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News Cars = wars

  1. Jan 5, 2005 #1
    I had a conversation with two horse-owners the other day who said that the world would be better off if people rode horses instead of cars. Plus we'd have enough material for rose bushes along every street.

    Use your imagine for a moment: if overnight we could make cars run on something other than petrol, would we still see conflict in the Middle East?
    The person who solves the fuel crisis (that is set to really bite in the next 30 years) will be remembered forever.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 5, 2005 #2


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    If there was no oil in the middle east, it would be like sub-saharan Africa: the same as it is now, except poorer.
  4. Jan 5, 2005 #3
    Sorry, but I have to strongly disagree with those horse riders. Maybe everything would be better in London (I highly doubt this btw), but it certainly would not be better in most of the US. The reason why, population density. The population density of the US is 31 people per square Kilometer (which I will denote as p/km). And the pop density of the middle and western states is much lower. Most countries in Europe are above 100 p/km, with the UK being at 246 p/km (source for all of these stats, wikipedia "population density" ). Mass transit systems may be great in large cities like New York City, or Los Angeles, but for an area (city + surrounding area) that has less than a million people, and a low pop density, the transit systems just flat out suck. The city that I live in has an area population of about approx. 800,000 to 1,000,000 people and when I did ride the bus (only form of mass transit here) it would take me about an hour to an hour and a half to make what would have been a 15 to 20 minute drive. Until the pop density of the US rises to a substantially higher level, most of the US will sadly be driving cars.

    Now for everyone using horses, this will probably never happen in the US for a few reasons. 1. Who is going to ride a horse to work when they can take a car that will get them there in probably 1/3 (rough estimate) of the time. 2. Now even though you do not have to pay for gas, you will still have to pay for grooming, feeding, horse shoes, etc. 3. This one is a bit more tricky. Are the horse riders suggesting that everyone ride their own horse? Or are they suggesting that a family would have a carriage or something? The problem with the first is comfort level. Who is going to want to ride a horse all day, granted people would get used to it, but those first few times could probably really hurt a persons back and/or bottom. The problem with the second is that the horse will obviously get tired much quicker. Also, the horse will probably go slower and the stability of the carriage could come into play, if you attempted to go at a fast/normal speed. 4. Finally, a horse is an animal. And animals are not always going to do what you want them to do. A car will keep going, as long as it has gas, oil, etc. A horse could get tired and just refuse to go.

    I do not think these horse riders, or anyone, can really comprehend what it would be like if everyone rode horses. The stench outside of stores in the, I guess stables (parking lots), would be terrible. Also, who is going to clean up the horses "business?" The owner probably, but here in the US people litter, so I highly doubt they will pick up their horses droppings. Also storage, what are people going to carry backpacks or some kind of horse accessory to bring home the groceries?

    I hate cars, I really do, but horses are a bad alternative in my opinion.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2005
  5. Jan 5, 2005 #4
    What would an interstate be, a horse race?
  6. Jan 5, 2005 #5
    This idea implies a return to a more agrigarian (sp?) culture. With the population of the world in its current state, a change like this would bring about wars for different causes, such as fighting over food, shelter or heat.

    Its a pleasant thought to imagine a simpler time, with fewer conveniences and dream that life would improve, but the reality is that there would not be sufficient food, water, health care items, etc. Cities would fall of their own weight, without means to transport food in, trash out, treat water, move water above ground floors. Many of the locations where people currently live would become uninhabitable for large quantites of people.
  7. Jan 5, 2005 #6
    :rofl: Yeah, why not? I like your way of thinking.
  8. Jan 5, 2005 #7
    I'm impressed that you have given it some thought rather than dismiss it out of hand, as I thought most people would. However, don't you think it might be a positive thing that using horses would force other differences to ours lifestyles e.g. slowing the pace of life, or meaning that we can no longer be forced to live in cities? Apart from this general theme, I can't disagree with the specific points you make.

    However, I can't resist highlighting:
    Cars in the US are obviously a hell of a lot more reliable than those in the UK. Thank god for breakdown services.
  9. Jan 5, 2005 #8
    :uhh: Okay Russ... are we in a competition now for who can post the most left-field comment? Yours is an impressive start, but I wish you'd warn me so I can at least cut & paste a few random words together.
  10. Jan 5, 2005 #9
    Russ's comment doesn't sound left-field to me at all.

    The opening post asks whether we would still see conflict in the mideast if we didn't need oil. Well, do places without oil have conflict? The answer is an obvious yes. Since places without oil still have conflict, and many middle eastern conflicts have nothing to do with oil, why would removing the need for middle eastern oil produce peace? Are we to believe that palestinians would suddenly stop bombing, that kurds would no longer be gassed? Is racial harmony just a fuel cell away? Suggesting that peace would prosper there if we just didn't need oil is not a defensible argument.

