Wednesday, 31 December 2008

"100 Greatest Americans"

Searching through information about Silent Spring, I discovered this list of the 100 most influential people in America. (On the post where I first discovered it, Silent Spring was criticised as it often is for killing many Africans).

Although one writer called "Borges" called the list "right-wing" because Hilary Clinton was absent, with the two Margarets (Mead and Sanger), plus Nader, John Dewey and Friedan, it is overall anything but. It is true that Rockefeller, Carnegie and Henry Ford are all in the top twenty, which will lighten the faces of Austrians out there, but apart from the two admittedly important Mormon pioneers Joseph Smith and Brigham Young there is nobody closely related to conservative religious viewpoints. One writer did suggest John Cardinal O'Connor (though misnaming him), another Jerry Falwell, another Dorothy Day and most surprisingly the Poor Clare Mary Angelica, but many other religious figures were not suggested at all.

However, the list is not as politically correct as possible. Recalling Elizabeth Kantor in The Politically Incorrect Guide to English and American Literature, it is worthy of note that Toni Morrison was not suggested, even though she is supposedly the most studied writer in US education today. Nor, much more remarkably, was William Seward Burroughs III, who has been seen (quite fairly) as the godfather of punk and thus modern culture in Blue America and Europe. Even Chuck D, the spokesperson for the 1980s rap revolution, would not have been an unfair choice, but no one suggested him. Nor were John Coltrane or Charles Mingus among jazzmen. Nor was Henry Adams, who wrote a book about his own education often listed as the very best of the twentieth century.

Of those actually included, there are some whose names are so often mentioned on out products or elsewhere but of whom I have never heard, like Morse (the Morse code) and Gallup (the familiar opinion polls). To be fair, there are far more people whom I knew already than on any previous "Top 100" list I have read, but there are still a few whom I did not know of before today, such as Olmstead, McCormick, Eli Whitney and Goldwyn.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Radio stations returning to ridiculous behaviour about climate

Around seven years ago, passengers on the route 250/251/253 bus felt anger toward me because I constantly accosted them with the question of what temperature they liked the weather to be.

Although back then I already knew that accosting people was socially unacceptable, my enthusiasm for the question utterly overrode any scruples. The reason is that every summer GOLD FM bombarded me with advertisements saying “all around the temperature is rising”/“meet you down the beach cause were gonna have a good time” when I was sweating because of the heat and glary sun which I wanted to escape from via nothing except cooler weather. Even days of 25 degrees could be uncomfortable, and when it was thirty or more I hated it. The consequence was that I could not believe that most people really enjoyed horribly hot weather and thus I was extremely eager to ask people “what temperature do you like the weather to be?”

Having accosted many people on buses and asked them that question, I found that the popular temperature for most Australians was from 24 to 28 degrees, being a little higher for women than men. I find such temperatures still very warm to hot and prefer something from 15 to 17 degrees ideal, with a little cloud to keep off the glare being wonderful. As I see it, the best weather in Australia is on the coast of Tasmania from Hobart to Eddystone Point.

After a few messages in the Green Guide that pointed out not everybody likes the weather to be thirty-three degrees (I say “halve that and you’d have it perfect”) GOLD FM toned their advertising down until this spring. Their ads saying “water restrictions are here to stay” and saying the government is securing Victoria’s water supply are pure lies. If the government were securing Victoria’s water supply, it would take the following steps:

1) Legislate for an minimum 99 percent reduction in Victoria's greenhouse emissions over the next decade

2) Phase out all coal-fired power stations

3) Shift all smelting of aluminium to nations with reliable hydroelectric power – most likely New Zealand.

4) Legislate for a 100 percent reduction in “private” motorised vehicle registrations over the next five years

5) Invest in road demolition to cut road capacity in Victoria by a minimum 90 percent

6) Invest in public transit to ensure one-to-two minute services to every suburb 24 hours a day. This would cost as little as the total wastage on CityLink and ensure that no Melburnian would be disadvantaged by a complete ban on private vehicle registration.

7) Make sure that every cent of land transport investment must be on rail as it is more energy-efficient than road or air.

Such a "seven-point plan" has been outlined in Environment, Capitalism and Socialism for over twenty years and it is time everybody inside and outside Australia sees its necessity.

The problem that the DSP can’t comprehend is that politically most of Australia outside academia is – by overseas standards – nothing except far-right and will never consider socialism as it would hurt the personal relationships they value in a way exceedingly rare for urban peoples.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Nixon with Messiaen?

Having become a fan of Messiaen in recent years, I was very shocked to think that he was involved with President Nixon, as this post says.

Apparently the two had little liking for each other because Nixon did not like Messaien's traditional Catholic outlook, but Nixon was nonetheless obsessed because he thought that engaging in public with Messaien could serve to confuse his enemies on the international stage.

The linked text is shockingly rude and I would not recommend it to young kids! For those who will not be influenced by its language it is a fascinating look at early 1970s politics.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

An inconsistent list that could have been comprehensive

The revealing fact that literature courses outside Australia, as I have mentioned before, have been drastically changed over the past couple of decades in a manner that I fear as potentially very shallow, has made me look further for criticisms of literature even as I try to seriously read it for the first time in my thirty-one years. I had known of the Modern Library list since reading Pat Buchanan's The Death of the West when I felt it might be useful to understand Islamic terrorism back in 2002 or 2003.

However, when I was trying to look for assessment of authors criticised in the PIGs like Toni Morrison and Margaret Atwood, I fond a large list titled Masterpieces of Women's Literature and had a good look.

Based on a volume written in 1996, the list contains a few books with which I am familiar, notably Alone of All Her Sex by Marina Warner which I read as an admittedly immature student a decade ago, and The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin which I read at RMIT last year and whose description of androgynous humans is frankly a not inaccurate description of where most developed nations outside Australia are today. I have looked at a great many others without reading them seriously.

The thing that annoys me is that, whilst most of Masterpieces of Women's Literature is as many critics on the site point out, focused on the self-consciously feminist and omits famous religious writers and is short on poets, there are writers like Jane Austen and Flannery O'Connor who vigorously opposed such attitudes. Their presence makes the omission of such famous spiritual writers as Dorothy Day or even Teresa of Avila appear a serious (and inconsistent) mistake in the interest of political correctness via opposition to extremely rigid ecclesiastical decrees against female ordination. To put it another way, they are excluding women who loyally support these decrees no matter how great the merit of anything they write.

With age, I can in fact name the mistake being made for what it is. Namely, it is seeing the rigid restrictions on the role of women found in traditional churches as by their nature repressive to women. Having looked at books on basic personality theory and a great many biographies of women, I conclude somewhat differently. It is definitely true that many women find being rigidly restricted from leadership and influence unacceptable, but others find it allows them to find a more fulfilling, even more dutiful, role than they could ever achieve competing with men. Personality theory tells me clearly that

- thinking type women find traditional gender roles repressive
- feeling type women find them fulfilling (and believe there are terrible dangers in changing them)

If this is correct, then the list is neglecting a large proportion of female experience because only a small proportion (historically less than twenty percent) of women have been thinking types. It may be true that, because feeling types tend to be suspicious of too much education, thinking types have always been more creative, but nonetheless one should look at women whose lives are enriched rather than repressed by marianismo is still important at least for balance.

Ecological hell in "petrol paradise"

In a Tasmanian newspaper today, there is talk of wonderful reactions to petrol's cheapness rising to 1,110 millilitres per dollar.

The problem is that such high cheapness of petrol is awfully destructive to a country that refuses to set anything like a reasonable date for the elimination of carbon-producing fossil fuels - well, if you don't realise that a "reasonable date" for Australia to eliminate all private vehicle registration and coal-fired power would have been more like 1988 (with a balanced report rather than the car company sponsored Lonie Report) than 2020.

If Australia had common sense it would, regardless of public opposition, use the declines in pre-tax price of fuel and possible inflation to re-index excise on all fuel starting at a minimum of seventy cents a litre - still very low compared to ecological requirements but much better than the dirt-cheap thirty-eight cents a litre we have now. The inclusion of such discounted fuels as aviation fuel will eliminate the subsidies to air transport that encourage the production of titanium, which is the most greenhouse-intensive of all metals to produce and which should always be a target in greenhouse reductions. Titanium metal is primarily produced for aircraft and if some air routes that would be uneconomic without heavy subsidies then the reduction in greenhouse emissions would be much greater than merely from the aviation fuel no longer used.

A bad habit revealed

Yesterday, whilst my mother and I shopped at Barkly Square in Brunswick as we usually do every weekend, she told me a warning garnered from a program I will confess I should have watched when it was on one recent night. (I have been out late every night, with terrible consequences for my sleep and daily routine).

As I went to the Coles checkout for purchasing shopping for the coming Christmas meals, I asked the cashier whether they had read or heard of Benjamin Wiker's Ten Books that Screwed Up The World. Whilst the shopkeeper was more sympathetic that some I have accosted in the past, when I started talking to him about Ten Books that Screwed Up The World, my mother added "according to some right-wing person" as I began listing them.

What then happened was far more revealing. Whilst I will admit that my constant accosting of people over the past decade (I remember it beginning with One Nation on a bus near Mordialloc in 1998) has been aimed to help me gain contact with people and the make people more willing to listen to my opinions, my mother told me quite firmly yet gently that accosting people never serves to encourage people! She says that accosting people actually serves to make people fear the accoster, because he or she is felt dangerous and irritating to the accostee. Consequently, the study shows, people who accost others as often as I have done over the past decade find it more and more difficult to form friendships or get to know others.

Given the trouble I had getting to know others before my accosting spree began, deciding to accost people was a very bad move!

Friday, 19 December 2008

The value of interviews

The video in which Benjamin Wiker discusses his Ten Books that Screwed up the World has much more to offer even to those who do not agree with his viewpoint that just finding out the title parodies a famous socialist work about the Bolshevik Revolution.

In my initial post about Wiker's book, I noted several books that are regarded as extremely destructive by the Right but which were not included by Wiker. These included Democracy and Education by John Dewey, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money by John Maynard Keynes and The Authoritarian Personality by Theodor Adorno.

In his interview Wiker says that all the books he chose for Ten Books that Screwed Up the World were pamphlets. Wiker says that it is pamphlets, and not detailed and properly referenced books, that can persuade people to adopt a particular idea. He says that applies both to good and bad ideas, but of course wants to focus on what he sees as bad ones. Having tried to read The Authoritarian Personality more than once with no success in comprehending it, I can confidently say Wiker believes that people cannot be persuaded by The Authoritarian Personality the way most workers in Europe and eventually Asia and Latin America were by The Communist Manifesto or young women by The Feminine Mystique, which at the very end of his interview Wiker describes as a "perfect execise in rhetoric" that "repeats ideas that could be summed up in half a page".

I have heard that The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (which I have never touched) is even harder to understand and I don't imagine most ordinary people were ever remotely influenced by it. Two other books listed by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute as among its 50 Worst Books of the Twentieth Century that fit the same criteria (but which I have read without understanding them) are:

- Beatrice and Sidney Webb's Soviet Communism: A New Civilisation
- John Kenneth Galbraith's The Affluent Society

The question of the omission of The Population Bomb I still have not resolved. It might be:
- Wiker thinks Sanger makes The Population Bomb superfluous
- Wiker does not want to include anything by a living author (he had trouble gaining information about Kinsey and those with the details would likely not give it with Ehrlich)
- Wiker might, as I do in my review think The Population Bomb with hindsight just too silly to have influenced enough people.
- Wiker might think The Population Bomb simply too recent to have had enough destructive influence. this would explain the omission of such common Right targets as The Greening of America or Our Bodies, Our Selves.

Besides providing insight into Wiker's character, the video tells one a lot about how people really develop views - very seldom, as I have, by serious study, but by much simpler persuasion, even if (as with myself) not all of it is one hundred percent logic.

An undiscovered play on words

When it came out, I discussed Benjamin Wiker's book Ten Books that Screwed Up the World, but after ignoring it for some time I have looked at it again, likely because of my feeling that its selections offer a lot of insight into values rejected in Australia but dominant in every other "Western" nation.

Today, when I met with a half-sister of mine for Christmas shopping, I talked to her about what I had been studying and when I mentioned Ten Books that Screwed Up the World, she told me that its title was actually a parody on Ten Days that Shook the World. Knowing the fact that, on the other side of the culture wars, Margaret Atwoods The Handmaid's Tale was a play on the various Canterbury Tales, I felt that her argument might well be true. The extra syllables in Wiker's title compared to Reed's classic made me initially doubtful. Nonetheless, the fact that, four minutes ten seconds into a video on the book Wiker acknowledges that Regnery chose its title, makes it certain that the title really is parodying Ten Days that Shook the World.

