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Archive by Author

The Fate of the Yeast People

    Every time I do a Q and A after a college lecture, somebody says (with a fanfare of indignation) – so as to reveal their own brilliance in contrast to my foolishness – “You haven’t said anything about overpopulation!”      Right.  I usually don’t bother. Their complaint, of course, implies that we would more »

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KunstlerCast #88: In General

The Role of Generalists in a Hyper-Specialist Society Released: Nov. 12, 2009. James Howard Kunstler speaks about the role of generalists in a world of hyper specialists. Although hyper-specialists are experts in their narrow fields, their work is often disregardful of the larger picture. Traffic engineers, for example, can move huge numbers of cars extremely more »

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Dreams Die Hard

     In The Long Emergency (2005, Atlantic Monthly Press), I said that we ought to expect the federal government to become increasingly impotent and ineffectual – that this would be a hallmark of the times.  In fact, I said that any enterprise organized at the colossal scale would function poorly in years ahead, whether more »

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KunstlerCast #87: Boston

Where Gentrification is a Good Thing Released: Nov. 5, 2009. James Howard Kunstler thinks Boston is one of the few healthy major cities left in the U.S. He says gentrification has been a good thing for the city. He is disappointed with the outcome of Boston’s “big dig” project, though. When the city finally placed more »

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Introduction To James Mccommon’s New Book: “Waiting On A Train”

Introduction To James Mccommon’s New Book: “Waiting On A Train“

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Thinking the Unthinkable

     A side-trip to the local mall – where else to buy ammo around here? – evinced an epic struggle for supremacy of the chain stores between the Great Pumpkin and Santa Claus, with both fat-assed icons trying to shove the other out of the primary display sites as if the store aisle were more »

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KunstlerCast #86: The High Line (NYC)

Rails to Freakish Parks Released: Oct. 29, 2009. James Howard Kunstler discusses two major projects that have recently turned 19th century railroad structures into parks: the High Line in lower Manhattan and the Walkway Over the Hudson in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. The High Line is a unique park in New York City, built upon a former more »

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Self-jiving Nation

     The scene in the White House these days must be a sort of Opera Bouffe, in which an earnest and rather grave young man moves from one roomful of lesser officials to another in which all agree to pretend that they have prevented the nation from falling into something they call “the abyss.” more »

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KunstlerCast #85: Is NYC The Green Metropolis?

The Last Major Renovation of Manhattan Released: Oct. 22, 2009. Inspired by David Owen’s book “Green Metropolis,” James Howard Kunstler examines the idea of Manhattan as a “green” city. Kunstler believes that, during his lifetime, New York has never been in as good shape as it is now. But he also thinks it will never more »

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Marching Toward Zombieland

     When sober-minded individuals begin to regard an enterprise within a nation as “an enemy of the people” you can bet that some serious blood is going to flow.  This is now essentially the situation for the Goldman Sachs company, which last week announced third-quarter earnings of over $3 billion largely derived from converting more »

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KunstlerCast #84: Urban Thinkers

Christopher Alexander, Daniel Burnham, Lewis Mumford, Leon Krier, Le Corbusier Released: Oct. 15, 2009. James Howard Kunstler believes that urban design will be the next big philosophical battle for the hearts and minds of Americans. One of the most important tasks we will face is determining the size, scale and shape of the 21st Century more »

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Booby Prize

      When that phone call came around six a.m. last week telling President Obama he’d been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, I had to think he turned to Michelle and said, “Honey, our life together has just gotten more surreal.”  I was hoping that he would politely refuse it, perhaps making a statement later that more »

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KunstlerCast #83: Jane Jacobs, Urban Thinker

The Death and Life of Great American Cities Released: Oct. 8, 2009. Planetizen, an urban planning website and book publisher, recently conducted a poll about the Top 100 Urban Thinkers. Jane Jacobs, author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities, made #1 on the list. Kunstler explains the story and importance of Jacobs. more »

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World War Three Anybody?

     When Alan Greenspan predicted three percent economic growth showing up in the reported figures for the third quarter of 2009, did he mean executive compensation packages?  Maybe the lesson here is: don’t ask a crackhead to predict the future supply of crack.  Greenspan’s greatest success may be to drive economics into such disrepute more »

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KunstlerCast #82: Food in a World Made By Hand

Beyond Fast Food Nation Released: Oct. 1, 2009. In this week’s episode, listener Frank Aragona of the Agroinnovations Podcast asks James Howard Kunstler to talk about the role of food in Jim’s post-peak oil novel World Made By Hand. Although the characters in the novel must overcome many obstacles, the food that they eat is more »

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The Season of the Witch

      In my father’s house are many mansions. Surely one of them has a room with no elephants in it….      Not to crunch too many metaphors right here at the top, but a consensus seems to be firming up in the animate jello of the Internet that we have entered the Season of the more »

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KunstlerCast #81: Los Angeles

Provisional Civilization Released: Sept 24, 2009. James Howard Kunstler shares his thoughts on Los Angeles, California after a recent visit to Tinseltown. The motoring infrastructure of Los Angeles stretches from horizon to horizon. It is a provisional civilization in which all is subordinate to the car. However, Kunstler believes Los Angeles is more urban than more »

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Original Sin

     In our history, the American nation committed obvious sins against select groups of people, and we’ve paid bitterly for some of that.  But now it’s our sins against the land itself that threaten to sink the USA as a viable enterprise.     It’s odd, that in his otherwise excellent blow-by-blow account (“Eight Days,” in the more »

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KunstlerCast #80: White & Green Rooftops

Mitigating Climate Change & Saving Energy Costs Released: Sept 17, 2009. Professor Steven Chu, the US Energy Secretary, is advocating for people to paint their rooftops white in order to save on energy and to cut down on global warming. James Howard Kunstler reacts to this idea and also addresses the topic of rooftop gardens, more »

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Reality Receding

     Now that everybody in the USA, from the janitors in their man-caves to the president addressing congress, has declared the “recession” over, is exactly the moment when what’s left of the so-called economy is most likely to implode.  If there were still shoeshine boys on Wall Street, they’d be starting their own hedge more »

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KunstlerCast #79: Packin’ for France

Is Now A Good Time to Leave the U.S. for Good? Released: Sept 10, 2009. A Listener caller asks James Howard Kunstler if now is a good time to emigrate from the U.S. to France. During his response, Kunstler poses the question: exactly what allegiance do you owe to your country if your country is more »

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The Labor Day Blues

        One national moment-of-nausea this Labor Day weekend struck Sunday morning, when CNN’s John King led off his 10 a.m. State of the Union show with a valentine to ABC’s Diane Sawyer, on her becoming anchor of that network’s evening news. (This was the most important news of the week???)  The old legacy networks more »

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KunstlerCast #78: Litter & Pollution

Trashing Places We Don’t Respect Released: Sept 3, 2009. James Howard Kunstler says one reason why American cities are so dirty is because we do not have a firm agreement about how to treat the public realm in this country. He believes that people will literally trash a place that they don’t like or respect. more »

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End of Summer Blues

     In my larval, pre-blogging days, I always faced the back-to-school moment with abject dread.  It meant returning to a program of the most severe, mind-numbing regimentation in the ghastly New York City public schools after a summer of idyllic unreality in the New Hampshire woods, where I went to a Lord of the Flies more »

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KunstlerCast #77: Idiocracy

The Diminishing Returns of Information Technology Released: August 27, 2009. James Howard Kunstler believes that stupid Americans are exerting their political and cultural tyranny over the rest of us. No other society has produced a larger group of stupid people with as much money and means to express their thoughts, pleasures, ideas, biases, delights, and more »

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