Re: Stop me if I'm wrong
"How can IBM management not spot the obvious?"
That's the problem, they do spot the "obvious". The obvious is that lowering costs maintains upper-management compensation and keeps the dividends high, both being the only things that Wall Street care about. "Happy upper management" = "continuing expected growth potential" and "high dividends" = "more investor returns".
The exact methods use to attain both those targets are secondary. "Long term sustainability" is no longer a factor in American business decisions, it is all about the now. And "Happy Wall Street" supposedly means "Good Business", even if that is not properly correct and hurts the business in the future.
Not to offend, but these incredibly short-sighted greedy American businesspeople fail to note that their actions are almost exactly identical to what brought Great Britain's magnificent industrial economy to a crashing halt: executives play Deck Chairs on the Titanic, patting one another on the back while keeping their incomes, whilst cutting every production corner and penny/pound possible out of the system, thereby cheapening the value of the product to the actual consumers.
It is the "It can't happen here!" syndrome, no one bothers to look at history for constantly reoccurring patterns...of failure.