Howard Kunstler on CBC February 17, 2008


Author Howard Kunstler sounded exasperated in an interview this morning on CBC Radio, 1550AM. Kunstler was explaining that while the world won’t just suddenly run out of oil, the production and distribution of the stuff will not keep up with demand. Our whole culture was made possible by cheap land and a seemingly endless ocean of cheap oil.

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Suburbs are automobile-based energy guzzling islands of Mall-doms which can no longer be sustained. The media and our political and business leaders – the elites – are not willing to risk their lavish lifestyles by telling it like it is to the “bewildered herd”.We are running out of cheap oil and the dream world of suburbia will grind to a halt.The social unrest generated by brownouts, blackouts, and no gas for sale signs, can only be guessed at.

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The book Planet of Slums by Mike Davis is a must read if we in the privileged world are to understand what is coming. This book details how cities of the South are swelling with those from the countrysides of China, Mexico, Africa, Asia. The capitalist exploitation of the earth and its peoples cannot continue and before we run out of anything, the social unrest to come will inundate us all.

To be “ahead of the curve” we in Canadian cities must radically and quickly change the way we think of our place in the economy, in society and among each other. To start, we need to form citizen groups with the goal of transforming local government into popular assemblies in which a consensual model of debate and decision making will enable us to make the best use of land and resources with which to look after the coming “refugees” from the suburbs and other parts of the world.

For areas that can – such as Windsor – land use will need to be prioritized to grow food for local consumption. One of the first things to breakdown with the end of cheap oil will be the transportation system which is reliant on trucks and privately owned transportation companies. They will go where the money is, which will be the largest urban areas, leaving the rest of us with empty grocery shelves.

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Filed under Capitalism, CBC, Howard Knustler, Mike Davis, Peak Oil, Planet of Slums

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