Airline deregulation

Stuart Lawrence stuartwl at
Tue May 8 11:02:34 MDT 2001

Louis' post provided a great deal of food for thought. My question is what
capitalist sector gained most from the restructuring of the US airline industry,
and has this restructuring altered the distribution of profits higher up the
economic food chain?  Wall Street, the aircraft manufacturers, and the airlines
themselves each play a role in allocating profits and risk in the industry as a
whole.  Did the restructuring/deregulation process significantly change the
share of airline profits absorbed by interest payments? Have aircraft
manufacturers benefitted at the expense of airlines? We can see that finance
capital drove a great deal of the restructuring but has it left the industry
with a fundamentally different role, primarily that of leveraged buyer of
aircraft and servicer of debt?

Obviously it leaves airline workers severely weakened if the biggest and most
consistent share of their industry's profits accrues not to the companies they
work for but to bankers, who have the planes as security and who can step in and
reorganize when it serves their purposes. Wall St. doesn't even mind if the
workers own a big piece of an airline as long as they get to call the shots.
When finance capital sucks the profits out of businesses that had seen great
economic gains by workers, class struggle can only advance by engaging with the
real enemy.

stuartwl at

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