Payin’ Paper and Payin’ Apps

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The problem with traffic fines as for “speeding” is you pay serially. First for the fine itself and then again – and again – via the higher insurance premiums you’re compelled to pay.

BMW’s new speed trap app has the same problem. You never stop paying for it, either.

The “technology company” – their wording – which used to be a car company – is one of many now-incidentally car-making companies that  wants to sell you access to technology.

Serially.

It announced the other day that it will offer an app – with an expiration date – that works like a built-in radar/factory-installed radar detector. Using the car’s built-in radar and laser detectors (part of the assembled suite of driver “assistance” and “safety” technologies) along with data about speed camera locations, it alert you to presence of government mulcters ahead.

In exchange for a fee.

No word as yet about how much but the relevant point is how long. Unlike a radar detector you buy once that is yours once you’ve bought it, you will never own BMW’s app – but you will pay for it ongoing. If you stop paying, it stops working.

This is the new model of car ownership, of which this app is just one small example.

The ultimate goal is for you to never own anything – including the car itself. You will pay to use it, for as long as you use it and then you’ll pay to use something else, ongoing. This will ensure a perpetual flow of cash from you to them.

Tesla pioneered this company town model of transportation as a service. Its cars are connected via an electronic umbilicus to Tesla, which retains control over the car no matter how long ago you paid for it. The battery’s range/capacity to charge can be adjusted by Tesla, at will – as well as other things. Whether you like it or not. And when you sell the car, the next owner may not get some of the options – apps – you paid for.

Unless he pays Tesla, again.

It’s pretty slick. Like a disappearing transmission or power windows that stop working if you don’t send in a payment.

Once this new business model scales up, you’ll be paying for multiple subscriptions rather than once for the options. Imagine AC – or the touchscreen that controls it – that works so long as you subscribe to it.

The really clever part is you’ll have no choice regarding your subscription as there will be no option to buy an unconnected car if these company towners succeed in regulating or legislating unconnected cars off the market. Or simply stop making cars that aren’t “wired” and “connected,” which they clearly intend to do.

The push for electric cars – the apotheosis of the “wired” and “connected” car – is a push for exactly that outcome.

It will then be effectively impossible to avoid serial paying for transportation as a service – just as it is becoming impossible to not pay serially for a smartphone or to buy a new home with a non-“smart” meter that also knows all – and will be used to custom-charge you for it.

This was all inevitable, ironically enough, because unconnected cars are lasting too long, an unintended consequence of the effort to kill them off via strangulating emissions regulations. Instead, the engineers made them so well (necessary in order to make them run so clean) that they routinely last twice as long as was previously typical.

Worse, people have figured this out.

They are keeping their cars for ten years or longer rather than trading them in every five or less. In fact, the age of the average daily driver on the road right now is twelve years old. There’s no money in that – for the companies that want to sell you another car.

And even when they do, the margins are generally much too low – for their liking. While it is true there’s a hefty profit margin on trucks and big SUVs, the typical family car only nets about 3 percent profit for the company that made it – and that just once.

There is also the peripheral problem of not enough money coming in via insurance and taxes – which are lower as a car gets older.

Serial payments on connected cars solve that problem – and not just via serial payments but also by picking up the pace of replacement. Your smartphone is the business model. It has a built-in cancellation feature. After three or four years, it can no longer be updated – even if you wished to continue serially paying for the updates. The phone itself must be replaced – because it is “no longer supported.”

This is how they get you to buy a new phone. Or rather, to keep you paying for new ones every three or four years. Plus the subscriptions.

And it is how they will make you pay for a new car more regularly – plus the subscriptions.

Even if this weren’t deliberate pocket-filching it would be inevitable because of the nature of electronics – especially these apps – which are like the disease progeria that causes humans to age prematurely except in the case of the app it is natural because they are not physical things like a wall phone that once made performs the function it was designed to perform for decades. It was not designed to be changed.   

Apps are. The whole-point is make-work. Change – for the sake of change. And for the sake of change.

. . .

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33 COMMENTS

  1. Would such a system even be legal in Virginia? Would BMW geofence the system to make sure it’s not used where radar detectors are illegal? Would subscribers be refunded for time spent in such locations? (Never mind — I already know the answer to the last question!)

