[ExI] Rationality and Irrationality

Kevin Freels kevin at kevinfreels.com
Thu Dec 20 19:53:34 UTC 2007

> What I expect to see is telecommuting finally come into its own.  Many  
> billions of dollars of productivity are lost commuting not to mention  
> the waste in fuel and belching nasties into the air.
That will be great. It's happening far too slowly for me. Bosses like to 
micromanage and supervise. What will all those supervisors do when they 
have no one left to baby-sit?
>>> Prove it. I think you are wrong. Americans have a love affair with  
>>> the
>>> independence that driving a car brings. They cannot all afford to  
>>> go out and
>>> buy a new vehicle.
> I used to drive 50 minutes each way to work.  I can assure you that  
> although I love to drive I was not in the least unhappy to no longer  
> need to take such a commute.    The mileage I put on my car fell  
> drastically.   I do love to drive and love my independence of movement  
> but the vast majority of my driving was commute.   I suspect that is  
> true for a lot of people.
I agree. I think everyone would like to use their cars less. But that 
doesn't change the fact that people won;t just willingly give them up 
> I think many would jump on really effective telecommuting even  
> faster.  But I did buy a Prius largely because of my former long  
> commute.
Of course. But that doesn't help all the travel, trips to the store, 
movies, entertainment, and everything else people do with their cars. 
That's why they won;t give them up. If it was just about getting to work 
and back it would be different.
>>> But even then you have the used
>>> car problem to address. Any real alternative to make a difference  
>>> will have
>>> to include all the used vehicles already out there.
> Massive upgrades of electricity production (nuclear, solar, wind,  
> wave, etc.) and affordable electric cars and conversion kits will do  
> the trick eventually.  If I can pay to convert for less than I spend a  
> year on gas and pay it over time then I would be a fool not to.
My point exactly.
> There is no great bonanza of oil in Alaska.
This makes it even more crucial.
>> exactly.  We love to drive, and we'll pressure politicians to keep gas
>> prices under $100 a tank - but if the price raises enough to hurt,
>> people will be motivated to think in the "right" direction (towards
>> alternatives)
>>> it wouldn't be worth it to go to work - so an
>>> artificial 50% increase now is just enough pain to adopt hybrid and
>>> electric vehicles so we can tolerate another 300+% increase tomorrow.
> I doubt there is much "artificial" about the increase.  Want to know  
> how fast the US$ is going down the toilet?  Watch the price of oil.    
> Add to this the unpleasant likelihood that Peak Oil is largely real  
> and increasing competition for oil from little places like China.    
> What is artificial and for a limited time only is how little the price  
> of gas has gone up in response.  Fortunately most gas is refined and  
> stored before the peak driving season every year in the US.  So much  
> of the hike in oil prices did not hit us yet.  Wait until next  
> summer.    Also there is some likelihood of the price being  
> artificially kept down in that the "crack spread" between what oil can  
> be bought for and refined and what the resulting product brings on the  
> market is narrowing too much to be very healthy for refiners.   This  
> could be bad in that we are a bit short in the refinery department as  
> it is and it takes considerable time and expense to bring new ones  
> online.
>>> More money needs to be spent on R&D to make these products  
>>> available. I
>>> like where you are going with this though. How about a $1.50 per  
>>> gallon gas
>>> guzzler tax on all passenger vehicles that get less than 30 mpg and  
>>> use that
>>> money to directly fund alternative R&D.
> As it is largely not the fault of these car owners that would be  
> grossly unjust as are most government appropriations.
lol. While I wholeheartedly agree, I don't see any other way to do it. 
Anyone who knows me knows that I am just a little less libertarian than 
Mike Lorrey (is he still around?). But I am willing to admit that 
government at times has to do things that capitalism won't. At the 
moment I don't think a taxless society is workable. This may change in 
the future but we're talking about the present. That's a whole different 
discussion in itself but I do think this is one case where tax money is 
necessary to do the job. But hey, here's an idea. Since we are perfectly 
willing to go into massive debt for wars and such, why not just go more 
into debt and put the full force and finance of the US government into 
developing an alternative? Call it a "War on oil". The goal - spend 1 
trillion dollars to develop a new renewable energy source so we can pull 
our forces away from the rest of the world and simply focus on defending 
our own borders. The return on investment would be both the sales of the 
technology abroad and no longer having to get involved in foreign wars.

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