Thursday, July 03, 2008

Cause and Defect

Ten years ago, the big three auto makers gambled everything on Americas love affair with the SUV. Any attempt by environmentalists to curtail their development was met with open hostility. When Congress attempted to pass legislation to improve fuel efficiency standards, Detroit said doing so would cost jobs. When economists pointed out that a lack of diversity is always dangerous for a company, Detroit pointed to record sales. Every report available at the time said the trend of large cars had to end as oil prices would rise in the new millennium. Here were are in 2008. Japan leads the world in Hybrid production of cars. Detroit has invested almost nothing in alternative fuels or vehicles and as a result, General Motors stock fell bellow $10.00 a shares yesterday on the news that oil continues to rise sharply. That is the lowest it's stock has been since the 50's!
If anything screams American denial, this story does. As the Pentagon geared up for war in Iraq, Detroit continued to build SUV's, slashing whatever small budget it had for research into smaller, electric and hybrid cars. Economists warned them that a prolonged war in the Mideast would spell the end for Americans love affair with large gas guzzling cars. Detroit ignored all warning signs and continued to spend vast sums of money to make and market vehicles that had the worse fuel efficiency ever seen. Now, in Bushes last term with his Oil industry buddies making a blatant grab for all the cash they can get through market manipulation, Detroit's big three auto makers are victims of ignoring the future.
Cause and effect, people.
Make something that runs on what is literally dead dinosaurs and you risk becoming a dinosaur too.
Enter John McCain.
He has proposed a contest where the winner would get 300 million dollars for a new battery that could deliver all our energy needs at 30% of the current cost. Actually, not a bad idea. It was his old man speech about it that everyone should listen to that caught my attention. At one point, he says Americans should use their "creatillity" to do this. Ability? Creativity? Creatively? What word did he mean to use or did he just win a contest to invent a new word needed to inspire a new battery?
If anyone knows of a battery like this, run for your life! Detroit, Saudi Arabia and Standard oil will kill you. Honestly. We are not an economy based on gold or digits flying around the Internet. Nope. We are a petroleum based economy. If you upset that balance in anyway, you will be taken care of. Think I am being to X-files about this? We invaded Iraq to get their oil, what would we do to get a battery that would put all those powerful people out of business?

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