There are a lot of reasons that could lead to a societal collapse and the total destruction of the world as we know it today and I am going to list a few of them: economy collapse, global pandemic, world war 3, many natural disasters…and the list can continue. Why did I chose this ones? Because this events have already occurred at some point in the past and have claimed the lives of millions through wars and armed conflict, genocide and mass religious persecution, political purges, forced labor, slavery, deadly prisons and camps, war crimes and atrocities, famine and mass starvation.
When a U.S. economic collapse occurs, it will happen quickly. No one will predict it. That’s because the signs of imminent collapse are difficult to see.
For example, the U.S. economy nearly collapsed on September 17, 2008. That’s the day panicked investors withdrew a record $140 billion from money market accounts. That’s where businesses keep the cash to fund day-to-day operations. If withdrawals had gone on for even a week, the entire economy would have halted. That meant trucks would stop rolling, grocery stores would run out of food, and businesses would shut down.
When the U.S. economy collapses, you will not have access to credit. Banks will close. That means high demand, and low supply, of food, gas and other necessities. The collapse affects local governments and utilities, then water and electricity will no longer be available. As people panic, self-defense becomes more important. The economy quickly reverts to a traditional economy, where those who grow food barter for other services. It will be a survival of the fittest situation. The U.S. military will have to deal with terrorist attacks, transportation stoppage, rioting and civil war.
At this stage, the country seems pretty much beyond the point of no return. However, things can still be reversed even at this stage if the right person at the top really believes in the basic fundamental concepts of Freedom, Independence, Liberty, and Individual Rights and is not afraid to do what is necessary to reverse the current trend. He will be vilified and hated because of his attitude toward personal responsibility, cutting entitlements, and ending welfare programs. Of course, if the right person were in power and did what needed to be done, none of this would have happened in the first place.
It’s hard to imagine, but there was a time in history when a single disease could cause the deaths of thousands of people virtually overnight like cholera, malaria, yellow fever, the black death, ebola, the great influenza epidemic of 1918 and many more.
While the list above is incomplete, it should get you to thinking about your own preparedness.
I our days there are a few facets of modern society that make a devastating pandemic not only possible, but likely. We’ve dramatically increased our global population size. Simply put, there are just more of us now. More of us to get infected. More of us to spread the infection.
And not only that, but we’re moving to places where we are in closer proximity, increasing our risk of spreading diseases to more people, at a faster rate. We’re traveling farther, faster and more often. It used to take days, weeks, months to circumnavigate the globe. Now it takes about a day. Very few diseases show symptoms in that short period of a time, so someone could be infected with a virus or bacteria, jump on a plane and infect someone else halfway across the world in a matter of hours.
During the onset of a pandemic, most people will not fully realize the ramifications and will continue to go about their daily habitual routines – going to work, going to the grocery store, etc. exposing themselves to the potential mortal consequences of exposure.
If an epidemic is caught in its infancy, public health officials can prevent the disease from spreading too far, too quickly, but it takes a good early detection system with international support to make that happen. Imagine that in a world war conflict…
World War 3
A World War is a military conflict spanning more than 2 continents, in which at least 20 major countries participate in an attack against a common enemy, and which has the attention of the man-in-the-street due to the significant loss of life.
With that definition, we can agree that WW1 and WW2 were in fact World Wars (both wars involved some degree of participation from most of the world’s then existing countries: Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States and the Soviet Union). We can also agree that we are very close to achieving World War 3. The only requirement left to fulfill the start of WW3 is that of a military conflict spanning more than 2 continents. As soon as Israel attacks Palestine, or North Korea attacks South Korea or the US, or China invades Taiwan, we will have the next World War well underway. (source)
How might a third world war unfold? A lot more differently from the “small wars” of today – which, though they have proven so tough, have also led many in Beijing and Moscow to think they prove our true weakness.
When we set out to explore what a modern-day war between 21st century great powers might look like, it was clear that the setting would quickly move beyond the familiar fights on land that we have grown accustomed to. We’d see the kind of battles for control of the air and sea we haven’t experiences for over 70 years, but we’d also see fights in two new domains: space and cyberspace. Space is now part of the military’s nervous system.
