Look, I'm not going to be an apologist for a new industrialism in America, so we can move more goods and more people, faster, cheaper. In that respect, I'm a luddite. I'm into less, not more, simpler, not more complicated, local, not global. I appreciate Musk wanting to put forward a sensible solution to a high-speed connection between LA and SF, reacting to typical neanderthal government progress on the issue. In the Detroit
thread I made the basic argument articulated by Kunstler
, that the automobile --> highway system --> suburban out-pouring was "the greatest misallocation of resources" in human history.
Kunstler wrote:The future direction of urban experience depends a great deal on an understanding of history, and of recent history in particular, because the hyper development of the past two hundred years has followed the arc of increasing energy resources and, above all, we are now facing the world-wide depletion of energy resources.... Now my own view is that we face severe energy problems in the decades ahead and they will not be ameliorated by any combination of alternative fuels or schemes for running them.... One certain impact will be the contraction of industrial activity per se and of the financial sector whose instruments and certificates represent the expectation of growth in accumulated wealth. This alone will comprise a basic challenge to industrial capitalism – apart from the sociopolitical strife that such financial catastrophe is apt to generate....
In other words, Kunstler predicted the outcome in Detroit, as well as every major City that doesn't get off its arse and pave a low energy future for itself. I admire Musk because he's doing that. Moreover, that he has the balls to challenge the conventional wisdom in the California transportation politico-bureaucracy. And that he wants to replace a highway with something immanently more energy conservative, powered by the sun.
It doesn't matter whether its Musk's vision or the PRT (Personal Rapid Transit)
vision or some other emergent transportation solution, just as long as its the least energy per person mile travelled and capable of utilizing a growing renewable energy infrastructure, solar and/or wind.