A modern parable

2007

A Modern Parable from the Cenek Report:

A Japanese company (Toyota) and an American company (General Motors) decided to have a canoe race on the Missouri River. Both teams practiced long and hard to reach their peak performance before the race. On the big day, the Japanese won by a mile….

Read on – this deserves an Oscar.

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I did spend 37 years working for Ford, mostly, putting people into the retail car business. I find it interesting that your comments about Ford did not include any discussion on the fact that the Asian manufacturers have sold into a controlled market in Japan and been able to dump into the US market as they would for many years. Why is that important? Because their competition, the US makers, could not do the same competitive thing to them. Funny how that happened.

Your comment about wages is simply not true. Today, people working for the Asian companies do not have benefits that match the other manufacturers as most are non union employees. Say what you will about the unions, but, they did help determine the middle class in this country for a long time. That middle class is eroding now thanks, in part, to the manner in which the business is conducted today.

How would you like to own a company where you can sell into a closed market that is an oligopoly, at most. You can fix your prices, exclude foreign competition, and go about the business. Then, you can begin dumping into a foreign market at no penalty and, eventually, build some plants there and hire non union workers at lower pay and benefits who happen to be young to work for you. While you are doing these things, your government helps you to manipulate your currency to provide favorable pricing to you in this foreign market. What a wondrous and fair, level playing field that is. Give me a break!!

These same wonderfully run foreign companies take all of their profits earned in the US back to Japan or South Korea, don't aid local US charities to any degree compared to their competitors, fly under the radar with the US government for some reason, and lie to their customers about the the quality levels of their products. But, that is just business, correct? Tell me that Ford or GM would not be on your local news every night if they were found to do silent recalls. Toyota has done this for years and no one outside the business is the wiser. I won't continue to bore you but you might want to check in on your facts when you write your next parable. Let me see, how did the one go about the prodigal son?

Milan Rulich