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Kunstler: Homework Assignment

General Ideas

Poor old Karl Marx, tortured by boils and phantoms, was right about one thing: History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce. Thus, I give you the Roman Empire and now the United States of America. Rome surrendered to time and entropy. Our method is to drive a gigantic clown car into a ditch. […]

Apocalypse How? Climate Change or Peak Oil, Pick Your Poison!

General Ideas

I don’t know about you, but this wretched summer has burned the climate change denier right out of me, and just in the nick of time, too. Apparently, skeptics who question whether anthropogenic global warming causes more intense hurricanes and heat waves are killing us and should be locked up. They are also — according […]

The Hubbert Game – Teaching the Science of Collapse

General Ideas

  My students playing the “Hubbert Game.” It is a simple operational game illustrating the exploitation of a non-renewable resource and the phenomenon of overshoot and collapse.  In my presentation at the recent Summer Academy of the Club of Rome, I stressed the point that the major stumbling block we face in managing the ongoing crisis […]

The Terror of Deep Time

General Ideas

Back in the 1950s, sociologist C. Wright Mills wrote cogently about what he called “crackpot realism”—the use of rational, scientific, utilitarian means to pursue irrational, unscientific, or floridly delusional goals. It was a massive feature of American life in Mills’ time, and if anything, it’s become more common since then. Since it plays a central […]

Coal Shortage Sends India Scrambling For NatGas

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Big disappointment in the global natural gas industry this week, with majors Total and Eni coming up largely dry in a much-anticipated well offshore Cyprus. But elsewhere things are turning extremely bullish for natgas. With one of the world’s fastest-emerging energy consumers scrambling to get all the supply it can. India.  Local media reported this […]

Kunstler with Neil Howe: How Is “The Fourth Turning” Turning Out?

General Ideas

Neil Howe is a renowned author and speaker on economic, demographic, and social change in America. He is the nation’s leading authority on social generations—who they are, what motivates them, and how they will shape America’s future. Howe is the originator of the term “Millennial Generation” and has written over a dozen books on generations […]

Kunstler: In the Dark

General Ideas

The stock market is zooming this morning on the news that only 5.7 million people in Florida will have to do without air conditioning, hot showers, and Keurig mochachinos at dawn’s early light Monday, Sept 11, 2017. I’m mindful that the news cycle right after a hurricane goes kind of blank for a day or […]

Why We’re Doomed…

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The point is the present system cannot endure. Despite all the happy talk about “recovery” and higher growth, wages have gone nowhere since 2000–and for the bottom 20% of workers, they’ve gone nowhere since the 1970s. Gross domestic product (GDP) has risen smartly since 2000, but the share of GDP going to wages and salaries […]

Kunstler: A Hot Mess

General Ideas

It wasn’t until more than a week after Hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans in 2005 that the full extent of the damage was recognized and so it will go with the hot mess where Houston used to be. Mostly, it is inconceivable that the business activity which made Houston the nation’s fourth largest city […]

When Systemic Uncertainty Meets Fragility – “Then The Whole Contraption Collapses In A Heap…”

When Systemic Uncertainty Meets Fragility – “Then The Whole Contraption Collapses In A Heap…” thumbnail

That’s the problem with fragility: everything looks fine on the surface until a crisis applies pressure. Then the whole rickety contraption collapses in a heap.. Life is inherently uncertain, but systems that were once considered certainties have increasingly become uncertain. Social Security is one example; recent polls reflect widespread doubts among Millennials and Gen-Xers that […]

Better A Year Early Than A Day Too Late

General Ideas

He who hesitates is lost. ~proverb Change, especially a collapse scenario, often happens quite fast. So fast that there’s little to no time to react in the short frenzy between “before” and “after”. This is true throughout nature. Glaciers that took millennia to form calve off into the sea in a matter of moments. Old-growth […]

When The Grid Goes Down…

General Ideas

Let’s just say that the unthinkable becomes the real and happening.  Let’s take this article and go over it.  This will be a segment in three parts, the next ones being immediate actions taken at work and at home.  I’m hitting on traveling first, as there are so many vacationers jaunting around happily over the […]

Is God Serious?

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“How ironic is it that having cornered some seemingly unique absence of reality, adherents cannot tolerate views that cling to a different absence of reality?” We confess we have always found delicious humor in the tall tales that religions tell. If you are a certain kind of Muslim you may believe that the Prophet, may his […]

What Future for the Anthropocene?

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The history of the earth system is normally described in terms of a series of time subdivisions defined by discrete (or “punctuated”) stratigraphic changes in the geological record, mainly in terms of biotic composition (Aunger 2007a, b). The most recent of these subdivisions is the proposed “Anthropocene,” a term related to the strong perturbation of the ecosystem […]

Hate is the New Sex

General Ideas

It occurred to me the other day that there’s a curious disconnect between one of the most common assumptions most of us make about how to make the world better, on the one hand, and the results that this assumption has had when put into practice, on the other. It’s reminiscent of the realization that […]

Heinberg: Are We Doomed?

