- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (2 March 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 047092764X
- ISBN-13: 978-0470927649
- Product Dimensions: 16 x 3.6 x 23.1 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 22.7 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 117,431 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Crash Course: The Unsustainable Future of Our Economy, Energy, and Environment Hardcover – 2 Mar 2011
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From the Inside Flap
The next twenty years will be completely unlike the last twenty years. The decisions you make today are critical. The world is in economic crisis, and there are no easy fixes to our predicament. Unsustainable trends in the economy, energy, and the environment have finally caught up with us and are converging on a very narrow window of time?the "Twenty-Teens." With solid facts and grounded reasoning presented in a calm, nonpartisan manner, The Crash Course explains our predicament and illuminates the path ahead so you can face the coming disruptions without fearing the future or retreating into denial.
Our money system places impossible demands upon a finite world. Exponentially rising levels of debt, based on assumptions of future economic growth to fund repayment, have shuddered to a halt and are reversing, with severe and lasting consequences.
Oil is essential for economic growth. The reality of dwindling oil supplies is now internationally recognized, yet virtually no developed nations have a Plan B. The economic risks to individuals, companies, and countries are varied and enormous. Best case: living standards will drop steadily worldwide. Worst case: systemic financial crises will toss the world into jarring chaos.
This book is written for those who are motivated to learn about the root causes of our predicaments in order to protect themselves and their families, mitigate risks as much as possible, and control what effects they can. With challenge comes opportunity. The Crash Course offers a positive vision for how our lives can become more balanced, resilient, and sustainable.
The world is changing. It's time to get busy. The Crash Course will show you how.
From the Back Cover
Praise for The Crash Course
"Chris Martenson gave up a successful and conventional career to study the two great problems that we face: running out of critical resources?especially carbon-based energy?and a congenital failure to process unpleasant facts. Reading The Crash Course will help you recognize how dangerous our future is likely to be and will help you prepare for it. It is a job well done." ?Jeremy Grantham, cofounder and Chief Investment Strategist, Grantham Mayo Van Otterloo
"Among the handful of observers making sense of the economic scene, Chris Martenson is the most astute, coherent, and comprehensive. Reading Chris is like stepping out of a room full of smoke and mirrors into daylight." ?James Howard Kunstler, author of The Long Emergency
"Economists did not predict the Great Recession of 2008; Chris did. He looks deeper into the numbers than most and has found a painful future if we do not make a major turn. I deeply appreciate him for doing this work. He uses hard data to back up the self-evident common sense that if we do not consciously manage our natural resources and business relationships to give priority to the common good, we will face dire consequences. This is serious. Read this book." ?Terry Mollner, Board Member, Ben & Jerry's
"Chris addresses fundamental economic and energy issues in understandable terms and provides engaging perspectives. Readers will learn a great deal from his work." ?Dr. Robert L. Hirsch, lead author of The Impending World Energy Mess
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
For published research to be considered valid, other researchers must be able to duplicate the findings.
The author of this book writes like a doctor who is explaining to a patient what the latest research shows with regard to her condition.
That is to say, each and every paragraphs and sentence that he writes is based on research data. Here, he is saying, is what the research shows: Earth, the mother of all the known living matter in the universe, is being wounded. Wounded by whom?
Wounded by humans, allegedly the most intelligent of all of Earth's species of living matter.
What must we humans do to prevent the demise of the only known location of all the living matter in the universe?
Read this book to know the answers.
My only criticism of the book is that a scant two pages were spent on alternative energy sources such as solar and wind power, which were casually dismissed as realistic alternatives to our coal and oil-based energy system. If the author lived where I do, he'd realize that the world is just waiting to tap into the greatest source of power in the world - the sun.
The problem is that mankind maneuvered itself into a corner with an economy that is built on the premise of continuos future growth on a planet with finite resources. Our global economy basically runs on nothing much else but cheap oil, yet it is getting more and more expensive to get said oil out of the ground, or to refine it into a usable form (peak oil versus running out of oil, big difference here!). This is compounded by the fact that we havn't really found new sources of energy that can replace oil on a realistic scale. And the worst part is that mankind is procrastinating serious effort to build a bridge into a future without cheap oil, but keeps up with business as usual, assuming things will stay the way they are.
Martenson lets us look at this problem in an convincing yet unthreatening way, refraining from any political finger pointing. However he is not afraid of pointing out the 'big taboo', that we have a unsustainable overpopulation issue at hand. The increase of world population and the decrease of cheap oil don't even have to be exponential to create immense cause for conflict in the near future. Yet exponential those tendencies are. A sustainable global economy has to be linked to tangible resources like food and water, two basics we are running out of fast without even realizing it.
The conclusions Martenson draws are surprisingly less 'doom and gloom' than I was expecting after reading through the carefully laid out evidence that 'massive change is right upon us'. He is calling for everybody to strive for more resilience, meaning getting less dependent on the things we take for granted like affordable power, gas, and a well stocked grocery store down the road. Instead of getting overwhelmed with the prospect of building an 'off the grid' compound in the wilderness, or storing one year worth amounts of food, Martenson suggests starting with just one first step, like making a plan to get out of debt, or maybe hone some lost gardening skills, and most importantly help building a well connected, more self reliant local community. He makes an urgent call to use our remaining resources wisely, to get ready for this inevitable massive change the future will bring.
Martenson does admit that mankind might have the potential to dig itself out of this ditch with new technologies, energy sources and innovations, but says that as long as he doesn't observe a decisive change in public and political attitude, he prefers to stay pragmatic and prepare himself and his immediate surroundings as best as he can. This means to get used to a simpler life again, and to employ a creative form of personal austerity. He even points out future business opportunities and ways to thrive within this future reality without cheap oil. Thus he is promoting a new kind of economic growth we all should learn to embrace.
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