Thursday, December 04, 2008

Connecting nothing with nothing

Tacking on to what Michael Moore said last night, I recalled these words I posted earlier this summer from Henry Ford. In light of how the year is ending, and, as Mr. Moore points out, how Congress is responding to Wall Street and to Detroit, I find these words particularly insightful:

Businessmen believed that you could do anything by "financing" it. If it did not go through on the first financing, then the idea was to "refinance." The process of "refinancing" was simply the game of sending good money after bad. In the majority of cases the need of refinancing arises from bad management, and the effect of refinancing is simply to pay the poor managers to keep up their bad management a little longer. It is merely a postponement of the day of judgement. This makeshift of refinancing is a device of speculative financiers. Their money is no good them unless they can connect it up with a place where real work is being done, and that they cannot do unless, somehow, that place is poorly managed. Thus, the speculative financiers delude themselves that they are putting their money out to use. They are not; they are putting it out to waste.
When I was in high school, one of my teachers would mockingly quote Coolidge's aphorism: "The business of American business is business." When did we decide this was true, and was the only telos business could have?

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