Kunstler’s forecast for 2013: Contraction, Contagion, and Contradiction (Part 1)

  • Published on December 31st, 2012

By James Howard Kunstler

(Today we talked about the ghost of peak oil past; tomorrow we talk about the fracked-up global present, and Wednesday we take a look at what is yet to come, and make a few predictions.)

The people who like to think they are managing the world’s affairs seem fiercely determined to ignore the world’s true condition — crystal ball Some rights reserved by griraffesnamely, the permanent contraction of industrial economies.

They just can’t grok it. Two hundred years of cheap fossil fuel programmed mankind to expect limitless goodies forever on an upward-swinging arc of techno miracles. Now that the cheap fossil fuels have plateaued, with decline clearly in view, the hope remains that all the rackets of modernity can keep going on techno miracles alone.

Meanwhile, things and events are in revolt, especially the human race’s financial operating system, the world’s weather, and the angry populations of floundering nations.

The Grand Vizier of this blog, that is, Yours Truly, makes no great claims for his crystal ball gazing (Dow at 4,000 – ha!), but he subscribes to the dictums of two wise men from the realm of major league baseball: Satchel Paige, who famously stated, “Don’t look back,” and Yogi Berra, who remarked of a promising rookie, “His whole future’s ahead of him!”

In that spirit, and as for looking back, suffice it to say that in 2012, the world’s managers — and by this I do not mean some occult cabal but the visible leaders in politics, banking, business, and news media — pulled out all the stops to suppress the appearance of contraction, and in so doing only supplied more perversion and distortion to the train of events that leads implacably to an agonizing workout, or readjustment of reality’s balance sheet.

There’s a fair chance that these restraints will unravel in 2013, exposing civilization to a harsh new leasing agreement with its landlord, the Planet Earth.

Read the book

On a personal note, I published a book in 2012 titled Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology, and the Fate of the James Howard Kunstler: Too much magicNation. By an interesting coincidence, folks in the USA were engaged that year in manifold strenuous exercises in wishful thinking:

  • The fantasies of “energy independence”
  • The belief that central bank interventions could take the place of productive economic activity
  • The idea that winks, suggestions, and guidelines were an adequate substitute for the rule of law
  • The omnipresent mantra invoking “technology” as the sovereign remedy for every problem of existence (including the problems caused by technology)
  • The dominions of utter stupidity where climate change deniers hold hands with the funders of “creation” museums.

Since wishful thinkers, by definition, are allergic to arguments against wishfulness, my book failed to make an impression. Anyway, gales of propaganda were blowing across the land, especially from the oil and gas fraternity, with the added cognitive dissonance hoopla of a presidential election — so the public was left wishfully bamboozled as it whirled around the drain of its hopes and dreams.

-> Next page: Yes, peak oil is real (and a BIG problem)

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