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We in rich contries have almost lost the ability to supply our own needs through local manufacturing and agriculture–or even to extend the life of products through reuse, repair and repurposing.  We rely on others, and on a system lubricated by cheap oil, to meet our needs as well as our wants.

In the post-peak-oil period, inevitable interruptions in the flow of the goods we rely on every day will be profoundly destabilizing.

This is a chapter from The Post Carbon Reader: Managing the 21st Century’s Sustainability Crises (2010).