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The Reckoning by David Halberstam

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29. THE ALIENATED

BY THE EARLY SEVENTIES there were a number of high executives in the auto industry who had detected what they considered to be clear signals that the industry was changing for the worse and about to enter a new and far more difficult era. These men were still a minority, for it was not an industry that lightly bred or promoted pessimists, but it was hard to argue with some of their calculations. They saw foreign competition becoming more serious as the Japanese gradually replaced the West Europeans as challengers to the United States. They saw American costs, especially labor costs, as increasingly burdensome. They were also worried about the new, more alienated generation of American workers.

Company executives were not the ...

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