Lynne Kiesling highlights these daunting numbers from David Yermack’s WSJ piece:

• GM and Ford are two companies that made the most money-losing investments in the 1980s; between them they “destroyed $110 billion in capital” in the decade, according to an analysis from the careful and renowned economist Michael Jensen.

• Over the most recent decade, “the capital destruction by GM has been breathtaking,” $182 billion, and Yermack estimates that the aggregate capital investment in GM and Ford since 1980 has let to a net reduction in capital of $465 billion.

• This is what I find particularly disturbing: with that $465 billion, “GM and Ford could have closed their own facilities and acquired all of the shares of Honda, Toyota, Nissan, and Volkswagen.”

• “When a company makes money-losing investments, the cost falls upon all of society.” This observation means that we have already reduced our future economic well-being by $465 billion by his calculations, due to the persistence of these firms and their poor business decisions.