GENERAL Motors, the corporation representative of American capitalism, has gone under, almost symbolic of the plight of capitalism in the present global crisis. Once, about 50 years ago, its Chairman pronounced that "What's good for General Motors is good for America." That was the apogee of American capitalism, and the close linkage between its government and its corporations. However, the corporation that filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday was not the same, and did so to avoid being dragged down by its myriad creditors. The corporation faced $172.8 billion in debt, with assets of only $82.3 billion. Official expect the process of restructuring the giant to be similar to that undergone by Chrysler, the second largest American automaker which went through a similar process for the same reason. Chrysler filed for bankruptcy protection about a month ago. GM enters the process with billions of dollars in federal funding as well as agreements to lay off labour, and will get $30 billion after the process to top the $20 billion it already has had, which will give the US government 60 percent in the auto giant, while the governments of Canada and Ontario will put up $9.5 billion for a 12 percent stake. GM's European Opel and Vauxhall subsidiaries are already leaving the GM empire, under a separate rescue scheme, bond holders are being offered a debt-equity swap involving $27.1 billion in exchange for a 10 percent share and an option on another 15 percent. All this is to avoid bankruptcy, not because the Obama Administration has any intention of nationalizing the automaker even over the long term, or participating in its day-to-day operations. The Pakistani government, which through nationalizations became the country's biggest entrepreneur, would do well to learn from this example, which shows that government has no business to be in business. It has done well to get out of much business, but it needs to get out of remaining loss-making enterprises, like PIA, Railways and WAPDA.