Thursday, March 12, 2009

Comment on new cars vs. old cars

Interesting post here:
Re*Move: New Cars vs Old Cars II

And my comment:

Interesting conundrum.

1. Yes, rewarding for failure is wrong.
Let's just however point out that rescuing banks was not optional to start with and then that Western Governments have lent money to those failed banks. It's a bet of course, but the tax payer should, hopefully, get some return when they cash in those shares in a few years.
Note that some govermments have been smarter than others (UK, USA) by getting some right-to-say instead of just buying non-preferential shares.

2. The car industry has come a long way, people won't give up individual mobility easily.
While US regulators did not do anything to force their national manufacturers to reform, the story is different in Europe where there's some pressure to reduce emissions. This has resulted in quite some considerable technological advances, but ultimately it's down to economics: when oil will be rare, people will switch to electric because it will be economically viable.
On the other hand, public transportation offerings vary from poor (USA) to excellent (Sweden, Netherlands, Denmark). You can't expect people to switch in a nation like the UK where there's been virtually no investment in rail for the like of 30 years, no high-speed lines between regions, etc...

3. Cash for new cars, it's not about ecology stupid.
It would be carbon-efficient to let every industrial job go on the dole. People would watch their plasma screen but won't have the money to have cars. The whole economy may collapse and some will cheer at the decrease in CO2 emissions. Riots will ensure, and we'll need to develop tear-gas that don't contribute to global warming.

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