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Old 02-22-07, 07:03 PM   #26
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Because they are FUN.

Fun to own. Fun to drive. Fun to play with. Nothing like driving to the shore with the top down and a babe in the passenger seat or trying to take the off-ramp faster each time. Cars are FUN. I like 'em. In fact, I think I may go buy another one this weekend.
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Old 02-23-07, 12:50 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by acorn54
i already have a college degree in accounting and have taken numerous courses on economics and i can tell you that if people could get more purchasing power by using a bike versus using a car they would use a bike. the capitalist market is driven by people's self interest.
One of these is not like the other one, one of these things doesn't belong.
Economics and the capitalist market are not accounting. Different concepts. Look at it this way; although accounting is used as a measure of economic events, it does not become the events which are measured. You can have accounting without the capitalist marketplace. How are economic events measured in communist economies? It's even possible to apply accounting principles to the barter system. Not at all useful for predicting consumer behavior, however.
(-Just went and dug out my first quarter accounting textbook. These concepts are clearly defined in the first chapter.)

The capitalist marketplace is certainly driven in some aspects by self interest. Purchasing power generally isn't a private concern, however. Most private transactions in a capitalist marketplace negatively affect purchasing power: Most (probably all) of us will die with less money than we've earned through our paychecks over our lives. Self interest doesn't lead people to live like hermits (or buy cars) in order to hoard a million dollars and acheive the purchasing power to obtain anything self interest desires. (unless one's self interest is to live like a hermit and hoard!) Some of us are crazy, and like to ride bicycles, perhaps own less than we can afford, or earn less than we could in order to avoid a stressful workplace, even if it does fly in the face of those microeconomics statistics.
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Old 02-23-07, 03:22 AM   #28
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My car is my other hobby...
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Old 02-24-07, 02:38 AM   #29
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I always assumed that people drove cars because a lot of very big businesses made it affordable for them to do so. If the money was in wheat, we's all be in buggies.
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Old 02-24-07, 03:08 AM   #30
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There are more reasons to drive a car then ride a bike, obviously. Cars are much faster, temperature contolled, can carry luggage, can carry people, can get to places that bikes can't, don't carry a stigma, nice cars a "cooler" then nice bikes (sorry lol), they are also arguably safer than bikes.

Also, if you havn't noticed the urban spawl thats been going on for 40 years now, people don't want to live in cramped apartments paying outrageous rent prices to live like the japanese. Its ineffecient and time consuming to ride a bike any measureable distance unless you live in a heavily populated urban area. Also, people can afford it. Having a car could be consider more of a luxury item then a bike, It makes life easier so to speak.

Now, considering that, buying expensive cars is a socially constructed phenomenom that as Knhoj above states is due to economic self interests. This is fundamental to how Americans think, infact, if you look at those who drafted the constitution they were strong preponents of the new governing philosophy at the time which we now call classical liberalism. The works of John Locke, J.S Mill and Adam Smith formed the foundation on how Americans think, and that is an idea of foundational self interest. So, if you want to be green party and say its all about those "evil nasty corporations" think about the fact that this is fundamentally American materialism and even if you could somehow eliminate big buisness it would not change a thing.

Infact, guess were communism came from... It was derived from many ideas by Karl Marx who essentially created this ideology to protest capitalism .

Also, i'm not saying I think this is a bad thing, I think its a very good thing and not everyone thinkgs this way. But guys don't put out blanket statements like its all "cuz of big business"
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Old 02-24-07, 05:28 AM   #31
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Where would most Americans be employed if it were not for big business? If you are not employed by big business directly, then chances are you are employed in a capacity that supports big business.

There is nothing inherently wrong with big business and there is nothing wrong with materialism. This is what drives the economy.

Speaking of materialism, and since bonus time is right around the corner, I may go drop the 125K on the Aston Martin this weekend .
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Old 02-24-07, 05:49 AM   #32
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I didn;t mean to imply that business was wrong, just that in my mind it has it's own way of determining the "choices" we have.

Of course, there are businesses and businesses.

I have to say that ethics and corporations more often than not do not go together, especially in the US, where I believe legally corporations are obliged to do everything they can for shareholders. THough obvioulsy not sanctioning illegality, it does seem to sanction $ over ethics.

I imagine I'm opening a can of worms here, and may very well be misinformed (coming from the UK) on the legalities of US corporations, but believe me, we have enough history in the UK of the damage big businesses can do.

And yes, I am a realist. We do indeed owe our lifestyle to big business in one way or another, directly or indirectly, but I sense we are at a point now where it is in our own interests to examine what we want from the engines that drive our societies, and what we want them to deliver, (or perpahs leave standing) for our children, and if we are lucky, our childrens' cildren.

