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Shaun Chamberlin is an author, activist and the editor of both Lean Logic and the paperback Surviving the Future: Culture, Carnival and Capital in the Aftermath of the Market Economy.  He has been involved with the Transition Network since its inception, cofounding Transition Town Kingston and authoring the movement’s second book, The Transition Timeline.  He worked closely with David Fleming until his death. His website is:  On Twitter, he is @DarkOptimism

Dr. David Fleming (1940 – 2010) was a visionary thinker and writer who played significant roles in the genesis of the UK Green Party, the Transition Towns movement, and the New Economics Foundation, as well as chairing the Soil Association. He was also one of the early whistle-blowers on oil depletion and designer of the influential TEQs carbon/energy rationing system. He read Modern History at Trinity College, Oxford, and later earned an MBA and then an MSc and PhD in economics (in 1988). These enabled him to better engage with and confound the mainstream, in support of his true passion and genius: understanding that diverse and mysterious thing “community.” Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It was the work of over thirty years.

David Fleming’s posthumous masterpiece of wit, whimsy and rebellion:

Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It

Shaun Chamberlain’s concise short version of David Fleming’s central ideas:

Surviving the Future: Culture, Carnival and Capital in the Aftermath of the Market Economy

About James Howard Kunstler

View all posts by James Howard Kunstler
James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency, and Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation. His novels include World Made By Hand, The Witch of Hebron, Maggie Darling — A Modern Romance, The Halloween Ball, an Embarrassment of Riches, and many others. He has published three novellas with Water Street Press: Manhattan Gothic, A Christmas Orphan, and The Flight of Mehetabel.

9 Responses to “KunstlerCast 310 — With Shaun Chamberlain, Editor of the Late David Fleming’s Book “Lean Logic”” Subscribe

  1. Walter B December 5, 2018 at 2:30 pm #

    So it sounds like Davis was and Shaun is another one of us who are convinced that the only wise way to proceed forward is to concentrate on reducing consumption rather than increasing supply. All well and good, and it is always encouraging James to listen to those who would so advise us, but as we all know it just ain’t gonna happen, is it? Just as the preaching of Jesus insisted that the only way to live well was for us all to live together in peace and caring, all it takes is one or two creatures with bad intent to screw up the works. I do believe that American corporations and consumers will only be willing to do with less when there is nothing to be had at all. That oughta learn ’em!

  2. Myrmecia December 5, 2018 at 4:13 pm #

    Walter B, you sum it up very well.
    But let me jump in first with compliments to Jim and his guest – a great discussion by two articulate people – dare I say “experts” – who have studied independently the trajectory of Western consumer civilisation over decades and come to pretty much the same conclusions.
    To return to Walter B: Although David Fleming may have decided that demand reduction is the best way to go, demand reduction is not going to come from personal pledges, community commitments or national laws.
    It is a pity that David Fleming did not live to witness the brutal fanaticism of ISIS, to assess the global imperial ambitions of China (not just for lebensraum, but for domination) or to to see Americans choosing between two spectacularly unsuitable presidential candidates. A post-war British Prime Minister, Harold MacMillan declared his best-laid plans were forever being overtaken by “events, dear, boy, events” – that is, we are forever being blindsided by the unexpected. In this podcast Jim hinted cautiously at the possibility of global cooling – now, wouldn’t that throw a spanner in the works!
    So demand reduction is inevitable, but it won’t be achieved voluntarily; any Transition Towns will be plundered by ruthless groups determined to defer their own demand reduction at someone else’s expense.

    • Walter B December 8, 2018 at 9:12 pm #

      It is always invigorating to hear from others that understand, thank you. I have read much on the potential of a new Ice Age and the best treatise on the subject was done on a site titled “Escape to the Philippines”, sadly a place that can no longer be accessed, at least as far as I can tell. I did print out a copy of it though and yes indeed it does predict a coming ice Age. Is it not funny how in this age of information that information of any real value does not seem to exist?

  3. Chris at Fernglade Farm December 5, 2018 at 10:17 pm #

    Hi Jim,

    Thanks for taking the time to put these podcasts together. And I particularly enjoyed this one.

    A few years back I was involved unintentionally with the transition movement, although that wasn’t my primary purpose and it was more of a happy accident. Anyway, the offshoot group comprised much older people (and myself) who had been growing vegetables locally on small scale, sometimes for decades. It was a great group and I learned a lot and got access to a lot of interesting locally adapted varieties of edible plants.

    Eventually, as time wore on, the participants simply got old and for some reason – possibly relating to age of the participants, aprons (a true but sad story!) and consensus politics – the group died an untimely death. But before it did, I grabbed as much resources and local knowledge that I could, and the social connections were shattered.

    That is what the present looks like to me.

    I do rather wonder about the efficacy of community building efforts – which Shaun discussed in the podcast – when many of the social interactions and relationships appear to be a bit bonkers. Dunno.



  4. Great podcast, and a great alternative discussion to the new denizens of the regular column, where climate change doesn’t exist and America will soon be made great again, and more bigly.

    • Walter B December 11, 2018 at 9:13 am #

      Oh the climate’s changing alright and pretty dramatically. In my 6 plus decades this is the first time that the temperature has dropped below freezing every night in November and has stayed that way for 6 weeks now. What I would love to see discussed on the topic is what we are going to do to address the problem for that is what seems to be lacking IMHO. Right now all I am going to do is throw another log on the fire, but I would love to see some serious, real solutions brought forward. And increasing government taxation is NOT one of them.

      • I laugh because you mention throwing another log on the fire.

        Thats a huge waste of energy and a point source of pollution.

        I’m not going to tell you to stop- what I am going to do is tell you that life is better when you don’t have the expense. I know, for you that is part of the investment you made in the whole energy budget of your particular property- but, from my perspective, it is a truly net negative way of life.

        If everyone just stopped burning their point-source pollution sources, air quality for everyone would measurably improve. Even yours.

        I you have the means, I suggest paying the small premium for connection to the grid and convenient and constant electric power. The time saved is a very valuable. In the final analysis, heating by wood is false economy.

        I know people in similar situations, who have both sources of power for heating but still go through the exercise of gathering, chopping, feeding the fire, etc. and I just shake my head. Its unnecessary and to me, sort of straddles the line between stupid and insane.

        Just quit. Life isn’t worth it. And thanks from me personally if you do quit smoking.

      • One more thing, I just got back from visiting my grandfather- he’s got 10 decades, thats 3 decades and change on you so pay attention.

        He grew up in a mud hut with a coal fire under a kettle beneath a hole in the ceiling. It was colder than anything you’ve ever experienced, I’m sure. All winter long- South Dakota winters that would go to zero and stay there.

        And when his family had no money or means to obtain coal, they burnt cow chips. Imagine what that smelled like.

        You think he’s sentimental? Electric heat throughout his house- a crispy 75 degrees year-round to warm his bones. Friends bought him an artificial fireplace- throws a good light show if not totally convincing, but also puts out steady radiant heat.

        Air pollution is a real public health problem. To address it, we could easily replace point-source pollution controls, but we have to use economic manipulation – regulation – to try and reduce the harm to the environment caused by burning wood- or gasoline or diesel for that matter.

        Today my friend told me she burns old newspaper in her fireplace- I was like… why? 90% of the heat is wasted – straight up the chimney. The rest ejects ash and fire to leave unburned out the exhaust and foul the chimney. It does nothing but generate CO, and NOx. She rents- the fireplace is part of the tragic legacy of the construction of suburbia, where every “home” comes with a “hearth”. As a renter, and being not that bright- she simply does what her environment suggests to her to do.

        I have another friend who likes to do all the above, just outside. In a “fire pit” which he loves to stare into. Since he lives rural, he claims to save money by burning all his junk mail, cardboard boxes, etc. He could compost it… but he burns it.

        He likes just sitting there staring at it and spending time there. I think its stupid, for lack of a better word- to whiff the smoke particles from incomplete combustion, vegging out with beer after beer, interminably for hours. And he too, spends inordinate amounts of time chopping and felling and carting a burning to feed an inadequate and temperamental cast iron wood stove that can’t even reliably heat part of his house, let alone simply be redundant to co-existing heat exchanger and electric baseboards.

        I think its dumb on an individual level, but particularly, a social level. Imagine being a prick polluting the atmosphere in your car everyday, and then going home and polluting while you are at home. That is 24/7, constant point pollution- as a lifestyle- which is where we’re at. You could characterize the modern social situation as mutual pollution enterprise.

        While he believes he obtains a benefit (a false economy in my opinion) I think he poisons himself and his environment, and wastes his time and energy. Further, he poisons his neighbors’ and larger society, with his pollution. Everyone- young, and old.

        In between people like him and people like you- are people like me. We try to break through, to tell you that there is a better way to live. It sounds condescending- because I am- to the idea that dilution is the solution to pollution. It is not- stopping pollution is the solution.

        This is why I revere the Environmental Protection Agency and I would applaud forcible legal sanctions against burning wood for the purpose of heating a house. I get a real, tangible benefit from stopping people like you pollute the air I breathe.

        Its a short nip and tuck, as far as the regulation is concerned, before it can be made functionally illegal. And it can’t come soon enough.

  5. Walter B December 13, 2018 at 3:38 pm #

    Egad man, you are clearly insane!

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