The lyrics from Dire Straits came to mind when I read an article about peak oil by James Howard Kunstler.  Kunstler wrote The Long Emergency and other great books says this about American delusional thinking in the latest issue of Population Press (Fall/Winter 2008):

Years ago, U.S. negotiators at a United Nations environmental conference told their interlocutors that the American lifestyle is “not up for negotiation.” This stance is, unfortunately, related to two pernicious beliefs that have become common in the United States in recent decades. The first is the idea that when you wish upon a star, your dreams come true. (Oprah Winfrey advanced this notion last year with her promotion of a pop book called The Secret, which said, in effect, that if you wish hard enough for something, it will come to you.) One of the basic differences between a child and an adult is the ability to know the difference between wishing for things and actually making them happen through earnest effort.

The companion belief to “wishing on a star” is the idea that one can get something for nothing. This derives from America’s new favorite religion: not evangelical Christianity but the worship of unearned riches. (The holy shrine to this tragic belief is Las Vegas.) When you combine these two beliefs, the result is the notion that when you wish upon a star, you’ll get something for nothing. This is what underlies our current fantasy, as well as our inability to respond intelligently to the energy crisis.

While Kunstler is talking about energy needs, his ideas can be applied to financial realms, where “wishing on a star” and “something for nothing” are cornerstones on Wall Street and on Main Street, where bank “credit” is created out of air to become money. See Ellen Brown

Kunstler and other formidable writers (including Lester Brown and Al Gore) are featured in Volume 14, Number 4, which is not yet up on the Population Press website, but it is worth a visit to see past issues as well as a scary ticker that shows population growth and the contrasting figure of arable land, which remains  static. Ouch!