Download Auto Mania: Cars, Consumers, and the Environment by Tom McCarthy PDF

By Tom McCarthy

The twentieth-century American adventure with the car has a lot to inform us concerning the dating among buyer capitalism and the surroundings, Tom McCarthy contends. In Auto Mania he provides the 1st environmental heritage of the auto that exhibits how patron hope (and producer judgements) created affects around the product lifecycle—from uncooked fabric extraction to production to patron use to disposal.


From the provocative public antics of younger millionaires who owned the 1st vehicles early within the 20th century to the SUV craze of the Nineties, Auto Mania explores advancements that touched the surroundings. alongside the way in which McCarthy examines how Henry Ford’s fetish for waste aid tempered the environmental affects of version T mass creation; how Elvis Presley’s extensively shared postwar wish for Cadillacs made issues worse; how the Nineteen Seventies strength trouble harm small automobiles; and why child boomers missed concerns approximately worldwide warming.


McCarthy exhibits that difficulties have been famous early. the trouble used to be addressing them, an issue much less of doing medical learn and teaching the general public than imposing strategies via America’s industry financial system and democratic executive. buyer and manufacturer pursuits have hardly aligned in worthwhile methods, and automakers and shoppers have made strong competitors of law. the outcome has been a combined checklist of environmental reform with troubling clients for the future.

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One joyriding San Bernardino woman told Los Angeles police that just before her high-speed accident on Wilshire Boulevard she had been riding on the chauffeur's lap ! By 1908, the editors of Foresight and Emotion Horseless Age had no question in their minds about the chauffeur's social status : he was a servant and would remain one. He had been put in his place. Most middle-class Americans could not yet afford an automobile. They readily sup­ ported steps that prevented an undeserving working class reaping the benefits that they envied.

The urban and suburban white-collar middle class provided a second market, although somewhat later. Farmers found the practical appeal of the Model T, in­ deed of any car at all, overwhelming. Time was money on the farm as elsewhere, and owning a car meant the difference between an all-clay wagon ride to town and back and an hour's automobile trip instead. In the early twentieth century rural Americans lacked access to high-speed transportation. This shortcoming not only posed a handicap to economic life, it also placed severe constraints on A Monstrously Big Thing 35 social life.

He continued: "Nothing has spread Socialistic feeling in this coun­ try more than the use of automobiles. " Wilson's remarks seem shocking, especially coming from a future U. S. 27 These incidents suggest a deeper dimension to the anger that went beyond speeding, accidents, and the obvious dangers to life and limb, a sense that an im­ mense social transgression was taking place. Automobiles that interrupted chil­ dren's games in the street caused the stonings, said some. No doubt, drivers did The Arrogance of Wealth · · · ··· .......

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