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Peak oil and our financial decline

In this fifth video in the series “Peak Oil and a Changing Climate” from The Nation and On The Earth Productions, author, blogger and social critic James Howard Kunstler opens up on two circumstances he sees running neck and neck “that are going to put us out of business as an advanced industrial civilization”—the “fiasco” in banking, money and finance and the unfolding “energy predicament.” He explains that the crises are really all about "capital" and that we need to look at how wealth has been accumulated and deployed for productive purposes.

Kunstler suggests that “cheap abundant energy” has facilitated ever-increasing industrialization for centuries. But now that society is in a period of self-destructive capital accumulation, he expects debt to increase as abundance in energy drops. The tremendous amount of accumulated debt, “a by-product of cheap abundant energy,” will mean that in the future governments will be less able to make investments in socially-beneficial programs.

He also criticizes the US environmental movement for shying away from the problem of energy. The movement is unable to talk about walkable neighborhoods, smaller cities or investing in rail or water transit, an “intellectual failure of the culture to have a coherent conversation from people who ought to be leading” such a conversation.

Go here to learn more about "Peak Oil and a Changing Climate," and to see the other videos in the series.

—Kevin Gosztola

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