The Crash Course

You can watch Chris Martenson’s free DVD, The Crash Course, online, and I often give away copies of it for free (which Martenson authorizes and encourages). It is the easiest and most painless way for me to explain why I’m worried about peak oil, even though peak oil is not the main subject in The Crash Course. It’s about the economy, and why the economy has become increasingly disconnected from the physical reality of energy and the environment, and what this disconnect means for us. 

A lot of people, upon hearing about peak oil, will respond with something like, “well, if we really have reached the maximum point of oil production, oil prices will go up, and we’ll have to drive more fuel-efficient cars, which we should be doing anyway. What’s the big deal?” The big deal, as The Crash Course explains, is that our economy (and our massive debt) is built on the assumption of continued cheap energy and economic growth, and that when this assumption proves false, the whole economy will come crashing down.

The Crash Course is broken down into 20 chapters, so that you don’t have to wade through the entire three hours at once. You can skip around and go at your own pace; most chapters stand on their own. The first chapter I watched was chapter 15, on “bubbles.” It was so good, giving a quick overview of the history of bubbles and how we got to the current housing bubble, that I went back and watched all 20 chapters from the beginning several times. He also covers the Federal Reserve, inflation, a history of U. S. money, the misleading nature of government statistics, bubbles, and debt.

Much of the charm of The Crash Course is that while it deals extensively with social and political topics, the DVD has no liberal or conservative axe to grind. Martenson comes across as a true patriot, just laying out the facts. The discrepancy between our financial system (unlimited, increases exponentially) and the planet (round, finite) is what is driving his rather modest conclusion that the next 20 years are not going to be anything like the last 20 years. If you’ve ever dabbled in economics but been frustrated and puzzled by its lack of connection with the environment or indeed with the planet in general, then you’ll find The Crash Course very helpful.

The main negative of The Crash Course is that there are no real solutions offered. Yes, there is a final chapter on “what to do,” but it can be summarized as follows: be prepared. He tells you how to prepare as an individual, but not what we can do as a society. There are also lots of spending opportunities on his web site; you can buy a copy of the DVD, take his seminar or get his newsletter, and so forth. I’ve taken the seminar, and it’s good, but in my view 90% of the benefit you will derive from anything he’s got is on the free DVD which he offers. So don’t be distracted by all that other stuff or assume that the DVD is just a come-on to get you to buy it. The Crash Course stands on its own.

So watch it, already. Take some time, dip into this or that chapter of The Crash Course that you think might appeal to you, and educate yourself about what’s already started happening.

This entry was posted in Climate change, Ecological Economics, Limits to Growth, Literature / Publishing, Peak oil, Politics, or the lack thereof. Bookmark the permalink.

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