Put-Our-Rich-Criminals-in-Check Global Emporium

You seem to be taking this problem, turning it into an IT issue, and then then swanning off in a huff when the inadequacy of the IT solution is pointed out.

As mentioned above, this thread is about wealth and greed and the class that wields the power they steal from the rest of us. Fantasies of vaporware are one of the scams they use. If you just want to keep this particular fantasy going, by all means do it elsewhere.

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This world is a very large place, and it is a form of privilege to have multiple good choices to get to everything you need without requiring a car.

Speaking as someone who used to work for UNIFEM and who has lived for decades on the south side of Chicago, I can tell you that women in poverty situations are eager to have access to a car. It makes a world of difference: they have access to more (and better) jobs, can get to a better/cheaper grocery store, get their kids to school (or a better school), etc.

No one has the right to tell people in general that they shouldn’t get access to cars because (relatively) wealthy people in industrialized countries have already ruined the environment by using them too much so now everyone needs to cut back. (And yes, I’ve been to conferences where such things have been suggested. The women were not amused.)


How exactly is “requiring” a car any different from any other feeling of entitlement? It is often circumstance which makes not using a convenience more prudent, and that is not a “privilege” bequeathed by anyone.

On a personal level, this requirement can be turned around to further disadvantage people. Such as prospective employers who have “required” that I drive a car as a basic measure of competence when I live less than a mile away. Or cops harassing people for the crime of being pedestrians in an affluent area where “everybody” drives.

On a societal level, this sounds like a misguided “me too” effect where a small percentage of people live an a shortsighted, unsustainable way, so the remedy is proposed to enable this of more people, rather than ending the practice.

As a single parent who makes about $2k per year, I am well aware that access to a car would be convenient. But my dally life has demonstrated that it is certainly not a necessity. And I resent the notion that me not having a car is any kind of “privilege”. That notion is as fatuous as saying that you are privileged by (presumably) not having a private jet.


I suggested that as the Final Solution to the Pedestrian Problem, i.e., that the pedestrian problem is actually part of the Car Problem.

The point, again, isn’t necessarily about the theoretical usefulness of magic future cars, it’s the fact that the purveyors of magic car investment opportunities haven’t even put a dent in the list of actually difficult features of ground-level machine piloting. What they’ve done already existed before in drones, aircraft autopilots and the like.

Beyond little routines like lane following and supervised parallel parking, it is vaporware. It is used to take bits of your 401k to “balance” the risk in your portfolio, it is used to justify letting public transit go to shit, it doesn’t address the very real Car Problem. It’s just a cloud of bullshit to maintain business-as-mediocre-usual.

In large areas of this very large world, you can meet thousands of people who have never been in a car in their entire lives, yet they get to where they need to go just fine.

I know people see cars as essential for all the reasons you just listed, but that overlooks the fact that they live in a geography designed for cars in the first place.

I’m actually into self-driving cars, insofar as they fit into the current car-centric landscape but (at least in some business models) encourage people to stop seeing cars as something which is personally owned. Which, with any luck, will pave the way (heh) towards more public transportation.


Tell that to the girls who can’t go to school because someone in the family has to walk many miles every day to get water and/or the fuel (wood, peat, dung, etc.) necessary to boil it.

Yes, people manage. But when you ask them, they’ll tell you they’d like to have a turn themselves at the conveniences we take for granted.


Indeed. When all the infrastructure is designed for cars, and the safety signals are designed for people who can drive cars, without considering the safety needs of people who can’t drive cars… When I look up safety risks of turn signals, I keep finding manuals explaining that it’s illegal for photosensitive people to drive, I know that, I can’t find any studies of how the things make it more dangerous for us to cross the fucking street, or how the things could be made less dangerous.


Self driving vehicles have the potential to reduce car use, car storage, fuel consumption, and many more aspects of the car problem. But potential is just that, and techbros are not interested in the good it can do in the world even if it is also profitable.

You will never get rid of cars without humanity being exclusively urban either. Cars are critical for low-density areas - though they could be more modest and efficient if not so heavily marketed.


Tell them they have to walk all that way because of poor infrastructure and poor urban planning? Okay. Because it’s true.

If they had potable water and usable fuel closer at hand, they wouldn’t be car-poor. If car-generated sprawl didn’t put them in suburban wastelands, they wouldn’t be car-poor. If they had better than a token public transit system (or any usable transit system at all), they wouldn’t be car-poor.

