Commentary

Praising cars

Randal O’Toole reminds us why we like cars: Thanks in part to our increased automobility, average incomes have more than tripled since 1950 even after adjusting for inflation. Cars get us to higher-paying jobs than we could reach by transit. Employers pay more because cars give them access to more highly skilled workers. Cars also give us lower-cost consumer goods; without cars, stores like Wal-Mart, Costco, and Safeway couldn’t exist. And I think there are other things that are perhaps even more fundamental to our fondness for cars. It’s not just that we’re zooming to Costco to buy mayonnaise by the gallon. There’s more to it than dollars-and-cents considerations. In the developed world the struggle to survive has largely been replaced by the struggle for deeper fulfillment. Greater mobility gives us greater career choices, and thanks to that more of us can devote more of our day to something we enjoyââ?¬â??or at least enjoy more than subsistence farming.

Ted Balaker is an award-winning filmmaker, journalist, and founding partner of Korchula Productions, a film and new media production company devoted to making important ideas entertaining.