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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
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The UK at the moment is still just about the 5th richest country in the world. I often wonder how we have all this wealth?

What suistains our economy? All our major export producers have either gone bust or moved abroad.

I know we have some multi-national companies such as BP and HSBC, but recentally there has been a hugh sell-off of our largest companies such as O2, BAA, Pilkington etc etc.

This ties in with the loss of MG Rover. MGR said that their exports brought ?2 billion+ in to the UK's economy every year.

Why aern't the government worried about the steady loss of our main companies?

Why didn't they show any sympathy when MGR collapsed? Why didn't they invest just a small amount of money into MGR to get the RDX-60 up and running?

Seriously, MGR were close; all they need was some extra money. ?200 million would of done the job, which in terms of government spending power is nothing.

Why are the government so anti-industry and anti-British?

????? ;)
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I think the answer is this. A lot of UK companies are amongst the largest and richest in the worl, along with Banks etc we have a very strong Finance industry.

We also have strong insurance, oil and service industries.

We might appear to have less industry, which is true in some parts, but other industries have picked up where others have left. It's a terrible shame, but more manual industries such as production are moving to cheaper labour markets, which is a shame but not a surprise. The UK grew strong from industrialisation, to the detriment of other countries, now its the poorer markets turn to take advantage of this, and so the UK moves into a new dynamic.

It's also worth adding that MG Rover couldnt possibly have got £2 billion into the UK economy each year. I think the advert they ran was a culmination since 2000. MG Rover were barely turning over more than £1 billion towards the end, so this certainly couldnt have contributed £2 billion entirely to the government in revenues of all kinds.

Think of it like this. BT, Shell, BP, Glaxo, HSBC, HBOS, Loyds, TESCO, Morrisons, are all huge companies, and there are so many more than people do not know about, or are not particular publicly recognised. The UK economy is in good shape, but it's just no longer transparent to people why it's in good shape.

In the odl days as long as we kept making things in large numbers and exporting, things were good, nowadays, things like services and financial services are not "solid" objects and so it's far less obvious that they are going on behind the scenes.
 

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It's also not necessarily a good thing to rely on industry, because it can so easily dissappear overnight.

Another example of en economy under change is the Czech Republic. For years entirely dominated by Skoda Auto, which even now is their largest company. The game is slowly moving on, and whilst Skoda is still huge and ever successful, the Czech economy is moving on two and Skoda is no longer the Make or Break force that it was over there. Is that a good thing or bad thing?

Well of course it;s a good thing, look how our dependance on British Leyland, BMC etc changed, and imagine what state we would be in if we hadnt changed and moved on, BL is no longer here, and our economy would be in absolute tatters. BL used to employ close to 1 million people directly or indirectly, imagine if MG Rover had employed those people and what would the country be like today 1 year on after they all went onto the bread line!!!!!!!!
 

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James Riley said:
I think the answer is this. A lot of UK companies are amongst the largest and richest in the worl, along with Banks etc we have a very strong Finance industry.

We also have strong insurance, oil and service industries.

We might appear to have less industry, which is true in some parts, but other industries have picked up where others have left. It's a terrible shame, but more manual industries such as production are moving to cheaper labour markets, which is a shame but not a surprise. The UK grew strong from industrialisation, to the detriment of other countries, now its the poorer markets turn to take advantage of this, and so the UK moves into a new dynamic.

It's also worth adding that MG Rover couldnt possibly have got £2 billion into the UK economy each year. I think the advert they ran was a culmination since 2000. MG Rover were barely turning over more than £1 billion towards the end, so this certainly couldnt have contributed £2 billion entirely to the government in revenues of all kinds.

Think of it like this. BT, Shell, BP, Glaxo, HSBC, HBOS, Loyds, TESCO, Morrisons, are all huge companies, and there are so many more than people do not know about, or are not particular publicly recognised. The UK economy is in good shape, but it's just no longer transparent to people why it's in good shape.

