This page has been archived and commenting is disabled.

James Howard Kunstler: The Dangers Of The Age Of Delusion

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Adam Taggart of Peak Prosperity,

It’s characteristic of the time that we’re living in that there simply is no sense of consequence. And that’s exactly what you get when you have a Federal Reserve that’s out of control and a public that is filled with technological narcissistic visions of Santa Claus delivering rescue remedies on demand. And so there’s no general sense that when you do things, bad things can happen

James Howard Kunstler is concerned. Sure, he still has the same issues with the West's highly energy-consuming suburban lifestyle that he famously brought to light in his books, The Long Emergency, the World Made by Hand series, and Too Much Magic. But beyond our decaying fundamentals, he's distressed by society's unwillingness to be honest with itself about the issue's it's facing.

Instead, we are embracing a narrative based in "magical thinking" (e.g., prosperity through the printing press, energy independence through domestic shale) that assures us everything is fine. That we'll be able to enter the future without having to make any changes to our manner or standards of living, despite our massive debts and depleting resources:

History is very peculiar in the sense that sometimes cultures and societies go through very strange periods of their history, and we’re in one of those now. And I characterize this as the “great period of America lying to itself.” And the way that it’s really carried out as a practical matter is that accounting fraud is now the basic mechanism for running most of the important things in American life. Accounting fraud is now the basis for banking and finance, and it’s certainly the basis for government, and certainly for its fiscal role.


So I think what you’re seeing is a kind of deformity of the consensus. And of course, the most striking feature of our current times is this inability of the country to construct a coherent story about what’s happening to us, and therefore the inability to construct a story about what we might do about it.

And the sad thing is there is much we can get busy on to address our situation. But to get started, we need to engage in an eyes-wide open assessment of our true state:

What's really happening in reality, in this moment in history, is a comprehensive contraction in economic activity, because there’s a connection between the energy inputs into an economy and a culture and your ability to accumulate wealth of the kind that we’re used to, produced by industrial activity. And that’s coming to an end, and there’s no way around it.


Now, there are plenty of things we can do. And the terminology that we use, I think, the way we deal with this – for example, using the word “growth” incessantly is, I think, very counterproductive rather than using the term “activity”. Because you can have a lot of activity of the kind that we need without necessarily having the kind of industrial growth that we’ve experienced in the past. For example, we have a tremendous amount of work to do in this country to reform and downscale and re-localize and reorganize the major activities of American life, whether it’s agriculture – which is going to have to get smaller and more local and finer and be done by more human beings than machines, and be done by more human beings than energy slaves – or commerce – which has got to be reorganized from the Wal-Mart level of twelve-thousand-mile supply lines and warehouses on wheels, depending on all of the tractor-trailer trucks running incessantly around the interstate highway system.


So that’s a huge test that faces us. We basically have to rebuild the Main Street economies – and not just in an intellectual or conceptual way, but actually in the bricks and mortar. We’ve got to go in there and refurbish our downtowns. We’ve got to change the transportation system, because the airline industry is failing and the happy motoring industry or way of life will be coming to an end, probably sooner rather than later.

Yet if we continue to cling to our magical, no-consequences narrative, Kunstler fears we will likely burrow deeper into our delusion:

It comes back to the unfortunate condition of a nation that is so frightened of the consequences of what it has been doing that it cannot really face reality, and so it just spins one story after another.


I think Jim Rickards put it pretty well the other day when he said that this kind of monetary policy exists in what he referred to as a critical state dynamic. In other words, you can’t just dial up free money and then dial down free money when you seem to be getting into an inflationary problem. The control, the toggle, just doesn’t work that way. And what happens, in fact, is that things go critical because it is a critical state dynamic.


And what’s been going on is that we’ve been trying to compensate for the lack of capital formation with this imaginary money. And by capital formation, I mean the ability to accumulate real wealth from real wealth-producing activities. And creating credit card money on a national level is not real wealth-producing activity.


I think the closer we get to this point of criticality, the more delusional we’re liable to become about it. So this is just a subset of that larger dynamic of, the more distressed the society gets, the more delusional it gets.

Click the play button below to listen to Chris' interview with James Howard Kunstler (46m:59s):


- advertisements -

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Sat, 02/16/2013 - 19:02 | 3250322 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

What does Billy Rosewood have to say?

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 19:29 | 3250378 The They
The They's picture

Wow. Saying "I voted for Obama twice" is probably the best way to get me to stop taking your opinion seriously.

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 19:58 | 3250425 GeorgeHayduke
GeorgeHayduke's picture

Yeah, in the same way that saying I voted for W twice would, or I voted for McCain (and Palin) or Romney, or Kerry, or any of the other losers the owners have set before us as our chosen leaders the past decade or more.

Kunstler is good at what he does. He just still kind of lives in the mainstream world a little too much himself. The good side of him being a little mainstream is he has a fair understanding of the average sheople. Something many of the misfits, outcasts and paranoid folks here on ZH are lacking. And yes, I fit in with the outcast section of these bleachers.

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 21:23 | 3250544 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Um, yeah. There's NO fucking excuse for voting for Obama twice. Didn't like Romney? OK great, then vote third party, or write in Ron Paul, or write in Bugs Bunny, or don't vote at all.

Anybody who voted for Obama twice is completely fucked in the head.

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 21:40 | 3250572 GeorgeHayduke
GeorgeHayduke's picture

I guess you missed the part where I mention that Jim is still in the mainstream, meaning he only see a choice between the D or the R on the ticket. Like most everyone else in the mainstream. You can get as pissed and righteous about it as you want, but that seems to be the ugly reality we must contend with.

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 02:12 | 3250863 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

"Being in the mainstream" is NOT an excuse for being a fucking retard.

It's time we called a spade a spade. Anybody who voted for Obama twice is mentally or emotionally retarded-- and maybe both. They are incompetent, and quite literally, a ward of the state.

Mon, 02/18/2013 - 03:33 | 3252489 All Risk No Reward
All Risk No Reward's picture


Anyone who has voted for an establishment candidate, regardless of which alleged "party" they claim, has been bamboozled by the Human Predator Class (HPC).

History is littered with human predators...  yet the ignorati today can't see the Human Predator Class even they they are being bankrupted by their 5th grade math con game - Debt Money Tyranny.

Napolean identified the HPC class when he warned future generations...

“When a government is dependent upon bankers for money, they and not the leaders of the government control the situation, since the hand that gives is above the hand that takes. Money has no motherland; financiers are without patriotism and without decency; their sole object is gain.” ? Napoleon Bonaparte All establishment candidates ultimately report to the HPC - that's why they are establishment candidates. Everything big has to be a suspected HPC social engineering entity.
Mon, 02/18/2013 - 03:59 | 3252499 All Risk No Reward
All Risk No Reward's picture

The delusion at the center of all our problems is the masses' idea that they can "know" something without doing the research required to truly know something.

This delusion allows the social engineers to social engineer people into believing all sorts of nonsense that will eventually turn out very badly for the deluded masses.

The solution is the Trivium method - grammar (data), logic (logic, identify and eliminate contradictions and fallacies) and then the ability to communicate the correct method to others so that they can have intellectual self defense against the Human Predator Class.

Until people understand this most basic of truths, nothing can be fixed.

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 03:34 | 3250918 Dr. Sandi
Dr. Sandi's picture

I suspect I might have voted for Obama twice myself. And I haven't even been in a voting booth since 1978.

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 04:22 | 3250919 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

Diebold's records indicate that you voted for Obama well over 1,741 times, Dr. Sandi.

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 19:48 | 3251953 Spirit Of Truth
Spirit Of Truth's picture

Unrepentant sinners scoff at the idea that the 'wages of sin are death'.

What we're oberserving around us today is a textbook historical case:

Scoff as you will...

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 12:08 | 3251225 westboundnup
westboundnup's picture

Best comment of the weekend.

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 05:26 | 3250977 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Hmm, compromise yer principles if you must, but don't come here and pretend it's "facing reality!"

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 09:01 | 3251058 Lost My Shorts
Lost My Shorts's picture

I wouldn't agree that Kunstler is mainstream.  He is thoroughly eccentric, and doesn't vote third party because there is no third party of his stripe (for which he is no doubt secretly glad).  He's the type who loves to carp, complain, and condemn, but would be terrified to actually hold power himself.

Kunstler is also not a good one to serve up to the Zerohedge crowd, because he loves to heap scorn on the American South, suburbs, shale oil, etc. -- things many readers here hold dear.  Kunstler is actually somewhat in the mold of Al Gore, an aesthete and closet technocrat who thinks people with better taste and superior knowledge should tell the dumb people how to live.  Actually, he never gets so far as telling people how to live.  He just tells them they are stupid.  Over and over, week after week, first thing Monday morning.  That would definitely get backs up around ZH.

