Here the Evidence Is Clear

by Don Boudreaux on December 17, 2011

in Competition, Dinner Table Economics, Myths and Fallacies, Reality Is Not Optional, Regulation, Science

Here’s a letter to the Wall Street Journal:

I join Jeff Green in scolding the National Resources Defense Council’s Roland Hwang for insisting that among the justifications for higher mandated fuel-efficiency standards for automobiles is the alleged fact that, in Mr. Hwang’s words, “Americans want cars with better mileage” (Letters, Dec. 17).

While recognizing that ethical values cannot be determined solely by science, I agree unreservedly with those who demand that government policies (whatever the values that drive these policies) be ever-consistent with scientific tenets – that these policies be based on empirical evidence, interpreted as objectively as is humanly possible – that these policies be “reality-based.”

Fortunately in this case the objective evidence is overwhelming: Americans, in fact, do not want cars with better mileage.  If they did value higher mileage more than they value the money or the other features (such as ample legroom) that they must sacrifice to get higher mileage, Americans would already be supplied with higher-mileage vehicles.  Automakers have as much incentive to satisfy any demands for vehicles that feature higher mileage as they have to satisfy demands for vehicles that feature, say, more cup holders and better MP3 connectivity.

Mr. Hwang’s claim that “Americans want cars with better mileage” insults the intelligence of us proud members of the reality-based community.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux

UPDATE: Anticipating the direction that debate might take in the comments section, I humbly offer this 1997 essay of mine on different meanings of the verb “to want.

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{ 268 comments }

I Miss Nixon December 17, 2011 at 8:27 am

Don,

Your premise—that car buyers make rational choices—is false. Buyers make emotional responses.

We all know that it is possible to have conflicting emotions. Why, take you, we hate your sin, but love you, the sinner.

Cars are made and sold using means and methods designed to exploit the emotions of buyers and override their attempts to make rational choices. Look how hard it is to obtain basic information on financing costs, mileage, etc. (Car makers refuse to provide any information not required by the gov’t).

Accordingly, the statement is absolutely true. American’s want cars with better mileage.

kyle8 December 17, 2011 at 8:35 am

There lies the fundamental difference between us. You, like all of those on the left actually think you know better than the people what they want and what is best for them. You do not like or trust their choices.

While Don and I believe in freedom. And we rightly believe that markets, not bureaucracies, better deliver on the wants of humans.

I Miss Nixon December 17, 2011 at 9:45 am

kyle8

I trust peoples choices, when they are operating in a free environment.

I distrust auto makers who know that people are human and have billions available and put to use to override efforts by people to make informed choices.

vikingvista December 17, 2011 at 11:05 am

I suppose you are one of those enlightened few who are resistant to such powers of mind control. For instance, I’m sure nobody put this marketing mind control idea into your head.

Troll Watch December 17, 2011 at 11:11 am

One should become enlightened and resist mind control through education and experience But, you’ve acquiesced to the brainwashing and accept, acknowledge and kowtow to your capitalist masters. That makes you a full-fledged member of the non-reality based troll community.

vikingvista December 17, 2011 at 11:26 am

Yep. I wish I were like you and your government busybody bullies, who of course NEVER act emotionally when they decide to forcefully prevent people from acting emotionally.

Randy December 17, 2011 at 8:05 pm

Probably one of those people who can afford to drive a Prius and feel a sense of disgust for anyone who doesn’t.

brotio December 20, 2011 at 12:39 am

I have opened a xanga account and will forward our hosts postings there and allow comments there

http://cafe-hayek-comments.xanga.com/

I think that you will have to create a xanga account in order to comment. If this is true, it will prevent the name-hijacking that our Leftist, idiot trolls are so fond of. I do not intend to forbid comments because of name-calling, and will not forbid Yasafi, Gil, DK, GregG, or any of the other non-trolls from commenting. I will reserve the right to remove comments that violate the obscenity requirements our hosts have asked of us here.

Thanks all, and I hope this will allow us to continue our dialogues until our hosts decide how comments will be handled here.

Chucklehead December 17, 2011 at 11:07 am

“I trust peoples choices, when they are operating in a free environment. ” How do government mandates create a free environment? You only seem to want people to be free to make the choices that you want.
Lets face it, if the car was invented today, there is no way you would approve of it. You would claim that automakers want to pollute the air and kill 40,000 people a year.

Troll Watch December 17, 2011 at 11:14 am

You past choices and actions have done far worse. You are a destructive troll with a reputation that follows you wherever and whomever you trample. Face it and self-destruct.

Invisible Backhand December 17, 2011 at 8:33 pm

I make enemies on the Internet.

Jon Murphy December 17, 2011 at 11:18 am

“I trust peoples choices, when they are operating in a free environment.”

Let him live in freedom if he lives like me

Sam Grove December 17, 2011 at 1:01 pm

I certainly wouldn’t trust YOU with any power over me.

g-dub December 17, 2011 at 4:29 pm

imNix wrote: I distrust auto makers who … have billions available

Well then it is especially good to bail them out.

Craig December 17, 2011 at 5:47 pm

“I distrust auto makers who know that people are human and have billions available and put to use to override efforts by people to make informed choices.”

Ah, so the first step is to find automakers who don’t know that people are human.

Rick Caird December 17, 2011 at 5:47 pm

Every time I go into a dealer to buy a high mileage car, I emerge with a giant SUV. I could never figure out why. Now I know it is because my emotions have been exploited by the billions being spent to override my efforts to make an informed choice.

See, it isn’t my fault after all. I need the government to protect me.

Troll Watch December 17, 2011 at 11:03 am

You are correct. I don’t trust your choices because you are a destructive person in thought and action. You are also a repetitive troll and rubber stamp.

Invisible Backhand December 17, 2011 at 9:39 pm

I don’t trust your choices

This from a guy who knows what the people want about, in, of, for, between, under, over, and around free trade.

Invisible Backhand December 17, 2011 at 11:16 am

You, like all of those on the left actually think you know better than the people what they want and what is best for them. You do not like or trust their choices.

This from a guy who knows better than what the people want about free trade.

SMV December 17, 2011 at 2:23 pm

People vote every day for the ability to purchase low cost goods from China. They want this so much they commit scarce resources obtain these goods.

When faced with a real choice they prefer the lower cost goods from Asia. Would they prefer even more to have the low cost goods made in the US? I claim the answer is no. They certainly do not want the falling wages that this would require.

Invisible Backhand December 17, 2011 at 3:39 pm

People vote every day for the ability to purchase subsidized goods from China.

FTFY

SMV December 18, 2011 at 10:51 am

Yes and I think it would be a great idea for China to stop subsidizing our consumption at great cost to the Chinese citizens. But up until they do it would be wrong to interfere with American citizens rights and stop them from making these purchases.

Invisible Backhand December 18, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Yes and I think it would be a great idea for China to stop subsidizing our consumption at great cost to the American worker.

FTFY

GAAPrulesIFRSdrools December 17, 2011 at 12:29 pm

The I know better attitude was best exemplified by still active busy-body Joan Claybrook head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the Carter administration from 1977 to 1981.

She took a then common “econobox”, the Omni/Horizon, which in stock form was already an unpleasantly underpowered and poorly performing car and attempted to turn it into a tank in the pursuit of “safety” and declared it to be the car of the future.

As I recall, when it was tested by the automotive magazines, the extra weight ensured the car would take something like 20 seconds to go from 0-60 and maneuvered like a hippo on ice. Anybody pulling onto an interstate knows that inadequate acceleration and maneuverability are dangerous in themselves.

But think about the thought process employed here. Safety was, in her monomania, a car that was designed to better resist structural deformation in the event of a crash. No thought as to the effects on performance attributes (acceleration, maneuverability) that could avoid the crash. Worse she seemed completely oblivious to the fact that in a crash, safety to the occupants is maximized when parts of the car (other than the passenger cabin) deform in a controlled manner to absorb the kinetic energy of the crash.

Not only was that design irrational, but the whole process of having a bureaucrat with a law degree dictate engineering decisions is not just irrational, but insane.

Of course, our trolls will tell us just the opposite.

Seth December 17, 2011 at 2:14 pm

Don’t mess with my Horizon.

GAAPrulesIFRSdrools December 17, 2011 at 10:11 pm

It was no accident that “Christine” was a Chrysler..

Hmmm, two bailouts.. a double dipper

jjoxman December 17, 2011 at 8:39 am

You make assertions but offer no evidence. Maybe you buy on purely on emotion, but that doesn’t scale up to all vehicle buyers.

Aesthetics certainly have a role to play, but they aren’t the whole story.

Car companies that fail to make cars that people want will go bankrupt. Unless they are bailed out by the state. I’m looking at you Chrysler (twice!) and GM.

I Miss Nixon December 17, 2011 at 9:46 am

jjoxman

first, you are a troll

second, it has consistently been shown that most all decisions are made emotionally, then rationalized, but that truth is incovenient to you

Ken M December 17, 2011 at 11:01 am

So according to you, it’s not just automobile purchases, but most all decisions that the government is justified in overruling. I suppose that includes the decision of what books to read, what television shows to watch, what if any church to attend, and what candidates to elect. Perhaps you should change your screen name to “I Miss Stalin”.

I Miss Nixon December 17, 2011 at 6:10 pm

No

Understanding the decision making process permits one to understand when there is abuse and overreaching of the decision making process by inappropriate means or methods.

For example, we have always outlawed blackmail and extortion. Most states now outlaw perpetual going out of business sales, misuse of names, charities that are charities in name only.

The focus should, mostly, be on the intent of the seller. Is there an intent to take advantage.

This principle has even been extended to politicans running for public office. The prosecutions are rare, but the mail fraud statute has been applied to putting a second candidate in a race, with the same name as a legitimate candidate

vikingvista December 17, 2011 at 11:10 am

What about the choices you make when a gun is pointed at your head? Are those emotional?

I Miss Nixon December 17, 2011 at 6:10 pm

troll

Marcus December 17, 2011 at 11:10 am

The same is true of the political process.

The arguments for the market and for democracy are not that all individual decisions are made rationally, it’s that the non-systemic errors cancel out and that most of the errors are non-systemic.

The market is superior to democracy, in this regard, because in the market, individuals must weigh the costs.

vikingvista December 17, 2011 at 11:21 am

In the market, people MAY act rationally. That’s the difference.

I Miss Nixon December 17, 2011 at 6:12 pm

the market is inferior to democracy, for the market is subject to manipulation in many many more ways.

in an election, the voter is almost always given a choice between change and the status quo

Dan Phillips December 17, 2011 at 9:49 pm

@ I Miss Nixon: “In an election the voter is almost always given the choice between change and status quo.”

