The Chinese government announced last week, in the midst of the G20 summit, that it will be the world's leading producer of hybrid and electric cars within three years.
In light of recent events and the state in which American car companies have found themselves, this news is disheartening and frightening.
Although China is known to be inferior to the United States and Japan when it comes to the production of gas-powered automobiles, this striking announcement will only grant the Chinese the ability to proceed past that technology and focus on the technology relevant to producing electric automobiles.
The plan, which established itself as the Chinese's attempt to rid their country of smog, will, in reality, have little effect on their atmospheric situation given the fact that 75 percent of their electricity is derived from '50s era coal plants. The only relevant inference Americans should make from this plan is that, in this recession, the reconstruction of our automobile industry is absolutely pointless.
As General Motors continues to flounder, bereft of any business direction and a CEO, the federal government incessantly pours money into the company to keep them alive. The only problem with keeping General Motors alive is that when it pulls itself out of its stupor, the company will go straight back to producing gas-guzzling SUVs and lackluster attempts at hybrid vehicles.
Rather, the Federal Government should provide industries with subsidies and incentives towards producing environmentally friendly products, in this case, electric or hydrogen-powered automobiles. What General Motors should be doing is investing in their research technology so that the cost of producing an electric car is economically feasible.
With China already on the forefront of production in thousands of different products and industries, it would be disastrously foolish to allow the country to accomplish its goal of becoming the largest producer of electric cars.
Whether you like it or not, the only way America will be able to pull itself out of this economic slump is to get the automobile industry back on track and employ all of the American citizens whose work is dependent upon it.
The unfortunate part of this equation is that the American automobile industry is irrelevant and counter-productive. Instead of focusing on efficiency, General Motors would rather focus on whether or not its new Chevy Silverado pick-up can jump over a pool of fire, or if its new minivan has enough televisions to appease our spoiled youth.
America has the ability, the technology and the resources to provide the world with electric cars - the only problem is the devotion of its workforce. The whole American dream is so engrained into our lazy little brains that it's become acceptable to expect success and wealth without effort.
Too long has our apathy plagued our economy and too long have our burgeoning youth expected change and progress through hours of mindless blogging and twittering.
Any historian will agree that no empire lasts forever, and any historian will agree that sooner or later America will collapse. All I'm proposing is to prove those historians wrong. u
Michael Pintauro is a sophomore English major who wouldn't be caught dead in a Toyota.