He is also a great example of the doomer personality, as well illustrated by some of his blog entries earlier in the year.  The story went like this:  JK's doctor said he had alarmingly high cholesterol, and prescribed Crestor, the most powerful statin on the market.  JK supplemented that by leaping onto a vegan diet.  Brought that cholesterol right down.  But then JK noticed that he wasn't feeling so well -- always tired, out of sorts.  He decided the Crestor and the vegan diet were at fault, so he wrote a blog post ripping the pharma industry, and torching his doctor; and he chucked it all, and described in loving detail all the eggs, bacon, and deep-fried butter he was now eating.  For the doomer, there is no such thing as moderation or the happy medium.  No option to cut down on fat and take 10mg Lipitor.  It's either vegan or deep fried butter.  The most powerful drugs or f*** pharma.  Also no such thing as society muddling through, or sinking gradually.  We are doomed, totally doomed, collapse just around the next corner, always, any day now ...

(Turns out it was all his artificial hip in the end, not the statin or diet at all.  Lots of other people had the same problem with that model of hip.)

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 10:20 | 3251115 Crisismode
Crisismode's picture

Over and over, week after week, first thing Monday morning.


For a guy that seemingly can't stand what Kunstler is saying, it sure seems that you can't get enough of him.



Sun, 02/17/2013 - 11:20 | 3251160 Lost My Shorts
Lost My Shorts's picture

I actually did get enough, and don't read anymore.  But I never said I couldn't stand what he was saying, or that he wasn't entertaining.

I definitely do think the doomer personality is fundamentally irrational (despite considering itself to be the epitome of rationality).  But I read JK's blog on and off for a year or so because it was amusing (but always the same, so after a while, been there, read that).  Reading him was a bit like watching the late Andy Rooney of corporate media fame -- grumpy old man -- except that JK doesn't aspire to any curmudgeonly charm.  Just hauteur and pure bile.  I also was intrigued because I always loved Norman Rockwell, and it seems to me that JK is at bottom deeply nostalgic for Rockwell's America, where stout, upright citizens ride their horse-drawn sleighs to buy beans at a cute general store.  He despises and pours acid on anything that would not fit in a Rockwell painting -- fat people, tatoos, SUVs, NASCAR.  He fervently believes that the modern, ugly, hyperconnected society will collapse back into something more Rockwellian not because it actually will, but because he desperately wants it to happen.

JK is such a textbook case that he gave me the courage to ignore doomers.  He was worth reading for that.

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 10:29 | 3251122 Bitchin Bear
Bitchin Bear's picture

I've read almost all of JHK's works and read his blog regularly.  I used to view him as a lib gradually seeing the light but the longer I read him the more I see this is just not the case - a leopard cannot change it's spots.  Since I am of an age with JHK some of his witticisms ring true with me, but as a native of Atlanta he surely pisses me off when he goes off on the South.  Not saying there isn't lots to change down here, and I am sure as hell getting away from ATL asap, but the South is no different from any other region in American.  There's always going to be the good and bad and his supercilious attitude drives me crazy.  Like one of the other posters said, I don't think he could last a minute in a survival situation.  He just talks a good game because he's making bucks from it all the while decrying the capitalistic system.  I grew up in the 50's and 60's and imho we won't be going back to that time - it will be an all or nothing deal - something like the 1100's and won't that be fun!

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 10:49 | 3251139 Crisismode
Crisismode's picture

I grew up in the 50's and 60's and imho we won't be going back to that time - it will be an all or nothing deal - something like the 1100's and won't that be fun!

If you read Kunstler's book "World Made By Hand", that feudal/medieval scenario is pretty much what he describes.


Sun, 02/17/2013 - 11:46 | 3251194 Lost My Shorts
Lost My Shorts's picture

It's just fantasy.

I lived for much of the last few years in Asia, in a truly poor country where per capita income and energy consumption were about 5% of USA levels, and the population density is greater.  And it's neither medieval nor like Happy Days and the Fonz.  If you want to know what it's like, buy a ticket and go.  It will take a long time for American GDP and energy consumption to fall 95% (if they ever do), and even then, it won't be medieval.

But doomers are mostly depressed and/or bored by reality and have little interest.  The same way that much supposedly futuristic science fiction is really medieval fantasies with rockets, doomerism is really a longing for something long gone, not a rational analysis of anything.

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 13:20 | 3251342 PeeramidIdeologies
PeeramidIdeologies's picture

Speaking of analysis I call into question the one you just put forth. Now being that you have a solid footing on the ground in Asia, and myself in North America, it shouldn't be too hard to weed out some of "doomeristic" idea's you cast aside. Obviously the biggest issue you are missing is that Asia is for the most part a developing nation. This means little to no social safety net. People are much more self sufficient. In comparison North America requires a very large social safety net. It has always been there, people don't just use it, they count on it. The small amount of adjustment we have seen to this system is already causing extremist like behaviour, and it is only just beginning.

The second issue you are overlooking is the type of economy Asia has compared to that of North America. The amount of money flow required to keep an acceptable amount of people employed in NA is huge. It is also based largely on excessive consumption. It's not hard to look around and see the difference.

And of course for the history buffs out there you underestimate the cultural differences. Violent behaviour is so prevailent in the US that is has passed beyond acceptable. Look at how many people were there to cheer on this Dorner guy. He was killing police officers over a personal vendetta.

This is just a small sample of the complex issues we will be facing as time moves forward. If you think the human race has somehow transcended the ability to be destructive towards it's self in a large capacity you sir are quite irrational.

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 15:19 | 3251560 steve from virginia
steve from virginia's picture



"I lived for much of the last few years in Asia, in a truly poor country where per capita income and energy consumption were about 5% of USA levels, and the population density is greater.  And it's neither medieval nor like Happy Days and the Fonz.  If you want to know what it's like, buy a ticket and go.  It will take a long time for American GDP and energy consumption to fall 95% (if they ever do), and even then, it won't be medieval."


First of all, nobody knows what 'medieval' means, it's vague. Nobody knows what medieval Europe was like b/c there are no survivors. What replaces facts is propaganda by 'progress' salesmen and Hollywood. Probably the last non-modern nation was Edo-Japan which ended in 1850s. The Edo Tokugawa Japan system provided a lot of services and the country was an autarky @ a high level for a period that lasted appx 200 years.


Modernity has not treated Japan well, its current version is bankrupting the country and its 50 or so operable nuclear reactors right this second.


Second, if you watched on TV after Sandy there were a lot of people in line in NU and NY with gas cans and no gas to be had. Okay ... no gas due specifically to Sandy ... what's the diff if there is no gas b/c the people in line are broke and finance is out of business?


The difference is there is no gas permanently. Without credit, people become very poor, very fast along with energy suppliers who need to sell products for some return. Look up the collapse of the USSR for a similar example a large, powerful country bankrupted by lack of credit.


Russia recovered b/c of large petroleum reserves was able to sell to (once) credit-worthy Europeans. Now ... Europeans, Russians, Americans ... none of these are particularly credit worthy, none of them offer any real return(s).


Meanwhile, Belarus and Ukraine are impoverished countries with nothing to offer anyone.


Peak oil will 'do' a country fast: Egypt, Syria and Greece: nothing to do but get ready to bury the corpses.



Sun, 02/17/2013 - 15:58 | 3251620 Optimusprime
Optimusprime's picture

Steve, I find your comments consistently interesting.  Often well-thought-out, and always worth considering.  A point of view that does not have much of a "herd" aspect, and forcefully stated.

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 17:46 | 3251796 cossack55
cossack55's picture

Go long lime.

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 20:36 | 3252017 Mike in GA
Mike in GA's picture

and compost!

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 19:43 | 3251945 spinone
spinone's picture

Good points, and let me add these.  The point that Chris Martenson and Jim Kunstler make is that  true wealth comes from turning fossil fuels into real, tangible products;  grains, iron ore, machine parts, etc.  Thats real wealth, that grows the economy (instead of printing more dollars, which doesn't grow the economy at all).  Peak oil really means that the cost to extract an additional unit of oil goes up.  We have run out of the cheap, easily extracted oil.  We have to drill the bottom of the oceal or the tar sands to get it, not drill a shallow hole in Texas. The net BTUs captured goes down.  So the amoutn of BTUs available to grow the economy goes down. 

Credit is betting on future growth.  If the BTUs to run the economy goes down from now on, there will be less growth in the future.  So peak oil is peak credit.

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 17:54 | 3251803 sgt_doom
sgt_doom's picture

I have a simple problem with Kunstler, which I've acquired from ACTUALLY READING HIS EFFING BOOKS!

He correctly trashes the super-crooks of Wall Street, while presenting a revisionistic history of the Federal Reserve, and claiming they are really good guys and that anyone who is against them is likely to be a John Bircher!  (And don't bother any infantile arguing with me on this point, it's in his frigging book, Too Much Magic -- some poster morons who refuse to read it wish to argue this endlessly, like all those status quo-loving douchetards who want to argue the official "conspiracy theory" without ever having read those 26 volumes of crapola called the Warren Commission Report.)

W-the bloody-F?????????

