Tata Indeed!

Probably because it suggests the automobile has a future, the capitalist press is abuzz with news of the launch of Tata Motors’ forthcoming $2,500 automobile.

If it catches on at all, it will be a sheer disaster for India, as well as humanity. Rather like building a bank of lovely new synagogues in Munchen 1928.

It’s also interesting to note what nobody mentions in such drooling and outdated paeans to capitalism: the per-capita income and poverty statistics of India. Selling a $2,500 car in India is the rough equivalent of selling a $35,000 one here. And the polarity between classes is even worse in India than it is in the good ole, massively unequal USofA. Maybe this horrible fact will actually save India from this dire threat to its future welfare.

Meanwhile, the whole thing has also produced a fine example of the Orwellian logic of our decrepit economic system: The Nano, an American insurance “automotive safety” (oxymoron alert!) expert opines, will be a very good thing for ordinary Indians. Why? Because it will protect them from — wait for it — CARS!

In most American cars, safety features alone cost more than $2,500, said Adrian Lund, president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in Arlington, Va. But, he added, “if what we’re talking about in India is people having the option of getting off the streets, from motorcycles and bicycles where they are at risk from bigger vehicles, this may actually be an improvement of the safety environment.” (New York Times, January 8, 2008)

This need for defense against a horribly dangerous product will be quite familiar to residents of the SUV-choked United States. No mafia don ever had a better “protection” racket going…