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Sat Apr 27, 2019, 05:55 PM

Boeing might represent the greatest indictment of 21st-century capitalism

Boeing might represent the greatest indictment of 21st-century capitalism

Packed in the 737 fiasco are all the economic problems we face: crony capitalism, regulatory capture, offshoring...

MARSHALL AUERBACK at Salon

https://www.salon.com/2019/04/27/boeing-might-represent-the-greatest-indictment-of-21st-century-capitalism_partner/

"SNIP.....


A veteran commercial pilot and software engineer with over three decades of experience has just written the most damning account of the recent Boeing 737 fiasco. At one level, author Gregory Travis has provided us with the most detailed account of why a particular plane model once synonymous with reliability became a techno-death trap. But ultimately, his story is a parable of all that is wrong with 21st-century capitalism; Boeing has become a company that embodies all of its worst pathologies. It has a totally unsustainable business model—one that has persistently ignored the risks of excessive offshoring, the pitfalls of divorcing engineering from the basic R&D function, the perils of “demodularization,” and the perverse incentives of “shareholder capitalism,” whereby basic safety concerns have repeatedly been sacrificed at the altar of greed. It’s also a devastating takedown of a company that once represented the apex of civilian aviation, whose dominance has been steadily eroded as it has increased its toxic ties to the U.S. military. In that sense it mirrors the decline of America as a manufacturing superpower. And finally, it shows a company displaying a complete loss of human perspective in the “man vs. machine” debate.

Here’s the crux of Travis’s analysis: “Design shortcuts” led to safety hazards. The newest version of Boeing’s 737 plane, previously known for its reliability and ease of use, became a high-tech disaster. Machines overwhelmed man. And worst of all, the aviation industry regulatory overseer, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), subcontracted the safety/certification functions to Boeing itself, so there was no early warning system in place to avert the resultant tragedy.

Travis largely restricts his analysis to the 737. But his article illustrates pathologies long evident at Boeing and the FAA.

Let’s look at the last problem first: The FAA suffers from reduced funding from Congress (the Daily Beast reported that “the agency’s 2019 budget actually cut funding for the Aviation Safety Office by 1.7 percent”), and a corresponding loss of aviation expertise, as many of its top personnel have migrated to the private sector. Of course, that’s nothing new for the FAA, which has a sad history of hemorrhaging personnel since the days of the air traffic controllers’ strike/collective dismissal under Reagan (a cost control measure), as well as embracing neoliberal, supposedly market-based performance incentivesthat are thoroughly inappropriate for a regulatory body first and foremost responsible for flight safety.


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Arrow 7 replies Author Time Post
Reply Boeing might represent the greatest indictment of 21st-century capitalism (Original post)
applegrove Apr 27 OP
uponit7771 Apr 27 #1
applegrove Apr 27 #2
malaise Apr 27 #5
Maxheader Apr 27 #3
AJT Apr 27 #4
malaise Apr 27 #6
Maxheader Apr 28 #7

Response to applegrove (Original post)

Sat Apr 27, 2019, 05:56 PM

1. That's not capitalism that's greed and stupidity

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Response to uponit7771 (Reply #1)

Sat Apr 27, 2019, 05:57 PM

2. And it is willfull stupidity.

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Response to uponit7771 (Reply #1)

Sat Apr 27, 2019, 08:54 PM

5. Neo-liberalism is

greedy and stupid

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Response to applegrove (Original post)

Sat Apr 27, 2019, 06:09 PM

3. bow wow..woof woof..


Usual boeing bashing..without specific events that transpired at specific times with specific consequences...

[T]he shift from aluminum alloys to carbon-fiber-composite materials changed things. The old modular design rules could not fully account for stress transmission and loading at the system level—something that Boeing did not get right initially.”


Modular design rules...what the fuck is that?..I worked with stress engineers on the 777 composite floor beams..Actually with engineers at the tulsa plant that built the beams and with boeing engineers that reviewed
the analysis from tulsa...There wasn't any finite element analysis particular to aluminum parts that wouldn't apply to cfrp parts...They either took the loads or they didn't...The "c" shaped beams all had unique upper flange thicknesses depending on their location in the aircraft...
These bitches are probably from old design guys that do not like anything but aluminum and steel in their aircraft...

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Response to Maxheader (Reply #3)

Sat Apr 27, 2019, 08:46 PM

4. It's always good to have someone with real experience

in the field contribute. Most of us are at the mercy of what we read or hear when it comes to complex technology. It's hard to know what to believe if you have no depth of understanding of the issues involved. Thanks for your posting, it's good to be reminded that you can't just blindly take a position after reading one article.

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Response to AJT (Reply #4)

Sat Apr 27, 2019, 08:56 PM

6. A veteran commercial pilot and software engineer with over three decades of experience...

That's the opening sentence.

Let's have all the positions

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Response to malaise (Reply #6)

Sun Apr 28, 2019, 09:55 AM

7. Its just all so familiar...

Its the same vague accusations from the strike days in everett or renton, wa.
The seattle pi would have them in their 'to the editor' comments. Too much
off loading of boeing parts..overseas production is hurting the company..etc..

-all that is wrong with 21st-century capitalism
-unsustainable business model
-ignored the risks of excessive off-shoring, the pitfalls of divorcing engineering from the basic R&D function, the perils of “demodularization,” and the perverse incentives of “shareholder capitalism,” whereby basic safety concerns have repeatedly been sacrificed at the altar of greed.

ALL corporations that turn out a finished aircraft..off load. It might be a matter of unavailable processes..The stringers in the back section of the 737 fus...made in s. korea..Too convoluted for the machines in the states..too much twist.
I designed those..

Business model..? Stock markets didn't reflect that..before the max problem.
Worked some r & d stuff in everett..787 .. A little bit of friction between the
fab guys and what the engineers wanted.usual. The 787 was considered to be a
risk sharing program..different from boeing handing off engineering to another company
to build its parts...risk sharing, the other aircraft corps bid on a package, which..and
this is key..The bidding winner is responsible for designing and delivering parts..They
own the design.

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