By on October 26, 2012

Attention pro-protectionists: Protectionism creates problems for one of your most favorite companies. GM wants to bring its new Chevrolet Trax SUVlet to Brazil, but Brazil is giving GM a hard time, says Reuters.

GM started production of the Trax in Mexico this month, with firm plans of shipping the Trax to Brazil. However, Brazil, the country lauded by pro-protectionists for its newly sealed borders and high taxes on imports, reneged on a free trade agreement with Mexico. Result: The small SUV market in Brazil goes to Ford (EcoSport), Renault (Duster), and Suzuki (Jimny). Honda said it would bring a small SUV to Brazil in 2014, and Volkswagen unveiled a mini SUV concept, the Taigun, The compact SUV segment is one of the fastest-growing niches in the world’s fourth-largest auto market, but GM has no product.

In the meantime, the Trax will be sold in more than 140 markets, but not in Brazil  yet. There are rumors of an expensive imported Trax, followed by a locally produced one, but Carlos Barba, head of GM design in Brazil, did not want to confirm this to Reuters.

“We are working on that. We have a plan. We’ll get there, but I cannot tell you the dates.”

It’s about time GM get’s its act together in that segment. “These guys are riding the wave for 10 years and we’re just looking at it,” Barba said. Protectionism can be a bitch if you sit on the wrong side of the fence.

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49 Comments on “Protectionism Hurts GM’s Business...”


  • avatar

    Hey Bertel. So, what is the root of the Trax? The Sonic? Onix? Sparx? IfSonic it will be about Duster size. If Onix, more in-line eith EcoSport. If Spark (not produced here) I’m thinking it’ll be more the future (if it happens) Taigun.

    GM can’t bring it in ’cause they probably have their quotas all filled out. What, with Captiva, Malibu, Omega (still comes?), Camaro and Sonic hatches and sedans, they probably don’t have enough leftovers for more.

    can’t really says it bothers me. The sooner this is produced locally, the sooner we get more jobs, more money sprinkled into the economy etc. Yes, it hurts GM, but doesn’t hurt us.

    Now, loved that line. 10 years of free reign for EcoSport (well 9, as Duster’s been around for a year). Who’s to blame for that fiasco? Certainly not the Brazilian guv. Surely that has to do more with the going-ons in America and the uncertainty and distractions of the whole bailout drama.

    Question to you Bertel. About Tiguan. In Brazil, VW watchers always say that if VW talks or even shows a developing mule or concept of a future product, it means that said vehicle is very far off in the future and is probably not in the cards at all. So, many people in Brazil ignore the Taigun exactly for that. Should I discard the Taigun or keep an eye for it? Greatly appreciated.

    • 0 avatar

      They shouldn’t discard it if they want it. VW does that to gauge interest. It looks like they really want to make it if people want it.

      • 0 avatar

        Txs Bertel. Guess that VW is changing their historical behavior in Brazil then. Due to their overwhelming predominance of the market and leadership for many years, I firmly believe VW was not in the habit of hearing or gauging the market (2-door cars only, killing Voyage, ignoring the fact their cars have the highest insurance premiums in Brazil largely ’cause they’re so easy to steal, ignoring Fox cutting off people’s fingers, ignoring complaints of terrible interiors in Gol and Fox for years etc. – this is not to say other makers don’t have their “sins”!). So, this might be the first step in changing this. If they really do, they run the risk of becoming market leaders again.

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      You Brazilians won’t be getting the new Fiesta, either. It’s a shame: 6″ MFT, new powertrain line-ups…

      Investment was pumped into CSAP then your country told Mexico to climb a tree. In the end, it’s going to cause the 1.6L to get resourced out of your country because of the customs battles we now have to fight. It is rare that I agree with Bertel, but he’s spot on. The sooner everyone accepts globalization, the sooner everyone’s quality of life improves.

      • 0 avatar

        maybe you mean the Focus? Cause the Fiesta is here, and being built in Bahia, Brazil. The Focus is being shown i SPaulo so I think it’ll get here, too.

        The Sygma is made in SPaulo. Maybe now that the Ecoboost 1.0 is in tests in Brazil and will phase ot the Zetec Rocams 1.0 and the 1.6 Sygma has already effectively wiped out the 1.6 Zetez. Ford Brazil needs all the engines it can to supply cars sold here and the rest of South America. If, and that’s a big if, the 1.6 Sygma is indeed built in Mexico for the Fiesta, I reckon that would happen as a rationalization of Fbd’s own plans and not due to guv intervention.

        Seems to be the new rage now, build as close as posiible to consumer markets. As for now at least the market is getting more competitive with Hyundai and Toyota jumping into the fray, Ford ha almost no option but to modernize (as seen in SP).

        BTW, the powershift is being shown in SP and will equip Brazilian built new Fiestas.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        not familiar with Sao Paulo production. Cuatitlan was going to export volume to Brazil, now just Argentina. That tells me the business case existed.

        Sigma production is what would be threatened as all Sigma NA sourcing is from FSAO. Mexico customs is playing ‘bad cop’ with anything imported from Brazil due to the political climate and it’s threatening production. The Chihuahua powertrain plant is too low volume to make the Sigma. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Lima gears up to absorb FoE and FSAO volume.

        My condolences about the autotragic Tremec.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        I looked into it and Brazil will still get imported 4Dr’s from Cuautitlan… within whatever importation quota is set. 5Dr’s are built in Brazil, 4Dr’s are not.

    • 0 avatar
      Magnusmaster

      The Trax is based on the Sonic. AFAIK, GM is planning to cease production of the Captiva in Mexico, so they shouldn’t have that much trouble fitting the Trax into the import quotas.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    Didn’t we just beat this one to death? GM is a ward of the Fed, write your congressman.

  • avatar
    Zombo

    So a GM branded vehicle made in South Korea , starts producing it in Mexico and can’t ship it to Brazil . Tens of millions out of work in the U.S. , many of whom have seen their jobs outsourced to Korea and Mexico couldn’t give a flying fart in hell !

    • 0 avatar
      shelvis

      Yup. You’ve summed up how most folks with common sense look at these nefarious carrying ons.
      Meanwhile Bertel readies charts and headlines to support why globalism is great so when your job joins him in China, you won’t feel so bad.

    • 0 avatar
      carve

      They should. The profits come back to the US, which is where the bulk of GM’s business is. Companies need to be profitable and make a cost competitive product to EXIST AT ALL. The workers aren’t entiteled to jobs making uncompetitive products and driving the company out of business. If they can’t meet the consumer’s needs best, the job will disappear, or the consumer will be forced to make choices that aren’t in their best interest.

      Someone said it right yesterday: Companies exist to serve consumers- not the other way around.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        “e profits come back to the US, which is where the bulk of GM’s business is”

        If you’re a member of the working classes, profits don’t matter. Cost do, or rather, the costs sunk into building a product in a given location affect that area.

        You will likely never see a dime of any company’s profits (and for a long time, none of the D3 had much to speak of), if they have any. They’ll be invested, hoarded, paid out as dividends and bonuses, and/or if you’re lucky, spent as R&D—all of which barely budge the needle.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “The profits come back to the US”

        Not really, no.

        Profits just don’t sit in a big giant mattress at the corporate headquarters. Instead, profits end up flowing into new investment.

        For a company such as GM, most of those profits end up going to emerging economies such as China, Korea, Mexico and Brazil, because that’s where the growth is. Since cars are largely a regional product, the profits go to expanding and adding new plants that are usually within some geographic proximity of where the cars will be sold. Not much of the growth is going to be happening in the US, since the US car market is mature and there is only so much market share and volume that GM will be able to add, even under the best of circumstances.

      • 0 avatar
        86er

        “Profits just don’t sit in a big giant mattress at the corporate headquarters.”

        Well, there goes my weekend…

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        No, companies exist to benefit the shareholders. Serving consumers (or any other activity the company might engage in) is simply a means to that end.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        Psar,
        No profit, no job, no wage, no stuff. Why bother building a company if there are no profits?

        Might as well stay in bed. Do you work for free?

        Look at all the new successful companies. Mostly two sorts. Ones that know because of regulations they can make it (protected by law or based on loopholes or other low risk) and ones where there are very little regulations (software and IP). Take out all the risky ventures and growth ceases or crawls. Well, business growth does, but not population growth, so how great is that?

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        @Pch101

        Unless your Apple, then they do basically sit in a big mattress. I mean come on, Apple has more cash on hand, pure liquid cash, than the US government.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        @Landcrusher

        You misunderstand me. I don’t mind that a company makes profits (sorta, kinda, but not germane to this discussion), I object to the idea that we should/shouldn’t support a given company because the profits flow back to a given nation. It’s pointless economic jingoism.