Yet, not one reader among many who discuss the book has ever noted this likelihood, though Ten Days that Shook the World is listed as an omission by one commentator without justification. It is surprising that someone with so little cultural knowledge can make such a discovery, and I wonder if it will inspire others to find other similar trivia.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

You can have your doubts, but denying the cultural gulf separating Australia is wrong

Via a recent list of books for a university course and a corresponding post, I pointed out that Australia is rapidly developing into a relict of the culture praised by a substantial Right in America and a tiny number elsewhere in the world. Whilst the cultural differences between Australia and other OECD nations are growing clearer and larger year by year (especially on environmental policy and social issues like homosexual marriage and racial that are never, even mentioned in Australia), there is no corresponding increase in the publicity surrounding them.

My brother denies that Australia is increasingly becoming a cultural relict. To support his contention he says that, contrary to what the Politically Incorrect Guide to English and American Literature says, there are still courses in the classics easily available. Whilst I accept both that fact and his evidence, it is impossible for me to believe that a quite conservative father or mother would allow children to take a course like this one if something more focused on literature like The Canterbury Tales, Jane Austen or Flannery O‘Connor existed.

As a student of Recreational Literature for Young People at RMIT in 2007 I read quite a number of very new children's books. Although I will not pretend to have analysed them any more than superficially, I certainly could not see in them the themes supposedly dominating the literature of introductory American college courses.

Most of the books I read were about themes used in literature throughout its existence, such as loneliness (Walking Naked, An Abundance of Katherines), social responsibility (On the Jellicoe Road), struggles with reality (Secret Scribbled Notebooks), emotional problems (Love Cuts) and what to do in the event of social disasters (How I Live Now). Two of the books were historical - The Red Shoe dealing with the Petrov affair of the 1950s and Secrets of the Fearless about the Anglo-French wars of the Napoleonic era.

Striking about my course was the utter absence of books targetting homophobia, religion, or patriarchy. Although one much remember the course was on child and young adult literature, my professors told me they were not averse themselves to such themes. If attacks on homophobia, religion, or patriarchy are dominant in North American courses, Australia's distance from the culture of other OECD nations is already great and I don’t feel I have touched its true tip.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

A matter of 100 percent reduction

Today in the Sydney Morning Herald is an article about what sort of levels of greenhouse emissions reductions are required by the various nations of the OECD to deal with the threat of global warming.

Back at the time of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol I accepted the consensus of generalised cuts, but today as I observe runaway climate change all though Australia and no efforts to reduce the emissions of both the most fragile ecology and the worst per-capita polluter, I have gradually come to the conclusion that climate scientists have been taking the wrong tactic all along.

What textbooks on plant diversity I read when a student at Melbourne University clearly show is:
1) much of Europe and North America is of negligible conservation value as its flora is entirely recent and postglacial

2) perhaps the single most critical area in the world is southwestern Australia, already threatened by climate change and predicted future declines in rainfall

3) as Tom McMahon points out, Australia and subequatorial Africa have much more sensitive ecological and hydrological systems than the rest of present-day Earth owing to their extremely old soils that were formed during the previous ice age during the Carboniferous.

It is because of these facts that I strongly believe international conservation bodies need a narrower focus on regions of major biological importance. So limited is the actual conservation value of the most sustainable states such as Scandinavia and the Netherlands that I believe people in those countries are not aware they do much less to control global warming and other ecological problems by reducing their own emissions than by investing in and/or lobbying for radical conservation measures in Australia. As I see it, the key issue for global warming is Australian emissions, since fertility rates in the “Asian Tigers” are even lower than in Europe, whilst in Australia they are (relatively) high and rising due to low housing and transport fuel costs, which mean there is little incentive for any emissions reductions.