Are you saying that with a straight face?

JamesB December 18, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Democracy without individual rights almost always is tyranny.

Demosthenes December 17, 2011 at 8:16 pm

So, does your decision that jjoxman’s perfectly reasonable-seeming comment is indicative of troll-ness also count as a decision that was “made emotionally, then rationalized”?

Talk about an inconvenient truth!

Emil December 17, 2011 at 8:55 am

Even if we were to expect the entirety of your comment except the last two sentences (which I do not), you would still not have shown them to be true, only that they may be true. There could be many many other rational characteristics that we would rationally want in the cars beside better mileage (safety, space, less breakdowns, only to name some)

I Miss Nixon December 17, 2011 at 9:49 am

Emil

where does the work exclusive or “trump” appear?

the statement made was “people want high mileage cars” This is true, save Exxon shareholders. I except they reason, “I want a high mileage car but wholly GM will get my sapp neighbor to buy a low mileage car because it has 4 cup holders”

Jay DiNitto December 17, 2011 at 9:52 am

People make emotional decisions.
Therefore, the state must do something about it.
Right?

I Miss Nixon December 17, 2011 at 11:02 am

Jay

do you, as a business person, have the right to expliot weaknesses in other people?

khodge December 17, 2011 at 11:18 am

yes.

Newt Ginrich, Model Republican December 17, 2011 at 11:44 am

then people have a right to exploit you, using the gov’t or otherwise

this is why everyone says libertarians are amoral

vikingvista December 17, 2011 at 11:49 am

Yep. There is no moral difference between peaceful persuasion and violent intimidation. Smart point.

khodge December 17, 2011 at 12:00 pm

ng
1) amoral does not mean immoral.
2) suggesting that the government is the final judge of morality (as you do) is immoral.

vikingvista December 17, 2011 at 11:30 am

So, using the gun of government to manipulate citizens–would that be exploiting weaknesses?

Jay DiNitto December 17, 2011 at 3:41 pm

That depends…have you stopped beating your wife?

Dan J December 18, 2011 at 1:22 am

Pet rock………

vikingvista December 17, 2011 at 11:11 am

Equilibrium.

Marcus December 17, 2011 at 10:22 am

You are wrong on at least three different levels.

1) Anyone who is buying a minivan cannot be accused of making an emotional choice.  They have carefully considered what they need.

2) Two, there’s nothing at all wrong with purchasing what one wants even if it is based on an emotion.  A middle aged man buys a sports car to feel young again.  So what?  That’s the value it brings to him.

3) Which brings us to the third thing.  The examples above demonstrate that individuals buy for their own individual reasons.

I do, however, disagree with Don.  People *do* want better gas mileage.  Of course they do.  But, that is just one want amongst many and they must weigh how much they value their wants relative to one another.  If they valued higher gas mileage over their other wants, they would buy higher gas mileage vehicles.  And, in fact, many of them do.

This is what makes purchases of any kind such an individual choice.  Not only do individuals have their own particular set of wants and needs, they also value those wants and needs differently. And, they are much better positioned to evaluate their own individual wants and needs than you are.

Marcus December 17, 2011 at 10:46 am

Having now read Don’s essay linked to in his update, I see now that he has largely addressed my criticism. Though, I think we make slightly different points.

JamesB December 18, 2011 at 9:30 pm

People want better gas mileage in the same way people want a better Congress. They continue though to buy for them their preferred vehicles and elect for them their preferred politicians. In the end, they want others to make the changes to satisfy these general wants. Currently, they can get the politicians to coerce those others to do the former in regards to vehicle mileage.

Chucklehead December 17, 2011 at 11:32 am
Greg Webb December 17, 2011 at 12:31 pm

False. People rationally choose to purchase cars to meet their needs first and gas mileage is, at best, a secondary consideration. Trucks have low gas mileage and many people purchase them to transport their boats, jet skis, tools, furniture, freshly-killed deer, etc. Others buy SUVs cause they have kids to transport. Others buy sedans because they want a comfortable ride for their passengers. Young men and women buy sports and sporty looking cars to enjoy the drive or to enhance an image that they want to project.

Good gas mileage, though desired by many, is a low level factor for many decision makers. I mean who would drive a “smart” car once they have seen one in an accident. Safety is another concern that rational buyers consider in buying new cars.

So, Luzha, I know why you miss a controlling corrupt politician like Nixon. He instituted wage and price controls in a silly, misdirection attempt to get people to believe that they were causing inflation when it was really the Federal Reserve’s fault as it continued to hide the federal government’s excessive spending by monetizing the debt. Libertarians don’t miss Nixon nor will they miss corrupt politicians like Obama, cronies like Solyndra, or useful idiots such as yourself.

SheetWise December 17, 2011 at 3:16 pm

“I mean who would drive a ‘smart’ car once they have seen one in an accident[?]“

Your evidence is?

Dan J December 17, 2011 at 7:24 pm

Then you drive one. No thanx. Go-carts with doors…..

Greg Webb December 17, 2011 at 11:59 pm

My evidence is two dead Italians who were in a “smart” car that was rear ended by a regular sedan while I was in Italy last year. I did not see it directly, but saw the burned out hulk that was the “smart” car. Also, common sense, not political correctness, in knowing that something that small when hit by something larger at 40 miles an hour is likely to result in the death of any “smart” car passengers. Now, don’t be so politically correct, which is just plain damn dumb.

SheetWise December 18, 2011 at 2:09 am

I’m not trying to be politically correct. My daughter wanted one, and so I did some research. I was surprised to learn that they are not only safe — they’re safer than a lot of other “obviously” safer alternatives. Your anecdotal evidence doesn’t sway me as much as my research.

Greg Webb December 18, 2011 at 10:21 pm

Cool. Then, you should buy one for your daughter. I, of course, won’t buy one period. I don’t want to change your opinion that you obviously feel comfortable with given your research. You should not try to change my opinion as it is based on hard evidence, not what groups that can be swayed by political correctness, government, and the manufacturer to say what you read.

Sam Grove December 17, 2011 at 1:00 pm

So, if car makers can sell whatever they want to buyers, then why not cars with better mileage?

Many buyers DO in fact consider mileage in their buying decisions, but not on that factor alone. We bought a car with a V6 because 4 cylinder engines aren’t too good at towing a camper trailer. OTH, we passed over V8 engines, or even larger engines, because gas mileage was a factor.

A lot people purchase cars based on the price they can pay, and that often means a lower mileage car.

Your conclusory statement: Accordingly, the statement is absolutely true. American’s want cars with better mileage does not follow from anything you wrote before it.

Darren December 17, 2011 at 2:15 pm

That’s why we are all driving ultra-expensive high-performance cars instead of more practical cars, because we make decisions based on emotion. We are all too effing stupid to resist the diabolical snares of advertisers and marketers and willingly send them every cent we have. *Sheesh*

Sam Grove December 17, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Humans are primarily emotively driven. We use our rational facilities to satisfy our drives.

That humans are emotively driven is not something that alters in the arena of politics. In fact, successful politicians, like successful salesmen, have an instinct for exploiting emotive buttons to manipulate humans. Those that suppose the political state can be rationally driven are naive at best.

A big distinction between the market and the political realm is that the collective nature of politics tends toward putting all our eggs into one basket. There may seem to be greater security in doing that, but eventually the basket is strained to the point of collapse.

Dan J December 17, 2011 at 7:27 pm

Talk about politics and emotion…… ‘hope and change’ and a black man following fatigue of a representative of an opposing political.

Ubiquitous December 17, 2011 at 5:01 pm

Your premise—that car buyers make rational choices—is false. Buyers make emotional responses.

Within the Austrian tradition of economics, a so-called “emotional response” is still, by definition, a rational choice.

“Rational” = “Consciously preferring or choosing one goal over another goal.”

One can employ reason and logic in making a choice; one can employ feelings and hunches; one can employ both. From the standpoint of economics, it makes no difference. All of these responses are defined as “rational”: the economic actor must be (1) consciously awake, and (2) confronted with choices. That an actor might make a choice for reasons with which you disagree — i.e., he likes the color of a car, or believes that he’ll be perceived as more sexually alluring if he is seen driving a certain kind of car — is utterly irrelevant from the standpoint of economics, and from the standpoint of the economic conception of “rational choice.”

From the standpoint of economics, a non-rational response would be a non-conscious, reflex-action: the knee-jerk reflex; the ankle reflex; the gag reflex; the pupil-contraction reflex; the blink reflex; etc. These function along a “reflex arc” in the body and work even if a person is unconscious.

I Miss Nixon December 17, 2011 at 8:29 pm

Within the Austrian tradition of economics, a so-called “emotional response” is still, by definition, a rational choice

which is the false assumption of Austrian economics.

If Austrians admitted the truth, that emotional responses can be maniputated and are not rational, such opens the door to the regulation of markets.

IOW, Austrian economics is result driven. It is set up for the result—unregulated markets. If Austrian economics were intellectually honest it would have to take into account what to do when markets are manipulated to take advantage of numerous decision making errors that people make.

For example, it has been shown that decision makers decide differently even based on the time of day.

This presents profound challenges to the Austrian’s concept of “free markets.”

Invisible Backhand December 17, 2011 at 8:40 pm

The next step is beneficence, where a highspeed chairlift across the Bering Strait is easy to construct and a Worlds Monday-Sunday Lazy Fair is in progress. From your home to Seattle to Nome to Chukotka to Beijing. 5 hours after leaving America, you can try one yourself.

Ubiquitous December 17, 2011 at 9:01 pm

which is the false assumption of Austrian economics.

It’s not an “assumption”. It’s a starting axiom: conscious action (which includes emotional responses as well as logical conclusions) vs. reflexive action. If you don’t get the difference between “conscious” and “non-conscious”, look it up or go pound sand, moron.

If Austrians admitted the truth, that emotional responses can be maniputated and are not rational, such opens the door to the regulation of markets.

Nah. Gummint regulators are just as prone to illogical thinking as anyone else. And their actions affect everyone in the economy, not just those who voluntarily engage in a specific transaction for a specific good or service.

For example, it has been shown that decision makers decide differently even based on the time of day.

Really? And at what time of day did those researchers make that decision? And therefore, how do they know it was a “better” time of day for coming to that conclusion than some other time of day?

Fallacy of self-exclusion.

But since you’re a shit-for-brains, I don’t expect you to understand that.

By the way, twit, you were emotionally manipulated into trolling on this board, did you know that? In fact, we’ve manipulated you into posting precisely the responses with which you’ve been trolling. Prove it isn’t so.

