For all you “cluster” fans, New Carolina – the superfluous organization devoted to sucking down money and throwing up hot air – has designated another emerging cluster for the Palmetto State: the tire industry.

For the uninitiated, New Carolina is the resident snake oil sales organization whose raison d’etre is to push the notion that the key to South Carolina’s future prosperity rests with developing “clusters.”

The Columbia-based nonprofit defines clusters as groups of companies in a similar line of business that “collaborate to improve competitiveness.”

The concept is promoted by Harvard University business professor Michael Porter, who recommended the formation of New Carolina.

New Carolina began pushing the idea of a “tire cluster” following recent announcements that Continental Tire would build a $500 million tire plant in Sumter, and Bridgestone Corp. would construct a $1.2 billion tire plant in Aiken, according to the New Carolina blog.

In addition, Michelin Tire is the state’s largest private employer, with their North American headquarters in Greenville and seven plants in Greenville, Spartanburg, Anderson and Lexington Counties that employ more than 7,700.

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