    With almost all modern cars have radar and laser systems for collision avoidance and lane assist, how will Virginia and DC realistically enforce their bans?

    • Hi Nasir,

      I can honestly say this article makes me ill. I have no doubt I will one of the ones in the “self supplied” communities or living in a house from the 19th century. I am more than happy to do so as long as the government’s talons stay far away from me.

      I cannot believe this sounds like contentment to so many people. They will be no better than a robot, constantly tracked and traced, with no freedom of expression or thoughts of their own. How incredibly sad….and delusional. They think by living in a city where the government controls their every move that crime will go away, that disease will never reappear, that bad weather is a thing of the past.

      What happens when a tornado rips threw their “wonderful” city? They don’t own anything, there is no where to go, the supply chain will be broken. What do they do then? Find a nice little corner is some back alley until the “system” gets around to rebuilding and moving again?

      The WEF is trying to sell a utopia. A world that will never exist. As for all of the renting, someone owns the assets to be able to rent them. Who would that be? Gates? Bezos? The WEF? Do people not forecast potential risks and hazards? None of them question this. As long as the government takes care of them that is all that matters. Somewhere the gods are laughing at us.

      • It is certainly a depressing thought…. but imagine how theyve sold ideas and shifted perceptions over the decades, starting with articles like this… That said, as long as they let those people sit in the old houses from the 19th century, I too will be happy… though not sure if that will be allowed….

  2. Eric – i think most people (apart from readers of sites like this) will even notice this – they will infact think of it as a brilliant idea, where instead of paying say 300 up front for the radar detector they can pay 10 a month – because most of todays millennial types dont ever have 300 in the bank in one go!!

  3. I’m just hoping to keep my ‘03 Corolla running until I’m no longer able to drive; has 93k miles and the engine purrs like my cat. The only thing that will kill it would be rust since they put more damn salt on the roads here than there is snow.

  4. Dovetails nicely with Klaus Schwab (an 82 year old POS) and the World Economic Forum’s #1 “prediction” for 2030. You’ll own nothing…and you’ll be happy.

    On a side note, Bill Bonner pointed out that America is geriatric-ocracy. EVERYONE in a position of power it seems is old AF. Biden is 77. Pelosi 81. Schumer 70. Hillary 73. Mitch McConnell 78. Bill Gates 65. And this asshole Schwab is 82. I know adrenochrome, and baby blood and all that, but for goodness sake, how do these people function? Can’t they just F off and dotter around. Why the F are they so busy trying to make and remake the world, when they won’t live in it. Go the hell home.

    And, it’s mostly the old MFers with their government pensions and stawks who DEMAND businesses force muzzles on everyone for THEIR SAFETY and to prolong their miserable existences another couple empty years, all so they can shop at Costco. GTFO here you old bastards, your generation SCREWED IT UP!!!

  5. This view of software as a service that you don’t own has been changing for some time. Many developers and various packages have gone to the subscription model.

    There is a business argument that having a predictable revenue stream makes management of feature improvements and fixes easier. There’s real world examples that this is a better model from the producer’s standpoint. Software that went down the subscription path years ago did get more regular updates and bugs were repaired faster, so there’s a valid argument to be made.

    I’m speaking as an electrical engineer in product design anyway, although most of my code is firmware so the maintenance cost is built in to the purchase and we do limit the length of time we continue to support hardware. Depends on the client, though. Sometimes they are willing to pay for revisions years down the road, which we do accommodate as long as the development tools and hardware remain viable.

    OTOH as a consumer (especially one who values having some privacy) I don’t care for subscriptions at all and actually have bought fewer apps due to it. I don’t want a sunset on my app and I don’t want it phoning home to stay activated. When I buy it I want it to work as long as I own it. But it’s also important to understand I am atypical in that I buy and hold a thing until it breaks or it makes sense to replace. I also view the IP of the developer as theirs but the product itself as mine, so I don’t agree with their argument of it being a perpetual rental.

    Product managers also know this and in most cases do offer an option for a one-time buy with a traditional license. Most people don’t choose this because they are unable to think more than a week, month or year out. So a $12/month subscription “feels” cheaper than $120/year or $250 once. But if they keep the phone or laptop for more than 2 years the obvious choice is one-and-done.

