John Naughton’s contrasts the implications of Lean/JIT in two industries, cars & computers:
… both had found themselves caught in a perfect storm that one had weathered and the other hadn’t. This storm bought three forces simultaneously to bear on an unprepared world: the fragility of a global supply chain on which both industries critically depended, the exigencies of US-China geopolitics and a pandemic that, more or less overnight, transformed the way large parts of the industrialised world worked.
That “liberation” you get from the car is fleeting—it quickly fades, first into schlepping your buddies around town, then into speeding tickets, and eventually into brain-numbing commutes across smoggy, congested highways. You realize that cars are ultimately confined to roads clogged with other cars, running on the same limiting rails—like trains, just more dangerous, and no drinking.
An insatiable appetite for fuel has been a primary reason for countless wars – disguised, of course, as the good “fight for democracy”. Several alternative energy sources are dismissed as being too “inefficient”to be of any practical use. However, as this wikipedia entry suggests, about a hundred years ago, rechargeable battery operated cars ran upto a mind-boggling 340km on a single charge, while 130km per charge was guaranteed. Granted, top speed was 20km, but adequate for city driving (have you been in a fast moving traffic jams that is ubiquitous the world over?). It’s a bit hard to believe that despite all progress, there are no commercially viable batteries, after 100 years! Or maybe it is so by choice?