General Ideas

My most recent essay, in which I discussed a highly publicized controversy over the efficacy of plans for a comprehensive transition to an all-renewable energy future, garnered some strong responses. “If you are right,” one Facebook commenter opined, “we are doomed. Fortunately you are not right.” (The commenter didn’t explain why.) What had I said to […]

Extinction is the System Result

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What a spectacle the peasants make, like children at their first circus, they cheered for Trump. A very entertaining pageant of manipulation, and then to watch the retards realize they were fooled once more. “Perhaps the snowflakes were right,” they mutter darkly. And this thought-piece is not a complaint on my part, the mass manipulation, […]

World War 3 Will Happen In 2040

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In a breaking article, we look forwards 23 years to the outbreak of the final world war. But let us begin at the beginning. In the beginning, there was oil. And then there wasn’t. And it was a disaster for a man. A giant leap backwards for mankind. That’s right folks, it turned out that […]

Is the world really better than ever?

General Ideas

By the end of last year, anyone who had been paying even passing attention to the news headlines was highly likely to conclude that everything was terrible, and that the only attitude that made sense was one of profound pessimism – tempered, perhaps, by cynical humour, on the principle that if the world is going […]

A Collapsing Venezuela Could Jolt Oil Market

General Ideas

Bloomberg Gadfly’s Liam Denning talks about how a collapsing Venezuela could jolt the oil market. Dr. Stafford Broumand, a plastic surgeon at 740 Park Plastic Surgery and the former president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, discusses the growth of the plastic surgery industry and the companies that could benefit. Paul Sweeney, U.S. director […]

A doomed doomsday prediction

General Ideas

Yet another study suggests families can fight climate change by reducing the number of children but a longtime skeptic calls it more scare-mongering. The study published in Environmental Research Letters aligns with warnings that Earth can only survive climate change if people have fewer children, avoid automobiles and airline travel, and switch to a plant-based […]

Peak Oil, Jim’s Blog

General Ideas

If you discover more than ten years of reserves, politicians are apt to take it away from you. So for the last hundred years or so, the world has only had ten years worth of proven oil reserves left and has been about to run out in ten years or so. In fact the world […]

Pi’s tiger and the Anthropocene

General Ideas

Science studies scholar Bruno Latour is fond of the film “Life of Pi” for the metaphor it provides for our current predicament. The main character of the film, Pi, ends up in a lifeboat with a tiger, and not a friendly one. Though Pi builds a raft to give himself distance from the tiger, he […]

“There Is A Dark Side To Our Species” This Is What People Fear The Most In A Societal Collapse…

General Ideas

There are a lot of reasons why people prep for disasters, but there’s one reason that’s far more popular than the others. What people fear most when they think about what would happen if society collapsed, isn’t hunger, disease, or exposure. They fear what other people might do to them when the chips are down. […]

Maya Theater States

General Ideas

“What generally occurs when a civilization over-extends is not a complete disappearance but a rapid decline in complexity.“ Detroit: Theater Ruins  The collapse of the Classic Maya period, around 900 CE, is an active academic field, with many conflicting theories and a mountain of literature. While traveling in the Yucatán we are reading Arthur Demarest’s Ancient […]

The “Seneca Cliff”, how the concept evolved

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  An image taken at a recent meeting in Barcelona. You can see the evolution of the concept of “collapse”, from Malthus to Forrester. The latter can be seen as the true originator of the concept that I call the “Seneca Cliff” or the “Seneca Effect”  Malthus (1766 – 1834) is supposed to be the […]

Nuclear War Is Inevitable Unless Cooler Heads Prevail

General Ideas

As the Syrian and Russian governments accuse the United States of trying to invent reasons to launch an attack in the Middle East, an international group of former military and diplomatic leaders is warning of an “unacceptably high” risk of global nuclear war if cooler heads don’t prevail. In an 11-page report from the Nuclear Crisis Group (NCG) — a subcommittee of Global Zero, […]

The Next Financial Crisis Is Not Far Away

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Recently, a Spanish group called “Ecologist in Action” asked me to give them a presentation on what kind of financial crisis we should expect. They wanted to know when it would be and how it would take place. The answer I had for the group is that we should expect financial collapse quite soon–perhaps as […]

The Ragweed Tribe

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We are at the gatehouse to The Farm, the Welcome Center we set up for greeting guests as they arrive. This day they are coming for the annual homecoming celebration we call Ragweed Days. Our job is not unlike the door greeters’ at WalMart, without the blue vests. We have a tie-dye pouch to hold […]

After Peak Oil, Are We Heading Toward Social Collapse?

After Peak Oil, Are We Heading Toward Social Collapse? thumbnail

Several years ago, Glen Sweetnam, director of the International, Economic and Greenhouse Gas division of the Energy Information Administration at the Department of Energy (DOE), announced that worldwide oil availability had reached a “plateau.” However, his statement was not made known through a major US mainstream media outlet. Instead, it was covered in France’s Le […]

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