I Miss Nixon December 18, 2011 at 3:20 am

a starting axiom is a word game

the statement is a false assumption

the theory is a house of cards built on a false assumption

a decision driven by manipulation is not voluntary except to someone who is trying to rationalize a resultl

Ubiquitous December 18, 2011 at 11:48 pm

a starting axiom is a word game

Nah, “starting axiom” is a pleonasm.

Look it up.

Jon Murphy December 17, 2011 at 9:43 pm

So, if emotional choices are not rational, as you so claim Luzha, then none of your responses on this blog are rational. They all have emotional tinges: you claim we are immoral, uncaring, etc ad nauseum. Those are all emotional responses. Therefore, you are irrational, according to your own definition and we should not pay attention to you.

I Miss Nixon December 18, 2011 at 3:22 am

Jon, you are such an idiot

My posts are not manipulated by someone else

no one pays me to post here

however, most of what you read hear is bought and sold

Jon Murphy December 18, 2011 at 8:26 am

Emotional. You call me an idiot, an emotional response. This post is, according to you, irrational.

Nikolai Luzhin.Eastern Promises December 18, 2011 at 12:43 pm

obviously Jon you never saw the movie (Patton)

it is only important that I know when I am really mad

Jon Murphy December 18, 2011 at 12:45 pm

What Patton reference are you making?

Sam Grove December 17, 2011 at 10:48 pm

that emotional responses can be maniputated and are not rational

Are you supposing that this is not a problem in politics?

Maniputated, that could make an interesting word.

Tor Munkov December 17, 2011 at 10:31 pm

Every action you mention is legitimate. To further continue on this line…
What about a man who buys a car just because his friend bought the same one and he has no opinion of his own only blinding fear he’ll make a mistake.
What about a guy who goes to the car dealer and just buys exactly what the salesman recommends him to at the asking price no questions asked.
What if you buy a car because its red and red is your lucky color.
Aren’t those irrational choices?
Man is a rational being. Reason, as man’s only means of knowledge, is his basic means of survival. The act of reason depends on each individual’s choice. That which you call your soul or spirit is your consciousness, and that which you call ‘free will’ is your mind’s freedom to think or not, the only will you have, your only freedom.
This is the choice that controls all the choices you make and determines your life and character. Thus a self-ruling man rejects any form of determinism, the belief that man is a victim of forces beyond his control (such as God, fate, upbringing, genes, or economic conditions).

I Miss Nixon December 18, 2011 at 3:24 am

you keep looking at the wrong side of the transaction

you are a troll writing blah blah blah

the question is whether the car companies used their resources in an attempt to manipulate buyers, whjich they do

that attempt justifies gov’t regulation, for that means the responses of some buyers is the result of such manipulation

Dan J December 17, 2011 at 7:21 pm

Regardless of what you, they, them, or I say what Americans ‘want’ from their cars, the federal GOVT has no business making that determination. Vehicles will be built, sold, and resold based on what ‘they’ want. The market works perfectly well. And, businesses who don’t make what we want, 200 million different tastes (assuming the other 100 million plus are children and/or non consumers of cars), will be no more.
Take the Chevy Volt……. No, really……. GOVT motors is begging you to take one…….. Soon progressives will have EPA or some other scum mandate it’s purchase, the filthy authoritarians that Progressives are.

I Miss Nixon December 17, 2011 at 8:31 pm

the federal GOVT has no business making that determination.

of course it does. it makes perfect sense for me, the consumer, to delegate to the fed govt, as my agent, to represent me in setting standards for cars.

I could never acquire the information on everything from window glass to tires—the list is endless. It is very efficient for me, as a consumer, to have the gov’t set miniumum safety standards for automobiles.

Jon Murphy December 17, 2011 at 9:50 pm

” it makes perfect sense for me…”

Stop right there. Reread that phrase. “It makes perfect sense for ME.” Yes. You. it makes perfect sense for you to give up your freedom of choice. But WE don’t want to give up that right. Why do your personal preferences take precedent over ours? What makes your opinion more valid then the millions of Americans who disagree with you?

You seem to be missing a key fact: every human is an individual. We are not some part of a collective hive-mind. We are people with our own wishes and dreams. You value fuel-mileage, and that’s all well and good. But what if I want a sports car? Gas mileage is not my top concern. Why do your preferences take precedent over mine? That is the one question you refuse to answer. If you can answer that without an insult or a conspiracy theory, then I will admit defeat, renounce Libertarianism and submit myself to any and all choices you want.

But until you can prove to me that, yes, one size fits all (and I mean ALL), I will never renounce my belief in myself.

GAAPrulesIFRSdrools December 17, 2011 at 11:47 pm

Oh Jon, we’re just checkers to moved at will by our benevolent all knowing checker masters..

I Miss Nixon December 18, 2011 at 3:37 am

you are a troll

you have no understanding of economics

it takes time to acquire the information necessary to buy a car

even with time, I might never be able to acqure the information

accordingly, it makes perfect sense for me to have the gov’t act as my agent to set safety and other standards for automobiles.

the same is true for lots of other regulations===food, drugss

public schools are an example of efficiency on the state and local level

this is why, when public schools are run by board members who are parents of students you have a better school than when they are run by teachers or unions.

the school board stops acting as agent for the studemts

Hal December 18, 2011 at 5:19 am

it makes perfect sense for me

This is what’s known as the fallacy of composition: since it makes sense for you, you assume it makes sense for everyone. Just because you’re incapable of properly gathering information or lack the confidence to make choices and fail to learn from your bad ones, doesn’t mean this is true for anyone else, much less everyone else.

If you feel the need to pay some organization to gather information on products and make decisions for you, that’s fine, in a free market organizations like that arise constantly. The free market organizations that privately act as quality control and do a fine job are called grocery stores.

You think government can do better? It cannot. Since the 70′s Americans have followed the food guidelines provided by the federal government and are now more obese and have more health problems due to poor diets than at any other time.

Remember when government said that trans-fats were a healthy alternative to saturated fats and that saturated fats were unhealthy? Well turns out trans-fats are incredibly unhealthy and saturated fats are healthy.

I Miss Nixon December 18, 2011 at 9:21 am

Jon, you are a troll, as is Hal

you don’t understand the most simple of economic concepts like efficiency or agency

you have no idea about the values of standards for products, services, software

each one of your posts is the same basic theme—I am greedy, selfish, and uninformed

Hal December 18, 2011 at 10:32 pm

you don’t understand the most simple of economic concepts like efficiency or agency

you have no idea about the values of standards for products, services, software

If you know so much about economics, please explain to me how government could possibly provide better information on quality foods rather than private entities whose job is to provide hiqh quality foods, like grocery stores.

If you know so much about agency and efficiency, explain why you think reducing choices and forcing consumers to rely on government for information could possibly be efficient, particularly when at every turn the government demonstrates its complete willingess to supply bad information when it suits its purpose. For example, climategate, Solyndra and all the “green” jobs the government dumped billions into, lying about the financial health of banks to facilitate the bank bailouts. The list is endless.

Lastly, it’s hilarious that the first sentence of many of your comments is what trolls everyone else is, yet the best you can offer is ad hominem.

Dan J December 18, 2011 at 1:20 am

For you……. But, I choose otherwise.

Oh, I forgot, Progressives abhor free will and choice.

I Miss Nixon December 18, 2011 at 3:39 am

no libertarians abhor free will and choice

that is why they support letting businesses engaging in amoral and immoral conduct, manipulating the decision making shortcomings of people.

Dan Phillips December 18, 2011 at 10:49 am

@Dan J: “…Progressives abhor free will and choice.”

Bingo! I waded through all these comments until someone finally brought up the concept of free will. One either believes in free will or not. One either respects another’s free will, or not. Obviously I Miss Nixon is in the “not” category.

Basically the acceptance of, and respect for, free will is at the nub of the dispute. Until that conflict is resolved these comments are just going to go round and round.

And guess what. The dispute about free will will never be resolved. It is either accepted or it isn’t. Nothing either side can say will get the other side to agree. I think the argument over free will is the driving force behind all political, economic and social unrest.

How can you adhere to the concept of free will and then argue that individuals should not be allowed to employ it in their owm lives? You can’t! It is free will that people like I Miss Nixon will deny to the end of time.

I Miss Nixon December 18, 2011 at 12:48 pm

Dan Phillips December 18, 2011 at 10:49 am

@Dan J: “…Progressives abhor free will and choice.”

your statement is false

Progressive support free will and choice, which is my they oppose manipulation

liberatarians oppose free will and choice, which is why they engage in word games and false assumptions so as to justify manipulation

theft is theft, regardless of how one is deprived of the right to make an informed decision with all the facts before them

Dan J December 19, 2011 at 12:55 am

The trolls have won!!

jjoxman December 17, 2011 at 8:41 am

State interference in car manufacturing has caused whole generations to miss out on the glory of muscle cars. Thank God some of them are coming back. The new Mustang, Challenger, and Camaro are wonderful.

The car market is so hampered that it is quite amazing we can get vehicles we actually want.

Greg Webb December 17, 2011 at 12:34 pm

Agreed! Also, corrupt politicians and cronies will drive expensive luxury cars while forcing all others, including their useful idiots, to drive Chevy Volts.

Darren December 17, 2011 at 2:16 pm

If only we knew what we *really* wanted, everyone would be happy.

brotio December 18, 2011 at 1:46 am

The new Mustang, Challenger, and Camaro are wonderful.

Good-looking cars! They’re also faster, more reliable, and get better mileage than their muscle-car predecessors. When I shop for a car power, reliability, and looks trump gas mileage. The 300 HP V-6 Mustang is pretty damn quick, but not as quick as the V-8. If I can afford sticker price, I’ll take the V-8.

Tor Munkov December 17, 2011 at 8:48 am

What car buyers want is a free market.
Most would prefer to buy a high quality $2000 Tata Nano at the local Walmart.
Let go of this urge to make yourself feel better by surrounding yourself with lies. On both a national and a personal level.
Which is the better lie, the Japan Imperial Lie, The American Liberty Lie, the Democrat Progressive Lie, The Republican Conservative Lie. The I’m a Great Family Man Lie. The I’m an esteemed Law Partner Lie?
Who the hell cares.
Why not try autonomy? (self-rule)
The evidence is clear that once you are honest with yourself about who you are and then find ways to be your own government, you’ll have a lifelong asset of great value no matter which tinhorn-bankster-dictator-sh!thole plantation you choose to build your slave shack in.

