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Archive by Author

The Fog of Numbers

     There’s something happenin’ hereWhat it is ain’t exactly clear….— Buffalo Springfield     One of main reasons behind the vast confusion now reigning in the USA, our failure to construct a coherent consensus about what is happening to us (or what to do about it), is our foolish obsession with econometrics — viewing the world more »

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KunstlerCast #74: Electric Society

The Quest For An Electric Vehicle Nirvana Released: August 6, 2009. James Howard Kunstler explores the possibility of transitioning our society from fossil fuels to one that runs on electricity. This discussion is based on ideas presented in an episode of NOVA titled “Car of the Future” (Season 33, Episode 3). You can watch the more »

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KunstlerCast #73: The Horse Latitudes of Our Economy

The Second Great Era of Globalism is Over Released: August 6, 2009. James Howard Kunstler believes that the consumer credit economy is over and that we are now moving on to the next phase of the U.S. economy. Kunstler provides some historical context on our current global economy and muses on the relationship between over-complexity more »

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Hunky Dory

         Whenever the herd mentality lines up along a compass point leading to “permanent prosperity,” or a yellow brick road lined with green shoots, or something like that, I tend to see the edge of a cliff up ahead. We are now completely in the grips of the deadly diminishing returns of information more »

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Evil Syndicated

   Apologies to readers for late posting today.  There was some systemic problem with the Moveable Type utility that we use to coordinate the blog and its archives with the kunstler.com website. *      By now, everyone in that fraction of the world that pays attention to something other than American Idol and their more »

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KunstlerCast #72: Sprawling to Obesity

The Burbs are Bad for Your Health Released: July 23, 2009. This May, the Committee on Environmental Health of the American Academy of Pediatrics confirmed that the design of U.S. communities (i.e. car-dependent suburbia) negatively affects the health of children (i.e. makes them obese). James Howard Kunstler explores the relationship between suburban sprawl and the more »

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Is Obama Gorbachev?

    The eulogy for Walter Cronkite as “the most trusted man in America” on the CBS “Sixty Minutes” show said a lot about the condition of this nation — though it did not signify what CBS thought it did.  It wasn’t about the death of one hugely esteemed individual; it was about the broad institutional more »

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KunstlerCast #71: Doomers

Waiting for the Storm After the Fossil Fuel Fiesta Released: July 16, 2009. James Howard Kunstler and other commentators are often called “doomers” for their seemingly bleak outlook for modern society after the peak of oil production. Kunstler gives a brief introduction to other “doomer” authors, including Dmitri Orlov, John Michael Greer, Jay Hanson, and more »

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KunstlerCast Grunt: Jacko

Sweeping Our Bad Decisions Under the Rug Released: July 16, 2009. James Howard Kunstler joins host Duncan Crary for a quick KunstlerCast “grunt” to react to the recent death of pop star Michael Jackson. Kunstler thinks Michael Jackson represents many of the bad choices that America made about itself and also its difficulty in telling more »

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Wobble Time

     The cat coming out of the bag this week — a frazzled, flaming, rabid, death-dealing cat — is the news that Goldman Sachs will announce impressive second-quarter profits, and set aside $18 billion or so for employee bonuses averaging $600,000 per head (though, of course, not evenly distributed among them).  There probably are not more »

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The Free and the Dead

       I was out on a big Adirondack lake in a canoe this weekend while the American economy was dying — but you wouldn’t have known it for the fleets of giant power boats dragging children back and forth across the water on rubber tubes, and the giant camping vehicles crammed into every bare spot. more »

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The Man in the Mirror

       As America entered the horse latitudes of summer, befogged in a muffling stillness on deceptively calm seas, we were distracted for a while by visions of a pale death angel moonwalking across the deck of collective consciousness.  Eerie parallels resound between the sordid demise of pop singer Michael Jackson and the fate of the more »

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KunstlerCast #70: Commercial and Corporate Art in Public

Art & the Human Form in Our Modern Streetscape Released: June 25, 2009. James Howard Kunstler takes a look at various types of public artwork on display in Troy NY, a small American city. Kunstler notes that many public murals in America attempt to put a human face in places where people are noticeably absent. more »

