"Here are some truths which I believe to be self-evident: that the USA has been running on fumes since the beginning of the 21st century. That you can't get something for nothing, and attempts to do so always end in tears. That massive expenditures of energy produce equivalent globs of entropy - which you can translate to "bad ju-ju" or the tendency of whatever can go wrong to go wrong. That because we're unwilling to re-scale and reform the things we do, nature is about to do it for us. That America has transformed itself from a nation of earnest, muscular, upright citizens to a land of overfed barbarous morons ruled by grifters. That what has been economics is about to turn dangerously political. The greatest loss of the last decade was not in 401-Ks or manufacturing jobs or foreclosed houses, but the rule of law. Without genuine rule of law, anything goes and nothing matters. As a consequence of that, finally, everything goes. The rule of law is what kept foreigners buying our debt all these years (the fumes we've been running on). They kept buying because they believed, when all was said and done, that Americans would enforce contracts and regulate behavior in the direction of fair dealing - not for its own sake but because it made things work better. But when the rule of law goes here, the rest of the world will notice its absence. They'll stop believing in our money and our future. They'll cash out and we'll wash out. Then, as human tribes are wont, they may just turn around and kick our ass because we're down."
James Kunstler, Author, "The Long Emergency"