Saturday, April 28, 2007

Towards a More Perfect Capitalism?

The development of the internet has had some fairly interesting implications for knowledge workers in general, especially considering the wide and easy availability of the kinds of 'specialist' information previously available only through scientific publications and university libraries. The second and third order implications extend beyond knowledge workers, however. Wide availability of product information and pricing has really led to consumer empowerment, and has begun to have a significant impact on business development and procurement.

It may be that by providing resources that increase the information available to consumers and businesses, the internet is improving the fundamental efficiency associated with transactions in capitalist systems by making all potential purchasers 'informed' customers. Are we moving toward a perfect version of capitalism? Are these changes having an effect on corporate sales and purchasing decisions?

And are these changes good or bad? Clearly the internet has lowered barriers to entry across the board, and led to more informed consumers. True capitalists would agree this has to be a good thing, despite temporary disruptions as the market adjusts to these changes. And, all in all, I think I agree.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Hybrid Vehicle Technology Getting Industrial

Looks like changes in the supply markets for oil and related goods are having a trickle-down effect on industrial and commercial machinery manufacturers. Now, it seems readily apparent to me that diesel-electric hybrid motors just make sense, especially in industrial applications. You get high torque from the diesel engine when and if you need it, efficient minute to minute power from the batteries, can generate additional electricity efficiently using the diesel when the batteries are low, and modern diesels can even be easily converted to run on bio-diesel and other alternative fuels.

Interesting to see the degree of penetration hybrids are having commercially - trains, buses, heavy construction equipment, even boats.

It certainly makes one wonder where the consumer diesel-electric hybrids are in the development cycle, and if there are any reasons why consumer hybrids of this type are not being actively pursued.