Sunday, January 13, 2008

Tata Nano, the Little Giant from India

I can’t help myself. Sometimes I just have to write about something other than Art. I’m not a one-dimensional personality. In fact, I seem to be so multi-dimensional (scattered might be a better descriptor) at times that I think I must be from that elusive 4th dimension that scientists talk about in connection with relativity and quantum physics. Be that as it may, this little car sparked my interest because it is evidence of another substantial and expanding third world economy. It is bound to happen with so many millions of people and a rising middle class ready to buy, buy, and buy. Of course the Brobdingnagian corporate entity spawned in the United States during our own 19th century industrial revolution is jump-starting the Indian economy through out sourcing and in-sourcing American citizen’s jobs to Indian nationals. Yes, Mr. Republican free trade capitalist, this is a global economy, and we must be ready to share the riches and grow our own economy or die. However, this little car also provides evidence that our corporate entities (reads automobile industry and United States Federal Government) are giving away our chances at sharing in the global economy. Our President should be negotiating (reads cajoling, nagging, insisting, soft-soaping, wooing, demanding, pleading, elegantly demonstrating) whatever it takes to accomplish the ACTUAL global economy by freeing foreign borders of trade embargoes, taxes, and so on. Our auto manufacturers should be designing and developing small, high mileage, low emission vehicles that will sell in a global economy as well as our own, instead of concentrating on PIG gas guzzling sports cars, SUV and other family truck type models.

Our own middle class must be willing to take a share of the blame for our (not so) slow disenfranchisement. We constantly rail against our corporations for outsourcing, and our government for failing to negotiate properly with other nations - creating NAFTA like trade agreements that favor other nations to our own detriment, and decry the influx of illegal aliens from Mexico. At the same time we are unwilling to accept a reasonably competitive price for our labor, and/or do jobs we consider beneath us. We also over spend and live above our means. It is that simple or complex, as you will have it.

The Tata Nano is aptly named, Tata, the manufacturer’s name, and Nano – Greek (nanos) meaning dwarf. In a global economy the United States must be able to think differently. Our Giant structures, our gluttonous cars, our huge institutions, are evidence of closed and limited understanding of the new “global” economy we find ourselves in. This morning's headlines on reflect our preoccupation with bigness – “Ford, Chrysler Introduce New Pickups.” Huge trucks are not always the best vehicles – even for moving large quantities, and/or big objects from one place to another. Nor is BIG and wasteful spending. We constantly talk about being able to think outside the box. Well, let’s actually do it!

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