The bottom line for me - there must be a better way of doing it than this. That way for me would include fewer (carbon emmitting) cars, less cheap air travel, less bad (and I would argue, artificially low-priced) food.

That'd be a start.
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Old 02-24-07, 05:52 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by The Fixer
I just need something that can carry a lot of stuff to and from work everyday, fast.
four panniers and a backpack. Results in more weight than I'd prefer to carry; unless, I am on a long tour. I'd take plenty of stuff and stuff my locker with extra stuff.
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Old 02-24-07, 06:22 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Gotte

I have to say that ethics and corporations more often than not do not go together, especially in the US, where I believe legally corporations are obliged to do everything they can for shareholders.

I will tend to agree with you here, but I do not believe that this applies to most companies. I believe that corporations should be looking to give their shareholders a reasonable return, however a company's main goal should be making its product, not making money. When the main goal shifts from product to money the product begins to suffer and corners begin to get cut in areas of safety and ethics.
If you concentrate on the product the money will follow. If you concentrate on the money the product typically suffers.

Last edited by DM4; 02-24-07 at 06:28 AM.
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Old 02-24-07, 07:23 AM   #35
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A very good point.

I remember hearing someone in a supermarket say: "I don;t want more choice, I want better products."
And I have to agree. I'd rather spend more and get a product that lasts longer and is better than buy something that is artificially cheap and comes at the price of the ecology and yes the economy.

I don;t mind products, and I don;t mind cars, perse. There are some beautiful designs out there (I really do think they are beautiful objects), but there are just too many of them. They cost too little for what they are, and they are designed to last much too short a time. They cause too much trouble for what they are worth. Trouble is, in the last 60 years (UK), society has been purposefully changed to accomodate the internal combustion engine.
Perhaps, as with a city like, say Copenhagen, it should have been changed to control it.
Perhaps if that had happened we'd still have urban neighbourhoods and high streets, people would still commute or cycle to work, kids would walk to school. Perhaps we'd still have community.
As foar ass I can see, the automobile has only brought about the death of society in that it allows people to live a scattered life great distances from work, to drive out of town to shop at hypermarkets where goods are artificially low, to carry us in our tight little family units through the world with only the smell of those little Christmas trees air fresheners and drive us right into our graves. Perhaps we should all be burried in our cars. Funerial drive ins. There's an idea.

See, you've got me on a roll now.
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Old 02-24-07, 07:48 AM   #36
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People make a decision to use cars for the same reason they use refrigerators. They serve a useful purpose and the alternative of doing without, to save energy or for whatever other reason, is not viewed as desirable.
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Old 02-24-07, 09:32 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by Gotte

The bottom line for me - there must be a better way of doing it than this. That way for me would include fewer (carbon emmitting) cars, less cheap air travel, less bad (and I would argue, artificially low-priced) food.

That'd be a start.
I noticed your from the Uk, I don't know if you live if you have been America but Europe is quite a difference experience IMHO. Actually, I enjoyed Britain a lot when I went there last summer. Really, its simple demographics, America is a big country with a much lower per capita population. People are usually spaced out here so you can have big vehicles.

Also, I understand were your coming from in regards to protection of business. A lot of Americans (even economics majors) have a one way view of business as working with the American system. They don't consider the dynamics of ideas such as centrally planned economies and heavily state influenced economies. The British government protects industry to a far greater degree then we do in America. Those low food prices have a lot to do with the American governments protection of its own farmers (most farmers lose money every year here). So, the question I guess becomes to what degree do you want to be as economically efficient as possible. Maybe its worth instating more regulations on business so you don't have a single walmart superstore in every town as the sole place to buy things.

Thats just my take. The french and especially the germans have done very well and have a high economic standard. But are relatively protectionist and have a lot of government involvement is mandating business practices + giving support.

Also, DM4 don't buy an Aston Martin. Buy a new Corvette z06, its under your price range but low 11's stock... Tempting...

