Monday, November 24, 2008

Frighteningly Stupid Article

Here's a NY Times article analyzing whether the turnaround of the steel industry can be a good model for the automobile industry.  The article discusses the similarities between the too industries, namely legacy costs and how banktrupcies and the resulting reorganizaitons were good for the steel industry.  It investigates where the comparison between the two industries dissolve, steel is a commodity and thus price is king; cars are a consumer good, consumer perception is important, not just price.  It fails to mention that the demand for steel exploded in the last decade because of the rapid growth of China and to a lesser extent India's economy.  The market for steel grew tremendously.  Right now, China consumes roughly a third of all steel produced.  You throw in the rest of Asia and you have a majority of all steel consumption.

Imagine a counterfactual, China's growth didn't occur to the extent it did.  Would the steel industry's reorganization have been adequate to stay competitive?  Maybe, but such growth in demand can hide a multitude of sins.  Just ask a mortgage broker.

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