13 votes

Shipments of SUVs wait out at at sea, revealing scope of U.S. auto market glut

6 comments

  1. [6]
    vord
    Link
    It's articles like this that really highlight just how fragile our system really is. Some random thoughts I've had surrounding this: In the name of efficiency, we have no stockpiles to guard...

    It's articles like this that really highlight just how fragile our system really is. Some random thoughts I've had surrounding this:

    In the name of efficiency, we have no stockpiles to guard against supply disruptions, at every level from producers to consumers.

    Food is being destroyed because supply chains favored businesses exclusively over households.

    Entire industries are collapsing due to a drop in demand. It shows how much of our economy is being propped up on the shoulders of marketing and planned obsolescence.

    I don't have answers for all of these, but I'm certain the right answer isn't 'return to business as usual ASAP' that seems to be pushed from so many levels.

    9 votes
    1. [5]
      skybrian
      Link Parent
      I posted it because it's a striking story, though in this case I don't think any physical harm is done. The cars will get sold eventually. It's a inadvertent example of "stuffing the supply chain"...

      I posted it because it's a striking story, though in this case I don't think any physical harm is done. The cars will get sold eventually. It's a inadvertent example of "stuffing the supply chain" which is sometimes done deliberately by companies trying to get their numbers up, though not at this scale.

      It's pretty clear, though, that a lot of consumption is not "essential." It seems like we might be able to figure out how to live at a lower level of economic activity, but not without something like a universal basic income and more stable funding for organizations that we want to keep running, like hospitals.

      4 votes
      1. [4]
        vord
        Link Parent
        I agree, it's just that I've seen sooo many articles in this vein. If we rely on new cars continually being accepted and flowing through the used market, it hints to me that we're producing way...

        I agree, it's just that I've seen sooo many articles in this vein.

        If we rely on new cars continually being accepted and flowing through the used market, it hints to me that we're producing way too many cars and encouraging people to replace far sooner than they need to in order to keep profits going up.

        UBI is a good second step. First should be Universal healthcare. Third would be adjusting wages such that essential jobs are alway well paid and get done even with UBI.

        4 votes
        1. [3]
          skybrian
          Link Parent
          I'm not really following your reasoning on the new car market, since continuous delivery is normally more efficient than carrying larger inventories of new cars would be. It seems like they were...

          I'm not really following your reasoning on the new car market, since continuous delivery is normally more efficient than carrying larger inventories of new cars would be. It seems like they were slow at shutting down factories, though? In programming we call this "flow control" and it seems like it could be improved.

          2 votes
          1. [2]
            vord
            Link Parent
            Continous delivery is efficient yes. Otherwise walmart and amazon wouldn't have surfaced. But Covid is revealing that same efficiency is also very fragile. For cars, that's less of a problem. For...

            Continous delivery is efficient yes. Otherwise walmart and amazon wouldn't have surfaced.

            But Covid is revealing that same efficiency is also very fragile. For cars, that's less of a problem. For food, medical supplies, and any other essential non-perishables, it's a huge problem.

            Efficiency is a terrible metric for essentials. Stability and availability are far more important. Costs shouldn't ever be a factor when it comes to feeding and housing people. Those are the most important things.

            Regarding new cars specifically, they mention other new cars aren't being bought by rental companies, consumers aren't buying any cars, so from new ro used everything is getting backlogged.

            Maybe rental companies shouldn't be churning cars so quickly. Maybe all cars should be built to last 200k+ with minimal repairs.

            Efficiency should be measured not in cost savings but in long term resource savings. It must become so if we're going to live in a more sustainable world.

            4 votes
            1. skybrian
              Link Parent
              Oh, I totally agree that efficiency and preparedness are often opposed. Stockpiling critical supplies can be important, as we've learned for medical supplies. But a shortage of new cars seems like...

              Oh, I totally agree that efficiency and preparedness are often opposed. Stockpiling critical supplies can be important, as we've learned for medical supplies.

              But a shortage of new cars seems like an acceptable risk since used cars are a reasonable substitute, and it's also the opposite of the current problem. So a just-in-time system for new cars seems fine, and reducing inventory further of unsold new cars would have been even better. If there were fewer unsold new cars on dealer lots then they might have fewer sales but it seems better from a sustainability perspective.

              1 vote