Denying that People Validly Want SUVs Results in Soviet Planned Economy Mistakes

Many people say it is crazy that people need two eight-passenger SUVs or pickup trucks that are able to carry six people and two-tons of stuff. They say the goal of affluent wealth should not be the 5000 square foot home.

Those are 50+ year trends. Those are the reality of the US, Australia and Canada markets.

Complaints can be made about people not needing SUVs. Maybe the electric cars eventually win completely. But GM is shutting down passenger car factories. Ford and GM, Fiat are all going more to SUVs and passenger trucks. Tesla will make electric SUVs and electric passenger trucks. Ford 150 to 450 series trucks crush the sales of the most popular passenger cars.

Go ahead and tell people they don’t want them or don’t need them. They won’t talk about it with you. But look at their driveway, into their garages or at parking lots around the Costco.

The general belief of environmentally aware people is that people should just want small cars or public transportation and not SUVs, Trucks and big houses. The same people tend to turn their nose up at things like business and marketing. This willful ignorance results in things like the Soviet planned economy and Lada’s.

You could watch the Ford, GM and other car dealerships. What are people driving off of the lot? What did they just lay down $40,000 to 100,000 to buy? What did they just lease for three to five years?

Tell people they do not need bigger houses. Over 40 years, the average square footage of homes is about double. Go ahead become a developer and make small shelters or tiny apartments. You will go bankrupt trying to move those things.

City Living

Even the high rises and skyscrapers in Hong Kong, Shanghai and other cities in Asia are trending to larger condos and apartments.

If you want smaller places, then you have to support building codes for high-rises. You have to be against two-story limits in residential areas. You have to be against 6 or 8 story limits in parts of San Francisco.

Smaller unit living has successful market examples in New York, Hong Kong, Budapest, Tokyo, and Taipei.

The first two or three floors are shops and restaurants. You have to be able to go down the elevator and get all of your groceries, restaurants and everything in the same block or at most one block away.

You do not have a big truck to go to Costco because you can buy better and cheaper at a pocket Trader Joes. You barely use your refrigerator.

A valid analysis and question is “can those successful markets, lifestyles and products be replicated or ported to other cities and markets?”

Making Money and Making Sense

It has to be more affordable and better for the people living there. There has to be the demand and the lifestyle and economics has to attract the people.

It has to more profitable for the developer to invest and change the existing housing stock.

The zoning change has to provide a big boost to density. The developer has to be able to buy six one-sixth of an acre residential properties or twelve or eighteen and then make something 5 or 8 stories tall.

You will not be able to shock the market with a massive drop in unit size. This would mean limiting your customers to Millenials who cannot afford a bigger place. Not everyone who is living in single-family detached would want to switch to a small condo. If they did they would be living in New York already.

Changing how people live is a real estate and city planning problem. I have done real estate on a small scale. I have lived in Hong Kong and Taipei. I lived in the suburbs of Canada and the USA. I have traveled around the world to many cities.

Changing what people drive is a public transportation and automotive marketing problem.

Changing the cities of the world and shifting people to different cars, transportation and houses is not a dictate of what people should be doing. If you do not understand real estate and all the “ugly” business-side, then you are following the path to the failed Soviet planned economy or the failed housing projects in the USA.

Plans and societal change cannot willfully deny what people want. This results in offering and forcing things based only upon what you would “ideally” think they should have.

Customer surveys, market studies, and focus groups are used for a reason. Companies spend billions working out product plans because if they make a mistake in reading the customers then they lose billions.

You have to understand the system which is the reality in which you exist. Business, property development, marketing, and zoning all matter. You also have to know who your customer is and you have to understand your customer.

You will not take people from A to Z, if you do not get your A right and no one follows you to B.

Not Just Capitalism VS Socialism VS Communism

It not just capitalism versus socialism versus communism. Capitalism has a bunch of processes, tools, and procedures that work better.

There is data-driven decision making at every part of the processes.

There are a product and program development processes. They start with customer research and surveys. There is testing all along the way. You do not assume you know. You ask and you test. Even the most experienced can still make mistakes with these processes. Think about New Coke. They had testing and surveys and they still screwed up.

There is A-B Market testing. You have two versions and they one key difference. You then see which is preferred.

The premise that people should not want SUVs and Trucks and should not want big houses is starting off with a position that you know better than the customer. It is starting with a declaration that you will ignore the reality of the entire market. It is broadcasting that you are willfully clueless. You are not just clueless. You have chosen to be clueless and living in a bubble of cluelessness. You are avoiding 99% of reality and evidence in current reality and in history which is screaming that your position is clueless. Your position is almost to the point of believing in unicorns and rainbow fairies.

Why is there no starting conversations between business people and many environmentalists? The environmental solutions tend to not accept any part of business reality. I recognize environmental issues and science. I have some understanding of the grid, utilities, power plants, business, politics, transportation, and industry. I do not know everything but I actively seek out the major forces and issues. I test my understanding and ideas all the time.

Forcing People to Do What They Do Not Want is Not Sustainable

It was not bad luck that the Soviet system collapsed. China did not just stumble upon success after switching from communism to a capitalist system led by what is still called the Communist party.