        Put it this way: to a city, and to the people who live in it, it doesn’t matter where the profits enterprise that owns the local factory go**, it matters where the jobs stay.

        In my case, that means that it benefits me more to buy a Buick Regal versus a Toyota Camry, or a Ford Flex than a Chevy Traverse, or a Toyota Matrix than a Ford Focus. Macro-level profits don’t really come into it, but all three of those companies local facilities do affect me.

        ** And yes, the overarching company might become insolvent, that’s true, but it’s just as likely that they could be immensely profitable and simply leave to cheaper pastures.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        Psar,
        I see, sorry. I have no problem with that either way. People can be agnostic ablout those issues or vote with their dollars. I do get annoyed with those who go on crusades over it.

      • 0 avatar
        Thinx

        Since someone mentioned Apple’s “cash just sitting in a mattress”, that is not actually true. I actually know a bit about this, because well, never mind how… :-)

        Apple’s cash position is a bookkeeping entry, not actual stacks of dollar bills. The funds are managed by Braeburn, a hedge fund that is one of the world’s largest in AUM, but isn’t well-known because it is a subsidiary of Apple and operates out of Reno, NV (aka “Look, Ma, no California taxes!”). It also helps Apple maneuver through legal loopholes in various tax regimes worldwide.

        It does not report any of its investment activities, since it is very closely held and managed – however, Apple isn’t foolish enough to actually hold their ‘cash’ in Bernanke’s worthless paper-fiat like the average middle-class schlub. It is almost fully invested to produce positive returns.

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      There are many jobs in the US that are tied to Mexico production. Hop on a Detroit flight to Districto Federal. Better yet, hop on a flight to the DF from Atlanta.

      The middle class of Mexico is rapidly expanding. The faster that happens, the sooner low wage jobs in the US stabilize.

      My experience in production facilites on both sides of the border has done well for my perspective. US citizens have a lot to be thankful for. And we can all use a lesson in humility and appreciate things that we take for granted. The people here are still victimized by a class system and by the authorities (who have the guns). I was held at gun point by federal troops at a Krispy Kreme ATM (after they pulled me off a side walk and took me for a ‘ride’ in their open air flatbed – gave me a smoke and a beer – I thought I was going to die) and was extorted out of $300 USD two weeks ago. I guess you could say I was kidnapped.

      Point is: there is still work in the US. I believe the majority of the unemployed just need to suck it up and realize that maybe they should accept work within their employer-desired skill sets. I got laid off, took a pay cut for a job that I am never home, and am still incredibly happy with my life.

      • 0 avatar
        dash riprock

        “If you’re a member of the working classes, profits don’t matter. Cost do, or rather, the costs sunk into building a product in a given location affect that area.

        You will likely never see a dime of any company’s profits (and for a long time, none of the D3 had much to speak of), if they have any. They’ll be invested, hoarded, paid out as dividends and bonuses, and/or if you’re lucky, spent as R&D—all of which barely budge the needle”

        There seems to be a segment of society that believes that corporate profits are a bad thing, or something that benefits the elites only. A company that is profitable is able to invest in their operations and people. The article references GM, can you say that their blue collar employees would not have benefitted if GM was making profits and not suffering losses? How about the employees of their suppliers? Would a profitable GM not haved moved their needle?

        Dividends are paid out to the owners of the company(shareholders). Some are very wealthy, others are common folk like me who have dividend paying companies in their retiremend funds. Some are publiic and private pension plans. All benefit from profitable companies.

        There are millions of private sector employees whose companies are barely surviving….ask them if they would prefer if their employer was more profitable.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        “There seems to be a segment of society that believes that corporate profits are a bad thing, or something that benefits the elites only. A company that is profitable is able to invest in their operations and people”

        There’s also a segment of society that seems to think that people can’t make the distinction between a company that’s turning a profit and a company that’s turning a profit _as well as_ facilitating a race to the bottom.

        It’s very hard for a certain class of people to stand by while companies can get a bailout one year, declare record profits the next, and then complain about government oversight and/or close local operations. It’s certainly galling to watch the income gap grow and employment recover poorly, recession after recession, all the while profits are going up.

        The point is that profit, for most industries and certainly for automotive, is not a huge chunk of what drives an econony: cost is. The people who make a profit need to understand this, and fast, before the search for profit in the short term damages demand.

        So maybe yes, maybe there’s some resentment about profits when it’s very evident that we’re socializing losses for the rich.

    • 0 avatar
      dash riprock

      “It’s very hard for a certain class of people to stand by while companies can get a bailout one year, declare record profits the next, and then complain about government oversight and/or close local operations.”

      I do not know what class of people you are referring to….but I believe that there is a pretty large percentage of people throughout the political spectrum that generally oppose corporate bailouts or welfare myself included.

      “a company that’s turning a profit and a company that’s turning a profit _as well as_ facilitating a race to the bottom.”

      Another way to facilitate a race to the bottom is through currency devaluation as proposed by another certain class of people.

      “The point is that profit, for most industries and certainly for automotive, is not a huge chunk of what drives an econony: cost is.”

      The actual point is that without profits companies cannot incur any costs be it machinery or labour. Profits drive the economy. Before being self employed I ran a company with 42 employees at the peak. We depended on customers to pay their bills which they did with their profits. All the costs my company incurred depended on other companies profits, and the story was the same with our suppliers. If we had money leftover(profits) at the end of the month their costs were covered.

      It is not chicken or the egg situation….profits drive all economic activity in the long term

      • 0 avatar
        shelvis

        The issue for most people in the USA is not whether a company is making money but rather how those profits are reinvested.
        Great for GM to make record profits. Not so great if those profits are reinvested in an offshore plant.
        That’s the real issue plain and simple with no class warfare hysteria added.

  • avatar
    Thinx

    Sure, protectionism hurts companies that are trying to import fully built cars into the country. That isn’t actually news, is it? It is, in fact, pretty much what the protectionists wanted.

    Every example of the “protectionism bad, mercantilism good” trope that I have seen so far is from the point of view of someone trying to sell an imported good in that market. I am totally on board with the whole free-market THEORY that my blinkered B-school academics preached as gospel, but in the real world, protectionism _exists_ and is enthusiastically practiced. So it is better IMHO, to understand how/when to apply it and how to effectively defend against a protectionist trading counterparty.

    To take an automotive analogy, locking your car doors impedes your ability to simply swing the door open and put cheeks on leather. However, it is important to know that this impediment to efficiency and productivity is not only justifiable, but a highly recommended survival tactic when you park your ride in certain neighborhoods.

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      Mercantilists are by definition for protectionism. Your sentiment has validity though, which is proven by the fact that no term actually exists for free trade – ism. Mercantilists are people who want the government to subsidize their actions while taxing and regulating everyone else’s. For examples, walk down Wall Street or Lombardi.

      I don’t like the door lock analogy though. You don’t buy locks because your neighbor does, you buy them because of thieves. Well, okay the thieves thing applies. I will have to think about the better apology, lol.

      • 0 avatar
        silverkris

        Well, it’s kind of funny to see free-trade evangelists in the developed industrialized countries excoriate countries like China and Brazil for being protectionist, yet ignore economic history. The US was very protectionist in its trade policies for years all the way up to WWII. Earlier, the British were too, until they had a competitive advantage – and leveraged their empire. The Japanese were also very protectionist with regards to protecting their industries.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        Silverkris, you make a strange point. Let’s change subject to slavery. Should we be mum on slavery just because we were once guilty of that too? Anyone worthy of the title Free Trade Evangelist would say its only called for in retaliation, and even then questionable.

  • avatar
    BrianL

    No company can control what gov’t do. They can lobby and hope it goes there way.

    But, you know what this is doing? Helping the people of Brazil. Now, does this also hurt VW who was looking at a Mexican plant for exporting to countries? Looks like it, because now it won’t be able to send to the B of BRIC from Mexico. I guess they will produce it locally.

    Really, protectionisms are there to protect people more than businesses. When NAFTA came into play, many jobs went to Mexico.

    Free trade has positives and negatives. Brazil wants jobs.

    • 0 avatar
      carve

      But, if it’s cheaper to produce in Mexico, then these jobs are just basically a tax on the Brazillian consumer, who will now be less able to afford and purchase other things. It makes for an inefficient allocation of resources. Protectionism adds zero value while increasing expense (it must necessarily be more expensive- otherwise the protectionist policies wouldn’t be necessary).

      It’d be like a law that required everyone in a small town to only buy things from the local mom & pop shops on main street instead of the big box store in the next town over. Sure- there’d be jobs, but now everyone would be overpaying for everything and be able to afford less stuff. The city would become a less desirable place to live, and the reduced demand due to higher costs means they’re unable to purchase other things, costing someone else a job somewhere else. It’s a net drain on the broader economy and on the living standards in that economy….it makes it a zero sum game, with artificial bounds.

      Put another way, the net effect would be if you just bought the goods at the big box store, and just dropped off some cash for nothing at the local shop for the difference in what they charge and what you paid. What value added is that?

      • 0 avatar
        BrianL

        Nobody said this is value add. This is just how it works. And, it will benefit some people while it hurts other people. Brazil’s policies lately have made it very popular to open up car manufacturing facilities in Brazil, which was only importing cars. And if you look at the pricing of those cars, Brazil was paying a lot for getting very little.

        With locally produced vehicles, this might change. The economy in Brazil can improve, and frankly, that is all Brazil cares about.

        With the free trade agreements, Brazil is hurting. Does this make sense if you are Brazil? Yes.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    GM has been operating plants in Brazil since the 30s.

    This “crisis” can be resolved by shifting or adding plant capacity in Brazil. Increased capacity would mean more jobs for the locals.

    I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what the Brazilian government wants, and there will be Brazilians who will be grateful for the jobs and added economic activity. The loser here may be Mexico, as they presumably now have a little bit of excess capacity as a result of the tariffs.

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      So then Mexico will respond. Jobs will be lost in Brazil. So forth and so on. Everyone is worse off except the most politically adept or fortunate.

      Malaise and fatalism grow for some marginal improvement in some marginal places.

      Wouldn’t it be better if people concentrated on working harder and smarter and achieving from that rather than fighting over the crumbs in a zero sum game of their own making? It’s odd because you can likely graph the happiness of populations and correlate it exactly with their perception that the world about them works precisely in the opposite manner.

      • 0 avatar
        BrianL

        That is if Brazil was then exporting cars to Mexico. Mexico probably is very export heavy on cars and not importing much. Really, Mexico’s best option would be to have more cars exported to other countries. But that is harder to arrange.

        But, if Mexico because this great car exporter, it becomes more expensive to build cars in Mexico from high labor costs that would be coming and countries would pull out of the agreements.

        In face, I don’t think it is a zero sum game either. When new plants open, there is always MORE automation, fewer jobs. But, this happens everywhere. In the US, when automanufactures want to open a new facility, they will get tax breaks from different states and pick the best deal. Currently, this is how it all works.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “So then Mexico will respond.”

        No, they won’t. Mexico exports far more cars than Brazil does.

        The reality of the situation is that at least for now, Mexico gets more out of an FTA than Brazil does. Mexico’s proximity to the US surely has a lot to do with this. There is no reason to believe that Brazil is poised to become a significant player in global auto exports.

        http://www.economist.com/node/21549950

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        Where does it say anywhere that Mexico can only respond by not importing Brazilian cars? In fact, there is no reason the reaction has to come directly from Mexico.

        Just because some idiots right a law in a book thinking they will achieve something doesn’t mean they will get their results without consequences. They never do, but they keep trying. Bunches of Brazilians will lose their jobs because of this, it just won’t be acceptably obvious to the pols. Whatever that trade with Mexico was creating demand for will cease, and that trade will cease, and so on and so on. No free lunch.

        At worst, if it appears to work, then more countries will do it back to Brazil beacuse it works, right? Sorry Embraer, or whoever. It’s all a waste of time, don’t start it.

        If creating wealth could really be achieved by protectionism we would have all stopped reproducing after we stopped talking, after we stopped trading with everyone outside our caves. It’s so asinine. I can’t wait for the scientists to figure out what quirk makes people fall for this drivel.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “Where does it say anywhere that Mexico can only respond by not importing Brazilian cars?”

        It was my hope that providing factual information would inspire you to do some research instead of engaging in yet another politically charged, factually deficient rant. I guess that my hopes were misplaced.

        The reality is that Brazil runs a trade deficit with Mexico. For the first three quarters of 2012, Brazil bought $3 of imports from Mexico for every $2 that is sold. That gap has widened in percentage and absolute terms in comparison to the prior year.

        Additional car imports would increase that gap. Those imports also represent an opportunity to create value-added employment in Brazil’s home market.

        If you have a better, tangible idea for the Brazilians that has some data and factual support behind it, then provide it. What they’re doing isn’t really any different from what every major auto producing nation in the world has done at one time or another, including Mr. Schmitt’s beloved China and Japan.

      • 0 avatar
        dash riprock

        So then Mexico will respond. Jobs will be lost in Brazil. So forth and so on. Everyone is worse off except the most politically adept or fortunate.

