The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) has recently nominated for its annual Luddite awards the ban on the direct sales of Tesla Motor’s electric cars in four states – Arizona, Michigan, New Jersey, and Texas.
According to the ITIF, the four states have recently passed bills that protect dealer businesses from innovative new business models by prohibiting Tesla’s direct sales either online or in stores.
Other states have also limited Tesla car sales “with the support of bricks and mortar car dealers”. For instance, New Jersey banned Tesla’s direct sales as well as test drives from Tesla’s showrooms a year after the company has started operating.
The new laws in Arizona and Michigan prohibits the direct sales of Tesla vehicles, while, in Texas, Tesla store employees are prohibited from providing customers with any commercial information on their products such as price, financing options, or even reference to out-of-state stores. Tesla test drives are also banned in the state.
ITIF reports that such laws “inhibit competition” and increase the costs of a highly inefficient distribution system. Direct sales lead to “huge savings” for the industry, which would cut out billions of dollars, according to ITIF.
ITIF also said that consumers would also save money whenever they bought their cars online, while they would also have an easier access to better customization services in their convenience of their own homes.
The Luddite movement involves that part of the general public concerned about uncontrolled technological progress and its impact mainly on overall unemployment and the environment.
“I think the single most important lesson we should have learned in the past twenty years, is that technological progress is not the same things as human progress. Technology always comes at a price,”
stated Prof Neil Postman from the New York University and a Luddite think tank.
The movement stems from a group of British workers that smashed textile machines “to save their own poorly paid, low productivity jobs,” according to ITIF.
Other nominees of the Luddite awards include the French government for prohibiting Amazon’s free-shipping policy in France in an attempt to protect local booksellers’ businesses, Vermont legislature for passing a bill requiring GMO labeling on food products in an attempt to protect organic crop businesses, an the media and pundits for claiming that “robots are taking down our jobs.”
According to Paul Krugman, one of the anti-technology pundits, the effects of technology on labor depict a much darker picture now than in past centuries because today even highly educated workers may find themselves “displaced and devalued,” while “pushing for more education may create as many problems as it solves.”
Meanwhile, there’s an open poll on ITIF’s site where anyone can vote for their favorite Luddite winner. The final winner will be announced on February 5.
Image Source: The Carbrands