James Kunstler on Financial Crisis: There's Another Tsunami Rising On The Horizon

empty gasoline pump photo

photo: Stanley Johnson

Leave it to James Howard Kunstler to remind us of how bad things can still get...With all the volatility on the stock market today, and the dismal U.S. financial news, I thought it appropriate to turn to the post-peak oil apocalypse sage for some words of wisdom. In today’s installment of Clusterf**k Nation , Kunstler continued his ongoing harangue against what he sees as essentially a ponzi scheme writ large on Wall Street, with a slight bit of ‘I told you so’. He then addressed the ‘unseen tsunami’ of energy scarcity looming large behind the financial crisis:Energy ‘Solutions’ Do Not Apply
As anyone who knows Kunstler’s work could guess, that tsunami is peak oil. In his typically direct style, he had this to say about alternative energy and the future of the current US financial system,

The fantasies about alternative energy currently wafting across the American media-scape will not "solve" this problem, much as we wish they might. We'll try everything in a quixotic effort to sustain the unsustainable (that is, the happy motoring consumer society), but we will be disappointed by the results. I try to remind readers that the very concept of "solutions" does not apply in this situation, since it implies that we can keep running things in America just the way we are running them now, only by means other than oil. The truth, in my view, is that we have to run things very differently now, at different scales than the ones we're used to -- but we are too invested in our behavior of the past to move forward. This is certainly unfortunate, because we have everything to gain by letting go of our old habits and obsolete wishes.

It's odd to watch the talking heads on CNBC this morning, parsing endlessly over the latest minutiae of the latest deal for CitiGroup to land on Wachovia like a giant amoeba and begin the gruesome process of digesting its innards. The TV heads are just like the medieval monks trying to explicate the labanotation of x-number of angels dancing on the head of the pin. Religion really is the only metaphor left to discuss the epochal disaster underway right now, because God alone knows where this will take us.

An Opportunity to Move Forward
Whether you believe meltdown is unavoidable or not, Kunstler’s point is valid that this moment should serve as a wake up call that there are fundamental structural problems with the entire development, natural resource use, energy use pattern in the United States. We have an opportunity here, in the midst of financial adversity, to embrace a frugality, a simplicity, an ethos which while it may be arise from economic necessity can ultimately reduce each person’s environmental burden on the planet.

In addressing the immediate issue of financial crisis, we can step forward in a different direction if we choose to. Obviously easier said that done, but it is a matter of overcoming behavioral patterns and consumption patterns which have become ingrained in the American psyche.

via :: :: Clusterf**k Nation
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