The Electric Boondoggle

boondoggle (n): a scheme that wastes time and money

In Reinventing Collapse, Dmitry Orlov observes that modern capitalism operates mainly via boondoggles.  When one boondoggle reaches its inevitable end, the only “serious” proposals entertained as solutions are new-and-improved boondoggles.

Well, corporate capitalism’s core product — the private automobile — is proof of this theory, in spades.  It would take a committee specifically charged with the task to come up with a more wasteful means of getting people around town.

But that, of course, is the whole point.  Continue reading “The Electric Boondoggle”

The Suppressed Basics of Cars & Capitalism

On Stop Me Before I Vote Again, Michael J. Smith noted how one now has to subscribe to leftist blogs and mailing lists to obtain the most elementary facts about the state of the nation and the world.

In this case, the topic was the simultaneously picayune and deeply rotten nature of Barack Obama’s (is “Obama” Bantu for “Reagan”?) pledge to further subsidize the automobile industry.

Here’s what I wrote as a comment over at SMBIVA:

Well, corporate capitalism runs by six industrial complexes, plus government spending to boost and grease it all.

The complexes are:

Financial-Industrial
Medical-Industrial
Entertainment-Industrial
Military-Industrial
Household-Industrial
Automotive-Industrial

Remove any one of these six legs, and the money-changers’ table tips over.

The auto-industrial complex, however, is the one that is in big immediate trouble, due to the inherent pipe-dream of using two tons of materials to transport individuals to and fro every day of the year.

Finance will always renew itself, thanks to the basic structure of income distribution, and is also set up to expect some down times.

Medical ain’t going nowhere.

Military ain’t going nowhere.

Household (being food-clothing-shelter) certainly ain’t going nowhere, and is, size-wise, largely a shadow of the automotive complex. The car gives you the suburb, which sells everybody washers and dryers to replace the shared laundromat room, etc.

The car is the linchpin of the system, and, hence, it is non-negotiable, from the overclass (read: mainstream + confused/cowed/captive “alternative”) perspective.

Posted by Michael Dawson | August 6, 2008 1:44 PM

Posted on August 6, 2008 13:44
Michael Dawson:

P.S. re the numbers:

If you tote up vehicle purchases, repairs, fuel, insurance, parking, parts/tires, and road construction/maintenance, the yearly US expenditure on automobiles easily tops a trillion dollars. These days, it’s probably >1.5 trillion…

So, the Neo-Gipper is talking about pumping in something like one-third-of-one-percent of the overall endeavor.

Such is the fruit yielded by the tree of Klintonism and its imported “balanced budget” rootstock.

And P.P.S.

Where the fuck is all the new electricity for these supposedly workable electric vehicles going to come from? Wind and solar are break-even propositions, at best, in EROEI terms, and using nukes or coal to make the juice would last about a decade before it would hit the self-same supply limits now looming for petroleum.

I know it’s been said before, ala Chicken Little, but here we go again: Only a mass green-socialist-public enterprise uprising against the system will solve this coming crisis…