In the odl days as long as we kept making things in large numbers and exporting, things were good, nowadays, things like services and financial services are not "solid" objects and so it's far less obvious that they are going on behind the scenes.
If you ever get the chance, have a look at the companies banks like HSBC, RBS, Barclays, HBOS and insurers like Aviva, Standard Life, Legal and General, and the Prudential have all invested in. Barclays in particular own huge chunks of countless foreign companies, companies like Boeing, GM, Ford, Toyota, Alcoa, Lockheed, Northrop and such.
 

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Absolutely!

Tesco own 20% of the Korean Supermarket share, and dominate in Czech etc.

It's not always obvious how well the uk does in business, but look a little deeper and it's quite astonishing how powerful our companies are globally.
 

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ChrisMG said:
The UK at the moment is still just about the 5th richest country in the world. I often wonder how we have all this wealth?

What suistains our economy? All our major export producers have either gone bust or moved abroad.

I know we have some multi-national companies such as BP and HSBC, but recentally there has been a hugh sell-off of our largest companies such as O2, BAA, Pilkington etc etc.

This ties in with the loss of MG Rover. MGR said that their exports brought £2 billion+ in to the UK's economy every year.

Why aern't the government worried about the steady loss of our main companies?

Why didn't they show any sympathy when MGR collapsed? Why didn't they invest just a small amount of money into MGR to get the RDX-60 up and running?

Seriously, MGR were close; all they need was some extra money. £200 million would of done the job, which in terms of government spending power is nothing.

Why are the government so anti-industry and anti-British?

????? ;)
"On paper" maybe ... come another October 1987 when those that really control finances decide to cut and run again ... could only be a matter of time...

James Riley said:
It's also not necessarily a good thing to rely on industry, because it can so easily dissappear overnight.
So can 'other' areas of commerce... you need a wide spread of things to cushion against a variety of contingencies. Too narrowly focussed 'wealth' can work against any organisation or Nation...
 

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James Riley said:
It's also not necessarily a good thing to rely on industry, because it can so easily dissappear overnight.
Just as banking and service industries can, and do...

Thirty years ago we used to have a balance of payments surplus based on a net loss on 'visibles', ie manufactured goods, which was mitigated by a surplus balance on 'invisibles', ie financial services etc.

Now we have a yawning deficit, simply because we import so many manufactured goods and export relatively few. The motor industry is the biggest contributor to this deficit, owing to the high value of cars compared to other consumer manufactures. Countries such as Germany are prospering because of the UK market's appetite for their cars, whilst in turn our economy suffers. The multiplier ensures that other businesses unconnected with carmaking, or indeed any other form of manufacturing, contract in size and close because of the reduction in their customer base as a result of the closure of significant-sized manufacturing facilities such as Longbridge.

In Britain we traditiopnally relied on a combination of exports of manuifactured goods and services to keep our economy afloat. Now that we are exporting so litle manufactures compared to the amount we import our balance of payments is in deep trouble.

After 1945, the Government ran an 'Export or Die' campaign, in which scarce supplies of steel were allocated to companies on the basis of the amount of their production which was being exported. The more they exported, and hence brought revenue into Britain, the more steel they received. It was done this way because in 1945 Britain was broke after fighting in the war for the previous six years and desperately needed foreign earnings to boost the home economy. (On a motoring note, it's one of the reasons so many 'woodies' were made at this time).

Another example of en economy under change is the Czech Republic. For years entirely dominated by Skoda Auto, which even now is their largest company. The game is slowly moving on, and whilst Skoda is still huge and ever successful, the Czech economy is moving on two and Skoda is no longer the Make or Break force that it was over there. Is that a good thing or bad thing?
Skoda was a manufacturing conglomerate whose origins predate the war by a long time. It made all sorts of goods, including weapons, and cars were but a part of their product range. In the Communist years, Skoda was almost always THE company you dealt with if you were doing business with Czech manufacturing.

