For the Kids

Here’s one your children and grandchildren will appreciate. It’s what the Democratic Party’s Congresscritter has to say about relaxing the rules for making and selling the machine that’s destroying the material basis for future civilization.

“Our bill makes simple changes so our manufacturers, suppliers, and workers can continue to make the best products in the world.”

This machine, of course, just happens to be the lifeblood of corporate capitalism and the unaccountable, decrepit overclass it sustains. Hence, such über-Orwellian stuff. “The best products in the world!”

Why Civilizations Get Killed

earth-kill From the latest Automotive News:

Ford CEO Mark Fields…said last week: “The good news is as we see that shift into trucks and utilities going forward, that’s a benefit for us because of our profitability on those vehicles.”

The same point applies a hundred fold, of course, when comparing cars in general to the actually sustainable modes of locomotion.

Capitalism Eats the Planet

earthapple This is how they do it:

Driven by the rise of the millennial generation and a global growth boom, the auto industry is in the midst of a new golden age, said Mark Fields, Ford Motor Co. COO, in a speech at the Automotive News World Congress. The industry should take advantage of that to lure new talent, he said. Fields called it “the most exciting time for the auto industry in the last 25 years.”

Growth of small cars and luxury sales are pushing industry growth from different ends.

“There are 2.1 billion people reaching driving age in countries where the number of middle-income consumers is growing. These countries have huge potential for growth of first time buyers,” he said.

“Today the luxury segment accounts for 8 percent of the total global market,” he said. “Globally, the luxury market is forecast to add approximately 2.3 million vehicles in the next five years — with lots of opportunity in markets like China, the U.S., Russia, Turkey and Brazil.”

An exciting golden age, indeed! Is this how Thelma and Louise felt in their last 30 seconds?

[Source: Automotive News, January 14, 2014]

Straight from the Horse’s Mouth

horse_suit From the department of “Yep, they said it” comes this item in today’s edition of Automotive News:

Mike Accavitti, the former head of Dodge who became American Honda’s vice president of marketing in August, describes the current luxury market as “too much machine and not enough humanity.”

Replace the phrase “the current luxury market” with “the automobile.” Does anything change?

Greenpeace the Teddy-Bear

I bet they’re drooling on themselves over at Greenpeace, thinking themselves oh-so-clever for producing this spoof of a recent triumph of car-peddling smarm:

Not only does this sort of lavishly expensive undertaking encourage would-be radicals to mistake gestures for organizing, but take a look at the language of the thing:

More efficient cars are cheaper to run, use less oil and emit less CO2. Volkswagen has a history of lobbying against the strong European standards that we need to kick our oil addiction. As the biggest car company in Europe, with the biggest responsibility, VW must change and support strong standards from now on.

Volkswagen says it wants to be “the most eco-friendly automaker in the world”, but only 6% of the cars it sold in 2010 were its most efficient models. It has the technology to do better. VW must set out its plan to make its entire fleet oil-free by 2040.

ewok Wow. Greenpeace, the operation that used to risk life and limb to halt nukes and whaling ships, is now spoofing TV ads, and telling its audience that “more efficient cars” are the answer, that “oil-free” cars are somehow green, that’s it’s “our oil addiction,” and that we can afford to diddle around until 2040 playing games with such silly-ass dishonesties.

Sad, and scary.

Endgame Approacheth

cliff-drive Interesting report-on-a-report from Jeremy Warner of The Telegraph:

HSBC has calculated what would happen to energy consumption by 2050 given plausible forecasts for economic growth and assuming no constraint on resources, or that humans carry on using energy in the “taken for granted” way they do at the moment.

[D]emand in China, India and other emerging markets soars, but there is also quite considerable growth from advanced economies too. The big picture is that with an additional one billion cars on the road, demand for oil would grow 110%, to more than 190 million barrels per day. Total demand for energy would rise by a similar order of magnitude, doubling the amount of carbon in the atmosphere to more than three and a half times the amount climate change scientists think would keep temperatures at safe levels.

It scarcely needs saying that regardless of the environmental consequences, energy industries would struggle to cope, and more likely would find it impossible. We may or may not already be perilously close to peak oil – or maximum productive capacity – but nobody believes the industry could produce double what it does at the moment, however clever it becomes in tapping previously uncommercial or inaccessible reserves.

