The possibility of a complete societal collapse has kept more than one prepper up at night. The idea that one day our modern society will no longer be able to support itself and that chaos and violence will replace our cushy daily lives is actually the driving motivation for a lot of preppers out there.
I am not a big proponent for prepping for specific “events” but every time I see the same old “What are you prepping for” question asked, the overwhelming majority of people respond saying that their biggest motivation for prepping, even their biggest fear, is a societal collapse.
If this kind of widespread, TEOTWAWKI scenario is what’s keeping you up at night, it doesn’t make you a paranoid conspiracy nut, despite what some or our opponents out there might think. That being said, I think it’s important that we take some time today to explore what would actually have to happen for this kind of scenario to actually play out.
Societal collapses don’t happen overnight. They just don’t. Say what you want about the fragility of our modern world, but we humans have spent the vast majority of a couple hundred years putting together massive systems of support like public utilities, our modern food systems and other public services like law enforcement; all paid for with your tax dollars an (mis)managed by our “friends” in government. It’s definitely not a perfect system by any means; and in fact, it’s a mathematical certainty that one day these systems will fail with our government at the helm, but the idea that our entire society would collapse seemingly overnight is simply not possible.
A full-on collapse of modern society would take a long time to happen. In fact, we could already be in the beginning stages of a collapse right now. Our government has kicked the economic scam-can for a long time and we are slowly getting to the point where the countries’ credit cards are maxed out and the credit card companies (China) is sick of raising out limits. It will come to head one day…but that day will be the biggest telegraphed punch in the history on man, it won’t happen overnight.
So what is the most likely series of events that would signal the preverbal “end of days” scenario? Well, no one really knows for sure considering an empire as big as the modern United States has never existed before, (let alone collapsed) but we can speculate based on some logical guesses. Here’s a short explanation of how I see this eventually going down.
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The most likely collapse scenario of the U.S. at least is an economic collapse. Eventually, we are no longer going to be able to continue down this road of making money out of thin air and racking up more and more debt to pay for it. The overall interest on our country’s debts will increase, our ability to pay back those debts will decrease and the “financial crisis” or “fiscal cliff” news reports will become a daily thing.
Unfortunately, our country is filled with people that live life with blinders on. These “fiscal cliff” events (in the beginning) will be nothing more than pop culture fodder for late night talk shows and news headlines that most people will simply ignore. Remember the story about the boy that cried wolf? Well, thanks mass media, when the “real” crisis does start, no one’s going to believe you since you’ve been sensationalizing and lying about these issues for years in your attempts to further divide political opponents.
The next phase of the collapse is likely going to be the wake up phase for a lot of people in this country because the financial crisis will become real and start to actually affect people’s daily lives in a significant way. Governments will keep it going for as long as possible but systematically there will be big changes when it comes to government funding and taxes.
Taxes will increase dramatically as government tries desperately to secure more funding. At first, the wealthiest of Americans will be the hardest hit with tax hikes, more stringent regulations on businesses… because of course that’s the “fairest” way to handle a financial crisis right? Steal from the rich to give to the poor?
Well that won’t last long. Again, there is no “avoiding” the financial collapse. There is simply no mathematical way to “get back on our feet”…it’s going to happen, and taxing the crap out of a bunch of corporations and rich people isn’t going to avoid the inevitable.
It will, however, do a great job of igniting a massive battle of “class warfare” that will make even the biggest arguments between republicans and democrats look like childhood squabbles. If you’ve ever read or watched “Atlas Shrugged”, I believe this is going to be a very close representation of the class warfare that will occur when the government gravy train starts to slow down and the rich are expected to take care of everyone.
At this point the U.S. will finally start to have to pull back from being the world’s babysitter. We can’t afford the conflicts that we’re in now overseas…and if the choice is between cutting even more domestic programs and sending our troops home, they’re going to send our troops home. Especially considering that eventually, they’re going to need them here when the next phase of the collapse hits.
Next in line on the economic collapse roller coaster is the inevitable financial and societal death blow. Entitlement benefits are REALLY expensive. We don’t, (and never have as a country) been able to afford the handouts we’re giving to low-income people in the U.S. At some point the funds to put into these programs will run out, or at least be significantly cut, we won’t be able to borrow enough to pay for all the benefits we’re handing out and eventually, one by one, the programs will lose funding.
In my opinion, this is when “SHTF” stops becoming fantasy and becomes reality. There are millions upon millions of people in this country that rely on the government to simply survive. Their shelter, food, water and everything else that they need for survival is paid for with government money. Once that money stops these people aren’t just going to go away. They’re going to be pissed and they’re going to be hungry.
Just this past year, a few states had technical problems with the national EBT (food stamps) card reading machines which caused hundreds of thousands of people to be unable to use their food stamp cards. This outage only lasted less than 48 hours and yet there were dozens of news stories of widespread theft and assaults resulting from it.
This happened in less than 48 hours. What will happen when this kind of scenario isn’t isolated to just a couple states? What will happen when these benefits are slashed indefinitely or even eliminated? That, my friends, is my idea of a SHTF scenario.
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Next stop down the rabbit hole comes the reduction of law enforcement and other public services like utilities. Both of these entities rely on government funding along with customer revenue in order to stay operational. As much as I respect law enforcement officers, it makes complete sense that we’re going to see a lot of them walking out on the job when they’re expected to go to work every day away from their families, deal with non-stop civil unrest and at the end of the day have little to show for it.
Once law enforcement has been diminished enough, only 2 things can happen. Either the federal government will do whatever it has to do to enforce martial law over the entire country or they simply have to give up.
They very well might be able to lock down some areas of the country, but the government does not have the resources (even in good times) to enact martial law everywhere. This means that some areas might look suspiciously close to George Orwell’s dystopian fantasy “1984” while some areas are just simply left to fend for themselves much like the days of the Wild West.
If this truly is how this will all play out, then god knows what our future may hold. Either way, it doesn’t look good.
Is this exactly how the collapse is going to play out? I don’t know. No one does. However, the cold hard truth is that one day “something” will happen. It has to. We could take half of every Americans paycheck for the next 100 years and still wouldn’t be anywhere close to paying off our existing debt. Our creditors aren’t going to give us a pass on our debts forever.
Maybe the government has a plan to avoid this doomsday scenario. Maybe the next big technological innovation in the U.S. is going to bail us out of all our debt. Heck, maybe we even have some people in government right now that will finally win the uphill battle and get the rest of the people in Washington to finally wake up and become responsible with our money. Who knows…. all I know is that I’m a lot more comfortable relying on myself that relying on government to come up with the answer. That is why I prep; that is why I strive to be self-reliant; because one day, I might not have a choice.