The Rise and Fall of General Electric

Founded in 1892 by Thomas Edison with the backing of J.P. Morgan, General Electric has been a stalwart of American business for most of its history. Sprawling over a multitude of industrial divisions, including electric turbines, jet engines, locomotives and medical devices, the conglomerate outperformed its rivals in the 1980s and 90s by a wide margin, but in the 2000s, a series of bad deals and allegations of accounting fraud led to GE being de-listed from the Dow Jones Industrial Average in 2018 after having been its longest serving member since 1907. Tonight we discuss how this storied institution got to this point, and what it portends about the state of American industry as a whole.


Myth of the 20th Century – Episode 176 – The Rise and Fall of General Electric

— References —

– Wall Street, Stone (1987)
– Barbarians at the Gate, Burrough and Heylar (1989)
– Jack: Straight from the Gut, Welch (2003)
– H-1B: Foreign citizens make up nearly three-quarters of Silicon Valley tech workforce, Baron (2018) –
– Trump signs executive order suspending certain work visas through 2020, Samuels (2020) –
– Bell Labs – The Idea Factory, Myth of the 20th Century (2019) –
– General Electric whistleblower: ‘I think I have a few smoking guns’ Harry Markopolos reveals fraud, Yahoo! Finance (2019) –
– Open Borders Inc.: Who’s Funding America’s Destruction, Malkin (2019)
– NumbersUSA: For Lower Immigration Numbers –
– U.S. Techworkers –


7 Comments Add yours

  1. Corsican says:

    Y’all touched on their massive marketing push a decade back about how they were goin’ green. That whole affair is well worth going into detail about, as it demonstrates so much about the state of corporate America today. The initiative was led by a (formerly) pretty, young-ish white woman named Beth Comstock, a darling of the corporate speaking circuit. They came up with the horrible name “Ecomagination” to describe the thing, which started as a general greening initiative and then became the entire brand and strategy of GE, to which each division head had to pledge totally unrealistic goals about how renewable-energy and compostable-waste and vegan-cafeteria they would be in 5 years. All of their corporate growth was supposed to come from green innovations (to be discovered later, of course). I was in grad school a decade ago and this was held up to us as a case study in BEST.PRACTICES.EVER! in changing a corporate brand and corporate strategy in general. Women! Green! Innovation! Innovative Green Women! Of course nothing worked and Comstock eventually left/was let go (afterward writing a book with the suitably nonsense-language title “Imagine it Forward: Courage, Creativity and the Power of Change.”) Oh well, stock’s down now, but at least all the top people got paid well for a time!


  2. Eric says:

    Reblogged this on Calculus of Decay and commented:
    Pretty good one


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