Quote Originally Posted by clay
Look, I'm no more happy about the state of affairs with regard to film than anybody else. But seriously, do we expect someone to keep making a product at a loss just for the tiny piece of the market that the fine art community represents? We have just been fortunate enough to piggyback on the wide commercial use of silver gelatin products for the last century..
The release didn't say that they were making these products at a loss, they said that the company had a net loss - a big, big difference. Since they didn't say where the loss was incurred, I think it's jumping the gun to assume it was from manufacturing. Knowing that Kodak is pouring it's resources into the digital market in a massive game of catch up, it's much more likely that the losses were related to expenses in ramping up their digital operations, not in manufacture of a mature technology that isn't getting a lot of R&D these days (if any).

Quote Originally Posted by clay
It's easy to blame management for all of this, but face it, they DO have a responsibility to the owners of the company to turn a profit, and if they see the traditional silver gelatin paper market imploding, then they have a DUTY to not throw good money after bad. While I am sorry for the laid off employees, they are getting paid for the work they have done to this point. It is not like the company is ripping them off. The company owes them a job to no greater a degree than the employee owes the company the duty to show up and work. Brutal, yeah. But an employee can walk from a job at any time. Why should this not be reciprocal with regard to the company's obligation to the employee?
Management is exactly where the blame should go, especially the brass at the top of the heap. Sure, they have a responsibility to their shareholders, I won't deny that, but they also have a responsibility to their employees and customer base. The market may not be as strong for B&W paper products as it was 20 years ago, but the market isn't imploding either. I don't see the continuance of making B&W paper as throwing good money after bad at all. Kodak hasn't been introducing any new B&W paper products in the recent past, so it's pretty safe to say that not a great amount of R&D is going on in that area. Spending inordinate amounts on R&D trying to hit the "digital" moving target is, IMO, a much greater waste of resources for a company that isn't exactly a leader in consumer electronics. Kodak could easily continue to manufacture legacy B&W paper products and still make a profit, just maybe not as large as a profit as the bean counters would like.

As for the whole company/employee job thing - you're right, no one is "owed" a job.

Quote Originally Posted by clay
Other methods of allocating productive assets and capital have been tried. The great shining success of the USSR is one example.

That said, I also firmly believe that I have no obligation to support Kodak. I think they are moving in a direction that is not in our best interest. Throwing our support behind Ilford is the best way to vote with our feet.
Actually, I like your analogy of large corporations to the USSR. When companies get too big and diversified, they quite often forget the very people who helped them get that way. In the case of the USSR, it was the "people" who brought the communists to power, yet "the people" were the ones to suffer when the State was ravaged by mismanagement and corruption.

In the case of Kodak, "the people" can be represented by the employees and the long time customer base. These are the ones who will suffer when the over-bloated Great Yellow Father finally rolls over and dies, a victim of it's own (read that as boards) stupidity. The bright side is that with every corporate death, the bloated corpse will fertilize the field and fresh new players will arise from the dung-heap of the boardroom.

If Kodak wants to leave the B&W field, fine. I'll miss HC-110 and Microdol-X, but Ilford has plenty of products in their line that will fill any void that Kodak leaves. Between Efke, Forte, Foma, Fuji, and Ilford (plus a few others), there is a great selection of B&W films from which to choose. If Kodak kills off color and bows out of film completely (not likely, at least for a while), Fuji products are pretty damned good and are readily available.

OK, rant over, go on home...