Ghosts Of Future Past

If you lived in a society with a true free market economy, the people who make the red car would win and the people who make the gray car would lose. And if you lived in a society that was smart enough to make sure that externalized costs were included in the price tag, the people who make the red car would win even more decisively.

But you don’t:

32 Responses to “Ghosts Of Future Past”

  1. Anonymous

    Sorry, you’re wrong. If we lived in a true capitalist society, the company that makes the gray car would have hired assassins to execute the makers of the red car before it got built.

    …though these days that doesn’t seem so off the mark…

  2. Madisonian

    The big three actually have improved their quality, or so the surveys say. New Cadillacs have fewer problems than new Acuras, on average. They have a few other problems: excess capacity, too many brands, too many dealers, costly retiree healthcare and pensions…

  3. JesseJB

    This plan infuriates me. I still dont understand why the Dems are pushing it and the Repubs are against it. I think I support the Republicans on this one.

  4. Matt the Engineer

    [Madison] Even if you’re right, who will want a Cadillac when gas prices hit $5? Yeah, gas is cheap now – but would you make a 10-year purchasing decision based on that knowing 61% of petroleum geologists believe peak oil is less than 10 years away?

  5. Dan Staley


    In my view, Dems support this because union jobs would be out of work. Repubs don’t like it because it would help unions.

    On top of that, the amount is 15-20% of what just AIG is getting. And the amount has strings and maybe a car czar, whereas f’n FIRE people on Wall St get no strings, no oversight, no accountability, but a f’n $T of our hard-earned money. Whatever the Repubs are for these days, I’m against*.

    The entire thing is a joke. Joke.

    * This is not a blanket endorsement of the other half of single-party rule in this country.

  6. Bobby

    I like SUV’s. Once they make em all hybrid or put electric engines in (5-10 years) people will not even look at that small red piece of shit and start buying big, real cars again.

    Death to Matchboxes.

  7. Joshua

    Your “big, real cars” will unfortunately still be crappy even if they become hybrids: they will still consume more energy (through manufacturing and operation), increased infrastructure maintenance, and greater danger for pedestrians/bikers. But, at least, drivers will continue having another means to compensate for, um, other defects. So we’ll have that going for us.

  8. rbj

    Smart cars are so cute! Too bad they drive like a miniature tank. Still, I’d rather have a miniature tank in the city than an SUV that drives like a Yaris.

    I miss winters on the Eastside when it seemed that the only cars that ended up in ditches, when it snowed, were those trendy SUV’s. How I laughed as I drove by in my Tercel. My lower status symbol all of a sudden seemed a positive thing in yuppie Eastside.

    I still drive that 91 Tercel. Still gets roughly 28 miles a gallon, and I have never had a problem that 100 bucks couldn’t fix. Of course I only drive every now and then, giving that I work 10 blocks away from home. If my car died today I wouldn’t get a new one for a very long time because I simply don’t need one!

    Thus the benefits of living an urban lifestyle.

  9. BrianM

    The interesting thing is non-American auto makers are now asking for bailouts-VW, for one.

    I also read that the Italian government will be buying 100,000 wheels of Parmesan to prop up artesnal cheese producers in Italy. :)

  10. michael

    Yes, but niether the German nor Italian governments profess to have the free-market, capitalist system that the U.S. likes to think it has…

  11. Dan Staley

    Joshua, if we eliminate Public Displays of Compensation, you know what that means: codpieces back in fashion. Maybe Paris Hilton can design some.

  12. crunchy

    Wait, is that the concrete house in the background? That’s also the ghost of a future past.

  13. Dwayne

    Relevant today: Econ 101, Econ 201, Finance 101, “Wealth of Nations”, “Animal Farm” . . .

    Historically Relevant, Currently Outdated: “The Jungle”

    Flawed and Irrelevant: “Capital”

    Get rid of the unions in the US. They did the job intended for them. In 2009 they serve only to pervert efficiency and productivity in our industries, schools, and governments.

  14. Sivalinga

    “My carbon footprint is smaller than your carbon footprint”

  15. L

    it should be said that these are both status symbols for assholes.

  16. Matt the Engineer

    Currently Outdated: “The Jungle”

    Ha! I used to audit factories. One site visit I missed was the inside of a sausage plant. Nobody in my group would talk about what happened there, but none of them would touch processed meat after that.

    Back to the point. Unions are a worker’s only power, short of big government. I’m a strong supporter of unions, as anyone that works for a living should be. That being said, I see saving GM as the wrong kind of union support.

  17. Dan Staley

    Getting rid of unions would be an erosion of worker’s rights. OF course, we see that slope as being negative for some time now. But IMO you have to have something to guard against worker exploitation. Why? Capitalism is exploitation.

  18. GW

    L @ #15

    True dat. Conspicuous consumption or conspicuous self-righteousness. Same difference.

  19. Dwayne

    Workers are exploited? Then don’t work. Go start your own business. And attempt to find a good employee. And stress out every two weeks if you can make they payroll.

  20. Matt the Engineer

    //Workers are exploited? Then don’t work.// That’s a great summary of the power structure of a corporation, without unions. I’m sure the poultry factory worker can just quit and start his own company (/sarcasm). Only with collective power does he have a chance at a fair wage (Don’t want to pay a living wage? Then fire us all.).

  21. Spencer

    @ Matt #20: “Only with collective power does he have a chance at a fair wage”
    Sounds like the problem might be that collective power is needed to make a balanced system. If we had a proper capitalistic society that wasn’t based on exploiting workers Unions wouldn’t be needed.
    The problem isn’t that the fire needs to be put out but that people are starting fires.

  22. Dominique Coopey

    Thanks man. It has been fun hearing

  23. Quinn Berwick

    I must say this is a great article i enjoyed reading it keep the good work :)

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