The Park Place Economist


When former General Motors chairman Charles "Engine Charlie" Wilson told Congress in 1952, "...what is good for the country is good for General Motors, and what is good for General Motors is good for the country" (Greenwald 45), he articulated the attitudes the American auto companies had about the economic and social relationship between the United States and its automobile industry. That was true in 1952, but since then American interests and those of its car manufacturers, have diverged significantly because of the auto makers' single minded devotion to high short run profits and their inability to change quickly enough to meet a dynamic consumer demand. Nowhere is this more evident than in an analysis of the rise of Japanese car makers in the U.S. auto market, especially with respect to the Voluntary Export Restraint (VER).