The peak oil futurist James Howard Kunstler, writer of The Long Emergency, always has something interesting to say:
Even at this point, the current crack-up in world finance makes the 1929 crash and the events of the 1930s look in comparison like an orderly small town auction of somebody's grandmother's effects. Back in that sepia day, America had plenty of everything except ready cash. We had, especially, plenty of our own oil, and -- you're not going to believe this but it's true -- the stuff was selling for as little as ten cents a barrel, it was so abundant. And yet still, America in the 1930s plunged into a dark depression of inactivity, loss of confidence, and impoverishment.
This time around, things could get more disorderly. Personally, I think we may be beyond the reach even of fascist authoritarianism, because unlike the programmed industrial masses of the 1930s, we are unused to regimentation, to lining up at the factory gates and the movie theaters. Back then, society was so regimented that everybody wore uniforms in-and-out of the military. Look at movies from the 1930s. Every man-jack wore either a necktie and hat or overalls. The industrial masses behaved like termites. Once unemployment hit, they were waiting to be told what to do, to line up for something. It worked fabulously for Hitler, who took every advantage of this mentality. Luckily, the US went for Roosevelt (both FDR and Hitler entered office the same winter of 1933, by the way). FDR was more like everybody's kindly Uncle Frank, and his reassuring persona enabled Americans to suck up their bad luck and altered circumstances. Many of them retreated to the family farm (which still existed then) and waited things out -- and, anyway, the melodrama of the Great Depression soon resolved in the Second World War when Hitler's love of regimentation led him into military misadventure. He shouldn't have picked a fight with someone who had so much petroleum -- end-of-story.
He said a few other things and then concluded:
One thing for sure: the American public is about to undergo a severe mood adjustment. There will be fewer American Idol fans and worshippers of Donald Trump by the close of business on Friday.
Hmmm...fewer American Idol fans. That may be just the best news I've had all day.