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The Crash Course: The Unsustainable Future Of Our Economy, Energy, And Environment

ISBN: 978-1-118-01312-0
336 pages
February 2011
The Crash Course: The Unsustainable Future Of Our Economy, Energy, And Environment (1118013123) cover image
The next twenty years will be completely unlike the last twenty years.

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." The Crash Course presents our predicament and illuminates the path ahead, so you can face the coming disruptions and thrive--without fearing the future or retreating into denial. In this book you will find solid facts and grounded reasoning presented in a calm, positive, non-partisan manner.

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, will shudder to a halt and then reverse. Unfortunately, our financial system does not operate in reverse. The consequences of massive deleveraging will be severe.

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, protect themselves and their families, mitigate risks as much as possible, and control what effects they can. With challenge comes opportunity, and The Crash Course offers a positive vision for how to reshape our lives to be more balanced, resilient, and sustainable.

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Foreword.

Acknowledgments.

Introduction.

Part I: How to Approach the Next Twenty Years.

Chapter 1 The Coming Storm.

Chapter 2 The Lens: How to See the Future.

Chapter 3 A World Worth Inheriting.

Chapter 4 Trust Yourself.

Part II: Foundation.

Chapter 5 Dangerous Exponentials.

Chapter 6 An Inconvenient Lie: The Truth about Growth.

Chapter 7 Our Money System.

Chapter 8 Problems and Predicaments.

Chapter 9 What Is Wealth? (Hint: It’s Not Money).

Part III: Economy.

Chapter 10 Debt.

Chapter 11 The Great Credit Bubble.

Chapter 12 Like a Moth to Flame: Our Destructive Tendency to Print.

Chapter 13 Fuzzy Numbers.

Chapter 14 Starting the Race with Our Shoes Tied Together.

Part IV: Energy.

Chapter 15 Energy and the Economy.

Chapter 16 Peak Oil.

Chapter 17 Necessary but Insufficient: Coal, Nuclear, and Alternatives.

Chapter 18 Why Technology Can’t Fix This.

Part V: Environment.

Chapter 19 Minerals: Gone with the Wind.

Chapter 20 Soil: Thin, Thinner, Gone.

Chapter 21 Parched: The Coming Water Wars.

Chapter 22 All Fished Out.

Part VI: Convergence.

Chapter 23 Convergence: Why the Twenty–Teens Will Be Difficult.

Chapter 24 Closing the Book on Growth.

Chapter 25 Future Scenarios.

Part VII: What Should I Do?

Chapter 26 The Good News: We Already Have Everything We Need.

Chapter 27 What Should I Do?

Chapter 28 The Opportunities.

Appendix.

Notes.

Index.

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CHRIS MARTENSON, PhD, MBA, is an economic researcher and futurist who speaks to audiences around the world on The Crash Course. He runs PeakProsperity.com, a popular website on the global economy.

Chris began his career as a scientist, earning a PhD in pathology from Duke University and an MBA from Cornell. He became vice president of a large international company and believed he had achieved the American Dream, living with his family in a large waterfront home in Connecticut. He was jolted out of complacency by the bear market of 2001 and used his background in finance to investigate the workings of our monetary system. What he discovered changed his life.

Today Chris lives with his wife, Becca, and their three kids in rural Massachusetts, where they enjoy a more resilient and independent lifestyle, with fewer things, better relationships with their neighbors, and a higher quality of life.

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