American Revolution, civic engagement, community involvement, consumerism, economic tyranny, energy costs, French Revolution, globalization, James Howard Kunstler, political tyranny, post-consumer society, slow-growth economy, the automotive age, The Burning Platform, transition, Wal-Mart
James Howard Kunstler, over at The Burning Platform, offers a view on a nascent post-consumer society in the making – Time for No-Tech – a favorite topic of mine. Long on rose color and short on pragmatism, Kunstler avoids the need by ending on this note:
Farewell to the auto age and hello again to real communities. Hard to believe, I’m sure, as you read this in traffic on your iPad, but your commuting days are numbered. Indeed the whole car thing comes to a rather stunningly abrupt halt – though we are certainly doing everything possible now to prop it up. The old Herb Stein formulation will apply here: people do what they can until they can’t, and then they don’t. The implications in this for how we inhabit the landscape going forward are rather huge. Find a nice small town on a waterway surrounded by farmland and get ready to have a life.
In the meantime, as these circumstances roil in the background, you can be sure that the people running things will campaign strenuously to keep the current set of rackets running. The results will be sad and possibly terrifying. Be brave and seek opportunity in these epochal changes. Modernity has nearly put us out of business. Leave the exhausted enterprise behind and be human for while. Enjoy the time-out from techno-progress that is at hand. It will be something to be grateful for.
I applaud his optimism, his heart-felt belief that we will get through this transition. I hope he’s right. I’m too much a student of history. I know what happens when a transition involves the haves versus the have-nots, something he obliquely refers to when he mentions, “the people running things will campaign strenuously to keep the current set of rackets running.” Continue reading