How can economists (actually a particular, now dominant, brand of economics called neoclassical) be so misguided? I am not sure, but propose that the shortcomings of neoclassical economics result from (1) academic specialization, (2) personal isolation from nature, and (3) political expediency. Professors in different departments rarely talk to each other anymore as each discipline has become more complex, so cross-disciplinary fertilization and reality checking may not happen.
It is incumbent on planners to give careful consideration to long term questions: What will these people use for heat? How will they cook their food? Are there adequate resources for diesel and gasoline fuels? If there are petroleum shortages, will they be able to use wood and coal for heat?
Richard Heinberg is widely regarded as one of the world's foremost Peak Oil educators, having delivered hundreds of lectures on oil depletion to a wide variety of audiences around the world. He is the award-winning author of eight books including: The Party's Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies; Powerdown: Options and Actions for a Post-Carbon World;
William Rees is a Professor in the School of Community and Regional Planning at the University of British Columbia (UBC). His teaching and research emphasize the public policy and planning implications of global environmental trends and the necessary ecological conditions for sustaining socioeconomic activity.