Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Who invented the automobile?

I never thought I'd be correcting Barack Obama... We (the United States) did not invent the automobile as President Obama said in his speech tonight, and no,.. Al Gore had nothing to do with it either... Karl Benz invented the first car with a gas motor.

Ford was just first to make the automobile a consumer item. We can hang our hat on that.

I was listening to NPR today and there was one thought put out by a caller who said, perhaps the economy would be rebuilt with less of a consumer mentality and that consumerism was a large part of our economic problem in the first place. That resonated with me. People are buying cars and houses they can't afford, and everything else, and they are going in debt over it. (bigger houses than they need and bigger cars) Cars are a great example of people buying more than they need or in many / most cases, can afford. If we continue to beileve in this model of prosperity, the big car, bigh house standard, where will it lead us?

The caller was rebuked by the hosts of the program who said that becoming less of a consumer based society wasn't good for the economy.. (?) I'm thinking,. What the heck? Where does it all end? When people buy more than they need and go in debt doing it then there's bound to be a problem. How can this be good for the economy?

Other than this one criticism I thought Obama gave a very nice talk...


Diane said...


I think we have this leftover mentality from the 1950's that, we are prosperous, therefore we must buy.

So people buy things in order to impress their neighbors. Houses, cars, jewelry, clothes, etc.

Already I think the new housing industry is a bust. The market is just oversaturated with houses. The prices will have to float back down to where people can even afford to live on property they can call their own. Eventually when the poorly-made houses collapse in 20-30 years people will start building again. Maybe then people will insist on having quality construction.

I think a lot of average people have lost all the skills we need to sustain ourselves. Hunting, cooking, sewing. Growing green things.

don said...

No doubt skills have been lost, but there are too many people now for each to do for themselves. We depend on eachother for survival at this point.

I think we need to buy as much locally as possible however. It doesn't make sense to buy food from the other side of the world and ship it all of that distance.