Mad Max? - NOT!

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rhare's picture
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Mad Max? - NOT!

I wanted to start a new topic because I see so many of the threads related to catastrophic changes.  Some of the following are representative of the themes:

  1. We will all be living rural and having to raise our own food.
  2. Capitalism will end.
  3. We will all be living in the dark with no heat, food, water and need to have a forest nearby to survive.
  4. There will be no fuel to run cars, trucks, trains.

I think we have a tendency to under estimate the ability for people to survive on much less than what we have currently and the catastrophic scenarios are given too much attention.  It is easy to get caught up in "Mad Max" thinking.

End of the US dollar, end of capitalism - While I believe we are likely to suffer a dollar collapse, it doesn't mean the whole world is suddenly going to no longer have capitalism, bankers, money. It just means we will have a painful transition to some new currency where many people will have their savings wiped out, government (SSN, medicare, medicaid, ...) and corporate promises (pensions) will not be met, and we will in general have a much lower standard of living.  But it doesn't mean we are going to suddenly transition to some completely new system.  There have been lots of currency failures in the past and will be in the future.

Everyone will be living in rural areas growing their own food.  Nonsense!  There have been very large cities in existence even before oil.  How many people know that London has been about 7 million people for over a century?  Cities will not disappear and endless amounts of energy are not required to support a large city. 

Oil and energy sources will suddenly become unavailable - No, remember we are at the peak of oil, not the end of oil.  It means from here on things will get more expensive.  It means everyone will be required to prioritize necessities (such as food, heat, water) over the luxuries we all take for granted today.  In the US the price change could be rather rapid due to a collapse of the US dollar, but it will not mean suddenly no food available - it will most likely just mean less choices and higher prices and potential short-term disruptions during a crisis.

So for everyone sweating about living in a city and those thinking they have to move to a farm, I would say "take a breath", the apocalypse is not coming (discounting a large meteor strike, carrington event, etc).  You can still prep and be far ahead of the masses.  I think the biggest concerns that could suddenly appear would be due to currency crisis, those related to energy will be much slower to materialize:

  1. Have some water and food to survive over several months of turmoil in the case of a currency crisis.
  2. Have some way to protect yourself from others who don't have food/water.
  3. Have some way to pay for goods on the black market during a currency crisis (tradable items, precious metals).
  4. Have the mental attitude to live on less and be less comfortable.
  5. Have energy resilience if possible.

For those who want to take up the rural lifestyle, that's a life choice, but I don't believe it is required for survival -  city life will likely become harder and less pleasant, but may still be more desireable to many than living on a farm. 

I also recommend "Surviving the Econmic Collapse" for a good realistic view of life following a currency crisis.

 

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Re: Mad Max? - NOT!

I couldn't agree more.  As I've been saying all along, a crumble, not a crash, is the most likely scenario.

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Re: Mad Max? - NOT!

Nice post rhare & I couldn't agree more.

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Re: Mad Max? - NOT!

rhare...

Will second the main premise of your post.

My analysis...offer due to more resources and less demand per person though...rural and semi-rural areas that grow their own food and are already the most self sustaining demographically, will be impacted in general, the least.

Besides your points, suggest the reduction/elimination/degradation of services (local to federal) be added as point 6.  

Point 6 is most significant...potentially in the more urban venues.

Add: culture of innovation, incentive, community will be the keys.

Nichoman

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Re: Mad Max? - NOT!

Excellent post that raises a very important issue.

While I agree with the final list of recommended steps, I think the same basic error that is being pointed out is committed in the title, namely assigning certainty to an outcome.

Instead, what if we begin by agreeing that both of these viewpoints are so extreme as to be somewhat irrational:

  1. 100%, no chance of anything bad ever happening
  2. 100%, no chance of anything other than sudden and complete collapse

The truth almost certainly lies somewhere in the middle.  In my view, the rational person will constantly scan the environment for clues and continuously re-weight their probabilities for what might happen.  Here are mine:

  1. 0.1% chance that business-as-usual continues for the next 20 years.
  2. 75% chance that we experience a series of declines, some sharper than others, to a new and lower standard of living.  This means I am largely in rhare's camp.
  3. 24.9% chance of a currency/financial/debt accident that will radically and rather suddenly take the world by storm with unknowable and unpredictable consequences.  Local mileage may vary.

Because I hold these views, and these weights, I prepare and plan accordingly.  The key to me is that we live in a complex economic system which is inherently unpredictable and nobody knows what will happen next.  The safe bet is "not as much as you might initially think" but with multiple colliding exponentials at play it's also prudent to run through a wide range of "what if" scenarios as a means of gauging readiness.

And, I should note, that what one is prepared for and what one is expecting can be two very different things.  I carry fire insurance on my house so I am prepared for that event, but I am certainly not expecting it to happen.  

I am expecting a long, slow unwind, but I am prepared for something different too.  I guess that's just my history as a wilderness rock climber and off-shore boater expressing itself, both of which reinforce the idea that what you have, or don't have, can make all the difference in the world.

In brief, I happen to think that it is perfectly rational for people to plan for the worst and hope for the best.  And I think it's perfectly rational for people to hold different weightings and outcomes than I do and so it does not bother, anger, vex or otherwise disturb me if people hold other views and are making greater or lesser preparations than I. They might be right, or I might be right, or we both may be wrong.  

Finally, there is an arc to everyone's progression through this material that generally begins with the view that a sudden collapse can/will happen at any minute, which usually transforms over time to the view expressed by Rhare.  I don't want to try and rush, cajole, or require anybody to leave whatever stage or state they happen to be in because that's an important part of the mental and emotional processing.  And because it creates stress in both parties, and who needs more stress right now?

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Re: Mad Max? - NOT!

Nichoman said:

"Besides your points, suggest the reduction/elimination/degradation of services (local to federal) be added as point 6.  

Point 6 is most significant...potentially in the more urban venues."

This is certainly occurring already in my little part of the metro NYC area. My personal opinion is that the recent delays in plowing and salting the roads before the blizzard in December are likely related to the recession. It led to at least one or two deaths that were probably preventable had the roads been cleared in a timely way, including the loss of one newborn child.

I live in a small city outside of the big city, and we have been seeing delays in services like snow removal for a couple of years. Lots of fun driving on a highway with four inches of unplowed snow on it on a Monday morning.....of course this is a minor problem compared to what others have to face.

 

 

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Re: Mad Max? - NOT!

Great Post Rhare!

Though I think the value of this forum has improved dramatically recently (thanks Adam), a good percentage of the community content serves more as entertainment than as a utility for acting in the here and now. Thanks for the reminder.

All the best....Jeff

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Re: Mad Max? - NOT!
cmartenson wrote:

And, I should note, that what one is prepared for and what one is expecting can be two very different things.  I carry fire insurance on my house so I am prepared for that event, but I am certainly not expecting it to happen.  

Chris - This is a profound statement. 

I would break it down a bit more and ask a follow-on question.  What one is "prepared for" is a measure of where they stand with respect to what they are expecting to happen - but should it be a static condition?  At what point do we call it done and sit back and wait for "it" to happen?

That's what I am arm wrestling with.  Once you get to a milestone in your preparations, it seems as if the goal has moved, and you dig in and shift to a new level of preparations.  I'm wondering if this comes from a perceived notion that I have to be doing "something" to prepare for "something".  The challenge is that I can do a pretty good job of quantifying the first "something", but the second "something" is shifty and elusive.  (Like Captain Sheeple Laughing

Kidding aside, is anyone else going through this?

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Re: Mad Max? - NOT!

Dogs - my feeling of "readiness" means my family is living a lifestyle that will serves us well now and after TEOTWAWKI.

When we reached that point of living, all further efforts of prepping began being geared to community.   While complete community preparedness won't be a goal we'll hit, every effort towards that goal will help me and my family.

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Re: Mad Max? - NOT!

Hi Dogs-

We are going through that. Once we we started on our "list" and accomplished that - we just added to our security.

I might say - first we bought the insurance for the "just in case we needed it". Then we thought- why let things get that bad and bought the fire extinguisher, then we we bought the smoke alarms and put them all over the place. Next we planned our routes out of a fire situation and where to meet safely away from a fire.  Then there is the buying a first aid kit for good measure and on and on.

I like the fire insurance idea - fire insurance is an "after-the-fact concept", but being pro-active in not letting a fire be the end of you & family (though it might be the end of your posessions and buildings) is still a prudent undertaking.

Just thinking out loud. . . EGP

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Re: Mad Max? - NOT!

This is a very helpful thread.  As Chris said in his post, "there is an arc to everyone's progression through this material'.  This is normal human behavior.  Actuallly it's more basic than human, but I digress. I would like to throw in some of the thoughts this thread has stimulated so far for me as I progress across the arc.

I guess that my biggest concerns is in the area of community.  There is a line of preparedness that must include your immediate neighbors, whether they are totally on board and prepared, or just oblivious/ in denial to the chance of any changes.  Most of us, whether in the city or country, do not want to be chasing off our neighbors with a gun.  This will lead to a breakdown in your immediate circumstances.  It makes for good movie plots, but terrible day to day existence.  Since neighbors are varied one must be innovative and resilient to be inclusive in this area.

Here are some thoughts about neighbors.  I do think our natural tendency initially is to build Noah's ark and wait for the rain to start.  But, like Nicoman, I think innovation, incentive and community are essential elements to dealing with the future changes, and can also make our present lives much richer.  

Safety-

-this is a major area of concern, especially in areas where there is large scale dependance on government subsidies for food.  This web site may be helpful in a general way for finding out more about incomes in your city or town  http://www.city-data.com/ .  There is probably a point at which some areas would not be safe for the long term.  

