FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Shutting Down the Auto Industry for Good

Everyone in mainstream politics talks about the importance of creating jobs (of building things, like cars, and selling things, like weapons) when it’s becoming increasingly clear that our jobs, the things that we do, are deadly, and are responsible for all sorts of problems.

Just look at Hurricane Matthew, or the rains that drenched Louisiana this past summer, or any of the other floods plaguing the world over the past decade. Where do you think all that water came from? Among other places, it’s coming from melting ice – ice that’s melting because of global warming. And the globe is warming because, frankly, too much work, too much business, is being done.

Think about it. People have been working more and more, and have been more and more productive for decades, and where’s it left us? While the rich are richer than ever, most people are sicker and poorer than ever, with greater amounts of debt, on a less livable planet. Indeed, even if our endless economic output weren’t destroying the planet with its unceasing pollution, devastating the oceans, killing human and non-human animals alike, it’s not making us (or most of us, at least) anything but worse off. So, maybe we ought to think about working less and creating fewer jobs. It may sound counter-intuitive, but why not?

Imagine what would happen if we just shut down the auto industry, the fossil fuel industry, and the commercial meat industry (to say nothing of the weapons industry) all at once. What would happen? Where would that leave us? Well, a lot of people (people in the fast food, auto, and fossil fuel industries, as well as in related industries) would be out of work, and wouldn’t be able to pay the rent, or pay for food, or other things.

This would be a problem, but only a short term one. And there’s a simple solution: make all of the things that people need to live well available for free, like libraries. That is, housing, nutritious food, health care, etc. should be free. Because adjusting economic production to accommodate the demands of a decommodified economy would take some time, something like a basic income law could be imposed for the interim. That would take care of unemployment – not just from the affected industries, but across the board.

What’s the next problem? No more fast food? Well, if people aren’t impoverished to begin with (short on money or short on time) one might find that fast food is in less demand anyway. And for those people who just love fast food, well, they can just make their own burgers and fries at home. Why not? If they just can’t live without meat, nothing would stop them from hunting. Remember, it’s only the commercial meat industry that’s being shut down. Anyone with a sling shot or bow and arrow can go out and kill a squirrel or deer and eat it if they really want to. And if people just can’t accept living in a world without servants? Well, I don’t know what to say about that. But if we want to slow down global warming we’re going to have to end our culture of exploitation – not just of exploiting the environment, but each other as well.

What about the auto industry you ask? Rather than asking: how can you talk about shutting down the auto industry? We should really be asking ourselves: how can you not? Not only are all of these cars wrecking the planet, and killing us more than all the terrorist attacks combined, there are already plenty of cars on the roads. These will just have to last a bit longer.

The fossil fuel industry? This can be phased out over the course of a few years, until better public transit is available and electric adapters are developed for existing cars, and people learn to stop overusing so much. But in cities, where most people live these days (not just in the US but, as of last year, in the world in general), the private car should be designed out.

This shouldn’t be too difficult to accomplish. For most of human history there were no cars, and they seem to have overstayed their welcome. Bicycles, which are far more efficient and healthful than cars, and other types of machines, along with trams, trains, buses, and other forms of public transportation, can get people around. And what’s the loss? Global domination? Please. Everyone will be so much more healthy, and well-rested, will have so much more time and peace, if people can just get over their ideological ways of seeing things.

A few of us (like Trump, and Bloomberg, and the Clintons, among others) won’t be able to live in great luxury at the expense of the well being of the planet, and everyone else, anymore. That’s true. But that’s not too much of a price to pay. Is it?

More articles by:

Peter Berllios is a Brooklyn based writer and artist. He can be reached at peterberllios@yahoo.com and on Twitter @PeterBerllios

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
November 15, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Meet Ukraine: America’s Newest “Strategic Ally”
Rob Urie
Wall Street and the Frankenstein Economy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Ukraine in the Membrane
Jonathan Steele
The OPCW and Douma: Chemical Weapons Watchdog Accused of Evidence-Tampering by Its Own Inspectors
Kathleen Wallace
A Gangster for Capitalism: Next Up, Bolivia
Andrew Levine
Get Trump First, But Then…
Thomas Knapp
Trump’s Democratic Critics Want it Both Ways on Biden, Clinton
Ipek S. Burnett
The United States Needs Citizens Like You, Dreamer
Michael Welton
Fundamentalism as Speechlessness
David Rosen
A Century of Prohibition
Nino Pagliccia
Morales: Bolivia Suffers an Assault on the Power of the People
Dave Lindorff
When an Elected Government Falls in South America, as in Bolivia, Look For a US Role
John Grant
Drones, Guns and Abject Heroes in America
Clark T. Scott
Bolivia and the Loud Silence
Manuel García, Jr.
The Truthiest Reality of Global Warming
Ramzy Baroud
A Lesson for the Palestinian Leadership: Real Reasons behind Israel’s Arrest and Release of Labadi, Mi’ri
Charles McKelvey
The USA “Defends” Its Blockade, and Cuba Responds
Louis Proyect
Noel Ignatiev: Remembering a Comrade and a Friend
John W. Whitehead
Casualties of War: Military Veterans Have Become America’s Walking Wounded
Patrick Bond
As Brazil’s ex-President Lula is Set Free and BRICS Leaders Summit, What Lessons From the Workers Party for Fighting Global Neoliberalism?
Alexandra Early
Labor Opponents of Single Payer Don’t  Speak For Low Wage Union Members
Pete Dolack
Resisting Misleading Narratives About Pacifica Radio
Edward Hunt
It’s Still Not Too Late for Rojava
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
Why Aren’t Americans Rising up Like the People of Chile and Lebanon?
Nicolas Lalaguna
Voting on the Future of Life on Earth
Jill Richardson
The EPA’s War on Science Continues
Lawrence Davidson
The Problem of Localized Ethics
Richard Hardigan
Europe’s Shameful Treatment of Refugees: Fire in Greek Camp Highlights Appalling Conditions
Judith Deutsch
Permanent War: the Drive to Emasculate
David Swanson
Why War Deaths Increase After Wars
Raouf Halaby
94 Well-Lived Years and the $27 Traffic Fine
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Coups-for-Green-Energy Added to Wars-For-Oil
Andrea Flynn
What Breast Cancer Taught Me About Health Care
Negin Owliaei
Time for a Billionaire Ban
Binoy Kampmark
Business as Usual: Evo Morales and the Coup Condition
Bernard Marszalek
Toward a Counterculture of Rebellion
Brian Horejsi
The Benefits of Environmental Citizenship
Brian Cloughley
All That Gunsmoke
Graham Peebles
Why is there so Much Wrong in Our Society?
Jonah Raskin
Black, Blue, Jazzy and Beat Down to His Bones: Being Bob Kaufman
John Kendall Hawkins
Treason as a Lifestyle: I’ll Drink to That
Manuel García, Jr.
Heartrending Antiwar Songs
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
Poetry and Political Struggle: The Dialectics of Rhyme
Ben Terrall
The Rise of Silicon Valley
David Yearsley
Performance Anxiety
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail