Because none of us has crystal balls, and none of us is perfect, it makes the most sense to plan for multiple possible scenarios, and thus to put our energies in the places that get us the most bang for our buck, the most resilience and best possible responses for the broadest *range* of possible scenarios. I’m going to list five scenarios that I think are possible, running from the most unlikely to the most likely, and then we can explore this question of what the future is going to look like, not from our single bet, but from the perspective of trying to maximize utility for multiple scenarios.
It is important to recognize inaccurate stereotypes about the simple life because they make it seem impractical and ill suited for responding to increasingly critical breakdowns in world systems. Four misconceptions about the simple life are so common they deserve special attention. These are equating simplicity with: poverty, moving back to the land, living without beauty and economic stagnation.
But while his online homies clearly relish Orlov’s hard edge, it would be a shame if his intimidating reputation put off a wider audience from reading his brilliant book, recently re-released. Here, I’d like to propose a different, hopefully more accessible way of seeing Orlov: as a foreign-born observer of American culture in the mold of Alexis de Tocqueville. But with a little bit of Gallagher thrown in — yes, that Gallagher, the prop comic with the goofy hair and suspenders, popular in the 1980s for smashing watermelons on stage.
Despite four decades of detailed warnings, industrial civilization has failed to turn aside from self-destructive policies of exponential growth and dependence on nonrenewable resources. At this point, stark limits of time and resources as well as a failure of political will make attempts to prevent the fall of industrial society an exercise in futility. Individuals, small groups, and communities can still prepare for the approaching crises by mastering low-tech survival skills now to lay foundations for a sustainable society in the future.
The only thing that could prevent another oil shock from happening before the end of 2012 would be another major economic contraction. The emerging oil data continues to tell a tale of ever-tightening supplies that will soon be exceeded by rising global demand. This time, we will not be able to blame speculators for the steep prices we experience; instead, we will have nothing to blame but geology.
“How can I prepare for an economic collapse?” Is one of the most common questions I get. It usually takes me a second to start to explain how complex such a question is. It’s like asking an auto mechanic “Say, how do you build a car?” or asking a computer engineer “What’s all that stuff inside my laptop?” I do have some first-hand experience in this matter though. The economy in my country, Argentina, has gone through various crises, but none as large as when the economy collapsed in 2001 after a decade of apparent prosperity. The currency devaluated, Argentina defaulted on its USD$132 billion debt, the largest default ever. The middle class took to the streets after bank accounts were frozen and the president was forced to resign, escaping the presidential building in a helicopter. What I’ll do is, based on what I know, provide five quick foundational steps for you to follow so as to be better prepared if something like what happened in my country ever happens in yours.
Steep Oil Prices, Food Shortages Will Likely Spark Deadly Riots This Year, By Michael Klare and Tom Engelhardt
From now on, rising prices, powerful storms, severe droughts and floods, and other unexpected events are likely to play havoc with the fabric of global society.