Once you decide where to stay then neighorhood associations, Crime Watch groups, neighborhood gardens, knitting groups, book clubs and other local activities help build into relationships of trust with your neighbors. 

There is a need for basic home security and though they are a responsibility, dogs can be very reliable (read low tech) aids to household alertness to danger and, depending on breed and training, very helpful in primary security.  Dogs do cut down how many time you have to greet someone at the door with a gun.

I might add that the idea of having an escape place, seems tempting, but is a luxury few can afford. For one thing, it requires abandoning your primary home.  Not a good idea unless absolutely necessary.  Best to have your primary residence in a long term safer place.  This is a major decision point.

 

Food-

-most communities are  dependent on 'just in time' food , so the back yard garden interest that is springing up in many quarters is a thing to be encouraged.  The more empowered people are to grow and save their own food, the more resilient they will be about other issues with food. Many cities even allow a few chickens-not roosters.  I think it is a good idea to have food for barter (goods or labor), but not for giveaway personally.    Having lived in a city with many homeless in and around my neighborhood, I have learned how speedy the communication in an indigent group can be.  Most of us are not Mormans, but in this area they have the best record of preparedness.  Some of this has been discussed in other postings--all very helpful.

Energy resilience-

-winter storms and self imposed weekend blackouts are great incentives for making sure one is prepared for interruptions and reductions in energy.  Energy resilience is tough since it requires not only changes in lifestyle, but investment outlays for using other forms of energy- PV energy, wood, and up to but hopefully not tallow. 

Rhare also included the idea of getting used to living on less.  This builds personal resilience and also should allow the reallocation of money and resources for 'the rainy day".  This may be a major change such as selling your house and moving to a cheaper place to live, or it may just be changing the thermostat and cooking more of your own food.  Our most immediate community is our family, and there is nothing more difficult than complaining children and spouse.  Family camping trips and at home emergency drills can help build confidence and tolerance for more challenging times.  Primary discussion about what is ahead is done best at this level.

Neighbors are affected by what we do.  There are many 'public' things; driving a hybrid, installing wood heat fireplaces, vegetable gardening, walking regularly, that can change not only our personal behavior, but create a positive peer pressure for our neighbors to do likewise.  

I was amazed at how quickly people adapted to $4 gasoline a few years ago.  The SUV's were parked, people drove less, scooters were everywhere,  the local paper ran articles on 'staycations'.  If commodity costs escalate in food and energy, people will reallocte resources to survive. Short term is not too difficult.  It's the longer term reallocations--after job losses, mortgage defaults,  increased crime, etc. that will be more disruptive and in some ways harder to prepare for. 

Is it best to stay really flexible--rent, acquire PM's, and have few possessions OR to find a good place and dig in with the investments needed in being self sufficient?  That is the tightrope we all must walk and is determined in large part by how our neighbors fare.  James Howard Kunstler's two recent novels are pretty apocalyptic in their worldview, but do deal with basic community and relationship building. I found them helpful and entertaining at the same time.

  None of us are islands and must figure out how to find and build dependable relationships with those around us to deal with the 99.9% chance that business-as-usual will not continue for the next 20 years. Thanks for sharing all your thoughts. 

 

 

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Re: Mad Max? - NOT!

rhare: thank you, I needed to hear someone say that! I need a "sounding board" to help keep me in check, sometimes the "entertainment" gets me wound up.....

DIAP - We are with you.... we've been prepping and have a budget set and we're accomplishing goals, etc. But, we have asked ourselves, where does it all end? We are at a point where we need to decide the tough stuff about family members and friends who are not prepping. We still have things to get done, but I feel so much better than I did last year.... I too feel as if I "need to be doing something to prepare for something," or else I feel as if I'm wasting resources (time/money).

EGP - Good point. We always liken our preps to being "an insurance policy we hope we never have to use."  

 

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Re: Mad Max? - NOT!

rhare,

You're probably correct, but there is some wisdom to erroring on the side of caution.
To borrow a couple Soviet adages;
1. "Overfulfill the plan", and;
2. "When you have a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail".

I agree that we won't see a "Mad Max" society, and I like your outline. It's solid, inclusive and well developed. 
That said, I think people will need to give more consideration to certain potentials based on their location, economic stability and needs than others.

Being in less than ideal situations is going to push you more towards the "Mad Max" side of the scale, whereas having some energy independence, protection and ability to generate food will put you more towards the "Alas, Babylon!" side.

Cheers,

Aaron 

 

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Re: Mad Max? - NOT!
Dogs_In_A_Pile wrote:

Kidding aside, is anyone else going through this?

