RE: No more oil

From: Vandergraaf, Chuck (
Date: Mon Sep 25 2000 - 11:40:02 EDT

  • Next message: Harry Cook: "No More Oil"

    George Murphy writes, in part: "As Americans we have little sense of
    community, something that shows itself from ecclesiology to our attitudes
    toward mass transit. We are also not very good at perservering with any
    project that takes more than about 2 years (outside) to complete - which
    probably has something to do with a U.S. representative's term!"


    I don't think that this mind set is unique to Americans. The more positive
    attitude towards mass transit in Europe and Japan is, no doubt, the effect
    of the high population density in those countries. Given the choice, most
    people, European as well as North Americans, would opt for the comfort of
    private transportation. Look at the European freeways, they are as glutted
    with cars as on this side of the Atlantic. In Paris, it is not unusual to
    see cars parked two rows wide along each side of the streets.

    I've been fortunate to have had to travel to Europe on business for the last
    20 years. As a train buff, I would usually fly to Amsterdam or Paris and
    use a Eurailpass to get around. Over the years, I've seen a marked
    reduction in the train service, simply because more people in Europe have
    access to private transportation. What is improving as far as rail service
    is concerned, is the high speed trains (TGV in France and the Belgian-based
    Thalys system).

    As for the 2-year time horizon of US legislators, our <5 year terms are not
    much better: the mail goal of an elected representative appears to be
    re-election next time around! Maybe there is something to be said for
    proportional representation, in addition to being a more democratic system
    than the "first past the post" used in North America. Proportional
    representation almost always results in coalition governments and the impact
    of losing, say, 5% of the popular vote does not necessarily mean that a
    party is turfed out of office.


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