Archive for June, 2009

23
Jun
09

Kill Big Auto (While We Can)

Big auto deserves to go down. Screw ’em. They’ve had every opportunity to make products that are more sustainable, and they’ve fought it at every turn. (They say they couldn’t market it, but have you ever seen a commercial for an electric car?) Big auto companies prop up the “big oil” companies, which are slowly killing the world with war & pollution.

‘But what about all the auto workers in their factories?’, people ask. It’s hard not to feel for them, but then they’ve consciously decided to make their living manufacturing a product that’s hurting our planet. They have been fortunate to be thereby employed for generations, but now ineviteably the party’s over. And what about all the ‘trickle down’  jobs lost, like parts manufacturers & service garages? Same story.

Let the big car companies die so that electric (& other sustainably fuelled) car companies can emerge. Let the big car companies die so that the oil companies can start to wither, and lose the awesome & unmerited power to start wars for their benefit while they pollute.

Speaking of electric cars, if you’ve seen “Who Killed The Electric Car” you’ll know who exactly killed the forward-thinking electric car initiative in California, effectively killing it nation-wide in the U.S.. (Um, that would be the big auto companies.) And the U.S. market dictates largely to the world, so if America started buying ’em, the rest of the world would start making ’em.

Big auto doesn’t care about their consumers, or society as a whole – they only care about creating cars that will need to be replaced in a certain number of years, and which will need repairs regularly at their shops in the meantime. They could easily make a car that would last 20 or 30 years… but that would be bad for business.

Clearly jobs would be lost. The impact on GDP in the medium term would be enormous. In the long term though, it would make cars & driving more affordable giving people more expendable cash. Car manufacturing is a beast that needs an enormous amount of food to survive. That ‘food’ is coming out of our hides, in the form of polluting our planet, car repairs, & gas prices to name but a few. Capitalism has created this monster, and now we have an opportunity to let it die of it’s own volition, & from it’s own folly of taking the money now (ie. instant gratification) instead of looking to the future & getting with the program in terms of seriously manufacturing and marketing sustainable cars.

If I owned an electric car company right now, I’d be looking to strike in this window of opportunity (while the majors are reeling). It’s all about marketing, and no one has yet seriously marketed an electric car -for example- during the Superbowl. Or on TV at all that I’ve seen.

And while we’re at it, to supplement electric cars and compensate for long distance travelling, hi-speed rail travel should be developed -rather than ignored- in Canada. European countries are light years ahead of us (if you’ll pardon the pun) in this regard. But I digress.

Turn the auto dealerships into electric (and other non-oil driven) car lots. Turn the gas stations into electric stations (and/or multiple alternative fuel depots). And buy up the bankrupt big car company factories and hire their laid-off workers to make the new, sustainable cars. There’s less parts to manufacture, install & service/maintain, but it’s not a total wipe-out – people will still need cars of some kind.

We need a new breed of big car company – one which makes sustainable products, and which isn’t focussed on fleecing our wallets both themselves, and at the behest of big oil. Kill the car companies, kill the oil companies, and end the biggest source of pollution and war.

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