What Westinghouse Wrought
One of the better pieces out there anywhere in the nexus of journalism and history was the PG series looking at the whole sordid tale: Who Killed Westinghouse?
My summary is just a bit shorter. Jordan wanted the big media lights, but was stuck running what some thought was merely an old industrial company. He wanted to run CBS, so Westinghouse bought CBS, became CBS, and then just ditched the residual which was what Westinghouse had been for a century. Business hubris run amok.
It gets to some real questions of how Pittsburgh survived the recent decades. Westinghouse's dissection was not the result of any of the same structural forces that did in the steel industry here. Some maybe, but not the bulk of it. Many of the parts of Westinghouse were and in some cases still are competitive enterprises, but the collective Westinghouse and its synergy in technology was taken apart by Jordan and Co. never to be put back together.
The impact on Westinghouse on the the region is recognized by many, but the memory is fading. What we have of a technology base in the owes much of its existance to the people and enterprises brought here by Westinghouse in one way or another. From the remnants of Westinghouse Nuclear (no need for the qualifier anymore) to a long list of companies that would take too long to go through.. the common thread is W. The Westinghouse R&D complex was one of the best in the world for decades at what it did creating technology and was in and of itself one of the main draws of migrants (international and domestic) into the region for decades when there were few other economic reasons to move here? Many communities of folks are here because Westinghouse brought them here and the vast Pittsburgh transfromation we talk about would not have been possible if they were not here.
So if Pittsburgh was able to rebuild itself with what Westinghouse left us, imagine the history if Westinghouse had not been torn apart. Sorry for the rant. BP may be in the news, memories of Enron are fading... but what Jordan destroyed for such inconsequential gain is unmeasureable. When it comes to sheer business ego that ignored the consequences, the story of Westinghouse and CBS may top them all.