The corporate "environmentalists" permeate the landscape.  Real environmental groups (Green Peace being about the only one I know of, and real enviromentalists, such as Derrick Jensen, are few and far between, instead there are just too many like McGibben (finally got arrested for the very first time in 2012, and he wants everyone to know about it, but got those corporate speaking fees, like Kunstler, for far too many years to ever be taken seriously, etc.).

Then there's the ultimate revisionist, misdirection specialist, Jeremy Rifkin --- a complete and total fraud.

It's difficult to accept the credibility of Wall Street front guys.....

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 21:17 | 3252082 Crisismode
Crisismode's picture

The corporate "environmentalists" permeate the landscape.  Real environmental groups (Green Peace being about the only one I know of


There now, you give yourself completely away . . . .

Greenpeace is completely subsumed by the Corporate Sponsers that they suck the teat of.

Deny it, and show your complete igonrance.


Mon, 02/18/2013 - 04:59 | 3252528 All Risk No Reward
All Risk No Reward's picture

Kunstler doesn't undersdtand Debt Money Tyranny:

If Kunstler did understand it, he wouldn't play the role of useful idiot and defend the key Human Predator institution - the debt money enforcing Federal Reserve System.

Why doesn't Kunstler understand it?

Because only a few people like me talk about it.  We need people like you, and all the other readers, to talk about it.  Then it will become "cool" to talk about and even Kunstler will get such that he won't play the fool for the very people that are trying to destroy him and everyone else outside their club.

Mon, 02/18/2013 - 15:34 | 3253809 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

sgt_doom keeps getting it wrong:

He correctly trashes the super-crooks of Wall Street, while presenting a revisionistic history of the Federal Reserve, and claiming they are really good guys and that anyone who is against them is likely to be a John Bircher!  (And don't bother any infantile arguing with me on this point, it's in his frigging book, Too Much Magic -- some poster morons who refuse to read it wish to argue this endlessly

Are you still flogging this dead horse?

Mon, 02/18/2013 - 03:43 | 3252493 All Risk No Reward
All Risk No Reward's picture

Big Pharma has one mandate - maximize profits.


The research shows that only one group of people increase their lifespan from all causes of death using statins - and that is people who already have had a heart attack and are under about 50 years of age.

The rest is all marketing to the uninformed masses.

In the over 70 group, higher cholesterol is associated with longer life!

Half of all people who have a heart attack have normal cholesterol.

25% of all heart victims have no establishment accepted risk factors.

The #1 delusion that allws the Human Predator Class to destroy societies whole is the false belief that one can know something without doing the research.

That means you gather the data, you apply logic, which includes identifying and removing both contradictions and fallaciers, and the conclusion paves its own way.

The bad news is that the answer is often "I can't know for sure."  Or, worse, "I know for sure, but I *really* don't like that answer!"

False perception doesn't change reality.

The Trivium gives one a guide to properly analyze the data, or lack thereof.

Youtube "Gene Odening Trivium," search "trivium education" and "trivium binder."

Also, learn the fallacies that can be used to deceive - and need to be identified and eliminated.

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 21:47 | 3250583 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

From the down votes I see that there are actually some people here that voted for Obama TWICE.  Unbelievable!  I hope they learn something from reading ZH.

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 22:00 | 3250602 GeorgeHayduke
GeorgeHayduke's picture

Kinda like all the folks who voted down my original post because they voted for Bush the Lesser in 2000 and 2004 and they now hate people doing the same stupid thing with Obama. Or they are stupid enouth to think all would be wonderful now if Mittens had won. Kunstler is correct, the delusion runs so deep it is beyond repair.

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 22:21 | 3250637 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

Nah, your post came off as defending Obama.  Which is fine if you voted for him and you agree with his policies.  I know you say, both sides are the same, blah, blah, that's an excuse, just know what you supported.

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 22:59 | 3250683 GeorgeHayduke
GeorgeHayduke's picture

An assumption. I voted for Rocky Anderson. Sorry to throw your theory off.

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 00:39 | 3250794 willwork4food
willwork4food's picture

I live in a military town that was 70% Romney which goes to show you that money wins over intelligence no matter what rank a gov. pay class you're in. Anyone who voted for Bush or Obama twice deserves to have their car stolen, and their house broken into before the gov. decides to do it for the children.

Mon, 02/18/2013 - 03:47 | 3252494 All Risk No Reward
All Risk No Reward's picture

Bush and Obama are chess pieces of the same color.

I suggest the commenter start to focus on the chess master that is running circles around your ability to comprehend what is actually going on around you.

The Chess Master is the Human Predator Debt Money Tyrant Class:

Tue, 02/19/2013 - 13:06 | 3256476 matrix2012
matrix2012's picture

I just don't grasp it why some folks at ZH here are still bitching over anyone who voted Obummer the Drone Master 2X? Was Romney the Loud Warmonger any better choice???

Sorry, Your HIGHNESS the HOLY PUPPETMASTERS only give the USSA citizens their handpicked TWO choices: Red vs Blue team: different style, the same ultimate objectives! And both are under AIPAC's armpit.

Why does it matter in any sense? Does it imply that Romney is a better choice?

Face the reality, the USSA citizens do not have choice... you don't have the 3rd candidate, you don't have Ron Paul or anyone else worth to vote there... you don't have any other choice there unless you all quit playing THEIR games en masse!

Here are some quick reminders of the dire situation faced by the USSA:

Low Info Voters:

Israelis see their ownership of US government in jeopardy



Sat, 02/16/2013 - 20:23 | 3250464 booboo
booboo's picture

No shit, James is hoplessly stuck on D and Government solutions and his blog is stuffed full of cranks that believe that a good dose of national euthanasia as an answer. He his a little old to do the mental gymnastics it requires to believe that the very demoncratic goverments that created his "Long Emergency" could possibly be the first second or third responders to the crisis. Jim will happily motor off the cliff with Obama driving the gas guzzler.

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 21:16 | 3250532 Creepy Lurker
Creepy Lurker's picture

Bingo. The one thing Kunstler does get right - that society and the running of it (including feeding ourselves) needs to get much more localized - is totally anathema to his big D, big government heroes. The last thing big bro wants is self sufficiency for the peons.

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 23:31 | 3250722 aerojet
aerojet's picture

Which is what I don't get about the guy.  I guess we all self-contradict.  The problem I have with him is that he more or less nails the meme, but totally misinterprets both the causes and the solutions.  He seems to pine for 1950s America, and it is my duty to inform him that 1950s American just ain't a commin' back.  We live in a technological age and technology is a good thing--it is humanity's one chance at saving itself. Personally, I have a much more depressing outlook on what will happen.  He gets it--we need to reform, refactor, and downsize, but we can't and we never will be able to.  Thus, the only possible outcome is disaster.  Whether it is a nuclear holocaust or not is the only thing I'm not sure of.  I suspect it ends that way, but hey, I am an optimist and think maybe only limited nuclear exchanges.  It will still be very hard for the surivivors for a long time.  The human race will pass through another dark age from which it may never exit.  That's why we kick the can every damn day and pretend that nothing is wrong, because to live otherwise is to stare mass death and destruction right in the face.

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 02:56 | 3250858 Lore
Lore's picture

KUNTSLER IS AN ADVOCATE FOR BIG GREEN BROTHER.  It's easy to get hooked on Kuntsler's rants, because he is an amusing satirist and disarming speaker, magnifying issues and raising public awareness, but his solutions seem like groundwork for AGENDA 21.  Walk through his prescription for change, and you can find a point-by-point manifesto for the flavour of grassroots totalitarianism that seems to be the mandate of groups like ICLEI ("I.C. Lie"). 

I'm not expressing this opinion lightly.  Attend one of his snide lectures. The room brims with power-hungry "smart growth" hippies. Disregarding the genuinely funny bits, especially about incompetent building architects, you find a deep, condescending message that justifies taking control of communities and telling other people how to live.  Kuntsler is anti-freedom and anti-market, making him no better than the can-kickers he mocks.  I defy anyone to walk through each plank of Agenda 21 (CLICK HERE) and find any conflict. This is stuff of control freakdom, masked as innnocent truth-seeking and cynicism.  He may mean well, but I'm of the firm opinion that Kuntsler has been led and is leading others down the wrong road. He is in effect a minor Al Gore, having found a holier-than-thou niche in the elite-contrived "green" movement.

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 10:24 | 3251118 SWRichmond
SWRichmond's picture

+1. The peak oilers all want us to downsize our lives, and tell us we're stupid if we don't agree. Agenda21 for the internet masses.

What we're genuinely struggling with is peak credit. Peak credit begot peak demand. Credit bubble begot demand bubble. Exponential credit growth begot exponential demand growth, energy usage growth, peak corruption and wealth-skimming, etc. All of this can be traced directly back to the central bank. ALL OF IT.

The major public perception problem with central banking is that it appears to work for awhile (decades), and when it breaks, the paradigm sticks and people can't accurately perceive just what exactly has broken.

