Emma Rothschild, in The New York Review of Books:
The present and impending disorder of the automobile companies is a reminder, even more than the decline of the housing and banking industries, of the desolation of the Great Depression.
A bailout that includes no more than a commitment to fuel efficiency, or to electric vehicles, would be a denial of the administration's commitments to respond to climate change. The idyll of plug-in hybrids is also the promise of a high-energy society, in which the auto-industrial organization of space, or of transport-intensive growth, is set in concrete for another generation, or longer. It is frightening in relation to the US, and a dystopia in relation to the world.
An enduring bailout, or a new deal for Detroit, would be different. It would be an investment in ending the auto-industrial society of the late twentieth century.
A year ago:
Driving is the cultural anomaly of our moment. Someone from the future, I’m sure, will marvel at our blindness and at the hole we have driven ourselves into, for we are completely committed to an unsustainable technology.
Also, from a year ago:
China’s catching up alone would roughly double world consumption rates.
From the archive, Louis Menand:
The interstates changed the phenomenology of driving.
Finally, Ed Burtynsky:
"I started to think: where is all this natural material going, where does it get formed into the products that we buy?"
Can We Transform the Auto-Industrial Society?