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How will high energy prices change day-to-day life?

Posted by: Adam Aston on June 29, 2008

Sunday’s New York Times Op-Ed section has a thought-provoking round up of think pieces, drawn from ten smart social, political and economic thinkers, all musing on some of the second-, and third-order ways that high-price energy is going to change US culture. What are some other surprising wrinkles we should expect?

* PJs in, suits out: expect more folks to work from home, in more than casual attire.
* The “green bubble” will burst, like the Internet bubble before, and leave behind a lot of bad investment decisions (corn ethanol plant, anyone?) and a handful of really revolutionary ones.
* Cul de sac ghosts. Ex-urbia is dead. Very distant suburbs, stocked with energy-hungry, super-sized houses and often commuted to in over-sized vehicles will become ghost towns.
* Fueling inequality. Energy spending is becoming a bigger and bigger share of household spending for lower income groups. In short, high energy prices hurt the poor far more than middle- and high-income earners. This could make for surprising political implications.
* Good bye Great American road trip. This rite of passage — and staple of literature and film — is a luxury few the students, drifters or between-jobs types who typically had the ample time (and low income) to undertake such transcontinental treks.

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BusinessWeek correspondents John Carey and Mark Scott, cover the green scene, keeping on top of the business aspects of energy, the environment and climate change, as well as the technologies, policies, markets and people that are shaping how the earth's resources will be used in the century ahead.

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