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 16:09 | 3251606 steve from virginia
steve from virginia's picture



Nobody likes the implications of peak oil:


"Oh My Gawd! I have to give up my car! I love my car, It's me, it's who I AM ... I love my car more than I love my gun collection(s)!"


You can keep the car AND the gun collections, in fact, guns and cars will become extremely cheap ... you'll just have to walk wherever it is these things are to collect them, you'll have to push the cheap car(s) back to your house.


Central bankers are like witch doctors or astrologers, tarot card readers or mountebanks ... they have no control over anything.



Sun, 02/17/2013 - 17:01 | 3251688 Lore
Lore's picture

Steve - You are focusing on symptoms. Re-read the reply above from SWRichmond. The trouble isn't Peak Oil or urban sprawl or suburbia.  The problem at its root is MONETARY POLICY.  Working-class Marxists are acculturated with a worldview that makes understanding difficult.  We don't need some community politburo dictating where and how to live our lives. What we need is WORKING MARKETS. Even the worst oil shock could be accommodated if we LET MARKETS WORK.  It can be okay only if governments can be educated to STAND ASIDE. Seriously, one scenario that I could see as the credit contraction unfolds is some kind of civil unrest that pits citizenry against the Green Shirts.  They just don't get it, and don't want to, and won't. They'd rather wipe us all out than give up their pursuit of CONTROL.

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 22:04 | 3252148 swmnguy
swmnguy's picture

Money's abstract now.  Oil, and the energy expended to get it, are not.  The most working-est of markets aren't going to be able to create what no longer there, or to make what remains feasible to extract, if only on an EROEI basis.  The notion that the Greenies are the ones making our energy dependency or our structural assumption of a neverending expansionary economy unsustainable may be comforting to some.  But the Greenies really are as irrelevant as they appear to be.  It's actually the markets that made shale oil and deep-sea drilling unfeasible at oil prices below $80/bbl.  If there were sufficient quantities of easily extractable petroleum remaining, the market would preclude such newfangled technology, as it did until very recently.

Suggesting that monetary policy is driving physical reality is, in this age of abstract finance, putting the cart very much in front of the horse.

Mon, 02/18/2013 - 00:06 | 3252314 Lore
Lore's picture

Swmnguy - Not sure I follow. On one hand, you acknowledge that the yardstick for measurement of value is broken. On the other, you talk about EROEI, presumably still in stable international Dollar terms. 

Have you ever worked at a company on the verge of bankruptcy? Vendors and collection agencies start phoning incessantly. You can't buy products for your store shelves because the supplier knows you can't pay your bills, so takes his business elsewhere. The dollar standard is being displaced overseas, new oil trading platforms are being erected and barter agreements forged because alert foreigners are aware of the imminent death of Fed scrip and prefer to get out of the way of damaging efforts to enforce and preserve it.  Sooner or latter, markets follow the path of least resistance. Our price for crude rises because we don't produce enough at home, and offshore producers want to be paid in something stable. We, along with our resident greenshirts, end up paying more for less oil using currency that is worth less.  It gets worse as foreigners dishoard their reserves, causing more rotten Fed paper to flow home.  (The Fed is trying to take up the slack, but who does that fool?) 

Geology, geography and technology and other things affect pricing, sure, and all prices rise from currency debasement, but the dominant influence by far is the action of a cartel to corner and manipulate the market, demand payment in a particular currency, and hold vast fields off limits to development.  Peaking of the chart for global production right now is primarily a matter of strategy.

Your suggestion that central bank policy does not drive physical reality seems trivially false. American 'suburbia' is collapsing in tandem with the removal of easy credit. There would be no housing bubble without low interest rates.  If modern history is a book, central banking is the binding: "Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes the laws" (Mayer Amschel Rothschild).

Mon, 02/18/2013 - 22:06 | 3254657 swmnguy
swmnguy's picture

EROEI stands for "Energy Return On Energy Invested."  It's not measured in monetary terms at all.  It has to do with how much energy it takes to get a certain amount of energy.  If we didn't have money at all, it still wouldn't make any sense to exert 1.1x energy to extract 1.0x energy.

The rest of your point is elementary, of course.  I'm saying that the money is a human invention and is famously fungible.  Energy sources are not.

Thu, 02/21/2013 - 11:57 | 3263434 SWRichmond
SWRichmond's picture

"...wouldn't make any sense to exert 1.1x energy to extract 1.0x energy."

Except that it might.  If waste heat from one process can be used as source heat for the extraction process, then it might make perfect sense.  But you're gullible, so you are easily led into touting the EROEI bullshit that peak oilers love to tout.

Or, perhaps a less desireable but more plentiful energy source can be used to produce a more desireable (mobile) one, and the costs passed along in something resembliong a genuine free market. 

Mon, 02/18/2013 - 05:06 | 3252533 All Risk No Reward
All Risk No Reward's picture

You've made a grave error.

Is debt abstract?

I didn't think so.  Nore is money - money is debt.  "Money" is a debt receipt in electronic or physical form.  Coins are debt free, but negligible.

Debt Money Tyranny is a very weapoon used by Humapn Predators to destroy entire societies...

Go ask the Greeks how "abstract" debt is as they hand their children over to the state since they can no longer care for them - due to lack of abstractness.

Oh, and right on time, the establishment is out selling infanticide so the state can murder the babies turned over to it by the impoverished masses.

After Birth Abortion - Should the Baby Live?

Killing babies no different from abortion, experts say



Mon, 02/18/2013 - 13:04 | 3253263 Lore
Lore's picture

Is it error or denial?  When reality hurts, lots of people just block it out. This is a pretty big thing to block out, though.

Mon, 02/18/2013 - 03:54 | 3252496 All Risk No Reward
All Risk No Reward's picture

>>Central bankers are like witch doctors or astrologers, tarot card readers or mountebanks ... they have no control over anything.<<

Steve, they have control over Debt Money Tyranny that is guaranteed to bankrupt its host and transfer the wealth the Human Predator Class.

Oh, yeah, they have control over eveyr major aspect opf the media that fed you that false "no control" meme...  cold blooded criminals who institute policies that might kill you one day would much prefer to be viewed as incompetents and powerless, no?  That's Art of War 101.

And just so you know, the narrative sold to anyone that will believe it IS NOT THEIR ACTUAL AGENDA.

Their agenda is to rip the faces off of Muppets who believe their false narratives and assign powerlessness to their Detb Money Tyranny operations.

In that rtegarde, I give them an A+ in their looting operation....  trillions for their front corporations and billions in their pockets, trillions in debts offloading onto people like you, Steve. 

Paaying that back is impossible - so suck on that bankruptcicle for decades.

Telling yourself a bunch of rubes did this to you might make that chit sandwich go down better - but it isn't true.

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 12:24 | 3251254 Vooter
Vooter's picture

"That's why we kick the can every damn day and pretend that nothing is wrong, because to live otherwise is to stare mass death and destruction right in the face."

What's wrong with staring mass death and destruction in the face? I don't know how old you are, but your own death and destruction is coming RIGHT ON SCHEDULE in the next fifty years or so, so it might behoove you to face and even embrace that inconvenient truth. Dying alone in an old folks' home or being incinerated in a nuclear blast are still just dying--you only get to do it once....

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 14:35 | 3251490 Al Huxley
Al Huxley's picture

I had the same reaction, but didn't respond because I don't think Aerojet was just describing the current world,not advocating it as the correct action to take.  But in regard to the world's refusal to confront reality, yes I agree, it's better to deal with it than to ignore it and hope it wll go away.

Tue, 02/19/2013 - 13:35 | 3256585 matrix2012
matrix2012's picture

How about if *those in powers* deliberately choose to SHIFT all the problems into future, beyond their reigns or even their lifetime, instead of confronting or tackling the inconvenient truth at present?  And like it or not, these kinds of acts are just quite of human's self-center nature.

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 03:54 | 3250936 Piranhanoia
Piranhanoia's picture

Do any of you read his work?  I have never seen him say a nice thing about any party.  He only talks about the people on the ground.  He has no kind words for the ones that think they live in the clouds.

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 22:55 | 3251040 CPL
CPL's picture

The common themes are do not suffer fools, every person is responsible for their own actions and if you want something big to happen; deal with your neighbours before heading to city hall.

And he's right, we are over populated, under productive in a direction that has nothing to do with the progress of the human race.  Piers Anthony is another author that touches on the aftermath of large populations swamping resources in his Tarot series, which wasn't as well written as Kunstler, but the ideas were there.

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 10:07 | 3251105 booboo
booboo's picture

He oozes disdain for anyone who lives below the Mason Dixon line, we are all sitting in our homemade cabins tending gradens and swapping stories with grandpa on the porch while flicking scraps of cornbread to the chickens while the children skin out a deer.........oh, wait, that is the life he speaks of that is the only sustainable alternative to driving the Saab 40 miles to the city to get some organic milk and chia seeds for the window herb box and of course a bottle of Chianti for the free range chicken they paid 9 buck a pound for at Whole Food. Yea, he's full of Nor'east hypocrap but he does feed his loopy flock all that steroid induced red meat that makes them rage against Nascar for a nice distraction from their own miserable unemployed cyber life.