I mknow that VW took over the carmaking arm of Skoda, and pumped huge amounts of cash in to update facilities, which by all accounts is a policy which is paying off. It's an excellent example of the German way of running manufacturing organisations, where they are not seeking a quick return on their investment within a couple of years (unlike ourselves).

I don't think VW will move East and close their Czech facilities, unlike Ford, which set up a new factory in Plonsk, Poland, and closed it down three or four years later to move further East, at the same time damaging the town's economy as Ford was its biggest employer. However the possibility is always there...

What you do have in the East European countries such as the Czech Republic and Poland is high unemployment and widespread poverty, and crime as a result of said poverty. Foreign goods have flooded in and destroyed large numbers of their native manufacturers.

course it;s a good thing, look how our dependance on British Leyland, BMC etc changed,
Not sure I agree with you here; the decline of the companies which comprised BL have engendered massive unemployment, and the moves towards deindustrialisation which commenced in the early 1980s have left us with millions of unemployed to this day. 'Full employment' in Britain is reached when the level of unemployment sinks to c. half a million (including all those people parked up on sickness benefits who can't get a job)

Of course, the decline of companies such as those of BL has meant that the cars they used to produce and export are no longer earning us foreign exchange, and those that they sold here which inhibited the growth of imports and thereby contributed to the balance of payments surplus, are no longer either and foreign cars are flooding in to take their place. I do not believe this is a good thing at all.
 

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James Riley said:
Absolutely!

Tesco own 20% of the Korean Supermarket share, and dominate in Czech etc.
I wouldn't go so far as to say Tesco was dominant in the Czech market. I have seen a handful of Tesco outlets in the country, and these in the cities such as Prague, Plzen etc. The German supermarket chains have also gone in there and are rather more prominent that Tescos.

[/QUOTE]It's not always obvious how well the uk does in business, but look a little deeper and it's quite astonishing how powerful our companies are globally.[/quote]

Which of course is a good thing... but it doesn't create many jobs in the Uk where we need them desperately...
 

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MGJohn said:
"On paper" maybe ... come another October 1987 when those that really control finances decide to cut and run again ... could only be a matter of time...
Very true, and this time there will be a much smaller base for us to recover from... as the base in 1987 was smaller than it had been when we had the oil-price induced recession in the mid 1970s...

So can 'other' areas of commerce... you need a wide spread of things to cushion against a variety of contingencies. Too narrowly focussed 'wealth' can work against any organisation or Nation...
Look at the call centres, hailed ten years or so ago as the replacement for manufacturing industry. They are shipping out to India now and some of these lads who worked in call centres have suffered yet another crushing redundancy during their working lives. What is there for them to do which will earn them a decent living?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
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In the UK there are 60million people most inhabitants (even kids) have relitevely large disposable income.

Look in the average house and you will find Panasonic TV's, Dell computers, Bosch washing machines, furniture from Ikea, Sony game consoles, miele fridges, German cars, even most bicycles aren't British. Then times that by the amount of properties in the uk (probally around 20 million, not includding bussiness)

Think of all the money going out of the country. Even huge companies like Shell and BP would only contribute a tiny amount to balance of payments.

Yet our economy doesn't even seem to be scratched. (I know unemployment is increasing in former industrail areas slightly) but the UK Plc seems to indestructable.
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ChrisMG said:
In the UK there are 60million people most inhabitants (even kids) have relitevely large disposable income.
Not that high when you compare them to prices, especially property, all the more so in the South East.

Look in the average house and you will find Panasonic TV's, Dell computers, Bosch washing machines, furniture from Ikea, Sony game consoles, miele fridges, German cars, even most bicycles aren't British.
Bought in the main on credit... there is a real problem with personal indebtedness these days, and it's not getting better.

Think of all the money going out of the country. Even huge companies like Shell and BP would only contribute a tiny amount to balance of payments.
The books aren't balancing, and we cannot keep going on like this for ever. Run a company at a deficit for too long and it will go bust.

