I’ve seen a number of posts elsewhere recently that began with, “When the Collapse happens…” or, “After the Collapse…” I thought I should weigh in again on that.
As I believe we’ve established, I’m not a believer in Fast Collapse. Rather as with the Roman Empire, I think that historians in a thousand or so years will spend time arguing about the exact date of the End of the American Empire. Above all else, though, I don’t claim to have any idea what exactly things will be like “after”. That said, however, I think I can make a few guesses as to what things won’t be like.
First, we’re not looking at Mad Max. The end of Big Oil will (hopefully) not end with a ‘bang’ but a ‘whimper’–as the Hubbert curve truly indicates, we won’t ‘run out’ of it, so much as it will eventually get priced beyond the reach of most. Renewables (biodiesel, algae production, hydrogen) probably won’t be able to replace more than a fraction; they’re simply not energy-dense enough in a short enough time.
I strongly doubt any scenario that has a sudden collapse of the dollar leading to widespread anarchy, especially due to any of the reasons typically listed for said collapse. China dumping all of their holdings? Less than 8% of our debt; painful, but not impossible. “Burst bubble” in the stock market? Yep; happens pretty often–and we muddle through it every time, with varying amounts of pain. (And if politicians develop a collective common sense–Ha!, I make myself laugh–they’ll re-instate some of the regulation [Glass-Steagall] that helped prevent and ameliorate the bubbles…)
Nuclear winter? Increasingly unlikely, particularly on a global scale. Pandemic? Possible, but we’ve generally got a pretty good handle on the really scary ones for now; the trick is to convince people that vaccinations are a good thing. EMP, with or without a solar flare/CME? Well, to be anything like a major problem, it would have to be with, I’d think; the odds of a big enough one to drop the overall grid are somewhere between slim and none. There would have to be a really big flare, and it would have to be ‘aimed’ just right.
Nearly everything else I can think of would be fairly localized. Extreme weather (hurricane, tornado, blizzard, etc.) or ‘Act of God’ (lightning, earthquake) would be at most regional. Terrorist attack–local. Accidental explosion of some sort–probably very local. With that, my advice to any beginning prepper remains my advice to most “mid-level” and “advanced” preppers: get yourself situated for the small stuff. If you’ve covered your bases, you’re probably pretty well covered for the big stuff. At the least, you’ll be much more flexible in your ability to respond.
I’m curious what anyone else out there thinks of the recent call (by the Secretary of Defense, no less) to decrease the size of the military. I’m cautiously in favor; I’ve long thought our Empire was a bit too strung-out and extended for its own good. It will be interesting to watch what becomes of it, once the predictable Congressional postulating is over.