Yes - I think that is probably part of why I started this thread.  Once you get some of the basic emergency preps done (food, water, energy, financial, security, needed repairs) which I have to say were largely driven by fear after taking the red pill you then have time to sit back and give more thought on what can happen.

cmartenson wrote:

24.9% chance of a currency/financial/debt accident that will radically and rather suddenly take the world by storm with unknowable and unpredictable consequences.  Local mileage may vary.

I would totally agree with your relative likelihood of the various scenarios. My post was really an assessment of the last 24.9%.  What happens if we have a sudden shock?  It's not like food production, energy production, the need for goods and services just stops.  People will still require and produce food. Oil will still be pumped and energy will still be produced.  People will still trade with one another because very few of us are completely self sufficient.  I see it more of a sudden wake up call as to what is really important. The true value of goods and services relative to one another will shift considerably, particularly here in the US where our standard of living has been heavily subsidized by the rest of the world.

This does mean that people who are oblivious of the current situation will have a very hard time adjusting.  I believe there will be a significant increase in crime and violence as people become desperate.  Black markets will spring up and fraud will become more prevalent.  There will be a lot of despair, and there will be a significant increase in deaths for those that do not have the ability to adjust.  I also suspect there will be some truely horrific actions in localized areas.  Life will become cheaper. But it's not the Mad Max apocalypse scenario (it may feel like it).

There are some scenarios such as war over resources, rise of a murderous dictator, etc.  But those are probably not events for which you can really  prepare (other than possibly having some PMs and skills) and will instead need to flee or be first to react as they occur.

Nichoman wrote:

Add: culture of innovation, incentive, community will be the keys.

I totally agree, but I don't think this is really any different than now.  Those that innovate and have strong bonds in the community now are those most likely to do well in the future.

VeganD wrote:

Besides your points, suggest the reduction/elimination/degradation of services (local to federal) be added as point 6.

I certainly agree.  I see this as part of the re-alignment of priorities.  Suddenly that new art sculpture will be less important than a fire truck.  I actually suspect that many services performed by governments will be taken over by enterprising individuals who can capitalize on the failure of public services to align with a new reality.

I believe governments will try to exercise more control over deteriorating conditions, but control requires resources which leads to even less effective action.  When governments can no longer borrow or print I think we will see a dramatic reduction in services, and a proper (IMNSHO) prioritization of critical services.

I think Fernando "Ferfal" Aguirre says it best on the back of his book: "The world is not going to end. It will just get a bit more...complicated."

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Re: Mad Max? - NOT!

What I see are a lot of little "Mini Mad Max" scenarios happening do to frustrations & new stresses that develope in a constant evolving more complex society. Look at the Arizona incident & ask the people that were there if it wasn't "Mad Max" that day. Hard to prepare for that type of thing.

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Re: Mad Max? - NOT!

What a thought-filled series of posts! I have been reading CM (pretty much daily) since October 2009. Rhare, thanks for sharing the measured and logical idea that the future will be bearable…rather than catastrophic. Once I ate the red pill a little over one year ago, I started reading alternate media voraciously, and there is a lot of scary stuff out there once you look!

 

The realization(s) that I very likely might not get my social security, medicare, pensions (mine and/or my husband’s), that banks were not necessarily safe places to protect investments, that the stock market was a casino, that the US government was corrupt, that I would be paying LOTS more for energy, and that I needed to store ~6 months of food and essentials, AND  protect myself from people who would wish to take them from our family,  that I was deficient in a significant number of self-reliant behaviors, and that I needed to develop the mental attitude to live on less and be less comfortable…..well, call me a flaming sheeple, but NONE if that was a part of my mental picture of my future prior to August 2009!

 

Because I was not “prepared” any of those outcomes (at the age of 51 when I was soon (I thought) to partake of these benefits I had worked 33 years for, and expected to receive…, this felt completely catastrophic/Mad Maxxy to me personally. I spent a good 6-8 months in a near-panic. I prepped daily, changed many aspects of my life, dragging my husband with me. After that point (once I realized that I would never be the carefree, “innocent” person I used to be…this “condition” was permanent), things started to calm down a lot. The development of skills and the stockpiling of essentials eased the panic.  

 

I feel significantly less Mad Maxxy these days…I am almost a completely different person after digesting this knowledge of a highly uncertain future than I ever was before (even though I was a sensible person before….no living beyond my means, no credit card debt, no underwater cars, no helocs, etc. ).

 

I feel very prepared these days (about 40-50% and rising) and that feels wonderful, seeing as though I started at zero on the Kelvin scale. Chris, you were right! I am now much more respectful of resources (food, water, electricity, gas, etc) because I understand their value in a way I was ignorant of previously. I still prep daily (by keeping abreast of events if nothing else), but without anxiety. I still check Kitco every morning first thing, then zerohedge, to see if  things have gone to hell in a hand basket while I slept, if I need to run to the bank to pull out what could be lost, then to warehouse store to top off the supplies…but other than that, pretty

 

There have been many advantages to me eating the red pill, and some disadvantages….lost some friends over this (hopefully they’ll see what I see someday…or maybe not!) I don’t talk about it at all to those that don’t want to hear it, but always looking for new people who share this preppy mindset. Have made some amazing new friends, and am working to expand this network of people who can help my family/my family can help. I don’t blindly consume stuff anymore, waste very little, and generally “use it up, wear it out, make it do”.

