Review: Why GM Matters: Inside the Race to Transform an American Icon
Reviewer Christine Zibas has spent all of her life in love with books, and most of her life working with words. She has a B.A. in Political Science from WesternÂ IllinoisÂ University and did advanced studies in politics and publishing at WIU, OxfordÂ University, GeorgeÂ WashingtonÂ University, and Stanford.
For many years Christine was an editor in the
think tank world, editing books and reports on international
relations and military studies. She worked at the Center for
Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. and the Johns
Hopkins Foreign Policy Institute, where she served as director of
publications. In London she was the editor at the International
Institute for Strategic Studies. To read more of Christine's Reviews CLICK HERE
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Author: William J. Holstein
Publisher: Walker & Company
Can GM survive? More importantly, should it? These are the questions being posed by journalists almost daily, whether covering Capitol Hill or reporting on Wall Street losses by the Big Three. It’s a story that hasn’t fully played out, and also one that has gotten little background coverage…until now. In his brilliant new book, William Holstein lays out the case for GM:
“The country’s largest private buyer of information technology, the world’s largest buyer of steel, the holder of pensions for hundreds of thousands of Americans, GM (along with its suppliers) accounts for a full 1 percent of our country’s gross domestic product.”
Holstein does an outstanding job of looking at not only where GM came from, but where it’s trying to go. Not everything in the book is flattering either. Yet there are important issues that the author raises that take its value as a book about a major US auto maker and makes it one about a referendum on the US economy generally.
“The fact that 70 percent of the US economy was based on consumer spending and much of that spending was based on borrowed money from abroad was almost certainly not realistic for sustaining the economy.”
He also takes to task those who say that the United States’ future is not in manufacturing, but the service sector:
“Now that the economic crisis has struck, many of the jobs created in finance, whether in mortgage finance, investment banking, or hedge funds, were built on the concept of leverage. They were not involved in creating genuine wealth.”
Some of the most interesting discussion in “Why GM Matters” can be found in the chapter on China and the battle by GM and Toyota for the next generation of car buyers, the Chinese. Issues of globalization become increasingly important to large manufacturing corporations, as Americans and Europeans hunker down in these trying economic times, seeking to hold on to their cars far longer than in years past.
Does Holstein make his case? That’s for readers to decide. The opposing view (presented by Holstein in his book through the voice of GM critic Jerry Flint) can be just as convincing. No matter which side readers come down on, “Why GM Matters” adds thoughtful information to the conversation.
Click Here To Purchase Why GM Matters: Inside the Race to Transform an American Icon