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Thursday, June 09, 2005

Kunstler again

There were parts of James Howard Kunstler's book The Long Emergency that made me question whether he actually knows what he's talking about. But as far as turning out a couple of great doom-and-gloom paragraphs about where we're headed, I'm not sure anyone can match him (although you know I've tried!):
The Times's star columnist Thomas Friedman is making hay this season with his new book, The World is Flat, about the global economy. His book asserts that current trends will continue indefinitely -- China will continue to manufacture ever more of America's household products, Americans will continue to enjoy cash-out home equity loans to buy plastic patio chairs made in China, WalMart will keep running its warehouse-on-wheels at a thumping great profit, and all impediments to global trade will be vanquished by telemarketing, computer technology, and confident corporate can-do spirits. I am tempted to ask how Friedman manages to type on a laptop with his head so far up his ass, but this blog is dedicated, above all, to a high-minded brand of politeness so we'll just say that he is not paying attention to a gathering global energy s***storm that is going to change absolutely everything -- including global economic relations which pundits foolishly maintain to be permanent conditions of life.

Here in the States, the price of a barrel of oil is back over $55 and we are only one week into the summer vacation driving season. President Bush is running a scam on the public by pretending to push Congress to act on an energy bill that offers nothing to realistically address the nation's oil addiction and, especially, its car dependency. He doesn't dare, I suppose, because he must know that the American economy is about little more than car dependency. But just watch: as the price for a barrel of oil heads north past $60, Bush's abject leadership failure will become self-evident and the public mood will appear to shift overnight. The oval office will become a very lonely place indeed by this coming fall, and its occupant will have three long and terrible years left to suffer there.
Gee, I hope he's right about that!!

Unfortunately, more people are currently buying Friedman's BS than they are Kunstler's warnings. Literally--Friedman's The World is Flat is currently ranked 6th on the Amazon bestseller list, while The Long Emergency is number 233.