The company I used to work for moved their downtown office to some middle of nowhere in the exurbs. The CEO gleefully told us at the announcement meeting that we wouldn’t have to pay for parking anymore because the new building had a lot which employees could use for free. It took several of us to explain that at the downtown location, few of us drove there at all. Most of us didn’t use cars to get to work. Many of us couldn’t afford to buy a car just to get to work, or lived somewhere it would take forever to drive from to the new location.

They were not ready for how many people quit over the location move. Because, of course, all the executives drove.

So again – one benefit of driverless cars can be, downshifting on the model used, making it more clear what kind of transportation infrastructure is needed.


I didn’t get a car 'til I was 32. There was no way in hell I could have afforded one before then. So yeah, I know a thing or two about the managing part.


If it’s an unworkable scam, all the better for the bros.

Yes, rural areas typically have poor urban planning.


Rural areas depend on each household having their own infrastructure, ie: well, heating supplies, and to some extent food sources.

The previous argument was that cars mitigate the need for local infrastructure. Anyone who’s ever lived in a rural area and had the roads impassable from bad weather (where I grew up, that means snowstorms) knows cars help but don’t solve anything.

What does help is decentralising and making wireless infrastructure items like power and communications.

A friend of mine has cousins who all live in rural Zimbabwe. Thanks to solar panels and cell phones, they’ve gone from no electricity/no telecomm to electricity and Internet access in under a decade. They still don’t have cars though.


They depend on it, but sometimes those resources are scarce


I’m not talking about whether or not alternate accommodations can be figured out by enterprising people living in poverty situations (rural or otherwise); I’m talking about how it impacts them to be told “oops, we messed up, so you don’t get to have access to the luxuries we blew through”.

Here’s another example: with the improved economic conditions, the meat consumption in China has gone through the roof, with all the incumbent environmental and health issues that come with it.

When people start to have access to modern conveniences and luxuries, surprise surprise they want their turn too. Any national and international decisions that are made need to maintain respect for those who never got to be part of the problem but are now expected to shoulder an equal part in creating the solution.


Yep. Those in the developing world need to come up with ingenious workarounds just so they can squeak by. Those of us in the Western world can simply take advantage of the latest technological advances, and find ourselves much further ahead with practically no effort to speak of. A bit of a learning curve there.


My point is about the investment scam and how it helps keep “rugged individualist” countries from doing proper transit, among other thing. The hatred of the rich for public transit definitely infects the infrastructure choices that oligarchs make elsewhere. That goes back to developing concrete ways of keeping the rich in check.

People are required to have cars here, so the self-driving fantasy is going to go along with it as a marketing plan to distract us from how bad the problem is, especially for people who need accomodation.


So, what you’re saying is that the problem self-driving cars are supposed to solve is actually easier (and better) solved with trains and other forms of public transit, and self-driving cars will cause the already weak rail infrastructure to become even weaker?


In many cultural contexts, I find that “modern” tends to be a euphemism for imperialism, Euro-colonialism specifically. Global markets are used as a way to normalize and create demand for conveniences and lifestyles as a means of cultural assimilation. IMO it’s only the friendlier 20th-21st century version of “civilizing the savages.”

Why pay to subjugate people by force when you can use psychology to have them pay you for the privilege of doing it themselves? It seems that some spheres of academia acknowledge how Eurocentric “modernity” is, but in many areas of life that realization is not very present.


Anecdotally, I’ve owned cars for 32 years, since my sister and I purchased a station wagon from our mother for $700 when I was 16. Since then, I’ve owned, at one time or another, at least seven cars that, adjusting for inflation, would each cost less than half the cost of the phone I’m typing this on… and not because my phone is particularly fabulous. Rather, I’ve owned a lot of cheap-ass cars. Even gas and insurance cost less for me than my monthly carrier bill, which really kinda alarms me. (Gas was under 70 cents per gallon in my area back then, which certainly makes a huge difference.)

Anyway, I didn’t get a cell phone until around 2003, and I never owned a brand-new computer until 2005. I like having them and the improvements they’ve made to my quality of life. But those improvements pale next to the importance that car ownership has had in my life. I have never lived in an area with robust mass transit, but even if I did have a bus or train system that could get me to work in under an hour (with access points nearer to home and office than a half-hour’s walk on either end tacked on to the journey time), I’d still own a car or truck for all the utility I get out of it unrelated to commuting. I literally cannot remember the last day when I did not drive somewhere.