Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Kunstler: The "Growth'" Blasphemy

NVDL: To summarise:

- anyone you hear (especially politicians and finance ministers) talking about 'growth' from now on is blowing smoke up your arse
- making sentimental gestures such as 'saving' the auto-industry will be exactly that. Sentimental. The auto-industry is past its zenith. Forever.
- the future is about contraction. We have moved past the peak of our civilisation. This has coincided with the peak use of our resources, resources that were always limited.
- the contraction mentioned above refers also to the number of human beings on the planet. As industires shut down, not only will there be fewer jobs, there'll be less of everything.
- we will have to begin to occupy ourselves in activities that make sense, that have practical value. For example growing things, buildings things, and fixing things.

[The] economy is now in its death throes. The "normality" it represents to so many Americans is gone and can't be brought back, no matter how wistfully we watch it recede.

We have to, so to speak, get to place mentally where we can face the kinds of change that are now necessary and unavoidable. We're not there yet. It's not clear whether the elected new national leadership knows just how severe the required changes will really be. Surely the public would be shocked to grasp what's in store. Probably the worst thing we can do now would be to mount a campaign to stay where we are, lost in raptures of happy motoring and blue-light-special shopping.

The economy we're evolving into will be un-global, necessarily local and regional, and austere. It won't support even our current population. This being the case, the political fallout is also liable to be severe. For one thing, we'll have to put aside our sentimental fantasies about immigration. This is almost impossible to imagine, since that narrative is especially potent among the Democratic Party members who are coming in to run things. A tough immigration policy is exactly the kind of difficult change we have to face. This is no longer the 19th century. The narrative has to change.

NVDL: The same applies in South Africa, where we can no longer afford our laissez fair attitude to Zimbabweans streaming over our borders.

The new narrative has to be about a managed contraction -- and by "managed" I mean a way that does not produce civil violence, starvation, and public health disasters.
One of the telltale signs to look for will be whether the Obama administration bandies around the word "growth." If you hear them use it, it will indicate that they don't understand the kind of change we face.

For the rest of this article, go here.

For more articles from James Kunstler, go to:
Bank Zombification
The sclerosis of American life
The Energy Diet of the Future

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