Over the years there have been many conspiracy theories in regards to why certain technologies haven’t been adopted or disappeared. I touched on this a little when writing about the possibility of a water car. There have been many claims that devices or hardware exist that improves gas mileage greatly. The next thing you hear is how oil companies and car manufacturers don’t want these advancements to see the light of day. In some cases I don’t think such statements are conspiracy theories. There are examples of corporations buying technology never to use it. Of course these companies would say they couldn’t find a use for what they purchased or that it didn’t work. Lets put that aside for now. What I really want to discuss is how reliant is the world economy on the combustion engine? Is it possible that drastic change towards alternative powered vehicles could disrupt the financial well being of countries and corporations?
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There is a lot of business related to the manufacture and upkeep of vehicles using the combustion engine. If we move away from this relic of a power source will this cause an economic downturn? When considering vehicle manufacturing I would say the answer would be no. Employment levels would most likely remain the same. Of course there would be shifts in job types and maybe some slight workforce reductions. Over time the concern would be that dealerships would employ less people do to less work needing to be done on electric vehicles. After market parts suppliers would survive for some time by supplying older vehicles. The same could be said in regards to dealers. But at some point staffing reductions would most likely take place as less combustion engines were on the road. What would happen to all the oil changing facilities? Would these become recharging stations?
As the need for oil was reduced how would the drilling industry cope? At this time there are still many products that need oil as a component. But with less gasoline powered cars on the road you figure jobs would have to be eliminated. Drastic change most likely will not happen. The move to alternative powered vehicles will be gradual if not downright slow. So most of what I’ve asked above likely wouldn’t be a major concern. However you have to wonder if in the big picture this is one reason progress is so slow. I’ve always felt that as a nation if we put our minds to it. We could in fact create change at a much faster pace. Is it really technology holding us back or other factors?
I honestly feel that by adopting more alternative energy and vehicle products that we may in fact create more jobs than we lose. Germany is one nation that serves as an example of how you can create jobs by supporting and promoting new types of industry. Is fear of change stopping the United States from being more aggressive in this field? Our country could definitely use the jobs created by manufacturing new technology such as vehicles or alternative energy.
If the combustion engine were to go away today I don’t think the world would have an economic crash. I do feel there would be some bumps during a transition phase. In the end I think there would either be a gain of jobs or just a shuffling. Meaning workers taking on new jobs slightly different from what they previously did. At the current pace of change a dramatic enough fluctuation to cause economic harm is unlikely to happen.
At this point I don’t think the public is educated enough to demand a new way of thinking. Consumer demand for alternative vehicles and energy sources isn’t near as great as it should be. So the rate at which these technologies are adopted is still very slow. Automobile manufacturers are still in the announcing phase more than producing and getting vehicles out the door to consumers. Interest in solar and wind power has increased. But you average home owner could really care less about adopting these green energy producers.
With the rate of adoption and demand so low. It is unlikely we will see an economic disaster brought on by a switch to green technologies. The transition will be to gradual to be drastic. In the end I’d tend to bet things will end up equal. No great job loss or gain. Industries will just adapt or reinvent themselves to stay in business.
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