Saturday, March 19, 2011

How Cars build Social inequality?

This post is from one of my observations of behaviors of people who own cars (including myself!). Although  the point that I will be making here, has already been made by several journalists and novelists in the past in other forms, but this is more pertinent today, keeping unprecedented burgeoning of cars and social inequalities in societies like India.

In the famous philosophical novel - ZAMM (Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance), the author compared cars with television sets! Why? Because, both offer us, a limited view of the world from their window (the 2-D, one directional view). When we sit in a car, we see the outside world through a window (of the car), and that window is no different (rather more limiting) than the window of our television sets. And this is one of the reasons, I believe that, the vision of people sitting in these cars are often modified by their own set of window glasses, and they don't see the reality as it is! Sitting in their air-conditioned car, the sun-glassed view from their car makes everything outside look so beautiful, that they start ignoring the actual dirt and heat present in this outside world. 

Marketer won't reject the argument, the cars represent aspirational value of its consumers. And that aspirational value is all about showing others that you have something better to cheer, and they are filthy poor people. Because, if simple transportation was there objective, then, they wouldn't buy a car in the first place! 

Economists won't reject the fact that, cars consume more than 40% of world's petroleum oil and hence amount to at-least same proportion of pollution in the atmosphere. Due to this pollution our society faces problems like global warming, and heath issues. And at the same time, shortage of oil (due to high demand from these same car users!) makes oil costlier, which therefore makes every other thing in this world costlier too! Then after all these, who is most affected in our society? It's the weak! Because, the stronger people have all the resources needed to fight through all these issues...

Well...who the hell I'm to suggest you that you should stop owning your cars, but I think; you now have enough reasons to start calling your self a hypocrite if you still defend 'the social equality cause'....!!! 
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