No Happy Nonsense

Road to Nowhere / Paris Marx


February 8th, 2023 | Quick Thoughts

Marx takes a good, long look at not only the history of automobiles and automobility, but focuses in on how big, sweeping changes instituted by governments and then by the private sector have shaped our society to a car-focused landscape, ultimately for the worse.

I appreciated the deep dive on how cars came out and were relatively mundane and then slowly they crept into power by demanding more speed, more private transportation, more carnage. "The road" was seen originally as a community space for pedestrians, carriages, and whatever else to exist. Cars were seen as just another thing that would use the road. But the auto industry and complementary industries (tires, fossil fuel, etc) lobbied to get everything off the road so the heavy death machines could go faster and faster, fuck y'all people.

Marx also picks apart the failures of Silicon Valley to "disrupt" the sector, resulting mostly in just more cars on the road, more carbon, more danger. Tesla/Uber/Google's autonomous car has always seemed so graspable whenever a given CEO needs to rile up investors or stock prices, and yet, here we are in 2023 without any autonomous cars as they have been promised.

I'm a bit of a r/fuckcars type of person to begin with, but it's really sad to read how the USA has failed itself by letting automobility dictate everything about our country for the past 50 years. Marx does offer some possible solutions in the final chapter of his book, but I'm not particularly hopeful we'll see these changes happen in the states.


Filed Under: Reviews