Too Much Magic
Book review. Couple of reviews, actually!
...Anyone who’s read Kunstler’s previous work will no doubt already be guessing that Too Much Magic is lively, curmudgeonly, and highly readable, as indeed it is. It’s best described as a seven-year update to his bestseller The Long Emergency, and its message is stark: the storm is upon us. ....
...[F]utile pursuit of fake magic is a central theme of Kunstler’s book. It’s on display most memorably, perhaps, in his encounters with Google employees who insist that the Long Emergency can’t happen because, like, we’ve got technology, or with the TED conference attendees who flocked to hear the latest rehash of that weary 1950s fantasy, the flying automobile. ... From vertical farming aficionados whose skyscraper-centric vision ignores the rising spiral of factors that are turning skyscrapers into an obsolete architectural form, to green energy wonks who can’t imagine why a society in freefall might not be able to scrape together the resources required for their favorite gargantuan construction program, right up to Ray Kurzweil, the computer geek’s Harold Camping with high-tech Rapture prophecy to match, Kunstler spends much of the book exploring the ways in which wishful thinking founded on a debased, fairy-tale image of magic has come to replace reasoned thought in contemporary American culture, to our immense peril. ....
The Wrong Kind of Magic
In his new book ... Kunstler updates his prior writings on Peak Oil stating how Americans long held ill-conceived belief new technologies can always conquer our problems is leading us into a period of great denial and subsequent anger. He covers the current financial crisis of the last several years in the U.S. and Europe as further evidence of capital destruction due to cheap financial credit and reckless complex financial derivatives and shows its relationship to energy supplies.
Kunstler writes this underlying destruction of our financial markets is resulting in serious upcoming capital shortages just at the time we need to be investing in rebuilding our railroad, mass transit and water transportation systems. Such transportation systems he argues are far less oil dependent than trucking or cars and because of this, they will be a key part of our future. Instead of such actions taking place, he believes we are receiving instead a barrage of feel good messages that technology and energy independence will solve all our problems. ...
...Kunstler’s message is uncomfortable and he rankles many as he is quick to point out energy reality is not American’s feel good therapist. It’s anyone’s guess as to how accurate regarding the future might be or when things might begin to change. He understands he is not the mainstream view of things today.
Yet his new book and his prior works are worth the read. .... Our energy future? 'Too Much Magic & Wishful Thinking'