It was not just Russia not having hard currency to pay back debt for food to the British that brought the system down.

Listening to the customer and giving them what they want is more complicated. They are not just slogans. Selling and sales can be dirty but they have important functions and utility. You want to get people to do things that you want, then you have to sell them on it. They have to want to do it. People can be forced to do things for a time, but it is not sustainable.

148 thoughts on “Denying that People Validly Want SUVs Results in Soviet Planned Economy Mistakes”

  1. But nobody forbids you to follow a Soviet lifestyle. If you
    earn little, it would be the prudent course, if you earn a lot,
    you'll become rich also.

  2. Government’s exists to ensure equity and sufficiency in society.

    Not it doesn’t exist for that…except in Marxist (and Fascist) textbooks.

    When your employer offers to pay you above $7.25, remember to tell him it’s your god given right to make $7.25/hr.

    Why not? If you want to compete against other workers, you should be allowed to do so by reducing your price for labor. You are in the market for providing labor services, are you not?

  3. Ever heard of economic externalities?

    Yes…and so what? You mean like the shit I have to walk into on the streets of SF because SF doesn’t crack down on the homeless? Or how cops and others get killed by illegal alien convicts in ‘sanctuary’ cities? Get back to me about economic externalities when THOSE are addressed, ok?

    Who cares about Europe?

    but not if it effects me or my air.

    PROVE that my truck is effecting YOUR air. Good luck with that!

  4. So in the future we can conclude that any words you use could mean anything, not just what you say.
    Good to know.

  5. My previous next door neighbor had the biggest SUV I have ever seen. He was about 5’1″. My wife said he was compensating.

  6. Anyone can candidate and win an election in the US so your point is moot . If not, where is the US diff from NK?

  7. The problem is not just that people dont need so many large vehicle and giant houses but that society cannot afford these items at scale. For example, people wanted the Hummer. Ever go past an H1? They did not fit on the road… but people still bought them. Ever sit in traffic and complain that there are too many people on the road? Well, most of those cars have only one person in them and they come from a larger than needed house in the suburbs. Cities cant afford new, wider, or even better roads so there are consequences to giving everyone what they want. Time in traffic is wasted money for businesses. It is also time from family. It is wasted fuel (for now). So without a large tax increase to compensate for these two items en mass the current social structure will not be able to expand to accomodate an improved standard of living. So we will have what we want… even if it results in a life that we hate.

  8. If you do not feel guilty about murdering children in Iraq (Haditha, 2006) I highly doubt you feel guilty about destroying nature!

  9. I want my meat with rat feces and childrens fingers like the 1800’s when rich people could do what ever they wanted…but it is obvious we need to build massive prisons to punish people for getting high with permission.

  10. It is their environmentalist religion. They endow the envirionment with human qualities to make us feel guilty

  11. Rich people pay all the taxes…don’t they?
    Of course gubmint listens to its customers. The rich
    Who have all this big stuff so you will admire them for their wealth.

  12. I think I will just be better at driving than they are. It will likely serve me better in the long run rather than buying my way through life.

  13. We should evaluate the average IQ of people who want big stuff. Also, I bet they tend to be trump voters. I’m sure that is a totally meritable group.

    I am under the impression that they are externally compensating for an internal insufficiency. You see, wealth perpetuates itself, but the people who participate need to feel “bigger” than others.

    Never mind that humans wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for a little rodent sized mammal when building sized dinosaurs were walking around.

    Besides, no matter any of this, some of us do not want to be profit sources for the rich.

  14. I realize that things aren’t static. I look at the trend and see that Germany emissions will decrease. After the Japanese nuclear issue the Germany people don’t trust nukes and that’s that. It took decades to build the reactors so it is OK that it will take decades to replace them.

  15. there is a saying.
    At home I am a communist (we share everything)
    In my neighborhood I am a socialist (we all have to help keep it clean and try to get along)
    In my region I am a social democrat (we all pitch in to pay for schools and buses)
    In my country I am a libertarian (central command does not add value)

    I.e., the further you go away from your center of existence, the more freedom you deserve and the more irrelevant “decision makers” become. It’s the Swiss way of life, and quite perfect. Decentralization is the name of the game, not one system over another. We need to think beyond the 2-way alternatives.

  16. Anak Krakatau which has been erupting in Indonesia for a few months now and just had an explosive event this past weekend has released more CO2 into the air in 2 months than humans have since fire was invented. This is the same for every major volcanic event in history, which occur ~1 every 5 years. So you’re telling me that it is not hubris to say that, we humans have done more damage to the atmosphere than these monolithic events? Really? The planet is changing, humans need to find a second best option encase it gets to bad for us here, that is all.

  17. ‘ Bigger vehicles are objectively safer..’ for the inmates. They’re objectively more dangerous for everyone else. And they take up more room, and belch more unhealthy gases, in the cities which were originally intended for people to live in, not cars. If you can’t get across town safely without a tonne of metal armour around you, it’s past time for a rethink.

  18. I saw that forest of vertical axis wind turbines on the roof. Widely voted ( by the market ) as the most useless energy harvesting device ever built.

  19. Germany has spent the most on renewables, and still has one of the worst emissions profiles in Europe. They plan to keep burning lignite for another thirty years. France got rid of most of its fossil fuel power plants in the nineties, and would have eliminated coal long ago if antinukes had let them complete the planned reactor build. ( They’d be burning up their waste in fast reactors, too.)

  20. That should also be a concern. We need to make sure that the construction and disposable of the EV and battery pack has a minimal environmental footprint.

    Its like having a picnic in the part. Have your picnic, have fun, but at the end clean up after yourself. Be a good neighbor.

  21. I don’t think we have reach anywhere near diminishing returns when it comes to pollution. It is just that the poor get sick and die and the rich move out the far flung suburb where the effect of the poison is less. The profit of polluting is private while the poison is public.

    The cost of healthcare, diminished life span, reduced productivity due to environmental poison far excess the pennies that are saved by poisoning the environment.

    China and India are now learning the cost of growth at any cost. You don’t poison your nest if you plan on living long.

  22. Really? It would seem the more the economy grows the greater the unfunded liabilities get. Maybe that’s the clue. Or who do we owe this unfunded liability to? Or another take is that if you include the whole nothing is owed. Because what I owe is owed to another. The sum of which is zero.

  23. It ain’t the size of the car, its how it crumbles that count. That was a lesson that was learned years ago. I though everyone knew it by now.

  24. Population and wealth has been growing. Chinese and India, the two countries with the world largest population, are much wealthier than they were three decades ago. And so they are emitting more CO2 per capita.

  25. Nuclear power plants are inherently unsafe. It takes a complicated juggling act to operate them. They are always a single mistake or defective equipment away from a meltdown. It doesn’t have to be that way. It is possible to design and build inherently safe nuclear power plant. We just haven’t.

    So in early spring we plant our seeds in starters. We will later transplant the seedlings into the big pots on the deck. Renewable will be cheaper in the end.

  26. I have always wondered where these efficient small governments are since I have never seen any. All of the wealthy countries seem to have large governments. Only poor countries have small governments. If what they say were true then rich countries with large governments should become poor countries and vice-versa. But that doesn’t seem to happen.

  27. Sorry, cause and effect is still a thing. Only in the magical hinterlands does actions produces no consequences.

  28. Leroy why don’t you charge on in to Venezuela or North Korea to see what “not capitalism” looks like.

  29. “Note that you’ve never seen any photographs of said “islands of junk the size of Tasmania””

    They don’t show the pictures because its where the Polar Bears fleeing global warming go to vacation in the wintertime.

    Optics. Marketing.

  30. What about when the EV pollutes the atmosphere because of its construction?

    By your reasoning I don’t know if anything is “ok” or where the dividing line between “ok” and “not ok” is located.

  31. What is Conservative is liberty, and that is best matched to human nature and the natural world it is in.  It is Leftism which has built skull pyramids and “Delousing Showers”.

  32. Sorry, it’s not me who is mixing those things. It’s the environmentalists.
    I’m all for a sustainable civilization, I’m advocating math and science instead of ideologies.

  33. Working on that now. A major architect/CEO penned a letter of support yesterday, written to a State Senator who needed it to give HER support. Also, Army Corps gave list of forms and procedures to follow. Can’t say much more than that yet.

  34. The Kona will be OK. In the past I’ve found the seats on Korean made cars too narrow to be comfortable but they could easily fix that. Also, the Level III charge rate is only 50KW which is on the slow side. I’ll be holding out for a trail capable SUV with a better range.

  35. Yes and No. If the buses actually have a sufficient number of passengers the total congestion will go down by a lot making the likelihood of collisions less.

  36. If autos were not regulated, 500,000 people would be dying in auto accidents every year instead of 40,000. No crumple zones, no airbags, no seat belts, 800 horsepower… There would be no emission controls and people would likely live shorter lives. If there were no efficiency standards, we would be importing 20 million barrels a day, and burning another 15-20 million domestically produced. And gasoline lead additives would be robbing 8-12 IQ points from every child born the US. American youth would win no international intellectual competitions (they are starting to now, because the lead is gone from that air…mostly). While communism deserves its reputation, the USSR never permitted lead gasoline that hurts everyone and benefits only those that make the crap.

  37. “The soviet planned economy was better than the appalling, consumerist, wasteful heap of dung that is America and increasingly the rest of the world.”

    In particular the weight loss plans offered by the local gualgs were top notch. It was such a paradise that they built an armed wall to keep people in to make sure that nobody in the rest of the world found out how wonderful things were.

  38. SUVs pay the same tax per gallon of gas. You SUV rants sound like Captian Queeg complaining about strawberries.

  39. “Suburbs with big houses are popular because public road costs to these remote areas are socialized.”

    So you are saying suburbs are good because they are Socialist? (jk)

    Road costs are paid by sales taxes, county taxes, state taxes, national taxes. It is both local and national. Of course interstates are paid for by the Federal government- they are for interstate commerce.

    Here where I live in CA we have excellent roads because the county has a sales tax that goes specifically towards roads. If that is your idea of Socialism then your idea of Socialism is three steps removed from anarcho-capitalsim.

  40. Eventually you get the unelected European Commission and you have no more feedback mechanism. Or you get Xi as ruler for life and you have no more feedback mechanism.

  41. Brian, you are saying environmentalist are ignorant, I would say they are evil. They know normal folks want large homes and large cars but they don’t care about what regular folks want – they care about smug moral posturing. Palavering about saving the planet from the boorish masses is how they get their ego boost.

    They call themselves environmentalists because they value rocks, bugs, slugs and trees over other people’s lives, or else they would be called humanist.

  42. Which is why the japanese kei-car class of subcompacts, and the sports car subsegment of that that feature massive turbos, are kinda interesting. The usual kei-class rules limit naturally aspirated power, so manufacturers put pretty large turbos on them, and owners sometimes put even larger ones in them. It’s almost like someone enclosed a motorcycle on some of them. Too bad they are still squirrely on highways due to the wheelbase.

  43. The hybrid minivans are certainly an interesting segment for more performance, but many still LOOK like econoboxes. Are most SUV owners posers or not? I posit that they are posers.

  44. You don’t, unless you have one of those crazy lifted offroad minivans, particular those japanese custom types. But you have an actual need and actually use it in an offroad manner. How many SUV/truck owners actually get mud on their vehicle higher than the wheel well?

  45. I agree. Absent some bizarre circumstances or huge government subsidies, a large, suburban warehouse like shop is always going to be much cheaper per customer than a tiny little corner store.

    If only because the corner store needs to be supplied from a warehouse much like the one it is trying to compete with.

  46. Given that urbanisation has already moved say 86% of the population of Australia to cities, your claim that current cities are only for just “the wealthy” is stretching that term to unprecedented levels.

  47. “I know a bunch of people that own a monster SUV because they don’t want to be in a little car when it gets hit by a monster SUV”

    Sadly, even when that glorious day comes that all private passenger vehicles must be less than 1 m tall… the same people who push for such things will have encouraged lots of buses onto the roads. Which are just like an SUV only worse in every respect.

  48. Rollovers are a small fraction of automotive crashes.
    Choosing a vehicle that comes off worst most of the time because it does better a small fraction of the time isn’t putting the joke on anyone else.
    And as others point out, the SUVs can have unibody construction too.

  49. Show me a common SUV or pickup truck designed to carry 6-8 people and 2 tons of cargo. I’m waiting…
    My new Ford Expedition gets better gas mileage than my 1999 Ford Taurus, but nobody complains about wasting gas when I drive the Taurus. Not sure what the point of the article is, but the author obviously has a grudge and feels duty-bound to tell people how to live their lives.

  50. I drive a trail capable mid-sized Jeep SUV because I like to go out in the desert on rough dirt roads that would ruin a car (assuming it didn’t get hopelessly stuck first.) How do I replace that with a minivan??? 😉

  51. Brian is a Conservative and as such he’s always beating on his drum and pronouncing the virtues of his creed, be it subtly or overtly. More people should try to match their beliefs to what is rather than try to skew what is to match their beliefs.

  52. Good for you, you are driving something that is a lot more practical than an SUV. However, I doubt you really need that much horsepower… for a EV or PHEV the horsepower of an electric motor doesn’t come with all the extra friction of an ICE so it’s not a real issue but you pay more at the pump for what you bought. It’s been a trend over the decades to increase horsepower but the older cars with less horsepower worked just fine.

  53. With all the recent EV SUVs and crossover announcements and introductions that’s going to be fairly easy to do. Jaguar is now selling the iPace for those that can’t see spending $100,000 plus on a Tesla Model X. KIA got an even more affordable Kona selling for what a Chevy Bolt sells for. Etc, Etc….

  54. Government mandates are made by people selected by a plurality of the electorate. If the electorate wanted something different then they would make different choices, but they don’t. It’s not my fault the poorly educated allowed themselves to be infected by the worldviews of the inept and the irrational.

  55. Since the greenhouse effect is causing whole cities in California to burn down and floods that devastated Houston and Carolina and Florida I think we should increase taxes on SUVs to encourage people to drive more fuel efficient vehicles. Why not give a tax break on hybrids and other efficient vehicles?

  56. Yes and no. Sometime in a collision a large vehicle goes over the top of a small vehicle. This is very bad for the small vehicle. Also, in a University of Buffalo study they found in a SUV verses sedan head-on collision (50% of all auto acciodent deaths are in head-on collisions so they really matter a lot) drivers in the sedan are 4.5 times as likely to die (this is for sedans with the best crash rating, it’s 7.6 for the average car.) By the way, many modern SUVs also use unibody construction with crumple zones.

  57. The soviet planned economy was better than the appalling, consumerist, wasteful heap of dung that is America and increasingly the rest of the world.

  58. Obama, aside from his skin color, is a perfectly conventional Machine Democrat out of Chicago. Nothing for the party establishment to object to.

    Trump, on the other hand, managed to execute a hostile takeover on the GOP in a year when they very much did care who got the nomination, and this left the party establishment really pissed off. You had elements of the party working against him even before the general election, and they didn’t stop after he won.

    You can see that in how little success he’s had in getting the Senate to move on non-judicial nominations, and the way the Republican establishment in Congress has had no use for the issues, like immigration, that he AND they ran on.

    Note that it took a billionare reality TV star to break through the party establishment’s control of the nomination, and they’ve been working tirelessly to undermine him ever since. No ordinary challenger to the party establishment could have broken into that closed circle.

  59. Both Obama and Trump counter this for the US as both was not that the system nor party blocks wanted.
    In short you do not want to be an machine/ broiler politician for the president candidate. Yes you can create the perfect candidate for this setting but this will take so long to get trough the system they will be long out of fashion then your done.

  60. It’s not a toxic idea, it’s just that some people don’t accept the idea of diminishing returns. They think that, because it’s a good idea that rivers not catch fire, it’s a good idea to be concerned about PPB levels of substances that are only toxic at PPM levels.

    When movements succeed, they don’t accept that they’ve succeeded, fold up their tents, and go home. No, they double down on their original goal, even if it doesn’t make sense to do so.

  61. The problem, though, is that the people running the government are forever attempting to sabotage that feedback mechanism, and eventually they succeed to a large degree. They rig things so that people who don’t agree with them have an impossibly hard time getting on the ballot, don’t get their candidacies reported on if they do, they transfer power to unelected bureaucrats.

  62. Bigger vehicles are objectively safer. If you value the life and and health of a driver at 5 million dollars (multiplied by 1.5 to include passengers), then an implied cost of the risk of driving a Hyndai Elantra over a Honda CR-V over ten years is (44-18)x5x1.5×10 years=$1950. The 5 I get by dividing 5 million dollars by 1 million years.

    Now consider if a teenage driver also uses that vehicle. Their death rates are 3x that (so $5850).

    MPG is 31 for the CR-V and 33 for the Elantra. $1250 annual fuel cost for CR-V and $1100 for Versa. If you include a discount rate (money spent later is cheaper than money spent now) the $1500 10 year delta is even less for fuel.

    So as you can see even a fully objective analysis might inform a buyer to get the CR-V. Many families will opt for the RAV4 or CR-V until their kids are old enough to get enough driving experience where their death rate drops to normal (age 19 or 20) and also moves out to college.

    P.S. Safety data. Look at the death rates per million registered years. I picked a fairly large SUV, “small” SUV, small car, and mini car.

    Jeep Grand Cherokee 4WD or Honda Pilot 16
    Honda CR-V 18
    Hyundai Elantra 44
    Nissan Versa 95

    And if you want to get as low as possible on death rate, it is *much* easier to find an SUV (or large luxury car) that hits 12 or less in that data than a small or mini car.

  63. Oh and BTW climate change is a natural function of this planet, it is coming whether people like it or not and there is nothing humans can do (at this point) to change that fact.

  64. People want what they want and, in a free market economy, will buy what they want. Truth is, the truth, sticking your fingers in your ears and humming loudly will not change this.

  65. TL;DR capitalism is awesome, people want big cars, not because the chicken tax only rewards large margins on large cars, but because they’re wasteful fucks that let marketers tell them what they want, and they’ve got a lot of useless shit to carry.

  66. Not always true – Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Explorer and Hyundai Santa Fe. all use unibody construction.

    Even when true it does not repeal the Law of Gross Tonnage. A Cadillac Escalade has over twice the Curb Weight of a SmartCar and has a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of almost three times a Smart Car carrying two 250lb passengers. The amount of energy that gets transferred to the SmartCar in a collision can exceed what the crumple zone can absorb depending on the speeds and angle of collision.

    Also the difference in vehicle heights will place the point of impact higher (i.e. in the middle to upper passenger cabin) on a SmartCar whereas the SmartCar will impact on the frame or at most in the lower section of the passenger cabin.

  67. The investment in the technology to make less polluting cars prevented some other investment. We literally can not know what good things that prevented.

    ” And the economy was not ruined. ” <– That same worldview by which vehicles were made less polluting, has produced $220tn in unfunded liabilities in the US alone. The economy is ruined.

  68. ” Government’s exists to ensure equity and sufficiency in society. ” <– Not only no, but they suck at it.

    ” When your employer offers to pay you above $7.25, remember to tell him it’s your god given right to make $7.25/hr. ” <– Which is a government mandated economic death sentence for anyone who can only think of something to do with 7.24 an hour or less…And you’re stupid and evil enough to think that’s wonderful, even though those aren’t your hours.

    You’re a thief.

    If you meant sarcasm, you failed. You sound just like a Leftist.

  69. Seems like most externalities are invented, and all are exaggerated, by people who want to pretend those “externalities” justify government coercion.

  70. I live in Sweden and I can attest that the legendary “nordic model” is long dead. Here we have a green party that has had the privilege of sitting in as partners of most of the governments for two decades. Their influence has been catastrophic to this country and today, the welfare system is on the brink of collapse. Healthcare, schools, police, defense, infrastructure, energy… all in a death spiral and it looks more like a third world country in many areas. In recent years, the green party has been infiltrated by islamists no less and the scandals have been frequent. The latest polls indicate that the sleeping population has finally had enough.

  71. “If your market is made of sensitive greens looking to be the less environmentally impactful, bikes, tiny cars and homes will sell better.”

    Indeed — I live in Portland, OR. And they do. And Portland is nowhere near the size of those megacities he mentioned. But it has a dense core, and an Urban Growth Boundary to prevent sprawl.

  72. “Environmentalists typically do not apply science or engineering thinking to their problem solving.”

    Bright Green environmentalists do — and they span the political spectrum from Silicon Valley-style Libertarians, to Nordic model democratic socialists.

  73. NYC has been making exceptions to the parking ratio in the last few years, even allowing buildings with NO parking spaces at all. There’s only 30% affordable, which is under the inclusionary rules for all new buildings in NYC. The other 70% will be at market rate, averaging $2,000psf, which is the norm for this area of the city. The ArchSuite apts. from 88-95, above the 87th floor join, will all be high end 8-figure condos, as will the bridge apts. over the plazas from 34-63.

  74. I think your plan must contain at least 1.5 parking spaces per apartment and even if you start out selling the units expensively, the place will be a slum in 15 years time. I think you should be required to invest in an insurance to pay off demolition costs. People are not termites.

  75. I ran out of space allowed above, but let me add that true innovation in buildings would obviate the need for large cars & SUVs, or cars at all. Already, NYC dwellers boast 70% non-car households, which offsets the high rents significantly. Mass transit and one-stop-shopping buildings like the RiverArch – which has 814.000sf of retail/commercial and an 875-seat High School – are the present and future. The building does have garages for 400 cars, with Tesla electric power stations. It would also be energy neutral and has 4 indoor dams using gray water to store to Tesla battery packs, in addition to solar, wind, geothermal and water turbine power.

  76. In order to fit more people into crowded cities like NYC, there will have to be changes in both the tax & financing aspects, and architectural & building aspects.
    I did precisely that with my proposal for a RiverArch – the world’s largest building by floor area, and the only building to span a major river body (the East River). Video and details here:
    The RiverArch would have 7,250 apts. averaging over 2,200sf – too large, I know, but pending a redesign into smaller units after deeper space-wasting cuts into the building, unless I can convince the staid politicians to embrace (virtual) World Windows instead of real ones, in some major rooms. (These are essentially 10′ X 5′ screens, divided into 4 panels, with free feeds from hi-res color outside security cameras). This is a radical innovation too, but windows are the enemy of affordability, especially in a thick building. All those supertall superslender buildings going up in NYC? They are 8 and even 9 figure condos for a reason; there are so few of them per building that each one has to command a supersteep price for the project to be profitable. To get away from that, from an architectural solution, one has to use “land” in novel and innovative ways.
    True innovations in buildings, unlike endless skinny glass towers, is a neglected area and will determine whether the push for urbanization succeed in a cities for all, or just enclaves for the wealthy.

  77. There are no operating national governments that are democracies. At most they are representative republics, where the rank and file citizen is not truly represented, because they cannot afford lobbyists.

  78. The joke is on them. Modern automobiles have steel unibody construction with crumple zones. SUVs are built on pickup platforms, and are cabs, bolted to steel rails, that are particularly dangerous in rollovers.

  79. A lot of the big house, big vehicle phenomenon is primate dominance display. I grew up in an absurdly large house, and my parents owned huge chevrolets, pontiacs, and buicks, until my mom realized how much easier it was to keep up with a toyota camry after she was widowed, and her last chevy was totaled when she was in an automobile accident. After she died, the sale of the house I grew up in was liberating, as well as profitable.
    Personally, I prefer small vehicles that give long trouble free service, like my 1992 honda civic VX that I purchased new. I also own a small 1992 pickup I drive when I need to haul something, mostly firewood.
    Once you have plenty to eat, a secure warm dry place to live, more stuff does not bring much more happiness, just more problems to deal with. I often claim, “the more you own, the more you are owned”. This is particularly true of titled, and property taxed items like real estate, and vehicles. If I weren’t so handy, I’d likely rent.
    With the onset of wisdom, one realizes that one’s health, and that of those you love is what is truly important.

  80. Correct, too many loopholes protect suvs and trucks from being treated equally like other vehicles. They’re allowed to pollute more, they’re allowed to have lower fuel economy and they don’t meet the same safety requirements, specifically they aren’t forced to have bumper heights that match other vehicles on the road, thus making sure the crumble zones designed in actually work. They’re also exempt from the gas guzzler tax. IMO! Any vehicle sold for,use on public highways should conform to the same requirements.

  81. I’ll also note that if the plastics were only heavier than water, they’d sink to the bottom of the sea and sequester the carbon(!!!!)

    So why ban the straws, when you can merely insist they be made from a polymer with high density such as PVC or polycarbonate?

  82. I know a bunch of people that own a monster SUV because they don’t want to be in a little car when it gets hit by a monster SUV. These people don’t want to own them but find themselves forced to do so therefore banning monster SUVs would be a great service to many of those that own monster SUVs.

  83. What is it with the loonies on this site and fantasies about bestiality. Are you guys all subscribing to a sick p9rn channel and think it’s the nightly news?