Yet our economy doesn't even seem to be scratched. (I know unemployment is increasing in former industrail areas slightly)
My dear chap, in many areas it never fell, after the local industries were shut down.

but the UK Plc seems to indestructable.
That's what they said in 1928, before the Depression, and Thatcher and Lawson were saying it in 1987... and look what happened shortly afterwards.
 

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MGJohn said:
"On paper" maybe ... come another October 1987 when those that really control finances decide to cut and run again ... could only be a matter of time...



So can 'other' areas of commerce... you need a wide spread of things to cushion against a variety of contingencies. Too narrowly focussed 'wealth' can work against any organisation or Nation...
I am sorry, I meant to say "Shouldnt rely on any one industry"
 

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Charles Regan said:
I wouldn't go so far as to say Tesco was dominant in the Czech market. I have seen a handful of Tesco outlets in the country, and these in the cities such as Prague, Plzen etc. The German supermarket chains have also gone in there and are rather more prominent that Tescos.
It's not always obvious how well the uk does in business, but look a little deeper and it's quite astonishing how powerful our companies are globally.[/quote]

Which of course is a good thing... but it doesn't create many jobs in the Uk where we need them desperately...[/QUOTE]

Tesco, is a major playor in Czech, as too are a few others, such as Carrefour and Albert, but still a major player.

And I am not sure that the UK is "desperate" for jobs, We are hardly suffering mass unemployment and we are hardly a poor nation of people suffering hardship, I think people need to retain a little perspective on things.

My poitn about BL earlier, was that we did manage to move on and it's good we did, because we couldnt sustain an overnight loss of 1 million jobs if BL had remained a dominant employer in the UK. That;s why GM and Ford are almost seen as indestructable, not because they are doing well, but because the US government simply cannot afford for them to go under, it would mean millions of US citizens out of work, and no economoy can take such a hit at once.
 

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James Riley said:
It's not always obvious how well the uk does in business, but look a little deeper and it's quite astonishing how powerful our companies are globally.
Which of course is a good thing... but it doesn't create many jobs in the Uk where we need them desperately...[/quote]

Tesco, is a major playor in Czech, as too are a few others, such as Carrefour and Albert, but still a major player.
Tesco might say these things, but how many stores do they have? The few I have seen have been in the cities and they are outnumbered by their German competitors, who are more in tune with the Czech retail culture than we are. And anyway, what wealth and jobs do they generate for Britain?

And I am not sure that the UK is "desperate" for jobs, We are hardly suffering mass unemployment
One of the biggest con tricks pulled on the British people was the lie started off in the early 1980s by the Government which said that 'full employment' was a thing of the past... which, translated into realspeak, means that we must accept high unemployment as a matter of fact.

We have c. 1 million people on the dole... and another 2.5 million or so parked up on sickness benefits. That's 3.5 million.... it's called 'mass unemployment'.

and we are hardly a poor nation of people suffering hardship, I think people need to retain a little perspective on things.
Overall, we are not a poor nation... but we are a very unequal nation in terms of the gap between the wealth of the rich and the poverty of the poorest. That gap was steadily closing from 1945 until 1979, but since then it has opened up again. There are parts of Britain, even in the overheated South East, which suffer poverty. Go to some of the most affluent towns and villages and you will find large wealth alongside harsh poverty.

As you say, it's important to retain some perspective on these things... and it's also useful to look at it in comparison to what happens overseas. Germany, to use one example, formed the Welfare State under Bismarck, the 'Iron Chancellor', in the 19th century, to give ordinary people a cushion against hardship. It took Britain until 1945 to do the same, although various measures came into play in the years beforehand, and it was achieved in the face of staunch opposition.

Today, people in the former West Germany receive handsome benefit in the form of the 'Arbeitlosungsgeld' (unemployment pay) which, for a period immediately following loss of job, is something like 95% of your leaving salary. Over a period, it drops dow, but to a bottom level of 59% (if my memory serves me right). It makes the British unemployment benefit seem positively niggardly in comparison. Those who are Arbeitlos (unemployed) also receive help with their housing costs.

