A Colorado company is set to display a hybrid car that gets 100 mpg. They key point:
The idea for the car came after gas prices exceeded $4 a gallon and Sam Johnson Sr., father of two of the company’s founders, challenged his sons to build a car that gets 100 miles to the gallon. All three are engineers, and the company’s funding is coming from private sources, primarily from family members.
This isn’t some cutesy story. It is the rule in a society that functions with free exchange and protects private property rights. When prices are undistored and are able to carry meaningful signals to consumers and entrepeneurs, resources end up whizzing at lightning speed away from those places where they are not valued and toward the places where they are more highly valued.
Absent prices, how the heck would anyone have a clue which resources these really are? And without the opportunity to make profits when taking on entrepreneurial risks, why would anyone wish to take a shot at figuring out what these are?
Comrade Obama and his econocomrades might fancy themselves planners and know what kind of investments are necessary to put our economy on a sound footing for growth (as opposed to the “pseudo-growth” he claims we have had for the last 30 years), but even if they were in it for the love of their fellow man, they could not possibly have enough knowledge about what our “needs” and “wants” are, much less how to meet them. They couldn’t ever acquire that knowledge in a billion lifetimes with a billion more people on their commissions and boards and special blue ribbon panels.
I am rooting for these guys in Colorado. Why? Because I want to see the politicians try to take credit for it. I suppose they could, to a degree. After all, it has been their financial phony baloney that contributed to the spiking gas prices last year, and that provided the incentives for the folks at Lightning auto to work on these cars. I am almost loathe to post on this topic, because it gives the impression that this is a unique or interesting story. Yet it happens thousands of times a day all over the US. And the process by which this happens enables uncreative and unskilled folks like me to enjoy a range of products and services that are hilariously complicated and hilariously inexpensive. For example, the desktop machine I am writing this from cost me about $600, and I don’t know the first thing about how it works. And no one ordered a commission to create a machine that would make my word processing more efficient, that would make it easier to communicate with friends and strangers, that would make it easier for me to do some statistical computations, that would provide hours of entertainment on demand, that can store all of our family’s photos, and more. Take a look around the room you are sitting in right now, and look at the things on your person. And then take a good look around you as you drive to the stores today, or head to that hockey game, or that round of golf … and think about what makes it all possible.
How did the guy making poppy seed bagels figure out that I love them, with a half-scoop of cream cheese and a hazelnut coffee? How did the owner of that driving range know I like to spend an hour clearining my mind and duck hooking 6-irons across a big field? How did Levis know that someone like me would purchase the pair of jeans I am wearing? How would a plastic company here in Rochester figure out that there was a demand for shatterproof bottles to be used in hiking and biking (my Nalgene bottle)? And isn’t it ridiculous that I have in front of me 5 felt tip pens (my favorites!), each of a different color, and each costing about 10 cents? Or what about the Tom’s of Maine toothpaste (Peppermint) I use each day?
Would any of those things be available, and so much to my tastes, if there was no mechanism by which I could convey those preferences to potential entrepreneurs? Would a committee in DC be able to come up with a bundle of goods that would make me happy, and each of my fellow 305 million Americans? And be able to order their production and distribution in such a way that they can be found in virtually any place I travel, and at costs that are so low that I almost don’t think about them when deciding to consume them? If you believe that even 1 in 1,000 of these products would be available, then you ought to start providing me with the pictures of the unicorns and griffens that inhabit your lands.
And by the way, this effort in Colorado has only been going on for 2 years, and was done without fanfare or coercion. And the first models are expected to cost between $40k and $60k … virtually the same as the Chevy Volt … a car in the works for years, that is now blessed with government subsidies, and has a gaggle of professionals with billions in capital to work with … and the Volt seems to be shockingly inferior.
How will the folks at Lightning Hybrids decide what to produce, how many to produce, and when to produce them? “We’ll go from there and see what the market is requiring,” said one of the founders. Just like how the entrepreneurs in Congress will spend the almost $4 trillion in goods and services they take from the productive class. Yep, exactly like it.
UPDATE: Funny, this is the news story that I opened up to this morning, a day after posting the above. I never knew Obama was an auto expert, glad to see he is running GM and Chrysler too. I want to remake the Government from top to bottom before they get another one of my hard-earned dollars, what “White House” order can I give to make that happen?