[Marxism] Who Killed the Electric Car?

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Apr 7 11:01:58 MDT 2006

Although I don’t recall hearing the word capitalism mentioned once in “Who 
Killed the Electric Car?”, it is hard to imagine a recent documentary that 
makes the case against this irrational system as well. Like the documentary 
“Mondovino” that makes the case against monopoly capital by examining the 
wine industry–something not usually associated with multinational 
depredation–”Who Killed the Electric Car?” deals with a seemingly innocuous 
case study. Why should anybody care that General Motors produced an 
electric car in the early 90’s and then decided to cease production? It is 
to the credit of director Chris Paine to not only explain why we should 
care, but to provide a concrete example of why the capitalist system is so 
inimical to the long term interests of humanity.

Using the investigative journalist techniques of a television show like 
PBS’s “Frontline” (producer Jessie Deeter is a veteran of the show), as 
well as its somewhat prosaic style, the film interviews a range of 
transportation experts as well as people who owned the GM EV-1. Among the 
first group is Ralph Nader, who is as eloquent as ever. The second group 
includes director Chris Paine, who owned an EV-1 and has never gotten over 
what amount to a GM seizure of his leased car.

 From their testimony, one is left with the inescapable conclusion that the 
automobile industry in the USA is subject to irreconcilable contradictions 
between the industry’s drive for profit and the ordinary citizen’s need to 
enjoy clean air and to get from point a to point b efficiently. 
Furthermore, although the film does not explicitly deal with the current 
crisis of the automobile industry, it certainly suggests that it was 

full: http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2006/04/07/who-killed-the-electric-car/

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