[FoRK] Re: An armed society... (freakin' Canada.)

Stephen D. Williams <sdw at lig.net> on Thu Sep 20 04:57:18 PDT 2007

And what if the cost of making a car is a somewhat direct measure of how 
much oil was required to produce it?  (To some extent at least, that is 
true.)  Costs aren't just meaningless numbers.  Every resource, such as 
batteries, transportation for the labor involved, and energy needed to 
produce the steel etc., source material and energy for plastic / leather 
/ etc. all are factored into that price.  A lower total price almost 
certainly means a lower total energy used in production.  Lifetime, 
utility, and maintenance also plays into it.

The Prius is feel good efficiency, but the $12000 car is probably real 
efficiency.

Possibly partly true comparison of Prius and Hummer:
http://www.philly.com/inquirer/opinion/20070404_Hidden_cost_of_driving_a_Prius.html
But questionable:
http://www.engadget.com/2007/03/24/questionable-report-claims-hummer-is-greener-than-prius/

If you don't know the back story or understand the actuarials, you can't 
make the intelligent decisions that you think you are making.

And we've said nothing so far about the safety issue.  Many people buy 
monster vehicles so that when they get into the accident that they may 
feel is inevitable, that they and their children have a better chance 
than the other guy of coming out OK.  This factor alone can produce an 
overwhelming multiplier in their decision making.  It's hard to argue 
that survival is greedy in most cases.  Whether or not this is a 
misunderstanding of actuarials is another discussion.

sdw

Lion Kimbro wrote:
> On 9/19/07, Stephen D. Williams <sdw at lig.net> wrote:
>   
>> So you save $6000 but it costs you $8000 more (at
>> least).  If prices have any kind of sanity (questionable), it is better
>> to not buy the apparently less wasteful or "greedy" vehicle.
>>     
>
>   --eh?
>
>   The Prius wasn't the greedy vehicle;
>   It was the $12,000 car.
>
>   Let's go back to "greedy:"
>
>     * the destructive urge of wanting to have something,
>       in excess of "need" or "want," in excess of health,
>       either for myself, or for others.
>
>   If you could have afforded the 50mpg car, the 25mpg is the greedy car.
>
>   Buying the Prius, you contribute to your own health, the health
>   of our society, and the world.
>
>   You're using 50% less gasoline.  You're showing the world that you care
>   about the environment, and that it's cool to do so.  Perhaps more
>   valuably, you're showing yourself that you care- which will give you warm
>   fuzzies, and make you feel more generous and helpful.
>
>   ...
>
>   (Ok, ...
>    Take a moment to wipe off the bits of Tom Higgins' brain;
>    I think it just exploded.)
>
>
>   Buying the 25mpg car, you're ... what, getting the exact same care,
>   but for just $2,000 less?  If that was a lot of money for you, I would
>   understand.  If the $12,000 was super-special-- perhaps your girlfriend
>   wanted **just that model,** I could understand.
>
>   But otherwise, I'd say that spending $2,000 more is "less greedy,"
>   because it takes health into account.
>
>
>   
>> There are a lot of other things like this.  A more general case is
>> people's time vs. service vs. consumption tradeoffs.  If someone is
>> getting paid a lot, presumably society is valuing their efforts highly
>> enough that it makes sense for them to pay for services or consumption
>> to maximize their efficiency so that society gets full benefit of that time.
>>     
>
>   "...presumably society is valuing their efforts highly enough..."
>
>   I wonder if it's really *society,* that is doing the valuing.
>
>   I'd have to think about that claim for a while.
>
>
>   Lion Kimbro  206.427.2545  http://www.speakeasy.org/~lion/
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-- 
swilliams at hpti.com http://www.hpti.com Per: sdw at lig.net http://sdw.st
Stephen D. Williams 703-371-9362C 703-995-0407Fax 20147 AIM: sdw


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