis­dom, or at least enough fore­sight to see to the end of any given decade. US automak­ers’ lead­er­ship, how­ever, has been dis­mal; rather than real­ize the hard, inescapable fact (in 1998) that gas prices would never, ever go down, they chose to pro­duce pig­mo­biles, and put a sig­nif­i­cant amount of mate­r­ial resource into their production.

And Americans, hyp­no­tized like chick­ens with lines drawn before their beaks, lined up to buy the idiot machines.

Because of our myths about money (if it makes a buck, it’s okay with us; if it makes a bil­lion, hey, it’s really okay), cor­po­rate immu­nity (cor­po­ra­tions, like peo­ple, have a “right” to free speech, but unlike peo­ple can­not be exe­cuted for com­mit­ting mur­der), and the “mer­its” of a “free mar­ket” econ­omy, we can be cer­tain of hand-​​wringingly plain­tive sto­ries about peo­ple knocked out of work — while the actual per­pe­tra­tors of the mis­deeds relax in the shad­ows of their off­shore accounts.

Until we decide it’s time to rein in the heed­less and head­less jug­ger­naut of the “free mar­ket”, we will con­tinue see­ing this sort of short-​​sighted stu­pid­ity implod­ing on itself. Until we learn to spend for the future instead of the moment, and until we begin demand­ing fore­sight of our national and finan­cial lead­ers, we will con­tinue to see our soci­ety buckle and heave in the after­ef­fects of con­tin­u­ally mort­gag­ing our own futures.

he ques­tion is not whether we, as a nation, were stu­pid, or whether GM was; the ques­tion is which of us was more stupid.


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