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A Snake Eating Its Own Tail

        I’d like to know what Barack Obama thinks he’s doing with the fiasco we call the US economy.  He can’t pump it back into the credit-fueled freak show it used to be, of course, but he could steer it in a practical new direction.  Even people who have lost a lot, and stand more »

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KunstlerCast #69: Public Art & Public Eyesores

Art As A Neurotic Response to Deactivated Cities Released: June 18, 2009. James Howard Kunstler discusses public art in our cities and towns. Modern public art often lacks artistry and is an ironic representation of our 21st century junk empire. But Kunstler says we don’t need any more irony. We need a dignified public realm. more »

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Too Stupid To Survive

     Coming home from the annual meet-up of the New Urbanists, I was already agitated from the shenanigans of United Airlines — two-hour delay, blown connection — when I waded into this week’s New York Times Sunday Magazine for further evidence that our ruling elites are too stupid to survive (and perhaps the US with more »

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KunstlerCast #68: Historic Preservation

The Residue of Pre-industrial Artistry and Craft Released: June 11, 2009. James Howard Kunstler addresses some issues regarding historic preservation. Kunstler supports historic preservation, because adaptive reuse is part of what makes the great European cities so rewarding to be in. According to Kunstler, the historic preservation movement really ramped up in the U.S. after more »

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Lagging Recognition

     Through the tangle of green shoots and sprouting mustard seeds, a certain nervous view persists that the arc of events is taking us to places unimaginable.  The collapse of General Motors and Chrysler signifies more than the collapse of US car manufacturing.  It spells the end of the motoring era in America per more »

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KunstlerCast #67: Jaime Correa & The 40 Percent Plan

Planning for Peak Oil Released: June 4, 2009. New Urbanist Planner and Author Jaime Correa speaks about urban planning in the peak oil era. KunstlerCast Host Duncan Crary recorded Correa’s talk on May 28 at the Albany Roundtable in Albany, N.Y. Correa speaks about how the end of cheap oil will affect communities in the more »

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Shattered and Shuttered

          The dollar was up to its armpits in quicksand, and oil prices had crept stealthily into the death-to-airlines range, and if, in the old slogan, what’s good for General Motors really is good for the USA, then destiny was dealing a harsh lesson to The Land of the Free — while I more »

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Wishes, Hopes, Fantasies

        Something like a week remains before General Motors is reduced to lunch meat on industrial-capital’s All-You-Can-Eat buffet spread. The wish is that its deconstructed pieces will re-organize into a “lean, mean machine” for producing “cars that Americans want to buy,” and that, by extension, the American Dream of a Happy Motoring economy may be more »

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KunstlerCast #65: Virtual Tour of Detroit

Google Street Views of the Motor City Released: May, 21, 2009. At the suggestion of a listener caller, James Howard Kunstler gives a virtual walking tour of Detroit, Michigan using Google Street View. Google Street View is an interactive photographic map that allows users to view photographs of streets and buildings in many cities throughout more »

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Bad Collateral

     The wishes of the “green shoots and mustard seed” crowd really hinge on whether the various organs of the suburban economy can be jump-started back to life — the production home-builders, the granite countertop outfitters, the mall and strip-mall gang, the national chain discount retailers, all the people who make Happy Motoring possible from the more »

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KunstlerCast #64: Contracting Cities & Urban Chickens

Downsizing Big Cities & Urban Agriculture Released: May 14, 2009. James Howard Kunstler talks about two former industrial cities undergoing massive contractions: Flint, Michigan and Youngstown, Ohio . The local governments in both cities have adopted policies to manage the contraction to reduce public safety issues caused by large abandoned areas within their borders. Kunstler more »

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Decoupling From Reality

           Back in the golden age of American Flyfishing — say around 1913 — when technical innovation in a prissy and recondite sport was joined by a new leisure class emanating from the white glove canyons of Wall Street, some new-minted guru of angling came up with method for whipping up action on a more »

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