The Jim Kunstler preparedness check-list
From yesterday’s Clusterfuck Nation (this is an abridged version).
- Stop all highway-building altogether. Instead, direct public money into repairing railroad rights-of-way. Put together public-private partnerships for running passenger rail between American cities and towns in between. If Amtrak is unacceptable, get rid of it and set up a new management system. At the same time, begin planning comprehensive regional light-rail and streetcar operations.
- End subsidies to agribusiness and instead direct dollar support to small-scale farmers, using the existing regional networks of organic farming associations to target the aid (this includes ending subsidies for the ethanol program).
- Begin planning and construction of waterfront and harbor facilities for commerce: piers, warehouses, ship-and-boatyards, and accommodations for sailors.
- In cities and towns, change regulations that mandate the accommodation of cars. Direct all new development to the finest grain, scaled to walkability.
- Institute “locational taxation” based on proximity to the center of town and not on the size, character, or putative value of the building itself. Put in effect a ban on buildings in excess of seven stories.
- … begin a public debate about whether it is feasible or desirable to construct any new nuclear power plants. If there are good reasons to go forward with nuclear, and a consensus about the risks and benefits, we need to establish it quickly.
- … prepare psychologically to downscale all institutions, including government, schools and colleges, corporations, and hospitals. The centralized high schools all over the nation will prove to be our most frustrating mis-investment. We will probably have to replace them with some form of home-schooling that is allowed to aggregate into neighborhood units. A lot of colleges, public and private, will fail as higher ed ceases to be a “consumer” activity.
- Corporations scaled to operate globally are not going to make it. This includes probably all national chain “big box” operations. It will have to be replaced by small local and regional business.
- Take a time-out from legal immigration and get serious about enforcing the laws about illegal immigration.
- Prepare psychologically for the destruction of a lot of fictitious “wealth” — and allow instruments and institutions based on fictitious wealth to fail, instead of attempting to keep them propped up on credit life-support.
- Prepare psychologically for a sociopolitical climate of anger, grievance, and resentment. A lot of individual citizens will find themselves short of resources in the years ahead. They will be very ticked off and seek to scapegoat and punish others.
I believe thought-provoking is the usual compliment. Debate-provoking would be a lot more useful, but that stronger criterion depends more heavily on the rest of us.
I, for one, am with him completely on rail, light rail and shipping commerce. Rail here is worse than a joke: it’s plain insulting to a country as wealthy and richly-resourced as this. His arguments concerning civic infrastructure (including hospitals and schools) make for a very interesting wool-gathering spending of time. The immigration issue is equally interesting (not sure I agree, but I believe he is being pragmatic and, ultimately, he is right: the way things will be is the way things will be. There will be little time or space for normative time-wasting, cometh the hour).