Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Economics of thievery

Back in the day thieves used to go to great effort, risking imprisonment and severe back pain by man-handling bulky televisions. Now it is just about impossible to walk down the street without tripping over one that has been discarded. To those who got put away for stealing a top of the line cathode ray TV this must seem a cruel irony.

Personally I'd like to see the people who design televisions get put on to designing cars. Unlike TV's cars really haven't changed much in the past couple of decades and as a result you can leave your 95 Carolla in a dodgy enough part of town and it may still get stolen.

Really, why do't new cars weigh half as much, cost half as much, drive themselves and go forever on solar power? Why don't they fly like the Jetsons promised they would? Why is my perfectly functioning five year old car still worth $15,000 while my perfectly functioning five year old television is worth nothing.

Innovation can be judged by the value of the superseded technology. The faster something becomes not worth stealing, the more progress has been made. Car designers have been lazy and if they don't pull their finger out you will soon see a whole lot of wankers lining up to get the first Apple iCar.

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