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Kunstler: Mistaken Futures

Public Policy

And so the Democratic Party has gone and hoisted the flag of “socialism” on the mizzenmast of its foundering hulk as it sets sail for the edge of the world. Bad call by a ship without a captain, and I’ll tell you why. Socialism was the response to a particular set of circumstances in time that drove the rise of industrial societies. Those circumstances are going, going, gone.

The suspicion of industry’s dreadful effects on the human condition first sparked in the public imagination with William Blake’s poem “Jerusalem” in 1804 and its reference to England’s newly-built “dark satanic mills.” Industry at the grand scale overturned everyday life in the Euro-American “West” by the mid-19th century, and introduced a new kind of squalor for the masses, arguably worse than their former status as peasants.

And thus it was to be, through Karl Marx, Vlad Lenin, and the rest of the gang, ever-strategizing to somehow mitigate all that suffering. Their Big Idea was that if government owned the industry (the means of production), then the riches would be distributed equally among the laboring masses and the squalor eliminated. You can’t blame them for trying, though you can blame them for killing scores of millions of people who somehow got in the way of their plans.

Nobody had ever seen anything like this industry before, or had to figure out some way to deal with it, and it was such an enormous force in everyday life thereafter that it shattered human relationships with nature and the planet nature rode in on. Of course, the history of everything has a beginning, a middle, and an end, and we’re closer to the end of the industrial story than we are to the middle.

Which opens the door to a great quandary. If industrial society is disintegrating (literally), then what takes its place? Many suppose that it is a robotic utopia powered by some as-yet-unharnessed cosmic juice, a nirvana of algorithms, culminating in orgasm-without-end (Ray Kurzweil’s transhumanism). Personally, I would check the “no” box on that outcome as a likely scenario.

The self-proclaimed socialists are actually seeing the world through a rear-view mirror. What they are really talking about is divvying up the previously-accumulated wealth, soon to be bygone. Entropy is having its wicked way with that wealth, first by transmogrifying it into ever more abstract forms, and then by dissipating it as waste all over the planet. In short, the next time socialism is enlisted as a tool for redistributing wealth, we will make the unhappy discovery that most of that wealth is gone.

The process will be uncomfortably sharp and disorientating. The West especially will not know what hit it as it emergently self-reorganizes back into something that resembles the old-time feudalism.  We have a new kind of mass squalor in America: a great many people who have nothing to do, no means of support, and the flimsiest notions of purpose in life. The socialists have no answers for them. They will not be “retrained” in some imagined federal crusade to turn meth freaks into code-writers for Google.

Something the analysts are calling “recession” is ploughing across the landscape like one of those darkly majestic dust-storms of the 1930s, only this time we won’t be able to re-fight anything like World War Two to get all the machines running again in the aftermath. Nor, of course, will the Make America Great Again fantasy work out for those waiting in the squalid ruins of the post-industrial rust-belt or the strip-mall wastelands of the Sunbelt.

Most of the beliefs and attitudes of the present day will be overturned with the demise of the industrial orgy, like the idea that humanity follows an unerring arc of progress, that men and women are interchangeable and can do exactly the same work, that society should not be hierarchical, that technology will rescue us, and that we can organize some political work-arounds to avoid the pain of universal contraction.

There are no coherent ideas in the political arena just now. Our prospects are really too alarming. So, jump on-board the socialism ship and see if it makes you feel better to sail to the end of the earth. But mind the gap at the very edge. It’s a doozie.


84 Comments on "Kunstler: Mistaken Futures"

  1. Davy on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 10:46 am 

    The grand socialist platform I am seeing is dead in the water. It requires way too much alteration to the status quo with a nation already divided and getting poorer. Too many opportunities to torpedo any significant socialist policy that deviates too far from normal. On the other hand there are badly needed socialistic policy particulars that should not be thrown out with the bath water. We need more gov to pursue accelerated alternative energy efforts. There needs to be more social justice with a minimum attempt at blunting the wealth transfer effects of the policies of the last 10 years. How far should the taxing the rich go is problematic in this financial world without borders. The outrageous wealth and power can’t be ignored with a country getting poorer. Most of all there needs to be some kind of honesty that we have unfunded promises that can’t be met. Pensions that are underwater and safety nets that are at their limits. Is there room for “make America great again slogans”? I think it needs to be more like “let’s change what we can and accept what we can’t change”. This is far more modest and realistic. Maybe honesty and modesty should be the biggest push but of course that doesn’t sell. People need to be dealt with honestly and told the truth at least at the level of expectations. Unrealistic expectations from either side just sets people up to be dissatisfied. It is possible the destructive change of some kind of slowdown that is in the works will focus people. Recessions tend to sober people up.

