consumption rises in tandem with the availability of cheap surplus energy.
Political leaders may appear to be the driving force behind this, but in effect they are the mascots of the energy-consumption movement, in whichever nation is doing the particular manifestation of consumption.
People do not shun consumption, they thrive on it and cheer the leaders who make it available. If you can’t see that, look at the cheering German crowds in the 1930s, as Hitler fed resources to the German people and gave them full employment.
He did it through rearmament, which left him no option but to eventually start wars. The Japanese economy functioned in the same way.
The Germans and the Japanese gave their leaders almost god like status at delivering such miracles.
The ‘American Dream’ was the freewheeling of excess consimtion delivered by the momentum of WW2 — it lasted until 1970.. The capitalist system was merely the visible function of the fuelburning system.
Everyone wants their American dream back, but you can’t pull back an era of cheap surplus energy, which was what delivered that dream until the fuel source began its inevitable decline. Just as Hubbert said it would, right on cue.
That era was ‘once only’ and we blew it. America can never be great again, any more than the UK can get its empire back.
The vast majority cannot/will not accept that and remain convinced that prosperity is a matter of votes, not energy surplus.
So we put our trust in lunatics, who dutifully rise to our preconcieved occasions, until we vote another one into high office.