Saturday, 3 November 2012

"So, you're going to get

a new one then?" I heard someone asking.
       "Well, new to us," was the reply.
       "Oh you should get a new one - support the local car industry. You know what sort of mess they're in."
Ah, they were discussing cars. I went into my meeting and did not hear any more of the conversation but I wondered how many other people will be offered such "advice" by family, friends, car salesmen, mechanics and the like?
We tried the same trick as the United States. The car industry was given a massive injection of tax payer funds in an attempt to save it. It's not working. It never was going to work. It is no good just making cars. You have to sell cars. They have to be cars people want, need and can afford. Yes?
I am not an economist but that seems fairly obvious to me. It also seems obvious to me that our state is still far too dependent on the car industry for employment.
There seems to be a belief that, rather than do the hard work of diversifying, it is easier to prop up a failing industry with taxpayer funds. It keeps the unions happy. It keeps the workers in the automotive industry happy. It keeps the workers in the associated industries happy. The only problem is that the taxpayer funds are drying up. Money is not being spent on others things. The state is heading deeper into debt.
The government says it has everything under control so perhaps I am worrying about nothing...or perhaps I do have something to worry about.
We have too many cars on the road now. People use them without really thinking about it. They think, "I'll just hop in the car and...." They do not think about the cost of an individual journey, that the "quick trip" to the supermarket to get a couple of litres of milk has just added quite a few cents to the cost. The government certainly does not want them to think about it either. That would mean people did not use their cars as much.
But I wonder about the man who was saying something about getting another car. Will he cave in to pressure and buy a new-new car, something he cannot really afford? Will he pay even more for it because he needs a bank loan to buy it? Or will he buy a new-to-him car at a lower cost? Will he buy a locally made car which does not quite suit his needs or will he buy an imported one which does suit his needs?
I am glad I do not have to think about those things - even if I have to pedal in all weathers.

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