It is great to have people like Jeff Immelt, CEO of General Electric, working with the Federal Reserve, and the Obama Administration as the jobs czar. However, as good as he might be, and as knowledgeable as he is with regard to Corporate America and industry, there is also a future conflict of interest challenge that he’ll have to overcome. Whether or not it would be true, there will be people charging him with the incestuous relationship between the Corporation he runs and the government.
There was an interesting article recently in Reuters on October 17, 2011 titled “US Not Trying That Hard on Exports” by Scott Malone. The article stated:
“The United States is not trying hard enough as a nation to win business overseas, and that is contributing to its economic slump, said General Electric Co Chief Executive Jeff Immelt. That is a big concern since boosting exports is one of the best ways the nation can tackle the stubbornly high unemployment that is leading a growing number of Americans to question how well the economic system is working. “We’re not trying that hard,” Immelt said “We haven’t really tried as hard as we can to compete, educate, and sell our products around the world, and I think we can do better.”
First, to that statement I would like to say that if Corporate America wants to train people to be better educated so that they can run these companies, then it should be Corporate America that trains them, not the taxpayer, and it’s not the government’s job. Next, I’d like to say from a small business perspective that a small business person doesn’t have a chance exporting their products overseas, even if there are overseas buyers, and many a small businessman who has tried, has lost everything he’s ever invested because he didn’t understand the game.
Yes it’s good to export our products, but we must also realize that large corporations make deals with foreign governments, and set themselves up with a monopoly status. And I am the last one who’d want to pick on GE, because it is a great American company, nevertheless General Electric has been able to sell things all over the world, even in countries that are on no trade lists, due to its closeness to foreign government leaders, policy makers, and government ties here the United States.
Yes, sometimes it is necessary for the State Department to work with corporations so that foreign governments can get what they need and trade deals can be reciprocated. But no matter how hard a small business tries to get something like that done, they can never compete. Therefore I take exception to just Immelt’s comments here because there have been a lot of small companies try very hard to ship their products overseas to no avail, and in the end to no profit either.
Further, judging by General Electric’s overseas sales, and about 20 other of the largest multinational conglomerates which are or were formerly based in the United States, I’d say not only have they tried very hard, but they’ve surely reap the rewards for it, yes, including General Electric. Please consider all this and think on it.