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James Howard Kunstler: The “coming” collapse? We’ve been collapsing since 2005.

General Ideas

I suppose many who think about the prospect of economic collapse imagine something like a Death Star implosion that simply obliterates the normal doings of daily life overnight, leaving everybody in a short, nasty, brutish, Hobbesian free-for-all that dumps the survivors in a replay of the Stone Age — without the consolation of golden ages yet to come that we had the first time around.

Financialization money meltdownThe collapse of our techno-industrial set-up has actually been going on for some time, insidiously and corrosively, without shattering the scaffolds of seeming normality, just stealthily undermining them. I’d date the onset of it to about 2005 when the world unknowingly crossed an invisible border into the terra incognita of peak oil, by which, of course, I mean oil that societies could no longer afford to pull out of the ground. It’s one thing to have an abundance of really cheap energy, like oil was in 1955. But when the supply starts to get sketchy, and what’s left can only be obtained at an economic loss, the system goes quietly insane.

In the event, popular beliefs and behavior have turned really strange. We do things that are patently self-destructive, rationalize them with doctrines and policies that don’t add up, and then garnish them with wishful fantasies that offer hypothetical happy endings to plot lines that do not really tend in a rosy direction. The techno-narcissistic nonsense reverberating through the echo-chambers of business, media, and government aims to furnish that nostrum called “hope” to a nation that simply won’t admit darker outcomes to the terrible limits facing humanity.

Thus, we have the Tesla saga of electric motoring to save the day for our vaunted way of life (i.e. the landscape as demolition derby), the absurd proposals to colonize distant, arid, frigid, and airless Mars as a cure for ruining this watery blue planet ideally suited for our life-form, and the inane “singularity” narratives that propose to replace grubby material human life with a crypto-gnostic data cloud of never-ending cosmic orgasm. The psychological desperation is obvious. Apparently, there are moments in history when flying up your own butt-hole is the most comforting available option.

I expect the collapse to pick up more momentum as we turn the corner around summer. The system that we have most willfully abused and perverted is finance. This monster that so many observers call “capitalism” is just a set of methods for managing surplus wealth — the catch being that nothing nearly this complex has ever been seen before in history and is a pure product of the 200-year-long industrial orgy driven by fossil fuels. That is, the world never before accumulated so much surplus wealth in such a short span of time. We commonly refer to this dynamic as “growth.” When that growth, as expressed in modern GDP terms, slowed dramatically after 2005, we launched an array of clever mechanisms to keep faking it for a while. Racking up immense debt was our way of faking it. If you can’t cover your costs in the present, just borrow from the future. Unfortunately, that works only as as long as there’s some reasonable expectation that debt can be paid back. We’re so far beyond that now, it’s not funny. And that realization alone will destroy the bond markets and anything related to and dependent on their operations to function.

This is a broad outline to the coming end of the Trump miracle economy. It was the after effects of the previous debt blowup — the phony-baloney mortgage bond market in 2008 — that mortally wounded the American middle class and put Donald Trump in the White House. His base is correct to feel swindled. That is exactly what happened to them, and the beat goes on now with securitized sub-prime auto loans. Throw in the horrific burdens of unpayable and non-dischargable college loans that will ruin millions of lives and pricey health insurance with $5000 deductibles and you have a  recipe for a complete loss of faith in the system.

The next debt blowup will be the end of Mr. Trump’s improbable credibility. It may also be the beginning of serious difficulty in being able to get many of the goods of daily life, because the producers of things will be very unsure of getting paid on delivery of just about anything. A freeze up of short-term lending would quickly lead to empty WalMart shelves and “no gas” signs at the filling  stations. That’s when collapse finally goes kinetic, and becomes something more than just bad feelings and inane ideas.


86 Comments on "James Howard Kunstler: The “coming” collapse? We’ve been collapsing since 2005."

  1. MASTERMIND on Thu, 12th Jul 2018 5:30 pm 


    If the US collapses it will bring down the whole world economy..You are so naive and ignorant its almost unbelievable..

    Then I remember you inhaled lead in your gasoline for several decades and that lowered your IQ substantially..

  2. MASTERMIND on Thu, 12th Jul 2018 5:31 pm 


    Why don’t you go watch wheel of fortune..I think your diaper needs changing..

    And your family wants nothing to do with you..Nobody loves you..

  3. Makati1 on Thu, 12th Jul 2018 5:38 pm 

    Cloggie, the EU is dying along with the Us. There will be lies and promises but no real “build up” of anything, except debt, until it all collapse’. The alternate is a war which will not be tanks and troops but missiles and nukes. That’s how I see it.

  4. MASTERMIND on Thu, 12th Jul 2018 5:41 pm 


    Everywhere on earth will be impacted by the collapse..Since everywhere needs natural non renewable resources to survive..And when the nuke plants melt down..The spent fuel ponds will explode and it will be a total extinction event..You are so naive and can’t see the big picture.

  5. Makati1 on Thu, 12th Jul 2018 6:02 pm 

    MM, again you expose your lack of intelligence, thought or knowledge of the real world. My neighbors at the farm will not miss anything. One has no electric or indoor plumbing now, They grow most of their own food. Make most of the things they need. No phone, TV, internet, etc. How will they notice a collapse of the money system? They have/use little. They can barter for what they need, when the time comes. They already do that.

    The farmhouse is being built to not need electric or pumped water. Rain will provide all we need and gravity will make the bath and kitchen facilities work, We already grow a variety of food and have a lot of room to grow much more. A year-round growing season.

    No cold season so no need for heating (70F- 90F). Cooling is done by the prevailing wind and many windows to open. Yes, the internet will be gone, and maybe the cell phones, but they did not exist for most of my 74 years so I know I can live without them. Can you? Billions will manage to go on just fine after. The Us, not so much.

  6. GregT on Thu, 12th Jul 2018 6:05 pm 

    Give it a rest MM.

    People have had more than enough of your childish little copy and paste comments.

  7. Makati1 on Thu, 12th Jul 2018 6:14 pm 

    BTW MM: I don’t rot my brain by watching TV. I don’t own one. Have not owned or watched one for over 18 years. I couldn’t tell you who most “celebrities” are, what programs there are, or even what channels there are.

    As for my family, we are just as close now as before. They live all over the Us so I would only see them once a year even if I lived in the Us. After the collapse even that might not be possible. The internet makes travel unnecessary. And, yes they love me and are interested in my new life here.

    We are a close knit family, even apart, but you would not understand. You will never experience having and raising a family so you will never know. You are still an immature, arrogant, selfish, uneducated loser and you always will be.

  8. Davy on Thu, 12th Jul 2018 6:17 pm 

    “China consumes about 2/3 the resources that the Us consumes.”

    3rd world is having another senior moment:

  9. GregT on Thu, 12th Jul 2018 6:27 pm 

    There is nobody on this forum with the username “3rd world” Davy. Surely you aren’t that dense, are you?

  10. Boat on Thu, 12th Jul 2018 6:48 pm 


    I can’t survive without all the modern world has to offer. The homes and businesses that pay me to fix, expand or renovate pay for my skills that allows me to pay for my suppliers products.
    You have to be much more efficient here in the US to survive. To code to boot. You can cheer dumbing down but it seems like a silly excuse not to change with the times and provide the best job at the cheapest price. Home, truck, tools health care and labor included.

  11. Makati1 on Thu, 12th Jul 2018 7:04 pm 

    Boat, then you will die. Simple, yes?

    That is why the Us is going to suffer much more than the Ps. People like you that cannot survive without BAU. You will be among the first millions to go. Sorry!

  12. Makati1 on Thu, 12th Jul 2018 7:09 pm 

    Greg, He is lost in his delusional world full time now.

    China, with 4 times the Us population, has a GDP (Consumption) of about $12T and the Us has a GDP (Consumption) of about $18T. Last time I looked, 12 was 2/3 of 18. 18 was 50% higher than 12. Is he using the “new math”? Per capita, the Chinese consume lot less resources than Americans.

  13. MASTERMIND on Thu, 12th Jul 2018 7:33 pm 


    It is not possible to defend a farm… attackers will kill you when you venture out to weed or sow or harvest… they will get into your farm at night and raid the crop and kill the animals..

    How f789iing difficult is it for DPs to understand this? You really have to have something seriously wrong upstairs not to get it..

