Best country to be in during the next 20 years

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Best country to be in during the next 20 years
Given that one of the important advices of the crash course (Chapiter 20) is to decide if one should move to a new place, I was just wondering what the best country to be in is, when the inevitable happens. This would help me (and others) decide if and where we should plan to immigrate.
India: This is where I live... we are 1.1 billion people... and hence the problems are obvious. However, 60% of Indians are employed in agriculture (and related industries) - which I understand is eventually going to be good (but good enough?).
US: People have a wide range of views on what life in America is going to be in the next 20 years. I have a hunch that it will still be better than 80% of other countries.
Canada: One of the few developed nations that is a net exporter of energy and has a small population ( less than Delhi + Mumbai). But the weather is a killer.
New Zealand/Australia :  Countries with small population. Australia has a warm weather.
UK/Any European country: Pretty much the same credit problems as in US, but relatively low per capita usage of energy.
Gulf nations: Energy exporters but have a poor record of civil rights and adapting culturally will be very difficult.
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Re: Best country to be in during the next 20 years

I would think Australia would be perhaps the best place to be when standards of living start to slip. Not without its fair share of social problems I think it would be a wonderful place to live and grow.

Stay away from the UK, it's going to have some extremely ugly problems in the next couple of years. Population density is showing signs of stress. Bellow is an article from a reputable newspaper, It just illustrates for the moment what is slowly going to become an all to painfully surreal problem.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/meat-tagged-to-thwart-shoplifters-1221109.html

Italy has regions isolated with good agriculture. Though still very densely populated in comparison to France.   

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Re: Best country to be in during the next 20 years

IMO Russia and Canada are best situated in the next 20 years and beyond in regards to climate change, population and energy.

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Re: Best country to be in during the next 20 years

Norway. Hands down, Norway. My second choice would be Australia.

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Re: Best country to be in during the next 20 years
hobbes wrote:
Given that one of the important advices of the crash course (Chapiter 20) is to decide if one should move to a new place, I was just wondering what the best country to be in is, when the inevitable happens. This would help me (and others) decide if and where we should plan to immigrate.
India: This is where I live... we are 1.1 billion people... and hence the problems are obvious. However, 60% of Indians are employed in agriculture (and related industries) - which I understand is eventually going to be good (but good enough?).
US: People have a wide range of views on what life in America is going to be in the next 20 years. I have a hunch that it will still be better than 80% of other countries.
Canada: One of the few developed nations that is a net exporter of energy and has a small population ( less than Delhi + Mumbai). But the weather is a killer.
New Zealand/Australia :  Countries with small population. Australia has a warm weather.
UK/Any European country: Pretty much the same credit problems as in US, but relatively low per capita usage of energy.
Gulf nations: Energy exporters but have a poor record of civil rights and adapting culturally will be very difficult.

The problem is that so much of this depends on variables that are not possible to accurately predict at the moment.  For example, I've seen climate predictions for California from two very reputable organizations that are almost completely opposite.  One forcasts increasing drought conditions with much warmer temperatures, the other predicts a slight cooling trend with more precipitation.

Certainly there are economic and population factors that suggest an advantage or disadvantage for one country or another.  As you pointed out, Canada's economy is generally in better shape than the US economy, and their population density is much smaller.  However, we also need to remember the extent to which Canada's economy is dependent upon the US economy.  It's difficult to know how stable Canada can remain when/if the US really crumbles.

Australia has warm weather, but is suffering extreme drought conditions in many areas.  Perhaps Damnthematrix can shed some more light on this - I know he lives in a particularly wet area, but how much of Australia will have enough rainfall to support significant agricultural activity without irrigation if predictions for climate change come true?  Permaculture can help tremendously in that regard, but I don't know what the long-term answer is for Australia in general.

The UK/EU economies may be in worse shape than the US in the short term.  It remains to be seen how it will play out in the long term.  Some climate models are predicting another ice age in Europe, but who knows whether that will come to pass in our lifetimes.  Europe does have several small towns/villages surrounded by arable hinterland, which I believe will be one of the most sustainable models of living in the coming years.  Suburbanization and relenteless sprawl have almost completely destroyed this model in North America.