Tor Munkov December 17, 2011 at 8:51 am

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tata_Nano. If you allowed this into America tariff free, just picture the kind of creaky crony capitalist conniptions your automakers would attempt if they had to survive in an honest market.

kyle8 December 17, 2011 at 8:56 am

I actually do not believe it would be a big seller in the USA even if it were allowed to compete as is. The reason being that it is too small for American tastes.

But it would be great for poor people who cannot afford anything better.

Tor Munkov December 17, 2011 at 10:22 am

In a free market, every kid of 5 and up would drive one and their friends to work in it.
Once autonomy is achieved by the many. The next step is beneficence, where a highspeed chairlift across the Bering Strait is easy to construct and a Worlds Monday-Sunday Lazy Fair is in progress. From your home to Seattle to Nome to Chukotka to Beijing. 5 hours after leaving America, you can try one yourself.

Maybe An Die Freude is playing too. (Ludwig v Symph 9 Move 4 [Ode to Joy])

Freude, schoener Goetterfunken, Tochter aus Elysium…

Joyful joyful i adore me
And you Fair Elysium,
Drunk with fire may I enter,
Heavenly one, your holy shrine.
Magic powers join together
What fashion strictly did divide;
Young Maidenheads unite all men
Within soft gentle wings spread wide.

Chucklehead December 17, 2011 at 12:13 pm

I think high school parking lots would be full of them.

DarrenM December 17, 2011 at 2:18 pm

The reason being that it is too small for American tastes.

Doesn’t it kind of depend on *which* Americans you are talking about?

Dan J December 17, 2011 at 7:31 pm

Tata motors…… As it sells in India, it would not be able to sell here. But, sell it would…. Profit? Don’t know. But, I am all for more competition. And, considering Smart Cars sell…….. Then Tata cars should, as well.
What is it…. 25% tariff on trucks to protect Union jobs? Bring me the goods…… Unions can stick it!!

Greg Webb December 17, 2011 at 12:48 pm

Tor, the Tata was designed primarily for consumption by the Indian market and was recently introduced in Europe with extras designed to appeal to Europeans and a higher price of $6,000. Tariffs are always wrong and should not restrict Tata from introducing their cars into the US market. I say, and all libertarians would agree, let businesses compete!

vikingvista December 17, 2011 at 3:16 pm

I’ll see you, and raise you–let everyone compete.

Dan J December 17, 2011 at 7:32 pm

Tata bought some of GM’s throwaways.

Invisible Backhand December 17, 2011 at 9:09 pm

These are the only Tatas I’m interested in:

http://i.imgur.com/RB1ex.jpg

Greg Webb December 18, 2011 at 12:01 am

Irritable Bowel, those are store bought tatas! Which means they are the product of the evil capitalist system that you so despise. Long live capitalism!

South Side December 17, 2011 at 9:43 pm

I find it strange that nobody has mentioned the obvious fact that buying a low milage car inflicts negative externalaties on others.

The reasons for governments to push for high milage cars is not because government really cares about what each person is, individually, spending on gasoline. Rather, governments push for high milage cars because if everyone uses high milage cars, this reduces pollution (and oil dependency). Obviously, every individual purchase contributes almost nothing to these problems, so this effect is neglected in the individual decision.

In the presence of externalities, individual decisions usually lead to inefficient allocations. Maybe I could take free market ideologists more seriously if they would recognize some basic facts…

Jon Murphy December 17, 2011 at 9:52 pm

I would actually argue that high-mileage cars will increase pollution. Since the cost of driving has gone down, people will drive more. The cars will give off more emissions. Pollution either will increase or stay the same (depending on magnitude). if you really want to make the pollution argument, make driving MORE expensive, not less.

South Side December 17, 2011 at 10:41 pm

Sorry, do you have ANY evidence that the second order effect should be larger than the first order effect (which is what you need to make your statement valid)??

I don’t think so. The fuel use price elasticity is very inelastic (not higher than -0.3), even in the long run (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Price_elasticity_of_demand). Also, pollution (i.e. emission of sulfur) is very much proportional to gallons of gasoline used.
Suppose you drive a low milage car, and you drive Y miles/month spend X$ monthly on gasoline. Suppose you change for a car with double milage. Economically, this has the same effect as a price reduction to X$/2 for the same amount driven. With an elasticity of -0.3, this means you drive Y*1.3 miles now. The relative decrease in pollution is 1-1.3/2, which is clearly larger than zero.

Besides, I completely agree with you that we need an additional fuel tax. Would you join me in lobbying for it?

g-dub December 17, 2011 at 11:40 pm

I don’t have time at present to answer this post, nor your response to mine. I had read the following paper many years ago, and found it interesting:

http://www-dse.ec.unipi.it/persone/docenti/Luzzati/italiano/didattica/herringefficiency.pdf

Maybe I’ll have a little time tomorrow.

Jon Murphy December 18, 2011 at 8:36 am

Actually, South Side, I do have some evidence:

Despite the fact that cars have been becoming more fuel efficient and cleaner emissions over the past several decades (even the worst car today is better on emissions then in our parents generation), emissions from cars are at an high. Part of this is due to more cars on the road and I’d argue this reason is because the cost of driving is falling. Additionally, commuting distances are at an all-time high, also due to lower cost of driving, I’d argue.

I am unaware of any published studies on this topic, but this is just something I’ve noticed.

As for the gas tax, I wasn’t advocating for it. I was just making a point. However, would I advocate for it? As much as I’d like to see the internal combustion engine go by the wayside, there is no viable alternative out there. All the other engines out there (with the exception of nuclear powered engines) are much more inefficient and would only make a pollution problem worse.

South Side December 18, 2011 at 9:27 am

Well, completely substituting the internal combustion engine was never the point, right? The fact is, most of high milage cars and low milage cars have it. So why not advocate the use of high milage cars? I also agree that in the case of emissions, a fuel tax is more effective than a regulation of car production. But there are many other externalities. High milage cars also reduce, to some extend, the oil dependency of our country. We are spending trillions of taxpayer money to ensure our influence in the middle east for geostrategic reasons (a euphemism for oil).

Jon Murphy December 18, 2011 at 9:41 am

I do advocate high mileage cars. But I do not think that those who would rather trade power for gas mileage should be removed from the market. I believe each person should make a choice based upon his wants, needs, and conscience, not others.

Additionally, the oil dependency argument doesn’t make sense. The majority of our oil comes from domestic and Canadian sources. Only about 1/3 of our oil comes from the Middle East.

g-dub December 17, 2011 at 10:19 pm

Jon Murphy gave one reason for not assumuing a reduction in pollution as a response to higher mileage.

I think the problem may even be worse. (And when people talk about reducting carbon emissions via higher mileage cars, they are talking about the world aggregate emissions.) If I save a $100 in my gas tank, I might spend that on a widget from China. The mining for material will be done with petrol. The processing of the material will be powered by dirty coal plants. The widget will be shipped by a diesel powered ship. Where is the aggregate environmental advantage of saving gasoline in my auto’s tank?

South Side December 17, 2011 at 10:52 pm

g-dub:
Yes, it might. But not everyone will spend the money on widgets from China, and it is a fact that pollution from gasoline is far more polluting than the average product of the same price (by the way, the chinese are suffering badly from environmental problems, and are starting to tackle the problem). If the US would have pushed for Carbon taxes, we might have already implemented it even in China… the basic issue remains: there are a host of externalities to a wide range of economic activities. In this context, market based solutions are often inefficient. Do you agree with that?

Jon Murphy December 18, 2011 at 8:38 am

There are externalities. And that does make markets inefficient. That is true. But if the solution makes the market even more inefficient, then it is no better than the externality.

Remember, the market will not always produce a solution that is perfectly efficient. But it will always produce the most efficient solution.

South Side December 18, 2011 at 9:12 am

I agree very much that in general, the mechanism “free market” is more efficient than the mechanism “regulation” (laws and taxes), because passing laws and supervising that they are being followed is costly. But, importantly, this does not imply that the “total efficiency” (efficiency from the outcome minus the costs of reaching this outcome) from a market mechanism is generally more efficient! The different “total outcomes” have to be weighted against each other in each particular case. Advocating for one of the two mechanism being superior in all cases is ideology.

Jon Murphy December 18, 2011 at 9:20 am

Indeed it is an ideology. So is the opposite idea of a case-by-case basis.

However, the market will always maximize net total benefit. the market takes into account marginal benefits vs. marginal costs. Regulation cannot. That makes regulation inherently less efficient than the free market.

Jon Murphy December 18, 2011 at 9:23 am

Everything is an ideology. We all have bias that we confirm with facts. Even the best of us with the most noble intentions bend facts to fit bias, not the other way around.

Even scientific theory like evolution is ideology. Creationism is another ideology. My belief of creationist-evolution (God created the world, set in motion the wheels of evolution, and sits back and lets His creation take its course) is an ideology.

No one is free of confirmation basis. Anyone who says he is is either lying to the world or to himself.

South Side December 18, 2011 at 9:42 am

“However, the market will always maximize net total benefit.”
This is just completely wrong!! The crucial point of externalities is that the individual marginal benefit does not coincide with the social marginal benefits because the decision of one agent has an effect on the wellbeing of other agents. In the case of negative externalities, this means that by equating my marginal costs/benifits, I do not take into account the costs I impose on other people. The market outcome is therefore inefficient.

Quite generally, smart government intervention (regulation, taxes, subsidies) COMBINED with the market mechanism can make sure that individual marginal costs are closer to the social marginal cost.

I get the feeling you do not know what an externality is…

Jon Murphy December 18, 2011 at 9:51 am

I know exactly what an externality is. I’m an economist. It’s what I do.

But my point remains the same simply because of the fact that we cannot know the SMB and SMC. They are nice concepts, but there is no possible way to measure them EXCEPT THROUGH the market (I hope you don’t interpret my caps as me shouting. I am too lazy to write these things in a word processor and then past them in, so this is how I emphasize). SMB and SMC are, in theory, the aggregate total of each person’s MB and MC. The only way to collect that info is through a market mechanism. Any government regulation, no matter how well intentioned, will place a stronger weight the author’s MB and MC, as well as his perceptions of others MB and MC, in writing his regulations. That will make the market inherently less efficient then the market solution.

My question to you is, do you know what economic efficiency is?

g-dub December 18, 2011 at 1:48 pm

JM wrote: I hope you don’t interpret my caps as me shouting. I am too lazy to write these things in a word processor and then past them in, so this is how I emphasize

The simplest html tags that can be used for emphasis or quotes are italic, bold, and underline. They are so simple they can easily be put in manually.
I am not sure how this web site handles all the various tags, but hopefully the formating I intend can be properly seen here. If not, there are some easy to find websites to tell you how to do simple html tagging of text.
<i>italicize</i> = italicize
<b>bold</b> = bold
<u>underline</u> = underline

^Looking up, how did the html adventure go?^

g-dub December 18, 2011 at 1:51 pm

wow, no underline.

