The Blog

China Buys Hummer Brand -- Further Evidence of a Shock Doctrine-Assaulted America?

We have to wonder if the US had taken Hummer, especially with its dependence on the military version, and turned it into a government-owned operation, would the US benefit?
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

Naomi Klein described, in her breakthrough book Shock Doctrine, how a nation is attacked, shocked and torn apart, destroying the middle class. It looks like the GM sale of Hummer to a wealthy Chinese investor, probably with the help of Morgan Stanley, is an example of how it's happening in the US.

The deal is sealed. Motortrend reports

The new owners, upon Chinese government approval, will be Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery, with 80 percent via an investment entity, and Suolang Duoji, a private entrepreneur who will hold the other 20 percent.

Don't assume that Duoji is a minority partner. The Asia Times reports

Tengzhong is "under the wing of Sichuan Huatong Investment Holding Co, Ltd, 98.5% owned by Suolang Duoji," according to a SinoCast Daily Business Beat report, carried on the Zachs Research website.

One man will basically control Hummer.

GM is selling Hummer for an estimated $150 million, far less than the $500 million it estimated it would get when it declared bankruptcy. Hard to believe that after the tens of billions the US has poured into GM, Hummer is worth so little. But apparently China thinks so.

There's some good news. The manufacturing will stay in the US. Seems the market for Hummer vehicles is primarily in the US. Also, the manufacturer of the military version of the H2 Hummer will continue to build Hummers for the military, at least until 2011.

Reports indicate that the newly owned Hummer company intends to introduce a new H4 model that gets 25 MPG. The Asia Times article compares the Hummer sale to IBM's sale of Thinkpad notebooks to Lenovo, a Chinese company that took the brand to be the number three selling notebook in the world.

We have to wonder if the US had taken Hummer, especially with its dependence on the military version, and turned it into a government-owned operation, would the US benefit? The same goes for the Saturn brand. The US could have easily loaned the money it did to GM with first option to buy those brands, or even to take them, if GM decided to end them. In the case of Saturn, how much does the US lose in terms of thousands of lost jobs? How many technological resources and even patents will the US lose when China virtually steals the Hummer brand for a tiny price?

Right wingers would raise the cry of socialism at the idea of the US salvaging brands and technology. I guess their ideology overcomes concern for American jobs and technologies. Who knows what patents Hummer holds after all? And the deal for the production of US military vehicles has an expiration date. Will China end up making military Hummers? That would surely be a sign of the USA's being in deep trouble.

Perhaps what we're seeing is just more examples of the Shock Doctrine Naomi Klein described, at work. The Hummer purchase was probably aided by Morgan Stanley, one of the last two Investment banking firms, before it and Goldman Sachs became normal banks with Federal Reserve approval. If you want to look to organizations that are profiting from the devastating effects of the Shock Doctrine on the US, look to Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. The Asia Times reports, "Morgan Stanley is financial adviser to GM during its restructuring, along with Evercare Partners and Blackstone Group, according to a June 1 Bloomberg report."

Will we see more bargain acquisitions of major US companies or brands by Chinese and other non-US firms, brokered by the companies that brought the US economic catastrophe? Considering that President Obama appointed major players from those companies to run the US economy, one would guess that the foxes are not only in, but they are running and operating the hen house. We can expect to see many more US brands acquired by the Chinese, Russians, Brazilians (who now own Budweiser) and other nations.

The question is, since it is so clear to so many that the US was subjected to the brutal assault of the Shock Doctrine, why aren't legislators looking into this and doing something about it? Bernie Sanders has introduced legislation to first identify and then break up companies that are too big to fail. That's a great idea, so long as the broken up companies aren't scarfed up by foreign nationals. The US economy is in shock. Congress is either in shock or in bed with the perpetrators -- same with the White House. Someone better wake up and start responding to the economic disaster and the ongoing sell-off of US assets as an economic terrorist attack. Maybe that's the language that's needed.

My guess is this will not happen from the top down. Obama's White House is inseparable, even indistinguishable from Goldman Sachs. It may happen in Congress. Sherrod Brown, Alan Grayson, Dennis Kucinich and a few others are asking questions, including getting rid of Goldman Sachs and Fed Reserve man Tim Geithner. The problem is, this is complicated stuff, just like the financial products that brought down the economy. It will take some powerful public education and media coverage to get the public aroused enough to push Congress to do something. Ironically, since Obama has bedded Goldman Sachs, it may well be Glen Beck and Fox News that gets this ball rolling. It would be ironic if Democrats like Chris Dodd, a sweetheart of the financial industry, and Barney Frank, who seems to be way too friendly to banksters, hand the right wing the issues they need to take back Congress and the White House. Stranger things have been known to happen.

Cross-posted from