Thursday, December 18, 2008

North-South: Rival Economies

Most of us thought that Congress was angry at the automakers for making dumb decisions and killing the electric car. This seemed to be the reason behind the lack of enthusiasm for a bail out of the American automakers. But we were wrong. It's an old north-south rivalry, focusing on regional economies. The South doesn't have a national perspective - better to save the southern auto economy (fueled by foreign car makers) than to save the whole country. What else is new?

The Economic Civil War
The South's attempt to kill the North's auto industry is the latest battle in an ongoing conflict. It's time for a Third Reconstruction to put an end to it.
by Michael Lind
Dec. 18, 2008 | It is just as well that Barack Obama is emulating Abraham Lincoln by traveling to his inauguration in Washington by train. As the regional politics of the automobile bailout controversy demonstrate, the Civil War continues. If the major U.S. automobile companies go under, it will be partly because timely federal aid for them was blocked by members of Congress like Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, whose states have created their own counter-Detroit in the form of Japanese, Korean, and German transplant factories. The South will have risen by bringing down the North. Jefferson Davis will have had his revenge.

The most shocking thing about the alliance between the Southern states and America's friendly but earnest economic rivals to destroy America's most important industry is the fact that so few people find it shocking. Contrast the U.S. with the European Union. The nation-states of the European Union collaborate with each other in order to compete against foreign economic rivals, including the U.S., Japan, and China. By contrast, many states, particularly in the South, collaborate with foreign economic rivals of the U.S. in order to compete against other American states. Any British or French or German leader who proposed collaborating with Japan or the U.S. in order to wipe out industry and destroy jobs in neighboring EU member states would be jeered out of office. But it is perfectly acceptable for American states to connive with Asian and European countries in the destruction of industry elsewhere in the U.S.

link to Harper's image

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