SOME THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS ON THE AMERICAN AUTOMOBILE INDUSTRY

Dr. V.E.”Bill” Haloulakos is an AIAA National Distinguished Lecturer and a contibutor to The Business Thinker

INTRODUCTORY STATEMENT 

The opinions expressed here are those of the author and they have been formulated and gathered from a lifelong experience in industry and academia. The intent here is to express these personal opinions and describe how a once shining example of industrial success and ingenuity became a mess that required massive government takeover.

A PERSONAL OPINION

The woes of the U.S. Auto Industry are solely the making of weak leaders who, for a variety of reasons, “floated” to the top. Because they lacked the vision and the imagination for the future, they became “accomodationists” instead, to the various pressure groups, be they the Government, Labor, or the Environmentalists, and forgot their real purpose, which was and still is to build and market safe, reliable and affordable products to the general consumer public.

The current practice of massive and very costly car recalls, quite often because of minor and/or isolated design flaws, can easily be remedied and the federal bureaucracy interference eliminated, if only the automakers would agree to jointly form and sponsor an independent auto test lab styled after the Underwriters and/or the American Gas Association Laboratories. Continue reading

The State of the World: Germany’s Strategy

Mr. George Friedman is the CEO and chief intelligence officer of Stratfor, a private intelligence company located in Austin, TX.

This article is published here in by permission of Stratfor.

The idea of Germany having an independent national strategy runs counter to everything that Germany has wanted to be since World War II and everything the world has wanted from Germany. In a way, the entire structure of modern Europe was created to take advantage of Germany’s economic dynamism while avoiding the threat of German domination. In writing about German strategy, I am raising the possibility that the basic structure of Western Europe since World War II and of Europe as a whole since 1991 is coming to a close.

If so, then the question is whether historical patterns of German strategy will emerge or something new is coming. It is, of course, always possible that the old post-war model can be preserved. Whichever it is, the future of German strategy is certainly the most important question in Europe and quite possibly in the world.

Origins of Germany’s Strategy

Before 1871, when Germany was fragmented into a large number of small states, it did not pose a challenge to Europe. Rather, it served as a buffer between France on one side and Russia and Austria on the other. Napoleon and his campaign to dominate Europe first changed the status of Germany, both overcoming the barrier and provoking the rise of Prussia, a powerful German entity. Prussia became instrumental in creating a united Germany in 1871, and with that, the geopolitics of Europe changed.

What had been a morass of states became not only a unified country but also the most economically dynamic country in Europe — and the one with the most substantial ground forces. Germany was also  inherently insecure. Lacking any real strategic depth, Germany could not survive a simultaneous attack by France and Russia. Therefore, Germany’s core strategy was to prevent the emergence of an alliance between France and Russia. However, in the event that there was no alliance between France and Russia, Germany was always tempted to solve the problem in a more controlled and secure way, by defeating France and ending the threat of an alliance. This is the strategy Germany has chosen for most of its existence.

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ON PHILANTHROPISTS AND THEIR ACTS OF PHILANTHROPY

Dr. V.E.”Bill” Haloulakos is an AIAA National Distinguished Lecturer and a contibutor to The Business Thinker

The purpose of this article is to propose and “make the case” for an expanded definition of the words “Philanthropy” and “Philanthropist” which, is as follows:

Modern-Day Responsible Capitalism is the best example of true philanthropy.

It creates an environment of economic progress and free enterprise which allows individuals to improve themselves, provides employment for many people, who in turn improve their lot and that of their families, expands wealth, which then provides opportunity for all, including for the “not so entrepreneurial” individuals as well.

It is to be noted from the start that we are not suggesting that there are not predatory and/or corrupt capitalists who do damage and bring shame to the free market enterprising business. But we are discussing the great value of the majority of the consumer product and/or service oriented free enterprise operations that have advanced our country and the world economy to unforeseeable heights and great prosperity to its people.

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