The Role of Generalists in a Hyper-Specialist Society
Released: Nov. 12, 2009.
James Howard Kunstler speaks about the role of generalists in a world of hyper specialists. Although hyper-specialists are experts in their narrow fields, their work is often disregardful of the larger picture. Traffic engineers, for example, can move huge numbers of cars extremely efficiently, using fine-tuned formulas for curve ratios and grades, but their final product often makes downtowns un-walkable for pedestrians. Econometric models are only a substitute for reality that tend to produce a failure of perception and therefore a failure in our ability to act in the face of the things that happen to us. A sense of hyper-individualism in U.S. culture is another obstacle that stands in the way of thinking about our society and its problems in general terms. At the close of the show, a listener shares his thoughts on the vibrant center city of Philadelphia.
(28 MB | 24:18 mins.)
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This week’s sponsor is Chelsea Green, publisher of Waiting on a Train by James McCommons, with forward by James Howard Kunstler. Waiting on a Train is a critical look at the embattled future of passenger rail service, told by a journalist who spent one year traveling across America by train in 2008. Look for Waiting on a Train at your local bookstore, or visit: http://chelseagreen.com.
Additional support for this program comes from Audible. For a free audiobook download, visit: www.audiblepodcast.com/kunstler
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Book Cover: The KunstlerCast, by Duncan Crary (New Society Publishers, 2011) Paperback – 320 pages 6 Inches × 6 Inches (w × h) Weight: 261 Grams ISBN: 9780865716933
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“This book is indeed great fun. … However, Crary’s superior volume has the guts to truly grapple with the harsh realities shaping our times—realities that few dare discuss out in the open.”
— Frank Kaminski, Energy Bulletin, Feb. 12, 2012
“KunstlerCast is an easy read that you can dip into and out of at will”
— Peter Bane, Permaculture Activist Magazine (.pdf), February 2012
“For those of you wanting a good overview of Kunstler’s thinking and for those of you that want to share JHK with others but may fear being embarrassed by the sometimes ‘salty’ language he can use, this book is a great tool. The format is, by design, conversational. You can digest it in small bites or in large pieces. And the Kunstler world through Duncan’s eyes is not necessarily sanitized, but it is communicated in a way that I think will reach a broader audience.”
—Charles Marohn, Strong Towns, Jan. 25, 2012
“The 320-page New Society Publishers offering was just released in paperback and is based on four years of weekly Kunstler riffs recorded by podcasting journalist Duncan Crary. In his introduction to the book, Crary professes to be merely a host, and sometimes a Kunstler foil, but the two upstate New Yorkers really are kindred intellects.”
—Ready to despair? ‘Doomer’ exhorts us to ‘grow up’, Jon Rutter Lancaster Sunday News, Nov. 12, 2011
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