Aug 31, 2011
The beauty - and danger - of capitalism is that it's survival of the fittest. Some companies, a few of them, survive and thrive. Many - most - don't. Unfortunately, Solyndra didn't. It's unfortunate primarily because, in a difficult economy, the loss of 1,100 jobs is a tragedy, with deep impacts on hundreds of families. But it's also unfortunate because Solyndra was helping to lead the charge toward the inevitable green economy. There is a critical point we must make. Capitalism's survival of the fittest only works on a level playing field. Solyndra - like many other clean energy companies - are competing evenly in the United States, but on an extremely slanted field globally. Solyndra was facing, in particular, Chinese companies that received massive subsidies from the Chinese government. The investment our government made in Solyndra wasn't a hand-out; it was an attempt to help balance the playing field. But that attempt was one-tenth, one-twentieth what its Chinese competition saw. That Solyndra competed at all is remarkable and laudable. We have a choice. We can choose to compete in the global economy, or we can choose to import our solar panels - and our batteries, and our water, and everything else - from overseas. We can choose to fight harder to keep jobs for workers like those at Solyndra; we can choose to make feeding those kids a priority. Or we can give up on our nation's future. It's our choice.