Do you remember what you were doing on December 12th, 2012 when the Mayan calendar predicted the World would end? Were you hiding out, surrounded by a cache of food waiting and guns out, or were you at a local pub partying like the last night on Earth? If so, did you get laid?
Be honest, didn't you really want to see the end of the World? Even a just little bit?
If the World ended in some fiery apocalypse then you wouldn't have to worry about those mundane problems that are in your life. The bills, the expenses, the problems. All wiped clean in a single instance. You could die knowing a small bit of happiness that at least those things wouldn't bother you anymore.
Or perhaps, you imagine yourself one of the survivors? Chopping off the heads of zombies or leading a small group of your fellows across the wasteland, fighting off the hordes of mutants and bandits all the while speaking the occasional witticism and sharp banter of the just.
If not Zombies, then maybe some other Great Cause of Destruction?
The two biggies right now are "Climate Change" which is going to fry the planet and another "Global Financial Collapse", only this one so big we ALL go penniless and next stop, tarpaper shacks or living in our autos (unless they are repossessed).
Climate Change whether you believe its man-made is happening. You just can't argue with a straight face it isn't. When the hottest 12 years in recorded history, and that's a couple of hundred years of recording, have happened in the last 15, how do you say that the planet isn't changing? Yet are you going to wake up tomorrow and find its a nightmare world of global climate weirding, unrecognizable?
No, things are going to get a little bit stranger each year. It is going to be the classic frog in a pot of water, slowly getting warmer until it boils. The changes could affect you this year, or wait a decade. We can only make the broadest of supposition for now. Science can paint the Future but only with a 6" wide brush.
What about then, the idea that the whole world of the "Vampire Squids of Wall Street" will finally implode under the weight of their derivative swaps and take global civilization with them?
As much as our "Enlightened Ivy League Overlords" might think their slim slice of of the Food Chain is the sum total of All Reality its NOT.
True it has a very large effect on everyone's life but think for a moment, during the worst of the "Great Recession", and unemployment was at what, 18-20%? Scary numbers until you consider something. That meant that 8 out of 10 people HAD jobs.
Think about that for a moment.
Newspaper headlines and Internet homepage articles don't sell ads when you look at the upside of a problem.
This doesn't mean that next week's Crisis, doesn't hurt some people.
I was one of the "18-20%" that Fall, having decided to quit a secure job to look for higher paying work that October. Job openings did freeze. Employers uncertain of what affect it would have on their business just did not take on new employees. For most of 2008 and 2009 I was unemployed except for brief stints as a temporary worker. I watched a bank balance of over $5000US drip dollar by dollar to almost nothing. And having voluntarily quit, I wasn't eligible for unemployment insurance payments.
As a blue collar man who made his living with his hands, I was screwed. In the end I was a week away from homelessness when I found a new job.
For me the Collapse was quick and brutal.
(More on that in a moment...)
BUT Science Will Save Us!!!
Two words for you worshippers of technology: "Nuclear Fusion".
I am a child of the Space Program. Growing up in the 1960s I had a front row seat at the marvels as we "conquered" Space. My father worked for the aircraft company McDonnell, later McDonnell-Douglas. An Oklahoma farm boy just back from 3 years in post Korea War United States Air Force, he got a job with the company in their newly formed Aerospace division, working on the first space flight program Mercury. He was John Glenn's, the first man who orbited the Earth, crew chief and personally strapped the astronaut in and closed the hatch on that historic flight. I grew up sitting in elementary class watching the TV as the rockets lifted off, just miles from Cape Canaveral in Florida. I had astronauts lounging on my patio enjoying barbeque, as we all looked up at the Stars.
That my fate would be as an adult living and working in Space wasn't a fantasy but a FACT in my young mind.
That turned out well didn't it, lol.
In a World of practically unlimited excess energy such dreams make sense. Now in an age of resource constraints and hard limits on return on energy used, orbital habitats and colonies on the Moon rank up there with dragons and unicorns.
Which brings me back to those two words, "Nuclear Fusion".
I remember in my youth, that the scientific community was just a few years off from solving that one then. Fast forward 50 years and a few trillion dollars, and we are still a few years off from solving that. BUT when we do, we'll all have so much free energy we can party until the Dawn, won't we? Leave the lights on Mom, and turn the thermostat down to 68.
Maybe just another million dollars will finally solve the problems BUT what happens when that scarce million will keep a bridge or two up and useful, so that food can get to people. What self serving politician will ignore starving voters? How do you vote for a promise that has never delivered, when people are hungry.
That's a cold hard fact our scientific community is going to have to learn. No one funds pure research when the Public is starving.
And we will see Shortages. We've pushed the carry capacity of the planet to its brink.
Just look at the Drought in California. Can no one foresee, if you keep pump more and more water from aquifers that take thousands of years to replenish, add thousands and thousands of new users to your base, that at some point Reality will just get out the cricket bat and smack us all across the back of the head, once for good measure.
Here have an aspirin. Sorry there's nothing to wash it down with. We ran out of water yesterday and you'll get a ticket if you water the lawn or wash the car.
What kind of reaction will you get when its not car washes that are banned, but showers?
I said in the previous lesson, we're all going to have to learn to deal with "Less".
The time that some scientific "miracle" will solve it all is now long gone.
The Future isn't going to be a two hour movie where it all works out in the end.
No, the Future awaiting us is going to be one of slow, creeping downward mobility for everyone. Prices will slowly rise. Resources will slowly get scarcer. Equipment and infrastructure will break and just not get repaired. The street lights will go out one, by one, by one, by one...
Sounds kind of boring, doesn't it?
Where's the drama, the tension?
I bet alot of you are saying, "Well, then I'll just go back surfing the Internet then, if we're not going to have the Zombie Apocalypse!"
At least as long as you still can afford the Internet, lol.
Global Civilization's pathway downward is going to be one of slow, creeping downward mobility, occasionally punctuated by a sharp Crisis here and there. Think the 2008 Financial meltdown. That made news didn't it?
The thing is, for the majority of people, that speed bump in the Global Economy, didn't really affect them. For alot people, they got up, went to work, cashed they paychecks, bought groceries and went home to their TV dinners and favorite show.
The important word is "Majority".
I've said for the large majority of you out there reading this, that the Collapse will be slow and drawn out, that is until it hits YOU.
If you are hoping for a big Collapse, its not going to happen. The Apocalypse is going to be small and personal.
When you lose your job, like I did, lose you transportation, lose the safety net that our society had in place when oil was plentiful and we could afford the extra, you are going to find that the "Long Descent" has a steep, sharp cliff. Reality has a bitch slap with your name all over it.
Hope you dodge it, but best of luck, I don't hold out alot of hope for that. Odds are it's gonna get you at the worst of possible moments.
But then they say Steel is best tempered with heat. Will YOU survive your tempering?
(©: "Man with car on seaside" by Elnur)