Corn po this Jim, ya angry fuck.

Mon, 02/18/2013 - 06:52 | 3252561 cjhoward71
cjhoward71's picture

I logged in to comment to say exactly that and I see dozens already beat me to it.

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 19:04 | 3250323 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

Krugman the bearded potato and Ben "the Printer" Bernanke are Doctorates in magical thinking.

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 19:09 | 3250336 knukles
knukles's picture

Everything is just fucking fine.
To wit:

Stealing Justin Beiber Valentines?
Fucking serves him right
Ah, but Bread and Circuses for the peasantry

Tue, 02/19/2013 - 13:50 | 3256620 matrix2012
matrix2012's picture

and this one is perfectly fine too.

Trashy Mom Gets Tased ~ Mothers of the Year

what a quality society!

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 19:07 | 3250331 kill switch
kill switch's picture

When this system collapses what will happen to these musicians

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 19:08 | 3250338 Squid Vicious
Squid Vicious's picture

Energy Independence = Gasoline going up 8-10 cents a week? Can we go back to the good old days of relying mostly on those evil ay-rabs and south 'merkans?

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 19:13 | 3250343 knukles
knukles's picture

One of my uber-liberal golf buds was telling me about the beauty that under the current administration we're becoming energy independent and I pointed the same out to him.
Then we got on the topic of withdrawing troops form Afginestun and I pointed out that then why's the DoD doubling up on deployments?
I mean fuck all's going on, here, folks?
Somebody's being bullshitted big time Charley!


PS, my car runs just fine on Iraqui oil.

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 12:18 | 3251245 CH1
CH1's picture

Then we got on the topic of withdrawing troops form Afginestun and I pointed out that then why's the DoD doubling up on deployments? I mean fuck all's going on, here, folks?

Just the usual: They lie, they steal and they kill. Ho hum...

But keep obeying them and sending them your money! They're the State after all, and that makes them righteous, no matter what they do!

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 19:18 | 3250352 Being Free
Being Free's picture

...we’re living in...our decaying fundamentals...society's unwillingness...we are embracing...we'll be able...our massive debts...we can get busy on to address our situation...we need...our true state...if we continue...we will likely...our delusion

too many fucking "we's" here.  Watch your pockets and your freedoms.

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 19:25 | 3250369 bank guy in Brussels
bank guy in Brussels's picture

James Howard Kunstler is indeed a mixed figure

He has a funny, valuable perspective on non-sustainable American suburbia and the 'Happy Motoring' culture

But he is hampered by being, as he himself says, 'allergic' what he calls 'conspiracy theories' ... For a long while after 2008 Kunstler was inhaling the Obama drug, believing Obama was some nice clever guy ... took him a few years to get past that

Kunstler is a New York State US East Coast Jewish guy who is deep into the US corporate media framework, he still buys into some of the Zionist neo-con garbage ...

Kunstler ridicules common American people a little too savagely, the people who 'watch Nascar' auto racing, he never quite loses his smug connection to the New York media elite despite some valid criticisms of modern living

But in the end Kunstler also sees the USA as heading toward some kind of collapse - revolution, though Kunstler fears the New America will be 'Nascar Jesus Nazis' or some such

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 19:39 | 3250393 Being Free
Being Free's picture

Thanks for the background bankguy.  I'll watch with an open mind but usually the "we" meme is usually followed up with more regulation and limitations on my freedoms, supposedly to better the "we". 


Sat, 02/16/2013 - 20:00 | 3250430 edb5s
edb5s's picture

"What you mean 'we', white man?"

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 20:27 | 3250467 Moon Pie
Moon Pie's picture

I'm all wee weed up over this...

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 19:47 | 3250398 rbg81
rbg81's picture

For example, we have a tremendous amount of work to do in this country to reform and downscale and re-localize and reorganize the major activities of American life, whether it’s agriculture – which is going to have to get smaller and more local and finer and be done by more human beings than machines, and be done by more human beings 


I agree with Kunsler's basic premise about Americans lying to themselves about the consequences of our behavior and where that might lead.  But when he gives examples like this, he basically torpedoes any credibility he might have.  I doubt agriculture is going to get less mechanized--there is no reason why it should.  And he gives no justification for his claim.

Frankly, the problem is that our Society is becoming too mechanized, in that whole job categories are being, or will soon be, eliminated by a combination of computers, software (especially artificial intelligence), networks, and robots.  Example:  within ten years, truckers will find themselves out of job due to driverless vehicles.  The challenge will be:  how do you keep the unemployed multitudes content and docile when there are fewer and fewer jobs?  And, even more important:  who pays for it?


Sat, 02/16/2013 - 20:36 | 3250478 PeeramidIdeologies
PeeramidIdeologies's picture

So you saying that a bunch of people are going to lose their jobs, but are still going to be able to afford expensive (and disgusting) processed foods? Common, an increase in localized farming is a no brainer. In fact it is already taking hold in the form of farmers markets.

QE might be foreva but SNAP ain't...

As for robotic transport trucks I wouldn't hold my breathe. Robots are only useful in controlled environments for repeatative tasks. They also require constant maintence. Navigating complex road ways, with varying traffic and road conditions with 20 tn out back isn't in their repertoire.

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 23:20 | 3250708 rbg81
rbg81's picture

Do some research on the implications of the Google Driverless car.  The technology is advancing faster than you imagine.

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 00:01 | 3250758 PeeramidIdeologies
PeeramidIdeologies's picture

Automated trucks in mines no less.... Fukin robots everywhere I look these days...

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 04:15 | 3250946 Parrotile
Parrotile's picture

Since vehicle control & management is but a collection of algorithms. there's no reason why machines cannot do this as well as (actually better than) we can. As for the "Ah, but a mere machine cannot react correctly to an unexpected event, so mechanised driving must lead to more accidents", think for one moment just how restricted these "unexpected events" are, and note just how well us Human drivers manage such events (clue - we do it very badly).

"Machines" have been able to drive better than the best for quite a while now - the stumbling blocks were information presentation (e.g. the necessity for extra sesnory systems, and  / or road modification). These roadblocks are fast crumbling, and we are seeing "driver assistance" packages now appearing in mid-range models - auto parking, auto hazard avoidance, speed and distance - sensitive cruise control, along with the now commonplace ABS, Traction Control and Brake Force Distribution technologies (Active or Dynamic Stability Control).

These systems (and emerging  inter-vehicle communication technologies) have been shown to improve road safety; how long before the "driver assistance" packages become mandated "Driver Replacement" packages - because Stone Age Man is no longer safe enough to drive 21st Century vehicles? Five years? Ten years??

Better safety, Better economy, faster journey times, reduced vehicle and road wear, "personalised" transport with the convenience of being able to do other things whilst in motion (not just mobile phone / text usage!!)

See -


Sun, 02/17/2013 - 09:21 | 3251068 rbg81
rbg81's picture

Unlike people, automated cars will be able to communicate and share data (sensor, diagnostic, etc) instantly.  This will result in much fewer "unexpected" events, because there will be better situational awareness and anticipation of what's coming.  Cars and trucks on a highway will much more closely resemble a coordinated swarm than a collection of independent units.  People will probably always be allowed to drive, but the computer will increasingly be assisting and correcting their mistakes.

Another milestone was the performance of IBM's Watson on Jepoardy a few years back.  Since them, IBM has shrunk and refined Watson and is branching out its applications.  When a computer can answer a complex question better and faster than a Jepoardy champion can, watch out.  Surgeons might stilll be needed, but fewer primary care doctors.   All you might need are low paid medical tech (or even robots) to collect the data and pump in into the Cloud so a Watson-clone can do the diagnosis.  Manufacturing will continue to produce more & better goods with fewer and fewer people. 

Like I said, this is all happening now and many people are not aware of it.  Its going to bite a lot of people in the ass.  A lot of "knowlege" workers already aren't worth dick--they will find hemselves totally obsolete within the next 5-15 years.  If you are young and thinking about a career, pick a job that can't easily be mechanized:  plumber, barber, cop, nurse, etc.  

When computers can write their own software, its really time to worry.

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 10:46 | 3251136 PeeramidIdeologies
PeeramidIdeologies's picture

Is it just me or does this whole robotic argument seem in line with keniesian way of thinking? Lets decease personal production in the name of synthetic growth and consumption. Do you not understand that we are already locked in the grips of our industrialized ways? We can't afford it now, and yet you want more of it? The detriments far out weight the benefits of robotics, if you had and actual experience with them you would know this.

And yes, I do have real world experience with robotics, in two fields to be precise. The first, was a robot brought in to replace man power in a fabrication shop. Not only was it extremely expensive, but the overpaid engineer that came with it spent more time on the phone with someone (who apparently didn't know what they were talking about either), then actually working on it. As to my knowledge, they got it set eventually but I was long gone by then. I'm sure that companies personel is much smaller today.

