It's All Management

Megan McArdle says we shouldn't blame bad management from GM's staggering $15 billion loss:

The company is scrambling to retool for small cars, and I'm sure we'll hear a loud chorus of voices saying that GM did this to themselves by becoming so dependent on light trucks. Well, they did, but I'm not sure it's fair to blame management. GM's historical pension and healthcare obligations, and the vast difficulties they have in permanently laying off workers, mean that the company had to maximize cash flow as best they could.

But look: This is all management. GM could have struck a different bargain with its workforce that entailed higher salaries and lower long-term pension obligations. Its management thought it would be wiser to strike a different bargain, and the results have wound up being non-pretty. Running a large enterprise is difficult which, I think, is why the executives make the big bucks. But when decisions don't pan out, you take the blame. Meanwhile, car company management could have strongly backed the Clinton administration's effort to get health care under control back in 1993.

Presented by

Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

Does This Child Need Marijuana?

Dravet Syndrome is a severe form of epilepsy that affects children. Could marijuana oils alleviate their seizures?

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Does This Child Need Marijuana?

Inside a family's fight to use marijuana oils to treat epilepsy

Video

A Miniature 1950s Utopia

A reclusive artist built this idealized suburb to grapple with his painful childhood memories.

Video

Why Principals Matter

Nadia Lopez didn't think anybody cared about her school. Then the Internet heard her story.

Video

A History of Contraception

In the 16th century, men used linen condoms laced shut with ribbons.

Video

'A Music That Has No End'

In Spain, a flamenco guitarist hustles to make a modest living.

More in Politics

Just In