Monday, March 26, 2007

The market will take care of it. As it always has.

Was thinking a bit more about the Tesla and my reaction to it, which is similar to my reaction to low-energy lamps. I buy the latter, not because I give a sod about so-called global warming, but because they last longer (hate changing the buggers) and cost less to run. When LED bulbs finally become available I'll buy them because they last forever (yay!).

In the same way, I would buy a Tesla (if I had £50k to spend on a car) because it's a fantastic performance machine, looks cool (you can see Lotus are involved) and it costs less to run. Starting to see a pattern here? If you serve a real need, offer a real advantage, people will want your product. No hectoring required.

And this explains my basic antipathy to the global warming bandwagon. It's stuffed with people who live to hector, who can't be bothered finding out what people want because they're so busy telling them what they ought to want. The antipathy to the market is most marked, I think, in those who have the guilty knowledge, deep down, that what they want is not what most people want. And therefore they have to avoid, at all costs, any mechanism for making that fact known, while promoting any scheme, from socialism to anti-discrimination to environmentalism, that gives them license to tell other people what to do.

3 Comments:

Blogger James said...

Bat,

Have you seen the movie "Who killed the electric car?"

I think you mentioned a large lynch pin in this, the if you had 50K to spend on the car? These cars are more expensive, not in their nature but because of market has been slanted against them. There are reasons to use alternative products, regardless of your view of Global warming, but there are forces that don't want you to. Alternative fuels are not new, but they were systematically removed as options in the 50's.
GM purchased public transportation systems in LA to shut them down, so people would be forced into buying their cars.

I am suggesting that maybe the market is not exactly open and free.

4:18 pm  
Blogger Stephen said...

I haven't seen the movie, but I know the claims made in it, and that they are not supportable. GM withdrew the EV1 because even at the (expensive) price implied by the lease payments, it was losing money, and it needed to get them off the road because of product liability worries caused by the accelerated development of the vehicle.

It stands to reason that if there really was a demand for such a car at its market price, someone else would have made it.

I just don't buy this "shadowy forces at work" argument. Who removed the alternative fuels as an option, and how did they do it? Think about it: how could anyone do such a thing?

You say that these cars are not more expensive in their nature. But they are! Batteries are incredibly expensive. And explain exactly how you go about "slanting" a market? Even Microsoft, which has tried every possible way to completely dominate the PC market, failed to get rid of Apple, and completely failed to foresee Linux.

If GM shut down the public transport, and it was profitable and had demand, why didn't anyone else start it up? Is there no public transport in LA today? Is there a law against it? I'm sorry, it just doesn't make sense.

I live in London, where public transport is heavily subsidised and most people travel to work on the Underground. There are still plenty of cars around. Almost everyone I know owns a car, and regards it as an essential. People still use cars because they are more convenient than public transport. It doesn't take a conspiracy theory to see that.

You can suggest that the market is not open and free, but without evidence to prove it, your suggestion remains without merit. I have lived in countries where the market really is not free. The only way to do it is with government legislation: and even then, there is usually a black market.

And even though I love the Tesla and would buy one if I could, I wouldn't have it as my only car. The idea that I could drive down to Brighton, or maybe Wales, but certainly not up to Scotland, is pretty hard to accept if you are used to the freedom of an internal combustion engined car. The technology still has serious limitations. That's why the standard way to get people to overlook those limitations is to play on their guilt. I am just suggesting that they should play up the natural advantages of the technology instead. The performance characteristics of an electric motor are so superior to those of the internal combustion engine, I'm surprised no-one thought of the Tesla ages ago.

8:03 pm  
Blogger James said...

I haven't seen the movie, but I know the claims made in it, and that they are not supportable. GM withdrew the EV1 because even at the (expensive) price implied by the lease payments, it was losing money, and it needed to get them off the road because of product liability worries caused by the accelerated development of the vehicle.

If they pulled them off simply because they were a liability issue, why crush them? Why not have them recycled, as the GM rep claimed would happen? This would have reduced the cost of such batteries?

The markets are not open and free because of the following reasons.

1. Large corporation subsidies
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11008158/site/newsweek/
http://www.kentuckyvotes.org/2007-HB-536.
2. Large corporations ability to take huge losses.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/25/business/25cnd-ford.html?ex=1327381200&en=6fc08f5f537a8aa6&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss
http://money.cnn.com/2007/04/05/news/companies/ford_execpay/index.htm
3. Marketing
http://www.marketingvox.com/archives/2005/08/25/online_gets_15_percent_of_1b_ford_marketing_budget/
4. Buy American-general gestalt


It stands to reason that if there really was a demand for such a car at its market price, someone else would have made it.

While there may be demand for a product, when you are competing against the subsidies, loses, and marketing of this giant, one of which owns one of the media outlets, you hopefully can see how this is slanted.

I just don't buy this "shadowy forces at work" argument. Who removed the alternative fuels as an option, and how did they do it? Think about it: how could anyone do such a thing?

You say that these cars are not more expensive in their nature. But they are! Batteries are incredibly expensive. And explain exactly how you go about "slanting" a market? See above.

Even Microsoft, which has tried every possible way to completely dominate the PC market, failed to get rid of Apple, and completely failed to foresee Linux.

If GM shut down the public transport, and it was profitable and had demand, why didn't anyone else start it up? Is there no public transport in LA today?

They have tried to restore public transport in LA, but most of the trolleys are gone. Buses that only use the same crowded streets as the rest of the traffic, decreases their marketability, which highlights the question here well.

Is there a law against it? I'm sorry, it just doesn't make sense. I live in London, where public transport is heavily subsidized and most people travel to work on the Underground. There are still plenty of cars around. Almost everyone I know owns a car, and regards it as an essential. People still use cars because they are more convenient than public transport. It doesn't take a conspiracy theory to see that.

Well I think there are complex issues, there is definitely a desire to be independent and have convenience of individual cars, so you have that market force, and if we are prosperous enough to have both mass transit and individual cars then that is swell. However I believe that people do tend to measure and compare with others, so if one has a car, others are going to want that individual transport as well. Especially when every movie or ad you see, implies that you are less than if you take public transport. Less money and energy are put into public transport, which continues to make them less desirable and therefore get less money. There does tend to be a trend.

You can suggest that the market is not open and free, but without evidence to prove it, your suggestion remains without merit. I have lived in countries where the market really is not free. The only way to do it is with government legislation: and even then, there is usually a black market.

And even though I love the Tesla and would buy one if I could, I wouldn't have it as my only car. The idea that I could drive down to Brighton, or maybe Wales, but certainly not up to Scotland, is pretty hard to accept if you are used to the freedom of an internal combustion engined car. The technology still has serious limitations.

See above discussion.

That's why the standard way to get people to overlook those limitations is to play on their guilt. I am just suggesting that they should play up the natural advantages of the technology instead. The performance characteristics of an electric motor are so superior to those of the internal combustion engine, I'm surprised no-one thought of the Tesla ages ago.

I agree with you here.

5:10 am  

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