Et Tu, Toyota?

February 25, 2010 at 7:24 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , )

My first car, back in 1975, was a four-year-old Toyota. So this week I learned with dismay that now Toyota has joined its American auto company-cousins in caring more about the short-term bottom line than it does its reputation, quality, or even, ultimately, its customers’ safety. In a way I suppose it is comforting to see that people, especially Capitalists, are alike all over the globe.This is very probably a signpost (pun intended!) of the company’s skid (pun intended!) into mediocracy. They are on the road (pun intended!) to be passed (again, pun intended!) by some car-maker from China or maybe India, who will care about customers like, at one time, Ford or Volkswagen or Toyota used-to.

I am convinced that, if I knew the mathematics and put in the investigative time, I could quantify the point at which organizations – be they industries, charities, churches, governments – grow to reach a critical mass where they no longer give a rat's derriere about their clients. When that point is reached, the vision shifts from making/doing the product/service better & reaping a fair profit to squeezing, chiseling, bamboozling, and maybe killing in order to maximize short-term profits by any means necessary.

That is how Ford could decide saving a few bucks was an acceptable exchange for roasting some unlucky Pinto drivers, the Christian church could throw-in with the power structure by selling-out the poor, and the Red Cross could collect billions of dollars for “disaster relief” and then spend relatively little of the money on the victims.

Over a hundred years ago, Oscar Wilde labelled a cynic as a person “who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing.” But, as brilliant as Mr. Wilde was, I respectfully disagree. For I myself have become a cynic, scornful & negative. As much as I have tried to resist the transformation, I have developed a knee-jerk reaction which causes me to assume our “leaders” will follow whatever course of action is most hurtful and destructive to ordinary people. I am scornful because I do know the “value” of what truly matters in life and that our “leaders” no longer care enough to do the right thing.

No, the cynic is heartbroken to realize that certain things are, indeed, very valuable but they will likely be ignored in favor of greed and egotism. Instead, it is the fat-cat Capitalist who knows “the price of everything” (the bottom line) and does not understand the worth of things like making sure people have jobs so they can live, feed and house their families, build a nation where human beings thrive and the environment is respected. They apparently don’t even see the importantance of drivers being able to trust their automobiles. Those things matter greatly. And if governments, businesses, or churches don’t help provide those things to citizens then what good are they?

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