This is the basic hypothesis of Death by Car: Automobiles are the lifeblood of corporate capitalism. Without them, the system implodes, due to demand shrinkage (aka efficiency). Hence, they have been and are *dictated* to us, no choices or even coherent discussion allowed.
Bill Gates isn’t stupid. But he also isn’t nearly smart enough to transcend money’s delusionary effects. He obviously thinks he’s not only entitled to his enormous voice, but that this voice is not far from being science incarnate. It isn’t. Predictably, it contains huge swaths of unexamined class bias.
Consider what Gates just said to the ongoing Leaders Summit on Climate:
[U]sing today’s technology, it will be virtually impossible to meet our goals. The reason is that nearly all of today’s zero-carbon technologies are more expensive than their fossil-fuel counterparts. To provide all the benefits of the modern lifestyle to people around the world, we need new zero-carbon products that are just as affordable—that have what I call a Green Premium of zero.Bill Gates, April 23, 2021
Gates forgets to mention that some of today’s technologies can’t possibly become zero-carbon products, and that this impossibility, in fact, applies to “today’s” #1 technology — the automobile.
It will never be the case that having each household achieve its everyday intra-urban locomotion by owning and storing one or more 3,000-pound piles of complex industrial parts will come close to being ecologically sustainable. It is also true that we have already built out American society to compel such an effort. So, any green future is going to require a radical reconstruction of our towns and cities, to de-emphasize automobile use.
Yet and still, Bill Gates is a major peddler of the idea that all we have to do is electrify cars, and all will be well.
Indeed, he finds the very idea of doing anything else to be absurd. Here’s what he says in his magnum opus on the human future:
Imagine if everyone had gotten together one day and said, “Hey, cars are killing people. They’re dangerous. Let’s stop driving and give up these automobiles.” That would’ve been ridiculous, of course.Bill Gates, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, p. 117
Yes, how ridiculous!
Even when posing to the contrary, it seem capitalists really are pretty damned heedless, as somebody famous once argued. Or as somebody else said, it’s damned hard to get a person to think clearly when it involves her/his wallet.
According to Automotive News, this is a photo of Toyota’s forthcoming first-in-brand bZ4X “electric” vehicle:
Small cars, as we know, mean small profits. So, as we approach the coming wave of EV subsidies, let’s watch, shall we? It’ll be chock full of such gigantisms, for the usual reasons.
This is yet another reason to oppose all the cheerleader bullcrap surrounding these planet-killing loss-leaders.
This, we at DbC believe, is a photograph of the physical size of the battery in the Mercedes EQS, a forthcoming $96,000 “electric” vehicle:
This is the size of the entire under-carriage of this car. Among other things, this suggests big trouble upon every medium-impact collision.
Money, apparently, does not cancel the laws of physics, as Mr. Galileo once observed.
…if the year were 1895.
Can you imagine a better proof of excessive wealth’s delusional effects? That this thing actually got built is enough to make every cat in town laugh for an hour. Mind-blowing, though not for the reasons feigned by the technophile (read: money-worshipping) commercial press.
The National Safety Council has just revealed an astonishing fact: In the year 2020, the number of people killed in U.S. automobile collisions increased. This, despite the SARS-CoV2 crisis causing a 13 percent drop in total miles driven.
Unlike SARS-CoV2, the age profile on car-crash deaths skews young, rather than old. So, the loss of life-years involved is probably quite comparable to the society-closing crisis through which we are now living and about which we are now being asked to take frequent moments of silence.
Of course, when it comes to the carnage inherent in cars-first transportation, the silence we’re encouraged to maintain is silence about the cause, rather than the effects, of the disaster.
A group calling itself AdBrake is putting out some pretty excellent “subvertising” about cars:
Heather McGhee ponders an important question:
McGhee explains what she means by this:
By “we,” I mean America at-large. As for “nice things,” I don’t picture self-driving cars, hovercraft backpacks or laundry that does itself. Instead, I mean the basic aspects of a high-functioning society: well-funded schools, reliable infrastructure, wages that keep workers out of poverty, or a comprehensive public health system equipped to handle pandemics — things that equally developed but less wealthy nations seem to have.
McGhee reviews the ways in which white racial ideology prevents this movement toward reason, comfort, and social democracy.
Here at DbC, we would endorse this but add that cars-first transportation is also a major reason we in the USA remain stuck on our continent of kooky, harmful, maldistributed geegaws. With kindest apologies to Adam Smith, it seems that, upon completion, building human societies to maximize the sale of goods and services is not quite the same thing as building human societies for the maximum benefit of all.
When you prioritize the money-seekers’ values, the end results are not, in fact, all that similar to those that maximize the general welfare. Commodities and human thriving are not, it turns out, the same thing. However much the world might have disguised this point back in the 1770s, in the 2020s, it is getting pretty hard to miss.
Here’s what the State of Maine’s Department of Transportation — not its Department of Automobiles, mind you — just tweeted out. Shows what the public’s servants perceive their roles to be, even at this rather late date: