regarding dying industries

According to yesterday’s WSJ article (by Hitt, McCracken, and Dolan), the U.S. automakers somehow fancy themselves to be “above” bankruptcy:

Ford CEO Alan Mulally said Ford studied a bankruptcy scenario and believes “it is not a viable” option.

Have we been here before?  Yes.  From Henry Hazlitt’s “Economics in One Lesson,” originally published in 1946:

The lobbies of Congress are crowded with representatives of the X industry.  The X industry is sick.  The X industry is dying.  It must be saved.  […]

Paradoxical as it may seem to some, it is just as necessary to the health of a dynamic economy that dying industries be allowed to die as that growing industries be allowed to grow. The first process is essential to the second. It is as foolish to try to preserve obsolescent industries as to try to preserve obsolescent methods of production: this is often, in fact, merely two ways of describing the same thing. Improved methods of production must constantly supplant obsolete methods, if both old needs and new wants are to be filled by better commodities and better means.

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