I quite liked it! Plus, even if the point of "fuel is still burned to produce the electricity" is raised, it could be argued that handling CO2 production in a few static energy plants is far easier than managing millions of moving vehicles. (In addition to your comment on the improvement of the local air quality.)

@kiri @brandon we have more and better ways of switching power plants over to better stop-gap measures than we do for ICE's in cars, so even if it's true that there are still fuel-burning power plants it's a smaller problem in the long run.

What would be better for both the environment and the economy however is to move beyond fixing the end-point of the problem (the propulsion of the car) and move towards eliminating car travel as much as possible.


@kiri @brandon 2/n

A large part of the problem is that we've built our entire society on moving things from point A to point B, and then move all of the people from point C to point B so that they can buy the things we shipped there. That's a whole lot of miles to cover just so people can buy things, and many times things travel back and forth between A and B before becoming available to buy, adding hundreds or thousands of miles traveled to any given item before it's consumed.

@kiri @brandon 3/n

Take shrimp for example. They're fished here outside Norway, then they are shipped to southern Europe to be peeled and packaged, then shipped on reefer trucks back to Norway and Sweden to be sold in stores. Stores that often lay too far away for people who don't live in metropolitan areas.

When I was growing up we had a grocery store here in my little village that was within walking distance for everyone, now the closest thing is 10 kilometers away.

@kiri @brandon 4/n

10 kilometers isn't much, but when you consider that it means ~700 people all have to go 20 kilometers to get to the nearest grocery store and back that's a whole lot of driving that gets done. But two truck trips per week were enough to service that store and deliver fresh groceries.

So that's fewer miles driven (environment win), and it creates job opportunity for the people driving the truck(s) and owning the store (economy win).

Infrastructure first, engines second.

That's... very sensible actually! I hadn't thought of it that way, makes plenty of sense.

@kungtotte @kiri fantastic point and I'm glad you brought it up! funny enough as we go through the process of globalization we end up moving the physical goods a lot more than we would otherwise. Conglomeration is to blame?

imagine if housing was built with getting items and goods directly inside homes instead of people to fetch the items from a store. Here in Germany the parcel delivery services are already running into problems because the demand is overwhelming and cities weren't build with that problem in mind (preferably something like vacuum tubes should be used instead of delivery trucks).

@kiri @brandon

@Halbeard @kungtotte @kiri Vacuum tubes sounds like a lot of ongoing maintenance and operations costs.

I think what would be a better solution is more "lockboxes" around a given neighbourhood for larger parcels

@brandon Nice way of thinking about it. Also you are right, it would have to stay local in order for it to work. With fossil fuels we spend a butt ton local, nation, and internationally. Overall I think for the economy, fossil fuels are still better, but, for the environment I believe electric cars are the way.

@jordan31 what actually inspired this article was seeing more and more charging stations installed for parking spots here in Montreal. I figured well, they're making money locally by installing these, surely. And then I imagined all cars being charged like this.

I worry, however, about the cost of maintenance. Especially with how some have already driven off with gas nozzles still in their tanks!

@brandon I would love to see some numbers on this topic from the U.S.A. federal government. It would be interesting to see what they think.

@jordan31 I would as well! But I'm too lazy to do the research on that :/

@brandon I only have 2 criticisms. Otherwise I really enjoyed this article.

Moving money around an economy is a false indicator of economic health. You have to look at what is driving the movement of money. If it is an external force that has little interest in cost efficiency and profit motive then that can be a false indicator.

The other issue is the 'local economy' issue. 'Buy Local' is a campaign to encourage people to buy more products locally. If local industry cannot compete with (1/2)

@brandon cost efficiency or quality of production, then it is a net loss to the economy to buy locally. If you can import products more cheaply than you can produce them, then you can allocate capital to more productive sectors of the economy, therefore improving the overall economy.

Capitalism has used this economic device to help bring us the age of computers and the internet, as well as the cheap food. Without this economic device we wouldn't even be talking about this now.

@poetgrant see? I told you I'm not an economist or anywhere near one 😂

@brandon I hesitated in my response because I didn't think I was your target audience, but I did want to make you aware of these things. :)

@poetgrant I don't really have an intended target audience aside from "people who are willing to see things from another person's perspective

@poetgrant but for real, thank you for those points! I'm glad that we can see mostly eye-to-eye, and I'm also glad that my essay isn't just blatantly flat-out wrong lol

@brandon oh no, not wrong at all! I really enjoyed it! You made some awesome points that I hadn't thought about before.

@brandon to be honest, you essay made me realize that I haven't written an essay on economics for a while. I think I need to do that.

@poetgrant I actually did a teensy bit of research on that, mostly on "leakage" as the economists call it and on "moving money" mostly for the definitions and proper wording. So that was fun :p

If you do write an essay soon, what will you write on in economics?

@brandon Actually, your article has made me think about the whole idea of 'moving money'. There is a misconception about it. Some economists think that simply moving money around indicates a strong economy, but history has shown otherwise. I think I will delve into that topic.

Presidents and leaders of countries like to claim a strong economy because money is moving, when the opposite is actually true.

*cough* Trump *cough* Obama *cough Bush *cough* Clinton *cough*

@poetgrant The opposite of moving money, is not moving money, which would mean no spending? Is there another opposite that I'm not familiar with?

@brandon not exactly. It's more that the movement of money is a false indicator. Where does the money come from? Where is it going? Was it borrowed? Was it lent?

If borrowed, that is a problem because in the consumer side of the economy, borrowing money is borrowing from future production, which means moving borrowed money needs to be invested into something that will be extremely productive. Generally consumers don't do this.

Sign in to participate in the conversation

Fosstodon is a Mastodon instance that is open to anyone who is interested in technology; particularly free & open source software.