Dan J December 18, 2011 at 12:30 pm

‘Individual decisions lead to inefficient allocations’- SouthParkside

By whatever calculations you assume….. I could see how someone might conclude such a thought, yet far more evidence is obvious that ‘the few’ making decisions for ‘the many’ leads to far greater inefficient allocations and wastes, not to mention, intruding on the seeking of happiness of the individual, which no panel of elitists can ever derive for another individual.
In just to examples we can see the wastes of collectivism…….
A: GOVT distribution of H1N1 vaccines- shortages and rationing followed by overabundance and expiration of tens of millions of dollars worth of vaccines
B: Solyndra- $529 million dollars of cronyism by Obama admin.
The list of GOVT wastes would take more time than any here has to compile and the cost in the …. What comes after trillion?

Dan J December 18, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Just those two examples alone, the money reallocated could have fulfilled goals by charities to offer a Merry Christmas for people whom they serve.

brotio December 20, 2011 at 12:40 am

I have opened a xanga account and will forward our hosts postings there and allow comments there

http://cafe-hayek-comments.xanga.com/

I think that you will have to create a xanga account in order to comment. If this is true, it will prevent the name-hijacking that our Leftist, idiot trolls are so fond of. I do not intend to forbid comments because of name-calling, and will not forbid Yasafi, Gil, DK, GregG, or any of the other non-trolls from commenting. I will reserve the right to remove comments that violate the obscenity requirements our hosts have asked of us here.

Thanks all, and I hope this will allow us to continue our dialogues until our hosts decide how comments will be handled here.

(Copy)

Denno December 17, 2011 at 9:51 am

I am somewhat surprised that the Feds have not mandated that the Prius be made less ugly so that people will want to purchase more of them.

BTW, of course, people purchase cars emotionally. Why else would someone buy a high priced, maintenance disaster such as a BMW? However, that is still their choice and the government should never interfere in that choice. Water will quench thirst better than a soda, but people emotionally purchase sodas. Choice=Freedom.

Sam Grove December 17, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Many buy a Prius because they feel that they should make some concesstion to “Green” sentiments.

Marcus December 17, 2011 at 1:14 pm

I wouldn’t say ‘concession’.

Many of those who have purchased a Prius did so for the social status and what owning such a car says about them.

vikingvista December 17, 2011 at 3:22 pm

They want people to think of them as sanctimonious and cultish?

Marcus December 17, 2011 at 4:21 pm

I doubt they give a second thought to what you and I think. Social status is more related to a person’s immediate circle of friends and acquaintances. People who buy Priuses hang out with people with whom it buys social ranking.

Tor Munkov December 17, 2011 at 3:15 pm

True Sam. Another example of the Noble Lie (Plato/Rand). Given that ~70% of electricity comes from oil/coal I would call them elsewhere emitting vehicles. There are great 70 mpg diesels in Europe that are better quality, cheaper, and have less environmental impact.
For various dubious reasons people call a lie told for a great and good purpose a “noble lie.” Governments and power groups falsely claim to lie to you for your own good. The cumulative effects of these lies are a root cause of the degraded populace and governments, irregardless of how much we succeed in working harder, smarter, and in ways that build the total capital base.

Ubiquitous December 17, 2011 at 9:31 pm

irregardless of how much we succeed in working harder, smarter, and in ways that build the total capital base.

“Irregardless”?

No such word.

Dumbshit illiterate troll.

Tor Munkov December 17, 2011 at 10:41 pm

In the submit box, it didn’t get underlined as violating spell-check, but why be inflammable when flammable is just as good. (Neither of these are red underlined either.)
Caveat Lector I guess.

Post Scriptum: In a scurrilous manner, I replied to one of your replies implying you are one of those revolving handle posters; upon further reading, there seem to be two ubiquiti in the Cafe.

This is in complete violation of the nonmaleficence principle of primum non nocere for which I most profusely apologize.

Ubiquitous December 18, 2011 at 1:44 am

In the submit box, it didn’t get underlined as violating spell-check

Proof-positive that a word is legitimate: it didn’t get underlined in the submit box.

You know what the word “schmuck” means? Look it up if you don’t, because you are one.

Jon Murphy December 17, 2011 at 9:57 am

I think two things on this matter:

1) I like how there are those who presume to know what I want. They have never met me, probably never will, but somehow know precisely what I want. I mean, how can they do that? How do they know?!

2) Aren’t there incentives for high-mileage cars as it is? When gas was about $4/gal, people were buying efficient cars without other incentives.

vikingvista December 17, 2011 at 11:33 am

They don’t. They only know what THEY want, and if you don’t want the same, you must be violently repressed.

Greg Webb December 17, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Jon, VV is right. Those who want bigger government just want to use government to force others to make the choice that they want them to make based upon their emotional need to tell others what to do. That is wrong and why government power must be limited. Their stated intentions are always good, but the results are good for only the few, like Congress to which the rules don’t apply, but bad for the rest of us.

Ubiquitous December 17, 2011 at 9:32 pm

based upon their emotional need to tell others what to do

Or their emotional need to be told by others what to do.

Tor Munkov December 17, 2011 at 10:51 pm

The dyad of doom those are.

There is a serious outbreak of Second-handedness and Second-Foot-in-Mouth disease as of late. A second hander being a person who looks to others to decide his values or beliefs.

Men who don’t deal with reality directly, but instead look to others, are a root cause of the drift into the old Masters and Beasts scenario one sees all around today.

Instead of trying to understand the world, Edward SecondHands simply accepts what other people tell him, without attempting to evaluate the information. Instead of trying to decide what values would benefit his life, he looks to others or authority figures to know what is right and approved.

A second-hander does not think for himself. He does not even act for himself. He lives in order to impress others. It doesn’t matter if he’s happy if he can trick others into believing he’s happy. It doesn’t matter if he’s wealthy, if he can trick others into believing he’s wealthy. The only thing that matters is what other people think or believe.

Bad men and Bad governments look to impress others by acquiring things that others would want. They profess to believe things they don’t really accept in order to fit in. They ignore their own judgments or evaluations when they conflict with other people’s. They sacrifice their own values for the sake of fitting in and seeming admirable.

Jon Murphy December 17, 2011 at 6:13 pm

Whenever someone says the government is looking out for our best interests, I remind them that this same government legitimized slavery.

Greg Webb December 18, 2011 at 12:05 am

Yep. That is exactly right. For the government that can give you everything that you want can take away everything that you have. It is not okay for a few to be the slaves of others — whether directly forced to labor for others or having 40% of their income taken from them each year.

Jon Murphy December 18, 2011 at 12:42 pm

It is also important to remember that this is the same government that said internment camps are necessary because of “the presence of an unascertained number of disloyal members of the group, most of whom we have no doubt are loyal to this country.”*

*US Supreme Court, Korematsu v. United States (1944).

Greg Webb December 18, 2011 at 10:26 pm

Yep. You presented another perfect example where the nine high priests of the Supreme Court got it wrong. There is a difference between legal and power. The Supreme Court, in Korematsu and other cases, used it power to circumvent the law. It did not make law with Dred Scott or Korematsu.

Invisible Backhand December 17, 2011 at 11:13 am

You forgot to add

Professor of Economics
George Mason University
Fairvax, VA 22030

Problem?

Bastiat Smith December 17, 2011 at 11:35 am

Why do you repeatedly post this? It is not hard to find and I don’t think your enlightening anyone to anything that couldn’t be found in a 4 second Google search.

It comes off as if you suspect foul play of some sort. But I don’t think your point is clearly made.

GAAPrulesIFRSdrools December 17, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Actually it It comes off as if he’s inviting foul play of some sort.

Invisible Backhand December 17, 2011 at 2:47 pm

You’ve looked at thousands of his letters, and you never noticed he put his full name and address on every one, until recently?

Here’s from September 6th:

http://i.imgur.com/7WYPi.png

Invisible Backhand December 17, 2011 at 12:49 pm

Because he mysteriously and without explanation stopped adding it to every letter he wrote.

Bastiat Smith December 17, 2011 at 3:05 pm

AND so……..What?

vikingvista December 17, 2011 at 3:25 pm

It’s obviously a conspiracy. But Sherlock Bowel will get to the bottom of it.

Invisible Backhand December 17, 2011 at 3:43 pm

and so GMU told him to knock it off?

Ubiquitous December 17, 2011 at 9:36 pm

…and without explanation…

He doesn’t owe you an explanation, dipschultz.

Greg Webb December 17, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Irritable Bowel, why do you hide behind an anonymous name as you do? Is there a problem?

Invisible Backhand December 17, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Irritable Bowel, why do you hide behind an anonymous name as you do?

Because I make enemies on the internet.

Sam Grove December 17, 2011 at 7:14 pm

Perhaps it’s because you are an enemy on the internet.

Greg Webb December 18, 2011 at 12:07 am

Come on, Irritable Bowel, tell us who you really are. I think that you are a troll, but you are certainly no threat, and therefore, no enemy.

Invisible Backhand December 18, 2011 at 1:11 pm

…but you are certainly no threat, and therefore, no enemy.

Great. Be a dear and make sure everyone knows that.

Greg Webb December 18, 2011 at 10:27 pm

Just did. So who are you and what do you want?

I Miss Nixon December 18, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Nickie says the post austerity mob will need the address when they visit don with the pikes

vikingvista December 17, 2011 at 11:17 am

Police? National defense? Jurisprudence? Charity? Do people not want these things? Is that why the state “must” provide them?

Invisible Backhand December 17, 2011 at 8:37 pm

Don has offered no suggestions to combat global warming or environmental destruction generally.

Greg Webb December 18, 2011 at 12:09 am

Does Don have to address every issue? He is an economist, not an environmentalist.

Methinks1776 December 18, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Even as an economist, Don is under no obligation to address every bit of idiocy he happens upon. Especially anything excreted by an Irritable Bowel.

vikingvista December 18, 2011 at 4:34 pm

He probably has, perhaps back in one of his posts regarding Coase, the changing tastes of increasingly affluent societies, or the tragedy of the commons, but what does that have to do with my comment that you replied to?

Jon Murphy December 18, 2011 at 4:49 pm

He has:

http://cafehayek.com/2008/09/incentives-matt.html

You can also read about the tragedy of the commons for background info

vidyohs December 17, 2011 at 11:20 am

This is an amusing discussion. Com’on people who among you is really foolish enough to say “I don’t want a car that gets better gas mileage”? Who among us is foolish enough to want to burn fuel just because they can burn fuel, with no other considerations?