 

 

The amazing side effect of this is that I am living a more meaningful life than I was before…less carefree (bummer), but more skilled, alert, observant, grateful for/respectful of  what I have, and thoughtful.

 

It feels like all my preps signify an alternate source of wealth-building and security that will not only ease my future life (I’ll need it if/when my SS, medicare, and pension go kaput!), but more importantly represent a source of wealth to pass to my children and grandchildren. I have no intention of “stopping” prepping…why would I do that? Once something is done, I just move to the next project…seems like common sense these days!

 

Life is good.

 

Maybe many of us overreact and fear the worst outcome precisely because fear is such a primal emotion, given to us specifically to get us off our butts and DO something. Once we have accomplished tasks relevant to our situations, the fear subsides, and we become more optimistic/less worried about the future.

 

Just a theory! I love this site…learn something valuable every day!

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Re: Mad Max? - NOT!

In Illinois, a Giant Deficit Leads to Talk of a Giant Tax Increase  http://www.cnbc.com/id/41000507

 With Illinois’s budget crisis reaching dizzying, desperate levels, lawmakers here over the weekend were seriously pondering something that would have been unimaginable even a few months ago: a 75 percent increase in the state’s income tax.

 

That was just one element in an enormous, controversial and still evolving financial package the state’s top political powers dreamed up in private meetings here. On Sunday, they were racing to find enough support to push it through before a new crop of lawmakers takes over on Wednesday.

In a state where the budget woes have, by some estimates, grown more dire than even those in California, it seems that months of inaction might at last be overtaken by some combination of timing (elections are far away) and fear (the state’s national reputation and bond ratings seem to be sinking as fast as its debts are mounting).

In a moment when states around the country are wrestling with withered revenues, Illinois faces a deficit of at least $13 billion; more than $6 billion in unpaid bills to social service agencies, schools and funeral homes; the most underfinanced state pension system; and growing signs of concern from bond investors.

“We are very close to things becoming unraveled,” said Richard F. Dye, the co-author of a study released last week by a University of Illinois institute titled “Titanic and Sinking: The Illinois Budget Disaster.” The report suggested that doing nothing is simply no longer an alternative.

 “It won’t take long,” Mr. Dye said, “for this backlog of bills to be so outrageous that people will not deal with the state.”

Still, it is uncertain whether the Democratic leaders, who control both chambers of the legislature and the governor’s office, can quickly summon enough support to pass the package, which has yet to be formally announced. It was expected, in one version, to include a $1 tax increase on packs of cigarettes, a sharp rise in the corporate tax, and an increase, for the first time in nearly 20 years, in the income tax, which would rise to 5.25 percent from 3 percent.

Democrats say that part of the increase would be temporary, and that the deal could come with pledges to keep spending growth to a bare minimum and to find cuts in areas like Medicaid. But even some fellow Democrats, particularly in the State House (where Democrats hold 70 votes and would need only 60 for passage of a tax increase), seem skeptical.

“Look, this would be a way to get back to even,” John J. Cullerton, the State Senate president, said after one in what has seemed an endless flurry of closed-door meetings with the state’s top three Democrats. The tax increases were expected to raise some $7.5 billion a year — enough, advocates said, to solve the state’s deficit under a new borrowing plan.

“We’d pay our bills,” Mr. Cullerton said. “Our vendors get paid. Our bond rating would improve.”

Republican leaders criticized the size of the proposed tax increase and complained that they had not been included in conversations where the plan was developed. Most of all, they argued that spending cuts needed to be looked at first, even given the urgency of the crisis, before anyone should resort to a giant and rushed tax hike.

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Re: Mad Max? - NOT!

 I never feel prepared . .. as soon as I get one area what I think is ready another falls apart . Keeps me humble .  I do not think we get to rest in this world  and we should count it joy that we come through each test stronger.  We learn to endure and have faith  so we are not tossed like an ocean wave  or a flower in the wind  at the very next challenge .     I  would  tell anyone  with  spouse , Children and family ,  Money may well  be the least of your problems and  NO one or no thing will be more important than trying to protect and keep them safe .  We have to be aware at all times . Thinking that we have arrived and above all challenges is foolish .  The steady decline is easier to prepare for ... Life's unexpected emergencies are what will test our character .

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Re: Mad Max? - NOT!
Aaron Moyer wrote:

To borrow a couple Soviet adages...

(Thank you for the "Soviet" lead-in, Aaron) I put the liklihood of a really ugly collapse higher than 25%  largely thanks to Dmitry Orlov's Closing the Collapse Gap It's a breezy little Powerpoint presentation laying out all the ways that the USSR was better prepared to survive an economic collapse than the USA. He argues that the two superpowers have much more in common than one might think, and I'm pretty sure he'd say that the USSR is a better analogue than Argentina.

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Re: Mad Max? - NOT!
Article from idoctor wrote:

Democrats say that part of the increase would be temporary, and that the deal could come with pledges to keep spending growth to a bare minimum and to find cuts in areas like Medicaid.

This really shows how politicians are un-willling to face reality.  No discussion of cutting spending, just not increasing as much! Amazing...

idoctor wrote:

What I see are a lot of little "Mini Mad Max" scenarios happening

Based on this article, Illinois might be ground-zero for one of those "Mini Mad Max" scenarios soon. Surprised

 

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Zen And The Art of Preparing
Dogs_In_A_Pile wrote:

The challenge is that I can do a pretty good job of quantifying the first "something", but the second "something" is shifty and elusive.  

As a Kali / JKD instructor, does this situation remind you of a street fight, Dogs?

I tend to think of preparations as being very similar to martial arts training; in the beginning you train to defend yourself against various attacks, but you quickly learn that your mind must be clear of expectations to react effectively to your opponent. 

So once you have developed an adequate preparation skill set, you really don't want to be cluttering your mind with expectations of how the second "something" will manifest itself, right? Otherwise you will be blinded "right behind the eyes" and never react in time to whatever happens. The less we identify with our expectations, the faster we can react to reality. And provide we have developed the appropriate skill set, I think reaction speed is the most critical factor in effectively dealing with whatever comes next. 

The elusive Captain Sheeple strikes again!Tongue out

Nichoman's picture
Nichoman
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
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Posts: 422
Re: ALERT: Illinois Crisis developing?
  1. [quote=rhare]

Based on this article, Illinois might be ground-zero for one of those "Mini Mad Max" scenarios soon. Surprised

[/quote]

Okay, was wondering when Illinois would come up today.

Here's where networking past couple of years has paid off.  Here's the key points 
(beyond press)...live in Iowa...but involved with groups who are fighting the battle there. 

Went to a meeting this weekend...some take aways...

1.)   State much closer to "default' than public knows (maybe weeks).

2.)   No longer a crisis...full blown emergency.

3.)   Emotion of sobering despair prevalent.   Ties into point 1 & 2.

4.)   They are trying to pass this ASAP  Ties into point 1 & 2.

5.)   Past Sunday meeting(s) (yesterday) didn't go well.

6.)   Today bad or worse (talking taxpayer revolts and impeachment of Quinn).

7.)   From an E-mail in the past hour...assessment...things could go nuclear this week.

8.)   Very very fluid ATTM.

Anyone in Illinois...BEWARE.

NICHOMAN 

Nate's picture
Nate
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: May 5 2009
Posts: 605
Re: ALERT: Illinois Crisis developing?

Although I agree with many of rhare's points, I will take my chances on the farm.  According to Kunstler, Rome had a population of about 1,000,000 people 100 AD.  Ten centuries later, the population was about 15,000  (from the Long Emergency).  Rome took food from many areas to make this 1 million people city work.  Cities (especially cold climate areas) take substantial resources to support anywhere near their current populations. 

I recently spoke with a 90 year old lady about the depression.  She lived on a farm and didn't feel it.  Her dad leveled land (with animals and scrapers) and worked throughout this period.  No downtime.  History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes.

Nate

joemanc's picture
joemanc
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 16 2008
Posts: 834
Re: Mad Max? - NOT!
rhare wrote:

Cities will not disappear and endless amounts of energy are not required to support a large city. 

I don't know about that. We had a very hot summer here in the heavily populated Northeast. All-time Electric use records were set. I don't know about you, but I can't imagine trying to sleep in a hot building at night, 80-85 degrees with 70% humidity. In most of the cities, food is trucked in from the farmland, which requires energy. Sure, some food can be grown in cities, but how much is the question.

Dogs_In_A_Pile's picture
Dogs_In_A_Pile
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 4 2009
Posts: 2606
Re: Zen And The Art of Preparing
JAG wrote:
Dogs_In_A_Pile wrote:

The challenge is that I can do a pretty good job of quantifying the first "something", but the second "something" is shifty and elusive.  

As a Kali / JKD instructor, does this situation remind you of a street fight, Dogs?

I tend to think of preparations as being very similar to martial arts training; in the beginning you train to defend yourself against various attacks, but you quickly learn that your mind must be clear of expectations to react effectively to your opponent. 

