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Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking,…
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Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology, and the Fate of the Nation (2012 original; edició 2012)

de James Howard Kunstler (Autor)

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Offers predictions as to what technological advances will truly bring, in a sobering look at the future that dispels the overly optimistic vision of the future as depicted in 1950s pop culture.
Membre:ronploude
Títol:Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology, and the Fate of the Nation
Autors:James Howard Kunstler (Autor)
Informació:Atlantic Monthly Press (2012), Edition: 1st, 336 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca, Per llegir
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Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology, and the Fate of the Nation de James Howard Kunstler (2012)

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Kunstler analyzes the failure of America to face the oncoming problems of peak resources, the criminalization and destabilization of our economic system and the imminent failure of our auto based living arrangements. ( )
  ritaer | Nov 24, 2013 |
I'm a regular reader of Kunstler's blog so I was a bit worried in picking up this book that I would just be reading rehashed blog posts, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Certainly the point of view here is very much the same one that Kunstler brings to his blog. But the material here does seem coherent in an expansive way, covering a lot of territory but in a well-structured way.

Whether there is an audience that can learn much from this book, that is a curious puzzle. Most of the book is a catalog of the many dimensions of the present crisis - peak oil, climate change, the collapse of financial structures. Kunstler discusses how all these dimensions fit together. There must be a few folks that are just learning about the present global catastrophe who can learn here about some new aspects of the situation. But I think most folks will fall into one or the other of the two polarized extremes of our days, the convinced doomer or the true believer in progress. This book is not likely to be the miraculous instrument that can open the minds of true believers!

Kunstler does sketch out here some ideas about what post-catastrophe society is liable to look like. How many of our modern social and political ideals are likely to survive the material technological crash? Will multi-culturalism and gender equality survive? Whether Kunstler's thinking is accurate or not on such topics, it is certainly thought provoking. He presents his rather unorthodox positions in a reasonable way. Whether or not folks agree with him, I think many a doomer may well be moved to rethink some aspects of the future society they foresee. I don't think very many true believers in progress will get far enough in the book anyway, but Kunstler's rather retro social vision will just underscore for them the unacceptability of his equally retro technological vision.

In the retro-technological arena, an intriguing question that Kunstler addresses, as have many others, is the future of the internet and of electronic information technology. Kunstler agrees with a common doomer perspective, that unreliability in the power grid will bring down the web. I worked many years in the semiconductor business, long enough to have some understanding of the mind-boggling cost and complexity involved in designing and manufacturing chips. Moore's law is surely another one of the exponential evolutionary trajectories of technology whose lifetime is necessarily finite. If people buy new gadgets because of the improved capability, then sales will plummet as the pace of improvement slows. Slowing sales will lead to reduced investment, and that accelerating feedback system will make it difficult even to maintain present manufacturing capabilities. The digital technology that is so pervasive today, the tablets and smart phones and mp3 players and cameras... this is miraculous technology, kept alive by a wildly enthusiastic consumer marketplace. I don't worry so much about powering all these devices. I worry about replacing them as they break. ( )
1 vota kukulaj | Jun 23, 2012 |
Kunstler picks up where he left off in his 2005 book The Long Emergency, examining the events--with the greatest focus on the financial crisis of 2008--which have transpired since then. There's nothing particularly new here. Kunstler sticks to his guns about the end of oil and the beginning of "the long emergency", a time of crisis and societal re-organization, as we withdraw from our addiction to all that access to cheap fossil fuels has allowed. I found the book interesting and in a few places thought-provoking. However, the financial instruments dreamed up by banks and stock brokers playing with other people's money, which (Kunstler points out) even legislators have had a hard time getting their minds around, were still not clear to me though Kunstler does take some pains to clarify them. What sickens, of course, is that nothing much has changed on Wall Street. No one has been charged, and the deregulation continues. Now look at Jamie Dimon at JP Morgan (May, 2012). It's hard not to agree that our society is a house of cards. Kunstler's point remains a good one: everyone believes that technology will save us...but technology is not energy--it runs on it. After the problems of Fukushima, nuclear energy is hard to embrace, and it's a lot harder extracting natural gas from shale than anyone thought. ( )
  fountainoverflows | May 16, 2012 |
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Offers predictions as to what technological advances will truly bring, in a sobering look at the future that dispels the overly optimistic vision of the future as depicted in 1950s pop culture.

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