It rather knocks the view that we are a lazy nation thanks to the Welfare State into touch.

My poitn about BL earlier, was that we did manage to move on and it's good we did, because we couldnt sustain an overnight loss of 1 million jobs if BL had remained a dominant employer in the UK. That;s why GM and Ford are almost seen as indestructable, not because they are doing well, but because the US government simply cannot afford for them to go under, it would mean millions of US citizens out of work, and no economoy can take such a hit at once.
I'm not entirely sure where you're coming from here. I would rather see a strong company, which is 'indestructible', employing 170, 000 people (as BL did in 1975), and whose activities create another 800, 000 jobs in suppliers and dealerships etc, than a number of struggling smaller firms which are always fighting on the brink of bankruptcy and the inevitable ensuing redundancies. Of the former British Leyland, in the last year or so we have seen the rump heir to the company (MGR) collapse; we have seen Ford close down Jaguar's historic home at Browns Lane, Coventry; we have seen LDV go into administration and be saved at the eleventh hour by an American VC; we have seen component suppliers sack workers because of the collapse of MGR. None of this is good. It does not tell us a story of an infrastructurally strong motor industry; rather the reverse.

As you rightly say, the loss of c. 1, 000, 000 jobs is economically and politically unacceptable, today as in 1975, and it was certainly easier in 2005 for the Government to sit back and do nothing while MGR went to the wall than it would have been with BL in 1975.

It wouldn't be allowed to happen in France or Germany and it shouldn't be allowed to happen here. But it has, and we all know who to blame for the ideological shift which has occurred in the last 27 years...
 

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ChrisMG said:
In the UK there are 60million people most inhabitants (even kids) have relitevely large disposable income.
"Disposable income" and "discretionary income" are phrases cooked up by marketing people trying to sell you rubbish :)
 

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Charles, I dont disagree with your point, but in the case of Germany, perhaps that's why Germany has massive unemployment, because it makes you just as well being out of work as being in work. Let's not forget that if your out of work in the UK, add onto the income support all the other things you get for free, and it's a much rosier picture as it first appears, but not too rosy, why should it be encouraged to stay out of work.

There are many people who cannot get a job, but for every one, there are a handful more who simply do not ever want a job.

Besides, where does the 95% of salary in germany come from - the Taxpayer, so all the people in Jobs paying massive taxes to support the people out of jobs.... and so the cycle continues.

How can it be for example, that a colleague of mind has decided to work part time because she's actually better off once she gets all the tax credits back making here now earn more than me, and yet she works half the time? is that a fair system....


And as for Tesco, my final point would be this. Albert have lots of tiny outfits around Czech, however, Tesco and Carrefour have hypermarkets all over the place, and if you have ever been to the Tesco on the oustkirts of Prague, near Ikea etc, you will know that it is far bigger than any Tesco Store in the UK. Selling everything from Kitchens, sofas, bedrooms and everything you could possibly imagine. Even the Central Prague Tesco is about the size of 5 Alberts.

And Tesco's profits do at least come back into the UK, and are then distributed to it's shareholders, which include many ten's of thousands of UK citizens, who in turn pay tax on it, again recycling back into the UK economy.

More to the point I didnt say they were market leader, I said they were A market leader, surely something we should be proud of Tesco for, the are a UK company, it's like you can't win whatever you do, you get criticise for being a small Uk business, like MGR, and then you get criticised if you are a large multinational - not quite sure what people want.....
 

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James Riley said:
Charles, I dont disagree with your point, but in the case of Germany, perhaps that's why Germany has massive unemployment, because it makes you just as well being out of work as being in work. Let's not forget that if your out of work in the UK, add onto the income support all the other things you get for free, and it's a much rosier picture as it first appears, but not too rosy, why should it be encouraged to stay out of work.
I've thought about this on occasion over the years, and placed it in an historical perspective in both countries' cases. The fact that Germany was decades before the UK in introducing a welfare state, and also was a poineer in ensuring decent working environment in its factories and so on, coupled with its enlightened policies on housing, whilst ensuring decent benefits for those unlucky enough to lose their jobs, suggests an enlightened and socially responsible attitude. The fact that the UK has been decades behind in these respects suggests that we do not necessarily share this enlightened view, and furthermore that we do not trust people to behave responsibly and not abuse the system.