        “At worst, if it appears to work, then more countries will do it back to Brazil beacuse it works, right? Sorry Embraer, or whoever. It’s all a waste of time, don’t start it.”

        You are correct. Embraer is a good example with their regional jets. Bombardier(canadian company) claims that brazil subsidizes embraer so gets gov’t support to compete. Embraer lobbies their gov’t their gov’t for more subsidies to compete against the dastardly canadian taxpayer supported bombardier and on it went. Billions in subsidies, grants, R&D tax breaks and the economic output is the same in the end only tax dollars are spent on subsidizes and not on public services. Perversely both gov’ts help to subsidize the jet purchases by foreign companies.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        Sorry PCH, trading facts won’t change the truth. Protectionism is bad. As the article shows, the trouble they have is competitiveness, likely caused by… Wait for it… Years of protectionism.

        Yet we have these conversations about how it just might be good? No. It’s bad. It’s not political at all, it’s bad. Everyone with a degrees in economics that disagrees should lose the right to call themselves an economist.

        I doubt even Krugman would say its good publicly.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “trading facts won’t change the truth.”

        “Trading facts” would imply that facts are moving in both directions.

        Unfortunately, I’m the only providing the facts in this exchange. When it comes to this fact trading business, I’m running a substantial trade deficit, because I’m receiving far fewer facts than I’m providing.

        The reality is that Mexico and Brazil have very little trade with each other, and that isn’t likely to change. There isn’t much “comparative advantage” in their relationship because they both export similar types of products, hence they both tend to do business with other countries much more so than each other.

        Meanwhile, both countries play host to foreign auto producers. Brazil now has a noted disadvantage with exchange rates, since the real has appreciated against the peso. The last thing that a country such as Brazil needs is to have those foreign firms bail out of their country because of the exchange rate, but the risk of that increases given Mexico’s proximity to the US and its membership in NAFTA.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        I never implied I was trading facts, quite the opposite. I have stated before if you want me to do research, you will have to pay me. It benefits me too little to play high school debate club.

        Brazil’s response will hurt more than the likely lost jobs over currency fluctuations. Carefully measured responses to currency manipulation are sometimes called for, but this doesn’t appear to be one of those times.

        This isn’t a political rant either. This is one of those few things where one side is being political, and only an ignorant bystander is being fooled into thinking its arguable. Anyone playing the game knows its bad and is doing it anyway. It’s like wife swapping.

  • avatar
    tonycd

    C’mon, Bertel.

  • avatar
    BigMeats

    Re: Protectionism
    I feel qualified to opine because I was a happy steelworker until I wasn’t anymore.

    American workers and probably some elsewhere were given a 50 year cocoon during which our unchallengeably prosperous countries shielded us from economic realities like competition and risk. That only served to retard our moral and intellectual development.

    Instead of acquiring more education and personal finance skills we bought things and piled up debt. We came to believe that this situation was a birthright. Then the situation changed and we got really pissed off.

    Collectively we’re just a rich kid whose old man went broke. Now we have to deal for real with the whole effing rest of the world. Well, we’re all older now so this sucks even more. And we’ve let our kids go lax regarding education and personal responsibility so they’re going to be duds in the new reality.

    I don’t know how protectionism will excuse us from the consequences of our own profligacy. Business is not charity, it must chase profits. If we workers had bothered to chase anything besides shiny toys and awesome cookouts back in the day, we might have been investors instead of insolvent today.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      @BigMeats….Your comment is certainly one of the more intersting I’ve read so far.

      I was a Canadian autoworker 36+ years. When our award winning truck plant was shipped to Mexico,I was bitter,and believed that protectism might be the answer. Four years later I’m thinking,I could have been wrong?

      I was one of the lucky ones, with a nice buyout package.

      Much of your comment is painfully true. We had it good, and didn’t know it.

      Then I read what Marcello thinks, and he is from Brazil. Protectism seems to be working for them.

      I just don’t know.

    • 0 avatar
      rmwill

      +1000: Post of the month.

    • 0 avatar
      shelvis

      Yeah, sending a man to the moon, making huge strides in social equality, and advancing science and technology exponentially was a real waste of the old man’s checkbook.

  • avatar
    rmwill

    Brazil’s protectionist stance is largely attributed to their dislike for our agricultural protectionism, including farm subsidies and price controls. Tit for tat. I totally agree with the statement that protectionism is hurting GM in this case, but the situation is more complex than Brazil being the bad actor.


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