My present career was to be replaced with robotics years ago, but alas they signed their death warrant by being unreliable and unable to complete even the simplest tasks due to variable conditions. Turns out they are only practical for watching/inspecting from a distance. I laugh everytime I see an ROV come on site as I know I will be going in to retrieve it when it fails....

Like many "great" idea's they are only useful for filling paper. Once they are put into use in the real world it is seen that thinking and doing are two very different things.

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 11:47 | 3251198 flapdoodle
flapdoodle's picture

Got to be careful with the terms... in factories numerically-controlled machines have become pretty pervasive and like auto factory welding machines, are getting pretty sophisticated... at what point is the difference between a robot and NC equipment become moot?

The future of driverless trucks is being written even as we speak in Afghanistan in experiments to supply US troops, in DARPA challenges, and at Google - it won't be very long before it shows up on US interstates on selected routes...

Mon, 02/18/2013 - 00:18 | 3252339 Lore
Lore's picture

Made in China, no doubt, else how could we afford them?

Mon, 02/18/2013 - 06:28 | 3252556 Poor Grogman
Poor Grogman's picture

Driverless vehicles won't happen...

Robots have no postal address therefore fines could not be levied, robots will only work in non infringement generating areas.

Consider robotic production lines as sheltered workshops for non humans.

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 11:30 | 3251173 adr
adr's picture

Carnegie Mellon has had driverless cars driving around Pittsburgh since 1997. Fifteen years later the closest consumer application is adaptive cruise control, lane departure warnings, and blind spot detection. All of which were actually demonstrated in the 1950s using radar and cameras. We were promised self driving cars as far back as the 1920s. The reason why we don't have the system is because it is a terrible idea, it just doesn't work.

The Google automated car is a commerce application of the research done by CMU and MIT. It may never reach a mainstream application. There are huge hurdles to overcome, the major one being consumer acceptance. The other is split second decision making. So far the driverless cars can navigate a course and drive around town, but at a pace far slower than even the worst human driver. The automated systems do learn a route and get better over time, however the only way to build a better system for the robotic cars is to redo evey road and reorganize every city.

Something as simple as gravel still confounds the best ABS systems on the market. The computer tries to read and react to the ever changing surface leading to never actually stopping, instead of just turning off and locking the brakes. When you switch to gravel in a Mitsubishi EVO the ABS is turned off.

My engineer friends from CMU that are still working on the driverless car still don't have an answer for the following situation. Two cars are heading towards each other on a street, a child runs into the street after a ball, this signals the collision detection system in the driverless car. The issue is there isn't enough distance to stop the car with the brakes, swerving into the other lane will result in a collison with the approaching vehicle, driving on the sidewalk is illegal and the computer has not been programmed with that variable. What does the computer do? This is the problem that keeps them up at night.

The same problem arises with animals, what is acceptable to hit? How many squirrels run in front of a car on a given day? Sometimes you swerve to miss them, sometimes you can't and you run them over. Some people just run them over no matter what. So you program the car to run over small animals instead of taking the risk of swerving around them. Well, what if your treasured cat just ran in the street?

The idea of the driverless car is to make a system that will be better than human drivers. A system where you won't have drunk drivers, truckers falling asleep, getting rid of accidents. Seems to be the reasons for the system is to bail out the inept. It is supposed to be easy and speedy as well. Dreams of 200mph highways with no traffic. No mention of the immense cost. Do you know how hard it is to build tires capable of running at 200 mph? Sure we have them but they cost about $1500 a piece and last for a few thousand miles, and actually only a few hundred at 200mph.

Another major issue is that a driverless system must have 100% adoption. One human driver will cause a cascade of chaos in the system. So even though I have never been in or caused an accident, I am asked to give up something I enjoy because other people can't handle the responsibility or simply do not have the skills to drive a car.

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 12:16 | 3251237 Vooter
Vooter's picture

"Another major issue is that a driverless system must have 100% adoption. One human driver will cause a cascade of chaos in the system."

Exactly. Which is a GOOD thing...

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 12:52 | 3251305 PeeramidIdeologies
PeeramidIdeologies's picture

Exactly. It's these one-off scenarios that A.I. and robotics can not account for on their own. Just another gimmick made by the unproductive for the unproductive. I know it'll be a cold one in hell the day I pass my steering wheel/handle bars/frying pan/toilet paper over to a machine. In my opinion they have two specific positions, the most remedial tasks (although welfare recipients fit the bill better here), and space travel. If anyone wants to pull out the wallet for that one I'm sure they will find it a prudent investment.


Sun, 02/17/2013 - 12:13 | 3251234 Vooter
Vooter's picture

I LIKE TO DRIVE. Why would I want to own a driverless car? And why would I not want to wrreck a driverless car for the fun of it?

Mon, 02/18/2013 - 00:24 | 3252345 Lore
Lore's picture

Technocrats don't stop with your vehicles. They also want to turn YOU into a programmable robot.

(But not themselves, of course. After all, they're "better.")

"A place for everyone, and everyone in their place."

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 22:05 | 3250610 Mike in GA
Mike in GA's picture

"...I doubt agriculture is going to get less mechanized--there is no reason why it should. And he gives no justification for his claim."

His point is fuel and longer term viability of chemical fertilizers to sustain this level of ag.

(This wasn't clearly stated in the written summary above but I've read JHK weekly articles regularly for years. For the record, I agree most closely with Bank guy in Brussels comments about JHK.  I'm not trying to defend him, just make the point of fuel and fertilizer getting both supply constrained and prohibitively costly thru time.)

I'm 'building' an organic farm full time now partly for these reasons, partly for chemical-free food.

Quantity of food will always matter (hence continued mechanized 'factory' farms) but quality, chem-free, wholesome and tasty food will continue to command a premium price making "a return to the land" financially realistic.

Eat Locally Grown! :)

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 23:07 | 3250688 PeeramidIdeologies
PeeramidIdeologies's picture

I would agree. Farm equipment it's self is also very expensive to buy and maintain. Unaffordable to most. Too bad horticulture isn't cool these days...

I always hate to see farmers selling out quotas or land usages to these large agricultural conglomerates. Local resources ship away just to be shipped back again. Packaged and de-nitrified. What a waste.

Well done with farm! Hard work never tasted so good ;)

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 21:05 | 3252058 Mike in GA
Mike in GA's picture

Bargains can be had if you aren't in a hurry...go to auctions, watch craigslist, etc...eqpt can be very expensive or you may find a great bargain that just needs a li'l TLC and paint.

Horticulture IS cool today!  More and more people are gardening and that's the first step.  Edible landscaping is all the's a "cool" way to begin to enjoy tangible benefits of lawn care, not just appearances. Slip a few broccholi in the flower beds and nobody knows how good you got it! :)

Lot of info online and in libraries that can help you grow your own as well as anyone ever has. 



Sun, 02/17/2013 - 06:52 | 3251020 mind_imminst
mind_imminst's picture

Robots will take over farming as well. I grow an organic garden as a hobby. Would jump at the chance to have a couple of robots help me pull the weeds.

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 08:50 | 3251052 PeeramidIdeologies
PeeramidIdeologies's picture

As far as I'm concerned robots are the epitome of what is wrong with the world today. Wanting it all for nothing is exactly the attitude which promotes the decay found from the bottom to the top of our societal structure. What's worse, is that once your "handout" has been received, you recognize no value, or apperciation for, your easy lunch. Then people start throwing around nasty words like, deserve, entitled to, bailout, you get te idea...

Besides, have you ever watched or read any si-fi? It's only a matter of time before your robot recognizes YOU as it's greatest inefficiency. Some are already admitting it for fucksakes. It's not hard to imagine where that could possibly lead. In a worse case scenario of course.

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 22:32 | 3250645 Chuck Walla
Chuck Walla's picture

The challenge will be:  how do you keep the unemployed multitudes content and docile when there are fewer and fewer jobs?  And, even more important:  who pays for it?

The answer is Obamacare, the gateway to eugenics to protect the elite from a burgeoning and resource demanding hoi poloi.  Obamacare is designed to rid the US of the excess unproductive.


"Tens of thousands of Americans who can’t get health insurance due to pre-existing medical problems will be blocked from a program designed to help them because funding for the measure is running low."

~ WaPo



Sun, 02/17/2013 - 05:51 | 3250990 hound dog vigilante
hound dog vigilante's picture

"I doubt agriculture is going to get less mechanized--there is no reason why it should.  And he gives no justification for his claim."


petrochemicals fertilize vast swaths of america's breadbasket. price of oil continues upward... the whole equation gets more expensive. hybridized, mechanized monoculture may fail to pay/yield in the not-so-distant-future. it's a very fragile system they've 'designed'. so there's one reason that's plausible enough. 

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 21:13 | 3252075 Mike in GA
Mike in GA's picture

You are spot on with this assessment. 

