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The $2k car

 
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jabailo



Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Posts: 1273
Location: Kent (East Hill), WA

PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2010 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

More on the Hansen Economy, Fort Collins edition.

My son Gio just bought his first car. He bought it used. He asked for help in raising $6000 to get a reasonable, but working car. He ended up buying a 2002 Saab 9-3 turbo. Holy cow! That's better than my car.

Well, apparently since that zipcode is quite wealthy, an upscale Hand Me Down/Hansen economy is at work, where the typical middle class high schooler is driving a BWM, Mercedes or other "luxury sport sedan" rather than the typical Datsun B210 "honey bee" because those are the types of cars that end up on the lots there. Yesterday's pricey sedan becomes today's high school toy.
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brian-hansen
Site Admin


Joined: 17 Mar 2006
Posts: 712
Location: Oregon

PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2010 11:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You've been had, it would seem.

How could complexity arise from simplicity without a creator,
since the 2nd law of thermodynamics says this is impossible,
hence evolution is not true, say some creationists, leaving out
the contribution that having a thermonuclear power source nearby
can make.

Your contribution allows Gio to avoid the real Hansen economy.
Standards vary, but its hard to believe a usable vehicle couldn't
be had for less than $2000.

Just yesterday, through a series of coincidences, I was reminded
of my first car, that I bought for $150, in 1982.
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jabailo



Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Posts: 1273
Location: Kent (East Hill), WA

PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Up until my most recent purchase, my last 3 cars were all under $2500. $500, $1600 and $2400 in that order. The $500 was a 1974 LTD. A massive, massive green monster with vinyl roof. A fantastic leviathan of a V-8. This thing roared with power and lived on power...at one point the engine went out as I was pulling into a parking space, leaving without steering...without brakes...only by straining every muscle was I able to bring it to a halt and not plow down the side of a building.

At one point the mechanical distributor disintegrated. I was out in the cold with a flashlight looking over the engine, when a UPS guy who happened to moonlight as a mechanic said he could fix it. Next day we were at a mechanics part store finding the replacement. This thing was weird...it attached to a shaft deep inside the engine and would kind of rise up and spin out like one of those feedback valves on an old steam engine. Anyway, didn't work.

Next was 1991 Pontiac Grand Prix. Pure power. V-6. The car would twist when I gunned the engine from all the torque. This was one of the first attempts at all "computer control" in a car. GM spread the circuitry around -- there were about 3 integrated panels in differing places and -- I kid you not -- the radio also was a CPU for some features! I was forever fighting with a pressure sensor that adjusted the fuel mixture according to altitude. Ended up with $1400 in repairs for header valve and other.

Then a 1988 Mazda 626. This was always the car I wanted back in the 1980s. Clean, boxy Japanese lines...before every rice cooker turned into a lozenge. Tranny went, $2000. Never worked right, retired after a year.

So, all my "$2000" cars ended up being twice what I paid for them.

I think (hope) that $6000 is the sweet spot that puts a car where there is still enough meat on them that major repairs are 3 or more years off.

All of which is by way of saying what we're in part discussing as the Pinata Principle. At some point, someone has to "break the pinata" and buy the new car, so the Hansen Economy can be fed. Although, perhaps you are saying the Stainless Steel Economy is the All Hansen Economy from factory to living room. Has it ever worked? The Trabant?

Anyway, I sense that you would rather live in a Hansen Economy where you can buy a Cadillac for $1000 then a brand new two stroke oil burning putt-putt for the same, or to find an elegant teak salad serving set that once cost $250 at Bloomie's now on a folding table at a backyard sale in Gresham for 1 percent of original price.
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brian-hansen
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Joined: 17 Mar 2006
Posts: 712
Location: Oregon

PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2010 11:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jabailo wrote:
So, all my "$2000" cars ended up being twice what I paid for them.


Good point. But 1) Twice $2000 is still less than $6000, and 2) part
of navigating the Hansen economy is knowing when to let go.

jabailo wrote:

All of which is by way of saying what we're in part discussing as the Pinata Principle. At some point, someone has to "break the pinata" and buy the new car, so the Hansen Economy can be fed. Although, perhaps you are saying the Stainless Steel Economy is the All Hansen Economy from factory to living room. Has it ever worked? The Trabant?


Very funny about the Trabant!

No, it can't work. That's the thing about the Hansen Economy.
It shouldn't work. It's a disaster for the GDP. It's not sustainable
for an economy (though it has some sustainable elements in the
ecological realm). In the past our society has needed shiny baubles
for rich people to buy, and bigger TVs for everyone, so they need
to work overtime. To paraphrase Lennon, it's not easy to be
clever and classless and free if everyone else is too.

So no, the Hansen economy is not sustainable in the normal way.
On the other hand, if you can live keeping a bit of grace for pennies
on the dollar, then, yes, I think you're ahead of the game.
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Researching your dissertation? Serious collector? Just looking for something neat?
You've found the right place to add to your existing collection, or to start a new one.
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