    But they don’t do that so at 2 year and beyond, as the seller, I’m just getting paid for offering a convenience to them. I don’t hide the numbers. It’s not for me to lead them to make good decisions, is it? This boils down to the same logic in my mind as anything bought outright verses with a loan. It’s just the next step from mortgage -> car loan -> credit cards. I bit at the mortgage stage because saving and buying a home for cash long ago stopped being possible for most of us and with inflation is financially not smart. But managing debt on a real (and generally appreciating) asset is different than buying lots of useless junk you can’t afford.

    • Hi Anon,

      The worrisome aspect, as I see it, is that this is a rip tide which will carry everyone along with it, in the manner of Face Diapering. If most people buy in, it becomes very difficult to opt out – without opting out of life. As with the wearing of the Holy Rag, the Face Diaper. You can refuse the holy garment, but if you do, you “choose” to not be able to shop in person or even be in person anywhere except within your home and maybe soon not even there.

      The technocrats pushing the revolving debt model want us all serially paying and thus are doing all they can to make it tougher and tougher to not serially pay. Your example of the home mortgage is illustrative. Most people cannot afford to buy a home – actually buy it – so they rent it from the bank for 30 years and then continue renting it from the government via serial property tax payments.

      People get used to this; it becomes “normal” – with the implication that not being in serial debt is abnormal.

      • Oh yeah, I understand. The problem here is that it’s neither completely good or bad. It’s something with merit that’s been distorted. Offering a subscription, especially one you can turn on and off at will, could have a useful market spot. Why buy a full CAD package that a business calculates payback based on some number of billable hours over several years when you only need it for 3 months to design your personal house? The old purchase model meant a non-pro had to use non-pro tools while the subscription gives you a short term access to the same tools.

        It’s not easy resolving some of this in my mind because the two logical positions at the extreme are to have zero technology and to have highly invasive technology. Taken in a vacuum high invasive technology could be beneficial as long as it’s not co-opted for evil. But that’s the fundamental argument. We’d love to have zero government but that requires a completely responsible population. That’s impossible, so some sort of government forms to deal with people who don’t follow the NAP and the cycle is inevitable.

        So you’re tilting against humanity. You can’t take one thing out of context. Without software there’s be no Internet for this discussion. So you have to figure out a way to deal with it. You do have a choice not to participate at all.

        Mortgages exist because bankers exist. In Islam they have the curse of the usury so I wonder if in Muslim countries whether mortgages exist. If it wasn’t for the Dollar hegemony (e.g. constant and pervasive inflation) even with interest they probably wouldn’t be necessary. So we all have to accept the world for what it is and construct our own reality.

        Do I wish I could go to the rainbow farting unicorn and buy a reasonably priced house? Yup. Is it worth not having a house at all because I don’t like the terms? Maybe. Renting is an option, let someone else deal with the headache. Living in a van or squatting is another option. Each choice comes with positives and negatives. Our world is a big game, one you didn’t ask to play but you can’t quit.

        • Hi A,

          Yup, I don’t disagree. The dilemma is how to keep things like this opt-in. In both this case and the government case, the crux is respecting the right of the individual to be left out of it without imposing duress on him. Thus, I have no problem, per se, with “connected” or “smart” technology provided it is not forced or coerced. Same as regards the Quackcine and the wearing of the Holy Face Diaper. Those who want to have every right to – but no right to force others to.

      • This is like how we do have the choice to not pay income taxes, legally: We can simply choose to not work and be destitute. But there’s no practical way to avoid income taxes legally and f there’s no practical alternative, then there’s no choice.

        I had a conversation about this with a friend the other day and he told me that if I don’t want to pay income taxes, I should move to a country that doesn’t have them.

        Such as where?, I asked.

        • Hi Ice Age,

          The Cayman Islands, Bermuda, BVI, several Middle Eastern countries. The Cayman Islands and Bermuda do not have an income tax nor do they tax capital gains or dividends, a hedge fund manager’s dream. Monaco also has no taxes (if you prefer the Mediterranean Sea over the Caribbean Sea). There are a few exceptions to this, example, if you are a French resident you do pay taxes.

          They have their drawbacks though, everything is imported which makes furniture, household goods, and groceries very expensive. I visited Cayman a few years ago and I was really impressed with the country – their infrastructure is some of the best I have ever seen, the people are super friendly, and they have an awesome pizza joint (XQs) which has the best damn pizza I have ever had.

