Illustrating Liberty: “Yet Another GM Bailout”

[Illustrating Liberty will be a new, irregular feature on this blog featuring the occasional “Political Photoshoppery” of Aristotle A. Esguerra.]

GM's ATM (Aristotle A. Esguerra, Nov. 9, 2008)

"GM's ATM," Aristotle A. Esguerra, Nov. 9, 2008

As a relatively new member of the Ludwig von Mises Institute’s editing team, I have begun to contribute illustrations for upcoming Daily Articles. My first illustration ran today in conjunction with the article, “Yet Another GM Bailout,” which was written by Auburn University undergraduate Briggs Armstrong. Here is his first paragraph:

General Motors has once again approached the federal government with its hand out. It should not be forgotten that in September of 2008, Congress gave the “big three” automakers a loan totaling $25 billion. Now they are back. This time they say that with a mere $50 billion they can turn things around and become profitable in the future. The management of GM and Ford as well as the UAW have been meeting with Nancy Pelosi to arrange a deal. GM claims that if the government does not give them the money they demand it will spell doom for the company and thus the entire US economy.

If you wish to comment on Armstrong’s article itself, you can do so on the article’s accompanying blog post on the Mises Economics Blog.

GMs ATM (first draft), Aristotle A. Esguerra, 2008.11.07.

GM's ATM (first draft), Aristotle A. Esguerra, 2008.11.07.

A first draft of this illustration incorporated a Chevrolet Malibu sedan, a product that for all intents and purposes GM actually ought to be somewhat proud of. Twenty years late to the game, they finally have a piece of machinery that is competitive with the family sedans coming from Japanese and Korean nameplates. (To think that even once-lowly Hyundai has leapfrogged the Not-So-Big 2.5 in perceived quality in those same twenty years is pretty sobering, or ought to be for those involved with Detroit iron.)

But it occurred to me that it might be more appropriate to use a couple of more “vehicles of symbolism,” so to speak; thankfully I was able to obtain appropriate shots of the Hummer H3 [1] and the upcoming Chevrolet Camaro.

It should be noted that I don’t have anything against owners of GM products in general (no pun intended) or the featured cars in particular; I myself would love to get behind the wheel of the upcoming Camaro. But the symbolism (at least to me) is clear: Hummer as an icon of jingoistic SUV exuberance, Camaros as representative of boyish irresponsibility.

Finally, the line up the stairs of the U.S. Capitol Building was part of the original photo. But it is an appropriate element that points out what Frederic Bastiat neatly terms “universal plunder” in his 1850 work, The Law. They’re just attempting to use the walk-in service instead of the drive-up teller.


[1] A former boss of mine had an H3 as a company car; he would complain constantly about the vehicle’s unreliability.


One Response

  1. Remember when Circuit City was a favorite in “Good to Great” by Jim Collins? Remember when we thought being big like GM gave you clout with customers and vendors to produce long-term returns (Michael Porter’s 5 Forces Model)? It’s time we recognize that the old approach to management doesn’t work in a rapidly shifting competitive world. There are winners in today’s market, but they follow a different approach. Read more at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: