27 April 2007
According to the census figures for the same year, 2004, there were just over 293 million people in the nation. At least twenty percent of that population is too young to drive. So there were more cars than there are human beings of driving age. And 13 million more cars than licensed drivers.
These figures testify to the success of the US auto industry over a period of decades in persuading us that everybody needs a car. Also, they've been tremendously successful in persuading us that most of us need a new one. Those aren't the same cars, in this 1:1 ratio to population, year after year. There are always new models, always new gizmos.
Yet, looking at the numbers, I for one can hardly avoid the guess that some of the trouble of the domestic US auto industry is simple saturation.
Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.