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The ""era of cheap energy is over"" and the ""tough issue of self-denial"" hangs over the West. ""Consumerism"" is gone and de-industrialization of the advanced sector will shift ""petrochemicals, aluminum, steel, fertilizer"" and other basic products to the oil-rich countries. When ""American high-on-the-hog food extravagance"" is contrasted with the Chinese diet, we realize that cheap energy has given us the curse of ""materialistic progress,"" and that ""over-automation"" is what makes factory work miserable. Udall, the Secretary of the Interior in 1961-69, discovered the oil shortage three years ago from a report by the National Petroleum Council, a government/industry group he co-chairs, and ""in an effort to find out what had happened,"" contacted a Shell geologist and zero-growth ideologue named M. King Hubbert, who explained that' domestic production had peaked in 1970 (nothing said of reserves). Then Udall figured ""we had better reconcile ourselves"" to the will of the all-powerful oil sheiks, since ""simple logic forced me to the conclusion that this century would see no real substitutes for petroleum on this planet."" Simple it must have been because no factual analysis is made of alternate energy sources. Udall concludes with euphoria about the new ""lean"" existence, emphasizing the ""simple things that make [us] feel good to be alive."" A strength-through-joy polemic that will surprise those who recall Udall's more liberal days.

Pub Date: Nov. 24th, 1974
Publisher: McGraw-Hill