    An informed person can make a general case that developing third world countries with strong natural recources have faired worse over the past 50 years than those without. No one could make a good case that simply lacking natural recources in demand produces peace, or that a change in world demand would significantly reduce conflict.
  11. Jan 5, 2005 #10
    I would like to see a more minimal return to a simpler way of life, perhaps a reduction in people going everywhere in cars, even places taht they could easily walk, or car pool, or find alternative means of transportation. But then again, I'm not sure I want to do that myself sometimes. :smile:
  12. Jan 6, 2005 #11


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    Yeah, maybe you misunderstood: could you repeat what you read in your own words so I can see if you got my intent? Locrain got it...
  13. Jan 6, 2005 #12


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    There have been conflicts in the middle east as long as there have been civilizations in the middle east. Most of these predated the automobile.

    Another thing: The man who solves the fuel crisis will invent a car that runs on something other than gasoline. He won't be inventing the horse.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2005
  14. Jan 6, 2005 #13
    The original post was about
    1/ horses Vs cars
    2/ Cars lead to war due to their consumption of petrol (especially gas-guzzling US cars, and the US are the main protagonists in Gulf War II)
    2/ The person who invents an alternative to petrol for cars.

    As far as I can see, your response is only tangentally related to point 2. What the ME would be like without oil is another story. But since you raise the point, I doubt that the US would take very little interest in the ME if there wasn't oil there e.g. Iraq would never have been worth ($) invading. To address point 1, Iraq would be a hell of a lot harder to invade on horseback, pilgrim.
  15. Jan 6, 2005 #14
    Did I say that all wars are about oil?

    but the US involvement in Iraq does have something to do with oil

    Because it would remove the reason for the US being in Iraq.

    Just as well I didn't make it then. :rolleyes:
  16. Jan 6, 2005 #15
    I'm a bit baffled. The person who posted this can't understand why we are making posts disagreeing with it.

    If you think the answer to the above question is an obvious "YES," then why ask it? If not, then you are most certainly suggesting that the region could have less conflict without the need for oil.

    You need to formally rewrite what you meant by the above quote, because its meaning seems clear, and it is saying what we are thinking its saying.
  17. Jan 6, 2005 #16
    Oh right, because there wasn't conflict before? You might try checking the news; there was conflict there before and there is conflict in the middle east now in places the US isn't. I can assure you there will be conflict even without the oil dependancy, just as there is in Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, Palistine and Thailand.

    But you did; you just don't seem to know it.
  18. Jan 6, 2005 #17
    :rofl: Lets try sticking to what I just said: Iraq. To say that THIS war is about oil is not to say that ALL wars (especially 'all wars everywhere') are about oil. That would be to misrepresent my argument.

    Anyway, YOU check the news. The UK and France played a major part in setting the scene for this whole mess long ago. Its just that now the US has got involved. Why? Oil.

    Uh? I did, uh...duh... hey maybe you're right. Can I rely on you in future to point out when I say things that I don't know I've said? You can be my virtual psychiatric social worker.
  19. Jan 6, 2005 #18


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    Developing third world countries with strong natural resources generally fair better than those without. As bad shape as Iraq is in now, it's standard of living was rapidly improving prior to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. Other ME countries standard of living has continued to rise, thanks to oil.

    The primary cause of conflict has to do with arbitrarily established borders created by outside colonial powers instead of borders established by groups of people with similar cultures. Obviously, the existence of natural resources had a lot to do with Europeans wanting to colonize Africa and the Middle East, but your poorer countries have even more conflict than your richer countries. With natural resources that can be turned into money, someone will eventually wind up in power and use their country's wealth to maintain some stability.

    The difference a change in world demand for oil would make is that the US and Europe wouldn't care about conflict in the ME, as long as it wasn't in the vicinity of the Suez Canal. In a cyncial way, the answer to the number 42's question is 'No, we wouldn't see conflict in the Middle East'.
  20. Jan 6, 2005 #19
    But that isn't what you said.

    The next time you mean Iraq, you should say Iraq. Of course, your argument would still be invalid, but it would be easier to point out if you would admit to writing what you wrote.

    If you very clearly write something and then pretend you didn't, yes, you can count on someone to point it out.
  21. Jan 6, 2005 #20
    Then why is Congo worse off than Uganda? Why is Sudan in greater turmoil than Kenya? Both DRoC and Sudan show how long, extended, brutal conflict over the countries recources can cause an area to fall dramatically behind in a standard of living. Not that Kenya is in great shape, but I'll be a kenyan before I'll be a southern (or western, or maybe northern too) Sudanese any day.

    The standard of living in many countries rich in natural recources is also greatly overestimated. Places like Saudi are generally thought of as having some money, but the vast majority of their population is brutally poor, not sharing in the profits of the oil trade, and even regressing in general standards of living.

    Well, no argument there. Maybe you can make a case that the abundance of recources in some areas combined with the arbitrarily defined borders is almost a guarnatee of disaster.

    It's a pretty vast subject. Of course, number 42 has it all figured out for us. Cars = war, right?
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