This doomsday scenario is worth scanning, not just because the author — a former editor of Rolling Stone magazine and author of three books on suburban sprawl — calls the real estate bubble the “last act in the sorry drama of the hallucinated economy” but because it’s the second economic doomsday scenario we’ve heard in 36 hours and offers some potential decision-making criteria for home buyers. Writing about James Howard Kunstler’s new book The Long Emergency,the Santa Cruz Sentinel says:
“Understanding the deep changes the United States and the rest of the world will experience as early as this decade, he said, could be the deciding factor in which thriving communities of today become the ghost towns of tomorrow.”
“The middle class will become distressed, the construction industry flat, interstate hauling will disappear, airlines will become toast and our daily lives will be defined by what’s within walking distance.”
“Suburbs, large cities and McMansions will become slums.”
The good news is that “Some communities will fair better than others during the “Long Emergency.” So how do you find one if you are planning on buying a home this year despite repeated warnings of the real estate bubble?
“Commuting will be out of the question, of course, and those ‘with the forethought to trade in their suburban McHouses for property in the towns and small cities, and prepare for a vocational life doing something useful and practical on the small scale’ will fare better than those who live on the outskirts of town and work for a national corporation…”
“Although individual wealth may very well be predicated on land, Kunstler predicts that true well-being during the “Long Emergency” will be in the individual’s worth to his community.”
The Long Emergency seems tame by comparison to the “repossession riots” that James Fallows speculates about in his upcoming article, “Countdown to a Meltdown: America’s coming economic crisis. A look back from the election of 2016,” which will be published in the July / August issue of The Atlantic Monthly. Watch for an audio file from tonight’s interview on NPR’s nationally syndicated program,