America’s Oil Addiction

Michael Dawson on what President Bush recent statement that “America is addicted to oil”.

Speculate all you want about ordinary Americans’ “love affair with the car,” but the institutional fact stands that the triumph and perpetuation of an automobile-intensive way of getting around town in the United States has long been, in the words of the National Association of Manufacturers, the “lifeblood” of capitalism in the United States and around the globe.

And the most important reason for this institutional fact resides in the automobile itself, which is as close as anybody could realistically imagine to the ideal capitalist commodity. Consider the mundane reality: Cars are fantastically large and complicated machines. To manufacture, deliver, maintain, make roads for, insure, store, and fuel them in the United States alone requires a trillion-plus-dollar-a-year mega-industrial complex, almost all elements of which are provided by exploited/profitable business employees. And this is all before mentioning the huge secondary economic spending on doctors and lawyers necessitated by another great capitalist virtue of cars: their tendency to collide with one another. read on…

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