Now, you may have priorities that mean you’ll settle for less gas mileage, but I think if you could have the power, space, and/or appearance factors satisfied and better gas mileage to boot, you can’t tell me that you’d turn it down.

Personally I want the best gas mileage I can get, but I also have another priority that takes precedence, and that is space enough to carry my video rig. I could go with a large cargo van and have more than enough space, but with gas mileage in mind as well as space, I found a smaller vehicle that gives decent mileage and has the space. But those were not my only priorities, I also looked at known maintenance track records for the vehicles that fit my criteria. There was nothing emotional about it, unless one could say my desire for a vehicle that met my total package was an emotional desire…..perhaps….but I think that is reaching.

As for esthetics over practicality, oh yeah! Americans are big on the esthetics and car makers have sold crap with bling and the public snapped it up. Probably few of you are old enough to remember the late fifties/early sixties when all of the big three were making and selling cars with big fins extending from the Driver’s door clear to the rear bumper? I can tell you clearly that their advertisements played on the interest the space race had created and the design was to suggest cars with performance like rockets. The advertisements stressed the stability adding factor the fins brought to the handling of the car, which was clear bullshit to anyone with any kind of knowledge of aerodynamics. Those fins were just like the spoilers car makers began putting/offering on their cars in the late sixties and early seventies, and continue to do so today, all the while pushing the idea that those spoilers increase the road handling stability of the vehicle.

The fact is that for those things to have any effect the vehicle would have to be operating at approximately 200MPHs are better. Plus, especially in the case of the spoilers, they would have to be much larger to contribute in any significant way to the stability of the car. The vehicles were/are incapable of doing 200MPH, so the fins and the spoilers are purely an esthetic that sucks in the gullible emotionally.

I also find it amusing that the man who has to have a big SUV for his family vehicle, for their protection, will pull his Harley out of the garage several times a week, pop mamma up on the sissy seat and off he goes into the same traffic he needed protection from when he bought the SUV.

LOL, yeah tell me that the auto business is not driven by primarily esthetics!

vidyohs December 17, 2011 at 11:23 am

The Tata may be no bigger than a Harley, but at least if it tips over at speed, one won’t get road burn or road rash. Okay, maybe you’d want to wear a helmet in a Tata! LOL.

Mesa Econoguy December 17, 2011 at 6:07 pm
vidyohs December 17, 2011 at 7:13 pm

I love those clips, this one was a hoot! Just getting out of the yard and he tips and slides……..LOL! Too cool.

Chucklehead December 17, 2011 at 11:22 am

Lets face it, we are lucky they still let us drive. Driving is a grandfathered privilege.
http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/hey_they_still_let_us_drive_yj0UXYTPoMAOGyf4AuFRiI#ixzz1gid2s9eE

Troll Watch December 17, 2011 at 11:24 am

I’m not going to wade through a trickily subtle and overwrought semantic argument about the word “want.” Gas mileage is important to many people, some for economic reason and some for ecological reason. Environmental reasons are enough to eliminate gas-guzzlers and the gasoline engine. The environment is being destroy as we speak by human activity. It must be stopped or it will stop us by the plethora of negative consequences. You’re a troll as much as your supporters are.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/17/science/earth/warming-arctic-permafrost-fuels-climate-change-worries.html?hp

Chucklehead December 17, 2011 at 11:27 am

You are projecting again.

khodge December 17, 2011 at 11:33 am

“Gas mileage is important to many people”

I don’t think anyone reading this blog disagrees with this statement; not one comment has suggested otherwise.

Troll Watch December 17, 2011 at 11:43 am

What? “Americans, in fact, do not want cars with better mileage.”

That was upfront in Don’s piece.

Troll Watch December 17, 2011 at 11:52 am

I understand what Don is trying to say, I think. He is objecting to a idea that government is giving us what we want when we are not willing to pay the price. He says that people pay lip-service to good gas mileage. Basically he hold in contempt both the general public and politicians. I share his contempt. Don has offered no suggestions to combat global warming or environmental destruction generally. He likes a growing population and thinks that 7,000,000,00 is too little. He is basically a troll economist, and that should be pointed out.

khodge December 17, 2011 at 11:53 am

Troll:
“Gas mileage is important to many people” is a very different statement from “Americans do not want cars with better mileage.” Looking at the EPA mileage sticker indicates that mileage is important; buying a gas guzzler does not even remotely suggest that the buyer did not look at the EPA sticker.

Troll Watch December 17, 2011 at 12:05 pm

http://fueleconomy.gov/feg/best-worst.shtml

There are people who are willing and able to purchase gas-guzzlers. Here is list of “bad” cars that get 14 MPG or less. I think these cars should be outlawed.

Greg G December 17, 2011 at 12:09 pm

Troll Patrol

Now you’ve done it. They will simply put these cars on their Christmas lists.

khodge December 17, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Troll:
I have a better idea: Rather than “thinking” that these cars should be outlawed, why don’t you simply refuse to sell gas-guzzler cars to anyone.

DarrenM December 17, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Government has a two very simply solutions on how to raise the MPG any car can get. Redefine what a mile is by reducing the distance or what a gallon is by increasing the amount.

g-dub December 17, 2011 at 5:34 pm

Trollio wrote: Environmental reasons are enough to eliminate gas-guzzlers and the gasoline engine.

I’m not aware of any scientific or analytical work that links elimitating gas-guzzlers will to having any substantive effect on the environment (as far as carbon emissions go).

How is that supposed to work?

g-dub December 17, 2011 at 5:35 pm

try again…

Trollio wrote: Environmental reasons are enough to eliminate gas-guzzlers and the gasoline engine.

I’m not aware of any scientific or analytical work that links eliminating gas-guzzlers to having any substantive effect on the environment (as far as carbon emissions go).

How is that supposed to work?

Bastiat Smith December 17, 2011 at 11:32 am

Picking a Nit with the article:

“If they did value higher mileage more than …Americans would already be supplied with higher-mileage vehicles.”

This is only true in the long run. For short term changes in preference, the supply of fuel efficient vehicles would be little changed. What we should see, if “people demand” fuel efficient cars, is higher priced cars that fit that description.

I understand the brevity necessary for a news[paper] article. But the logic is too important to be left ambiguous.

Don December 17, 2011 at 11:51 am

Here’s what I want, an end to mileage standards and a tax on imported oil to cover the external costs (wars and such). I don’t that think that “want” is resonating with the general public or politicians.

Chucklehead December 17, 2011 at 12:48 pm

All imported oil, Canada included, or just middle east oil?

vikingvista December 17, 2011 at 3:27 pm

I don’t want the war, but I do want the oil. So how is it fair to tax me?

GiT December 17, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Of course people ‘want’ cars with relatively bad gas mileage.

People always want more of something when they can externalize its costs.

I could care less what they want if it’s going to cost me (or, at least, I thought that was the modus operandi around here.)

Oh, but wait, the only thing in the world that externalizes costs is taxation.

Well then at the least one should end the billions in direct subsidies we give the oil industry.

And then we could end the hundreds of billions in indirect subsidies we give the oil industry in military protection.

And after we did all that, we still wouldn’t have done anything to hold gas consumers to account for polluting the air people breathe, or the costs of maintaining a transportation system which caters to the use of cars.

(So clearly, the solution must be to just privatize all roads and distribute ownership rights in the air people breathe, because both of those would be infinitely easier and more efficient than implementing a mileage standard.)

Invisible Backhand December 17, 2011 at 8:36 pm

Markets get distorted all the time, particularly for national security reasons (which is how the whole CAFE thing started, IIRC).

Why don’t Russ and Don complain about the large distortions caused by churches and synegogues not paying taxes?

I Miss Nixon December 18, 2011 at 12:52 pm

ouch

vikingvista December 18, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Those are nothing compared to the distortions caused by everyone else who is forced TO pay taxes.

JWH December 17, 2011 at 12:25 pm

The people who think they know best, the left wing geniuses, really want to force you to walk, ride a bike, take the bus or train from your 500 square foot 1 bedroom in the rent controlled GSE sponsored high-rise to the organic food store on the corner. But since that is not possible they want to limit your choices to vehicles to a pool of horse dung of acceptable to them. A vehicle is part of my overall life style. It takes me to my favorite forms of recreation, from my house to the houses of friends and family near and far, and aids in my avocation. I just finished a 1500 mile drive in 2 days. It would have been uncomfortable for me in a small fuel efficient vehicle. Our solution, not for everyone of course, is a small fuel efficient vehicle for around town and a large vehicle for trips and recreation. We make decisions on our purchases based on a wide variety of values we get for the money we spend. Gas mileage is one but, depending the values in play, it can be very low on the list. And just because we choose 15 mpg instead of 35 mpg does not mean we are ignorant , easily manipulated, consumers. I am willing to let everyone choose for themselves what is best for them and their situation, I wish the left the same way and would leave me to hell alone.

Troll Watch December 17, 2011 at 9:00 pm

Sorry, we won’t leave you the hell alone as long as you live your life like a goddamn PIG. I capitalize pig because I like, and respect pigs (I don’t eat them.), but not the polluting, selfish, greedy, woefully inconsiderate human kind. You and your egotistical thinking must be defeated. You won’t be allowed more the 1/7,000,000,000 of Earth’s bounty. Take it or take a one-way trip to Mars.

Majuscule December 17, 2011 at 11:08 pm

Egotistical thinking must be defeated? How do you propose to accomplish this? Re-education camps? Sterilization? Firing squads? Gas chambers?

Your authoritarian impulses are more dangerous to this planet than all the selfish, greedy, and “woefully inconsiderate” SUV drivers combined. People like you who acquire power and dominion over others create nothing but misery and death.

Troll Watch December 18, 2011 at 12:32 am

This dude, JWH, says he can drive any car he wants, no matter how much it pollutes. He must be stopped. You support him, so you must be stopped as well. Laws will have to be passed. I’d prefer if people like the two of you were breed out of the species, but that’s probably not feasible. So, I guess I will have to hope you die in a violent car accident or an exploding Pinto gas tank. If there were any justice at all in the world …

Greg Webb December 18, 2011 at 12:43 am

Troll, eat my dust. I love my Porsche Cayman S. You drive your tata nano.

Troll Watch December 18, 2011 at 1:00 am

Please drive real fast. I hope you don’t wear your seat belt either. Please inactivate your airbag; you have enough hot air to make up for it.

