Another snippet from my Dreamscape:
They had a dream. Several of the worlds largest corporations like Sony, Hitachi, Microsoft, McDonalds, and American Express, would collaborate on bringing the first truly inexpensive car to market.
The goal: A basic model car, with all of the *most* needed safety and performance features that could be purchased for roughly half what a minimum wage worker in the Western World would bring in over 12 months. It would be called ‘The Basic’ and would revolutionize societies. Finally, even the lowest class could have a vehicle they could afford to own and operate.
They slaved away for months and poured in Hundreds of millions of dollars before they finally realized “It”. After almost a year of trial promotions, surveys, and research, they had found that No one would buy their car.
No one in the first world countries anyhow. Oh sure, the environmentalists and upper crust *talked* about how great it would be to have such a fuel efficient, low operative cost vehicle, just so long as theirs had more features, More elegance. That was why the latest “Eco-friendly” cars cost as much as a small house.
Middle class families felt it was just to “cheap”, and even the lower-class groups indicated an unreasoning hostility to the idea that such a car was “all they could afford”. They felt they deserved so much more, Dammit! How Dare these corporations assume to undertake such a thing! It was like saying they weren’t capable of buying a ‘real’ car. (Even though economic models showed they couldn’t.)
So these corporations, properly chastened, slunk back to their respective financial citadels and went back to doing what had made them so rich in the first place; providing costly toys for the masses. The World was once again safe from altruism.