As economic turmoil worldwide becomes increasingly apparent, I have been receiving messages from readers expressing some concerns on the public “perception” of collapse. That is to say, there are questions on the average person’s concept of collapse versus the reality of collapse. This is a vital issue that I have discussed briefly in the past, but it deserves a more in-depth analysis.
What is collapse? How do we define it? And, are some of the notions of collapse in the public consciousness completely wrong?
It’s funny, because skeptics opposed to the idea of a U.S. collapse in particular will most often retort with a question they think I cannot or will not answer – “So, Mr. Smith, when specifically is this supposed collapse going to take place? What day and time?”
My response has always been – “We’re in the middle of a collapse right now; you really can’t see it right in front of your sneering face?”
The reason these people are incapable of grasping this kind of answer is in large part due to the popular mainstream conceptions of systemic collapse. These are conceptions that are for the most part delusional and not in line with the facts. The public idea of collapse comes predominantly from Hollywood, and not from personal experience. For the masses (and some preppers, unfortunately), a collapse is an “event” that happens visibly and usually swiftly. You wake up one morning and behold; the television and phones don’t work anymore and zombies are at your doorstep! Yes, it’s childish and cartoonish, but anything less than a Walking Dead/Mad Max scenario and many people act as if all other threats are benign.
This is the driving reason why many Americans are absolutely oblivious to the economic instability that is rampant and blatant within our system the past few months. They might see the same signals that alternative analysts see, but these signals do not register in their brains as dangers.
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Look at it this way; say you told a person their whole life that a tiger is a 10-foot tall behemoth with four heads that breath fire while urinating flesh-rending acid. Say you make movies and TV shows about it and they never have any experience to the contrary. When they finally come across a real tiger, they might try to pet the damn thing instead of running in terror or searching for a means of defense.
To use another vicious animal analogy, when I encounter skeptics with false assumptions of what a collapse actually is, I am often reminded of that woman in Anchorage, Alaska who jumped an enclosure fence at the zoo to get a closer picture of Binky the polar bear. These people have been made so inept when it comes to identifying threats that they will continue arguing with you as the animal takes a football-sized bite out of their meaty thigh.
So what is the root of the problem beyond Hollywood fantasies? Well, the problem is that social and economic collapse is not a singular event, it is a PROCESS. Collapse is a series of events that sometimes span years. Each event increases in volatility over the last event, but as time goes on these events tend to condition the masses. The public develops a normalcy bias towards crisis (like the old “frog in a boiling pot” analogy). They lose all sense of what a healthy system looks like.
It is not uncommon for a society to wade through almost a decade or more of violent decline before finally acknowledging the system is imploding on a fundamental level. It is also not uncommon for societies to endure years of abuse by corrupt governments before either organizing effectively to rebel, or caving in and submitting to totalitarianism.
But how does one recognize a failing system? How does a person know if they are in the middle of a collapse rather than on the “verge” of collapse? Here are some signals I have derived from research of various breakdowns in modern nations and why they indicate we are experiencing collapse right now…
The Criminals Openly Admit To Their Crimes
The surest way to know if your society is in the midst of disintegration is to see if the criminals who created the instability in the first place are openly discussing a collapse scenario or warning that one is imminent.
A year ago, central bankers presented little more than a chorus of recovery propaganda. Today, not so much. The Royal Bank of Scotland is now warning investors to “sell everything” ahead of a “cataclysmic” year in markets.
The Federal Reserve’s Richard Fisher has admitted that the Fed “frontloaded” (manipulated) stock markets into a bubble and that payment is about to come due in the form of severe economic volatility (up to 20% crash in equities).
The Bank for International Settlements, the central bank of central banks, has a track record of warning the public about collapse conditions – right before they happen, leaving little or no time for people to prepare. They have followed their habit by warning in September and December that a Fed rate hike would “shatter” the uneasy calm in markets.
Related: Ron Paul: Be Prepared for the Worst
The former Chief Economist of the BIS now says the economy is in worse shape than it was in 2008 and is headed for a larger fall.
What happened between last year and this year and why are these internationalists suddenly so forthcoming about our economic reality? The fact that central bankers are the cause of our current collapse leads me to believe that such admissions are designed to deflect guilt. If they put out a few warnings now, they can then later claim they are prognosticators rather than culprits, and that they were trying to “help us.” Beyond that, the reality is that our situation was just as dire in 2014/2015 as it is today; the difference is that now we are about to enter a new phase in the ongoing collapse, a much more detrimental phase, but still a phase of a breakdown that has been progressing since at least 2008.
The Fundamentals Break Through The Manipulation Barrier
Governments and central banks do not have the capacity to artificially create demand for goods or a supply of well-paying jobs in a crashing economy. What they can do, though, is hide the visible problems in supply and demand with false numbers.
I examined such false economic statistics in great detail last year in a six-part series titled “One Last Look At The Real Economy Before It Implodes.” I will not cover them all again here. I would only point out that recently the fundamentals of supply and demand have begun to break through the deceit of manipulated numbers, and this is a sign that the collapse is about to move from one stage to the next.
With global shipping and trucking freight in steep decline, with retail inventories in stasis and current oil consumption falling to levels not seen since 1997 despite a larger population, the mainstream can no longer deny that consumer demand is crumbling. If demand is falling dramatically, then the financial system is in the middle of falling dramatically; there is simply no way around this truth.
Stocks And Commodities Become Violently Erratic
Let’s be clear, if stock markets represent anything at all, they are merely lagging indicators of economic instability. Stock markets are NOT predictive indicators of anything useful. Therefore, any person who does nothing but track equities each day is going to be completely oblivious to the bigger picture behind the economy until it is too late. They will be so mesmerized by the green numbers and red numbers and lines on minute-to-minute graphs that they will lose all sense of reality.