Majuscule December 18, 2011 at 1:03 am

Only a sick and twisted individual such as yourself would wish death to someone because they drive a car that pollutes above a certain threshold that YOU think is acceptable. Would you also like to kill everyone who manufactures, imports, and sells these vehicles?

You’re cast in the mold of authoritarian tyrants like Pol Pot and Joseph Stalin. Demanding that people who disagree with you “must be stopped” is in line with their thinking.

Greg Webb December 18, 2011 at 1:09 am

“Only a sick and twisted individual such as yourself would wish death to someone because they drive a car that pollutes above a certain threshold that YOU think is acceptable. Would you also like to kill everyone who manufactures, imports, and sells these vehicles?

You’re cast in the mold of authoritarian tyrants like Pol Pot and Joseph Stalin. Demanding that people who disagree with you “must be stopped” is in line with their thinking.”

You are right, Masjucule. That’s why Trolls cannot be given any power over anyone else.

Troll Watch December 18, 2011 at 1:24 am

Greg Webb, you will be stopped soon enough. I predict your heart will stop suddenly and you will be toast. Good riddance. Have an EKG before it is too late.

Greg Webb December 18, 2011 at 10:30 pm

LOL, Silly Troll! You have no control over anything. You just have your insecurities.

Troll Watch December 18, 2011 at 12:55 am

Tonight, I had dinner in a Deli. Sitting at a nearby table was a Father with his young son and daughter. The waitress came over an asked them what they wanted to order. The little boy said he wanted a grilled cheese sandwich and spaghetti w/ marinara sauce.

If this were my kid, I’d have told him to choose one dinner or the other, not two dinners. This is how kids start to think that “greed is good” in my opinion. Naturally, the kid left the spaghetti over; I’m not sure he even took one bite. It was obviously not important to daddy who could surely afford the bill.

Parents are much to blame for teaching their children that it’s okay to be wasteful of resources, in this case food. If it were my kid, that would be the last time he ever thought he could be an overindulged brat. It would matter if I had millions in the bank and could afford to be a PIG. That overgrown, immature aging brat, JWH, who intentional pollutes and drives a car that gets 15 mph, was probably spoiled by his parents, too. I’ve simply had enough of you pro-rich trolls. You all disturb and disgust me.

Troll Watch December 18, 2011 at 12:56 am

*it would’NT matter …

Majuscule December 18, 2011 at 1:05 am

I’m surprised you didn’t just shoot them on the spot.

Greg Webb December 18, 2011 at 1:12 am

She could not do that. Cowards like this Troll, merely bitches about everyone else and demands that others do the dirty work. This Troll just needs a good spanking.

Troll Watch December 18, 2011 at 1:14 am

I leave the violence to gun-happy right-wing lunatics. Hunters and trappers must be stopped as well. They deserve the death penalty for killing innocent wildlife for fun, profit, sadism, sport, inhumanity, etc. Hunters and trappers who kill for no good reason are the worst inhuman filth there is on the planet.

Majuscule December 18, 2011 at 1:22 am

Zzzzzz

Troll Watch December 18, 2011 at 1:24 am

Killer.

Troll Watch December 18, 2011 at 1:28 am

Minuscule,
I forgot to mention that you are Troll for a Day. Greg Webb is a permanent troll around here.

Greg Webb December 18, 2011 at 10:32 pm

Perhaps. But, I had a great steak at Outback. :)

nailheadtom December 17, 2011 at 12:33 pm

The issue isn’t really better gas mileage, it’s cost per mile driven. That’s why it doesn’t make economic sense to buy a new automobile. Let’s say someone purchases a new car that gets 30 mpg for $25K cash. If they drive that car 100K miles it will use 3333 gallons of gas, costing $11,666, if gas costs $3.50/gallon. On the other hand, if they buy a used car for $15K, perhaps a larger, more comfortable, safer vehicle, that gets 20 mpg, the same amount of driving will cost $5,834 more in fuel expense. Obviously, the driver of the used car has saved $4,166 over 100K miles in the combined purchase price and fuel cost. While fuel costs alone increase the cost per mile about 6 cents more for the ravenous used car, the total cost per mile is 3 cents less. Certainly other things enter into the equation, maintenance, insurance, etc. but it takes a huge difference in mileage to make the purchase of a new car economically rational, if that’s the main consideration.

SheetWise December 17, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Bingo. Fuel is a minor consideration. There is a similar problem with housing. Since most buyers of cars and homes finance their purchase, inefficiency in the product they purchase actually leverages their purchasing power — because lenders don’t properly factor the savings into their lending limits.

For example, a home that is super-insulated may save $100+ per month in utility bills, but would cost an additional $20k to build — which would be a wash (or better) on a 30 year 4% mortgage — but lenders aren’t adjusting their risk formulas to allow an additional $100 to the payment limit for the buyer to realize the efficiency of their purchase decision.

Consequently, homeowners and car buyers — in an effort to increase their leverage — discount efficiency in their purchasing decisions. The added cost of fuel is simply an additional deferred payment [credit] that the buyer did not have to qualify for [free].

SheetWise December 17, 2011 at 3:58 pm

What might be interesting to investigate is whether or not ‘Total Cost of Ownership’ (TCO) in lending decisions is avoided because of laws regulating discrimination.

Chucklehead December 17, 2011 at 12:44 pm

Although fuel mileage. weight. and profile are directly proportional, safety, interior space, performance, sitting up straight, and towing capacity is inversely proportional. Design trade offs are made to provide different vehicles to meet the varying needs of customers. In addition, some customers are more price sensitive than others, and at different times. Some may pay more up front to have lower future usage costs, others want lowest initial costs.
Higher mileage also ignores total energy consumption over the life of the product, including production and maintenance.
To stress one variable above the others distorts the market and leads to overall inefficiency.

Invisible Backhand December 17, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Markets get distorted all the time, particularly for national security reasons (which is how the whole CAFE thing started, IIRC).

Why don’t Russ and Don complain about the large distortions caused by churches and synegogues not paying taxes?

Russ Fan December 17, 2011 at 9:25 pm

Why don’t Russ and Don complain about the large distortions caused by churches and synegogues not paying taxes?

Hell, yeah!

Actually, my good friend, large distortions in the market are caused by any group not paying taxes: young children and dead people come to mind, though I’m sure there are many more.

Everyone must pay their fair share.

vidyohs December 17, 2011 at 10:47 pm

“Everyone must pay their fair share.”

Yes indeedy, that is such a strange statement.

Fair share of what? Just tax, any tax, on anything, to be squandered by others in amounts totally sickening? What is your fair share of the $600 million the Clinton administration gifted to ADM so ADM could advertise their products overseas?

Aaaaaaand that is determined by whom? How is it determined? How is it adjusted as a persons life circumstances change? Again, as decided by whom?

The average American is worse than ignorant when it comes to the subject of taxes.

Chucklehead December 17, 2011 at 11:07 pm

Why are you limiting taxes to humans. What about dogs, cats squirrels, mice, ants, termites, amebas, and plants don’t forget plants. Just taxing beings with opposable thumbs is racist.

Russ Fan December 17, 2011 at 9:26 pm

(Pssst, IB. I borrowed one of your old images for an avatar. I thought it looked a lot like me.)

Russ Fan December 18, 2011 at 11:21 am

Nice to see people aren’t above hijacking nicknames to discredit differing views.

Russ Fan December 18, 2011 at 9:11 pm

Nice to see people aren’t above hijacking nicknames to discredit differing views.

“Differing views” ≠ “trolling”

Invisible Backhand December 18, 2011 at 1:14 pm

No prob. Here’s the email so you can use it anytime w/o changing your gravatar

kcafjdcx@sharklasers.com

Invisible Backhand December 18, 2011 at 9:06 pm

Cool! For a pro-white-power racist and anti-Semite, faux IB, you can actually be pretty generous at times. Many thanks for the email, but I can actually afford one of my own.

Dan J December 18, 2011 at 12:43 pm

GE? Whirlpool? Solyndra!

Russ Fan December 17, 2011 at 12:50 pm

It’s always nice when people make economics arguments while assuming conditions that only ever hold in models (prefect information and perfectly rational consumers). Makes it easier to laugh their idiocy off rather than force myself to reconcile their ideas with reality.

Marcus December 17, 2011 at 1:09 pm

As opposed to the models of perfect information, and perfectly rational voters and bureaucrats of the political process.

Clearly, you do not understand what those terms even mean.

Russ Fan December 17, 2011 at 3:01 pm

This comment is a tribute to the teenage meat-headed chip-on-the-shoulder no-one’s-gonna-tell-me-what-to-do attitude so many on the right have towards anything they even perceive as different from themselves or any authority whatsoever. Both sides of this argument suffer from the deficiencies I mentioned, yet you assume some kind of slight. I’m sorry you have to live with that.

Invisible Backhand December 17, 2011 at 9:21 pm

It’s always nice when people make economics arguments while assuming conditions that only ever hold in models (prefect information and perfectly rational consumers)

Yo, truth to power, Russ Fan! Truth to power!

We all know that only government has access to perfect information, therefore, regulators will act as perfectly rational consumers and make everyone else in the market make rational choices for their own good. These choices are clearly rational because they were made by government regulators — chosen by political higher-ups who themselves were voted in by The People — who are obviously The Best and The Brightest.

To deny any of this is to be guilty of special pleading, probably because the denier is in the pay of the Koch brothers. There simply is no other explanation.

The Libertarian December 17, 2011 at 1:26 pm

It is sad to observe how part of this conversation has degenerated into a mud fight of mutual name-calling. The underlying, fundamental disagreement is a purely philosophical one. Either you believe that there are people out there who know better than you do, what’s good for you, or you accept the fact that maximized personal freedom is inseparable from maximized personal self-responsibility. The latter involves much more effort and inconvenience, which is why so many people are willing to surrender both their freedom and responsibilities to the state, deluding themselves into believing, that the people who know “better” have only their best interest in mind. I personally am willing to accept any inconvenience you throw at me, if this means that I can retain sole responsibility for my own life without having to succumb to those that want my best.
Or, to speak with Tomas Paine: “The greatest tyrannies are always perpetrated in the name of the noblest causes.”.

The Libertarian December 17, 2011 at 1:32 pm

P.S.: Also, the right to personal freedom does imply the freedom to make mistakes. The state, the market or any individual do not have the right (and most definitely: not the obligation) to rob us from this freedom.

Jon Murphy December 18, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Hooah!

Josh S December 17, 2011 at 1:39 pm

What I want is a car with a billion miles per gallon, capable of speeds approaching the speed of light, a bitchin’ sound system, self-heating seats, a leather interior, and a robo-driver so I can take a nap whenever I want. And I want it to cost $0.

