One of my principle concerns at this time is whether we are experiencing an empire collapse for the
Every once in a while I come across an article that deals with what a collapse looks like to the people living it. I think this is an important perspective to keep in mind because history will not record much of the personal effects on the individual. When we dig out articles on whole societies that have collapsed, the historian is primarily concerned with the greater picture rather than the individuals living it. With few exceptions, collapse of an empire does not occur in a generation or less. The consequence is that those going through the collapse for the most part spend most of their time being concerned with the usual everyday problems of how to make a living and support a family. While the collapse may proceed in fits and starts with short periods of recovery, what is experienced is a gradual lowering of the standard of living that can go on for many years.
Of course, this is going to be in retrospect. If indeed the American empire collapses, I wonder what the historians of the future will conclude when it began. Historians point to October 1929 as the beginning of the great depression when the stock markets collapsed upon themselves. To many people, they didn’t even know a depression was happening and where they lived life pretty much went on unchanged. But, the beginning of a collapse of a society/culture/empire is not so easy to pinpoint. So, unless we have a very drastic and sudden collapse that takes place in less than a generation, most people will not see a sudden drastic change in living.
Whether it is fast or slow, the elite are going to strive to remain elites, with wealth and control over the rest of the populations. This will be accompanied by shifts in power and wealth among groups of elites, but if history has any consistency, the elites will still be in control. The interesting thing to me is that the pushing and shoving among the elite groups to retain or acquire power will only be successful when they can convince enough of the population to grant them the power. Wouldn’t it be interesting if none of them were granted that power?
The concept of egalitarianism has been around for a long time, that is, a society that is primarily composed of all its members being of equal status, and resources being more or less equally divided among them. The original concepts in forming the
As the collapse proceeds, there is simply going to have to be an attitude change concerning the granting of elite status to individuals and groups. If that change in attitude does not take place, human society will simply change what groups or individual control them, but always, someone will be in control. This will show up as society being whipsawed around by these groups contesting for this control. Individually, it will be very difficult for the members of society to make any plans for how to deal with these changes.
Currently there is a very large volume of speculation of how energy shortages, water shortages, lack of industrialism, incessant wars and shortages of nearly everything is going to affect individual lives. Obviously, if our industrialized society becomes a lot less industrialized, we are literally going to have to live in a more “primitive” manner. One of the problems with this is that the skills needed for this style of living have been largely forgotten and considered irrelevant. This is the result of thinking that society always proceeds to greater and greater complexity and that the technology that supports us will never be lost. This attitude ignores completely what happened with the
Wile the baby boomers s, of which I am on the leading edge, may not experience the forced level of ”primitive” living, I can see the younger generation experiencing it with a vengeance. What concerns me is whether this younger generation understands the relationship of forced servitude and elite power when the nation goes into severe power down. If as a group, they do not reject the elitist position of power and privilege, it will just be more of the same, elitists and wanna be elitists in control, and it is obvious that the generation coming up after the boomers has enough of those.
Our attitude on this is that if you are convinced that things are going to fall apart, it is worth while to consider beginning to live as if the collapse is here. That is, begin to power down, learn the skills to try and survive when it becomes a necessity, and most important, start teaching these skills to the younger generation. While that will largely take you out of the mainstream living in our society, it has its benefits. There is a great deal of satisfaction to be gained from learning how to provide for your own well being instead of depending on the society at large. Then, as the social situation gradually degrades, it will be a lot less traumatic adjustment. This is not to say that it is possible for the vast majority of a population to become completely self sufficient. Living a life style where you make all your clothes and footwear or self providing all the other stuff needed for living is for the most part, simply not possible. However, what we can do is reduce our dependency on the larger society by providing first of all, more of our own food, forming small community involvement and cooperation, living a lower energy consumption life style and continuing to educate people about consequences of events.
In the event of a slow downgrading of living standards, the alternative energy sources will become more important I think, but on a much more local basis. I think this will be true because the huge infrastructure needed to maintain a central energy distribution is not able to sustain itself. Its security is questionable right off the top, and much of our infrastructure is outdated and crumbling. In this country, there have been no new refineries built since 1977. A lot of our electrical grid is close to collapsing from a single event. Remember the East Coast and
No matter what happens in the near future, preparation for a lower standard of living must be dealt with if a person believes that it will be forced on us from a drawn out collapse.