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GM: "Lunchmeat on on industrial-capital's buffet spread"

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posted on May, 26 2009 @ 07:22 PM
James Kunstler is an interesting character some of you may know about. His book "The long emergency" has been well received in doom-and-gloom circles. He is primarily known as a peak-oil theorist, but he dabbles rather heavily in financial writing and has a gift for a good turn of phrase.

Each week he puts up a new blurb on his blog. This week he looks at issues related to the decay of an automotive-based society in an era of credit meltdown.

Something like a week remains before General Motors is reduced to lunch meat on industrial-capital's All-You-Can-Eat buffet spread. The wish is that its deconstructed pieces will re-organize into a "lean, mean machine" for producing "cars that Americans want to buy," and that, by extension, the American Dream of a Happy Motoring economy may be extended a while longer.
This fantasy rests on some assumptions that just don't "pencil out." One is that the broad American car-owning public can continue to buy their cars the usual way, on credit. The biggest emerging new class in America is the "former middle class." Credit kept the remnants of the middle class going for decades after their incomes stopped growing in the 1970s. Now, their incomes have stopped coming in altogether and they are sinking into swamp of entropy already occupied by the tattoo-for-lunch-bunch. Of course, this has plenty of dire sociopolitical implications.
Unfortunately, the big American banks did their biggest volume business in their biggest loans at the very time that that the middle class was on its way to becoming former. Now that the former middle class is arriving at its destination, the banks are so damaged by bad paper that they won't make loans to even the remnant of the remnant of the middle class. In other words, the entire model for financing Happy Motoring is now out-of-order, probably permanently.

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