Where to in a new technical age?


Reading about Orville and Wilbur Wright working through the development of an airplane led me to think about the many individuals and groups working to produce working automobiles. Where the Wrights were working in uncharted territory, car makers simply continued developing buggies. GM was the combination of five separate auto manufacturers, Pontiac, Buick, Oldsmobile, Cadillac and Chevrolet plus GMC trucks. Together with Chrysler and Ford these three companies came to dominate automobile in this country and made lots of money for their investors.

European and Japanese manufacturers came to fit their automobiles to the American market. They added all sorts of new devices to their cars and forced the American companies to do the same. These additional costs plus high labor costs put the American companies in a bind. By the early 2000’s all three companies were in serious financial trouble with GM and Chrysler going bankrupt. Ford managed to avoid this, but barely.

Three of our largest manufacturers, having restructured themselves to match outside competition are now faced, as is the competition, with all sorts of electronic invention to make driving “easier”. Manufacturers are moving toward installing so many so many electronic devices to help the driver that the driver is required to devote less attention to controlling the automobile.

Certainly, manufacturing and selling automobiles is a major part of several nation’s economies. What happens when the demand for new cars declines?

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