The iron rule

November 6, 2020 § 7 Comments

It is simple. Anyone can learn it. Four simple words. You can’t change it. It governs life. All must submit to it.

The rich get richer.

There! Now you understand how the world works. Of course sometimes the poor get richer, but not for long. Soon they revert to being poor.

But the truly rich never, as a group, ever become less rich, though every now and then the occasional calamity might remove a member or two.

The rule is not helpful in predicting the future of any particular person, but inordinately useful in explaining why things are and how decisions are made. Does this situation make the rich richer? Then that is why it exists.

Does a proposal, culture, environmetal decision, legal approach make the rich richer? Then it will be selected.

If a thing makes the poor richer, it will eventually make the rich richer and the poor will be poor again, whether by cooption, amendment, or outright elimination.

For example, why aren’t bikes promoted as the best solution to a green economy, health, happiness, and world peace? Because they will never make the rich richer. To the contrary they will make the rich much poorer by destroying the global economy.

The bike is the most potent threat to you that has ever existed.

It wrecks the car economy and the trillions of dollars that sustain it. No highways, no mining, no manufacturing, no insurance, no retailers, no repairs, no parking garages, no personal injury lawyers, no petroleum industry. The destruction of the car economy alone would cripple earth.

Bikes wreck much more than that. They beggar the entire healthcare industry. Trillions in global healthcare dollars would vanish in a puff of exhaust if people commuted and transported by bike. Bikes murder air pollution, lifestyle diseases, mental illness, drug addiction, public and private health insurance, and the vast fortunes that depend on them.

Bikes impoverish everyone by extending lives and allowing people to live longer and actively. Population would increase and trillions in retirement schemes would be lost.

Culturally associated wealth would likewise evaporate. People would not shop at malls, eat fast food, go to concerts, attend athletic contests, or take long trips because it would require extreme inconvenience, effort, planning, difficulty, and commitment. An evening to downtown LA to watch the Lakers? That’s a 50-mile pedal. At night. Grab some ice cream at the Baskin-Robbins after dinner by riding 30 minutes? Uh, no and fuck no.

Fortunes built on sports, which are in reality built on concessions, consumption, advertising, and broadcast revenues, would be decimated. People would find spectatorship inferior to participation and they would be so fucking tired at day’s end they would be snoring by nine pm.

This would detonate the sleeping drug, alcohol, depressant, opiod, and related pharma industries, including everyone who makes a living counseling the sleep-deprived, anxiety-ridden modern human.

Global travel would collapse as people discovered infinite entertainment, education, environment, and engagement in their own locales. Travel by bike would accustom people to simpler fare and lodging; the industrial hotel complex, car rental industry, and airline network would die. The fortunes built on RVs and the land, storage, gas, highways, and clean air they consume would be gone.

Worst of all, bikes would fatally poison the military-industrial complex. As people traveled and lived by bike they would become more compassionate and patient, would be more accepting of others, and loth to solve differences with killing. The collapse of the arms indistry would result in mass unemployment, social upheaval, and paradoxically, war.

There are many other reasons that bikes threaten the global economy. The trucking and shipping industries would shrink because people would lose interest in mindless consumption. The nuclear, coal, and power industries would contract because demand for energy would plunge. Homebuilding would stall because people would not need space to store junk. The chain reaction would shatter the iron rule, and the rich would get poorer.

The tech industry would suffer mightily because people would spend less time in front of a screen. They would also come to see virtual interactions as inferior to real ones to the detriment of social media and the billions that that industry generates. Online shopping, online entertainment, indeed all online, blogs included, would feel the pinch, or rather the kick to the nuts.

There is however one way to ensure that bikes make the rich get richer. This is by incorporating bikes into, and making them an accessory of, car culture.

When the bike is a recreational toy and not a mode of living, it becomes an adjunct to the car economy and in fact stimulates it. Examples include driving 50 or 100 miles for a … bike ride. Another example is buying a car/SUV/van to transport … your bike.

A large, growing, and diverse industry of recreational bike items that include specialized clothes, Specialized bikes, car racks, components, and events are all part of ensuring that bikes do not destroy the economy as we know it, and that they remain a vibrant sub-cult of the car economy. As long as the bike and the ride depend on the car, we are winning.

Fortunately, the bike threat is theoretical only. The rich don’t just get richer. They also own cars.


§ 7 Responses to The iron rule

  • Daniel Fuchs says:


  • J Marvin Campbell says:

    The least you can do is run your house and cars off of sunlight. If I can do it, anybody can.

  • Hugh Walker says:

    Wasn’t it Gary Fisher hisself who lamented the paradox of bikes and cars: MTBs have 6 wheels for most of the country? the next “road trip” for many MTBers, I reckon, is what keeps them working their crappy jobs…just speaking from experience…the one real park here in LEX,Caintuck is a gorgeous oasis of supposedly multi-use trails that only MTBers use for the most part because the trail hikers/ runners don’t want to get run over by the Stravidiots. They instead road trip, caravan style, everyone in their own SUV, to the next nearest trail head for the “group run”. Covid notwithstanding, this isn’t likely to change.
    Solo car trips are prolly the only chance most First World humans have for solitude, if driving a car w/ music/news/audiobooks/podcasts blaring and/or the Bluetooth speakerphone blasting can be considered “solitude”.
    BTW, the MTBers are responsible for 110% of the trail maintenance around here, though there may be some foot travellers who pick up discarded water bottles and bar wrappers.
    Um oh yeah, i agree w/ you: cars ain’t goin’ away soon. I saw this yesterday:

    With CA incentives other articles on the interwebs claim this car will only cost $7999

    • fsethd says:

      This: if driving a car w/ music/news/audiobooks/podcasts blaring and/or the Bluetooth speakerphone blasting can be considered “solitude”.

    • Jon Hallander says:

      I think it is that MTBers are responsible for 110% of all needed trail maintenance as MTBers are responsible for 110% of accelerated erosion to hiking and multi-use trails. At least that is what it looks like in every country park I know here in NJ where the MTBers are allowed to ride. I never see them stop to do any real clean-up nor do I ever see them volunteer their time to help with trail projects. That’s just what I see. Your mileage may vary.

      • Hugh Walker says:

        Yeah it can get ugly and unsustainable for sure. I guess it boils down to math: a huge number of MTBers only ride some and the descent upon the most easily accessible parks in drives. (See what I did there? This past weekend must have been a cluster at Ringwood: almost 80 fckn degrees in November!?) I can see it now- the parking lot full of pick-up trucks and jeeps and Ram Promasters, each carrying a Bruhdood or Sheshredder. NJ has, despite what the rest of the country believes, at least 100 really great places to ride and hike. Yet 99% of the population lives near Philly or NYC and so requires transport to the sweet stuff. I am sorry to hear that JORBA hasn’t been able to focus on stewardship- this should be the #1 reason for MTB orgs to exist.

What’s this?

You are currently reading The iron rule at Cycling in the South Bay.


%d bloggers like this: