Thursday, 27 November 2008

Background reading #2

The Five Stages of Collapse - a thought provoking article by someone who has studied the timeline of collapse in the USSR and has now seen the same thing happening across the world.

If the US government has to lend banks over 200 billion dollars a day just to keep the whole system from imploding, then the term "crisis" probably doesn't do justice to the situation. To keep this game going, the US government has to be able to sell the debt it is taking on, and what do you think the chances are that the world at large will be snapping up trillions of dollars of new debt, knowing that it is being used to prop up a shrinking economy? And if the debt can't be sold, then it has to be monetized, by printing money. And that will trigger hyperinflation. So, let's not quibble, and let us call what's happening what it looks like: "financial collapse".

Stages 2 and 3 - commercial and political collapse, are driven by financial collapse, and will overlap each other. Right now, it is unclear which one is farther along. On the one hand, there are signs that global shipping is grinding to a halt, and that big box retailers are in for a very bad time, with many stores likely to close following a disastrous Christmas season.

Shipping rates are down 99% and the stores are already closing ... welcome to stage 2.

In addition, it also makes sense to keep an eye out for signs of environmental collapse. This article about the 73% fall in zooplankton could have dramatic effect on those of us at the top of the food chain:

The ongoing disappearance of zooplankton, amphibians, butterflies, and bees is tied directly or indirectly to the continuing growth of our own species—both in population (there are nearly seven billion of us large-bodied omnivores, more than any other mammal) and in consumptive voracity (water, food, minerals, energy, forests—you name it).

The financial meltdown tells us these trends can't go on forever. How the mighty have fallen! - the Masters of the Universe reduced to begging for billion-dollar handouts in front of a television audience.

Next will come a human demographic collapse (resulting from the economic crisis, with poor folks unable to afford food or shelter), as mortality begins to exceed fertility.

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