Admittedly, such a conflict is neither wanted nor inevitable; a third world war would be an epic failure of deterrence and diplomacy. But the possibility means we must weigh our calculations in a way that we haven’t for decades. (source)
Between weapons of mass destruction, nuclear warheads, biological agents, EMP bombs, will lie our corpses. And let’s assume that we were prepared or lucky enough to see the end of the above atrocities, what then?
Food and water, the most basic of necessities for human survival, are the first to be secured and the last to be surrendered. Although food underwrites our basic notions of what it means to survive, it is also part of our daily life ritual practice. In order to satisfy fundamental human needs, food must be uncontaminated,nutritious, and sufficient.
When resources and life ways are violently disrupted, routinized modes of foodways may be hard to forcefully remove, even in the face of starvation.
How Hunger Hurts
Hunger is uncomfortable. If you’ve ever missed a meal because you were too busy or you woke up late, you know that hunger takes a toll on our mood, our focus, and our sense of physical well-being.
The effects of hunger on the human body don’t end with a stomachache. In fact, true hunger — or, malnutrition — is a dual body-mind experience that has the same deteriorating effects on every human. Since about one in every 3 humans in the world is suffering from malnutrition and half the child deaths in developing countries are caused by malnutrition and its effects, it is essential that we acknowledge how the effects of malnutrition (aside from the immediate suffering) “jeopardizes the economy and development of [a] country, continuing the cycle of poverty.”
MIND — Even though we think of hunger as a primarily physical experience, it is important to remember that acute hunger makes learning and concentration difficult at every age. Childhood malnutrition can cause reduced intelligence, anxiety, psychiatric issues and cognitive impairment in the long term.
EYES — Visual disturbances or impaired vision can be caused by deficiencies in Vitamin A.
MOUTH — Bleeding gums/decaying teeth are both symptoms of calcium deficiency.
HEART — Hunger causes a decrease in heart rate and oxygen levels, making it that much more difficult to perform any kind of physical activity, let alone labor. To function properly, the heart needs sufficient calcium, iron, protein and Vitamin B.
ORGANS — There are a number of malnutrition and deficiency disorders that threaten the intestinal tract, kidneys and livers, all of which need fiber in the form of fruits, vegetables and whole grains to operate healthily.
SKIN — Designed to protect the body as one large shielding system, the skin begins to break down, drying out and flaking without proper hydration and sufficient vitamin A.
JOINTS and MUSCLES — These important connection points will ache if not provided protein — it doesn’t matter how often a person exercises, if the person isn’t getting sufficient protein, her or his muscles will weaken and shrink. Both of these effects put the person at a greater disadvantage when her or his livelihood depends on physical labor.
BONES — Without sufficient calcium, a young person’s growth will be stunted for life, possibly forcing her or him to function with fragile bones that easily break as an adult.
EXTREMITIES — Nerves in the hands and feet will begin to break down without sufficient vitamin E. Needless to say, the loss of control and feeling in these extremities render a person worthless in a labor force defined by physical activity.
IMMUNE SYSTEM — A number of diseases that are rare here but rampant in the developing world are directly caused by deficiencies in basic vitamins, minerals and macronutrients. And, outrageously enough, most can be treated with the mere introduction of those deficient vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients. No pharmaceutical research, no vaccination, no drug regimen necessary. In most cases, just the right food in the right amount.
The resultant desperate situation is, I think, only dimly grasped; the cannibalism that is a recurrent feature of modern takes on the post-apocalypse is a grim acknowledgment of it. The shortage of food and the ensuing mass starvation will almost certainly be the grimmest–and least ennobling–aspect of the disaster that our modern culture seems to spend so much time speculating about.
As Mac Slavo suggests in one of his articles, those without a place to go, consider diversifying some of your preparedness supplies – even if it’s just 7 to 14 days worth – at offsite locations that may include storage facilities or hidden caches. The key is to have your supplies within walking distance, so that you can get to them within 24 hours of a disaster, and plan on not being able to use your primary vehicle to get out of town because the roads could be cluttered with debris or overrun with other people trying to get out of Dodge.
A huge number of recent disasters prove that we can’t prepare for everything. But we can at least attempt to mitigate the fall-out with a well thought out preparedness plan.