Instead of a protocol for generalised reductions in emissions, what should have been done was a call for absolute one hundred percent reduction in Australian emissions without any reduction required elsewhere. Such a move would have placed Australia’s emissions and energy prices on an ecologically equitable footing with the rest of the OECD, rather than with the ability to by itself radically alter the global climate even as other nations both developed and developing reduce their emissions.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Proof Australia is far from the mainstream of the West - or from another angle a relic

The US election is one thing I have decided it best not to write on - especially as I am in no way somebody to believe that voting can change much - but recently I have felt I should really point out what is shown by the United States election, namely:

That Australia, rather than being a central part of modern Western culture, is either:

1) if you are a liberal, a relict of the past age of imperialist, colonialist attitudes
2) if you are a conservative, the one and only stronghold of the traditional values of Western civilisation

The fact that Australia is the stronghold of Western civilisation probably became apparent to me when reading about what politically correct professors teach in American universities. It really rather startles me to know that an apparently quite conservative American would send his daughter to a university with such a curriculum and feel he has no superior alternative.

I was a student in 1992 and 1993, so an equivalent curriculum would study only literature published since 1970! The works I did study included

- Oedipus Rex
- Romeo and Juliet
- A Streetcar Named Desire
- How Many Miles to Babylon? (the only book actually written after 1970, but actually set during World War I)
- Hard Times
- A Man for All Seasons (a period piece about the sixteenth century published in 1960)
- Summer of the Seventeenth Doll (the only Australian piece, but if Diana West is right, more relevant overseas)
- Death of a Salesman
- Twelve Angry Men

If these lists are a representative selection, then Australia is indeed a society unlike any other in the OECD, with values completely abandoned elsewhere. Its values of relatively free development, free private car use, scepticism about global warming (in spite of overwhelming evidence something should have been done a long time ago), opposition to greenhouse targets and scepticism of government solutions to economic problems are quite unlike those of Europe, New Zealand, Canada, and now it seems the US as well.

The complete absence of movements for things like homosexual marriage and racial quotas proves further that Australians view human nature very differently from the rest of the developed world - and most likely even the urban populace of developing nations too.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Scientists in desperation, but is our population half-serious??

This recent article in The Canberra Times suggests – as I have worked out for half a decade now – that Australia is at far greater risk of runaway climate change than was ever thought beforehand. At long last our scientists are trying to persuade radical changes that should have taken place in the days of the horrific Lonie Report, whilst opinion polls in the US show clear support for radical measures to cut greenhouse emissions.

In his most recent work, Now or Never, Tim Flannery shows that only storage of carbon dioxide can prevent catastrophic climate change. The problem is, unlike his previous books Flannery really does go into the wildest flights of imagination in believing sustainable cities will soon be developed in Australia. He dreams a city based on geothermal power being developed in the centre of the continent! Whilst that might theoretically be possible, in reality I cannot see where the money would come from.

Even with Melbourne receiving less than 50mm of rain per year, it is hard to see how people could be persuaded to move such a distance. The abundant coal and land resources mean that even the complete drying up of southern Australia’s water resources could never make the tiniest difference to this. With petrol’s cheapness rising to 1330ml/$ according to reliable forecasts, the fuel efficiency of cars will tumble to record lows even as other countries mandate extremely strict emissions standards. (Indeed, such emissions standards could serve to further increase the cheapness of petrol in Australia by lessening competition from abroad). Public transport patronage will decline enough that the closures advocated by the Lonie Report become a reality – especially if a major depression does ensue.

The prosperity that record cheapness of petrol will cause would make it very hard for Australia’s politicians to really think about changing policies to improve sustainability. Already ultraconservative outer suburbanites will – even if they know of the changes taking place – feel extremely sensitive to governments taking their prosperity, and of course there is the obstacle of powerful mining and car companies opposed to any emissions targets.

Even if our scientists become more and more vocal, I do not see the fantastic plans put forward for dealing with Australia’s appalling emissions actually happening. Simpler, lower technology and more straightforward plans to phase out all private registration of motorised vehicles, revegetate farmland, shift metal smelting abroad and prevent further coal development make much more sense and if put forward passionately and vocally enough would have a much better chance.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

A giant step back for Sunbeam

It was a pleasant surprise that I was able to get a replacement Sunbeam cappuccino machine for free after it was found the fault was in the pump and that it could not be repaired.

However, I was in for yet another terrible shock on Thursday when after I tried to make a cappuccino with coffee brewed in the replacement machine, steam pressure inside reached such a level that the coffee breweing filter was forced out and it went straight into the mug, smashing it in a curious way so that it broke not at the top but at the bottom where the brewing filter hit.

