5. The Future of Electric Power

During every economic setback since the 1930s, whenever any of us worried that we might be headed for another Great Depression, economists assured us that it couldn’t happen again because “we now have safeguards they didn’t have back then.” And as the decades went by, history seemed to confirm that sanguine outlook. But in the last two years of the second Bush administration, those alleged safeguards failed. (As with the Emperor’s new clothes, they didn’t really exist.) Self-regulation didn’t work. The Federal Reserve miscalculated, Wall Street traders ran Ponzi schemes, the SEC looked the other way, and the FDIC didn’t have enough cash to back up all the failing banks.

After the oil crises and disillusionment ...

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