I would not want to live anywhere near a Gulf nation.  They are likely to be the site of endless warfare and conflict as oil continues to deplete.

I think there are probably good places to be in many countries.  The US is a huge country.  Some areas may not fare well, while others probably will.  The same is true for Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

I happen to think that proximity to community and family (people you already have strong ties to and can trust) is an important variable in the equation.  Of course, if one doesn't have a strong community or family connection this is a moot point.

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Re: Best country to be in during the next 20 years

My pick is the country of Maine!

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Re: Best country to be in during the next 20 years

On a more serious note (regarding my last post):

Hobbes wrote: "Canada: One of the few developed nations that is a net exporter of energy and has a small population ( less than Delhi + Mumbai). But the weather is a killer."

The part about net exports may no longer be true in several years time. According to the US Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration (EIA) -- not to be confused with the International Energy Agency (IEA) -- over 90% of Canada's oil reserves are in non-conventional forms. Barring massive demand destruction Canada may exhaust its conventional reserves in a decade or less.

Canada certainly is huge and has very few people, both of which are to its strategic advantage I think, but as you say Hobbes the weather is distinctly not to the advantage of inhabitants, especially in terms of a long growing season. Another issue Canada has is its abundant fresh water supplies -- not the most bountiful on the planet as many mistakenly claim but certainly in the top three or four countries. Some argue that this may make Canada a focal point of international conflict in the coming years and decades, but I think one must remember that until there is a significant paradigm shift (which of course could happen next year!) an attack or intrusion on Canada is a de facto attack or intrusion on the US. Because of this a country like Brazil is more likely to become a focal point of "water wars."

For those considering Canada as an ultimate destination all I can say is that you could do worse. In a global sense to most people I more or less live in Canada considering my proximity of a few hours drive and the fact that Maine and Quebec predominantly share the same forests.

However, Canada and the US are gigantic countries so perhaps a better way to look at things isn't through the artificial lens of politically generated nation-states but through regional eco-systems. So for example, though Maine and Florida are both in the US, my region is one thousand times more similar with Eastern Canada than it is Florida or Tennessee for that matter.

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Re: Best country to be in during the next 20 years

I'd stay in India and move to a location that’s far enough away from a major city but close enough to a decent sized town. I think race has to be considered, if you’re Indian, do you really want to be living amongst a bunch of white folks if the SHTF.

Also consider the upcoming war between your country and Pakistan and plan your relocation so as to avoid the potential problems that conflict will bring, especially to border regions.

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Re: Best country to be in during the next 20 years

    It's not the question of what is the "Best country to be in during the next 20 years" but more of the statement of "it's best to be living in the country the next 20 years".  No matter where you are, leave the large metro areas.  I have almost completed a four year project that is allowing me to make the changes I feel are necessary to insure a sustainable lifestyle for the rest of my life.  If the S doesn't HTF the changes I'm making now are still very positive and will allow me to enjoy a much different lifestyle than the "rat race" that I am currently involved in. 

  I discovered this website several months ago on one of my many google "peak oil" searches.  I was linked to chapter 17a of the crash course.  After watching the chapter I was hooked. 

 Thank you Dr. Martenson for your wonderful website!

 

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Re: Best country to be in during the next 20 years
hobbes wrote:
India: This is where I live... we are 1.1 billion people... and hence the problems are obvious. However, 60% of Indians are employed in agriculture (and related industries) - which I understand is eventually going to be good (but good enough?).

But I recall news items about falling aquifer levels in many "breadbasket" areas, and many irrigation pumps running on petrol, so a real potential for food production to fall badly due to these factors, worth looking into deeper if you are thinking of staying.

Cheers Hamish

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Re: Best country to be in during the next 20 years

Hey, you blokes---what about little old New Zealand.   On a more serious note;   worker bee, like you I have only recently dropped onto Cris's website and follow up every day.   It's simple, to the point, very similar to Prof. Bartlett. I have just registered; sadly, cannot afford to subscribe. (the exchange rate kills it)  At 82 years, comming up 83, really I dont worry about myself but do feel a need to pass as much info on as possible.  I seriously feel there are fish hooks in this carbon thing; I have a very open mind on it.  There seems to be a lot of science dis- agreeing on many points.

Besides, many Govts are so far away in their reduction targets that I feel peak oil, and Co2 will impact together.  The transition town movement is taking on well here in N.Z.  People from most unlikely walks of life are showing interest I find it most encouraging as it gives the sense of community, something missing in our greater society today.  The Sh. will hit the fan and the only way out is to pull together.

Yes, it is better in the country, but the country is not available to many folks--so bring the country to the city and plant food crops/trees on every bit of vacant land and in your own backyard  This is also my first ever blogg, so will not hog the airwaves.  I,too, am grateful to Chris for providing such an enlightening site.  Season's greetings to you all out there.

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Re: Best country to be in during the next 20 years

I have to say I feel privileged that my father decided to emigrate to Australia in 1963....  by far the best decision he ever made.  Australia is a land of extremes.  Chris K mentioned droughts, but not everywhere is drought stricken...  the tropics seem to be getting wetter if anything, and flooding then becomes a consideration.

I always find it amusing that most people I know who 'think like us' also think of moving countries because they worry their own isn't going to cut it post TSHTF.  I'm no different.  Were it not for family ties, I'd be off to NZ....  the main reason being the low population, and the isolation factor.  I've only been there once, and that was a long time ago (1975) and I'm sure it must have changed a fair bit since then, but I have to say I loved the place, especially the S island. Too many people in the N island!

My father picked Queensland because he was sick of the cold European climes we lived in, but frankly I find it too hot here...  it was 40C (105F) here on New Year's Day....  and of course we don't have a swimming pool!

I've spent several months in Canada, and loved it there too....  but I don't know about living there, unless it was to be Vancouver Island (I seem to like sparsely populated Islands!). 

So for me, if I was to move, I'd pick somewhere a little isolated (for security), with a low population, and with a cool temperate climate.  But of course a lot of folk love hot weather.

Soil fertility is an issue, but if you know what you're doing, you can create miracles almost anywhere... but you need water.

It's just not fair having only one planet....

Mike 

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Re: Best country to be in during the next 20 years

If you go to this website:

http://www.wolfatthedoor.org.uk/ 

Find the section called "The Future" and the subhead "Which Country" you'll find a pretty thorough breakdown of which countries the writer deems preferable. Even if you don't agree with him there is a wealth of information you can use to form your own point of view.

Arthur 

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Re: Best country to be in during the next 20 years

Move to Texas.  We have oil and we will be seceding from the union soon, followed by a request to join OPEC.

lol.  Just kidding of course.  but one has to think....

 

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Re: Best country to be in during the next 20 years

graveneworld,

Speaking of seceding from the union, does anyone have or know where to find net trade surplus/deficit for each individual US state?  If things get real bad, I would not rule out the disintegration of the US.  Why would states like AZ, TX, and NM keep funding the federal government when it will not even protect their borders, i.e., the US/Mexico border?  I know CA also borders Mexico, but I know they're running a defecit, so I presume they would want to stay in the union despite the border situation.  I know patriotism can go a long way, but it can only go so far.  Eventually, hunger and tax relief take over. 

I would think States that have a trade surplus and can stand on their own would be more predisposed to secede than those that depend on the rest.  I would assume Texas, Alaska, Oklahoma, and Arizona are among those, due to oil and natural gas resources, but I am not sure.  Also, I remember reading somewhere that the military has an unproportional majority of servicemen and women from the South.  If that's true, they could defend their secession, should anyone wish to challenge it.

Not so long ago, I never thought these would be the topics of my thoughts.

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Re: Best country to be in during the next 20 years

The only thing I've seen so far that would give you this info in an indirect fashion would be state-by-state budget numbers.  It's not pretty. 

http://www.cbpp.org/9-8-08sfp.htm

I agree.  I hate to even fathom the revolution scenario.  But I can tell you that at the grassroots level, there is more and more talk (at least down here where we have a history of such events.) 

State by state bailouts are on the way.  The chatter you hear down here is... "We don't even have a state income tax and we are net positive, why should we bailout...."

 

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Re: Best country to be in during the next 20 years

Thanks all for the very valuable responses.

Arthur Vibert, thanks a ton for the link - lots of info really.

WhoKnew: your point about race is legitimate. But India is so diverse (in terms of religion, language and caste), in a life and death situation, I have no idea how big a disadvantage will these multi-dimensional identities of each person be - riots over anything are not new in this country.

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Re: Best country to be in during the next 20 years
gravenewworld wrote:

Move to Texas.  We have oil and we will be seceding from the union soon, followed by a request to join OPEC.

lol.  Just kidding of course.  but one has to think....

 

There's website out there kicking the idea of Texas a secession.

http://www.texassecede.com/

I don't think it would ever come to pass, but stranger things have happened.

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Re: Best country to be in during the next 20 years

I live in Canada (New Brunswick) and I do not believe Canada will be any better off as a "country" than the US or any other country. A few things people forget about Canada:

  • Canada is large but most people live less than 100 miles from the US border.
  • Almost all of the oil reserves are in the West - the East is a net oil importer.
  • Over 80% of exports go to the US - and who knows about NAFTA and free trade?
  • Canada's medical, education, and transportation systems are deteriorating fast and we are already one of the highest taxed nations on Earth.
  • "National Unity" has always been a big issue in Canada. With Quebec separtists, Western alienation, and a rising level of resentment in Atlantic Canada - I firmly believe Canada has a much higher likelyhood of breaking apart than the US.
  • The current political instability (minority governments) is the biggest wildcard. Even now the "government" of Canada is on a self-imposed timeout (perogued). With 4 national parties and the Bloc Quebecois I do not see this stituation improving. The federal government will become increasingly ineffective and regional concerns will dominate.

I personally believe in the end in any country it will come down to the town/city or local region in which you live. Is there sufficient agricultural land, fresh water, social stability, etc. The most important factor will be your family and the community you have or can build around you. I plan to hunker down in New Brunswick where my ancestors have lived for 200 years (weather included).

All the best,

 Will 

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Re: Best country to be in during the next 20 years

What do you think about EU in general?

I live in really small country -- Slovenia; 2M people -- http://www.slovenia.si/

Our economy is still slowly growing despite these bad times. We have almost zero debt, if I am not mistaken smallest (in %) in EU. We are part of Schengen, NATO and have Euro. The country is so small, the transportation needs are minimal, and we have pretty important sea port nearby to access all the imported goods.

Biking is the most popular sport here.

50+% of the area is covered by forest. Population density is pretty low. Most of the country is still in small villages, which are still socially very rich. Most of the farming is done by small farmers and practically everybody on the countryside have gardens. The water is pure and pretty abundant and the land is pretty fertile and not polluted.

The school system (including college and post-graduate) is free (well, paid by taxes), so is medical care. Therefore people are very well educated.

Crime rate is practically zero.

We are however still consuming way too much oil and electricity and have too much cars.

But I still I consider myself very lucky.

 

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Re: Best country to be in during the next 20 years

The nation state is based on several considerations.

One is the ability to tax.  Without tax revenue, a central authority is pretty much inert.  And we've seen recently where too much borrowing can get you.

Another is transportation.  Along with the circulation of tax revenue, there has to be a circulation of commodities.  Without a more or less equal distribution of commodities among the labor selling class, things get, well, messy.  Remember the reunification of Germany?  The eastern "other" became their eastern countrymen.

Along with the circulation of commodites is the circulation of information.  This is facilitated by common language and in industrial culture compatible data channels like phone lines, mail delivery, broadcast and linked telecommunications.

In industrial culture, all of this is facilitated through a carbon fuel subsidy.  Take away the subsidy and the useful work to maintain this circulation must find another source of energy or fail.

In the  case of Germany, we saw the disparities overcome through common language, culture, and carbon fuel subsidy.  The unified Germany took the hit and grew themselves out of the difficulties.  This is possible on the upside of Hubbert's Peak.  On the downside, the unification might not been possible or at best a lot more painful.  In the larger nation states there are divisions according to geographic constraints.  In times past is was possible to amass empires through military conquest, but the real trick was keeping it all together.  Alexander's conquests fell apart very quickly after his death.  The same could be said of empires in the Fertile Cresent and elsewhere.  Rome was notable because it appeared to be an exception, but diminishing returns on their strategies for energy capture eventually caught up with them, too.  We might think of the last two hundred years of nationstate building as an aggregate of metastable empires.  When their strategies for energy capture no longer support an expanding level of complexity, they too will fail.

Key to the collapse is the constraint in mindset that tells the elites that "we're on the right track and this is just a rough spot".  This mental trap prevents what you might term a "build down" to a lesser level of complexity.  There are very few examples of this in history.  Those that have succeeded bought themselves more time.  Those that continued to pour good money after bad failed.  Jarred Diamond describes them in his book "Collapse".

Barak Obama seems bent on trying to maintain or even advance the carbon fueled industrial culture,  Over his tenure he may succeed in some areas.  On the whole, his apparent blindness to the real constraints in the industrial model will just help to ensure that a collapse ensues.  From historical examples it's not difficult to see which constraints will force an end to the American Empire.  They'll be the same ones that brought down all the previous.  The difficulty will be in predicting when, where, and how these constraints will be felt and how they'll play out.

That said, in general terms we can expect the coming diminishment of complexity to exasserbate the geographical contraints that were previously overcome by the industrial model.  The energy to distribute food commodites will price the 1500 mile Caesar salad out of the market.  Agriculture west of the 100th meridian will be limited to pockets of adequate rainfall or gravity fed irrigation.  Expensive, scarce water will render the remainder fallow.  East of the 100th, there will be dislocations as people move from centers of industrial production to local centers of agricultural production.  That geographical constraint may obviate an Eastern US and Western US.  Old animosities in the Eastern US may revive the Confederacy.  Slavery might be unthinkable, but the divisions between a post oil north and south might form a rift that lets the two drift apart. 

As has been the pattern in the past, some elite group will try to hold onto the resource bases of two or more disparate elements and thus cause a war of anti-succession.  There are numerous examples of this.  Dynastic China comes to mind.  The US Civil War is another.  Whatever the proximate causes, the result will be the same.  Warfare will only make the coming difficulties much worse.

To speculate on which country will be the best place to be in all of this is only so much mental masturbation.  It will be almost impossible to predict.  One might be in a region where cooler heads appear to prevail only to be attacked by a neighboring army because the elites next door decided that your little piece of paradise is easy pickings.  Conversely, your local political unit might turn aggressive toward another and lose the battle.  In the fourth case, both may think the other weaker and it degenerates into a never ending tit-for-tat over the resources in a frontier area that was once and rightfully ours.  My first preference is that the cooler heads realize that the carbon fueled industrial era is over and just deal with it.  That seems like a long shot.

It might be useful to keep in mind that the quality of one's predictions can only be as good as the available data.  Before picking one option, try to quantify the differences between all of them.  Some people and groups are making a lot of claims regarding what one should believe.  Some of them represent interests that may not necessarily be in line with one's own.  I see a lot of them using the Big Tobacco strategy of playing on uncertainties in the data to cast doubts on their opposition while trying to give the appearance of objectivity.  There's a lot of that in the public discourse over climate disruption and Peak Oil.  There are always uncertainties in the data.  The question is which model is the best fit for the data.  The Big Tobacco types will never be satisfied with the data regardless of the precision or the fit and they seldom offer a competing model.  If we wait for coal companies to tell us to reign in CO2 or tobacco companies to tell us to stop smoking, well, do the math.

My current first question is, how do I eat without oil?  I can live in a shanty, dress in rags, and draw water from a nearby stream.  However, I am primarily dependent on some form of agriculture or horticulture.  My first priority must be to locate my family in a region with good prospects for agriculture with the lowest energy inputs.  That means arable soils, long growing seasons, adequate rainfall, local distribution, local renewable energy sources, cooperative stable society, to name but a few.  Competition for these area will be fierce, but to be located outside one of them will doom me or my descendents to starvation.

If one is not directly involved in agriculture, then the best prospects for selling one's labor will be in trades in support of agriculture or the transformation of produce into commodities.  Sounds abstract, but what I mean is basically "butcher, baker, and candlestick maker".  Not glamourous, but it keeps you fed.

