Flint, Michigan- home of GM and Michael Moore was a sad place 10 years ago when I last drove through. A city which was effectively one giant car factory. Now – it’s devastated. According to Moore, Forty percent of the homes and businesses in the city have been abandoned. Imagine what it would be like if you lived in a city where almost every other house is empty
Yesterday the last Titanic survivor died- and General Motors filed for bankruptcy. While in America this has very different connotations to other countries, one would hope that it will be an opportunity to reframe the entire car industry.
It is indeed an irony that the company which invented “planned obsolescence” — the decision to build cars that would fall apart after a few years so that the customer would then have to buy a new one — has now made itself obsolete.
In his article ‘Goodbye GM’, Moore suggests that as now Americans own at least one car company, they should joyfully declare war- on the oil companies, not other countries for a change, by:
– immediately converting auto factories to factories that build mass transit vehicles and alternative energy devices
– using the 30billion pricetag to keep the current workforce — and most of those who have been laid off — employed so that they can build the new modes of 21st century transportation. Let them start the conversion work now.
– following Japan’s (45 year) lead and building bullet trains
– putting light rail into all medium and large cities and buses everywhere, and some electric cars as an interim measure with associated tax incentives to users, and
– imposing a massive tax on petrol users!
If necessity is the mother of invention- the need is apparent right now. Governments need to stop playing the game of ‘lets try to avoid a recession’ and look to immediate and creative measures through carrot and stick strategies, to enable people to change their lifestyles- now!