HEADLINES, HEADLINES

There has been a lot of loose talk on this Blog about Fundamental Transformation not being an urgent need, especially in the Commonwealth of Virgina.

Our friends the Tiger Riders may have not been reading the headlines.

Last Saturday the Business section of WaPo was headlined by: “Flying Is Going to Get Even Less Fun.” You may recall our column 21 April column “The End of Flight as We Knew It.”

Early this week AOL Money featured an analysis of recent stock trends and suggested 17 large Enterprises that, based on stock market performance, may not be with us for long. Number one on the list and four of the top 5 were airline Enterprises – American, United, Northwest and Delta. Five of the top 8 were airline Enterprises.

Add the cost of aircraft impact on the upper atmosphere to the price of a ticket and the US of A will be back to one flag carrier, airport overcapacity and very few who can afford to travel. Deregulation and cheap fuel sure did improve air travel.

Think of all those Households (formerly known as “families”) who believed it was fine to disaggregate and scatter across the globe because they could always fly “home” for the holidays and when there was an emergency…

On the AOL list were three were major financial institutions and the two biggest Autonomobile manufactures – Chrysler already having been towed away after a fire sale. They also believed their own ads and the chant that demand for Large, Private Vehicles was inelastic.

On 13 June WaPo had a headline “Medical Fraud a Growing Problem” and in the same issue the Business section headlined “The Economy’s Steady Pulse: Health-Care Sector Is Poised to Keep Growing, But so Are Its Costs.”

Not likely any Tiger Riders are going to try to track down fraud or cut costs if medical services is the only sector of the economy – other that flood damage repair and ad revenue from the Internet – that are expanding. The health and welfare of other nation-states is better with a different system but this one makes some more profit in the short term.

On Monday the 16th WaPo had a full page ad by HybridTechnologies touting the value of lithium battery powered vehicles. The ad was not there to sell cars, it was selling stock in a company that will sell the cars. Small, efficient vehicles are good, but are not a good investment without fundamental change in settlement patterns. See “Aptera and the Tiger Riders.”

On the 17th one of the above-the-fold front page stories was headlined “McCain Seeks to End Offshore Drilling Ban.” WaPo commentators had a field day with the flip-flop from prior positions but the real story was that the flip side of the jump page was that overexposed crying baby ad paid for by ‘The people of America’s Oil and Natural Gas Industry’ that asks “who really pays when congress taxes oil companies?” The children of well paid energy CEOs?

A society that has seven parking places for every Autonomobile and five bed places for every body needs to reconsider where the current trajectory is taking everyone, including those at the top of the Ziggurat.

Perhaps citizenS need to come up with a new metric for well being.

It is enough to make one want to add some paragraphs to THE ESTATES MATRIX.

EMR


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  1. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    You read AOL Money? After all the bad things you have said about AOL?

    ——————————

    We are no more going to uninvent aircraft than we are going to uninvent automobiles.

    What is it exactly that would make you happy? When we all have to ride donkeys to our home city for the census?

    —————————

    Airport overcapacity is going to be a HUGE surprise to the FAA, which is spending billions to increase airspace capacity.

    —————————-

    Add the cost of aircraft impact on the upper atmosphere to the price of a ticket and you won’t have any carriers. Unless you subtract the cost of NOT having aircraft.

    ————————–

    “The health and welfare of other nation-states is better with a different system but this one makes some more profit in the short term.”

    How do you make long term profit without short term profit?

    I plan to evacuate to another nation state with better health and welfare, as soon as I make my fortune. How about you?

    ——————————-

    “Small, efficient vehicles are good, but are not a good investment without fundamental change in settlement patterns.”

    Howzat? Fundamental change in settlement patterns is supposed to make autos outmoded. Without fundamental change inpatterns, small efficient vehicles will be a GOOD investment.

    The auto builders are betting against you.

    ————————–

    “A society that has seven parking places for every Autonomobile and five bed places for every body needs to reconsider where the current trajectory is taking everyone”

    OK. I’ll bite. What is the most efficient, least dysfunctional number of parking spaces relative to autos?

    N-1 so we can endlessly drive around in a perpetual game of musical chairs?

