Just look at all those stories about what will be happening in the next century, and imagine their impact on the automobile industry. We'll start to see these things in the next few years.
The growth of the home office is going to explode in the next decade. In our small company, many people already are interested in working from home rather than in the office. I think it takes a special sort of self-starter to do that, but those folks are growing in number by leaps and bounds. Home workers miss a lot of opportunities for interaction with their colleagues, but everything is a trade-off.
Imagine the profound impact on our country if a large percentage of office folks did their work on their home computers, fax machines and telephones. First, what would happen to real estate developers? They would see their growth curtailed by a lot. Companies would see substantial savings in real estate costs as the need for housing workers would drop, or at least not rise. The folks who manufacture desks and copy machines and office partitions would be hurt, but some of the loss would be counterbalanced by individuals who will be buying desks and copy machines for their home offices.
And we can start right now to think about stopping the construction of new highways. Almost all highway construction is a response to rush-hour traffic. If that decreases, then do we really need all those new highways? Highway construction dollars could be redirected into repair, which is desperately needed for most of the country.
Now think about the automobile industry and all the profound changes the home office trend could cause. If people stop commuting, then obviously the amount of usage of the personal automobile will go down, and with it the need for automotive service. But a lot of people just won't see the need for exchanging their little-used automobile for a new one.
Not all of this is for sure. But it certainly appears likely that we are going to see more and more people working out of their homes. What that really means for the automobile and transportation industries remains to be seen, but when it happens, it will create a lot of change.