Donnerstag, 2. April 2009

Opel and German politics

According to the FTD, SPD politician Ute Berg (deputy leader of the SPD's "business and technology working group"; her qualification? she used to be a school teacher) doesn't understand why other troubled companies are complaining about the special attention the SPD bestows on Opel. According to her, "Opel has been exploited for many years. Money, patents and innovations were withdrawn from the company for years and years. Opel is an extreme case. It doesn't mean that the government should take stakes in all companies that have problems."

So Opel should be helped (partly nationalized) because it has been "exploited" by the mother company? And apart from the interesting choice of words, in what way have "patents and innovations" been withdrawn? Sure, formal ownership of the patents went to the US, but Opel was and is using them, right? And in what way were "innovations" withdrawn? Does she mean that GM America is using all of Opel's innovations, but Opel isn't allowed to? As for money: Has it been withdrawn? When? How much? How does Ms. Berg know? And even if true, isn't it standard practice for subsidiaries to pay dividends to the mother company? And finally: Assuming she is right, and GM has "exploited" Opel. So a company that has been "exploited" has a moral right to be helped and saved, whereas a company that has been treated "properly" by the mother company has no such moral right?

I thought Steinmeier's babbling was bad enough. But this "discussion" is becoming more and more absurd.

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