In cultural commentary about the American economy, one company at a time always seems to be the goat. Everything it does is interpreted as evil, according to a recent column by Bloomberg’s Michael Kinsley.
In the 1950s, it was General Motors. GM’s CEO, Charles “Engine Charlie” Wilson, became a national figure of ridicule for telling a congressional committee, “What’s good for General Motors is good for America.” Except that he actually said, “For years I thought that what was good for the country was good for General Motors and vice versa” – which is quite a different proposition.
In the 1990s, the goat was Microsoft. That antitrust case looks a bit silly in retrospect, don’t you think? Turns out it wasn’t Microsoft that was about to take over the world: It was Google. (And just so you know, I once worked for Microsoft.)
Who is the goat today? Clearly it’s Wal-Mart. Does anybody really love Wal-Mart?
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