The December 2008 issue of Newsmax magazine includes an article, "10 Ways to Prepare for a Post-oil Society," that, prompted by the current economic problems, offers some astonishing predictions. Written by James Howard Kunstler, a misanthropic novelist, it (wrongly) assumes that the age of inexpensive energy is over and draws the conclusions in the areas of transportation, nutrition, demography commerce, manufacturing, entertainment, education, medicine, and institutions. Here's one example of his preposterous thinking, here with a focus on entertainment:
The age of canned entertainment is coming to an end. It was fun for a while. We liked Citizen Kane and The Beatles. But we're going to have to make our own music and our own drama down the road. We're going to need playhouses and live performance halls. We're going to need violin and banjo players, playwrights and scenery makers, and singers. We'll need theater managers and stagehands. The Internet is not going to save canned entertainment. The Internet will not work so well if the electricity is on the fritz half the time.
James Howard Kunstler happily predicts a return to the 19th century.
Comments: (1) Interesting how economic upheavals so predictably bring out the apocalyptic; but strange when reactionaries relish the prospect of impoverishment. (2) I counter-predict that this scenario is completely wrong and that modern life will continue to evolve to the point and the current price of energy will be expensive by future standards; also, the current recession will be nearly forgotten within a decade, just a blip on the trajectory. (December 1, 2008)
May 31, 2011 update: For an opposite analysis, foreseeing cheap energy for centuries, if not millennia, see Michael Lind, "Everything you've heard about fossil fuels may be wrong."
June 22, 2014 update: Six years later, Quentin de Pimodan offers a milder version of Kunstler's vision at "Future is seasonal and regional." One excerpt: "how would the US suburbs based cities model survive in case of delivery collapse? The Louboutin pair might be of discomfort in order to reach kilometers away supermarkets that would remain unsupplied."