We are fast approaching an era when energy will have to be rationed. This can either be done in a peaceful manner, or we can carry on as we are, in which case it is all too likely to end up being settled down the barrel of a gun.

Rather sobering, as we watch the 2008 Marketer of the Year launch War #3.

More Confirmation of Overclass Heedlessness

The overall plan from above is to continue extracting every possible drip of profit from cars-first transportation, until collapse arrives.

heedless-horsepower Left to their own devices, capitalists are heedless of the health and welfare of human society.

Doubt it?

Read this, which confirms, via Wikileaks, that the overall plan from above is to continue extracting every possible drip of profit from cars-first transportation, until collapse arrives.

Rapa Nui Motors

To modify Sesame Street, one of these things is just like the other.

moai lineup On Easter Island, as the rats they brought with them and came to rely on as a supplementary food source ate up the seeds of the big palm trees they needed to make seaworthy long-distance fishing/travel/escape canoes, what did the Rapanui people do? Under the sway of their priestly overclass, who naturally insisted that bigger and better appeals to the gods (and, of course, further expansion of the practices and prerogatives of their Earthly messengers) was the only reasonable answer to any and all crises, they made more and bigger moai.

_____

bmw ved In the United States of America and the rest of the “advanced” corporate capitalist nation-states, as the ornate and allegedly magical “self-movers” they bought to achieve mobility started to burn away the second half of the planet’s petroleum supply, the great entrepreneurs insisted that the path to survival and renewal was building further, still-more-intricate-and-expensive implementations of these 3,000-plus-pound objects, by means of which each micro-pod of commoners fetched food, got to workplaces, and attended what remained of in-person social occasions (all, of course, while further glorifying and enriching the entrepreneurial class that pushed and provided the “freedom machines”).

To modify Sesame Street, one of these things is just like the other.

“Issues of Enormous Importance”

For reasons I will explain in my forthcoming book, Courting Carmageddon: Capitalism and Transportation in the United States, manufacturing and selling automobiles is roughly as bad for public health as manufacturing and selling nicotine-delivery devices.

fatal crash For reasons I will explain in my forthcoming book, Courting Carmageddon: Capitalism and Transportation in the United States, manufacturing and selling automobiles is roughly as heedless of and harmful to public health as manufacturing and selling nicotine-delivery devices.  Car crashes alone have killed more than 2 million U.S. residents in the past half-century.

Of course, thanks to their physical size and complexity and their enormous infrastructural and convenience implications, cars are far more important to corporate capitalists than cigarettes ever were.  Hence, they are also far more off-the-table in terms of public debate and defense.

I say all this as background to news that Mazda is now asking the Supreme Court to shield it from liability for disregarding state-level vehicular safety laws that exceed the federal regulatory standards administered by the always half-hearted (and oxymoronically named) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In explaining its appearance as a friend of Mazda, the Alliance of Automobile Manfacturers explains:

“This case raises issues of enormous importance to auto manufacturers,” said Charles Territo, a spokesman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. The fear, he said, is that federal regulations will be “superseded” by a patchwork of state laws on personal injury claims.

As Automotive News explains its own headline on this story, the enormously important issue is whether automotive manufacturers can continue to deploy “less-than-best” products.

Suggestion: Compare the institutional urgency of this issue against the claims about manufacturing standards and corporate concern made in car advertisements.

Slight gap there, no?

And is there any doubt what the eventual ruling will be in the age of Citizens United?

Note also:  It isn’t just car capitalists, of course:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, food producers and makers of children’s products have weighed in on Mazda’s side.

Externalities, Schmexternalities

Peak oil? Petro wars? Climate change? No plausible alternative energy sources? Exploding oil rigs? The human future?

Peak oil?  Petro wars?  Climate change?  No plausible alternative energy sources?  Exploding oil rigs?  The human future?

nero Who needs ’em and what of ’em, when you’re a corporate shareholder?

It’s good times, baby, good times:

Honda

Kia/Hyundai

Hyundai

Ford

Nissan

Even, kind of:

Toyota

…and even…

GM