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06 September, 2011

James Howard Kunstler: Perestroika

Perestroika - Clusterfuck Nation: "There's a difference, of course, between what this country thinks it needs and what it's going to get. The world has a way of dragging you, kicking and screaming, to where it wants to take you.

We think we need more American oil so we can 'end our dependence on foreign oil.' Despite the PR bullshit you see on CNBC, the oil is not really there in a form that will flow sufficiently to support our completely insane mode of living in cars. I get letters from crazy people every week who tell me that shale oil from the Bakken Formation in Dakota will keep this racket going. Forget about it. Marcellus shale gas? Similar story. These are phantom energy reserves. And we don't have enough capital to throw at it.

The world wants to take us to the place where you don't have to use a car eleven times a day, a different arrangement of things on the landscape than what we're currently stuck with in most of the United States. The American people are not disposed to taking this idea seriously, but we'll get to that place eventually...

... This week, President Obama is on the spot to deliver a Santa Claus sack of 'job initiatives.' What a sad assignment. We're leaving behind that kind of economy, with secure salaried plug-in positions provided by giant corporations and governments. We're headed into a world not of 'jobs' but of vocations, trades, crafts, situations, and a lot of casual labor, largely self-guided by those with who possess a functioning internal compass. Obama can pretend to keep the old way going, but that pretense will be along the same lines as keeping insolvent banks going. The Federal Government can pay people to work repairing highways and bridges but the road system is too big now for even an additional "jobs" crew to stay ahead on maintenance, plus why are we putting these capital and labor resources into gold-plating a car-and-truck system that is going to be functionally obsolete in a few years?...

... At the moment we're trapped in our own gigantism and the 'jobs' pitch is surely going to be just another page out of that. I'd like to hear Mr. Obama tell this country that Job Number One for us is getting more Americans into agriculture at the small, local scale. Translation: dismantle agri-business. Otherwise, we're going to have a lot of starving people across this land. That might seem like a strange destination for America, but I suppose that's why there's all the kicking and screaming..."



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James Howard Kunstler is an author and among the leading voices in the charge to be prepared to change how we live as Peak Oil approaches. He is the author of The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of Oil, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century as well as the fiction novel World Made by Hand: A Novel.

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