I started The Auto Economy to discuss what I see as an entire economy built around the automobile.
Many people think that our economy revolves around oil. I disagree. I think oil is only a convenient enabler. If the oil dries up, we’ll find a replacement. It sounds overly simplistic, but compared to rebuilding our nation’s entire infrastructure around an urban mass transit plan, finding a replacement for oil is the cheap, easy way out.
For the past 90 years our growth has centered around our love of the automobile. We built the interstates, the suburbs and the food/product distribution network, for and by the automobile. For the better part of the last century, the largest companies in the United States were the auto manufacturers. This is not a judgment for or against, simply an observation of what is.
Oil has caused our economy to become unstable not because we rely on oil per say, but because we rely on our automobiles and those automobiles currently rely on oil. As I mention above, take away the oil and we’ll find an alternative. Take away our cars and the economy collapses because there is no alternative that can be quickly implemented.
The character of Jed Bartlett on the series the West Wing once remarked, “The greatest chaos happens when the one thing we rely on, but pay no attention to, stops working.”
This is my attempt to document this whole mess.