RecapI began this line of reasoning in the first post of this series by outlining something of my personal situation and by beginning to detail certain reasons for me to take serious thought about my future.
The fragility of the global financial system and the possible impacts of another failure following on from the Global Financial Crisis on my personal income through consequent government and commercial collapses, were discussed. The need for preparations to endure and overcome such events was raised.
I posed the question 'What Else?' then closed off the post and went to bed.
This morning marked the start of a wet weekend and also, being 1 June, the first day of Winter in the southern hemisphere cultural calendar (though this seems to be just an arbitrary date chosen for convenience and bears no relationship to nature's solsticial calendar). There being nothing worthwhile or demanding of my presence to do outside, I had to choose whether to continue with this writing or play Company of Heroes or Borderlands 2 as a form of escapism from these disturbing issues.
Sometimes I wonder why I put myself under this form of pressure but I resolved to continue the work while the thoughts were still fresh in my mind and made myself a freshly ground cup of real organic coffee as a reward. I can always 'escape' a little later.
Continuing where we left off...
Well, there are any number of different aspects of life that can be affected by various possible futures. Have I thought of all of them? I doubt it. There are also many of these situations that are basically outside of the sphere of things that I/we can control. In those cases we either relocate if that is possible and there is somewhere that we can relocate to, we bunker down to ride out the worst effects, if we have the means, and consider that a safe thing to do, or, if there is no alternative or we don't care or we do not attach sufficient weight to the possibility of such events arising in our neck of the woods, we get steamrollered by overtaking events.
I find that it is most beneficial to concentrate on stuff that we have the capacity to exercise some form of control over. Let's think of some of those things.
Just for a while imagine that some of the possible events I spoke about in the previous post were taking place now. That's not hard to do and it is not a case of 'if' but more of 'when' they might occur. This may seem to be remote thinking here in Australia but if you were a European or even an American citizen, your focus on the imminence or even the reality of such things may be quite different. Don't take the view that 'Hey, the equity markets are higher than they have ever been, so things are looking up'. Wasn't it just that way before the last crash? Aren't we just setting ourselves up for another? Do you think the unemployed of Europe and the US, many of whom used to be relatively well off professional middle class people, are thinking of equity markets right now? No, they are struggling to survive on government handouts on a daily basis. Collapse and poverty are real. Equity markets are Fairy Floss.
Perhaps these circumstances would become more real to more people if there were to be a sudden change, like all of this were to happen tomorrow. Then what would we do? Could that happen? I can see, and have read, of many ways that could occur. However, history tells us that societies and civilisations do not generally crumble overnight. Occasionally they do, but more often it takes an average of 150 years as John Michael Greer explains in his book The Long Descent: A User's Guide To The End Of The Industrial Age.
It could be argued that this civilisation started to disintegrate after the end of the Second World War and there are enough signs that we are on the path of collapse today that might indicate that we are approaching the halfway point towards total societal collapse, the good half or the least worst half of that path having already been experienced. It would be a mistake I think to expect anything to improve over the next 75 years and conditions are very likely to get considerably more uncomfortable the further we progress down that path, other factors not yet mentioned notwithstanding.
So, you find yourself at some point (doesn't matter if this happens quickly or over some considerable period) with no job, and most other people, your neighbours, your friends, your extended family, are in the same boat. The shops are empty because transport businesses have shut down (for any number of reasons). Most of the police have gone home to protect their families (and because they are no longer being paid). The army is largely overseas fighting some (now) meaningless war and there is no early prospect of getting most of them back home. Doctors and nurses have almost all walked off the job for the same reasons as the police. Banks and their ATMs have closed doors because too many people are trying to withdraw their savings and there is not enough real money to allow that to happen (I have written about that elsewhere). There is no electricity because the diesel fuel to run the trains that bring the coal to the power stations has run out and the coal mines also can't operate their machinery to mine more coal and the refineries or fuel storage facilities cannot produce/receive more stocks or are shut down for use only by military or essential services by the government. You have run out of petrol and the service station pumps don't work (no electricity) or are empty due to no delivery of fuel. Your domestic taps stop channelling water because the pumping stations have no power. Streets and major intersections are gridlocked because traffic lights stopped working and cars are left where they ran out of fuel. Public transport has ceased to exist. The children are wailing because they are hungry (and/or bored - no TV or electronic games). You can't flush your toilets and even if you could you finished your last roll of toilet paper yesterday. Grandma needs more heart medication. Your partner needs a new asthma puffer. You can't get any news about what is happening. Even if you have some form of food left you have no way to cook it now.
What the fuck do you do?
Ah, don't worry. The government will sort it all out soon. Don't bet on it. They are probably most of the reason it happened in the first place. Of course they are simply a reflection of society so it is all your fault too.
I repeat, without expletive this time and in all seriousness, what do you do?
I will tell you what most people would do. They would panic. They would go out and steal what they needed if they could find it and in not too short a time, when they have become desperate enough, they would be prepared to injure and/or kill to get it. Public safety would devolve into how well you could protect yourself or how prepared you are to beat the shit out of someone else.
This is not a pretty picture.
Of course, those who had the foresight to prepare for such eventualities or those who had been told about such things and had listened and also taken some action to make ready just in case, would be in a much better position to get through (survive) the initial holocaust that would ensue if even just some of these conditions prevailed. Please don't think that I have listed all of the possibilities for systemic failure above. I am sure you are capable of adding your own items to the scenario given some thought. This I urge you to do.
I have personally, by and large, taken steps to prepare for just this type of mayhem. Steps that you can also take will be discussed next.