The petrochemicals have killed the living microbes in the soil, upset the balance of micronutrients and monoculture makes the whole thing utterly dependent on further chemical inputs.  It is VERY fragile and no one yet knows where the breaking point will be.  Till then, it's the only "design" we got. 

This is why I LOVE organic growing.  Better way, better food NATURALLY!  :)

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 22:05 | 3250611 GeorgeHayduke
GeorgeHayduke's picture

"But he is hampered by being, as he himself says, 'allergic' what he calls 'conspiracy theories'..."

I too have found this ironic with Kunstler. He makes this statement, then calls the government economic and oil reserve numbers phony. He also calls the whole oil sands, fracking, tar sand plays a big Ponzi scheme. I'm not sure how such large scale lies and schemes occur without a conspiracy of some sort making them happen.

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 00:17 | 3250775 natty light
natty light's picture


You summed it up pretty well. I enjoy reading his blog on Mondays, but it alway bothered me how he completely ignores in his list of delusions our overseas adventurism and pissing off the ROW, probably the most dangerous delusion of all.

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 02:46 | 3250888 Lore
Lore's picture

Re: "too many fucking "we's" here. Watch your pockets and your freedoms."

YES. Beware of the 'Royal We.'

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 19:20 | 3250355 dolph9
dolph9's picture

Amerika is definitely in trouble.  The rich people in their 50s and 60s who run things don't seem to think so, but that's because they've never known anything but good times and progress.

Prepare, and don't be the patsy.

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 19:23 | 3250359 gould's fisker
gould&#039;s fisker's picture

We're too deluded to recognize an age of delusion--we're dinosaurs and the meteor has already hit, we're just too deluded to acknowledge the event.

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 19:24 | 3250367 Being Free
Being Free's picture

thanks for letting "me" know.

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 21:22 | 3250543 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

The meteor's name is government.

The delusion is that government is necessary and beneficial.

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 19:23 | 3250361 csmith
csmith's picture

Right on the Fed and the funny money; totally out to lunch on energy.

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 19:24 | 3250363 mickeyman
mickeyman's picture

The delusion will continue until it is too painful

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 19:46 | 3250406 rbg81
rbg81's picture

At this point, people have been so indoctrinated and dumbed down that no matter what the circumstances, they will draw the wrong conclusions.  They will go on believing in unicorns and fairy dust until someone puts a bullet in their head.

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 19:35 | 3250388 CrashisOptimistic
CrashisOptimistic's picture

Kunstler always words solutions to send a message that can maintain his personal revenue flow -- namely, we must do this and this and this, and at no time does he ever point out the two basic truths:

1)  There is no imaginable way this and this and this will ever be done, and 

2) Even if they were done, you still have a 6 billion human die off rather soon.

Which gets us to the I word.


There will be a near-term pop decline of 6 billion.  Or more.  And it will be sudden, requiring about three years from start, which will be in our lifetimes.

I can say this without dodging and equivovation because I don't seek any subscribers.


Sat, 02/16/2013 - 19:45 | 3250404 tsx500
tsx500's picture

fuck.      thanks for ruining my weekend man !

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 20:03 | 3250436 Tinky
Tinky's picture

"I can say this without dodging and equivovation because I don't seek any subscribers."

or, perhaps you can say it because you fail to support your rather startling assertions with a shred of evidence, and no one would ever subscribe for that reason alone.

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 21:11 | 3250523 CrashisOptimistic
CrashisOptimistic's picture

I think maybe you might be new around these parts . . . uh, Tinky.

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 22:09 | 3250615 Tinky
Tinky's picture

Ah, I see. Most ZH regulars believe that six billion people will soon die?

For your sake, I do hope that tin foil appreciates significantly on the way to the apocalypse.

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 23:45 | 3250734 Cosimo de Medici
Cosimo de Medici's picture

If you are new around here, suffice it to say it has something to do with fossil fuel availability and the nitrogen cycle. My own calculations put the death toll at only two point two six billion, plus a larger flag for the US to include the new states of East Saudi Arabia (Mecca and Medinah can stay under Islamic rule) and Nigeria. One state is gained via force, the other by promising unlimited internet bandwidth and the Freedom of Spam Amendment to the Constitution.

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 02:51 | 3250892 Lore
Lore's picture

"Your own calculations?!"  Based on what enlightened source, pray tell?

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 05:38 | 3250982 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

73.4% of all numbers are made up on the spot! :>D

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 12:14 | 3251236 Cosimo de Medici
Cosimo de Medici's picture

Apparently to some the sarcasm is not entirely obvious, though I thought the flag bit would be a giveaway.

Mon, 02/18/2013 - 00:45 | 3252367 Lore
Lore's picture

Just checking. ;-)

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 00:16 | 3250747 Cosimo de Medici
Cosimo de Medici's picture


Sat, 02/16/2013 - 20:22 | 3250462 decon
decon's picture

I subscribe to the same die-off view point.  The yeast are banging against the side of the petri dish.

Mon, 02/18/2013 - 06:46 | 3252559 Poor Grogman
Poor Grogman's picture

Just go to Indonesia and have a look around before you claim that people will "die off" when their per capita energy consumption plummets.

Yes peoples living standards decline, but they dont just die off, they move in with one another, live on scraps, have chickens in the house, grow a food garden, breed and have shortened life spans.

This die off scenario assumes all countries share exactly the same population density, resources, and social structure. Which they don't, and so they won't be equally inconvenienced by whatever bogey man kunstler is hawking.

The die off scenario is an oversimplification, which has wrongly been extrapolated from closed systems such as Easter island, greenland etc...

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 05:00 | 3250969 Parrotile
Parrotile's picture

Whilst it is very hard to put even a general figure "on it", one sure fact is that a developing and better educated / informed "Third World" is going to start making serious (and fully justified) demands for their "equal share of the pie".

An that, my friends, is when it "starts to get very interesting indeed", especially for the Western economies.

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 10:25 | 3251119 Landrew
Landrew's picture

The only way to kill Six Billion people in that short of time is large scale nuclear war. Energy, land depletion would take much longer than three years. 

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 19:53 | 3250419 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

jhk is a colorful writer and dooms sells. he readily identifies problems but some of his proposed solutions are laughable.

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 20:04 | 3250437 socalbeach
socalbeach's picture

Are our problems caused by "massive debts and depleting resources", or instead the US being bled dry by financial parasites, and the cost of maintaing a worldwide empire, including unnecessary wars overseas?  It seems to me the financier bailouts and excessive military spending are the root causes of our massive debts, which lead to money printing, increased income disparity, and rising prices, including prices of raw materials.

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 20:55 | 3250503 tango
tango's picture

Long before the bailouts and blatant cronyism, the American people chose to support politicians who promised the impossible - a bright, comfortable future with little effort or money.  And if there were problems, the "rich" could take care of it by paying their fair share.  A new phrase, "the government can/should/will do it" entered the vocabulary and we - not Goldman or the FED or JPM - adopted it lock, stock and barrel.  In fact we reelected those who presided and directed our economy from savings, strong dollar, future orientation to one of debt, spending, debaed currency and temporary fixes.  In some place (CA, IL) the voter reward mismanagement with continual terms in office. 

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 21:29 | 3250554 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

Fool me once, shame on you.

Fool me a hundred times, I'm an American voter.

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 04:03 | 3250930 socalbeach
socalbeach's picture

Federal debt/GDP changed direction and increased substantially in 2001 and 2008, respectively.  The blue line is how I would measure federal debt, subtracting off the monetary base and intra-governmental debt like the social security "trust fund". The green line only subtracts off the intra-governmental debt, and the red line is the conventional way of calculating the debt/GDP percentage (a little over 100%), subtracting off nothing.

federal debt / GDP %

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 20:05 | 3250439 Yellowhoard
Yellowhoard's picture

America will export oil in 5 years.

That is the only good news on the macro side.

If our enlightened government would open federal lands to development, the US could become a serious boomtown once again.

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 20:48 | 3250495 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


America will export oil in 5 years.


Sat, 02/16/2013 - 21:42 | 3250576 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

There are huge amounts of oil off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts that are untapped because in the 60s we outlawed offshore drilling everywhere except in the Gulf

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 23:11 | 3250697 PeeramidIdeologies
PeeramidIdeologies's picture

You seen the bill for that? That black gold doesn't pump it's self out of the ground...

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 14:54 | 3251527 Vooter
Vooter's picture

And you are somehow entitled to that oil?

Mon, 02/18/2013 - 00:48 | 3252372 Lore
Lore's picture

You didn't drill that oil.

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 21:14 | 3250527 CrashisOptimistic
CrashisOptimistic's picture

That is hilarious as that guy just said, but there is a way this could happen.

If US oil consumption continues its collapse amid economic collapse, there might be some left ever to send out.

But other than that, you do realize we're talking about 8 mbpd influx?  The Bakken does 700K bpd and its rise is slowing.

