1. A Simple Short Story
John Droz, jr.
Physicist & Environmental Advocate
-- 10/4/10 -- © john droz, jr.
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3. Once upon a time
there was a US owned
piano manufacturing company in NYC.
4. They had a successful business and shipped
a tractor trailer load of 25± pianos every week
to their distribution centers in
Atlanta, Denver, Los Angeles & Seattle.
5. This was a competitive business
and to keep up with customer demand
these deliveries had to be made
within three days.
6. For the last forty years,
these deliveries were made inexpensively,
This was a key reason why the company was successful.
7. Between designing, manufacturing, sales,
delivery, and service, the piano company
employed several hundred people in the US.
8. Across town there was another company
that was also doing very well:
a golf cart business, owned by a foreign cartel.
9. The main reason this business was succeeding was
that they had aggressive lobbyists —
who had been able to get enormous federal
and state financial incentives for their client.
It worked out that (due to subsidies, incentives,
tax breaks, and mandated government pricing)
the golf cart company was effectively
guaranteed a 25% annual profit on sales!
10. One Problem:
Due to golf course activity leveling off,
the golf cart business was stagnant.
So, how to rapidly expand sales
(to get their 25%± profit)?
Expand by getting into the transportation business.
12. One Problem:
They couldn’t compete with conventional
transportation companies on cost or performance.
Back to the lobbyists.
14. Again the lobbyists did their job.
Politicians soon added a surcharge of $1 per mile
to all tractor trailer transportation companies
to account for the “noise pollution” their engines made.
15. The piano company used to pay
$500 per week for their deliveries.
This now has gone to $5000.
16. This was a heavy blow to the piano company —
which had no choice but to pass this substantial
extra cost on to their customers.
17. Where the piano company once had a
75% market share of US sales,
this extra cost resulted in a
steady loss of customers
to their main competitor,
a Chinese firm.
18. Despite this added burden, the piano company
stuck with their transportation company.
Deliveries continued to be on time —
although now much more expensive.
19. The golf cart company
then started an aggressive advertising campaign
which claimed that they could offer
an “economically competitive” transportation option.
20. But because their performance was inferior,
the golf cart company didn’t see their
hoped for increase in business.
So they went back to the lobbyists for more help.
21. Again the lobbyists did their job.
Politicians soon mandated that certain businesses
(like the piano company)
MUST switch to a non-fossil fuel shipping method.
22. The piano company dutifully put out requests for bids.
The only non-fossil fuel quote came from
the transportation company that built golf carts.
23. So, how many golf carts will it take to equal the
performance and economics of one tractor trailer
moving 25± pianos cross-country, every week,
within three days?
24. Will 100 golf carts do it?
25. Note that (due to the inherent characteristics
of golf carts)…
1 - as the number of carts used goes up
(to get better performance),
the economics get significantly worse!
2 - there is no point where the golf cart performance
even approximates the tractor trailer performance.
26. This isn’t a trick question:
what’s the answer?
27. Once you’ve carefully calculated how many golf carts
it will take to equal the performance and economics
of one tractor trailer,
you will then know the answer to the next question...
28. How many wind turbines will it take to equal the
performance and economics of one nuclear power plant?
29. The US piano company has now gone out of business.
The only pianos now come from China.
30. The US tractor trailer based transportation company is
now on life-support, and has had to downsize by 90%,
laying off thousands of employees.
The tractor trailer manufacturer has reduced their size
by 50%, also laying off a few thousand workers.
31. The golf cart company
(owned by a Chinese conglomerate)
continues to do well.
32. We do have energy and environmental issues.
Our choice is whether our solutions come from lobbyists or science.
for a more detailed examination of our electrical energy situation
from a scientific perspective.
© john droz, jr.
33. John Droz, jr. is a physicist and has been an environmental activist for over 25 years. Currently he is a
leading individual on four New York statewide issues (electrical energy, water extraction, water quality,
and property taxes).
He received undergraduate degrees in physics and mathematics from Boston College, and a graduate
degree in physics from Syracuse University. He is a participating member of several environmental
organizations (like the Adirondack Council, Protect, and Sierra Club). Due to his love of nature, he has a
cottage on a lake in the Adirondacks of upstate NY.
These areas of interest and expertise (science & environmentalism) have merged with his focus on energy
matters, especially wind energy. John’s basic position is that we should be taking aggressive measures to
solve our energy and pollution issues, but should not be wasting time and money on illusionary solutions
— which are primarily promoted by those with vested financial interests in them.
This slide presentation is copyrighted and is for personal use only. Any reproduction, quoting, referencing,
or other use of this material is prohibited without the author’s express written consent. Such consent will
usually be granted for the purpose of putting on a community presentation.
For questions, comments or permission to use any material in this presentation, please email Mr. Droz at:
© john droz, jr.