We face a crisis in practical living arrangements as the infrastructure of suburbia becomes hopelessly unaffordable to run. How will fill our gas tanks to make those long commutes? How will we heat the 3500 square foot homes that people are already in? How will we run the yellow school bus fleets? How will we heat the schools?James Kunstler is an "American author and social critic .Kunstler has been an outspoken critic of suburbia, urban development trends throughout the US, and the "American Way of Life", and has been a leading proponent of the New Urbanism movement. ( Wikipedia.org)
What will happen to the economy connected with the easy motoring utopia - the building of ever more McHouses, WalMarts, office parks, and Pizza Huts? Over the past thirty days, with gasoline prices ratcheting above $3 a gallon, individuals all over America are deciding not to buy that new house in Partridge Acres, 34 miles from Dallas (or Minneapolis, or Denver, or Boston). Those individual choices will soon add up, and an economy addicted to that activity will be in trouble.
The housing bubble has virtually become our economy. Subtract it from everything else and there's not much left besides haircutting, fried chicken, and open heart surgery.
And, of course, as the housing bubble deflates, the magical mortgage machinery spinning off a fabulous stream of hallucinated credit, to be re-packaged as tradable debt, will also stop flowing into the finance sector. ....
Another obstacle to clear thinking I refer to as the Las Vegas-i-zation of the American mind. The ethos of gambling is based on a particular idea: the belief that it is possible to get something for nothing. The psychology of unearned riches. This idea has now insidiously crept out of the casinos and spread far-and-wide and lodged itself in every corner of our lives. It's there in the interest-only, no down payment, quarter million-dollar mortgages given to people with no record of ever paying back a loan. It's there in the grade inflation of the ivy league colleges where everybody gets As and Bs regardless of performance. It's in the rap videos of young men flashing 10,000-dollar watches acquired by making up nursery rhymes about gangster life - and in the taboos that prevent us from even talking about that. It's in the suburbanite's sense of entitlement to a supposedly non-negotiable easy motoring existence.
The idea that it's possible to get something for nothing is alive and rampant among those who think we can run the interstate highway system and Walt Disney World on bio-diesel or solar power.
People who believe that it is possible to get something for nothing have trouble living in a reality-based community
Monday, October 10, 2005
James Kunstler: On the Housing Bubble
At the 'PetroCollapse Conference' in NYC on October 5th James Kunstler had these remarks. Here are a few selected quotes:
Posted by David at 1:15 PM