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 00:32 | 3250790 natty light
natty light's picture

The US could become a net energy exporter, at the expense of domestic consumption, when buyers in Asia are willing to outbid domestic market participants.

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 03:09 | 3250901 CrashisOptimistic
CrashisOptimistic's picture

Pretty much always when oil is discussed there is a tendency to somewhat quietly change the word to "energy" and continue the discussion.  This is a very bad thing and should be noted when it happens and stopped.

Oil is energy, but energy is not oil.  Only oil pushes airliners around the sky.  Only oil brings food to your grocery store's shipping/receiving door.  Not electricity.  Not propane.  Not natgas.  Civilization is based on crude.  Not gas, not "all liquids", not ethanol.  If crude doesn't flow, you die.

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 14:53 | 3251525 Vooter
Vooter's picture

"If crude doesn't flow, you die."

If crude DOES flow, we also die. It's just a matter of when...

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 11:46 | 3251193 Coast Watcher
Coast Watcher's picture

Bakken has actually gone into decline as the number of drill rigs active there dropped from 214 (all time high) last May to 181 at the end of November. Without constant drilling to keep numbers up, production dropped to 669k bpd in November.

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 21:32 | 3250557 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

If the government dried up and blew away, things would get better.

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 10:53 | 3251143 edb5s
edb5s's picture

Three junks for this comment??

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 12:27 | 3251260 CH1
CH1's picture

Probably all three work for Cass Sunstein.

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 21:40 | 3250573 OOONONO
OOONONO's picture

Time to open your eyes

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 14:49 | 3251518 Vooter
Vooter's picture

I'd rather keep the federal lands closed and let lazy, acquisitive assholes like you starve...

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 20:08 | 3250443 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

 The age of indoctrination? The age of generational gaps?

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 20:19 | 3250454 Treason Season
Treason Season's picture

Fuck you Tyler and Marla for giving this racist piece of shit any exposure.

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 23:24 | 3250712 Treason Season
Treason Season's picture


I am ashamed

Bob Moriarty
January 6, 2009

It took a reader to wake me up to the fact I did something I swore I would never do. First of all, let me say I am under no compunction to provide a fair and balanced point of view on anything. This is my website and I get to post what I want to post. You aren’t paying for it so your choice is to read it or go away, I don’t owe anyone anything, I’m providing it for free.

There is no fair and balanced point of view on some issues. Rape for example. If I were to come out with an article decrying an increase in rape in some American city, should I also post something from a rapist explaining why that’s a good thing? I think not. There are some issues there are not two reasonable sides to.

Torture is one. Anyone can be tortured into confessing to anything. So torture is not a way of gaining information, no matter what the media tells you. And as a former military pilot with two years in combat, it’s my point of view that it’s a bad idea for us to torture because then the enemy of the day might also conclude that should do the same to those Americans they might capture, such as pilots.

I have long been a fan of James Howard Kunstler, author of “The Long Emergency.” Up until today, I have recommended it to everyone I know. We have posted a dozen or so of his pieces, with a link to his site.

I’m sorry I did, it took a reader to point out to me Kunstler is a racist anti-Semitic whining War Criminal.

This is part of what he said, “Until the last few days of the year, that is. I'm sure the ever-growing cohort of American anti-Semites who send me emails will be tickled when I assert that the Hamas rocket attacks against Israel of recent days guaranteed a sharp response from Israel -- and now, of course, Hamas is playing the crybaby card: "... what'd we do to deserve this...?" Well, you fucking fired a bunch rockets into Israel. Did you ever hear of cause-and-effect?”

Well Mr. Kunstler, have you ever heard of cause-and-effect? If the Zionist war criminals running Israel and the American political system stopped stealing land from the original owners, perhaps they would not get rocketed.

The latest war crime on behalf of the whiners in Israel and their blind and ignorant supporters in the US have resulted in the deaths of 531 Palestinians and an additional 2500 wounded. Let me put that into perspective. The US has 200 times the population so for us to experience the same causalities, we would have to have 106,200 deaths and some 500,000 wounded in ten days of massacre.

Let me give you some facts no American media will provide you with. The Gaza Ghetto is 139 square miles, about the size of Philadelphia or Seattle. Within the Ghetto 1.5 million people live in abject poverty with an unemployment rate of 65%. It’s one of the most densely populated areas on earth. Israel maintains a total and complete blockade on the Ghetto (In comparison, the Warsaw Ghetto contained only 500,000 people)

The blockade is illegal but seeing as how Israel has ignored hundreds of UN Resolutions regarding their illegal treatment of Palestinians, it’s just one more war crime on their part.

I called Mr. Kunstler an anti-Semite. I mean exactly what I say, whereas he just used it in the typically whining crybaby Zionist way where anyone who dares criticize Israel is at once denounced as an anti-Semite.

But the Zionists who run Israel are not Semites. The Ashkenazi Jews that rule Israel have no legal, moral, historical or religious ties to Israel. Their origins are in the Kingdom of Khazar, they converted to Judaism in the 8th Century. The Palestinians are Semites; the Ashkenazi Jews are not Semites. So by attacking the Ghetto at Gaza, the Zionists have become the biggest Anti-Semites of all times.

The latest massacre of innocent people in Gaza should be a wakeup call to anyone who possesses a moral compass. Mr. Kunstler obviously does not. The overwhelming firepower, mostly provided by the US Congress that has been bought and paid for by Israel with the money the US sent as military aid, has caused a kill ratio of over 100-1. That’s not warfare, that’s a massacre.

Israel is a failed state. The Zionists have proven beyond question that they cannot live in peace with their neighbors.

Whatever crimes against them were committed in Europe 60 some years ago is not the problem of the Palestinians who have inhabited their country for 5000 years. The Zionists have no right to steal land from Palestinians; they have no legal or moral claim to it. And while everyone else in the world realizes it’s a failed state, only the Zionists ignore the fact that either they learn to live in peace with their neighbors or they will have to become mass murderers on a scale unmatched since WW II.

Anyone not disgusted by the actions of Israel lacks a moral compass or is a victim of the Jewish controlled media in the United States that forbids anything critical of Israel. Or both. These actions of the last 10 days go beyond war crimes.

If Israel is to ever get along with their neighbors, the first thing they need to do is drop the victimhood act and stop whining. Israel is not the victim, they are the criminals.

Bob Moriarty
President: 321gold


Sun, 02/17/2013 - 00:55 | 3250806 willwork4food
willwork4food's picture

What are you ashamed of?

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 09:52 | 3251098 Rusty Trombone
Rusty Trombone's picture

You do realize that Kunstler's a Jew ...right?


Sun, 02/17/2013 - 16:23 | 3251669 KansasCrude
KansasCrude's picture

I am no fan of Israels policies but Moriaty is an A+ whiney except when it means calling out the market manipulators in his own arena.  I no longer frequent his site.  Kunstler has a big regional bias against the Southeast and truthfully whats to like about the NASCAR disease and its grotesque proliferation.  Truthfully, though I find my sympathies tend to lean towards the South especially versus  New Yark City and D.C.. Or as I refer to them as Sodom and Gomorrah.   To find that people from the South come back with as vitrolic back at you spew as Kunstler's just reinforces the regional discension that exists.  There are many days that I see and hope for the dissolution of the Union.  I see no way to return to a Constitutionally  governed country with the massive Whore that now exists.  We have an ungovernable mess. 

While I did as I did in 92 and voted 3rd party this year,  I must admit I voted for W both times and I now feel worse for it than I did at the time.  As atimated this past week in a Zero Hedge post.....W sucked but Obammy is even worse.  While I personally admire alot of Romneys achievements his we can have it all again proclamations were IMO to much Republican delusion.  Yeah Kunstler is a bit prickly but he is so right about so much else that I still follow and read his stuff.  None of us is perfect and I do give him some credit for at least being honest about his feelings however imperfect they maybe, I know JHK  is a big fan of Zero Hedge and I appreciate him having a voice here.

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 23:31 | 3252256 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

KansasCrude said:

Yeah Kunstler is a bit prickly but he is so right about so much else that I still follow and read his stuff.  None of us is perfect and I do give him some credit for at least being honest about his feelings however imperfect they maybe, I know JHK  is a big fan of Zero Hedge and I appreciate him having a voice here.

Well put. None of us is always right, and while JHK makes mistakes like the rest of us, he's also opened a lot of eyes. I agree with him on some matters and disagree on others, but I've found he's usually worth taking the time to read or hear.

Sun, 02/17/2013 - 09:45 | 3251089 j0nx
j0nx's picture

Actually he's a cultural bigot, not a racist.

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 20:20 | 3250458 decon
decon's picture

It's interesting how all these people are citing Jim Rickards as some sage advisor regarding our collective clusterfuck.  Maybe he's come over from the dark side but he at least used to be a principle at square one in this whole bail-out piece of shit we're living in.


As general counsel for the hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management (LTCM),[5][6] he was the principal negotiator in the 1998 bailout of LTCM[7] by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!