11 April, 2006


The fate of all things. This was once Highway 1, the main paved road down the coast of California. Today it is quiet enough to hear the tiny waterfall from 50 meters, songbirds, the wind rustling flight feathers of hovering hawks. A mile below, the current highway is closed by a landslide, so the land is almost empty of humans from the ocean across to Interstate 280, a very rugged few miles away. It is encouraging, in the middle of the disaster-prone Bay Area, to visit a place where one can see that chaos and destruction of human endeavors is not, in the long term, the end of the world.


an easily generated sentiment consistent with inherited romantic habit? we know that at very distant levels of scale the chaos/destruction doesn't matter a lick but the babbling water is still pretty. why is it tempting to wish for pretty things to outlive us? 

Posted by hibiscus

i said that but what i meant to say was that in the absence of sanity in board rooms and legislatures, american dependence on automobiles continues to increase . 

Posted by hibiscus

so there's a remote possibility that slack in the housing market is what holds gasoline prices in check. big oil: "you'll pay what i want you to pay!" rich person: "no! i'll move where i can drive less!" big oil: "that worked before, but now... you can't afford to move except further into my clutches! bwaa ha ha." 

Posted by hibiscus

Seems unlikely. Housing markets aren't that (insert economics term here). People can't uproot and move in order to find cheaper prices willy-nilly. SOME people might be able to, but those people are also likely not to give a shit about gas prices. Also if what you're saying were true, demand for gas would have to be decreasing rather than going up, which seems to be the general trend  (although admittedly there's no data for the past four years in that graph). 

Posted by saurabh

you didn't like my little melodrama. i'm greatly saddened.

if i put together what we both wrote then it comes out something like this. with the housing market so completely batty, the annual price difference between this mortgage and that mortgage is much greater than the difference between the fuel and maintenance costs, even at $x.xx/gal. is it so much larger that it's money-cheaper to drive 3 hours a day than to live near job and walk? seems like it. if you want to own a house.

that graph isn't corrected for population growth. per capita would be more useful. don't know what to say about this except that i wouldn't expect demand to decrease for the above reasons.

flexibility in the housing market isn't really about an individual wanting to move. it's about how the millions of people who move house every year choose their next residence. job markets are less stable. that probably means people are keeping housing options open more than they used to.

(i don't know how i feel about high or low gas prices. if high prices are not discouraging driving, and they don't seem to be, then i am against high prices as we have them now, where much of the additional price is going to expansion and almost none does anything good.)

also, i keep seeing quotes like "don't get me wrong, i love my car" and "i love driving but" when people are asked questions about money-price or nature-price of driving - with such a strong emotional component i wonder if we haven't "enabled" something. maybe it's dishonest to say that japan or europe or wherever is doing better environmentally than the united states, when they're making so much money here. we seem to be the world's dumping ground for the externalities of big ticket products. externalities of product usage. 

Posted by hibiscus

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