Stop Signs

Cars and Capitalism on the Road to Economic, Social and Ecological Decay

By Yves Engler and Bianca Mugyenyi  

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In North America, human beings have become enthralled by the automobile: A quarter of our working lives are spent paying for them; communities fight each other for the right to build more of them; our cities have been torn down, remade and planned with their needs as the overriding concern; wars are fought to keep their fuel tanks filled; songs are written to praise them; cathedrals are built to worship them. In Stop Signs: Cars and Capitalism on the Road to Economic, Social and Ecological Decay, authors Yves Engler and Bianca Mugyenyi argue that the automobile’s ascendance is inextricably linked to capitalism and involved corporate malfeasance, political intrigue, backroom payoffs, media manipulation, racism, academic corruption, third world coups, secret armies, environmental destruction and war. When we challenge the domination of cars, we also challenge capitalism. An anti-car, road-trip story, Stop Signs is a unique must-read for all those who wish to escape the clutches of auto insanity.

“Bianca Mugyenyi and Yves Engler’s Stop Signs is at one and the same time an entertaining, fact-filled anthropological tour of the land of Homo Automomotivis, and the first all-out global ecological critique of the American automobile addiction.”

— John Bellamy Foster, co-author, The Ecological Rift

“With wit and originality, Mugyenyi and Engler weave travel tales into a convincing argument against the auto economy, culminating with a fresh call to leave car culture behind.”

— Katie Alvord, author of Divorce Your Car! Ending the Love Affair with the Automobile

“This book is a must read for anyone who wants to understand the impact of the private automobile on our urban transportation options.”

— David Cadman, Vancouver city councilor, International President ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability

“You come away shaken, but ready to roll up your sleeves and to contribute, however modestly, to constructing a new world in the 21st century.”

— Richard Bergeron, Montreal city councilor, urban planner and author

“Probably the most comprehensive assessment of the power of the automobile… Stop Signs is a powerful tool for raising awareness of the multiple and self-reinforcing ways automotivism dominates us.”

— Carbusters

“A stocking stuffer that might possibly reform, or more likely honk off, your favorite gas-guzzling SUV owner.”

— Chicago Tribune

“Stop Signs takes the myriad problems associated with a world obsessed with cars and wraps them up in a concise, compelling, and at times even funny, plea to quit the automobile.”

— Canadian Dimension

Contents

  • Freedom from Cars or Freedom for Cars—Ft. Lauderdale
  • Driven Round the Bend—St. Louis
  • Vehicular Homicide—Chicago
  • Vroom, Vroom, Cough, Cough—El Paso
  • Cars Make You Fat—San Antonio
  • Good-bye, Downtown—Mobile
  • Billboards—Everywhere
  • Parking Is a Losing Game—Atlantic City
  • People Are Obstacles to Progress—Atlanta
  • Auto-Eroticism—Miami
  • The State Religion—Salt Lake City
  • Behind the Wheel It’s Me, Myself and I—Portland
  • Fueling the Fire—Baton Rouge
  • Driving Global Warming—New Orleans
  • An Insatiable Thirst for Land—Phoenix
  • Tankers,Transit and Terror—New York
  • Inefficiency Pays—Flagstaff
  • An Industry’s Power
  • If You Take on the Car, You Take on Its Friends
  • Self-Interest, Bullying and a Willingness to Break the Law
  • If You Can’t Find a Market, Create One
  • Control the Message
  • Teach Your Children Well
  • Senator, I’d Like to Take You for a Ride
  • Public Subsidies for Private Gain
  • Spinning the Keynesian Wheel
  • Conclusion—Capitalism and Cars Will Drive Us to Extinction
  • Bibliography

Authors

  • Yves Engler

    Former Vice President of the Concordia Student Union, Yves Engler has been dubbed “one of the most important voices on the Canadian Left today” (Briarpatch), “in the mould of I.F. Stone” (Globe and Mail), “ever-insightful” (rabble.ca) and a “Leftist gadfly” (Ottawa Citizen). His six books have been praised by Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, William Blum, Rick Salutin and many others. “Yves became a foreign-policy expert by working as a night doorman in Montreal…He’s in the mould of I. F. Stone, who wasted no time with politicians, who all have an agenda, but went instead straight to the public record.” - Rick Salutin, Globe and Mail

  • Bianca Mugyenyi

    Bianca Mugyenyi was born in Uganda in 1980 and came to Canada as a child. Mugyenyi spent parts of her youth in Swaziland, Kenya and England. She is coordinator of Concordia’s Gender Advocacy Centre and was the Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students (Quebec).