Tag: James Howard Kunstler

‘Advanced’ Civilization: The Long Party is Over

Crossposted from Antemedius

Our current way of life is unsustainable. We are the first species that will have to self-consciously impose limits on ourselves if we are to survive.” — Robert Jensen

In 2010 we watched, aghast, as British Petroleum’ s Macondo Well in the Gulf of Mexico blew it’s top and leaked umpteen millions of gallons of raw crude oil into the Gulf, poisoning and killing much of the sealife, ruining gulf coast ecosystems, and destroying a way of life for millions of south coast people.

We watched, as business and political leaders and mainstream media went into paroxysms of delusional denial to cover up the sheer unabashed criminality of the event, and tried to create a reality built of smoke and mirrors in which something approaching “normalcy” would once again reign and we could all just jump into our cars and drive off into the sunset as if nothing important or even noteworthy had happened,  while those business and political “leaders” operate in the delusion that military might, invasions and occupations, and wholesale oppression and killing of millions of people in “other” parts of the world – as if there is more than “one” world – all done using a military that paradoxically is the single largest consumer of energy in the world – will somehow secure a never ending supply of the energy required to keep our “advanced civilization” operating forever.

Remind you of a hampster wheel? Faster and faster to nowhere.

Something Happened?

Something Happened

James Howard Kunstler

truthout op-ed

Tuesday, May 18, the year of the tiger

Everybody in the world is broke, except for maybe Lloyd Blankfein, and he may not end up broke so much as broken — by a political meat-grinder that is revving up to turn the world’s woes and swindles into a new kind of Long Emergency sausage, to be distributed among the roiling, angry masses as a synthetic substitute for nutriment. Call it a synthetic non-collateralized political obligation.

Something snapped in the world last week and a lot of people around the world sensed it — especially in the organs of news and opinion — but this ominous twang was not very clearly identified. It was, in fact, the sound of the financial becoming political. The macro-swindle of a worldwide Ponzi orgy now stands revealed and the vacuum left in its place is about to suck everything familiar into it — standards-of-living, hopes, dreams, not to mention lives. The political action will be a desperate scramble to determine who and what is able to escape getting sucked into this black hole of annihilation. It’s very suddenly shaping up to become an epic in human history.

Meanwhile, a giant oil blob lies quivering in deep waters off the Gulf coast, like some awful amorphous Moby Dick full of malice waiting to sink Pequod America — or at least the economies of five states. A few months from now, the BP corporation will wonder why it didn’t go into something safe and predictable like the pants business instead of oil exploration. They will surely question the viability of conducting future business anywhere near the USA, and the USA will enter a wilderness of soul-searching about the drill-baby-drill strategy that only a few scant weeks ago seemed to be a settled matter. Tough to have your future hoped-for energy supplies evaporate at the same time that your hopes for future prosperity get sucked into a black hole.

I’ve maintained for a long time that the folks down Dixie way are the the most dangerously crazy people in America and the Deepwater Horizon oil blob is not going to improve their outlook when it slops over their beaches and bayous. They’ll blame Obama for it by syllogism. Anyway, they are only marginally more crazy than the rest of the folks in the USA. Those folks are warming up for an election season that is going to send a horde of exterminating angels into the halls of congress and the governor’s mansions, and before too long those merchants of retribution are going to appoint their inquisitors. It’s going to be a heckuva spectacle.

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“Many Americans have already bought their last car”

In his most recent missive, “Presto Change-o“, James Howard Kunstler shares his thoughts on bailing out the big three American automakers.

The dilemma is essentially this: the consumer economy we all knew and loved has died. There will be pressure from nearly every quarter to keep it hooked up to the costly life support machines even though it is dead. A different economy is waiting to be born, but it is nothing like the one that has died. The economy-to-come is one of rigor and austerity. It is not the kind of thing that a nation of overfed clowns is used to. Do we even have a prayer of getting to it, or are we going to squander our dwindling resources on life support for something that is already dead?

A case in point: the car industry. The Big Three, all functionally bankrupt, are now lined up for bail-outs from the treasury’s bottomless checking account. Personally, I believe the age of Happy Motoring is over. Many Americans have already bought their last car — they just don’t know it yet.

The changing reality that is our cratering, consumer-driven economy won’t stop the big three automakers from asking for a bailout.

James Howard Kunstler on ‘What now?’

In his October 20, 2008 essay, James Howard Kunstler gazes into his crystal ball and tries to answer the question: What now? Not surprisingly, he sees a devastating economic reboot.

So, that’s what I think we will get: an interval of deflationary depression followed by a destructive wave of inflation that will wipe out both constructed debt and constructed savings, scraping the financial landscape clean. There’s no question that stage one is underway. But we can be sure the giant wave of money recklessly loaned into existence in just a few weeks time will wash back through the global economy leaving a swath of destruction.

And then what? The societies of the world will be faced with the task of rebuilding systems of fruitful activity, i.e., real economies based on productive behavior rather than the smoke-and-mirrors of Frankenstein-finance con games.

Kunstler thinks people will quickly soon catch on and become an “angry peasant mob” demanding some sort of justice be dealt to the economic Frankensteins who jump started the collapse.