    Cruising for parking spaces is a major cause of congestion, pollution, and wasted fuel in urban areas, in case you didn’t know.

    You don’t suppose the free market has the right number figured out?

    —————————–

    How”s this for a metric for well being:

    Goodness = Common sense / (1/PhD)

    RH

  2. charlie Avatar

    I really wonder why people think flying will become only for the rich — when the only airline making any money right now is the one that flies familes around on low cost (and affordable) fares. Perhaps the airline crisis is more about business spending moving away than anything else….

  3. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    I was curious as to how something like this works into the bigger scheme of things:

    Manassas Steel Plant Will Relocate To Richmond

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/17/AR2008061702615.html?hpid=sec-business

    the article points out that this company made beams for the Woodrow Wilson Bridge…

    now.. it’s leaving.. it appears because the price of land for their kind of operation is too high and they need to find cheaper digs….

    which brings up the issue of settlement patterns and the things that they need… ostensibly within their clear edges and not brought from afar in big belching trucks…

    yeah you could ship by rail to some terminal point but even then would you not have to use a BBT (big beltching truck) to get it from the rail station to the construction site?

    or.. in the future world of nirvana, dense settlement patterns will not require construction materials like steel and concrete that will have to be produced somewhere and delivered via BBTs?

    an interesting exercise to engage w in when out and afar doing errands as EMR alluded to.. is to not only take note of the BBTs but to look at where they are from and what they are carrying.. and ask oneself why what those BBTs are carrying are coming from afar and not within the clear edge.

    I suppose someone could argue that if it is a truckload of hockey mitts that they could be made locally but how about stuff like steel and concrete and huge rooftop air conditioning systems – even if … GASP they run off of solar panels… also..not made inside the clear edge…

    one of my favorite shoes is the muck garden shoes; and they are made in Johnson City New York and delivered in mere days via UPS.

    I have to say.. that if Fundamental Transformation means giving up my muck shoes.. I’m agin it…

    no muck shoes = no fundamental transformation

    end of argument..

    🙂

  4. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    I wondered what happened to that place. They languished for decades before they folded up, and the area of their former plant is now a Mall.

    They had rail sidings on their site. I assumed they were put out of business by a new company just down the street (also with rail siding) that is in the bridge business. I think they handle both steel and concrete trusses, so it is more diversified, and has more modern equipment.

    In either case, it appeared that stuff comes in by rail, and leaves by truck.

    You can’t beat muck shoes, although the short ones chafe the back of my heel.

    I look at truck loads and wonder, how far can they possibly haul that product, before it makes no sense?

    One of my favorites is high stacks of recycled empty pallets. I wouldn’t guess you could carry those on a truck (which probably weighs a hundred times what the load weighs) more than a hundred miles before it would be cheaper just to make new pallets.

    Same with truckloads of wood chips, or large empty pipe. You can carry at most 4 4ft diameter sections, forty feet long. How does that ever pay? What kind of settlement pattern requires 4 ft diameter sewer pipe?

    Anybody else got any favorites for “needless tansportation”?

    RH

  5. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    That crazy free market thing strikes again

    http://cosmos.bcst.yahoo.com/up/player/popup/?rn=3906861&cl=8373281&ch=4226720&src=news

    “Death” of the suburbs growth around mass transit but notice growth around SUBURBAN mass transit aka commuter rail aka look for VRE stations to continue to become very popular.

    Why???

    well VRE station areas generally have good schools low crime and a mixture of housing at “affordable prices” for now anyways

    unlike the places near metro stations which are full of overpriced condo towers or on the other extreme poor schools and high crime areas.

    NMM

  6. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    Right.

    The market has recognized the value or benefits of being located near VRE.

    This suggests that government should raise the price of riding VRE, and lower the subsidy.

    I suggest that when we have a method of accurately pricing things, including externalities (both positive and negative) then we will be able to better figure out who should pay for what.

    In this case, it is apparent the riders should pay more. We have heard the argument that suburban drivers aren;t paying enough either, but I’d suggest that drivers as a whole aren’t paying enough.

    After all, how can we possibly be in a situation where we can “afford” enough cars and trips to clog all the roads, and then claim we can’t afford roads, or that there is no money for them?

