Lowering the Toll on the Road to Prosperity

Congratulations to Tata of India and its chairman Ratan Tata on the unveiling of their new $2,500 Nano, a small car aimed at reducing the poverty of India and elsewhere by expanding personal mobility. Their important step forward has brought competitive responses from other auto makers, which intend to develop lower cost vehicles.

The connection between affluence and personal mobility is well established. Those who would stand in the way of Indians getting cars (or Chinese, Indonesians or Nigerians) may as well take to the streets to demonstrate for expanding poverty.

The Nano will get 50 miles to the gallon, meaning that it will produce lower greenhouse gas emissions than public transport (transit) per passenger mile in the United States.

U.N. climate scientist Rajendra Pachauri, who shared last year's Nobel Peace Prize, indicated that he was “having nightmares" about the car. One wonders if his nightmares might be different if he lived in Mumbai’s Dharavi slum or one of the many other slums or substandard residential areas that are all too numerous in the developing world.

There is a good reason that it is called the ROAD to prosperity.