Seeking Realistic Economic Scenarios

I find it enervating to listen to economists trying to explain our circumstances without reference to resource constraints, as if resources were a separate topic. Krugman’s backing of Waxman-Markey carries some weight with me, but not as much as it would if he didn’t totally neglect resource constraints.

Some of the things Tidal has said in comments here fit in with this point of view; essentially driving the collapse of the Ponzi scheme is the fact that our ability to borrow from the future is now facing substantive limits which it did not face before. The key resource constrain is usually taken to be peak oil; CO2 emissions constraints function similarly.

I am looking to collect articles which tie the current economic disruption to resource and especially energy constraints. Here, from the Oil Drum, is an interesting one which  manages to blame Richard Nixon for everything. 
I don’t share the article’s extreme pessimism (or revolutionism?) about the future of capitalism; I think the system will limp along and eventually learn to live within limits. But perhaps my own expectations aren’t worth very much. Anyway I am not ready to talk about them at length.
I do share the article’s sense that resource constraints and especially energy resource constraints are related to the current crisis for reasons other than a mere coincidence in time. To read even Krugman or DeLong is to believe that the problems of the economy and the problems of its key resource are completely decoupled. It’s hard to find professional economists who make more sense than these guys and yet they aren’t making much sense at all.
To be fair, Krugman does seem to understand that oil is finite. It’s just that he doesn’t seem to think that’s very important, or relevant.
James Kunstler’s May 18 blog entry is also worth reading. (And don’t miss his eyesore of the month series if you are feeling sardonic!) But is there somebody convincingly arguing for a middle between collapse and “recovery”? Or is growth so hardwired that near-zero growth simply doesn’t happen.
I’m looking for other articles wherein resource constraints are tied to the economic prognosis without going into revolutionary or Kunstlerian postapocalyptic scenarios. Any ideas, anyone?
Note: I am not looking for ecological economics, Daley, Ayres, etc., unless and to the extent that they specifically tie their analyses to the recent economic disruptions and the prognosis.

Centrism is a Pose

If there is a sidewalk on either side of a busy street, you may argue whether to walk down the east side or the west side, but it’s not a useful compromise to walk out in traffic.

There is more than one question we need to solve, so there are lots of ways of looking at the world.

We need to collaboratively and collectively come up with something coherent. The average of two or more coherent positions is not necessarily coherent. Thus:

Atrios on Centrism

An impossible project is convincing journalists that contemporary “centrism” is a clubbish ideology which is usually not, as communicated, some happy medium between “left” and “right”.

Krugman on Centrism

Atrios is right, though I’d put it a bit differently:

centrism is a pose rather than a philosophy.

(h/t Ian Bicking)

I don’t think I would have understood what this means a couple of weeks ago. I don’t think it means there are two teams, left and right, and you have to choose sides.

What I think it means is that you aren’t being anywhere near as clever as you think if you just try to hold the average of all the positions you see around you. Unfortunately, the US press seems to think of this simpleminded approach as a guiding principle; the road to success and righteousness. Which seems to be why Revkin screwed up, and that sort of thing in turn is why people are losing interest in the press.

Or, for another example of the way the press operates, consider Jon Stewart vs CNBC. As Will Bunch (h/t Jay Rosen) says at (OK, yes, that is a daily newspaper site):

the story shows how access to the nation’s most powerful CEOs — supposedly the big advantage of a journalistic enterprise like CNBC — isn’t worth a warm bucket of spit when it results in slo-pitch softball questions, for fear of offending the rich and powerful.


The American public is mad as hell right now, so why isn’t the mainstream media? Balanced reporting is important, but a balanced, modulated tone of voice? Not now, not when millions are hurting from lost jobs and under-water mortgages, and many millions more are living in fear of the same fate.

and so on. (Go read it, and watch the video. Highly recommended.)

If the conventional press will not serve the purposes of genuine public discourse at a time like this, alternatives will emerge, and fast.

We don’t have time for or interest in fishwrap anymore. Make us think, or just go away.

Update: Stewart reprises, including Atmoz’s favorite line. (Anyone know how Atmoz is doing? He’s been very quiet lately.)

: Somebody’s making a @buckyfuller tweetstream. It’s great. Here’s today’s entry, which seems altogether germane:

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.