Violent swings in stocks are a sign of a financial system that is at the middle or end of the collapse process, not the beginning.
It is also important to note that extreme shifts in stocks and commodity values to the upside are just as much a signal of instability as shifts to the downside. For instance, if you witnessed the recent 9% explosion in oil markets and thought to yourself “Ah, the markets are being stabilized again and nothing is different this time…”, then you are an idiot.
Of course, the next day oil markets lost almost all of the gains they made the day before. And this is how markets behave when they are about to die; they expand and implode chaotically each day on nothing more that meaningless news headlines rather than hard data. This heart attack in equities inevitably trends downwards as the weeks and months pass. Keep in mind, equities are down nearly 10% from their recent highs, and oil is down approximately 50% in the past six months. Every time there is a dead cat bounce in stocks skeptics come out of the woodwork to call alternative analysts “doomers”, yet they are nowhere to be found when markets come crashing back down. They are not looking at the overall trend because their short attention spans hinder them. Again, extreme swings in markets, whether up or down, are a sign of progressing collapse.
Deterioration Of Cultural Values, Heritage And Identity
I have written extensively over the years about the Cloward-Piven strategy; a strategy used by collectivists to destabilize social systems by dumping overt numbers of foreign immigrants into the population without demand for integration. This process has been obvious in the U.S. and Europe for quite some time, but only now is it peaking to the point that collapse is seen as an inevitable result by the public. Europe is worse off than the U.S. in this regard as millions upon millions of Muslim immigrants are injected into the EU’s already dying body; immigrants that intend to transplant their culture from their own failed societies rather than adopting the values and principles of the societies that have invited them in.
Natural-born Americans and legal immigrants with aspiration of integration appear to be fighting back against the Cloward-Piven strategy with some success by holding onto traditional American values despite being labeled “barbarians” and “racists.” Illegal immigration, though, is still completely unchecked.
In the EU, the long campaign of cultural Marxism has made natural-born Europeans perhaps the most self-hating people on the planet as well as the most passive and weak. Organized opposition to massive immigration programs in the EU should have taken place years ago. Now it is far too late, and the European system is finishing a social implosion which should have already been obvious to average citizens.
Open Discussion Of Totalitarian Measures
When corrupt leadership moves from quiet totalitarianism to more open totalitarianism, your society is in the FINAL stages of collapse, not the beginning of a collapse. The U.S. in particular has been slowly strangled with subversive legal directives and political policies ever since the so called “War on Terror” began. However, there are now multiple signals of a much deeper and open tyranny in the works.
A few recent examples stand out, including Barack Obama’s insistence that the office of the president has the legal authority to issues executive orders that affect constitutional protections such as the 2nd Amendment. As many liberty movement activists are aware, there is absolutely no constitutional precedent for the use of executive orders and such powers are not mentioned anywhere in the document. They were simply created out of thin air to be used by the federal government and sometimes state governments to supersede normal checks and balances.
While numerous presidents have issued executive orders, including some that were outright tyrannical, like Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s unconstitutional internment of Japanese Americans into concentration camps, George W. Bush and Barack Obama have been the most subversive in their bypassing of the Constitution. Obama, in particular, has tried to hide the number of executive actions he has taken by issuing hundreds of “presidential memorandums,” which are basically the same dirty play by another name.
These actions have been progressively setting the stage for the removal of checks and balances entirely in the name of crisis management. They are so broad in their nature and vague in their definitions and applications that they could be interpreted by federal authorities to mean just about anything in any given situation.
If executive actions are not scary enough, corrupt politicians are now becoming blunt in their demands for dominance. Two Republican Senators, Mitch McConnel and Lindsay Graham, are calling for unlimited AUMF-style (authorization of use of military force) war powers to be given to the president. Such powers would allow the president to project U.S. military forces anywhere in the world for any reason without review or time limits. This includes the use of military forces on U.S. soil.
The rationale for this is, of course, the threat of ISIS. The same group of terrorists the U.S. government helped to create.
And finally, if you want perhaps the most nonchalant admission of future tyranny in recent days, check out former General Wesley Clark’s call for “disloyal” Americans to be placed in internment camps through the duration of the war on terror, a war that could ostensibly go on forever.
One could argue that all of these measures are meant only to deter “Islamic extremism.” I would point out that government officials could have stemmed that tide at any time by enforcing existing immigration laws, or, by stopping all immigration for a period of years until the problem is handled. Instead, they have allowed open borders to remain, and have even imported potential terrorists while focusing Department of Homeland Security efforts more on evil white guys with guns.
If we accept the violation of the constitutional rights of any group of citizens, if we allow the concept of “thought crime” to become commonplace, then we leave the door open to the violation of our own rights someday. And that is how tyrants trick populations through incremental collapse; by applying despotism to a claimed dangerous minority, then expanding it to everyone else.
America is sitting near the end of the spectrum in terms of economic collapse and in the middle of the spectrum in terms of social collapse. While more violent events are certainly gestating and are likely to be triggered in the near term, we should not overlook the reality that collapse is happening in stages all around us. This process gives us at least some time. All is not lost yet, and the steps we take to organize and prepare today will affect how the collapse process unfolds tomorrow. People who continue to ignore the outright evidence of collapse based on false assumptions of what collapse should look like are only preventing themselves from taking proper action until it is too late. Make no mistake, our system is dying. We cannot allow our false perceptions of this death to cloud the reality of it, or our response to it.
By Brandon Smith, Alt Market