Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Collapse as a Process


Within the Survivalist and Prepper community the concept SHTF is often used in order to describe an event that will require the tools often discussed as tactics to handle a massive breakdown of the modern institutions, infrastructure, law and order. WROL or Without the Rule of Law has also started to be used in order to describe such an event.

The main problem as I see it is that this type of thinking focuses on a single event that will suddenly change everything about modern life. History shows us that many previous civilizations have collapsed; the Romans, Mayans and the people of the Easter Islands are just some examples. Modern examples are also available like the collapse of the Soviet Union, the collapse of former Yugoslavia, the Genocide in Rwanda and a number of civil wars and more or less collapsed states like Afghanistan, Iraq, Congo and Somalia. The difficulty of reversing this process has been demonstrated in several conflicts where comprehensive peace building and state building processes have place. So we know that countries, systems and civilizations can and have failed over the course of history. Sometimes a collapse can have absolutely devastating results, but in some cases it can also be relatively peaceful as in the case of the Soviet Union.

What if a Collapse is not an event but a Process?

Within the Survivalist and Prepper movement different types of tactics and solutions has been developed in order to be able to cope with a sudden collapse of modern society;

·         The ability to escape an area buy having kit such as Bug Out Bags, Vehicles and Plans for Escape to safer areas or alternative locations where supplies are being stored.

·         Collecting and storing equipment, supplies, water and other essentials in the home so that one can “Bug In” without having to rely on others.
This type of tactics can be effective for disasters with a fast onset like a hurricane, a nuclear plant meltdown and large scale accidents, but this does not mean that this type tactics is well suited all situations. As the Economic Crisis within the European Union progresses many choose to leave their homes and even their home countries in order to find jobs and livelihoods. For this type of situation a fully equipped Bug Out Bag is not as an effective tool as an education, skills and knowledge that makes it possible to find a job elsewhere.
 
As the situation progresses it becomes clear that the standard of living that many have experienced may become a thing of the past. Things that might be expected are

·         Higher unemployment and a tougher job market

·         Lower wages

·         Higher taxes

·         Higher prices on food, water, energy and fuel

·         Social services like schools, healthcare, law enforcement, military and other functions of states may decrease in size and function.

·         Pensions being lost or lowered and the age for retirement being raised.

These threats present a number of challenges to individuals and families; especially those how already have low marginal in their economic situation. There are no easy solutions for these types of problems but there are of course thing that can be done by individuals and families. It’s also important to say that all regions in the world may not develop the same; some regions may continue to experience economical growth while other regions may go the other way.

Some suggested steps for increasing your resilience

·         Try to reduce your level of debt and pay of any loans you might have, in a situation when the economy no longer grows it can become very hard to pay interest on loans while your salary remains the same or event get lowered.

·         Try to make some savings and put some money away every month; investing money in gold, silver, land and other type of values can also be a way to improve your situation.

·         Learn how to make do with less and save where you can.

·         Work together with your community; it is likely that many services may no longer be available in the same way as they have before. Non Governmental Organizations already provides services for Search and Rescue, Education and Social Services and other fields around the world. 

·         When buying gear try to investment in quality gear that will stand the test of time. Also try to repair and learn to repair gear instead of throwing things away and buying something new as soon as it breaks.

·         Find local opportunities and local options to ensure your basic needs.
 

Conclusion

First of all; I don’t want to pretend that I know what tomorrow will bring. There are however a number of challenges that is not being recognized either as parts or as a whole by the political and economical community. Viewing a potential collapse as a process and not as an event presents a number of problems to actually preparing for such an event. One thing that is clear however is that as things change what we regard as normal will change over time, lower wages, higher gas prices, lowered pensions and other problems will no longer be viewed as imminent disaster, but as everyday life.

The political system in the United States and within the European Union is focused on the notion of growth. This makes it very hard to recognize that there might be limitations like

·        Fossil fuels that provide over 80% of all energy used today are not an unlimited recourse and that we might reach a Peak in the world production.

·         That land is not an unlimited recourse

·         Other renewable and non renewable resource like topsoil, phosphor, fresh water and forests does not exist in an unlimited quantity.

·         That the increase of the world population might create challenges and problems

Adapting to such a situation is not easy and solutions that work in some settings for some people may not work in other settings. Solutions must be based on the local climate, terrain, population and opportunities that exist. Some change may come from the top of the political and economical system but it’s likely that challenges presented will be ignored and that adapting to the changing situation will have to be done by people themselves; you have to take responsibility for your own situation.

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