“From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” It’s an old idea, but one that has increasing relevance in an era where automation is likely to permanently tilt the balance between capital and labor well off the scale. When all the jobs are done by robots, and the robots are owned by a small group of people, and there’s no way to earn enough money through labor to buy robot capital of your own, then won’t we have entered a stasis of sorts in society? And won’t the bolder thinkers among us then propose that the spoils of the robot labor be divided equally? And won’t they have a bit of a point?
There’s also the idea that if you have something that you don’t need, and someone else needs something that they don’t have, and the “something” in question is the same thing, that the reasonable thing to do is to hand that thing that you don’t need over to the someone who needs it. This was the argument I used in 1987 when my brother, known to all and sundry as “Bark M”, found himself in possession of a set of new Z-Mags thanks to our parents liking him best. He didn’t need another set of wheels, but I’d just broken my back wheel riding off a loading dock for no reason at all, so I requisitioned his Z-Mags for my own use. This was made easier by the fact that I was fifteen years old and he was nine. That’s another lesson: equitable redistribution usually requires unreasonable force.
So what does this have to do with the Nissan Maxima, recently summarized in these electronic pages?
The day I knew was coming but hoped would never arrive is here. I have to decide whether its time to replace my trusty ride, a 1996 Infiniti I30 with estimated 235k miles (odo was broken years ago, repaired, and reset to a mileage amount we now think is low. actual miles is probably around 250-260k). The issue is an oil leak.
It’s now leaking at the rate of about 5 quarts every 3000 miles. I’ve been content to keep topping off the oil, but now the leak is causing other problems; specfically, the a/c and alternator belt will not stay on because the pulley is soaked in oil. Fixing the leak would be over $1000, and this would the third or so leak that we’ve plugged, only to have another pop up, so I’m convinced that if I was to fix it, a new engine is the way to go. I have an estimate from my mechanic (a very reasonable, trustworthy independent shop) for $2200 or so ($850 for a used local engine with 90k miles, $200 in other parts, and 13 hours labor).
At the Frankfurt Auto Show, when all the festivities and pageantry are over, it is customary to stroll through the booths, stands and halls of the competition to find out what they have. The real research is done by faceless drones that pose as journalists or customers. The drones must have brought back alarming intell to Halle 3, where Volkswagen holds court: “Ach du mein Lieber, Hyundai fielded a fearsome adversary to the Golf with the new i30.”
The whole white-haired Volkswagen board dropped their coffee cups and invaded the Hyundai display, led by Prof. Dr. Winterkorn, CEO of Volkswagen. Winterkorn himself sat behind the wheel of the i30. The former head of Quality Assurance was shocked: (Read More…)