So once you have developed an adequate preparation skill set, you really don't want to be cluttering your mind with expectations of how the second "something" will manifest itself, right? Otherwise you will be blinded "right behind the eyes" and never react in time to whatever happens. The less we identify with our expectations, the faster we can react to reality. And provide we have developed the appropriate skill set, I think reaction speed is the most critical factor in effectively dealing with whatever comes next. 

The elusive Captain Sheeple strikes again!Tongue out

Captain -

"Use no way, as way."

Or stated otherwise, a "tool kit" of instantaneous reactions that can be called on as needed as a situation degenerates.  But I still think there is value in prioritizing and focusing your preparations efforts based on degrees of expectation.  The key is in striking the balance between reasonable expense of time and effort to prepare for something that may not happen.  If you try and prepare for everything you likely will not be capable of responding fast enough to anything.  You also get the same result if your preparation effort is so narrowly focused that it becomes a response constraint.

PS - You forgot shifty.

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xraymike79
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 24 2008
Posts: 2040
Re: Mad Max? - NOT!


rhare wrote:

Cities will not disappear and endless amounts of energy are not required to support a large city. 

 A cornucopian statement if there ever was one.

We know now, or will know very soon, that transporting food and other resources using more solar energy than our bodies can supply on their own, or with the help of other bodies such as draft animals, is inherently unsustainableCities that rely on large surrounding rural areas are not sustainable. Cities that rely on global supply routes are certainly not sustainable. Cities that rely on "just-in-time" global supply systems are completely unsustainable.

The only human habitation that can be considered truly sustainable is one in which all throughputs - food in and wastes out (ideally all recycled or composted) - are sourced from a half day's bodily locomotion travel, with a small percentage coming from a few day's animal travel. This requires quite low population density - on the scale of small rural villages and surrounding countryside. That scale allows life to flow within the seasonal solar energy supply.

Beyond that scale and ecological deterioration is inevitable, as well as warfare for scarce resources and landbase.

R.S.

In our rich consumers' civilization we spin cocoons around ourselves and get possessed by our possessions.
-- Max Lerner

Poet's picture
Poet
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 21 2009
Posts: 1892
No Mad Max, But You Will Suffer Anyway
cmartenson wrote:

The truth almost certainly lies somewhere in the middle.  In my view, the rational person will constantly scan the environment for clues and continuously re-weight their probabilities for what might happen.  Here are mine:

  1. 0.1% chance that business-as-usual continues for the next 20 years.
  2. 75% chance that we experience a series of declines, some sharper than others, to a new and lower standard of living.  This means I am largely in rhare's camp.
  3. 24.9% chance of a currency/financial/debt accident that will radically and rather suddenly take the world by storm with unknowable and unpredictable consequences.  Local mileage may vary.

Thank you for injecting some gray into the black-and-white and reminding us that there are multiple possible outcomes. I wanted to add that, just because society as a whole may experience a series of declines to a new and lower standard, doesn't mean it can't be sharp and sudden and radical for you or your family. All it takes is a job loss - or you living in a vulnerable area like border-town Texas or Flint, Michigan - for things to get radically different.

Just a personal example: the difference between having health insurance and not having it. Would you believe the hospital bill (operating room, private room stay, assisting on-staff OB, neonatologist, nurses, food etc.) for my wife's delivery and hospital stay for our twin boys was around $45,000? The insurance company made them adjust out over $30,000, paid them close to $15,000, and we ourselves paid about $400 total as our deductible and co-pay. I would not know what we would have done if we didn't have insurance and earned enough to not qualify for Medicare/Medicaid (like so many millions of American families). But likely our standard of living would have become radically different. And society as whole wouldn't have to change at all - it could just continue being the crappy state of health care delivery in the U.S. that it is.

Even more reason to be careful, be out of debt, be prudent in preparations and have some form of insurance if you can.

cmartenson wrote:

And, I should note, that what one is prepared for and what one is expecting can be two very different things.  I carry fire insurance on my house so I am prepared for that event, but I am certainly not expecting it to happen.  

I should also say, just because I have fire insurance, doesn't mean I'd be expecting a fire nor am I emotionally prepared for a fire. We all may be "prepping" for a future bad time, but if/when it hits, it's gonna hurt no matter how prepared we are. We are all just hoping that the prepping we do will make things hurt a little less. You will suffer anyway - anything from loss of specialized medical or dental services to life-extending medicines, or even just the ordinary things in life that we take for granted, that make life easier (water, sewage, power, heat, UPS/Fedex, Internet), etc.

All of us and our relatives, our friends,and our community will suffer. No matter how prepared we are.

Poet

rhare's picture
rhare
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 30 2009
Posts: 1329
Re: Mad Max? - NOT!
xraymike wrote:
rhare wrote:

Cities will not disappear and endless amounts of energy are not required to support a large city.

A cornucopian statement if there ever was one.

