Saturday, August 24, 2013

Taiwan should not follow in U.S. footsteps

Seven out of 10 floors set aside to accommodate cars

In 1956 the U.S. built the interstate highway system. This was a major part of a commitment to an economy dependent on cars. Now cheap oil has peaked, and the U.S. is in big trouble.

It is entering a long period of degrowth. Unemployment will stay high for many years and debt will take away any gains in productivity.

Taiwan is far ahead of the U.S. in the efficient use of energy. That does not mean there will be no problems. Climate change will mean more and more energy used for air-conditioning and storm mitigation. But if we were to build roads and sprawl like the U.S. that would be inexcusable as we can see before us the problems they cause.

The solution is to let the birth rate stay low, don't interfere. Make bus fares gradually cheaper and cheaper. Make cars pay their fair share based on the space they occupy and require to operate, the resources they use in manufacture, repair, and decommissioning, and the low efficiency by which they use fuel.

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