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The Crash Course: The Unsustainable Future of Our Economy, Energy, and Environment Hardcover – March 29, 2011
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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 timethe "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 resourcesespecially carbon-based energyand 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
Top customer reviews
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- "In truth, our predicament goes far deeper than even these recent, disquieting economic events might suggest. It's time to face the facts: A dangerous convergence of unsustainable trends in the economy, energy, and the environment will make the "twenty-teens" one of the most challenging decades ever. The Crash Course explains this predicament and provides sufficient context to support the idea that it is well past time to begin preparing for a very different future."
- "The big story is this: The world has physical limits that we are already encountering, but our economy operates as if no physical limits exist. Our economy requires growth. I don't mean that growth is "required" as if it's written in a legal document somewhere, but it is "required" in the sense that our economy only functions well when it's growing. With growth, jobs are created and debts can be serviced. Without growth, jobs, opportunities, and the ability to repay past debts simply and mysteriously disappear, causing pain and confusion...It is only when we assemble the challenges we find in the economy, energy, and the environment - which I call "the three E's" - into one spot that we can fully appreciate the true dimensions of our predicament. The next 20 years are going to be shaped by fundamental resource scarcity in ways that we have never experienced in history. The developed world is entering this race economically handicapped, with no one to blame but itself."
- "The mission of this book is larger than helping people build more resilience into their lives and portfolios. At our current pace, we are on track to leave behind more than a few predicaments for our children, as part of a substantially degraded world with fewer opportunities than we ourselves were granted. If we make the right choices from this point forward, we have the opportunity to leave a very different legacy. This is what The Crash Course is about - helping us to individually and collectively understand that our choices matter significantly and that the time to make the right choices is running dangerously short."
- "We cannot beat around the bush on this "third-rail" topic any longer: We need to stabilize world population at a level that can be sustained. If we don't, then nature will do it for us, and not pleasantly, either. This means stabilizing world population in perpetuity, not only for a little while longer. We may not know what this stable level is just yet, and more study is certainly needed, especially in light of declining energy resources. But we should do everything we can to avoid badly overshooting the number of humans that can be sustainably supported on our planet while carelessly avoiding an examination of the role of petroleum in supporting those populations." (actually, this quote came from page 253)
- "To me, a world worth inheriting is one where the inhabitants are living within their economic and natural budgets. It is a stable world where people and businesses can plan for the future because they can trust what will be there when they arrive. It is a world in which the brittle architecture of our just-in-time food systems and businesses is replaced by robust, sustainable, locally focused operations. In this world worth inheriting, communities take on more responsibility for their destinies, and stronger and more fulfilling relationships develop among neighbors."
In sum, this book is a must-read for anyone who cares one iota about their own future. Everything everyone needs to know is in this one book. I really could go on-and-on extolling the benefits and advantages of this book - compared to others - but I won't. Some people just won't be convinced...and that's really their problem. I know that may sound harsh, but the fact is: it's time to get serious. Some further evidence can be found in: Nafeez Ahmed's, A User's Guide to the Crisis of Civilisation: And How to Save it, Ellen Brown's, Web of Debt, or John Greer's, The Long Descent: A User's Guide to the End of the Industrial Age.
I found a handful of grammatical errors, usually, as in online journalism from major news sources, excluding the word "to" where it clearly belonged. I'm beginning to suspect they all use the same grammar checker. Wonder what happened to human proof readers?
The author's presentation of future scenarios were less than compelling, not very insightful. Perhaps the author had the problem, as he does with this subject, of merging and expostulating on subjects that do not meet in the political middle. Debt and spending is a Tea Party bugaboo; environmentalism is not. So he treads carefully but winds up with a book totally about economics and the environment and tries to make it sound non-controversial. So the fact that these subjects step squarely on the subject of Political Economy is lost. And politics will determine if there is any response to these problems in the United States.
Attempts to make this book seem philosophical and professorial and erudite have left it wimpy and lacking in intellectual gravitas. It is a good book, however, a solid review without heavy judgment or perspective on the problems we face.
Why does Malthusian and neo-Malthusian stuff keep grabbing the public's opinion?