  2. Duncan Idaho on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 11:11 am 

    Can’t think beyond capitalism.
    We are in a quandary, not a problem.
    Problems have solutions–
    That is not the case now.

  3. Cloggie on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 12:11 pm 

    German-French leadership swap coming up?

  4. I AM THE MOB on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 12:15 pm 


    You don’t even know what socialism even is..Socialism is not free stuff..When Karl Marx wrote his essay’s back in the 1800’s..There were no social welfare programs..

    Bernie and AOC are not socialist..

    Socialism is putting the means of production into the hands of workers with social ownership, of that property.

    There are no socialist countries on earth currently..What Bernie and AOC are arguing for is basically Scandinavia..A capitalist country with large social welfare programs.

  5. I AM THE MOB on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 12:18 pm 

    Trump just told the media Omar needs to resign over her Israel remarks..

    Trump is Israel’s “Bulldog”..

  6. asg70 on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 12:44 pm 

    First line from Kunstler:

    “And so the Democratic Party”

    So typical. Whither peak oil, Mr. Kunstler?

    Kunstler is irrelevant and shouldn’t be posted here anymore.

  7. Cloggie on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 12:59 pm 

    New politics in Europe in a major country:

    Salvini publicly mocks heckling antifa clown during address.

    At [0:38] Salvini mentions the salon commies who push for ever more immigration: “Fazios, Savianos, Gad Lerner”…

    Yep, (((2))) out of 3, you guessed it:

    Even the British commenters describe Soros as “evil”, but the sensor probably ruled out going into specifics too much:

    The pendulum is in full swing.

    To the right.

  8. Antius on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 1:04 pm 

    Western elites are living in a fantasy world that has no connection with reality. They are so far removed from the world that ordinary people live in, that their policies appear to be suited for a previous century.

    Britain in particular has become a global joke; it’s leaders exude naivety about the world around them and make policy that is bizarre and perverse.

    This week a woman in the UK was detained by Checka (sorry, I mean police) for several hours for ‘misgendering’ a transgender freak of nature. This sort of freakery is the natural climax of over three decades of crushingly oppressive kosher dictatorship.

    The news emerged today that the UK intends to convert ferries into warships to counter the growing threat of China.

    WTF? What planet do these people live on? They are talking about a medium sized country with shrinking real GDP, declining working age population, declining incomes, falling tax income, one of the worst debt problems in the western world; a persistent trade deficit, no domestic energy reserves; no native car industry; no aircraft industry. These politicians seriously think that the UK is in any position to police an expansionist China? Forget about Peak oil; hopefully we are approaching Peak Bullshit.

    The next big recession will destroy a lot of pathetic illusions and hopefully, it will destroy the British political elites along with it.

  9. Davy on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 1:07 pm 

    Come on MOB and quit the hair splitting by trying to give us your lame definition of socialism in 17 words. Relatively speaking AOC is a socialist leaning Dem. Most conservatives lean free market or so they think. You look stupid when you attack people just to attack them.

  10. Cloggie on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 1:12 pm 

    Trump very popular in Italy.

    Giant moving Trump as Roman emperor statue at a carnival celebration:

  11. I AM THE MOB on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 1:24 pm 

    Europe risks losing its footing amid shifting world order, report warns

  12. FuelShortagteComingYouAreDeadLoser on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 1:29 pm 

    I have notice the same thing then Antius.
    It is all over the world, mentally low IQ people are now in position of power.

    Look at the new US star Ocasio-Cortez. It is everywhere. Really difficult to stay mentally sane if you are normal.

    I really hope it does not last too long. I prefer to see this whole thing collapse then living in a mental asylum 24 hours/7.

  13. I AM THE MOB on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 1:30 pm 


    Your region is going to have zero GDP in ten years..And your country is going to be out of natural gas to export..And your region is going to have a massive oil shortage, which there is no easy solution..

