Parable of the Auto Repair

If the economy was an automobile and it went into a recession, here’s how a conversation with a car mechanic might go. Imagine  the (fictionalized) world famous mechanic’s prowess, named Johnny Keynes, if he came out of the shop after looking over your vehicle and said this:

“So the car’s performance is weak, you say?”

“Yes, it’s much slower than last week. You warned me that it might ‘recess’ once every five years, but now the top speed is lower than ever, nor will it accelerate quickly. The car just seems tired.”

“Yes, I should say so.  I’ve looked it over, and your car has a clear case of weak aggregate motion.”

“Come again, old chap? Not the engine? Not the wheels? Not the sparks?”

“Aggregate motion. It’s a new theory of mine,” explains Johnny.  “insufficient aggregate motion explains the problem of altogether every car I see these days. If you add up all the motion in the vehicle — all the energy of all the parts — it is lower than before. So what your car needs, I’ve deduced, is a push.”

“A push?  But what about the engine?”

He laughs. “The engine is fine. I don’t think it needs an upgrade at all. The ones made in 1940 aren’t all that better than 1950, anyway. They just need some more external horsepower.  A push.”

“Well, a push might help me get some speed as I leave the shop, but what about in the days ahead?”

“That’s exactly what I was thinking,” Johnny exclaims. “A permanent pusher from the government, this little device right here, could attach on top of your hood.  It’s called the G-pusher, which will siphon off some energy from your axle, then circulate it right back into the engine. Nice, eh?”

You hesitate. Not an expert on auto mechanics, but doesn’t what Johnny just offered seem like circular reasoning? Plus, won’t that extra weight slow things down even more…

“Worried about the cost, are you?” asks Johnny K the mechanic. “That’s the best part. It’s free. The authorities have authorized me to attach this baby at no cost to you. And maybe you’re thinking you want to upgrade your engine’s horsepower. Now listen here, internal horsepower can only get you so far. When it gets weak, only simplistic old school logic says that we should ‘fix’ the internal horsepower, but that’s all wrong. Takes time to upgrade all this little motions. What you need is to get right back on the road with some external horsepower. Once that happens, well, the internal stuff will work itself out. I’m sure of it. Shall I draw up the calculations?”

“Gee, that’s awfully nice.  But no, err, no that’s not it.  I just had a question. Just, well, wondering what if it doesn’t work out there in the real world?”

“Already thought of that one, my friend. If the pusher doesn’t help you accelerate to greater aggregate motion – which theory says is mathematically impossible – then bring the car right back here next week for a double dose of a boosting your aggregate motion. We’ll install a bigger pusher called Timely-Targeted-Temporary. Might be messy, but be patient. Just be patient.”

2 responses to “Parable of the Auto Repair

  1. This is just PERFECTLY written. Would you mind if I re-posted to my blog, giving you full credit? We have a lot of auto repair shop owners connected to us on Facebook, and I think they would appreciate the sharing this analogy/ parable.

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