The process of handing over the economy to a generation of not very bright but very, very greedy sociopaths began longer ago than 1984, but by Mid-Morning in America it was going ahead full tilt.
The first time John Bassett visited an Asian factory was in 1984, and it was only after dinner and way too many drinks that an elderly factory owner in Taiwan revealed his real opinion of American business leaders. The man was so candid that at first, his own interpreter clammed up, refusing to translate his words.
The Taiwanese businessman had negotiated plenty of deals with Europeans and South Americans, but he’d never met people quite like the Americans.
What do you mean? [Bassett] pressed.
I have figured you guys out, the translator finally relayed.
If the price is right, you will do anything. We have never seen people before who are this greedy---or this naive.
The Americans were not only knocking one another over in a stampede to import the cheapest furniture they could but they were also ignoring the fact that they were jeopardizing their own factories back home by teaching their Asian competitors every nuance of the American furniture-making trade.
When we get on top, the man said, don’t expect us to be dumb enough to do for you what you’ve been dumb enough to do for us.
These are the people who flatter themselves they are makers, as opposed to the rest of us takers. They are the people who marched up to the microphone at the Republican National Convention in 2012 and boasted that they did build that! But they don’t make anything except killings. They take. And take. And take. From the government. From their customers. From their employees. And they didn’t build that. They tore it down. The party they were acting as willing and eager props and stooges, fronts and shills for was about to nominate one of the pre-eminent tear down-take apart-and make off with a bundle artists. Mitt Romney didn’t even build his deconstruction company. Bain Capital was handed to him to run by his boss.
That Taiwanese factory owner seems baffled by American factory owners’ willingness to tear apart their own businesses and tear down their own factories. The only explanation he can come up with for such self-destructiveness is that his American counterparts don’t know what they’re doing because they’re “naive” or they don’t see what they’re doing because all they can see is the money they stand to make.
What doesn’t occur to him is that the Americans don’t care.
They tear their own companies into pieces. They tear down their own factories. They tear apart whole towns, entire counties that depend on those industries for their economic survival. They tear apart families. They tear apart lives.
And they just don’t care.
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