Today’s Swarf

It has been 25 years since folk singer/song writer Steve Goodman Died at 36, yet his popularity is still growing. “Go Cubs Go,” his ode to the Chicago Cubs is still sung at Wrigley Field after each Cubs victory. A 778 page biography of Goodman came out recently, and his albums and songs are popular on iTunes.

He wrote a song that feels like a perfect fit for these tough business days. When I saw the latest dreary statistic on the lack of growth of industrial production on the front page of Monday’s Wall Street Journal, it confirmed Steve Goodman’s classic, “The I Don’t Know Where I’m Going But I’m Going Nowhere in a Hurry Blues.” According to CPB, Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis, industrial production grew by 67 percent in developing countries from the March lows through August. In advanced economies growth was 3.3 percent, but the big drag was the U.S., which grew industrial production by 0.1 percent during the period.

I expect the last four months to be somewhat better, but in the arena of machining I still see misery.

Many Machine tool builders have seen a 70 percent drop in sales in 2009. The rampant discounting off of the list price is indicative of a price war orchestrated to keep the factories open and the distributors solvent.

Steve Goodman’s song is funny and current as we try to navigate the swirling rapids. Should you look for the exits or get as much leverage as possible to take advantage of the bargains? Is this recession the first lap of a long slog or the dip to buy on?

Maybe the real insight comes from Steve Goodman’s Life. He was diagnosed with leukemia at 22 years old. According to his wife, he looked at every day as borrowed time and lived it as if it was a gift.

Enjoy the music!

Question: What is your song for the day?

“The I Don’t Know Where I’m Going But I’m Goin’ Nowhere in a Hurry Blues” by Steve Goodman

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