Thursday, January 03, 2008

A very depressing prediction for 2008

By Libby

While you're waiting for the big countdown tonight, via Avedon here's a link to possibly the most interesting but depressing post I've ever read on our economic future. Here's one small sample.

One thing the public doesn't get about the housing debacle is that it is not just the low point in a regular cycle -- it is the end of the suburban phase of US history. We won't be building anymore of it, and those employed in its development will have to find something else to do. Now, unfortunately the whole point of the housing bubble was not really to put X-million people in so many vinyl and chipboard boxes, but rather to ramp up a suburban sprawl-building industry as a replacement for America's dwindling manufacturing economy. This stratagem ran into the implacable force of Peak Oil, which not only puts the schnitz on America's whole Happy Motoring / suburban nexus, but implies a pervasive trend for contraction in everything from the daily distances we can travel to the the very core idea of regular economic growth per se -- at least in the way we have understood it through the age of industrial capital.
That's just one stray thought in a long thesis predicting rapidly impending economic chaos.

I'm no policy wonk, but I'm reading this to say we're not looking at a mere market correction in the near future but a major social upheaval. I would love for one of our resident experts to tell me why this guy is wrong because if he's right, it sounds pretty darn scary.