More disposable cars: Ignoring unintended side-effects

September 11, 2020 by Joshua
in Nature

Less than 24 hours after posting about cars becoming disposable, discovering while writing that post that it looks like it’s already happening in China, I see this headline:

This car will become disposable and will choke landfills

The article’s tone suggests a wonderful novelty. Yes, it will enable people to do what bicycles do without having to pedal or get rained on, but things don’t only give us the effects we want. They give us all the effects.

For generations we’ve watched industries lower prices and make material things more accessible—plastic, clothes, furniture, etc. Every time we react with wonder of the desired results. Then we lament the side-effects evident from the start.

We don’t lack comfort and convenience. We’re choking on waste.

We like comfort and convenience, but our world doesn’t lack it. On the contrary, we’re drowning in it. Our lack of physical activity and feeling entitled is making us depressed, obese, and sick, lacking resilience, discipline, or initiative to respond.

History implies people will buy this product in droves, competitors will match it, the market will keep driving down cost and durability, increasing landfill waste. We will increase total waste and lower quality of life, meaning, and purpose.

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