Kunstler is his usual alarmist self this week as he examines the challenges facing Barack Obama’s presidency, but as usual he’s a fun read and dispenses nuggets of genuine wisdom:
Many observers think that Wal-Mart and its clones are immune to the larger forces swirling around us. Just because many cash-strapped people are hunting for bargains at WalMart these days does not insure the survival of the Big Box model very far into the future. In fact, in every trend we can see — from the oil markets to events in China to the impoverishment of the US working class to the coming crisis in truck transport — you can easily discern fatal weaknesses in this model. Local retail (and its support structures) is coming back. We just don’t know how, yet, and we don’t know how much capital and effort will be squandered trying to rescue WalMart, when the time comes. But the imperative re-scaling of commerce in America also represents huge opportunities for young people to get into their own businesses.
Mr. Obama will preside over the potential restructuring of all our systems, some of them in ways he and his supporters have not imagined. We haven’t begun to see where fate will take higher education, but my guess is that it will no longer be a “consumer” activity, and that the hypertrophied land-grant diploma mills will have to to shrink or die as state financial support withers away, and all sorts of unnecessary professions from “public relations” to “marketing” cease to require certified graduates.
The rough ride we’re all in for makes it even more of a relief that Obama will be the U.S. president instead of John McCain. He might be wrong about some things, maybe a lot of things, but there are lots of indications that he inhabits the real world and believes in evidence more than faith-based ideology. That puts him a step up on the last guy, and two steps up on the character McCain decided he’d play in an effort to win the presidential election.