GM's demise foretold, says filmmaker Michael Moore

By AFP

June 18, 2010 Updated Oct 12, 2010 at 5:06 PM EDT

Gadfly filmmaker Michael Moore said Monday that his pioneering 1989 movie "Roger & Me" foretold the demise of auto giant General Motors, which collapsed he said, because of company ineptitude and disregard for its workers.

Having railed for two decades about the now-bankrupt car company that dominated life in his town of Flint, Michigan, Moore wrote on his blog that GM earned its sorry demise.

"It is a sad irony that the company which invented 'planned obsolescence' -- the decision to build cars that would fall apart after a few years so that the customer would then have to buy a new one -- has now made itself obsolete," he wrote.

GM on Monday filed for bankruptcy protection, seeking a restructuring that would allow it to re-emerge smaller but more profitable.

Moore's wry and irreverent debut film documents his tireless efforts to arrange a meeting with then-GM chairman Roger Smith, after the closing of a company plant that devastated his hometown of Flint, Michigan.

Moore, who now has had a string of hits similar in style to "Roger & Me," railed against the company's treatment of its workers over the years.

"Beginning in the 1980s, when GM was posting record profits, it moved countless jobs to Mexico and elsewhere, thus destroying the lives of tens of thousands of hard-working Americans," he wrote.

"The glaring stupidity of this policy was that, when they eliminated the income of so many middle class families, who did they think was going to be able to afford to buy their cars?"

Moore said that going forward, America's "Big Three" automakers need to be completely reinvented.

"The products built in the factories of GM, Ford and Chrysler are some of the greatest weapons of mass destruction responsible for global warming and the melting of our polar icecaps," he wrote.

"To continue to build them would only lead to the ruin of our species and much of the planet."

The filmmaker continued: "President Obama, now that he has taken control of GM, needs to convert the factories to new and needed uses immediately" Moore said.

He suggested that the shuttered car factories might be put to better use producing bullet trains and light-rail transportation and hybrid automobiles.

"Please, please, please don't save GM so that a smaller version of it will simply do nothing more than build Chevys or Cadillacs. This is not a long-term solution," he said.




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