“Pretty soon you’re going to see more old-fashioned knobs in cars than in the One Nation parking lot”
We take aim at Trump, gadgets and what next for Supercars?
SO. PRESIDENT Trump. Orange really is the new black. And item one on the Donald agenda… well, item one is putting more faux gold detailing in the Residence, but high up on his list is a trade war with China. Because that’ll fix the US economy, and no-one understands the economy like Trump, believe him. The US economy is the best economy, it’s huge, but it’s in the worst shape in the world, but it’s still the best. Even though it’s the worst. But he’ll fix it. By having a trade war with China.
And what’s it like trying to muscle China? Well, Japan detained a Chinese fishing boat that rammed a Japanese coast guard vessel after being caught fishing in Japanese waters. So China retaliated by blocking exports of rare earth minerals to Japan. Rare earth minerals are things like gadolinium (named after mineralogist Johan Gadolin), ytterbium (named after the Swedish town of Ytterby, where it was discovered) and didymium (which was probably discovered by P Diddy). China mines 93 per cent of all the rare earth minerals in the world, up to 99 per cent of some of the really rare ones – the ones that are used in smartphones and electric motors.
Which would ruin Elon Musk’s day, since Teslas are basically giant smartphones with electric motors attached. Or maybe vice versa. At least he’d still be able to sell the tyres, unless the Donald starts a trade war with France.
Rare earth minerals are also used in things like US Army rangefinders, US Navy sonar systems and the control systems on US Air Force smart bombs. So Trump couldn’t even threaten to send in the military to “take the rare earth,”the way he promised to send in the military to “take the oil” in the Middle East. Or, at least, he could try, but they wouldn’t be able to hit what they were aiming at.
So, basically, if my grasp of global geo-political Sino-American macroeconomics is correct – and believe me, my grasp is the best, no-one can grasp things like me – once ol’ Trumpy is sworn in in January, we’re about to see rare earth exports become a whole lot rarer. So it’s not all bad news, because even as the world slides closer to some weird dystopian alternate universe based around the fever-dreams of white supremacists and Twitter trolls, we’re also sliding closer to the return of some old-school cars. No more electric motors means there’s only one thing left to do the pushing: sweet, sweet dinosaur-juice.
And no more touchscreens means old-school knobs to control everything: you’re going to see more old-fashioned knobs in cars than the last time you were in a One Nation office parking lot.
So where are these old-school cars going to come from? Well, thanks to plummeting real estate values in Detroit, most of those old factories are still in one piece – the roofs might have caved in, and there’s bats and hobos living in the old executive offices, but no-one bothered to knock them down to make McMansions because everyone who can afford a McMansion has moved out of Detroit. If RoboCop were made there now, he’d just be a parttime security guard wrapped in alfoil. But it means that President Trump could just send in the National Guard with brooms and giant cans of WD-40 to fire up the factories and start making cars again.
There’s no point holding your breath for President Trump to make
America great again – he’s more likely to make the Great Depression again – but he might just possibly, accidentally, make
1970s cars great again.