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Old 02-25-07, 06:46 AM   #38
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Montezumas, I understand what you mean about America being vast, and as such, I can see why it developed to embrace the automobile. All that distance, all that desire for movement. It was (I'm not sure to what degree it is now) a much more dynamic society that Europe. Maybe it's becasue the "huddled masses" were the ones with the drive, the desire, to see another horizon.
But in the UK especially, society was a small time affair. People lived in small communities, were born locally, educated locally, worked locally, shopped locally, died locally.
My grandfather went abroad twice in his life - once to be shot at in Flanders in 1917, and once to france in 1964. Other than that, the farthest he went was 70 miles up the road to the seaside once a year. If you take that one journey (made by train or bus), he probably never ventured further than Manchester, which is four miles down the road.
He road a bike.
But, with the advent of cheaper cars in the 60s, things started to change. Motorways started to be built, roads improved. People, like my father, started to be able to commute. They could buy houses in the suburbs, shop out of town. Supermarkets started encouraging this, getting bigger. Local high streets started to suffer. Now, the pleasent little market town with its promonade of butchers' and bakers' shops, green grocers, newsagents and tobacconists and hardware stores, is more like a ghost town. The promonade is mostly taken up with very cheap and very nasty fast food outlets, video stores and what we call "pound shops" - shops that sell tat for under a .
If you want groceries you have to go to the big Tesco, if you want hardware, the big B&Q. The hyperstores always trumpet the jobs they bring, but in reality, a lot of the workers are working Mcjobs, and commuting in from other areas.
In fact, the Tesco, like the Wallmart just down the road, seem to have everything sewn up now. You can get whatever you want. Car mats, table lamps, garden swings, bikes, computers, a tousand and one MP3 players all a little cheaper than last year's MP3 players, all a little more capacity.
Do we really need another Ministry of Sound 256 MP3 player for 25?. I suppose we must. But I can;t help feeling we want it becasue it's there, much like the Pringles on aisle 16. And I suspect it's about as good for us.

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Old 02-25-07, 07:07 AM   #39
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I think the key issue here is the age of United states vrs the age of other countries around the world that are less car dependent. In those older nations the city structure and life style were designed before the car was even thought of, but in USA we designed a lifestyle around cars it as we were developing our society.
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Old 02-25-07, 08:00 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by Montezumas_vipe
Also, DM4 don't buy an Aston Martin. Buy a new Corvette z06, its under your price range but low 11's stock... Tempting...

There is another consideration. My wife salivated when she sat in the Aston. She does not like the Corvette and would refuse to drive it.
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Old 02-25-07, 10:27 AM   #41
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What a silly-ass thread.
There are plenty more around. So, what is the best color for eyeglass around your neck holders? Thanks in advance.
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Old 02-25-07, 10:33 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by GreenGrasshoppr
the problem is not so much working closer to home, than getting a home closer to work.

real estate bubble and all that.
Historically this is the root of the problem. In the "old days" people congregated in cities. Those with money and influence utilized the power of government to build roadways into the country to access cheap land. That which followed is as they say, history.
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Old 02-25-07, 07:42 PM   #43
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Why do I own a car?

Because I am not strong enough to tow a horse trailer behind my bike.
Because my bike doesn't haul 10 bales of hay.
Because, I would rather not arrive at my destination cold, wet, or sweaty.
Because I can't take my 80 year old grandmother to the doctor's with my bike.
Because there is no public transportation.

Congrats to everyone that is car free. Good for you. But it is not possible for many of us with families, living in a rural area, or those with the need to transport large heavy items on a regular basis. Being car free doesn't make one morally superior. It really doesn't.
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Old 02-25-07, 10:13 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by slowandsteady

Being car free doesn't make one morally superior. It really doesn't.
Oh so true.

Some great points here.
Being car free is a cool idea, I guess.
But in today's society, it's just not that feasable.
I certainly don't want to tow my snowmobile trailer on my mountain bike.
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Old 02-26-07, 09:18 AM   #45
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Where would most Americans be employed if it were not for big business? If you are not employed by big business directly, then chances are you are employed in a capacity that supports big business.
I love big business. Just got my bonus today....
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Old 02-26-07, 11:17 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by slowandsteady
I love big business. Just got my bonus today....
Big Bidnizz been very, very good to me.

I get my bonus this week. My wife gets hers March 15.

I do weapons systems engineering and my wife is employed in the chemical industry. I don't imagine we would be very popular in some of the more liberal areas of BF

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Old 02-26-07, 01:37 PM   #47
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First of all no one is saying cars are useless, the problem is those people who think they are the only option. I ride my bike whenever i can, and special occasions which aren't feasible on it i use a car or the public transport. Works great.
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Old 02-26-07, 01:48 PM   #48
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I do get the part about riding bike when I can.
I do just that and put on some good miles that way.

The big biz part is interesting.
I think whether we like to admit it or not,
Most of us are tied to bigger business in one way or another.
The bicycle industry is huge business for instance.

I own a very small business, but the snowmobile parts I make go to support the snowmobile industry and that is big business. The bicycle parts I sell are supporting big business and industry as well.
I really can't think of a job that's not somehow connected to big business in one way, form, or another.