    Because we “think” the cars are ours, and the roads belong to someone else. It is all a matter of getting the correct property rights and pricing them. If there is anything good to be said about the HOT lanes, at least they will do that.

    But if the government is ging to sell “our” roads, then “we” ought ot get something out of it. I don’t see that happening with HOT lanes.

    RH

  7. E M Risse Avatar
    E M Risse

    At 11:22 PM, charlie said…

    “I really wonder why people think flying will become only for the rich — when the only airline making any money right now is the one that flies familes around on low cost (and affordable) fares.”

    For years Southwest — the airline Enterprise to which you refer — has made steady progress. But:

    The they have not had a month with a average closed above $20 since Feb 2002.

    Soutwest (NYC symbol LUV) are now doing better than most airline Enterprises but they have raised prices and cut service.

    Fuel prices will hurt them like everyone else. 737s burn fuel too.

    And if the cost of the engine emmissions are added they do not fly anyone but the very rich. That is all we are saying.

    Their ads still look good but fewer and fewer can affford to fly Southwest, or any other airline Enterprise.

    Charlie also said:

    “Perhaps the airline crisis is more about business spending moving away than anything else…”

    Moving away where? Less business travel is less travel.

    It seems Tiger Riders have favorite airline Enterprises too.

    EMR

  8. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    “And if the cost of the engine emmissions are added they do not fly anyone but the very rich. That is all we are saying.”

    I don’t doubt this. I don’t doubt that aircraft emissions in the upper atmosphere have different costs than turbine emissions on the ground.

    Even the ice crystal contrails have an effect. It was almost startling after 9/11 to have skys that were both clear and quiet for a few days.

    But, I still don’t think we can just make blanket statements like this without some understanding of what the costs actaully are. A ton of CO2 is a ton of CO2, wherever it is, I think. Unless it is in the middle of an urban area where the values are already high. Compared to that a ton of CO2 at 30,000 feet is probably cheap.

    Such blanket statements give the appearance that we are setting the costs at a near infinite value, with little to back us up.

    Flying strikes me as a little insane to begin with. Why someone would want to strap themselves into a pressurized can for hours on end at 30,000 feet, is beyond me. I’d rather sail across the ocean than fly over it, And yet, I still do it, because it saves 28 days and the risk of a North Atlantic gale.

    So, there must be SOME value to flying. I don’t see any point in saving ourselves a million dollars in emission damages, if it turns out to cost us $10 million in lost value from air travel.

    Absent any real numbers, numbers that we can understand and agree on, I don’t see this kind of blanket statement as very helpful. I think thoughtful people will tend to put it in the nut-case category, even though it has an obvious underlying element of truth.

    Proposed cap and trade regulations will allow the market to decide which emissions are most valuable, but that is going to depend on how the cap is set. If we set it wrong, either too high, or too low, we will get undesirable results. Therefore it is important to fully understand how much to add for the true cost of engine emissions.

    RH

  9. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    I’m amused by the folks who say that mass transit is for “losers” and then they’ll go play sardine for a day and pay big bucks for it.

    If someone “offered” you the opportunity to sit next to ..say a human fart machine for 3 hours and pay $170 bucks to boot.. who would go for that option?

    🙂

  10. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    Mr. Gross:

    It was surprising to see your post on Williams Industires moving from a site near PW Innovation.

    The story was very clear why they were moving — to speculate with the land.

    Even more surprising, why do they bother? Even if EMR is only half right there are tens of thousands of acres of better located land for shopping, offices and houses.

    You are right that the cost of construction involving steel beams will go but perhaps Williams Indus thinks that the Long Energy Depression will mean there is not be much construction anyway…

  11. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    By mass transit, in this case, you mean an airplane?

    Yeah, I once got stuck in the middle seat between two human brillo pads.

    But, unlike the Metro, I at least got a seat.

    RH

  12. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    you mean if you had a choice to sit between two brillo pads and stand – you take the two brillo pads?

    What if the airline said they’d give you $25 to stand so that they could sell your seat for full price to some other yokel?

    I refuse to fly anymore.

    The whole freaking day is a mess from the moment you wake up til the moment you stumble off the plane at the other end – and even then your ordeal is not over…

    I think Groveton must be a bit weird … unless he’s flying First Class.

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