September 29, 2006
What was the greatest invention of the last two hundred years? Railroads? Electricity? Telephones and telegraphy? Computers? The Internet?
A recent report (940-kb) published by the American Dream Coalition argues that the invention that did the most to improve the quality of life of the average American was the mass-produced automobile. The automobile, along with its cousins the truck and the tractor, were largely and in some cases entirely responsible for:
As a bicyclist and railfan, it is with some chagrin that I write in praise of the automobile. Yet if railroads increased per capita incomes, the auto increased them even more. If railroads offered mobility to the wealthy and middle classes, the auto offered far more mobility to almost everyone regardless of class or status.
The report recommends that government agencies should stop trying to discourage driving and instead merely insure that auto drivers and other transport users pay the full costs of their transport choices.