          They do not let anyone in as a resident, you have to be independently wealthy and have a certain net worth (usually $500K or so). You can escape income taxes, but I am sure you end up paying it through a use tax or RE taxes.

          The best way to avoid taxes legally is to be self employed, not as a SMLLC or a disregarded entity (you end up paying heavily on SE taxes), but an LLC taxed as an S corporation or a C corporation can work really well.

          I feel bad for W2 employees, they do get burned heavily on taxes and there is really very little they can do about it. Many today are working from home, but they are unable to deduct their office expenses and household utilities, since the 2017 TCRA omitted the 2% miscellaneous deduction for such things. Unless, your employer reimburses you for such items (internet, telephone, supplies) the individual is screwed and the employer is loving it, because they have saved significantly on rent and other facility costs.

          Just my $.02.

          • Raider Girl,

            That was my point. I hate income taxes, but not enough to want to live in some sweltering hell hole to avoid them.

            The friend I mentioned, while quite practical and perceptive, is very Modern in that he completely buys into the idea that income taxes are an immutable aspect of nature, like gravity or sunrises.

            He sees me as being quite unrealistic for raging against them.

          • Unlike most countries, Uncle Sam taxes your income no matter where you live in the world. (Certain exceptions include the earned income exclusion for overseas employees.)

            For your suggestions to work, one would have to renounce his US citizenship, the process for which is tedious and may incur hefty exit taxes on one’s net worth.

  6. I think the model we’re seeing played out was inevitable. How long do you think they could have kept on building cars that last over 10 years? Eventually they’d have sold so few new cars that they’d have gone out of business, or scaled back tremendously. Not that what we’re seeing is any good for the consumer, but it’s good for the stockholders. And perpetual growth is the name of the game.

    My Escape is 10 years old now, and I plan to keep it limping along as long as possible.

  7. ‘The ultimate goal is for you to never own anything – including the car itself.’ — EP

    Tesla and others are working on ‘BaaS’ — Batteries as a Service. Just swap ’em out for a perpetual subscription fee, like a monthly bill for swapping propane tanks (whether you use them or not). Prophet Elon (Peace Be Upon Him) is figuring out how to insert a ‘D’ into the acronym, making it ‘BaDaS’ like his eminent, estimable self.

    BaaS might make sense, if electric vehicles themselves made sense. But they don’t.

    Irina Slav of oilprice.com reports that $15 trillion will be invested in new electric power capacity in the next three decades, four-fifths of it into renewable energy sources which typically are less stable (e.g., no solar generation when the sun goes down).

    But wait, there’s more. ANOTHER $14 trillion will be needed to upgrade the grid to deal with these fluctuating supply sources by wheeling power back and forth from where it’s windy to where it’s calm, from where it’s sunny to where it’s rainy, and so on. These are global figures, but as usual, the US will account for a big chunk of the total.

    Slav goes on to note that a huge expansion of metal mining, with large environmental impacts, goes along with this pharaonic plan.

    https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/The-True-Cost-Of-The-Global-Energy-Transition.html

    For perspective, a trillion a year to ‘go green’ with EVs is a third higher than the gargantuan US defense budget, by far the largest on earth. That is, the Green New Deal could be the biggest government program ever, excluding entitlements.

    If some of the burden is shifted onto investor-owned utilities by forcing them to shoulder the capital investment, luckless ‘customers’ of these monopolies will pay dearly through astronomical electric bills, rather than directly into the gaping dark maw of Big Gov.

    Enlightenment or Dystopia? Picture a green SWAT team confronting a bitter-ender IC-engine holdout.

    “Just drop the gas can, grandpa, raise your hands in the air, and no one gets hurt when we tow away this illegal, polluting relic.”

