Daily Podcast: Needs Must?

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
daily podcast needs must

"Selling consumers more vehicle than they need has been the mainstream auto industry's business model for most of the past century," Joseph P. White writes in today's Wall Street Journal. "The wreckage created in Detroit by the bust of the bubble market in large sport-utility vehicles is just the latest example of how dependent auto makers are on the strategy." Whenever I hear pundits talking about other people's needs, and the greedy businessmen that convince consumers to buy against their own self-interest, I get nervous. One of the real joys of living in a democratic capitalistic society: within limits, citizens get to determine for themselves what's in their own best interests. If I want to drive an SUV, I am not denied that opportunity because someone else says "Sorry [s]Comrade[/s] Bub, you don't need it." Sure, there are plenty of arguments against SUVs. (I've made more than a few myself.) But it's simply not true that Detroit's in trouble because they suckered dumb ass Americans into SUVs. They're in trouble because they suckered themselves into complacency. When America's automotive "needs" changed– a change that was entirely predictable– they weren't ready. Period.

[I apologize for the fact that Justin seems genetically incapable of speaking up. I reckon he may just disappear some day. However, if you all clap, he may just come back. C'mon now boys and girls…]

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4 of 15 comments
  • Justin Berkowitz Justin Berkowitz on Aug 19, 2008

    I appreciate the feedback, fellas! Will take it to heart (not too much to heart).

  • Strippo Strippo on Aug 19, 2008

    Leave [s]Britney[/s] Justin alone! Leave him alone! You don't know what he's been through!

  • Tommy Yoo Tommy Yoo on Aug 19, 2008

    Apologies. The next time Justin drives around with an infant on his lap, I will be sure to take it easy on him. Shaved head and attacking an SUV? Well... I'm sorry, but I can't promise I won't laugh.

  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Aug 27, 2008

    There is a reason I want to disconnect our daily drivers from the price of gasoline or diesel... Drive whatever you want but the sooner I can do it on battery power and do it with the sunlight reaching my roof, the happier I'll be. There are current tech EVs that meet the needs of both of our vehicles. I have nothing against your right to drive whatever you want but don't like seeing the spikes in prices that I pay due to the demand caused by high consumption here or there or in China. Once upon a time when prices were stable I did not worry about the price of gas too much but things are far too sensitive now. Now it is easier to see how what we share the road with influences the prices I pay.