Monday, August 06, 2012

too much magic: wishful thinking, technology, and the fate of the nation



kazibookreview | In his latest non-fiction work, James Howard Kunstler delivers a sobering message about what a post-oil society might look like and how we got ourselves into this situation.

Too Much Magic is both a history lesson and a warning. The warning concerns how we as a society will have to deal with a world where cheap, plentiful oil is a thing of the past. The history lesson is all about how we came to live in such an oil-dependent society bent on expanding its suburbs to infinity.

Kunstler is also the author of 2005 book The Long Emergency which dealt with similar topics: the passing of peak oil production, climate change, and the reorganization of society in a lower-energy environment. He argues that advances in technology cannot replace dwindling fossil fuels in our economy, and we are unwilling as a people to prepare or plan for this eventuality.

One of Kunstler’s major beliefs is that the result of a lack of oil will be a necessary restructuring of our society on a more local basis. Geographical areas will have to be responsible for producing their own food and water. Waterways will become important again as a means of transportation, and people will have to adjust their living situations to be close to such waterways. He also advocates a more robust national rail system, as that may be the only way to reliably travel long distances quickly once our oil supply is gone.

Another main argument is that alternative energies such as wind and solar cannot produce enough energy to replace what we burn in oil right now. Also, the equipment needed to harvest these energies requires some form of fossil fuels to be used in the first place. Kunstler is not against trying what we can, but he feels that any of that will be a “transitory phase of history” before we settle into a “low-energy,” more local society. Another effect is that major parts of the country (such as the southwest) may become uninhabitable as we won’t have the electricity to pump water and run air conditioning in these areas.

16 comments:

Michael Varian Daly said...

http://earlywarn.blogspot.com/2012/08/total-available-renewable-resource.html

CNu said...

The goodness was in the comments MVD. Thanks!

Big Don said...

U start slurping up and re-distributing that much naturally incident energy and there will be climate change you won't believe. All the wind energy basically comes from the sun. Wind rain/snow and evaporation patterns would all change. River flows, agriculture, marine life all would be significantly affected. Best approach would be to delete all the parasites then energy demands would reduce to equal or below existing resources.....


OTOH, if you could remove enough energy from the wind, you probably wouldn't have to sweat tornadoes in Kansas City.....

CNu said...

It is imperative that we begin with the geriatric parasites. Oh, and, we never sweat tornadoes in KC. (at least I don't) That's pretty much a Kansas phenomenon...., and I grew up in the middle of Kansas and know very well whereof I speak.

Big Don said...

....As someone whom BD is certain can appreciate the need for Equality, it is imperative that the Parasite Deletion proceed in a Discrimination-free environment without protected classes. For openers just pull the plug on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, HUD, HEW, Section8, Headstart, FoodStamps/EBT, Americans With Disabilities Act, EEOC, Unemployment, Obamacare, Obamaphones, Federal Housing loans, farm subsidies, etc....None of that kind of thing existed before 1930(?) or so, and self-sufficient folks got along just fine. Strong nuclear families took care of their own aged and infirm. Just go back to the way it was before the country got soft. You would see medical costs and college tuition drop like a rock to keep the existing Medical Industrial and Educational Industrial Complexes alive. Home loans would be a private deal between you and the corner bank who could loan or not without any gov't intervention. Similarly, a job would be a private arrangement between you and your employer who could ask any question they want, give any test they want, and hire, or not, depending on your perceived value, again without any gov't intervention........


This election year, you Really Do Have A Choice. For President, just write in "Big Don". You will hear our solution for the prisons and drug enforcement after the election. In the contemporary stylish manner of The Office, think "Executive Order"..........

Dale Asberry said...

I'm surprised you'd recommend pulling the plug on HeadStart as it's cheap, keeps the L00zers off the streets, and, actually increases the IQ of some kids. But what can I say, BD is on a roll!


Ohnoes! I just realized that you left out Federal Student Aid! Now that would reduce college tuition!

Big Don said...

Doesn't that go bye-bye with HEW...??

Dale Asberry said...

I'm voting for BD! He clearly isn't influenced by the Big Moneyed Interests!

Big Don said...

...anyway, you can't expect a 5-minute platform to catch it all. There was an "etc." on the end, if you noticed, to permit (again in the popular political jargon)...Evolution....

Dale Asberry said...

Oh snap! He completely left out the biggest welfare recipients of all... the warsocialists. Donnie, are you influenced by the defense industrial complex? Would you allow them to sway your opinion?

Big Don said...

Defense is Nr 1. They get BD's complete support.

Dale Asberry said...

Say it ain't so! How can you stand behind multi-multi-multi-billion dollar boondoggles like the Future Combat Systems, the Advanced Tactical Fighter, or DDX? Think of how many HI-Q students that could've had full ride scholarships for how many decades instead of these completely useless, can't-throw-it-on-the-scrap-heap-fast-enough defense projects? Hell, just taking your perspective, we could've made enough bombs to completely carpet bomb Iraq and Afghanistan for that kind of money!

Dale Asberry said...

Really? ?

Big Don said...

Platform Item: The Budget will be balanced. e.g., Eliminating ADC, Section8, and EBT-swipage will buy all the IQ-160 scholarships needed....

CNu said...

There was no military industrial congressional complex before WW-II - and if I recall correctly the entire standing U.S. Armed forces numbered less than 125,000 enlisted men and 12,000 commissioned officers - by act of congress in 1921.

Jacques T said...

I suggest that you read another book called TOO MUCH MAGIC that came out a year before Kunstler’s book. It is called “TOO MUCH MAGIC: Pulling the Plug on the Cult of Tech" by Jason Benlevi. It has much more original thesis about the digital one percent and the overwhelming influence they will have on our future. http://www.toomuchmagic.com

Honestly Not Sure How A Turd Like This Calls Itself A Scholar.....,

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