Ford Motor Company stocks fall; advertising onslaught anticipated

It’s worth considering the situation at Ford Motor Company.

Thursday’s news reports a tumble in the value of its stocks and bonds after a “weaker outlook” for 2005 sales. Moody’s credit rating agency, a competitor to Standard and Poor’s, is threatening to lower the company’s rating to “junk” status. Standard and Poor’s already made this move last month. The latter company, which is owned by the textbook publishing giant McGraw-Hill (the relevancy of which will become clear in a moment), reports an “increased likelihood” it will cut Ford’s ratings again, according to the Toronto Star (in a report yesterday from Bloomberg news).

What lies in Ford’s future? According to the Star:

Said Brett Hoselton, an analyst with KeyBanc Capital Markets based in Cleveland: “If they don’t start producing product that is compelling for the customers, they won’t be around in 10 years.”

The implications of another junk rating are grave, we suspect–not for the profits at Ford executive suites in Detroit–we feel sure they are well taken care of, with large bonuses for jobs well done–but for the public. We are soon to be saturated with a new onslaught of car advertisements, exhorting us to buy more, faster, farther than ever before. We are likely to see jingoism of the lowest type, as Ford is an American institution of renowned stature. While “what’s good for America is good for GM” (according to GM CEO Charles Wilson), Ford is America, period. It represents standardization, repetition, mindless toil for low wages, sympathy for fascism, strikebreakers and scab labour. It holds out the ideal of endless profit and ecological ruin, two things that make America great.

But what about McGraw-Hill, the owner of Standard and Poor’s? How will they benefit if the giant car companies falter in the stock market and need to increase advertising?

The fact is, McGraw-Hill has raised the spectre of placing advertising inserts in the textbooks it publishes. While the proposal was poo-pooed by education pooh-bahs, the company has previously published ads in its texts (see this story from Stay Free! Daily) and we anticipate its resurrection before long. After all, elementary school children in the U.S. (and Canada, thanks to NAFTA) need to learn about the American way.

“See Dick drive a Ford. Drive, Dick, drive. Jane drives a GM. Is Jane’s GM bigger than Dick’s Ford? Dick will buy a new car. What kind of car will Dick buy?”

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