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What collapse?

I’ve been contemplating a lot recently on how modern industrial civilization would collapse. (That it will collapse was no question to me.) The term ‘collapse’ of course invokes fear and anxiety in most, as it implies a sudden, irreversible, truly catastrophic event on epic proportions. One really bad day all shit breaks loose then suddenly — puff! — everything goes up in smoke. (Mind you, this does can happen: it is called nuclear war, the probability of which is increasing should warring parties insist on further escalation — poking nukes under the other’s nose — instead of peace talks.) If we manage to avoid this rather unwelcome outcome though, collapse, I argue, will unfold at a much-much slower pace and will only be visible in retrospect.

Before we delve deep into what the future has in store for us, however, we must understand there are several types — levels if you like — of collapse. All of them share the trait of happening under the surface for years and decades, only to resurface in the form of a crisis, which then defies all methods of resolution and permanently ends the old status quo.

You can find a detailed description of the various steps leading to social breakdown in Dmitry Orlov’s list based on his experience living through the collapse of the Soviet Union. My goal however was not to reproduce his findings here, but to offer a different perspective. Orlov’s steps, to me at least, look like distinct phases in each of which the collapse of a certain structure (financial, commercial, political, social and finally cultural) has already been completed. What really fascinates me though is the process of how we get there, and how things might unfold on the way…

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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