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June 17, 2005

Tom Friedman, Idiot.

The more I read of Tom Friedman the more convinced I am that the man is an idiot.

So I have a question: If I am rooting for General Motors to go bankrupt and be bought out by Toyota, does that make me a bad person?

No Tom, being a fool is not the same as being a bad person. The contention, the mere idea, that anyone at Toyota actually wants to take over GM is the acme of foolishness. But there’s more!

Having Toyota take over General Motors - which based its business strategy on building gas-guzzling cars, including the idiot Hummer, scoffing at hybrid technology and fighting Congressional efforts to impose higher mileage standards on U.S. automakers - would not only be in America's economic interest, it would also be in America's geopolitical interest.

Does Tommy not know who is the largest investor in Ballard Power Systems? That company which already has a working fuel cell system? The ones that power the buses in my little town in Portugal? Err, Tom? It’s GM.

The Bush team has been M.I.A. on energy since 9/11. Indeed, the utter indifference of the Bush team to developing a geo-green strategy - which would also strengthen the dollar, reduce our trade deficit, make America the world leader in combating climate change and stimulate U.S. companies to take the lead in producing the green technologies that the world will desperately need as China and India industrialize - is so irresponsible that it takes your breath away. 

MIA?  The very people who have been funding and pushing the hydrogen economy?

In short, we don't need to reinvent the wheel or wait for sci-fi hydrogen fuel cells. The technologies we need for a stronger, more energy independent America are already here. The only thing we have a shortage of now are leaders with the imagination and will to move the country onto a geo-green path.

Leave aside the fantasy numbers he gives for ethanol/gas mixtures and think about what his basic contention is. That he, Tom, has spotted the perfect technological solution to a complex problem. Never mind the billions invested in, the tens of thousands working on other possible solutions, he, a journalist, knows the correct technology to use. Therefore, we should all pay $5 k more for our cars. Now. Immediately. Never mind that this solution is only an interim one, that it does not, as he seems to think, solve any of the problems associated with fossil fuel use, merely reduce them and stave off the date at which we will have to really change.


June 17, 2005 in Climate Change | Permalink


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Tracked on Jun 18, 2005 12:51:44 PM


I love the way he keeps calling on Texas' leading politician to do more to reduce demand for oil.

Posted by: dsquared | Jun 17, 2005 11:40:41 AM

Never mind the energy stuff, I'd be in favor of Toyota taking over GM if it led to some decent GM cars. (I test drove the heavily hyped Pontiac G6, and I was absolutely appalled.)

Posted by: Damian P. | Jun 17, 2005 1:28:26 PM

Maybe GM should change its name. American Leyland?

Posted by: dearieme | Jun 17, 2005 3:43:26 PM

For Friedman to OMIT one of the biggest, most intractable problems GM faces is a disgrace: the demographics of its workforce/retirees. My father worked for GM for over 20 years. He was offered a generous retirement package during the oil crisis of the 70's. 80% of his salary with yearly cost-of-living increases. Full medical. For the rest of his life. He died last year. He was 89. GM supported him in retirement for about 34 years, 14 years longer than he worked for them. The commitment GM has made about pensions to its unions looks like the "social model" of France. Totally unsustainable.

Posted by: Pamela | Jun 17, 2005 4:37:25 PM

Yes, Grasshopper...you have experienced one of life's great moments of enlightenment...Tom Friedman is, indeed, an idiot.

You are now prepared to leave the Shao-Lin temple to face the world...

Posted by: Sachem | Jun 17, 2005 9:11:00 PM

Tom was a year ahead of me at Brandeis. I spent a lot of my time in the Economics department. I never saw him there. He should have wandered in once or twice while he was majoring in Mediterranean Studies.

Posted by: Joe Miller | Jun 20, 2005 2:22:59 PM

I think it's easy to dismiss someone as an 'idiot' rather than actually take on their arguments. People prefer being snarky and emotional rather than thoughtful and reasonable.

The main crux of his argument is that greater fuel efficiency at home leads to lower consumption which decreases the price of oil which decreases the income of despotic oil-rich countries which leads them to have more open, diversified economies and societies.

Hydrogen fuel cells are many years away from being usable on a mass scale. There are things we can do now to improve the situation (higher gas taxes) that will lead to developments and innovations--it's not just an interim solution. GM can spend and spend on fuel cells but they have in the last 15 years pushed and pushed with SUVs and jacked up our oil consumption.

Posted by: Mike Jasik | Jul 8, 2005 2:44:53 PM

Friedman is not only an idiot, he's an idiot with a platform and the 'credibility' that the NY Times gives him.

And worse than all the above, he's an arrogant idiot.

Posted by: me | Oct 16, 2006 12:10:14 AM