The recent Toyota recall is more about a panic over the forthcoming fully-automated automobility than it is about actual threat, as I argue in a new piece over at New Matilda.
New thoughts are rare to me now. Thoughts that are worth dancing with in my mind. Thoughts I want to buy a drink, that I want to ask home, that I want to seduce and be seduced by me. That I want to be brave for. Thoughts that scare me.
There is a meeting. Between someone with power and someone who has power exerted over them. I read somewhere once that power is the capacity to get someone to carry out one’s will. It isn’t. Power is the capacity to get someone to share your expectations. The transference of action, the extension of one’s capacity to act, is a dumb force. It is muted. You can’t have a conversation with it. You can manipulate it like a lever. This has to happen, therefore I can make this happen. It can be reversed. It is a weak power.
For someone to share you expectations means there is a temporal feedback loop. It is inescapable. A future event guides your actions. You have an expectation of what should happen and it isn’t your own. It is inevitable. This is far more profound that getting someone to act. One is a question of ideology, a question that can be answered with action. The other serves as the basis for reality itself. There is no question, because all questions assume it.
Within this meeting the person with power acts with a ruthlessness. They are ruthless which means they don’t care about the other person’s expectations. There is no ethical dialogue of a common goal, of shared equitable expectations. To be ruthless means imposing one’s expectations on another.
It also means acting without shame. You need to be shameless to be ruthless. Most decent human beings feel shame when they impose their will by forcing someone to share their expectations.
The profit motive of capital is how we describe its ruthlessness. Capital has no shame.
In the meeting the person without power is in a room full of his bosses, his managers. They all share expectations. They want him to share their expectations. For that he shall be rewarded. He needs to learn how to become shameless.
Or figure out how to make them feel ashamed.
My ute is getting repaired after being hit in the rear quarter panel. I have been car-less for half a week, but today I am off to pick up a Ford Fiesta Econetic from Ford. It is one of their media cars. I am grateful that I’ll have some wheels again!
It should be interesting driving the Econetic as it is literally one of the next generation of vehicles. By that I mean there is a forthcoming tipping point where most cars on the road will be turbo diesel (like the Econetic or Mini D), hybrid (Prius or various Lexus models) or extremely small kei-class type vehicles (like the Alto). It will be my first experience properly driving one of the next generation of vehicles. The last time this happened involved a long process in the mid to late-1980s and it involved the shift from leaded petrol to ULP, archaic pushrod engine design to overhead cam, a shift in aesthetics from a large, squared off body shape to something more aerodynamic. When you go shopping for a vehicle now you are choosing between two iterations of the automotive market before choosing between vehicles within the respective markets.
This can be represented in the vehicles I have owned. Here is a late night photo of me working on my 1981 Ford XD Falcon:
It has a 5.8 litre V8 engine, four speed Toploader gearbox and 9in differential. I’ve owned it for 12 years.
Next is my 1994 Ford ED XR6 that I just sold:
It has a 4 litre OHC straight six cylinder engine and drove far nicer than my XD.
Next is my 2006 Ford BF XR6 ute that I bought last year:
Drives very nice, interior is ultra modern and it has a twin overhead cam straight six cylinder engine.
The XD made about 220kW at the wheels. The ED made about 116kW at the wheels. The BF would make about 140kW at the wheels, although it has never been run on a dyno so I don’t know. At the engine flywheel the Econetic makes 66kW. Not much, but not bad from what Ford call their ‘Duratorq’ turbo diesel 1.6 litre four cylinder engine. The kicker isn’t the power out of the Econetic, but the torque. It makes 200Nm from 1750 revs. That is some crazy shit. It is hard to explain to non-car people exactly how this much torque this far down in the rev range changes the driving experience. It will feel zippy down low and it will keep on pulling. I’ve noticed that Ford has selected far taller gearing for the diesel because it has heaps more torque than the other Fiesta models.
Anyway, there is the low-down torque I can’t wait to experience and the six-speaker stereo that allows me to plug in an iPod. Excellent :).