Not at all.  Think about London in 1900, pre-oil, pre wide spread electricity - population 6.5M (about 1M less than today).  Population of London peaked in 1939 at 8.5M.  Even NY in 1900 was 4.2M.  So I don't think it's a stretch to say you can have large cities without vast amounts of oil or electricity - since it clearly has been done in the past.

xraymike wrote:

This requires quite low population density - on the scale of small rural villages and surrounding countryside. That scale allows life to flow within the seasonal solar energy supply.

I guess if you consider 500-1M+ people small rural villages.   Rome was close to 500K in 100AD.  I don't believe there was a lot of heavy trucking back them. Laughing

But no matter what, large cities certainly can exist with a lot fewer resources than they consume today.  And the main point of this forum topic was that while energy will become less abundant, it's not disappearing tommorrow and large cities will most certainly be around for a least another couple generations if not forever.

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earthwise
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 10 2009
Posts: 848
Re: Mad Max? - NOT!

 

Oh great! That's just GREAT! Just when I get my family stuffed into this nice little cave preparing for TEOTWAWKI, you guys go and cancel the collapse! Do you have any idea how hard it was for me to get my wife to give up her hardwood floors for dirt?  And then finally finding a decent cave only to discover Osama Bin Laden is my new neighbor. I thought for sure he was gonna issue a Fatwa when I heard him muttering something about   "F*&^!#g  infidel!  There goes the neighborhood!" And here I was expecting the Big Brown Truck of Happiness to come rolling up any day now with my new prayer rug.

Forget this. I'm movin' back to San Diego. How do you spell "For Sale" in Pakistani?

SagerXX's picture
SagerXX
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 11 2009
Posts: 2252
Re: Mad Max? - NOT!
txgirl69 wrote:

DIAP - We are with you.... we've been prepping and have a budget set and we're accomplishing goals, etc. But, we have asked ourselves, where does it all end?

Second this!  It seems to me like a never-ending spiral of prep.  Food?  check!  PMs?  check!  Several ways to heat the house?  check!  (insert 6 other items here, completing Round 1)

[two week rest period]

Another 3 months' stored food?  check!  Junk silver?  check.  Several ways to provide drinkable water?  check!  (insert 'nother 6 items...lather, rinse, repeat).

Seems we won't be done until we finally can afford that M-1 Abrams tank for the front driveway (y'know, for the neighborhood kids to use as a jungle-gym...when we're not using it to get the Post-SHTF zombies to move along to the next neighborhood)...

I guess it never really ends.  Sure, certain items get as done as they're every going to be.  But (assuming one does not have a near-unlimited supply of prep cash) there will always be choices/tradeoffs and something on the list still undone.

I suppose I'd feel done if my wife & I had a couple year's stored food, 6 months of expenses in cash, ditto PMs, a complete arsenal, energy independence, and the ability to grow 80% or so of our food.  AND everybody within a 50 mile radius was just as prepared.  Then I'd take a month off to relax and do a lot of really difficult crossword puzzles.

Viva -- Sager

rhare's picture
rhare
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 30 2009
Posts: 1329
Re: No Mad Max, But You Will Suffer Anyway
Poet wrote:

I wanted to add that, just because society as a whole may experience a series of declines to a new and lower standard, doesn't mean it can't be sharp and sudden and radical for you or your family.

No disagreement there.  The point was that if you haven't gone out and bought the farm (literally) then you are in all likelihood not going to die.  There are so many threads, like that of xraymike's recent post, that take the extreme view that the world will completely fail and eveyone will die that doesn't live in a small rural community. It's that extreme that I was addressing.  The point was that people have lived without many of the things we assume are necessary today.  Is it as pleasant, maybe not, but it doesn't absolutely mean the end of world.

Poet wrote:

Just a personal example: the difference between having health insurance and not having it.

That's actually a really good example.  Let's say you had no health insurance.  Assuming the delivery did not have complications, you could have done it for FREE!  There have certainly been a lot of babies delivered throughout history with no doctors. Health Insurance is one of those things we have been taught everyone must have, while in reality, if you have no insurance, and no healthcare, there is a good chance you will live just as long assuming no major trama.  Clean water and food make a much bigger difference.

That is one of the things that is also extremely tough to prep?  You can get basic first aid, try to live healthy, but if your out on your farm, there is no ambulence service because there is no gas, then your probably better off in a city where you have a higher potential for assistance.

Poet wrote:

We all may be "prepping" for a future bad time, but if/when it hits, it's gonna hurt no matter how prepared we are. We are all just hoping that the prepping we do will make things hurt a little less.

Note, I absolutely advocate prepping, learning to be happy with less, and understanding what may unfold. What I was pointing out was that there are a lot of people and threads on this site that have the doomsday/end of the world/we're all gonna die prognostications that I think are not realistic even in the worst case scenarios.

earthwise wrote:

Oh great! That's just GREAT! Just when I get my family stuffed into this nice little cave preparing for TEOTWAWKI,

That was great! ROTFLO. Smile

 

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