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Polanyi makes well the point that the first great transformation – that of the liberal free market system coming to fore, precipitated the second – the rise of fascism. It seems as though, in our current situation, we are seeing history repeat itself, as an over emphasis on the strength, power and even the moral goodness of the free market system, we are seeing the rise again of fascism and authoritarian regimes. The cruel irony is that the systems and controls that Polanyi suggests the government implement to counteract the rise of fascism and the realities that bring that rise, we seem unwilling to even attempt – precisely because they don’t line up with our devotion to the free market.

As those seeking to follow Christ – we are no longer given the luxury of seeing anyone (an individual or a group of people) as ‘other’ from us. We are told that ‘there is no longer Greek nor Jew, slave nor free….’ in the body of Christ and we are called to love our neighbor (which according to Jesus is, basically everyone) as we love and care for ourselves.

So beyond looking to simply move beyond the zero sum game that we so often play, and which separates our world into ‘us’ and ‘them’. Jesus tells us – as MLK reminds us – see the quote below – that there is no ‘them’, we are all in this together. I can’t ‘win’ if it means that you lose. In terms of our global relationships we don’t always see these consequences immediately – and in fact, as Polanyi (and others) have pointed out, the real consequences of these wins and losses often take decades to manifest themselves, but the ‘chickens always come home to roost’.

The call of Christ on our hearts and our lives bids us to step away from the competition with each other, the zero sum games we play against each other and to seek and share the true freedom that is found only in and through Jesus Christ.

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About the Author

Chip Stapleton

Follower of Jesus Christ. Husband to Traci. Dad to Charlie, Jack, Ian and Henry. Preacher of Sermons, eater of ice cream, supporter of Arsenal. I love to talk about what God is doing in the world in and through us create space and opportunity for others to use their gifts to serve God and God's people.
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This is certainly the scenario in the USA, Chip, which is the ultimate free market economy. Europe is a little different. Denmark has been voted the happiest country on earth, and it has a strong social welfare element. A number of the Scandinavian countries seem to focus more on work/life balance and on providing social protection against the vagaries of the free market. I think they are on to something, and seem to be happier for it. America (and Britain not far behind) seems much more cut-throat – the zero sum game that you write about.

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October 31, 2016 at 3:28 pm

Musk doesn’t understand the most elemental thing: first vehicles take you to your destinations, and then *they move the destinations.*

Interurbans moved the destinations out. Cars and freeways still further. Obesity, loneliness, and depression ensued. The problem isn’t engineering, and it’s only slightly to do with geometry. It’s to do with valorizing consumerism and individuality at the expense of community life.

Personally, I’d like to see auto-jitneys like WePods and the Olli close the last mile (or two) to main-line transit. Make the transit more efficient, and keep the jitneys relatively local, with local flavor.

Hansen Lu December 18, 2017 at 4:20 am

“Musk may have exaggerated in this passage. Surely the clumsy middle sentence in the paragraph I quote suggests he doesn’t subject his work to editors. But it’s still fair game, because lots of people are exaggerating in the same direction, and doing the damage I describe.”

Er, no it’s not fair game at all. There is razor thin evidence to suggest that Musk wants to do what you suggest in this article is his intent/opinion. So you have criticised someone based on a pet peeve that you hold about others, not based on Musks actual established intent / opinion. You should change the title to “Lots of other people don’t understand geometry. I don’t know whether Elon Musk does, but I’m going to criticise his views on that basis anyway.”

This article IS stupid.

Don Miller July 22, 2016 at 7:54 am

Is there any reason why the 20 tiny 2 passenger pods could not link up (spaced only a few cm apart, but not physically connected) and form a pod train and carry people in and out of the denser areas? They would only take up slightly more space than a current bus. Pods could join and leave the tight pod train as they fan in/out to reach the desired destination. I think you’ve missed the other half of autonomous transport which is vehicle to vehicle cooperation and communications at a granular level to meet the needs of the passengers and the goals urban planners.

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Greg March 7, 2017 at 11:25 am

Pod cars that link into trains are not new. They were the original proposal which turned into the MPRT system at West Virginia University. Look up Starrcar. From the 1960s.

Frederik July 22, 2016 at 8:24 am

“That’s because it takes lots of people out of big transit vehicles and puts them into small ones”

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