Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hitachi Sets Largest Loss Ever For Japanese Manufacturer

I first became aware of Hitachi in college. As an engineering co-op I worked with Hitachi engineers as they deployed much of the new manufacturing technology in General Motors' facilities. This at a time when the Japanese government and industry was jointly targeting the global machine tool industry for dominance. They succeeded. In about a decade they completely decimated an entire industry that was foundational to the success of the American economic miracle. But, that's okay. We replaced wealth-creating industries with new industries. That would be more people pushing around money to finance our economic destruction. As I have said on here repeatedly, there is no such thing as free trade. We should seek generally fair or mutually beneficial trade. Mutually beneficial to society. Not to just Wall Street.

Who can blame Japan? They sought to create wealth for their economy and embraced the noble pursuit of innovation, invention and competition to do it. Ironically, Japan learned the concept of economic dominance from the greatest example in history - the United States. What did we learn? Apparently nothing. We seemingly understand economics less than we did two hundred years ago. Timeless stupidity of politicians was a major contributor to this nonsense. But, they shall save us all now.

Make no mistake, economics has more in common with war than just about any other analogy. And wars are only won with successful strategies. In my career I have come to appreciate the laser-like focus on strategy ever present in Japanese business culture. Something that used to be part of the American business culture as well. Yet today, business strategy teams have become dinosaurs - nearly completely extinct. Instead, we have finance managers who have replaced these key resources. And now we focus on manipulating next quarter's earnings instead of strategy. Or should I say that is the strategy.

Lies and fools don't win wars. That's also why economists sitting in tenured ivory towers shielded from the war don't generally have a clue about how the real world works. There are exceptions. Some brilliant minds in economics. But generally economists are a major reason why the U.S. economy is in what could be its greatest crisis ever. That would be Democratic economists and Republican economists.

This past week Hitachi, a monstrous global manufacturing powerhouse, has reported the largest loss ever for a manufacturing company in Japan. Ever. Their announcement was just days after our post on coming economic shocks to Germany's industrial base. And, our endless posts over the last four years on the coming depression in China and emerging markets. Of which over-industrialization will be a major contributor.

It's all good though. The crisis is averted. How do I know? Because politicians, the Federal Reserve and Jim Cramer have all told me so.

Title link is also here for those viewing in a reader.
posted by TimingLogic at 12:44 PM