Just over 100 ago, the company we know as Caterpillar began building track-type tractors at a plant on the banks of the Illinois River. From these humble origins in East Peoria—the factory had 12 employees when it started—this icon of the American Midwest has grown into one of the world's most competitive manufacturers, recently forecasting record profits for 2011.
The question is, how come its home state of Illinois has so little to show for it?
Part of the answer has to do with the unvirtuous circle created when organized labor—public as well as private—forgets it has an interest in a growth-friendly environment.
--Wall Street Journal