  14. Makati1 on Thu, 12th Jul 2018 7:44 pm 

    MM, I do not expect to have to “defend” the farm. It is not going anywhere. The food grown there will be shared with the neighbors then as now. We do not grow crops for income. It is for self-sufficiency and fun. When you share, you will not be robbed. It would be to no advantage to anyone. Think about that.

    Only in the Us, where few are self-sufficient, and guns are everywhere, will you be robbed. One of the reasons I no longer live there. You are so ignorant of the world outside the US MSM Iron Curtain. All you get fed is propaganda.

  15. MASTERMIND on Thu, 12th Jul 2018 8:36 pm 


    Maybe you can sing koombaya and thump a drum when the mobs of angry folk coming after you..

    You are so dense and unsophisticated..

  16. GregT on Thu, 12th Jul 2018 8:47 pm 

    We all understand how much you care about others MM, and thanks for your concern, but I would be far more concerned about myself if I was you, then worrying so much about everybody else.

  17. Makati1 on Thu, 12th Jul 2018 9:30 pm 

    “You are so dense and unsophisticated..”

    Wow! That coming from the poster boy of both! I’m impressed! NOT! LMAO

  18. GregT on Thu, 12th Jul 2018 9:35 pm 

    MM cares about you and your life a lot Makati, that much is obvious. Some guys just have difficulties with showing affection.

    My understanding is that it usually stems from homophobia, and I’m sure most of us are aware of the stats on homophobes.

  19. MASTERMIND on Thu, 12th Jul 2018 10:35 pm 

    Finally got engaged

  20. Cloggie on Fri, 13th Jul 2018 12:15 am 

    “Who gets Britain” latest…

    Trump in the defensive against May:

    It is getting more obvious with every passing day that May is a closet-Remainer, masquerading as a Brexiteer.

    The Trumpert would love to have Britain as a private little colony for himself, but May knows the numbers and real dependencies. She is acting rational. Free access to the common market is worth a few billions per year alright, where 40% or so of British output is going to, not to mention all these HQs and employment that could be tempted to move to the continent in case of a hard Brexit.

    We all know that the average DailyMail reader would love to return to the 19th century, with Britain being the dominant power in this world and Germany non-existent, but that world doesn’t exist anymore.

    Instead Britain will need to fight for its own existence, where the new enemy is the third world in combination with the Anglo-Zionist over-class of the West, a consequence of Britain hanging out with the wrong people in 1939 and Chamberlain losing to Churchill.

    In somewhat unrelated news, John Cleese is leaving Britain for good, he says:

    He has enough of the island and its press and is moving to another island in the Caribbean:

    The island is majority black, but I’m sure that hierarchies are still satisfactorily, from a British viewpoint.

    The same man who deplored that London is no longer English…

    …is now moving to an even blacker island, albeit with better weather.

    John Cleese, the hero of the Left. Dutch folks can’t get enough of him:

    I have meanwhile my reservations. Thanks for all the good laughs John over the past decades, but I have stopped laughing now that your leftist kind has turned the entire country in a joke.

  21. Dooma on Fri, 13th Jul 2018 2:09 am 

    Davy, a.k.a Captain America, please MYOB? By labelling me as “background noise”, you automatically infer that you are the leading authority. God help us all if that was the case!

    By opening your trap, you validate my comments about the suspect quality of American education monetised scam. As usual, the truth not ever part of any retort.

    “Stupid Australians, just got to show how big and tough they are”. WTF Davy? Wow, you are really on a tangent there. I like Stupid Australians, except it just doesn’t have the same ring as “loud-mouth Yanks”. I still think Dumba is your best work yet and would be right at home on one of your shit-coms complete with canned laughter.

    Now run along and suck some farts out of your horses.

  22. Dooma on Fri, 13th Jul 2018 2:17 am 

    Ahhh Mastermind, if you finally pass toilet training, you can get someone to play with your poo.

    The drunk guy that didn’t pull out of your mum in time will attest that when it comes to fun with scat, she’s a gem.

  23. Makati1 on Fri, 13th Jul 2018 3:31 am 

    Both are jewels of putdowns, Dooma. ^_^

  24. Davy on Fri, 13th Jul 2018 3:38 am 

    Dumba, this is the internet so acting tough means nothing. You are irrelevant on this board because you drop in once a month and say nothing of substance. You don’t make an impact with the contribution of knowledge. You are just here to kick the dog. This is why I consider you noise.

