Friday, August 22, 2008

Buying America

There's an interesting website called Behind the Buyouts that claims foreign governments are teaming up with powerful, private buyout firms to buy significant stakes in major American companies who are responsible for American defense and energy.

I will admit that I have not taken the time to read through this website. However, I have heard of similar actions before (remember the port buyout controversy of Bush?) and I can say that such a thing can be of concern, mostly because of the ambiguity of it all.
For example, we are in an age of globalization and free markets, which on one hand can be a good thing. Globalization allows individuals to no longer be dependent on a nation. Of course, globalization also has a habit of simultaneously making a nation dependent on the world.
Without trying to make this a post about globalization, let me say that we often promote globalization, for right or wrong (right and wrong, in my opinion), and that any foreign entity buying up American companies is not something we should be concerned with, just as there are plenty of American companies doing the same thing in other nations. That's the free market, gone global.
On the other hand, it seems a bit snarky if we are talking about foreign governments, not just foreign companies, that are involved in buying out American companies, particularly when we are talking about industries involving defense and energy.
If such a thing is actually occurring, should the American people have a right to know that foreign governments are involved in the American buyouts that foreign companies are conducting?
I would say yes. After all, we are not talking about Budweiser that was recently sold to a foreign company, because that company's government was not a partner of the sale and beer is not the same thing as national defense and energy.
Should such sales even be allowed? I would have to say no, if the company is involved in something that could affect national security. I'm all for little government involvement in private business, but when we are talking about private business that involves products of national security, we need to at least take a second look, I think. After all, we do not see such government involvement in sales of companies such as Budweiser, yet they might exist in products dealing with national security? That seems like more than coincidence to me.
If such sales are taking place, with foreign government involvement, it might be beneficial to be very leery. After all, I once heard someone say that hostile nations need not attack us to destroy us. All they have to do is buy us out. Once they own us, they can destroy us at will.
If there was ever a case for buying American, this would be it.

No comments: