Apparently Hoyt thought it was time for another of her Head in the Sand Posts on the collapse
Okay, I’m sick and tired of hearing in every group I belong to that “Doom, gloom, the end is coming soon.” Now, I join with you in thinking that we’re on a difficult path and with the pool of two joker-Americans to pick from for the presidency, it might be a mighty step for joker-Americans, but the rest of us are going to suffer a worse economy, diminished prospects and likely, in either case, because hyenas smell blood, war at home and abroad. The severity of all of these could range from a continuation of the last eight years or to much, much, much worse.
How far worse?
Well — sigh — we stand to lose a lot of our liberties. This will slow down the rate of improvement in the sciences and tech, or bring it to a halt all together. Our children will face yet a more diminished world and eventually, sometime around our great grandchildren, if this goes on, they’ll be about as poor as the rest of the world.
Social Security and Medicare will both be in deficit ( without even the IOUs) in 5 Years, coincident with a giant wave of boomers retiring. (those born in 1950 turned 65 last year) Fewer people are working in the US and the economy lingers in recessionary areas. We have a Government imposing regulations that are killing our energy industry (Just as Venezuela killed theirs) and two major world powers looking to trip us up and take the reserve currency- both growing more powerful and influential by the day, and the new Caliphate is being helped to invade western civilization under the guise of immigration. I am first to recognize the timing of the black swan that will take us down is hard, but TWO generations? Another 40 Years of $1+ Trillion deficits, the massive bankruptcy of govt pension plans both State and Federal - and printing of money to make up the short falls, Puerto Rico style bailouts and so on.. I am just not so optimistic.
I mean, let’s be real, okay? I’m more than sick and tired of people envisioning a plunge down into the middle ages, or the stone age. I’m more than sick and tired of people imagining that tomorrow we’ll be Venezuela.There is a lot of ruin in a country, particularly a country as rich as the US. And no, you have no idea how rich you are. Nor do Europeans guess how rich we are. They tend to think it’s “about like them” or worse because less government assistance, but take it from someone who’s been all over Europe and a great part of the US: you have no idea. I once read that the equivalent for Europe was about two social levels down. So, if you’re a secretary in the US, you live as well as doctors in Europe. And that’s by and large true, with adjustments. For instance, in the US things are easier to find, particularly specialized gadgets/food/clothes are much easier to find and take less time. OTOH in Europe, (at least in the Southern part of it) you’re more likely to find cheap household help. But what I’m trying to say is that the crash rarely comes the way you expect it. Oh, sure, civilizations in the world have been destroyed suddenly and no two stones have remained together, but that was when the world, and civilization was smaller and more easily squelchable, and even then I wonder if life changed that much between the before and the after for the average peasant on the outskirts of the city. We know that when we dig beyond the historical accounts of fierce battles and entire populations of cities put to the sword, what we find is far less radical, far less scary and often far less heroic.
And that lifestyle is powered by ... right .... oil, electricity, police patrolling the streets, an expectation of justice. Yes, we are very rich, but a few supply chain problems and things fall apart rapidly. The idea that modern society is robust is a joke. Argentina and Venezuela were both wealthy and it took less than 20 years of socialism to destroy each. Not two generations. They are now third world nations.
Even Rome, we think now, fell not in one great glorious invasion, but because the d*mn barbarians kept trickling over the border, and the Romans found them too useful to kick out, or even defend the border from (stop me when the tale sounds familiar. Never mind.) Sure there were military invasions, but Rome qua classical Rome was already long gone.
And then there was the rest of the Empire. Did Rome really fall? Come walk the streets of Portugal with me sometime, and tell me that. And then we’ll both laugh at how things change, without changing.
Yes, things got worse and worse, and worse as Rome lost its grip. And if it was YOUR town the barbarians invaded - things got very bad, very, very quickly. So yeah, on a macro scale Rome took forever to fall. On an individual's scale, Rome fell when you were skewered on a Barbarian's sword and your wife was raped. The US might take centuries to fall -- the Coasts might be engaged in a Balkan War while the hinterlands may peacefully hunker down. But if you live in a suburb on the coasts, the collapse is personal and real, and the Macro account of things matters not at all.
But never fear says Sara, after all a few Cathedrals may survive as relics after being turned into Mosques and the public schools that survive may someday still be used as Madrasas. See the United States didn't fall. It changed. A fundamental transformation one might say.
The sophistry she uses to avoid dealing with the facts is sometimes flabbergasting.
There is, I’m trying to tell you, an inertia to good things as well as bad. As hard as it is to change society for the better, it’s also difficult to change it for worse. Sure things can get worse, slowly and incrementally, but even with horrible management, with terrible presidents, with laws restricting our freedoms, your wealth won’t vanish overnight.
Unless your wealth was in a bank bail in , or forcefully invested in 30 year govt securities, or MF Globalled... or simply in stocks during a crash.. in which case, yeah, it was gone over night.
Barring a cataclysm of epic proportions, you’re not even going to go back to the days of two tv channels, much less to the days of tube radio, or of no mass entertainment at all.
Yeah, that is first and foremost on my mind-- will I still have my ipad? Because if to do you can still buy and read Hoyt Science Fiction books! Its not bad if there still be bread and circuses! I mean, lets concentrate on what is important here.
I mean, as long as the collapse is televised, everything just hasn't gotten that bad. Matter of fact it can't be considered "bad" until we are building radios from stone knives and bear skins.
Barring a cataclysm of epic proportions, computer programmers won’t become farmers. Barring a cataclysm of epic proportions, instead of really a lot of small cataclysms and difficulty obtaining things, you’ll find that you’re better off in a somewhat suburban community near the city, where you can get the best of both worlds than in the middle of nowhere, where there are no jobs and food is hard to come by, unless you grow it yourself.Look, things are going to get worse. We are so rich you might not notice it for a while. It’s more a matter of less new stuff, fewer vacations. Then they’ll get yet worse.
Because in Wiemar Germany all of the food produced was immediately sent to the cities for consumption. I mean its not as if during the great depression crops never got shipped because transportation and distribution costs made it unaffordable for most when it reached the cities. Nope. Never happened.
Science fiction writers just sat in their apartments and spent their huge paychecks on whatever food they wanted. Programmers had nice steak dinners.
Because a war elsewhere in the world could never disrupt the shipping of oil or of all of the container ships from elsewhere. If the "things" you are having difficulty obtaining are foodstuffs, then it is not a small problem. Suburbs are inefficient - lots of car travel, products delivered to a more distributed based of customers and so on.. - and as economic get worse, fewer and fewer people will be able to live in them- and fewer products will go out to them as the population declines. Need proof? Its called Detroit. There are no 3rd world "middle class" suburbs, because suburbs of their nature are made viable only because of cheap fuel and safe roads. I agree a remote compound may not be the best idea, but suburbia isn't going to be a good idea. Its going to go from not having vacations to not having coffee over the course of years and not decades. Because that is what happened in Argentina. That is what happened in Venezuela. That is what happened in Wiemar. That is what happened in Zimbabwe. And she gives not reasoning at all for her timescale other than the US is "rich" in material goods. But when you can't afford to run the A/C , or you can't commute to your job safely without being stopped and mugged, you aren't all that rich anymore, are you? If you need fuel and food, then your life depends on the prices of food and fuel - even if you own a mansion and its entirely paid off ( don't forget those property taxes! )
In the seventies, we stopped baking at all, unless it was someone’s birthday because baking used too much fuel. Even for birthdays, things like “pancake cakes” where you fried each layer on the stove top started being popular, because less fuel. VISUALIZE having to consider how much gas/electricity you’re using to cook a meal and adjusting your lifestyle accordingly. There’s a long way for the US to even get to that, much less to compounds and growing your own food, and shooting intruders.
Unless there is an EMP launched by North Korea , in which case this happens tomorrow morning. Inflation running at even 20% a year would have you adjusting your lifestyle in this way within a year. If you think that is a "long way" then okay. But the society relies on just in time delivery of almost everything, and that is made possible by cheap fuel and cheap food. And prices can change rapidly in response to any number of black swan events.
Yes, I know, you’re going to say “what happens when the welfare checks fail?” Supposing that happens, instead of them just being diminished or devalued? The recipients will prey on their own neighbors and riot. And then they’ll die. Most of what we’re seeing about Venezuela, which is a LOOOOOOOOONG way from where we are (yes, richest country, blah blah, yeah, sure but FAR more uneven than here) is about the POOR. My family there which is anti-Chavez and solidly middle class is AT MOST being inconvenienced. Sometimes they can’t find what they want in the store; the choice is smaller; they have to contrive. The black market starts figuring BIG in everyone’s life.
Got that? its just an inconvenience that you can't find food without going to the black market and paying an ever greater share of your earnings on it.. Its inconvenient that you might get mugged, robbed or killed dealing with the black market . But hey, that doesn't mean it will be you. It might just be your neighbor they torch and leave for dead burning the street. They have to contrive because they are middle class and have the materials on hand to do that - until they run out of materials, and then they will be "poor" - because socialism is poverty spread equally. But I used a word like "inconvenient" to describe this, so it can't be that bad. And even if its only "inconvenient" now - won't it simply get worse day after day? Just because you aren't deep in the thick of it now, does that mean you will still be immune 3 years from now? Five?
But isn’t there a lot more crime? Well, yes. There has always been, also the idea that crime is caused by poverty is a Marxist thing. Crime is caused by criminals and people constitutionally not inclined to obey the law.
Which is now 1/3 - 1/2 of the people in the United States.
If I understand Venezuela (and I claim no more knowledge than what I overheard from relatives, then policing was always like in any Latin country, dependent on bribes and on “if you commit a crime but pay me” — that has just gone more out of control, as, I’d guess, the police become less zealous.
Yeah, like the military there are stealing goats because they aren't being fed. That sort of "less zealous"?
BUT crime can be way worse before life dissolves. People tend to imagine welfare recipients becoming destitute and descending on other neighborhoods. This is not the way it happens. The way it happens is that they mostly sit in place and lament and try to use their victimhood to get stuff (from charity, from politicians, from…) A few of them will spy targets of opportunity and strike, but that’s just an INCREASE in crime, not total lawlessness. It means fences go up and people hire neighborhood security patrols.
Unless, of course, you are the one who got stabbed - in which case it "dissolves" quickly. Again the Macro view - instead of realizing an individual is trying to make sure its not him getting stabbed and doesn't want to play Criminal Victim Lotto. As the systems fail, the government is less able to provide for the people via handouts.. and will be forced to crime to survive -And Hoyt ignores her own point -- the people in other nations are far more used to privation. The emotions that will be in play here will be very different. Add the fact that Americans are heavily armed and divided - ideologically, by race, by gender, - every way Obama could think of to divide us, and that Obama is deliberately inflaming those grievances to the point where Americans don't agree on what a "boy" is. .. You will have incentives to "cleanse" your neighborhood of the "filth" - however that is defined in your neighborhood.
Look, I’m not saying any of this is GOOD. I don’t want a diminished future for my children and grandchildren. I don’t want greater crime. I don’t want medicines and electricity and the comforts of civilization to be irregularly available. And I definitely don’t want us to lose our freedom. Not only because that’s the real engine of our growth, but because it is our hope for a better future.
BUT what you’re imagining is not what’s likely to happen. Compounds out in the middle of nowhere, as Ferfal pointed out, never work out.
Well no. Ferfal said they were vulnerable in ways people assume they aren't, and that the most rural and vulnerable were often attacked. Sometimes successfully. Sometimes NOT. They come with their own set of challenges.. and you need to consider if you can meet them ( If I had Billions, and I could move 30-40 families of like mind to a self sufficient compound with natural and artificial barriers to travel then it might very well be a good idea.)
Don’t quit your job and become a goat herder. This is not the way to survive. If you can stay in place. If you can’t, find a place where you can be safer and still keep your job/get groceries/etc.We’re more likely to get hit with what happened in Argentina, and is happening in Venezuela and Zimbabwe than with the “no two stones together” thing. And the strategies are different.
Why do you suppose the troops stole the goat from the goat herder? Because he stupidly raised a goat instead of sitting in an apartment writing novels waiting for someone to kill the goat, package it and deliver it to the local supermarket? Why didn't those troops just steal goat meet from the supermarket then? Heck, why didn't they just buy it with their govt salaries?
No, don't grow your own food - just rely on your cozy expectation that the trucks will keep bringing food to your market and that your stories will provide enough income to allow you to buy it. Its a Good plan.
Your first priority should be to maximize your income or your wealth. In collapses, it is the poor that suffer the most.
Your second priority is to make sure your home is safe, even if all it means is installing an alarm, getting another gun, or putting a bigger fence around your home, so you don’t make yourself a bigger target. Your third priority is making sure you’re safe. This might mean guns, but self defense courses are also encouraged. AND most of all being situationally aware. Your fourth priority is to have enough supplies laid by. Not the world in supplies, but enough that you can survive a week or two of disruption. There are other things you can do, like lay by a supply of used gold and tradeables.
Because the things in Venezuela and Argentina ( which we are a LOOONG way from) only lasted a few weeks. Then everything was awesome.