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Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology, and the Fate of the Nation Paperback – July 9, 2013
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I've read TMM twice now and found that the most important chapters for me are nos. 1, 5, 6 and some of 7. The excellent synopsis of the political landscape of mid-20th century thru early 21st century America (chapter 5) is really helpful to me even though I lived thru much of that time. And this political history is necessary for JHK's other concerns.
Chapter 6 is splendid as the author explains step by step what has happened to the financial landscape of the same period. I never really understood the big mess of October 2008 until I read this chapter. What the American government has NOT done to enforce the law in the financial shennangigans is appalling.
Chapter 7 explains how technology is not going to replace energy. That is, you can be as innovative and clever as is humanly possible but you still have to face the reality that there is no energy source currently known which can do the work that fossil fuels do so mightily. JHK is exhaustive in his analysis of this dynamic. Part of the title of this chapter is perfectly ironic, "...Waiting for Santa Claus".
At the end of the book is a Coda: A Systematic Misunderstanding of Reality and it is classic Kunstler, only better. I was impressed by the whole book and wish my family would take the time to read it but they won't. Nor will most of my fellow citizens. Consequently they are going to be very shell-shocked when the whole system falls apart.
If Katrina and Sandy can teach us anything it should be that things may not always be o.k. Systems can collapse. Societies can decay. The path to the future will have potholes. The infrastructure is crumbling. The educational system is failing. More people are on food stamps than at any time in history. The percentage of the population empolyed in productive work is the smallest it's been in decades. Our health care system, while producing results far below those of many other countries, has become the most expensive in the world. Our young people have to load up a life time of debt to get a college education.
Kunstler has been attempting to make us look up (away) from our lighted screens for decades. His aim is to make us see what is really going on around us while we live in our electronic worlds and move through our gated communities.
For those of you who complained that this book was just a rehashing of his earlier themes (which I don't believe is the case), maybe he feels a need to rehash, becuase he sees that we still don't get it.
Kunstler has an insight into the American character that is remarkable.