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The Suppression of the Automobile: Skulduggery at the Crossroads

The Suppression of the Automobile: Skulduggery at the Crossroads

by David R. Beasley


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Contrary to popular belief, the automobile is not a twentieth-century invention. A steam-powered version of this vehicle was in use in Great Britain as early as the 1830s, and both steam- and petroleum-powered automobiles were operating in France and Germany by 1880. This volume traces the world political and economic forces that brought about the suppression of the first steam-powered carriage and the ultimate triumph of the gas-fueled automobile, which has played a crucial role in shaping the modern capitalist economy.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780313261442
Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date: 07/07/1988
Series: Contributions in Economics and Economic History Series , #81
Pages: 194
Product dimensions: 6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

DAVID BEASLEY is a research librarian.

Table of Contents

The Existence of the Steam Carriage

The Company Itself

Chronology of Failure

Was There a Market?

Was Gurney Beaten by His Competitors?

Opposition of the Railroad Interests

The Decisive Importance of Restrictive Tolls

The Interest Group Basis of Restrictive Legislation

Financing the European Railways

The Repression of the Steam Carriage on the Continent and the Development of the Petroleum Automobile

The Breaking of English Capital

The Petroleum Connection

Profitability of the Automobile Relative to the Railway and Canals in France

Technological Determinism as a Mode of Development

The Promotion of Petrol over Steam

The Diffusion of the Petroleum Automobile


Appendix: Cost Comparison Between the Railroad and Steam Carriage

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