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Erik of Hazelfield

Electric cars and the future of transportation

109 posts in this topic

The disdain of public transport is an almost purely American phenomenon. In places like Japan, Singapore, large parts of Europe etc everyone uses it because it's faster, cheaper and more convenient than cars. That could be the case in the U.S. too if it wasn't for the fact that its public transportation is underfunded, underdimensioned and underappreciated.

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Besides the histrionics, Lockesnow is not entirely wrong on the point that mass transit planning in car-oriented cities still, or at least until recently, has looked at public transport as something they have to do to get cars off the road, so there can be space for the rest of the cars on the road, rather than looking at it as a preferred mdoe in and of itself - at least, there's a few writers making that argument, though it's relatively dense policy and modelling wonkentry, not a binary issue.  America (as ever) is the worst (as ever), but the more transit oriented European cities aren't necessarily a historical phenomenon. Urban form has something to with it - smaller homes, less sprawl, historical dense city cores - but its in the last few decades that there's been a push to reduce car use, really starting only in the 70s (Copenhagen's famous Finger Plan.) Even today, a third of more of travel in cities like London and New York is by private car. In Copenhagen, its 40%.

No one is going to force anyone onto public transport. It's also unlikely anyone will be paid for it - transit commuters are already heavily subsidized by the city or the state in most places, (and its a mixed bag on the usefullness of completely free public transport - its been experimented with in a few places and there's some down sides.) Naturally, Los Angeles fucked even up even this bit of transit, and the city was famously sued by bus passengers in the late 90's when all its new investments were in expensive suburban rail for well-off suburbs someplace, where, you guessed it, no one used transit but they had the worst traffic problems...while raising prices and reducing services for minority neighbourhoods that actually relied on the bus already.

Of course, transit users aren't subsidized nearly as much drivers are. So, no, no one is taking your car away - but why should I - a transit user - keep paying for the massive roads and parking lots drivers destroy, not to mention the opportunity costs I pay in limited housing supply,  commercial spaces (and their taxes and subsequent services) taken up by all those parking spots. And, of course, health care, pollution, congestion.

Basically, I increasingly favour the position that cars just shouldn't be a public policy issue. Get a tin box on wheels, by all means. I get things all the time. I don't expect entire cities or societies to orient themselves around how to get my trampoline or massive piece of installation art or refregirator around. Why should I pay for your wheel-box, which is blocking the street I pay for and actually need to move my human body to places I need to get to, in ways that don't limit other human bodies ability to do the same?

 

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9 hours ago, lokisnow said:

(but only of non-college jobs, gotta protect thine own turf whilst fucking the serfs!) 

No, automation will also take away the jobs of bankers, accountants, lawyers, doctors, nurses etc.: not all of them, of course, but in reality we already see that many jobs that consist mainly of computing, analyzing and interpreting quantitative data have been replaced by computers and many more will follow, and as AI grows better, it will also analyse qualitative data better. The same is true for diagnostics: already your fitness bracelet can do many of the cardiovascular diagnostics that your GP does, only better, because it has more data and can connect the data to your activities, the time of the day, your location, the weather etc. The same goes for basic legal advice.

And because these guys cost so much more, their replacement is a lot more lucrative.

/offtopic

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Universal Basic Employment? So you think that it is better for people's dignity to have jobs that they know a robot could do better, faster, safer, etc. via a forced technological stagnation? That's crazy to me. Why not pay people to dig holes and fill them up again? I agree that automation causes unemployment at high rates and it's definitely an issue that needs to be addressed, but this notion that we should stick our head in the sand and insist on keeping only jobs that we know before the world devolves into a hellscape of gun-wielding anti-car hooligans is far-fetched and melodramatic.

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Posted (edited)

The whole idea that science, technology or productivity would grind to a halt without an underlying fear of "I can't lose this job!" is crazy to me. Most famous thinkers, inventors and scientists of history that I know of were independently wealthy, supported by patronage, or monks living on the church's dime*. Having one's needs covered doesn't seem to hinder curiosity or industry, and I would sooner argue the opposite.

 

*Edit: Which isn't to say that fortunes weren't squandered and patronages taken away, but still. Nothing is perfect, including today's system.

Edited by lacuna
Adding caveat.

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Posted (edited)

20 hours ago, Starkess said:

Universal Basic Employment? So you think that it is better for people's dignity to have jobs that they know a robot could do better, faster, safer, etc. via a forced technological stagnation? That's crazy to me. Why not pay people to dig holes and fill them up again? I agree that automation causes unemployment at high rates and it's definitely an issue that needs to be addressed, but this notion that we should stick our head in the sand and insist on keeping only jobs that we know before the world devolves into a hellscape of gun-wielding anti-car hooligans is far-fetched and melodramatic.

Sure. Universal Basic Income is even crazier. Universal Basic Employment is the same thing as UBI, accept society gets nothing from UBI except the additional consumption the recipients engage in. That leaves society with a lot of people with a bit of pocket money but nothing to do; probably a recipe for disaster, especially as unemployment tends to concentrate amidst the most violent, and unstable population: young people. UBE they still get the money but it puts them to work, so it gets rid of the nothing to do problem, also trains people into work habits, making them more employable and less likely to stay on the dole, and accomplishes an "expensive" social outcome.   In other words, you spend the same amoutn of money on UBE but you get a lot more social bang for your buck. So maybe UBE gets to work picking up litter or potholing or repairing sidewalks or some other positive that isn't done because of a lack of funds and labour.

the model of course would be FDR's initiatives which included substantial jobs distributed all across the curve of human experience. Arts as well as industry. 

Edited by lokisnow

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Posted (edited)

You seem to be under the odd impression that people can't find shit to do. People who are unemployed currently have nothing to do because they don't have money to afford to do shit.

And I'm sure a whole bunch of people would be totally fine being forced to pick up trash or do roadwork. That's not going to cause problems at all.

Edited by TrueMetis

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No no, roadwork or trash pickup sound like potentially productive enterprises. People are going to be forced to spend their days sitting in cars and watching them drive themselves, because heaven forbid the robots.

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22 hours ago, lokisnow said:

Sure. Universal Basic Income is even crazier. Universal Basic Employment is the same thing as UBI, accept society gets nothing from UBI except the additional consumption the recipients engage in. That leaves society with a lot of people with a bit of pocket money but nothing to do; probably a recipe for disaster, especially as unemployment tends to concentrate amidst the most violent, and unstable population: young people. UBE they still get the money but it puts them to work, so it gets rid of the nothing to do problem, also trains people into work habits, making them more employable and less likely to stay on the dole, and accomplishes an "expensive" social outcome.   In other words, you spend the same amoutn of money on UBE but you get a lot more social bang for your buck. So maybe UBE gets to work picking up litter or potholing or repairing sidewalks or some other positive that isn't done because of a lack of funds and labour.

the model of course would be FDR's initiatives which included substantial jobs distributed all across the curve of human experience. Arts as well as industry. 

But that's entirely different than what you were saying before. I agree with you that people often derive meaning and worth from their jobs, and that having work to do gives them more dignity than accepting "handouts". However, I think there are miles in between finding productive work for people to do and forcing people to do meaningless work.

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