Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Kunstler: The Futility Economy

This is the economy that will tear the United States apart, after it bankrupts us at every level, and mercilessly drives the population down by one-third through starvation, homelessness, violence, disease, and sheer political cruelty.

SHOOT: If all this sounds overly 'negative' and 'pessimistic' to you you're in for a major Reality Check. Even if it doesn't, if it sounds rational, I think we're all in for a collective shock when things become properly unglued. It's started. What we can do is manage, and control - hopefully - our response. Don't turn to alcohol, or violence. Invest in communities, in healthy, sustainable living, and probably most important of all - being honest with yourself.
clipped from kunstler.com
     It's the first business day of the new year and oil is trading above $80 a barrel, which means the price has re-entered the danger zone where it can crush industrial economies. This is a central element of the predicament we find ourselves in. The US economy is essentially a Happy Motoring economy.  During the whole nervous period since the collapse of Lehman Brothers, American gasoline consumption hardly went down at all, though so many other activities collapsed, from house-building to trucking. Yesterday, The Seattle Times published a story with the idiotic headline: Oil Touches $80 on US Economy, Demand Optimism.  Apparently, they think high oil prices are "a good sign." 
How much can a nation not get it? Would $100 oil ignite a new orgy of "consumer" spending and another round of investment in commercial real estate? Welcome to the Futility Economy. This is the economy where Nature and its material companion, Reality, punish us for our stupidity and fecklessness.
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