Currently I reside in the Southwestern US.  We have mountains, deserts. forests, and rivers.  The scenery here is dramatic, but not edible.  At 6500' above sea level, the growing season is short.  Rainfall is sparse and irrigation is a necessity.  The natural gas production that pays a lot of the bills around here is in a decline of about 8% to 12% per year despite a frenzy of new well drilling.  A lot of land and resources are tied up in exurban sprawl.  Outside of soft coal and natural gas, we produce virtually nothing for trade outside our area.  I doubt this county could feed itself with local agriculture.  I know people who live off investments who are in deep do-do.  Living in this part of the exceptionally wonderful US will become untenable in a decade or two.  I came to this region a few years back on a romantic notion.  The numbers are telling my wife and me to look east.

 

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wolf at the door

A nice website.  I think he has a good balance generally.  I feel he has over simplified the initial decline and that we are likely to see a loss of the highly educated/skilled roles (and energy intensive) that the western world enjoys in a kind of mini boom and bust cycle.  I think we are seeing the start with the hold back in health care (Nice in the UK, reformation of insurance in other European countries, the Irish debarcle for the over 70s).

Preparation where every you are has to be key and understanding the likely risks in your locality, I think there is a lot to be said for keeping your cool when all around are loosing theirs; the transition and scavengery phases are the most dangerous but I suspect that this will be a brief period of time within which a great deal of damage and distruction will be done.  

Hunkering down where you happen to be is probably the best course of action.  You will be able to read the signs and make detailed preparations should you need to, or implement another plan should you need to. 

Within Europe, boarder areas tend to be sparsely populated, with the major populations being located in the SE and Midlands of the UK, the Ranstad in the Netherlands, Brussels and Flanders in Belgium, the Rhine/Rhur regions of Germany.  Bottom line is space and smaller communities can be found in most countries if one is prepared to move.

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Re: Best country to be in during the next 20 years

DurangoKid,

I agree with your analysis about the decline of nation states. James Howard Kunstler makes a similar argument in the book the Long Emergency (a very good - but depressing read). He also gives a good region by region analysis of the US and their future prospects. He recommends the Northeast US due to the reasons you state above - adequate amounts of still usable agricultural land, still functional small towns, large quantites of natural resources and renewable energy, a history of social stability and respect for the rule of law, etc.

In the post above I mentioned I plan to stay in New Brunswick because my ancestors have lived here and prospered for over two hundred years. That is long before malls, stock markets, cars, OIL or even the nation of Canada. The province is not currently an economic powerhouse but it does still have plenty of unused (but usable) agricultural land, abundant natural resources (minerals, hydro-electric power, wood, fresh water, wild game, fish, etc. ), small towns and medium size cities, and a long history of social stability and hospitality. I consider myself quite fortunate.

My recommendation to anyone looking to move to a new location is that they consider what the "civilization" was like there before the advent of OIL. If there was a sustainable civilization there before oil then there probably can be after the oil era. One would also have to take into account the future ramifications of climate change and any geo-political issues. But I think the idea of choosing which "country" is irrelevant - many current nation-states (and their currencies, economies, governments and armies) will cease to exist in the long run.

I also think you are right about the coming prominence of agriculture (as does Kunstler). I do not think it will happen quickly but a much larger percentage of the population will be involved directly in agriculture or related industries (just as was the case before OIL).

All the Best,

Will

 

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Re: Best country to be in during the next 20 years

Durangokid, I agree with your assessment of the Southwest in general.  Durango especially is dead in the water without gas and tourism.  I am just to the West over here in Cortez and we are a little more sustainable I think.  Lots of wheat and bean farms from here stretching over to Monticello.  Of course the yields are better with irrigation but plenty of folks make a living dry farming.   The native population for this area prior to Western settlement is actually estimated to be more than what we have living here now so it can sustain a decent population.  At what level of comfort is the question though.

My real concern with the area is the disproportionately high percentage of people who are dependent on the government for everything.  From healthcare to foodstamps to transportation to basic parenting - if the government isn't there handing it out; they don't know how to get it.  When these unsustainable "social safety nets" start breaking down these are the people who are the first to turn to violence and crime.  I do not want to be at the mercy of angry, hungry people who have been told all their lives that food, shelter and healthcare are rights that are owed to them.  I want to be in a community of people that know you have to work to survive.

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