Friday, March 7, 2014

The Democratic Perspective

[shifted from one of my other blogs]
Toyota Australia doesn't build a drivers car. This is not a revelation or a new point of view. Depending on which side of the circumstance you are on, that was a wise choice. From a car enthusiasts point of view we tell ourselves that if they built something amazing and exciting, they could have saved their operation. If only they built the X130 platform and sold the Mark X instead of the Camry. If only they released a high performance version, if only, if only, ad infinitum. Nonetheless, they have decided to stop building cars in Australia. Now we can all get along.

Regular folks survive on the single premise that if you find other people whom believe the same things you believe, you must all be right. At some point, with enough weighted debate and affirmation, those other people will agree. They'll come on to your team and we can all be right together. 

Unfortunately, many enthusiasts (whether they be car enthusiasts, astronomy enthusiasts or stamp enthusiasts) still believe this premise rings true for them, despite being aware that they inhabit a niche corner of society. 

You can apply this assumption to the previous Mark X hypothesis. We assume that everyone would appreciate the option to steer with your right foot. We assume that Uncle bob will appreciate the potential to turn his family conveyance into well balanced corner crushing grand tourer with just the addition of better locally tuned suspension and some wider rubber. 

We assume wrong. 

Because although cars are our domain of knowledge, and some of us trawl through endless blogs forums press releases and reviews, just to find that little bit of information which could lead to automotive nirvana (or in some cases just bragging rights in a verbal punch up), most would not have a clue about what every day people WANT to drive. 

Maybe everyday Joe and Judy Citizen HAVE been coerced by corporate marketing to want to drive a particular segment type. This is often paranoia, but, it's nice to believe because then we can go back to that premise that if they weren't coerced, they'd be one of us. hooray!

I'm afraid the inverse is true. 

Of course people are influenced by marketing, but that doesn't change the fact that many probably WOULDN'T appreciate the act of balancing between mild over-steer and all out drifting action. 

Most would determine that feeling of still going straight ahead when turning the wheel, as a sign that they are going too fast. You're not, it's just that your car under-steers and you have n't set up for the corner properly... or you bought the cheapest replacement tyres you could find... or it's front wheel drive so you've already started handicapped by driving your car backwards.

The key point here is that understanding your operating environment is ESSENTIAL to making the right decisions in managing outcomes. 

Toyota closing their Australian manufacturing facility, is likely the death knell for an automotive focus in Australian manufacturing. If you heard a single car enthusiast bemoan the loss, it's most likely because of the loss of industry. It's highly unlikely you will hear them complain that they wont be able to buy a 2018 Camry. (you will, it just wont be built here)
Now, we are hearing all the complaints from people about another industry being lost/outsourced.

Now, we are hearing all the "industry experts" coming out telling everyone why the industry failed. 

Now we are hearing politicians all talking with authority on what should have been done.

I overheard a local market stall owner saying "you know what they did? they just priced themselves out of the market". 

I even heard a commentator talking on Q and A (which I usually avoid because it's just a big political pissing contest that most people only watch in some vague hope their snippy tweets will get posted live) talk about how [this is a paraphrase as I was only jumping back from curling in Sochi] 'the German Automotive Industry is so great and they pay their workers very high wages' and then in the next chance to blab, go on about 'if you can't compete with EU wages you can't be viable'. 

Of course Australian auto manufacturers wages are lower as are our tariffs.

P.S. Snippy Tweeter on QandA #1 "Australia's car industry is the most subsidised in the world" is the polar opposite to the truth.

All these people are influences on our society. Despite one guy being a honey vendor and the other being a law professor, the things they say effect the opinion of anyone who listens to them. If the listener is not particularly conversant in that subject, they will swallow the line whole.

Thus propagates the Democratic Perspective. Most people just want to belong, and, in pursuit of such will believe what ever they're told, even if the purveyor of the truth is just a stamp enthusiast. 

That's why democracy is so shit. To be successful in a democracy, you have to be the most popular, which means you have to be the most broadly appealing. 

To actually know what you are talking about, you need to be, at best a specialist, at worst an enthusiast.

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