    You think the limits to growth can be solved by voting in far right extremist..

    The only reason the pendulum is swinging is because your in a depression. Headed for collapse like the soviet Union.

  14. Cloggie on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 1:32 pm 

    If industrial society is disintegrating (literally), then what takes its place

    – Localization (bye-bye trans-Atlantic flights, Aspen, Acapulco, Turkey, Riviera)
    – globalism, empire, multicult: mega-out. To be replaced with tribalism and nationalism. “Troops coming home”.
    – Industrialism-lite. People sharing things, like (autonomous) cars.
    – rise of two-wheelers for transport
    – local energy and food production
    – return of classic gender roles
    – end of quick divorce, return of guilt-principle
    – life rhythms getting slower
    – multi-polar world geopolitics
    – End of the West
    – 19th century “look-and-feel” of society

    I don’t believe in a total collapse of industrial civilization, it will merely switch back from fifth to fourth or third gear.

  15. Cloggie on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 1:35 pm 

    The only reason the pendulum is swinging is because your in a depression. Headed for collapse like the soviet Union.

    …and we are going to eat our children too!

  16. I AM THE MOB on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 2:27 pm 


    Your whole vision is laughable..None of that shit is going to happen..Autonomous cars? people sharing?

    Pure magical thinking..And without enough oil too..


  17. I AM THE MOB on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 2:28 pm 


    When the foods stop being delivered you will be eating anything..

    It will be like the Dutch hunger winter when the Nazi’s starved millions of Dutch..But this time its permanent.

  18. I AM THE MOB on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 2:31 pm 

    ‘Unhinged and desperate’: Conservative columnist likens Trump rally to gathering of ‘cult-like followers’

  19. I AM THE MOB on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 3:00 pm 

    Trump is a slothful and self-indulgent man who inherited a lot of money and called himself a success. What a preposterous joke—but unfortunately the joke is on us, the American people.

  20. twocats on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 3:22 pm 

    as a populace we are already very feudalist in our thinking (too complicated to lay out). So most likely we will revert to a high-tech dark ages for several decades as the accumulated wealth and technology fizzles away

  21. Cloggie on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 3:26 pm 

    “It will be like the Dutch hunger winter when the Nazi’s starved millions of Dutch..But this time its permanent.”



    And it weren’t the Germans who “starved” the Dutch, but the Alllies, who inflicted the war on Europe, for no other purpose than to incorporate Europe into the US empire, the same empire that is now about to fall flat on its face, thank God. Only the lucky 100 million or so white Americans will be incorporated in the European world, “after the break”.

  22. deadly on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 3:33 pm 

    Socialism is capitalism of the state. It is capitalism, you maybe won’t benefit, but somebody always does.

    “For us in Russia, communism is a dead dog, while, for many people in the West, it is still a living lion.” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

  23. I AM THE MOB on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 3:38 pm 

    With the US-Russian Nuclear Treaty in Tatters, Is ‘Doomsday’ Ticking Closer?

  24. I AM THE MOB on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 3:48 pm 


    You are a pathological liar..The allies had nothing to do with the dutch hunger event..

    Your WW2 history is pure BS..That is why when I challenge you to get it verified by an actual historian..You back down like a bitch.

    Your scared of everything..Pussy

    And region is headed for collapse soon..You will collapse the same way the USSR did..From an oil shortage..

  25. I AM THE MOB on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 3:50 pm 

    Stormy Daniels said they had an affair..Trump said they didn’t..

    Who are you going to believe?

    The fake blonde with big tits, or Stormy Daniels?

  26. I AM THE MOB on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 4:54 pm 

    National debt hits new milestone, topping $22 trillion

  27. Antius on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 4:57 pm 

    “With the US-Russian Nuclear Treaty in Tatters, Is ‘Doomsday’ Ticking Closer?”

    Maybe not. The treaty was between the US and Russia and covers short range ballistic missiles; it did not stretch to include other states I.e. China. With Chinese naval power on the rise, tactical nuclear weapons will be an important part of maintaining the balance of power in the South China sea and will be needed to protect Taiwan.

  28. Davy on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 5:38 pm 

    “California Governor Pulls Plug On Statewide High-Speed Rail Project”

    “California won’t be building a high-speed rail line between San Francisco and Los Angeles after all, as Governor Gavin Newsom (D) announced on Tuesday that the project would “cost too much and, respectfully, take too long.” “We face hard decisions that are coming due,” said Newsom. “The choices we make will shape our future, and the future of quite literally millions, for decades to come.”

  29. I AM THE MOB on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 5:40 pm 


    Russia is history soon..NATA and the US have triple the amount of troops, tanks, and planes on their border..And the US has installed missile defense systems surrounding them..

    Its just a matter of time before they pull a false flag and then hit them with a likely nuclear first strike..

  30. makati1 on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 5:40 pm 

    Tactical nukes already protect the S.C.S. from the US, all the way out to Guam. Chinese ballistic missiles can reach anywhere in the US now. They are also way ahead of anything the US has.

    The US has ZERO need for short or medium range missiles because it is surrounded by friends and oceans. What the US needed was a reason to spend more $$$ on the MIC. Is the US going the way of Soviet Russia? Bankrupting itself trying to rule the world?

    We shall see. Glad I’m not paying for it. LOL

  31. I AM THE MOB on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 5:53 pm 


    China is going to collapse when the oil shortage hits..Just like the Soviet Union did..And it only took two years..

    I got nothing against China either..Unlike you I don’t wish collapse on others..I’m just telling you the hard truth..I have no reason to lie.

    And to be fair when China collapses it will collapse the global economic as well..So the nobody will be spared.

  32. makati1 on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 6:11 pm 

    MOB, keep beating that anti-China drum, but it will not change anything. The US is already collapsing and its speed of collapse is increasing daily. China is still growing. The US stopped growing in 2001 or before. Just fake numbers now.

    I want the US to go down, and fast, so it has to stop meddling in the business of other countries. How would you feel if Putin was causing a color revolution in the US to replace Trump with, say, A.O-C. who has zero brains and zero experience but would kiss the Russian ass? Meanwhile Russian corporations would take all the resources the US has left and make you a starving beggar?

    Yes, I watch the US go down. I cheer it on. Lazy people, like yourself, are part of the reason it is collapsing. Work or die. Over 50+% of the US population gets government money in some form of dole. THAT is why it is going down and will be 3rd world soon. When that $$$ runs out, and it will, those 50+% will be in a world of hurt. Mullions will starve, and that will be in a supposed 1st world country. All lies.

  33. I AM THE MOB on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 6:25 pm 


    No amount of babble can save China from the oil shortage and inevitable collapse ahead..

    Sorry, like I said I got problems with them..They just joined the oil party about fifty years too late..

  34. Theedrich on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 6:30 pm 

    Kunstler notes that, “The West especially will not know what hit it as it emergently self-reorganizes back into something that resembles the old-time feudalism

    One could say that most of western Europe and Canada are already in something like feudalism, only without — as of yet — the appearance of poverty.  The masses have no ability to speak freely on things that matter to them (such as:  gender;  race;  foreign religions that murder;  political Euro-overlords;  …).  Prison and/or large fines await those who act on the delusion that they are free in such matters.  England is turning into a madhouse of virtue-signaling and sermonizing, while the continent is obsessed with labeling all traditionalists Nazoid.  In effect, Europe’s expanding restrictions on the internet’s social media are the new form of the former Index Librorum Prohibitorum of the once-powerful Catholic Church.

    In the United States, the current seeming uptick in economic activity masks the reality of weakness and sloth as ever more states reach for taxes from legalized cannabis (can legalized fentanyl be far behind?) and Congress mortgages the future with unpayable debts to be repaid with cryptocurrencies yet to be invented.  Meanwhile the opioid epidemic spreads like wildfire and White male suicides reach new highs, as muds (“undocumented Democrats”) flood into the country to take Whitey’s place.

    But not to worry.  The Pentagonians, backed by the august and Yid-heavy Council on Foreign Relations, will divert us with new wars to create more “heroes” and spread the Empire.  And this, even as a Mohammedaness on the Congressional Foreign Relations Committee (!) slurs the Jews.

    So yes, mutatis mutandis, socialism is the new feudalism.

  35. I AM THE MOB on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 6:38 pm 

    Bass Says China Is ‘Just a Paper Tiger’

  36. makati1 on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 7:02 pm 

    MOB, have you ever used whatever mental ability you have to think? China is in a much better position, in all ways, than the US. The failure you project for China is going to happen in the US first and big time. When the loans come due on fraking, the US will be an oil debtor nation even more so than today. You want an oil shortage to take down China when it will actually take down the US first and hardest. The US is isolating itself and that is not a good thing for Americans.

