Fri Feb 27 19:06:53 UTC 2009

blind nostalgia and cars

So I was linked to this piece on Speed Sport Life, concerning market segmentation, which lead naturally to this piece. Hey, let me sum it up.
  1. Modern automobiles are more powerful, faster, stronger, safer, far more durable, easier to drive, and cheaper to build. They are superior in every way the automobiles of the 60s and 70s, and I will go into considerable depth explaining this.
  2. But I grew up in the 60s and 70s, and thus I have an irrational preference for the cars of that time period. So I'm going to demonize some aspect of new cars, because everything was better when I was a child.
  3. Major parts of modern automobiles are outsourced to foreign suppliers. This is bad. Boo. China sucks.
  4. This is bad because, due to the larger volumes in which these foreign assemblies are made, manufacturers no longer offer as much customization.
  5. As a result of a combination of this, and the far more robust secondary market of more durable modern automobiles; manufacturers no longer sell "low-equipment" cars, vehicles without advanced features, such as power steering, air conditioning, and CD players.
  6. This is bad, somehow. Not only does China's government suck, but so does ours. I hate air bags and MPG mandates, boo.
  7. Actually, there is a modern low-equipment car, the Nissan Versa, with a MSRP of only $9,995. But it's an undrivable piece of crap, since it doesn't have power steering, air conditioning, or a CD player; and I wouldn't waste my money on it. I'm cool with totally undermining my argument, since I don't really have one.
Pollution in China is a fairly serious problem, both from a humanitarian standpoint, and from raw self interest. (We happen to share an atmosphere) But there's only a limited amount of pressure we can apply, seeing as how China is a sovereign nation. In any event, the economic apocalypse has poleaxed China's export sector. Since exports are essentially the entirety of China's economy, the effects on industrial production, and thus industrial pollution, are predictable.

Also note that nobody here is being enslaved. Working in a factory is by no means great, especially with China's hilarious disregard of the "work week", but it's far, far better than sustenance farming. Lest one forget, this has all happened before. Populations move from farming to manufacturing, and the resulting capital growth bootstraps right into an information economy. This worked spectacularily well for us, and trying to prevent it happening to China, seems, at best, shortsightedly protectionist, and at worst, actively malevolent. What's the alternative, here, keep them in the Malthusian trap forever?

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