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And no small part of this is the fact that the 20th century Anglo economy emerged and thrived in an unusually stable global climate. The geographic expansion you describe was driven by the belief that the landscape would always be available, always be safe from natural disaster, well-watered, etc. Sprawl across the sunbelt all you like, there'll always be enough oil, water, land, wood, food.

By the 1990s it became clear that the 20th century was, on the whole, an anomalous period in the global climate, as scholars discovered the profound effects of things like the ENSO, or the centuries-long drought in the US Southwest that drove the Anasazi culture into collapse, a drought that may be reappearing.

But by that time it was too late; Anglo elites and enough of their voters agreed that the party HAD to continue, that the threats were too abstract or paranoid or "un-American" to be allowed to shape urban geography.

Now folks seem to be coming around and accepting reality, but the 30-year insistence that nothing was wrong has robbed us of the tools and political momentum to react properly.

And the world will live as one

by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Tue Oct 30th, 2007 at 07:36:01 PM EST
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