PCP – For: Are Cars an Overall Boon for Society?

Thomas Willert - 3B Mechanical
Posted on: January 29, 2017

The automobile was introduced as a method of transportation for many people in the 20th century, slowly developing into what it is today. This was mainly due to the development of an infrastructure that already existed, trails and basic roads from town to town. This ease of adopting these “roads” lead to the explosion of the auto industry, which itself generated the potential for growth in many other fields. With the increased development of roadways, it also furthered the ability for distant communities to access cities more efficiently for trade and social development. Overall the automobile has provided an economic and social freedom that has been a key factor in the development of Canada’s and the global economy.

The auto industry has been an economic driver for many countries. Here in Canada every one billion dollars in auto exports amounts to 11 000 jobs either created or maintained. This is a key job creator and makes up a large portion of our GDP. The economic benefits alone justify the industry. With the auto industry built the way it is, it creates avenues for innovation in many different fields. The amount of funding that goes into research and development has had a massive impact on our knowledge on manufacturing processes and materials science. This knowledge has transferred to other industries providing growth in STEM fields, new fields of study  such as polymers, and increased opportunities for engineers around the world. In order to grow the market and provide these new and advanced vehicles at an affordable rate for consumers, cars needed to be produced at lower rates. This led to the creation of many free trade deals, spurring economies around the globe, as auto parts and a variety of goods can now be produced and traded freely without tariffs and import fees. This increases the amount of trade to and from those countries, advances the technology available to citizens and generally increases the standard of living of the people.  Not only did the auto industry support this development but it also provided the means and ability for it all to happen.

With many communities separated by long distance it is impossible to reach or trade outside of a town without a car. It may be argued that this is wasteful but this was a necessity of the time, and even now cars are the only method of transportation in many countries, since developing anything other than basic roadways over rough terrain is out of their economic scope. Therefore, with old converted roads simply upgraded to meet new needs, expansion of cities and now greater access for rural residents is possible with the addition of cars. Further, it created and advanced farming methods all throughout the development and improvement of the car, starting with providing access to markets and ability to haul materials with efficiency, to now specialized vehicles that can do any range of tasks needed on the farm. As well as this, as infrastructure improved, and population increased, cars filled the hole again, with the development of trucks to haul goods between cities revolutionizing the way trade was done. This allowed for more growth and yet another avenue for the auto industry to grow, providing more jobs and the ability for the farming industry to revolutionize and develop more advanced systems.

Overall while they may not be environmentally friendly or without their risks, cars have furthered the development of humanity and globalization significantly, providing more benefits than expected. The auto industry supports many facets of our global economy and is a key job creator and economy driver. Not only does it do this though: vehicles provide a method for communities to connect; in areas where transit and trade are not easy cars are the only way to transport goods and people. This provides a freedom and choice that would be removed from them if it were not available. In addition, cars allow people in developed countries to choose the life they want, being able to select an ideal location to live in relation to work, near or far, without being bound by public transportation. This is only one factor though – it provides an economic balance individual to each person. Work, life and transport are the keys to this balance and each person makes this decision themselves based on socioeconomic reasons. This individual life style is afforded to us by cars and would not exist without them. The misconception that a car is a necessity forced upon society is based on the thought that this balance cannot be found in a local area. However, in all reality most of Canada’s city dwelling population can sustain themselves in their own local area and do not require a vehicle, but will purchase one out of the desire for freedom from public transport as well as a method of providing versatility to their lives. This is counter to that of rural life where a car is a necessity due to the incapability to travel or trade without one, but in owning one your personal balance can be created and benefits can be found within that.