In any event, there is not a labour shortage in Germany. Jobs advertised are competed over, and if Germans were as idle as you suggest this would not be the case. The problems exist mainly in the former East, where industry collapsed in large part after uinification.

There are many people who cannot get a job, but for every one, there are a handful more who simply do not ever want a job.
What you are suggesting here, and please correct me if I'm wrong, is that 80% or so of those unemployed or on sickness benefit are there by choice and don't want to work.

I can't possibly agree with you. I am sure the vast majority of people in those unfortunate circumstances want to work and earn money. I can recall when the mines closed, the steelworks went, the shipyards closed, our motor manufacturers shut up shop and so on... millions of people who were used to a fair day's work for a fair day's pay found themselves impoverished and idle, through no fault of their own. Putting people in this position was despicable.

Besides, where does the 95% of salary in germany come from - the Taxpayer, so all the people in Jobs paying massive taxes to support the people out of jobs....
Yes, it comes out of taxes, which are higher in Germany than in the UK... but that is accepted. There is more communitarianism than in Britain, which is a good thing in my view. Incidentally the cost of living is lower there than it is in the UK.

How can it be for example, that a colleague of mind has decided to work part time because she's actually better off once she gets all the tax credits back making here now earn more than me, and yet she works half the time? is that a fair system....
Without knowing all the details it's impossible to say.

And Tesco's profits do at least come back into the UK, and are then distributed to it's shareholders, which include many ten's of thousands of UK citizens, who in turn pay tax on it, again recycling back into the UK economy.
Which is very good of course. But then you can think of all those foreign companies which have bought out UK organisations and suck the profit out of the UK. In the case of Tesco, I think you'll find that the majority of shares are owned by institutional investors. Then there's the family holding, and perhapos the less said about that the better...

, it's like you can't win whatever you do, you get criticise for being a small Uk business, like MGR, and then you get criticised if you are a large multinational - not quite sure what people want.....
Yes, people can be very fickle sometimes. However, I don't think it's the size of the organisation which is as important as the way it conducts itself...
 

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Charles Regan said:
I've thought about this on occasion over the years, and placed it in an historical perspective in both countries' cases. The fact that Germany was decades before the UK in introducing a welfare state, and also was a poineer in ensuring decent working environment in its factories and so on, coupled with its enlightened policies on housing, whilst ensuring decent benefits for those unlucky enough to lose their jobs, suggests an enlightened and socially responsible attitude. The fact that the UK has been decades behind in these respects suggests that we do not necessarily share this enlightened view, and furthermore that we do not trust people to behave responsibly and not abuse the system.
You seem to have a very impressed by Germany and how it conducts itself, which I cannot know why, but I dont share your views.

I happen to have many german relatives, mostly happy ones, but germany has many ludicrous laws too, making life very difficult for it's people in certain circumstances, for exmple my Aunt, after living with her partner for 20 years, was left destitute when he died, because the state does not allow her anything, instead her dead husbands considerable estate, including the house they shared together was forcibly taken by the state..... And then theres the property Market, the inability to buy property and the farcical situation of 99 year mortgages that have to be left to family that may or may not want to be saddled with them when the relatives die.... I could go on.....

There are always negatives for every positive I suppose. But touting Germany as a pioneer and idealistic society might be just a tad close to some still rather tender wounds don't you think! if not just a tad insensitive. Perhaps some time reflecting on our own nations equally impressive achievements in certain areas throughout the past might help put the balance right.
 

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My friends we need to push the nationalist revolution , we have lost our ship building industry or motorcycle industry our auto industry theres not much more to loose , the next thing will be the economy crash then the the brown stuff hits the fan and the fun begins.

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