Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Troubled Automaker?

Nissan Global Headquarters in Yokohama  (photo: TTTNIS)
Recently The Times referred to Nissan as a “troubled automaker.”  ("Nissan of Japan Discloses a New Recall, Adding to Its Problems," NYT, 6/2719). And business journals regularly point to "ailing companies." It won’t be long before you find the range of illnesses broadening with respect to industry. Imagine a neurosthenic appliance chain (they should be by the way with Amazon totally gobbling up the retail market), a hyperactive technology company with overly precocious apps and say a manufacturer of tractors like Caterpiller which suffers from an eating disorder to the extent that it chews up everything in its path. Will "schizoaffective disorder" be employed when referring to certain companies, particularly in the pharmaceutical industry? The pathetic fallacy is a literary device whereby nature reflects emotions, but industry, usually thought to be a contrivance of man, is now taking on a life of its own. Many companies are, in fact, run by robots or people who behave like them and often the decisions they make can’t really be attributed to a human factor. So it does seem like a cheap way out to start making entities rather than people the repository of seemingly human frailties, but that’s what happens when you’re dealing with a powerful machine. Like a gifted person, it too can face challenges.   

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