Why Gen-Y Is Not Obsessed With Buying Cars
In the last year, or so, many news outlets have come out with stories that say something along the lines of- “Gen-Y is not into buying cars”. The purported reasons range from the proliferation of smartphones, hipsterism, generational shifts in attitudes or because they are socially or environmentally conscious. In my opinion, these explanations are full of bullshit.
I believe the real reason behind the lack of enthusiasm by Gen-Yers is a combination of three long-term trends, which have now passed a critical point.
1. Cars are no longer a good proxy for status. Even 20-30 years ago cars were an extension of your make-believe personality. People aspired to own a car that reflected what they wanted others to believe about themselves. Today that is no longer the case, as cars have become more like each other. It is hard to project a distinct image when different car brands and models look like they were designed by the same guy.
Furthermore cars are no longer a signal for wealth or ability to attract for beta chumps to attract hot women. It is now common knowledge among the younger generations that a guy playing in some local band gets far more and much better pussy that your “responsible” and anal retentive physician or engineer can ever aspire. Even the physician or engineer who marries a still attractive cum-rag is likely to end up getting dumped, divorced and paying child support rather than living unhappily ever after in some vaguely dysfunctional marriage. Cars just don’t help you get and keep OK looking pussy like they used to.
2. The next part of our cost-benefit analysis concerns the cost of buying and keeping reliable cars. The price of cars used to be quite low, especially when compared to the median wages for 20-somethings. Furthermore 20-somethings from previous generations did not have crushing and nondischargeable student debt, prolonged low paying jobs and unstable career paths. It was once possible to easily get a decent job in some part of the country, move there and start a new life with a high probability of success. Even failures or setbacks were not as catastrophic in previous eras, as they are now- thanks to our dysfunctional and financialized ‘society’.
Today the cost of the median new car is equal to, more than, the median yearly income of 20-somethings- before taxes and deductions. Even a reliable 5-10 year car old costs between 10-5 k. Then there is the whole issue of car repairs- whose cost and timing can be unpredictable and disastrous for people who are barely solvent. You can add things like the spiraling costs of traffic tickets and all sorts of fines which make car driving a money drain of dubious value, rather than a source of enjoyment and freedom. Did I mention that many have to pay to park their cars at or around the places they work? and who can forget the effect of harsh and useless anti-drunk driving laws, which are used to extract money from and abuse drivers. Buying a car has just became too much trouble for the ever decreasing utility it supposedly provides.
3. Getting married and having kids was THE main reasons behind the growth of housing, suburbs and automobiles in the 20th century. Men bought cars to attract chicks, then bought bigger cars when they got married, then bought houses in ever distant suburbs, and more cars once they had kids or wife got a job just so that they could drive to ever distant jobs , schools and after-school activities. But marriage and having kids steadily became ever shittier propositions. Between no fault divorce, child custody battles, child support payments, post-divorce division of property; the whole marriage and having kids routine became a sucker’s game.
Gen-Y men have seen what happened to the generations before them and have increasingly chosen to not play this rigged game and Gen-Y women are too busy chasing after a small percentage of men. Few men want to bust their ass at some unstable job for a disloyal employer trying to make more money and buy a new car or remodel their house for a capricious status-obsessed wife who can destroy their life with a phone call. It is just not worth it! Furthermore, the older generations still seem to be living in a fool’s paradise and believe that this change is temporary and things will come back- eventually. They also believe that abusing and pauperizing Gen-Yers even further has no effect on their own future.
To summarize: the lack of interest in cars (and automobiles in general) by Gen-Yers is the rational result of a combination of long-term trends and the profit hungry short-sighted mindset which characterizes the later stages of capitalism.
What do you think? Comments?