Friday, May 13, 2011

Transportation Costs

The price of gasoline more than four dollars a gallon in the United States, we've seen this before, it fluctuates. What if four dollars a gallon wasn't an extreme high, but the average? I'm thinking right now about the suburbs and the exburbs, those in the most remote parts of the metropolitan zones. The people who own those houses will use a time share instead of buying the vacation home, will be using discount services like Priceline and air miles more frequently, generally looking for more opportunities to save without curtailing their lifestyles; they will succeed because the percentage of their expenses transportation costs comprise is small.

Those who don't own houses in the suburbs will have to take more drastic measures. Some of which I imagine being a popular strategy is reducing travelling distances and using public transportation. As most of these people don't live in the suburbs, and even less will with four dollars a gallon average prices, working in the suburbs will have high utility penalties. The restaurants, grocers, and hospitality services will need to pay more to maintain, while those small businesses, the non-chain versions in the urban centers, will be able to compete in the labor market at lower prices. There may be a rebirth of urban industry, one that will have to coexist with contemporary pollution and health standards.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Beauty of Nothing

I've been noticing a strong commonality between Existentialism and Buddhism. In both systems of thought the present is held as the goal and the rest is how to get there and deal with it. One method Buddhism suggests is to be still, in body and mind, but especially mind.
Some have said that this act of not acting is alien to Western people, but I disagree. At least since the television has become a common appliance this has been true. It could be that television is so popular because of a desire for stillness, but television doesn't create a file environment for introspection, which can be intimidating. Stillness, then, can help us grow, so it is more productive than passively brainwashing ourselves. Something to consider the next time you want to relax.