Detroit, Take Note

I caught this NPR story on the drive home tonight, about a Maine Lumber company hitting hard times and transitioning from manufacturing housewares to toys, in order to compete with overseas competitors.

It’s nice to hear company executives flexing their creative muscles, using their imagination and ingenuity, and taking smart risks.

These people remind me why I have no sympathy for American automaker executives.


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3 Responses to “Detroit, Take Note”

  1. JessMess Says:

    We were having that conversation this morning upon news of Saturns and Hummer’s (yes!) going out of business by 2011. They make crap cars for years and then it all falls apart. It’s terrible that all those workers are/would be out of jobs in Detroit but if the execs were smart and had a little foresight than it may have been avoided. Like if they really started investing in green technology 30 years ago like they should have in the first place. Gets my goat.

  2. TheEternalOptimist Says:

    Hi! I’m a lurker, and I have been truly enjoying your blogs. I was born and raised in Detroit, and I fell like I should share my feelings on this issue. Not because it’s different, but maybe you guys can see it from a different perspective.

    Yes, the automakers are partly to blame by not going green sooner, and keeping us depending on foreign oil. I understand people not having any sympathy for the automakers, but you must understand that this area cannot support itself if the automakers just disappear. And it’s not just Detroit that is suffering. The entire state of Michigan is suffering tremendously, from the increase in crime, from people fleeing the state, and from the loss of tax $$$. And that’s just a few of the issues that are serious problems NOW. What if there are no loans? Unemployment is already 9+% here, then add an extra 100,000+ unemployed auto workers. Morale and the general attitude of the residents here is depression and despair, and I’m afraid that it’s going to turn into anger and rage due to very few options being available. I currently reside in a neighboring city to Detroit, and it is truly sad to see what is happening to the city I grew up in. Do you see the potential for disaster? We’ve had riots here once already, and that’s not outside the realm of possibilities.

    Sorry for the long post. Every time I read a story against the bailout I think people don’t think about the complete picture overall.Because I see the beginnings of this huge problem now, I feel compelled to show people the other side.

  3. pennyplastic Says:

    TEO, thanks so much for weighing in. Obviously I didn’t dive into detail with my post, but I want to be clear that my issue with automakers is with managers and executives, not labor. The top tier management did not remain nimble, flexible and creative; it’s not just about “going green,” at all.

    My point was more that this particular company took stock of the domestic situation and cleverly chose to produce product that China (their biggest competitor) would have trouble hawking in the states (toys, because of the crazy lead scare).

    I am incredibly worried for a few groups of people being hit by this economic crisis, and labor/manufacturing is a big one. So, I totally empathize.

    I always appreciate varying views, and I hope you weigh in more in the future!!

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