Regarding the Organization Wars (SPI vs. APC):
Whoever said the source of money should have controlling power? As for ``50 percent is not controlling,'' ask any investor how much control even 25 percent gives if it's voted as a block.
It's not even democratic. Do we run elections on the basis of ``one buck, one vote?''
Where do you think APC members get their money from, if not the processors? Resin is often two-thirds of all manufacturing cost, and sometimes more.
Americans know there are many ways of representing a group. That's why we have three branches of government and two legislative bodies. Let's stop looking for reasons to justify what we feel, and deal with real industry needs.
I am convinced unity is better than division, especially in an electronic age. Look at the United States, at Latin America's many countries, and at Europe, which is finally getting the message.
We can have one organization with several branches, each with substantial powers. Regarding the leadership ``problem,'' we can solve that by thinking .org rather than .com. In older words, think group cooperation and political compromise, rather than entrepreneurial competition. Freedom is defined by what you restrict, not by what you allow.
We solved the leadership problem here over 200 years ago by throwing out the king and the concept of absolute power. Avoid an all-powerful top man, and there won't be an all-powerful person to resent and replace. Elect the executive director for a four-year term, two terms maximum, and limit the powers.
Separate branches? Of course there should be a resin-makers group. They have different interests. Prices go down, they cry and processors applaud. Prices go up, vice versa. Sounds like taxes, but our economy works.
Resin makers want to fund ads? Let them, subject to no control but their own. If they say the rest of the industry benefits without paying for the ads, the rest of us don't have a say in producing the ads, either.
Look around. Do supermarkets pay for Coke ads? Do bars pay for the Bud Frogs? What about tire makers paying for car ads? If the resin people think one buck equals one vote, they can distribute power within their group equal to their input.
Other branches could unite machinery makers and processors, as it is now, or perhaps more along market lines. A member could belong to more than one. SPI advertises the democratic-sounding idea of equal representation by machinery, materials and processors. But those aren't equals; each must have control over critical issues that concern them. Details can be worked out. This is not a proposal, but an appeal to stick together.
How to get everyone involved and minimize freeloaders? Make membership so advantageous that big companies can't afford not to join. Don't put money only into image ads and lawyers, but consider members-only online access to data; technical, legal and management help; and high-level contacts in other countries, with clear identification of who's in our society and who's out. Nonmembers can't exhibit at NPE or Plastics USA.
That's only a beginning. There are some tough issues, such as imported resin, foreign-based processors and buyers, and how to stop Greenpeace from abusing science and deluding the well-meaning public. This is what we should be talking about, not who should lead, or how wonderful is our reorganization.
If we believe it is one industry after all, we have to go after e pluribus unum, and look to history and government, rather than corporate boardrooms, as models for both our organization and success.
Griff is a consulting engineer, author and self-described ``Modern Federalist'' in Bethesda, Md.