Friday, February 24, 2006

Listing To Port

(51) Listing to Port

The conventional wisdom in business these days is that the whole is worth less than the parts. Break up Time Warner! Break up ExxonMobile. Break up The Mets.

So why not countries, too.

Don’t you think that there’s more shareholder value in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio as separate entities than there is when you put the three of them together with the rest of the lower 48?

This space has always been in favor of selling New Jersey, or at least breaking it in two and dividing it between the tw€o real states it serves to connect.

And why limit the break ups to states. Some states themselves are worth more in parts than they are as a whole.

New York comes to mind immediately. Separate everything from Westchester south and east into a separate thing. Spin off Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, etc to the shareholders. Mayor Bloomberg could probably put together a coalition of investors to scoop that up – if he was unable to do it all by himself.

Perhaps Wall Street could be separated from Lower New York. Those guys have always been their own planet, anyway.

Maybe Viacom could buy California starting at the northernmost part of Los Angeles and on down to the Mexican border. Get studio rent-a-cops to guard the border.

Athens and Sparta worked pretty well. Why not Los Angeles and Santa Monica?

Of course, ignorant naysayers will bring up things like nationalism and the difficulties these spinoffs have had in places like Germany, Ireland, Pakistan, the entire Middle East, North and South Korea, North and South Vietnam. What do THEY know?

All of which brings us to the real question, today:

What’s all the hoo-hah about letting some middle eastern sultanate run most of America’s major shipping ports?

We’ve given everything else away, so why not this? In fact, it really doesn’t matter whether the ports are run by a company from a country ostensibly with ties to the 9/11 bombers the British who run them now. It’s still not American owned.

And where were the rest of us when this happened the first time?

Watching our Malaysian television sets from our Chinese living room furniture on our Costa Rican wood floors and our Pakistani rugs? Were we busy eating our Chilean fruit and dreaming about the new Volkswagen we ordered. Maybe reading the magazine that came with the Sunday paper – and which is printed in Canada.

Or maybe we were on our Taiwanese telephone with a call center in India about our Japanese computer.

Where were the dock unions when all this started? Not a peep where an average American could have heard it.

Watch out, Lower Saxony, Upper Volta and Des Moines, here comes Wall Street.

I'm Wes Richards, my opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.

(c) 2006 WJR

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