Monday, August 19, 2013

The Case For and Against Henry Ford

A couple of nights ago, The PC shared a meme on Facebook.


One of his Conservative friends had this to say...

So as not to repeat myself, I will respond here, then post the link to the Facebook thread.

Your assessment of Ford as a person is absolutely correct. I believe that I mentioned his bigotry and anti-semitism in a response to one of your posts a few weeks ago. And yes, his general treatment of workers necessitated the rise of the UAW.

But the point of this post was not humanitarianism vs. profit. It was about business savvy vs. dunder-headedness. Ford understood the economics of "supply and demand" well enough to get that a company can't be successful if it's own employees can't afford to buy the product they produce. Today's large employers seem to have forgotten this, to their detriment. And to the detriment of our economy.

In this case, specifically, but not exclusively, Wal-Mart has been killing higher paying jobs by putting other retailers out of business or forcing other retailers to make changes to their business model that winds up screwing their employees and forcing we, the taxpayers, to pick up the slack via Food Stamps and Medicaid.

Where I will call you out on this is your statement that, "today our "average" car is the highest priced in the world," (That is not even close to true,) and has the lowest consumer rating satisfaction."

That was true a decade ago, but in the last few years, the American auto brands have enjoyed a major resurgence. I grew up in a town where Ford employed a whole lot of it's residents. A much larger Ford plant in neighboring Lorain, Ohio employed an even larger number of county residents. I have family in two Ohio cities that were major GM towns.

All of those cities economies suffered during the first decade of the 21st Century. But, today, they are all recovering.

Your comments about Edison are also true, up to a point. Edison's practice of stealing and monopolizing patents are well known. He destroyed the French magician/film pioneer Georges Mélliés and along with Guglielmo Marconi, did the same to Nikola Tesla.

(I am sure that you don't do it on purpose, but sometimes, you respond to my remarks as if I am some naive, uneducated, air-head. I can assure you that when I pontificate, I do so knowing that I know what I am talking about.  I, too, enjoy reading the biographies of successful people. A common thread in those stories is the lack of empathy and a lack of moral compass exhibited by so many successful people. And on the topic of Hollywood filmmaking, you are on my home court, now.)

There may be a grain of truth in your claim that filmmakers moved to Cali to escape Edison's iron fist, but mostly, no.

The fact is that filmmakers left New York for Cali, led by Charles Chaplin, for the moderate climate and sunshine.

Modern, electric movie lighting didn't exist in the early 1900s.

Chaplin built the first Hollywood studio. Roofless stages that rotated to follow the sun.

The first solar powered movie stages, one might say.

That studio still stands on La Brea Blvd. Now with roofs.

I drive past it every day on my way to work.

For many decades, after Charlie Chaplin, the studio was the home of Herb Alpert's "A&M Records."

                              Today, it is the home of Henson Productions "Muppet Studios."

Let's get back to the subject of American cars vs. foreign cars.

Every (average) foreign car sold in the US is manufactured in the US. Honda makes their cars in Ohio. Nissan and Toyota are in Tennessee and South Carolina. Their American headquarters are still in my own neighborhood, Los Angeles' South Bay. The profits don't stay in America, and that is a bad thing, but their manufacture is here in the USA. All of their employees are members of the UAW and the companies are subject to US regulation.

My Mazda Tribute was manufactured by Ford. It is a Ford Escape, with a couple of cosmetic differences.

100% American made.


Yes, Henry Ford was a bigot and a Democrat.

Thank you for pointing that out.

The ideologies of both parties have flipped over the last hundred years or less.

As the Democrats embraced civil rights in the 1960s, The Nixon Republicans took advantage of the shift and embraced the "Southern Democrats" racism. Converting southern, racist, Dems to the Republican side. They called it the "Southern Strategy."

Abe Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Ike Eisenhower and Barry Goldwater must be spinning in their graves.

Nixon and Reagan would not recognize their TEA Party highjacked party, today.

So, yes, Henry Ford was a Democrat and an anti-semetic bigot.

Applying that fact to modern politics is disingenuous.

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