What I suspect this time is that the regulation of steam pressure in my replacement machine is faulty. If this is correct, Sunbeam must have taken the most extraordinary step back in workmanship, and on current trends it seems every machine they make will be defective!

I plan to really question Choice's recommendation of this machine as the best cappuccino machine available, and to make them view workmanship and the most, or one of the most, important issues in evaluating these machines.

Monday, 1 December 2008

A more accurate way of decribing the cost of petrol

As readers of my blog will be aware, my knowledge of runaway climate change and Australia's abysmally low fuel excise rates has made me for a long time realise that the two words "petrol" and "expensive" should never be put together in the same sentence (or, more poetically, "never the twain shall meet").

The fact that one can gramatically use "less cheap" to describe an increasing petrol price is unfortunately not realised by most people even in the environmental movement. I have been using "less cheap" over a decade and the disappearance of the southern winter rain belt in Australia makes me more determined to teach people not to put "expensive" and "petrol" in the same sentence.

This fact, I have come to think, creates a problem with the conventional method opf describing the cost of petrol. By the conventional method of measuring by the amount of money for a given volume of petrol, people who have to pay for petrol can always say it is "less expensive" even when as currently petrol has never been so cheap.

What I have thought of doing since petrol's cheapness began rising and rising is to meausre how much one pays for petrol by the amount of petrol for a given sum of money (in Australia's case the number of millitres of petrol per dollar, written ml/$.

This way:

- when the volume of petrol per dollar increases, one sees it really is getting cheaper (and its emissions of greenhouse gases make it always cheap)

- when the volume per dollar falls as it was earlier this year people with a constant sum of money are less able to produce greenhouse gases and less damage will be done to the climate.

The formula for convertine x cents per litre to y millitres per dollar is:

y = 100000/x


- 3349 cpl (a price reasonable for Australia's sensitive environment) equals 29.85ml/$

-99.9 cpl (a current price in Perth) equal 953.3ml/$.

Petrol above 1000ml/$ will mean ecological ruin

The last three months have seen the cheapness of petrol soar and Melbourne’s rainfall decline even more. September was the driest on record and there has been little improvement of late.

Such motives, along with eleven successive dry years, ought to convince everybody that Australia should have fuel taxes equal to the combined total of the rest of the world – which would provide incentive for extraordinary levels of innovation by our industry to make at the very least cars so fuel-efficient as to do no damage to the environment or better still a public transit system that will beat the car for any urban journey and most rural ones.

Yet, probably due to the mellowing of Islam that was predicted several years ago by the brilliant demographer Phillip Longman, petrol’s cheapness has been going up and up and up. From a low of a still-very-cheap 590 millilitres of petrol per dollar (590ml/$), petrol’s cheapness has been rising to 953ml/$ last Tuesday, and predictions suggest it could reach 1250ml/$ soon. Though being able to get 1250 millilitres of petrol for a dollar might not seem that cheap in comparison to past eras, it is equivalent to obtaining around 2050 millilitres for a 1988 dollar or 10,611 millilitres for a 1969 dollar.

In reality, petrol now is twice as cheap as in 1969. Indeed, petrol in Australia is currently cheaper than ever at a time when runaway climate change is becoming more and more definite. If petrol’s cheapness keeps increasing, another 4x4 boom is certain since with cheap petrol people who opted for small cars when it was less cheap will surely return to thirsty 4x4s.

If Australia wants to counter climate change, re-indexing petrol excise (which would cut the cheapness to 735ml/$ with excise at 70 cents per litre) and increasing aviation fuel and LPG excise to 70 cents a litre would be tiny step. Australia’s ecology is so fragile that for equivalent levels of protection it would require fuel excise to be around 70 or 80 percent of the OECD total instead of the actual level of 1 percent. Even if the least fragile countries in Europe might have fuel taxes beyond the ecologically necessary, that would mean Australia should aim for a maximum cheapness of 50ml/$ (in more conventional terms twenty dollars a litre). At such a price there would be enough money for a really first-rate public transit system – and with mining and car companies taxed sufficiently to eliminate their dictatorship over transport policy, the country that ecologically needs a superlative mass transit system far more than any other might finally get it.