Stephen Foley: GE boss turns his fire on his own feet
Saturday 03 July 2010
US Outlook: Chief executive of multinational corporation slams government regulation, protectionism – shock.
To the (limited) extent that Jeff Immelt's (slightly) disparaging comments about Chinese and American policies tell us anything, it is that he views General Electric as a national champion for the US, rather than as the citizen of the world that it and other global corporations purport to be.
Were his remarks at a private dinner in Rome really worth reporting in breathless tones? His comments on the US, hyped into "harsh words for Barack Obama", were as follows: "We have to become an industrial powerhouse again but you don't do this when government and entrepreneurs are not in sync." That is not far off boilerplate.
Slightly more interesting, discussing China with the audience of Italian businessmen, Mr Immelt said he "really worried" because he was "not sure that in the end they want any of us to win, or any of us to be successful".
For the record, GE says the remarks were taken out of context – the context being a long dinner where he also discussed the positive attractions of doing business in China. It was impolitic, certainly, for the boss of a company with more than $5bn in annual revenue from China. It is hardly news that the softly-softly opening up of the Chinese economy has been designed to nurture local businesses, rather than just let American multinationals pile in.
And who is the one talking about "them" and "us" here, anyway?
As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”
- 1 Mother fed her daughter tapeworms to make her skinny for beauty pageant
- 2 Crystal Palace next manager latest: Palace consider Ally McCoist - EXCLUSIVE
- 3 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 4 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 5 Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'
'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
West poised to join forces with Assad in face of Islamic State
Pamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals: 'Mice had holes drilled into their skulls'
James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – as hunt begins for killer
ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
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