    Your “oil shortage” seems to be farther away every day. I want a financial collapse that will end the US ability to bully and plunder and kill. THAT will happen soon. Oil will still be flowing after, but the US will not need near as much as it will be 3rd world.

    BTW: Bass is an ass. A billionaire with nothing to do but stir up trouble. About as reliable as a used car salesman. Its ALL about $$$ for Bass. He should be in jail for his past activities, but the wealthy are immune to laws. You’re not.

  37. makati1 on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 7:04 pm 

    BTW MOB, If China is a paper tiger, why is the US afraid of it?

    China is not afraid of the American paper tiger who cannot even defeat a bunch of 3rd world goat farmers in almost 20 years. Nor is Russia, or even Iran. The US is going down MOB. Adjust.

  38. Sissyfuss on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 7:20 pm 

    Antius, you sound more angry every time you speak of your national politics and the black hole of Brexit. Do you have emergency plans ready or are they not necessary? What’s your look latest take on the proceedings?

  39. I AM THE MOB on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 7:23 pm 

    Economic Crisis Can Trigger World War

    The war to end all wars! The final match! Winner literally takes all!

  40. Chrome Mags on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 7:49 pm 

    It would seem that JHK got tired at some of forming utterances regarding peak oil and decided it was more fun to stick his nose into politics. I liked the old JHK.

  41. makati1 on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 8:04 pm 

    Peak oil IS politics, Chrome. The invasions of countries by the US is for OIL and the control of it. No other reason. Look at every country that the US has invaded in the last 20 years. ALL have oil and other resources the US needs.

  42. makati1 on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 8:05 pm 

    MOB, if there is a World War 3, there will be no winners. It will evolve into a nuclear war with a radioactive planet as the end result.

  43. I AM THE MOB on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 8:13 pm 


    Trump has been watching this all day on executive time..

  44. I AM THE MOB on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 8:37 pm 

    Alt Right Charlottesville marcher attacks black construction worker and gets his ass handed to him

  45. I AM THE MOB on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 8:44 pm 

    Ilhan Omar Under Attack for Telling Truth About Israel Lobby

    Where are all these right wing populist calling out Israel? Oh yea Bibi is the defacto leader of it all! Thats why he had front row seats in Brasil the other day when their president was sworn in..And Trump already put sanction on Iran and moved the embassy ASAP..

  46. I AM THE MOB on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 9:11 pm 

    BP CEO Bob Dudley warns oil market uncertainty could lead to a ‘real crunch’

    “I think what is important is when prices are too high or too low, it leads to all kinds of unintended consequences,” he added.

  47. makati1 on Wed, 13th Feb 2019 2:56 am 

    Perhaps Trump is doing a Roman split? “What’s Emperor Trump Doing? He is Busy at Splitting the Empire in Two”

    “(Emperor) Theodosius himself seemed to understand that (financial problems) when, shortly before his death, he partitioned the Empire between his two sons, Arcadius and Honorius. Afterward, the empire would never be united under a single emperor again…the Empire remained split into two main linguistic halves: the Latin-speaking Pars Occidentis and the Greek-speaking Pars Orientis.” West and East.

    “Emperor Trump seems to have an uncanny ability to understand the situation, even though he may not be an expert in Roman history. His actions are perfectly understandable in light of the plan of splitting the empire into two halves. One half (Pars Occidentis) will still be dominated from Washington, the other half (Pars Orientis) will have Beijing as its capital. The Western Part will retain the original Imperial language, English. The Eastern Part may switch to Chinese.”

    Interesting concept that fits the current situation. Western Rome crumbled. Eastern Rome lasted another millenia. Interesting to see if this is what evolves from Trump’s actions. Pass the popcorn!

  48. Davy on Wed, 13th Feb 2019 4:58 am 


    She is already corrupt by stepping into congress. So now she is a hypocrite. If she really wants to do good then the power lusting needs to end and she needs to focus on her core platform. Nothing get done in DC that is grandiose and brash especially by a 29 year old. This is the problem with the young. They need to get their ass kicked by life then they either learn something or never change.

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