“If there’s a single lesson that life teaches us, it’s that wishing doesn’t make it so.” -Lev Grossman (b. 1969)
Dave Calhoun, the CEO of Boeing, has a background in business and accounting not engineering. Undoubtedly, he has watched in horror the misadventures of the 737MAX, an aircraft akin to a ruptured albatross, an aircraft that never should have been redesigned from the original 737, an aircraft that never should have been built. Would that he could, he likely would wish the aircraft with its misadventures gone. Alas, not to be! Rid Boeing and the world of the 737MAX? What would happen to all those already built? What would happen to Boeing financially? Belly up?
This ugly situation is the consequence of monopoly and mercantilism. It is not a necessary feature of capitalism. Quite the contrary. In his classic book, The Wealth of Nations (1776), Adam Smith warned of just this kind of calamity.
The government cannot allow Boeing to collapse although the company deserves that fate. There is no substitute. No other American company manufactures airliners. Where are Convair airliners? Gone. Where are Douglas airliners? Gone. Where are Ford airliners? Gone. Where are Lockheed airliners? Gone. Where are Martin airliners? Gone. All that remains is Boeing. It will remain in business, an ugly monopoly, through military and space-related contracts from government. Its only real competitor today is the European Airbus.
Wait! There is Comac, the Chinese manufacturer of the C919-airliner. That model is not competitive in the international market today, but there is tomorrow. Estimates project that Chinese automobiles will comprise 80% of automotive sales worldwide within ten years. Eventually, a similar scenario is likely with airliners.
Do not cry for Boeing. Its management constitutes scoundrels of the first rank. See the piece, “Boeing & Mercantilism”, previously posted on this website in 2020. Cry for America.