Saturday, March 28, 2009

No mad max, but maybe Bogota on the Bayou

Over at the Next Big Future blog they have an interesting
post laying out the reasons that society won't collapse, we're
not heading for mad max territory. The first two reasons
make the point; that assuming a reasonably competent government,
things won't collapse to the point where I have run the flame thrower
on top of the family defensive wall:

1. Efficiency, conservation and an energy plans can be enhanced beyond current levels with minimal strain. There has been partially voluntary reductions in energy demand during the credit crisis. 10% reductions with minimal effort and 20% reductions with more austerity.

2. Rationing of food, fuel and clothes was successfully maintained in many countries during World War 2. Any resource decline or environmental situation can have governments use rationing to buy time for a transition.

The UK had stricter rationing than the USA during and after the war.

Thus it shows that oil and food supplies can be greatly reduced while maintaining a war-level mobilization.

On the other hand, things don't have to collapse too far for them to really suck.
This account of someone living in argentina during the recent crash makes the point all too clearly. When we lived in Colombia in '99-'00, rolling kidnappings were frequent enough
that 2 coworkers were kidnapped. It's better now, but calling a taxi is still a requirement,
taking a taxi on the street is asking to do the tour de atm's.

In the USA even the poorest gang banger has a car, if things get bad, kidnappings
will be more common than the pizza guy showing up. I think in the long term,
things will be much better as we move away from an oil economy, but in a crash
the short-term could be fairly uncomfortable, especially if you make the assumption
that everything will be fine and the government will take care of all problems we
could end up with a nation-wide Katrina.

I think the advice from Argentina is something to consider, if we move back home
this year the house we buy will have a big back yard for a garden and we'll keep up
the practice of keeping extra food and water on hand. If we do build a compound
then when I put up the walls I'll install the tubing for the wall mounted flame thrower.
But meanwhile, we'll keep spending like normal, now is the time to see europe while
we don't have to make that long flight to get here.

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