However, in the real world, there are trade-offs, so I drive a crummy old Pontiac that costs very little money. Government intervention is based on the belief that with a sufficient application of raw power, those trade-offs will no longer exist.

Chucklehead December 17, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Do you want that in a Saloon, Estate, Coupe. or Convertible?

Josh S December 18, 2011 at 12:34 pm

The Saloon model comes pretty nice. Does it come with a guy in shirtsleeves and a bowler hat playing a clanky piano?

Greg Webb December 17, 2011 at 4:48 pm

“Government intervention is based on the belief that with a sufficient application of raw power, those trade-offs will no longer exist.”

Yep. They have a fundamentalist religious belief that mere human beings, once they assume political office, can magically change the world and economical reality. Then, they come to Cafe Hayek to spout their bi-government dogma to us non-believers known as libertarians.

Randy December 17, 2011 at 8:12 pm

Yep. Revealed preference within the possible choices.

muirgeo December 17, 2011 at 1:56 pm

More baloney!

Almost everyone would choose an electric car if priced comparable to a petrol powered car. And anyone who thinks the price difference is all a result of market forces is a nincompoop. The market is no God and is far from perfect. The market for petrol and petrol running cars is so profitable there is no reason for the monopolistic fossil fuel industry and the auto maintenance and repair industry to roast their golden egg laying goose.

It’s so clear the market fundamentalist is nothing more then an indoctrinated tool useful to the high priest of fixed markets. They believe their market gods give them free will and liberty but they are constrained by the tightest of mental straight jackets you could imagine…and they thought they were free.

DarrenM December 17, 2011 at 2:36 pm

Almost everyone would choose an electric car if priced comparable to a petrol powered car.

What is ‘comparable? There are other advantages to cars powered with a combustion engine other that the price. There is much less ‘recharge’ time for one. You can go farther on a tank of gas that on one battery. You get more power from a combustion engine. I doubt it’s that easy to pull a trailer with an electic car. Perhaps one day technology will advance to the point it’s possible to make an electric car with the same advantages at a ‘comparable’ price, but that day is a ways off and it won’t be getting here any sooner by wishing for it.

Chucklehead December 17, 2011 at 3:22 pm

“It’s so clear the market fundamentalist is nothing more then an indoctrinated tool useful to the high priest of fixed markets.”
Markets aren’t fixed, they are dynamic. That’s the whole point. It is legislation that is fixed.

muirge0 December 17, 2011 at 6:57 pm

Yeah right corporate boards are so efficient… same with complex financial products…

Adam Simpson December 18, 2011 at 2:18 am

Ironically, both of those are what they are today (and yesterday) due to government intervention. You clearly confuse cronyism and capitalism. You should really consider returning once you understand the difference.

Greg Webb December 17, 2011 at 4:24 pm

Ha, ha, ha! I would not trade my petrol powered car for a comparably price electric car. And, I know of no one who would. The only nincompoops are those who would impose their will on peaceable individuals making their own decisions.

muirge0 December 17, 2011 at 7:02 pm

“…. peaceable individuals making their own decisions.” To go to war on Muslims to secure their product and to install dictators in Niger to secure their product… and to threaten future generations who will see just exactly how significant a positive feedback permafrost melting is. To blow up mountain tops that have existed for eons for a lifetime worth of coal and contaminating the environment in the process… As long as your to paying attention to where the bombs fall your position makes complete sense.

Greg Webb December 18, 2011 at 12:15 am

George, you never learn. The war in Iraq merely caused gasoline prices to rise. The US does not have the power to install dictators in Niger. You really are just full of piss, vinegar, and false accusations.

Josh S December 18, 2011 at 12:37 pm

I didn’t know Canada, Mexico, and North Dakota were populated by Muslims, or that we were at war with them.

rbd December 17, 2011 at 4:35 pm

The electric car is the wave of the future…..and always will be.

Greg Webb December 17, 2011 at 4:49 pm

LOL!

SheetWise December 17, 2011 at 5:59 pm

LOL? I think everyone who has the resources to consider this issue understands that it is true. I believe that how we get from Here to There should be left to the market … but people making long term investments understand that the statement is true. Infrastructure based upon consumption of electrons is the only strategy that allows an infinite number of sources as well as distributed inputs to supply demand.

muirge0 December 17, 2011 at 7:04 pm

The only source input to your car is their oil… you subsidize it and you have no other choice. You are completely dependent on them and like a Stockholm Syndrome suffering beaten housewife you protect them. Your story makes me sad.

Invisible Backhand December 17, 2011 at 8:35 pm

This from a guy who knows better than what the people want about free trade.

Greg Webb December 18, 2011 at 12:20 am

SheetWise, re-read what rbd wrote. It is funny. Don’t be such a humorless git.

SheetWise December 18, 2011 at 2:18 am

“SheetWise, re-read what rbd wrote. It is funny. Don’t be such a humorless git.”

I agree with rbd. I don’t find it funny, I find it to be a prediction — one that I agree with.

Your long response at 4:24 of “Ha, Ha, Ha” and your short response at 4:49 of “LOL” provide little to work with.

I am not “humorless” — I recognize it when I see it.

Your move.

Greg Webb December 18, 2011 at 10:37 pm

“The electric car is the wave of the future…..and always will be.”

That’s hilarious! The electric car was the wave of the future when my parents were born. Now, it looks like it will be the wave of the future when my children are born. It is sad how bad ideas are propagandized as the wave of the future.

SheetWise December 19, 2011 at 2:40 am

“It is sad how bad ideas are propagandized as the wave of the future.”

First, you need to understand what a bad idea is.

In the late ’80′s and early ’90′s I was encouraging the business people I worked and consulted with to connect a phone line to their computers — I even wrote software for them to connect and communicate — I also carried specific hardware which allowed them to use their existing FAX line for data, and would give it to them free because it helped me develop a network. They didn’t bite.

For about ten years I listened to clients tell me I was stupid to want to make the computer a communication device. In 1999 I did a presentation to Bain Capital detailing the inevitable integration of the computer and television. They didn’t tell me I was stupid — they told me that it wasn’t what their investors wanted to hear.

Were these bad ideas?

Sometimes obviously sound positions take a little while to gain market acceptance. Don’t discount ideas simply because they came to market a bit prematurely.

Dan J December 18, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Wave of future….. As in it’s under water…… To have it’s interior filled with cement and dumped in the Hudson River?

Marcus December 17, 2011 at 5:16 pm

With all th posts concerning how emotional car buyers are, I was wondering if you think your post is an example of a rational, coherent thought. Or, did that post make you feel righteous?

If what you say is true, it sounds like a great business opportunity. Of course, that would require entrepreneurship.

Better the political process, which allows one to symbolically beat their chest in self-righteous indignation. Rationally, of course.

Randy December 17, 2011 at 8:13 pm

Maybe… if.

Josh S December 18, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Almost everyone would choose to own a private island in the Bahamas if priced comparably to buying a Snickers bar.

sethstorm December 17, 2011 at 8:53 pm


Fortunately in this case the objective evidence is overwhelming: Americans, in fact, do not want cars with better mileage

Someone forgot to tell that to Ford given their move to Eurotrash, but it’s a message that at least General Motors and Chrysler get soundly.

Ubiquitous December 18, 2011 at 2:42 am

but it’s a message that at least General Motors and Chrysler get soundly

Nice one! When the public doesn’t buy “green” cars by General Motors and Chrysler, their losses will be covered by their majority owners: the U.S. government.

Ford, alas, has to manufacture and sell cars that people actually want.

sethstorm December 18, 2011 at 12:19 pm

I’d like to see the data behind Ford’s move to kill off about everything American, replacing them with Third World blunders. Not that Ford would oblige, but that not everyone in the mass market(read: non-exotic, non-luxury) tiers want a blingy golfcart with satnav and a turbocharged lawnmower engine.

It would be different if Ford simply let people order cars from other regions while keeping US-sized, Detroit inspired vehicles available at home. However, Ford’s environmentalists thought that only the proverbial Al Gore should be able to afford anything that isn’t Eurotrash.

If anything, it should mean that General Motors and Chrysler are exempt from CAFE and other regulations if they continue to produce larger, US-sized and engined cars – as opposed to things you might see blown up in a Third World country.

Josh S December 18, 2011 at 12:42 pm

You say that like the current CAFE requirement isn’t over 30 mpg. The only way any car company can legally exist in America is to either sell “Eurotrash” (like Ford does) or pay fines every year (like Mercedes and BMW do). Ford can’t be Mercedes. so they have to make tiny cars that will turn a profit (Chevy’s economy cars have always been red ink generators) so that the government doesn’t shut them down.

The new 50+ MPG CAFE standards aren’t designed to get us into more efficient cars; they’re designed to kill off the internal combustion engine entirely.

sethstorm December 18, 2011 at 7:10 pm

The more reason to end CAFE and the like, such that larger cars are more affordable, and “green” cars are bought by the people that want them.

If those alternatively-fueled cars were as US-sized and powered as their gasoline-powered equivalents, I’d have no problem with them. However, all it has done is created a split between the proverbial golfcart and the overdone exotic.

Invisible Backhand December 17, 2011 at 9:13 pm

I’d rather have enemas than enemies, but I’ll take what I can get. Thanks for listening.

Adam Simpson December 18, 2011 at 2:11 am

I find it interesting he decided to discuss the “meanings” of the verb “to want”. I happen to live in the Middle East and in conversational Arabic it is common to say “I want to….” to mean you are going to do something in the near future.

Ironically, it seems that maybe that is what he meant by “Americans want (to be sold) higher mileage cars”….meaning of course this is what they will get….via government intervention.

SaulOhio December 18, 2011 at 7:07 am

Its like the joke:

An economist and an accountant are taking a stroll in Manhattan. As they pass Carnegie Hall, the accountant says, “You know, I’ve always wanted to learn how to play the piano.” The economist says, “Obviously not.”

brotio December 20, 2011 at 12:40 am

I have opened a xanga account and will forward our hosts postings there and allow comments there

http://cafe-hayek-comments.xanga.com/

I think that you will have to create a xanga account in order to comment. If this is true, it will prevent the name-hijacking that our Leftist, idiot trolls are so fond of. I do not intend to forbid comments because of name-calling, and will not forbid Yasafi, Gil, DK, GregG, or any of the other non-trolls from commenting. I will reserve the right to remove comments that violate the obscenity requirements our hosts have asked of us here.

Thanks all, and I hope this will allow us to continue our dialogues until our hosts decide how comments will be handled here.

(second copy)

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