Our friends at WorldChanging have a great post titled: "Peak Oil and the Curse of Cassandra". If you are not familiar with the concept of "peak oil", you should first read this primer, then you really must read WorldChanging's post. Here's the general idea: As we know, not much happened on 01/01/00 despite all the apocalyptic Y2K computer-bug scenarios that flooded the media. The reason for the anti-climax is that people were so scared by all the end-of-time predictions that they actually worked very hard to fix the problem. The hysteria was actually helpful then, and it is possible, as peak oil gets more airtime, that something similar might happen in the near future. Of course, the parallel is not perfect: peak oil can't be solved quietly behind the scenes and it doesn't have a set date like Y2K (it's easier to procrastinate and live in denial). If we want to make the transition as smooth as it can be, radical and very visible changes will have to be made, but as long as people don't feel that the threat is real and are not rightfully concerned, these changes won't take place. So Kunstler & co, keep on being scary! The scarier, the better (but keep it realistic, because a caricature isn't very scary).