1. Automobile Manufacturing Bailouts (ref. Blog of Dec. 16, 2008). Every industry that we rescue with public funds, we have thereby the opportunity to reform it. In general, we must crack it open so that everyone who wants to work in it can, and since the auto industry offers many productive, interesting jobs, it is safe to assume that millions of the unemployed and underemployed and low-wage workers everywhere would want to work in this industry. It would not surprise me if a survey were to find that 10-20 million people would like auto jobs, while there are only perhaps 2-5 million openings. This means that the jobs must be shared: Instead of a life-long F/T career, each person may be offered only a 10-year stint, and/or maybe only 2 days a week.
The government must not insist on profitability but must be prepared to subsidize the auto and other industries indefinitely, in order to maintain them as sources of good jobs and affordable, high-quality products.
Of course, the government and we the public need to begin by making long-range plans for transportation needs nationally and globally. For example, one of the most exciting areas of future development, is individual-to-family-sized flying vehicles, whether jet-packs or autoplanes or whatever. There is a great deal of experimentation in all types of these vehicles going on, so that maybe within 20 years or less they might become affordable and available to the mass public. Then what should be our plan for our roads and highways? Even before then, we'll want to do a lot more study of mass transit planning and researching whether it might be possible to locate residential areas and business centers so that huge numbers of people would not have to commute such long distances every day. And of course we need to plan ahead regarding possible changes in fuels, etc.
One of the most important changes needed is that cars must become computer-driven, so as to prevent accidents. To me it is unbelievable that almost 40 years ago we could put a man on the moon but we still can't program cars to drive safely? Of course we can once we just try, and this therefore has to be one of the biggest, soonest changes the auto industry must make.
We should also consider global consolidation of the auto industy. Every region, such as India, China, Africa, Latin America, etc., wants to manufacture all the cars its own people need, but it may be that instead of every type of car being manufactured in every region, it would be more efficient for each region to specialize, and trade with other regions for their specialties.