  8. Just in case you had any notion that such a thing as free enterprise and honest competition still existed in the “land of the free”. The combination of corporatism and bureaucracy have disposed of the concept, as they work together to abolish its existence. Along with privately owned businesses. Most people of this nation do not deserve the “freedom” they claim they have, but don’t. For example, how many do you know who are well aware of the general malfeasance of Google, yet continue to feed it? The same goes for Facebook and Twitter. I suppose these may be useful services, I don’ know because I don’t use them, but they are far from a nutritional requirement. Given the outrageous total lack of any resemblance to truth in the current and ongoing POTUS election, it’s now obvious that you have only one vote, your wallet. Which itself is fast disappearing. Use it or lose it. The price of a new car will do an incredible amount of work on an old one. Except for physical destruction, I can’t imagine being ABLE to spend that much to repair an older one. Debt dependence is the culprit. You can get a loan for a new car. But (catch 22 warning) if you weren’t paying down that debt, you might have enough money you wouldn’t need a loan. The bank cartel wants you in perpetual debt. They have brilliantly succeeded in the car market.

    • ‘… the outrageous total lack of any resemblance to truth in the current and ongoing POTUS election …’ — JWK

      Use scare quotes when you type ‘election,’ my friend.

      But seriously, the Deep State is now advocating an outright, broad-daylight coup d’etat:

      In an incredible Monday evening CNN interview, ex-CIA chief John Brennan – himself responsible for stoking the now widely debunked Russiagate conspiracy – brazenly declared that Trump is a threat to national security:

      “I’m very concerned what he might do in his remaining 70 days in office,” said Brennan on Monday’s edition of Cuomo Prime Time. “Is he going to take some type of military action? Is he going to release some type of information that could, in fact, threaten our national security interests?” [substitute ‘state’ for ‘interests’ — JH]

      “If Vice President Pence and the cabinet had an ounce of fortitude and spine and patriotism, I think they would seriously consider invoking the 25th Amendment and pushing Donald Trump out because he is just very unpredictable now,” Brennan added. [source: zerohedge, Nov 10 @ 23:30]

      Should newly unclassified government archives show that the CIA murdered John Kennedy, or took down the World Trade Center, Brennan knows that his nest of traitors would be shut down, tried, convicted and probably hung. The Mainstream Media is the spies’ indispensable megaphone. Operation Mockingbird lives on.

      • A little known, if known at all fact is that there is no Constitutional requirement for a popular vote for POTUS. The sole authority for selecting electors is in the hands of the State legislatures. They can use chicken entrails and astrology if they wish. The only requirement for a popular election is that put forth by those legislatures, and they can rescind it at will. If they don’t like those the voters selected they can discard them and choose their own. The current intended chaos certainly justifies such. That is the purpose of the electoral college, to prevent democracy. Gang rape is democracy in action, and I want no part of it.

        Indeed, Trump could obliterate his most ardent opponent, the intelligence community. There are still JFK docs hidden from us, and I can imagine no entity other than the CIA that needs such concealment. None living anyway. LBJ was highly likely involved.

  9. My Mustang is 28 years old and still going strong. My work van is over 13 years old. My new-to-me Harley is 8, and the bike I had before it was 17 and I think you could ride it to the moon and back. When I was a young man I got around 350,000 miles out of my ’76 F100 pickup with a sweet inline 6. It was on the road over 20 years.

    I’ll never understand the people who “buy” (ie finance) a new car every two years.

    • It’s not that complicated. We are being so heavily mulcted that it’s difficult to save enough money to work on one. A new tranny will cost you thousands, while a new car will cost you tens of thousands, but who’s got thousands? So, they borrow the tens of thousands because they can’t borrow the thousands.

      My fascination with new cars ended in 2006, when Mazda gave the MX5 more power, and better gas mileage, with more interior room. I’m still driving one of them. The under the hood complexity is a bit beyond my preference, so that was the end of the fascination.

      • I have a ’99 and I love it. (I had a ’90, ’94, and ’99 (in NZ) before it.) I might have bought your later model, but the design eliminates the deck storage space behind the seats that is important to me. (I like the 3rd gen styling better than the 2nd and 1st gen best.) The 3rd gen driving position was also changed just enough to decrease visibility for a driver under 6ft tall. I’m glad that we both have a car we enjoy, but there is less usable interior room in the 3rd gen than in the 2nd gen for my needs if not for yours ;^).
        As for the 4th gen, it’s coyote ugly, imo.
        I haven’t had a car payment since ’82.

