Sunday, July 08, 2007
Vain Attempts to Save a Dying System
It seems to me that some of the attempts to maintain the oil-based consumer socioeconomic system are actually working at cross-purposes to that very system. For example, a big component of the system is the auto industry, which hopes that we will all own a car, or two or three, and drive lots. But the practice of carsharing works against that industry because in carsharing many people co-own a comparatively small number of vehicles and share them. The whole idea is that you don’t own a car and only use one when it’s really necessary, otherwise relying on public transport or a bicycle or walking. But that means a lot of lost sales for the auto industry, which is already on the ropes. And that all comes back to how attempts at conservation (which is of course good) are antagonistic to a consumer society that exhorts us to keep those cash registers ringing. What it comes down to is that the socioeconomic system either has to undergo a radical transformation to eliminate this fatal contradiction, or crumble.