  84. lol “if you ban SUVs ur Stalin” well then sir if you are intellectually incapable of grasping the basic economic concept of the tragedy of the commons and refuse to listen to literally every professional city planner and don’t mind society being poorer because “efficiency” is unsexy then you truly are beneath criticism

  85. Unfortunately, animals, trees do not vote.
    So people can “R*ape” them as long as they like unless there is someone who cares
    A cultural revolution, one may wish and ask !

  86. This post of brian is very wrong and ideology motivated.
    SUVs are wrong not because of planned economy or market economy, but as they pollute the environment
    This IS the problem.
    Brian very cunningly mixes the environment care with politics and he should not be doing that !

  87. Once societal structures are set, most people have no real choice but to insert themselves in one of the allocated slots.

    People do what they have to do, a choice between a lifestyle with lots of options and a life with precious few is no real choice at all. I cant be one of those hopeless people in the hinterlands with no options and no idea how to get some. They shake their fists at the sky and demand the world revert back to some golden age that never was so they can have a shot. I may be a cog in the machine, but it’s the best choice i could make given the world i find myself. I would not be doing what I’m doing or living where I’m living If my room and board could be guaranteed for the rest of my life, only then could i do what i prefer.

  88. Irrelevant
    You are mixing two things that have nothing to do with each other: centralized economy and care for the environment

  89. It’s a free world and people can say whatever they want, they can advocate for whatever they want. It’s everyone’s business if the government is helping businesses exploit workers. Government’s exists to ensure equity and sufficiency in society.

    When your employer offers to pay you above $7.25, remember to tell him it’s your god given right to make $7.25/hr.

  90. “you can buy better and cheaper [than Costco] at a pocket Trader Joes” – gotta throw the BS flag on that one.

  91. Who said that was a toxic idea?
    Environmentalists typically do not apply science or engineering thinking to their problem solving. Their favorite universal solution is to raise taxes. Instead, they could simply set limits for allowed pollution or emissions and let the market work out the rest. But they want the money.
    They close nuclear plants for emotional reasons (atoms are dangerous) and use tax payer money to subsidize solar and wind resulting in build out of coal power and extremely high energy prices (Germany, Denmark etc.). Higher taxes leads to companies moving to other locations resulting in longer transport ranges resulting in more waste.

    There is no end to the madness when these emotional socialists get in power. Almost everything they do has the opposite effect from the intended due to all the reasons listed in the article.

    I can promise that if there was a news flash broadcasted that “A large percentage of atoms has been detected in all drinking water”, there would be widespread panic.

  92. Because it implies that there must be some level of government regulation, which small government ideologues detest.

  93. Ever heard of economic externalities? Problem is, it is other’s people’s business when there are real consequences for those other people. Pollution and GHGs are the major problems.

    Try living in Europe. Much lower percentage even use cars at all and those that do use much smaller cars. They do just fine.

    I say have as big a truck or house as you want, but not if it effects me or my air.

  94. As long as the SUV doesn’t pollute the commons (atmosphere) everything is OK. When you live with people there are limits.

  95. Or… promote sports cars.

    Small. Light. Can definitely be efficient if you go for the Lotus Elan/MX5/Alpine sort of thing. Up to the Porsche Cayman or Alfa 4C level it is much less thirsty or congestion causing than a normal car.

    Have better handling, better active safety, take up less room.

    AND it fits in perfectly with people’s need to have an “toy” that enhances their self image and feels fun.

    Strange how greenies never seem to see this is a good option. Instead they castigate them as signs of masculine insufficiency.

  96. Why is not poisoning our environment such a toxic idea. Today’s cars pollute a lot less than yesterday’s cars. And the economy was not ruined.

  97. Though there is a slow, noisy, but very real feedback mechanism in a democracy.

    Ignore too many “customers” for too long and someone else comes along who at least says they’ll listen and oops… the “wrong” person wins an election.

    Of course this makes the “right” people go insane.

  98. “Why is there no starting conversations between business people and many environmentalists? ”

    Most so called environmentalists are pretty far out on the left side of the political scale. This means they literally only have two tools to solve their problems – the hammer and the sickle. We all know the result.

  99. Note that you’ve never seen any photographs of said “islands of junk the size of Tasmania”

    If it actually existed as described there would be photographs and videos everywhere.

    The truth is that the “garbage patch” is a region of water where the microscopic particles of plastic are a higher concentration than normal.

    Yes it’s bad for wildlife. But as usual the description that is promulgated is exaggerated several orders of magnitude, and never gets challenged in the MSM.

  100. Self driving cars being cheap and easy for day to day commuting just means that your private car can be some touchy, unreliable thing hand made in some European family firm that is all about tradition, style, feel, emotion, and not standard deviations, CNC machine tools and statistical analysis.

    Less Toyota Camrys, more Morgan 3-wheelers and Lamborghini Cheetahs.

    And that’s a good thing.

  101. The prestige factor here is that people subjectively feel safer enveloped in a larger vehicle (perceived standoff distance). Then there is reality that soccer moms don’t want to look like soccer moms driving minivans, they want to maintain a hip image, and want to drive something that has the same capabilities/reatures of a minivan without looking like they settled for less. Middle aged men who are not already driving sports cars, feel like their perceived masculinity is at risk driving minivans, and thus choose SUV’s and trucks.

