Poll

In the next 50 years, what do you think is the likelihood of an all-out SHTF societal collapse?

Almost positive this will happen within the next 50 years.
While not certain by any means, this is a real possibility.
Not likely to happen.
Almost positive this will not happen in the next 50 years.

Author Topic: Poll: What do you think the likelihood is of an all-out SHTF societal collapse?  (Read 15550 times)

Offline Shaunypoo

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I see it happening within the next 50 years and probably a lot sooner.  The web of dependency that we have woven for ourselves is so fragile, that if one strand breaks, the whole web will come down.  Oil, electricity, water, pandemic, CME, I don't know what is going first, but something probably will and then it will be like a house of cards.  The survivors will come back together at some point, but they will be hardened like nothing any of us can imagine.  I don't think it will be slow or gradual, I think it will be a kick in the face.  Once people realize that the grocery store doesn't have anything for them to eat, they will come to your house if they know you are eating.

As for mentality, reading about it is the only thing you can do at this point to even try to prepare for it.  I read the Survivors Club and liked it, but just finished Deep Survival, and it really put things together for me.  Keep a highlighter handy.  I will read it again in a few months. 

Offline Sid

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Consider that it was just 400 years ago that the industrial age had not begun; the world population was 3/4 of a billion, and the energy we used was mostly renewable energy.  The world could not support a larger population without more energy.

Then we started to use the energy stored in coal, oil, natural gas, and uranium.  This energy fueled the industrial age, and the output from the industrial age fed an explosion in the human population up to the present 7 billion people.  This is quite a dramatic change given that it took all of human history to reach 3/4 of a billion and then in just 400 years we multiplied by over 9 times.

Here we are, now hopelessly dependent on the output of the industrial age to support the 7 billion hungry mouths, and the industrial age itself has reached a frightening level of complexity, all fundamentally supported by supplies of energy that cannot be renewed.

There are some rumblings under the surface of this setup that lead to the conclusion that we will not even make it 50 years into the future without collapse.  In 1930 we used up the energy in one barrel of oil to acquire 100, so the energy cost to acquire oil was only 1%.  This cost has doubled about every 25 years.  Who noticed the first doubling when we went from 1% to 2%?  We are now at about 13% and those in the oil industry tell us this progression of cost will likely continue.  This is because we pick the low hanging fruit first.  The largest and shallowest oil fields are the easiest to find, so we found these first.  What is left to find are the deeper, smaller, more remote, lesser quality, and harder to produce wells.  In 25 years, the energy spent to find oil will amount to 25% of what we find, and in 50 years it will be 50%.  Obviously this will have a significant effect on industrial output, meaning that if today we can support 7 billion people, in 50 years, we can only support half that number. 

This is just one problem that we face.  We also face the decline in overall production of oil that is a problem independent of the cost issue.  We face decline in the production of phosphorous which is one of the three essential nutrients to grow food, which is a problem that seems to have slipped under the radar.  We have a faulty monetary system where we use the debts of banks for money, and not only is this system predatory, but it is unstable and unsustainable as the current economic disaster shows.  The electric grid and its components are at the end of their design lives, so it is highly questionable that we can keep electricity flowing for the next 15 years, much less the next 50.  And to make matters worse, we seem to be ready to tear one another apart over whether we should be a free society or one managed and controlled by centralized government.

It is hard to see life other than from what we have experienced, and our lives are just too short to see the big picture when the big picture involves centuries rather than decades.  I personally think we are up against the wall, and as things unravel it will not be pretty.  Words like crash and collapse seem to usually describe the unwinding of systems, simply because these events seemingly come out of the blue and are catastrophic, usually progressing in stages with periodic intermissions only to be followed by more undoing.  I suppose as the history of the last 400 years is written it will be said  that it was nice while it lasted, particularly the last 50 or so with all the nice toys technology brought us.

 

Bonnieblue2A

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The world sure has changed since this poll and thread were posted a little over a year ago.  :(

Offline shambo

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I'd be willing to bet a bag of biltong that that poll would change to a collapse in the next 50 years being in the majority.

Offline Shaunypoo

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There is an option to remove your vote and recast.  It is an evolving poll.  I would like another option of even sooner.

Offline NWPilgrim

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As mention by several posters, some form of society will usually continue. There would be some rule of law whether scaled back or oppressive. Same with commerce, agriculture, etc.  Under many disaster situations including financial catatrophe I do not see the TOTAL collapse of society.

EXCEPT for a couple of scenarios.  CME/EMP and global pandemic.

Coronal Mass Ejection that is aimed at earth is a cosmic roll of the die.  Could happen next week or in a million years.  But it has happened as recently as the 1800s so we have to consider this a real possibility in our lifetime.  I also believe that the benefit:cost ratio is so astronomically high for an enemy to launch an EMP on us that it seems a near certainty in the next 50 years.  Every year more nations and non-nation actors worked toward having nuclear weapons.  And some nuclear nations like N. Korea and Pakistan become increasingly less stable.  Also, there seems to be a rise in non-nation global groups that have huge sums of money and eventually may get access or alliance with a shaky nuclear power to acquire a couple of EMP capable warheads and missiles to launch from freighters off our coast.  All it takes is for the right alignment of interest in time of those with the weapons and those willing to launch an anonymous or suicidal attack on we could be facing nationwide EMP.

Combine this increasing threat and capability with the fact that we continue on the path of making electronic circuits smaller and more pervasive yet not doing anything to harden them, thus increasing our vulnerability.  At some point these vectors intersect and it becomes a slam dunk decision for someone to hit us with an EMP.

A CME/EMP event would set our country back to the pre-industrial age.  Hard to say how this would play out if Asia and Europe are left intact and only NA was wiped clean of electronics and electrical devices.  Even if some alliance is made it would take years to rebuild the barest infrastructure.  Meanwhile for that several year period we would be living in chaos and an agrarian world populated at first by mostly office workers and non-workers and large elderly population.  There would be a lot of dying from lack of medical care, diseases from lack of sanitation, injuries, etc.

The second total collapse threat is global pandemic.  Again, looking at history this sort of things happens repeatedly.  The last major one was the flu in 1918 in which more people died from that than WWI.  Millions.  But our medicines make us safe today, right?  Yes, for now.  But what are we doing?  We are outsourcing our immune system to pharmaceuticals! About half of us alive today are ones that do so only because external care (pills, etc) has kept us alive.  Now we hear more reports every year of stronger strains of viruses and bacteria that are resistant to our drugs.  Meanwhile we all travel further and more often than ever coming into contact with people in different states, countries and continents ina single day.  All it takes is the right combination of virus strain and resistance to treatment and we could see global pandemic.  Add any disruption to the flow of drugs from economic collapse or EMP and a firestorm of disease could erupt.

Add these two threats together and it seems to me we stand a fair chance of societal collapse within 50 years.

endurance

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I just finished reading Cheryl Strayed's book Wild and there was one paragraph in that book that really resonated with me.  When she ran out of money on her 1100 mile hike, she was grateful for growing up poor.  It contradicts everything I've ever learned about the value and advantages of coming from the right part of town, having the right connections, and going to the right schools as far as life-long success, but she had a very valid point; if you grow up poor you just know how to make ends meet where a more affluent person might not have the skills, means or savvy to carry on and either quit or make poorer decisions. 

So, the reason I bring this up is I wonder, how many of us are ready for a SHTF that looks like the movie Gone With The Wind and less like the movie 2012?