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Welcome to STop, the Seattle Times Opinion blog where our editorial writers and editors share their evolving thoughts on a variety of issues. STop is a place where opinion writers and readers can exchange views and readers can learn more about how editorial positions are formed.

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December 05, 2005

Cars for India

"In India's New Money Culture, a Lust for Cars," is the headline in the International Herald Tribune. I was in India earlier this year, and noticed the new cars. India has a long, long way to go before approaching the United States; the article says it has only about 8 million cars for more than 1,000 million people. But it also says, "Indians are discovering in cars control and freedom, privacy and privilege, speed and status." Cars, the article says, are "the idols of a new individualism."

Yep. The people in India are not so different from us. They want cars. And all those American environmentalists who are horrified at the idea of 1 billion Indians being able to tootle around behind an internal combustion engine--it's coming. It won't happen all at once, but it will happen.

The dominant idea of American environmentalists is to make do with less. I understand that idea. There is a certain logic to it. But it is, fundamentally, a rich people's idea. The Indians are not going to make do with less. They will have more, and the rich peoples of the world will have to accommodate them--with petroleum and other things. And if the planet gets a little bit warmer on account of it, then maybe iit gets a little warmer. There may be a few things we can do to amerliorate that, but I don't think we can stop the Indians from buying cars.

Respond to Bruce.

 
Posted by Bruce Ramsey at December 5, 2005 03:42 PM



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