        • Paid cash for mine, and the only new car I’ve ever owned. I traded a ’99 for it. I did miss the rear deck, and the top is not as easy to operate, plus the sun visors fail, especially on the passenger side, where women are using the mirror all the time. I do think they handle better, maybe the 16/17″ wheels. I’ve only taken a note on trucks I worked out of in the construction trade. The last of those was in ’89. I’ve always paid cash for cars, since they were dispensable. My work trucks were not. In fact I wrote in the sales contract that I would be moved to first in line for repair.

      • People have become “conditioned” by the phrase “what’s your budget” and “How much can you afford”, or “What sort of monthly payment are you looking for?”. I know people who spend every last dime they have from their biweekly paychecks just to pay the monthly minimum on loans and credit card payments. Then they consolidate and refinance the whole mess just to “free up” some more $$$ and credit. They have become masters of playing the debt game, but little do they realize, they are Slaves to the system of Control.

    • Amen, Bill –

      My ’02 Nissan is still running great – and has the original clutch (140k). There is nothing rational that could persuade me to buy a new car, especially in view of new car disposability. Which is why, of course, older cars will be fatwa’d off the road.

      • I bought a 2019 Frontier last year, maybe the last new “old” vehicle out there. Pretty much exactly the same as it was in 2005. Very little technology, no gizmos or gadgets. I plan on keeping it till the day I die.

      • Our newest vehicle is a 2011 Honda Pilot we bought used from a family member when our family started getting bigger (3 kids). That’s my wife’s daily driver. My daily driver is a 2005 Dodge Stratus and my daughter who just started driving has a 94 Dodge Dakota we bought from family just last year with only 125k on the clock.

        I also have a 71 Charger for fun, and it’s the best of the bunch, like it’s just off the showroom floor.

        I’m mid 40’s and I will try my hardest to keep these vehicles going with repairs for as long as I can. Even if I have to replace any of these, I am going to try to spend my money on older vehicles in great shape.

      • Eric
        I have the 80 half ton Scottsdale I bought in 91 for 2500 bucks. It had over 100,000 on it then. It’s probably over 300,000 by now along with several different engines, a couple trannys, a change of diff gears because the guy who put in the limited slip didn;t bother to gunk it and it got toasted. I’ve built a new bed on the back cause the original rusted off. Now the floor of the cab is going but it still runs the road if I need to and still hauls all my firewood, rr ties, and anything else that’s very heavy. I can put over a chord of red oak on it and go anywhere with it. That’s over 4,000 lbs. plus the 5,000 plus of the truck. It also has a 12,000 lb. Warn winch up front.
        I also have an 87 half ton with a 305 and a four speed that I bought for 500 bucks. It sat for 10 years in a field with a warped intake in no. 7. Now has 70,000 on it and drives like a new one. I can almost change the engines in these trucks in the driveway with my eyes closed. A piece of cake. They may end up outliving me cause I’m 81 if I make it through Dec.
        I can only imagine how many they would sell if GM
        re-tooled and started to build these 73-87 series trucks again. Without any new bells and horns. Just the originals. Imagine that for a minute.
        I can’t even begin to believe what some people are willing to pay for one of these new pieces of electronic junk. $50, 60, and up??????????????
        So far I can’t imagine selling either of my trucks but one guy recently said my 87 was worth at least 5,000 and it needs paint bad, a windshield, shocks,
        and a few other cosmos. I know I wouldn’t take 5 if it was offered and probably not even 10 because where would I find another one? And what could I buy for ten that would even come close?
        Love your site and many of the guys and gals who come here. I’m with you on the mask. Have not had one on yet and do not intend to. Never been challenged. I go everywhere I have always gone.
        I have one request I’d like you to consider. Cool it with the AGW’s. They are not workers they are Thugs. AWT’s is much more accurate and when you look at them that is exactly what you are seeing. Mostly bald. Broad, even the females. Inked up like snakes. Even the posture oozes an attitude that is repulsive.
        Just my two scents.
        rog
        Oh, and just for the h of it for those above who are talking about taxes, A man or womans labor is their personal property to do with as they choose and the amendment never did or was intended to tax property. When you trade your labor (property) for something else, be it money, bread, milk or booze, it is an even swap and no-one has “gained” anything. Nothing to tax. It’s in the congressional record when they were debating the 16th amendment in 1913. That is unless “they” have erased the record. I know because at one time I had a copy of it.

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