    It’s fundamentally difficult to make a sexy minivan, since you are boxed in by the volume requirements.

    If you want to reduce the total number of SUV’s and trucks via economic means, your options are to make a sexy minivan, a on-demand SUV/truck rental serivce with self delivery, or a full on semi-public transit system composed of app hailable autonomous vehicles.

  102. You gotta break out the prestige from perceived needs and actual needs though.

    As others here have mentioned there are subsidy/tax incentives towards SUV purchases due to their truck classification in the US, which is an artifact of policy. Without that, this situation probably would not have developed as far (people would probably end going for large format sedans/wagons like a classic long wheelbase Cadillac).

    There is a physical aspect to large SUV’s, in that larger physical dimensions can assist in crash protection. In the past, the design considerations forced larger structural members in areas that might not necessarily have needed it, but were easier to manufacture using the size/type of materials, leading to “accidental” increases in passenger protection.

    There is also the aspect that owning a small vehicle and renting larger ones as needed is not a smooth/fast process that can really be done ad hoc by average people at present. With self driving and an app based system (think something like Enterprise rent-a-car, which does delivery of rentals to the user, except an Uber app based service, and self driving trucks/vans/SUV’s for self delivery to point of use), that could change. One coud say that Uber is all about gaing the necessary routing knowledge and networks effects to bring about an app based autonomous vehicle hailing/rental service.

  103. Yes…BUT they are not plastic (don’t get me started on the BS about the American plastic straws creating islands of junk the size of Tasmania in the oceans, either), so why ban those?

    Puts the do-gooder -tard suffix in the word greentard.

  104. US truck and suburb preferences are in part because of preferential policy treatment.

    Trucks (which includes SUVs) don’t have to pay gas guzzler taxes. They are classified more leniently for fuel economy and previously also had easier criteria emissions requirements.

    Suburbs with big houses are popular because public road costs to these remote areas are socialized.

  105. People don’t know what they want. Businesses tell people what to want. Only the government can identify their needs

  106. People do not connect things like population and urbanization with business. 1% per year global urbanization is a monstrous multi-trillion dollar per year market signal of what people prefer. Some people ignore that signal and say no “people should go rural because it is better” or because “they believe it” or they imagine some kind of living in the Shire of Lord of the Rings fiction.

    For some, the numbers on population and demographics are independent from their mental models of business and peoples. If they have any mental models of those things, then nothing connects. Money and the desires of people and what should be done, etc,..All of those things are independent or do not exist.

  107. The &#(@ paper straws stick to your lips in a way that is NOT RIGHT. Like drinking through an envelope.

    Whenever I am confronted with the triple choice to recycle, compost, or trash I find the right bin for my refuse and shift to the right one.

  108. The hallmark of a bad product and a bad government program is that it is imposed on people and you prevent people from opting out.

    Soviet Russia’s Iron Curtain was there to keep people in.

  109. Governments really aren’t in the business of listening to their “customers”.

    Because governments are monopolies and are absolutely in the business of dictating to their “customers”

  110. If you do not understand real estate and all the “ugly” business-side, then you are following the path to the failed Soviet planned economy or the failed housing projects in the USA… The premise that people should not want SUVs and Trucks and should not want big houses is starting off with a position that you know better than the customer. It is starting with a declaration that you will ignore the reality of the entire market.

    BUT that is exactly what the Watermelons want. They want it for the power over people. They have infiltrated the New Urbanists and Green movements to this effect.

    Plans and societal change cannot willfully deny what people want. This results in offering and forcing things based only upon what you would ideally think they should have.

    Like forcing me to b–h just to get a straw for my drink at a restaurant in Kookyfornia now? Perfect example. (Serious story: I was having lunch at 21st Amendment in SF. I had to ask for my f—-g straw. Guess what I got? A PAPER straw! Yes. Not a plastic one. Yet I still had to ask for the f—g straw because of the one-size-fits-all-libtardism of the ‘straw ban’. Pure Greentarded Idiocy!)

  111. It depends on the local market. If your market is made of sensitive greens looking to be the less environmentally impactful, bikes, tiny cars and homes will sell better.

    The problem is that, wherever these things tend to prevail, they are most often heavily pushed from power. Either by subsidies, taxation or regulation.

    If these things were really as desirable as touted, they would sell themselves. But most of the time they don’t.

    Or as someone already said: good ideas are copied, bad ones are imposed.

    By the way, this is why I think car ownership won’t disappear or even reduce on the SDC era. People want their cars for more reasons than just for transportation from A to B.

  112. Many people say it is crazy that people need two eight-passenger SUVs or pickup trucks that are able sx people and a two-tons of stuff. They say the goal of affluent wealth should not be the 5000 square foot home.

    To those many people I say: So what? It is none of your business what other people do with their money. Just like it is none of your business that other people than themselves choose to take a job at Walmart that does not pay $15/hr, etc.

    Problem isn’t Capitalism. Problem is too many people need to seriously mind their own business but arrogantly do not.

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