Lessons for the Great Recession from throwaway books

Book Swap

This new trend of "eco swaps" sounds harmless enough — people exchanging stuff they don't want for other people's stuff they do want, with no money involved. Seems perfect for a down economy. But don't be fooled. The eco swap is a boil on the butt of capitalism. Just take the books-and-music swap that my wife and Transition Voice Editor Lindsay Curren held last Sunday. The promise of an … [Read more...]

Are rich people worse than the rest of us?

Are rich people more unethical?

"Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith," said Alexis de Tocqueville, who also noted Americans' particular respect for money and those who possess it. What would the most famous non-American commentator on America have to say about today's rich behaving badly, from Wall Street banksters voting themselves fabulous bonuses while running too-big-to-fail banks … [Read more...]

The gates of Hell

The Gates of Hell

In a letter to Ernest de Chabrol dated 9 June 1831, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote: As one digs deeper into the national character of the Americans, one sees that they have sought the value of everything in this world only in the answer to this single question: how much money will it bring in? Nearly two hundred years later, de Tocqueville has been vindicated not only as a superb social critic but … [Read more...]

Smashing the melon of American complacency with the mallet of Russian grit

Gallagher smashing a watermelon.

Dmitry Orlov scares the crap out of me. The relentlessly doomerish boss of ClubOrlov.com has become famous in peak oil circles for presiding over a kind of comedy club from hell where a rabid fan base celebrates the coming fall of the American Empire under the load of peak debt while devouring posts on such subjects as the future of sailing ships and ways for dead people to send text messages. … [Read more...]