Now as for riding the bike more.... YES.
I do it because I love to ride and because it also cuts down on my gas bill every month.
Mostly the part about how I love to ride though.
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Old 02-26-07, 04:33 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by slowandsteady
Why do I own a car?

Because I am not strong enough to tow a horse trailer behind my bike.
Because my bike doesn't haul 10 bales of hay.
Because, I would rather not arrive at my destination cold, wet, or sweaty.
Because I can't take my 80 year old grandmother to the doctor's with my bike.
Because there is no public transportation.

Congrats to everyone that is car free. Good for you. But it is not possible for many of us with families, living in a rural area, or those with the need to transport large heavy items on a regular basis. Being car free doesn't make one morally superior. It really doesn't.
I don't think anyone would doubt the necessity of a car to anyone using it to keep a roof over their head and put food in their children's mouths, and take your relatives to the doctor. I really don't think this thread is aimed at anyone like yourself. I suspect it's aimed more at the general culture that encourages casual car usage which seems to fly in the face of science and reason.
Your post also highlights a lot of shortcomings in society, such as poor public transport. In Europe (though not the UK), it seems they are leaps and bounds ahead of the US. It wasn;t always like that, though. I seem to remember the famous story of the trolley cars in some city or cities being bought up and taken out of service by the auto companies.
If that isn;t a big corportion/corporations thinking of profit before people, I don;t know what is.

I suspect though, that in future, yours and my children may have to find a way of doing all those things you mention without an internal combustion engine to help them, or with one, but at ridiculously high cost.
Unfortunately, no one seems to be planning for that future, and I suspect the bump when we hit the ground will be quite hard.

We've had a great last half century, when we've all had amazing mobility and access to a world our forefathers could only dream of. We've had years of easy driving, golden sunsets, good music on the stereo, but just because we've had it easy for a couple of generations, and can't really remember bad times, does not mean bad times will not come again.
In the UK, we had a petrol strike a few years ago, and within five days, they were rationing food in the supermarkets, which, quite frankly, was scarey.
The strike was about the supposed unfairness of fuel taxes. I reality, everyone had paid lip service to the understanding that something had to be done to decrease carbon emmissions. Unfortunately, no one was actually prepared to pay a few pennies more per gallon. To me it seemed the fairest way. Use more fuel, pay more tax.
But that's the problem.
In this country everyone acknowledges that the something has to be done about road transport. We're a little island with far too many cars, everyhone bemoans the fact that the roads are a nightmare, mostly eveyone acknowledges that most journeys are unneccesary and wasteful, and yet any mention of infringement on rights to drive anywhere, any mention of congestion charges, and there is an outcry. About a million and a half people recently signed a petition against road pricing.
Personally I'd have signed one FOR road pricing.
Bottom line for me is, at some point we will have to bite the bullet. All those cars with one driver we still see each day at rush hour are a testiment to our folly.

Also, there are so many bad drivers out there who kill too many of us cyclists they deserve to be encouraged not to get behind the wheels of their cars.

Quote:
I love big business. Just got my bonus today....
Big business is great while it;s working for you. Trouble is, employees are always the most expensive part of the business, and when times are lean, they are always first on the block. My father, whom I mentioned in an earlier post, found this out at 59 after working all his life for Trafalgar House, one of our bigest companies in the UK. He was on vacation. They made him redundent over the phone - left him a message on the answer machine. True story.

Quote:
Being car free doesn't make one morally superior. It really doesn't.
Actually, the more I think about it, the more I think it does.
I'm not car free. I wish I was, but like most people, I rely on it too much for kids, family, etc. But those pople out there who bite the bullet and get rid of thier car for the betterment of the world, for the good of my children and my children;s children, and in so doing make life harder for themselves. Well, hats off to them, I say. I think they are morally superior to us. They're out there making a difference. We aren;t.

Of course we can try to do what we can, which is what I try to do - cycle as much as possible, only use the car for necessary journeys, recycle, turn lights off.

But anyway, I've had a nice day; been out on my bike the first time in a week, had a nice evening with my daughter. I've had a few glasses of wine, watching a documentary about tanks, and all is well with the world, so I'm in a good place. Have a good night, all, and a pleasant morning.

Last edited by Gotte; 02-27-07 at 02:12 AM.
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Old 02-27-07, 01:39 PM   #50
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I use a car because I have 30 minutes to get to the hospital when my beeper goes 'beeeeeeeeep'.

Besides, dumping the clutch at 3,000 rpm is so much fun.
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