James Howard Kunstler brings us his familiar rant about the unsustainability of modern life and by and large he is right. Sure Japan can be the first nation to abandon modernity and return to its life style of before 1854, when an imposter named commodore Perry opened up Japan by force, but we have less drastic views for the future, at least for Europe. Here is Amsterdam 1952. Few cars, no aviation, no television, no fridges, no divorces, no broken families, no haste, women are women, men are men, nobody is obese (meat once a week is the norm for many), no immigrants. Holland just recovered from the war and the economy is slowly picking up again. National debt is still at 160%, but rapidly declining. No state pensions for all yet (1957). Men on average die at 68. Six workdays a week (five from 1960 onwards), for men that is, most women stay at home and have children, many of them four or more. Entertainment… no video games, but instead a game of chess. When we were young in the sixties, we studied chess openings with our fathers, analyzing great matches of Botwinnik, Aljechin, Euwe and others. According to many of the older generations that period was the happiest time of their lives. Afterwards materialism destroyed community and family lives. We do not see why that kind of life could not return after the end of the oil age instead of Olduvai Gorge style total collapse. With a few goodies to stay as a leftover from that age, like a fully developed low energy footprint IT-infrastructure to streamline business transactions and information exchange.
Amsterdam 100 years ago. Note the vast number of trams, much larger than today, compensating the not yet existing mass car ownership.