  25. Davy on Fri, 13th Jul 2018 3:47 am 

    3rd world, don’t you have a farm to work on? We don’t hear much about the fantasy farm anymore. I bet it failed to materialize. When I used to go to the Bahamas the place was full of half built farms. People didn’t have access to banks so they started projects that never materialized. I bet you don’t have shit and now you are stuck in the little town of Infanta with nothing to do but roam the internet.

  26. Makati1 on Fri, 13th Jul 2018 4:19 am 

    The farm does not take much labor. It’s premature oriented. A few hours in the cool AM and then the day is free for whatever. Keep guessing at the location. so far you are way off.

    The farmhouse is being built by the construction crew, managed by my business partner. A working foreman, two masons and two laborers, lunch provided by us. Less than P2,500 per day TOTAL for five, or about $50. You cannot even hire a laborer for three hours for that amount in Police State Amerika. That’s $1,200/month for four, six day weeks. And it is all concrete, steel and masonry. No wood or plastics. And all done with manual labor.

    You used to do shit. You have lied about so much n=here, Davy, no one believes you anymore, if ever.

    I might add that the farm and house is all being done with cash, no loans. It’s amazing how much P5,000,000. will buy here. A 2,000 sf, two story rock solid house with all of the Western luxuries, a fish pond, a half mile graveled road and 200A power line. LOL

  27. Makati1 on Fri, 13th Jul 2018 4:23 am 

    Davy: “…this is the internet so acting tough means nothing.”

    Really? Then why do you act tough and arrogant if it means nothing? Frustrated that you cannot reach out and hit us? Awww! Go punch a goat and give up on here. LMAO

  28. Makati1 on Fri, 13th Jul 2018 4:27 am 

    “OUTBREAK ALERT: Viral Illness That Infects Children SPREAD In Virginia”

    “A contagious virus which infects children is spreading through Virginia. Childcare providers and schools are sounding the alarms after several hundred cases of “hand, foot, and mouth” disease have sickened young kids.”

    Slip slidin’…

  29. Dooma on Fri, 13th Jul 2018 7:29 pm 

    Yeah Davy, but no. My comments get you upset because they have more than an ounce of truth in them.

    I don’t sit on here, hogging the board with non-stop babble about things such as “China is bad!”.

    You are ill-informed in your American bubble.

  30. Makati1 on Fri, 13th Jul 2018 7:38 pm 

    Dooma, most Americans are so thoroughly brainwashed that they cannot see the bars surrounding them or the real world outside. Those who get a bit of truth reject it either because they don’t believe it…conditioning… or it scares them to death so they deny. I had to move out of Police State America to get a clear picture of world events. After 10+ years, I know I made the correct decision.

  31. Davy on Fri, 13th Jul 2018 7:43 pm 

    dumba, you just another stupid millennial like mastermind and anonymouse1. You guys are proof the world has little hope to find from your generation. SAD

  32. Davy on Fri, 13th Jul 2018 7:45 pm 

    3rd world, how many times have you said the same thing? You are definitely going full time senior. HILARIOUS

  33. Makati1 on Fri, 13th Jul 2018 7:59 pm 

    As I said yesterday, the cage is tightening…

    “You Now Can’t Leave the U.S. Unless the IRS Lets You”

    Slip slidin’…

  34. MASTERMIND on Fri, 13th Jul 2018 8:13 pm 


    Davy is scared of the truth..Life has made his soft..

    I mean this is how dumb the boomer generation is..They fall for scams over the phone where scammers tell them they are the IRS and they will be arrested if they don’t give them their credit card information..

    The WW2 generations hard times, created good times, which created boomers..And boomers good times, turned them into soft people, who created hard times for their children..

  35. MASTERMIND on Fri, 13th Jul 2018 8:19 pm 


    Its good they aren’t letting tax cheats leave the country..You are so obsessed with bashing America..I think you have OCD..Whats the point of moving half way around the world if you are going to dwell on your old country 24/7..Maybe you should turn the page and move on with your life..

  36. Makati1 on Fri, 13th Jul 2018 8:50 pm 

    Tax cheats? LMAO! The tax cheats are the multi-nat corporations owned by your masters. You have your head so far up your ass that truth and reality are not even possible for you to understand. Keep protecting the police state that you inhabit. It will turn and bite YOU someday soon.

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