Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Kiss my bottom

Market analysts like Jim Cramer seem elated at the thought that the stock market has "bottomed." Cramer's eyes glistened and gleamed tonight on his CNBC show "Mad Money." Time for the piggies to head back to the greed trough!

But there is another school of thought, the gloom and doomers (of whom I am a charter member) who foresee a different future. Global warming, with its violent weather, emerging diseases, drought, wildfires and economic dislocations. Then there's also Peak Oil - the argument that we are on the downslope of depleting the world's oil supplies, and that our commuter-based suburban lifestyle will soon become untenable.

James Kunstler, the best author in this apocalyptic mini-genre, will follow up his book "The Long Emergency" with a novel at the end of February called World Made by Hand. This new book explores how our world will shrink to the point where we can only know and care about what we can walk to. In a blog about his predictions for 2008, Kunstler argues that we can no longer sustain our wasteful ways. "Has there ever been a society so exquisitely rigged for implosion? The whole listing, creaking, reeking edifice stands like one of those obsolete Las Vegas pleasure palaces awaiting a mere pulse of electrons to ignite a thousand explosive charges perfectly placed to blow away the structural supports."

BBC reporter Greg Palast, author of the rollicking read "Armed Madhouse," recently blogged about the inevitable economic unraveling that is now a question of when, not if. His latest screed explains how the Saudis now own us, lock, stock and barrel (of oil), now that we owe $3 trillion to China, Saudi Arabia and Japan who hold the paper on our national debt.

So before heaving a sigh of relief that the economic meltdown has been averted, take a moment to read these oracles who remind us that the slide is only beginning.

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