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The Crash Course: The Unsustainable Future Of Our Economy, Energy, And Environment Hardcover – March 29, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

The next twenty years will be completely unlike the last twenty years. The decisions you make today are critical. The world is in economic crisis, and there are no easy fixes to our predicament. Unsustainable trends in the economy, energy, and the environment have finally caught up with us and are converging on a very narrow window of time—the "Twenty-Teens." With solid facts and grounded reasoning presented in a calm, nonpartisan manner, The Crash Course explains our predicament and illuminates the path ahead so you can face the coming disruptions without fearing the future or retreating into denial.

Our money system places impossible demands upon a finite world. Exponentially rising levels of debt, based on assumptions of future economic growth to fund repayment, have shuddered to a halt and are reversing, with severe and lasting consequences.

Oil is essential for economic growth. The reality of dwindling oil supplies is now internationally recognized, yet virtually no developed nations have a Plan B. The economic risks to individuals, companies, and countries are varied and enormous. Best case: living standards will drop steadily worldwide. Worst case: systemic financial crises will toss the world into jarring chaos.

This book is written for those who are motivated to learn about the root causes of our predicaments in order to protect themselves and their families, mitigate risks as much as possible, and control what effects they can. With challenge comes opportunity. The Crash Course offers a positive vision for how our lives can become more balanced, resilient, and sustainable.

The world is changing. It's time to get busy. The Crash Course will show you how.

From the Back Cover

Praise for The Crash Course

"Chris Martenson gave up a successful and conventional career to study the two great problems that we face: running out of critical resources—especially carbon-based energy—and a congenital failure to process unpleasant facts. Reading The Crash Course will help you recognize how dangerous our future is likely to be and will help you prepare for it. It is a job well done." —Jeremy Grantham, cofounder and Chief Investment Strategist, Grantham Mayo Van Otterloo

"Among the handful of observers making sense of the economic scene, Chris Martenson is the most astute, coherent, and comprehensive. Reading Chris is like stepping out of a room full of smoke and mirrors into daylight." —James Howard Kunstler, author of The Long Emergency

"Economists did not predict the Great Recession of 2008; Chris did. He looks deeper into the numbers than most and has found a painful future if we do not make a major turn. I deeply appreciate him for doing this work. He uses hard data to back up the self-evident common sense that if we do not consciously manage our natural resources and business relationships to give priority to the common good, we will face dire consequences. This is serious. Read this book." —Terry Mollner, Board Member, Ben & Jerry's

"Chris addresses fundamental economic and energy issues in understandable terms and provides engaging perspectives. Readers will learn a great deal from his work." —Dr. Robert L. Hirsch, lead author of The Impending World Energy Mess

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (March 29, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 047092764X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470927649
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (114 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #90,293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Chris Martenson is an economic researcher & futurist specializing in energy and resource depletion. He is the founder and editor of the website, as well as its popular video seminar, The Crash Course.

Chris is in the dot-connecting business. A former scientist and Fortune 300 executive, he studies macro trends through his proprietary analytical framework based on the interdependence of the "Three Es" - the Economy, Energy & the Environment - and uses this lens to assess the probable impact of current developments in the marketplace . All in order to help his readers and clients mitigate and control risk.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

134 of 146 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are a limited number of good books that cover this very important topic - the relationship between population size, resource scarcity, and the competition that ensues from this struggle. And when this "struggle for existence" is tied together with major advances in medicine and relative world peace; the effect has been low fertility rates in democratic countries, people living much longer lives, and an unprecedented world wide population surge. Without what had been the traditional population checks in place (war, disease, and famine) the consequences will be devastating. The first person to have achieved any understanding of, and notoriety for articulating, this reality was Rev. Thomas Malthus with his, An Essay on the Principle of Population (Oxford World's Classics). And that was first published in 1798! The complete and total lack of those in political power to develop mechanisms to deal with this problem is the single greatest tragedy to befall the civilized world. Now, I simply said that to say this: Chris Martenson's book, The Crash Course, is the best book pertaining to this dilemma I have ever (yes, ever) read - and the most important book published since Garrett Hardin's, Living within Limits: Ecology, Economics, and Population Taboos, or Jared Diamond's, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed: Revised Edition. I believe this for two primary reasons.Read more ›
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86 of 93 people found the following review helpful By K.C. on March 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a truly exceptional book. The author does an amazing job of explaining our economic problems in a clear, concise, easy to understand, and interesting way. Most importantly, you will learn why, with our debt based monetary system, hyperinflation is inevitable.

The author of this book has also made a 3 hour video of The Crash Course that is a condensed version of the book. It, too, is excellent. This DVD is available from Amazon or you can view if for free on the author's website, . Of course, it's not possible for a 3 hour video to contain nearly as much information as the book. So, if you really want to be fully informed, you should read the book. However, while you are waiting for it to arrive in the mail, you can get a terrific overview by watching the DVD.

Basically, The Crash Course (book or DVD), in a very compelling way, makes two fundamental points. First, that our present rate of consumption of oil, when correlated against an increasing world population and increasing demand from the industrialization of third world countries, is simply not sustainable. In fact, it appears that we are currently at the precipice of there not being enough oil to meet the demand. And, when we go over the cliff, our standard of living will be diminished overnight. (Imagine having to spend 50 to 70% of your income on food and gasoline.)

The second fundamental point made by the Crash Course is that our debt based monetary system must inevitably end with hyperinflation. The reason is that each year, enough new currency must be created to pay the interest on all of the previously created debt. As a result, there is an exponential increase in the money supply.
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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful By L. Craig on March 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First of all, I loved this book. In my opinion, it is the best book on World problems since The Long Emergency written by James Howard Kuntsler. Actually it is better. For one, it is more comprehensive. The author goes way beyond energy and then he ties all of the problems together at the end of the book. Secondly, he supports his analysis with many charts and statistics which I find speak to me in a whole different way than narrative.

The amazing thing is that as a society, we are standing on the edge of a cliff about to fall off, we know it, but for some reason, we just do not have the will to do anything about it so far. We are not even having a national dialogue. Our leaders are aware of the problems but I guess they look back at President Carter who lost the next election after he said: finding new energy is the moral equivalent of war. I hope we wake up in time to tackle these issues because the alternatives are not good. That is the core subject of the well written and entertaining book.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Robert Gardner on April 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Around 2005/2006 I began thinking something was just not quite right with the economy and energy so I started reading everything I could find on the subjects. In about 2006, I read 'The Long Emergency' by Kunstler. It was an eye opener dealing specifically with peak oil and how it will affect us all. I read quite a few other books and articles too. 'The Road to Olduvai', 'The Coming Economic Collapse', 'Twilight in the Desert', and Matt Savinar's 'The Oil Age Is Over'. All of these publications are excellent in their own right. I also read and listened to a great many other news stories and opinions that were offered on the subjects. However, I came away feeling that each addressed only a portion of the problems that I was witnessing. It was almost as if the economists, energy experts and environmentalists were wearing blinders. They only addressed their particular specialty and never tied anything together.

In mid 2008 I found Chris Martenson's online presentation called 'The Crash Course'. He hadn't yet completed the entire work and so I waited anxiously as each subsequent chapter/unit of the presentation was published online. The entire presentation was like a breath of fresh air. He did not try to overwhelm his audience with his grasp of the subject matter by using a plethora of 'million dollar words'. He clearly stated how 'The 3 E's' (Energy, Economy and Environment) were intricately related and how they could not be compartmentalized.

The 'Crash Course' book picks up where the presentation ends. This is not a 'doomer' book but instead is positive. It apolitically sets out in a concise manner why we are where we are today. It is clear and easy to understand.
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