Seth Godin has a provocative question:
The thing about China is that the government isn’t shy about being authoritarian.
So what if the Chinese government decided to decree what it meant for something to be legally sold as a car?
He goes on to list some smart features that they could legislate into all their cars to make them safer and more environmentally friendly. Then suggests we apply the same model to lots of industries, arguing that a lot of them need to be reversioned. Good thought provocation. What I like is his attention to the externalities, the adverse community impact of selfish, status-driven car buying.
Actually, such an approach would be death to a lot of advertising that is almost wholly reliant on status games to cajole us into buying stuff.