Friday, May 13, 2011

United States' Response to Collapse?

[NOTE: This was already published and commented on, but for some reason the website crash took it down and returned it to scheduling mode, so I'm merely putting it up again.]

To tell you the truth, there's really only one thing I fear about economic disaster coming to the U.S., and that's how its people are going to respond to it. Given my optimism for the future I think we'll ultimately end off for the better politically and start on a better path, so mainly my concern is how people will react behaviorally.

Reading the accounts of what happened in various other countries during economic disaster, such as Germany and Argentina, have been very disturbing. Spiritually broken people sniping off rooftops, regular kidnappings, violence, and more. I could tolerate a food shortage in a civil society . . . but I wonder if the U.S. would remain a civil society during such bad times.

It's a perplexing question because this phenomenon is happening in a culture that is significantly different, at least for now, from those of a collapsed Argentina or Nazi Germany. I at least know that Nazi Germany at that time adopted a very malevolent and duty-based philosophy, and facing the destruction that philosophy wrought would logically drive those people to the worst kinds of malice, one incident including a guy who stood on a roof and shot at people indiscriminately. That philosophy thinks the worst of human nature, so the provocation of all the economical pain would obviously be enough to push these people to lash out.

However, I hypothesize that the U.S. is in the process of questioning its premises and root philosophy. No choices, of course, have been made between altruism and selfishness, statism and capitalism, and so on, but I think Americans are thinking about the alternatives, which gives America a fighting chance for survival. Even this state of questioning, I think, would alter America's character enough that she would react differently to things such as hyperinflation/deflation. It's also possible that a cultural shift could happen during these times, and that America will have to suffer economic consequences from the inertia of previous bad ideas, meaning that the America that suffers would have a different character than the one that inflicted the troubles.

My hypothesis is that things will vary from state to state since there are such variants in the senses of life given birth to by the various parts of the political spectrum. In other words, I think a Democratic state would react one way and a Republican one another. Here in Texas, I think, a more gloomy atmosphere would come about, which I think would be quite tolerable. People are very hospitable and civil around here, and I can't imagine them erupting into thuggery. My previous home of Michigan, however, I can totally visualize as becoming very violent. It's a very bleak atmosphere already, and the people seem to have a certain air of resentment around them. I detailed a sampling of people I've dealt with there before, and I think that such malevolence is more or less common in the whole area, in differing degrees and practices. The economic conditions are already frustrating enough over there, so the devastation the U.S. might go through might push them past the breaking point and make for a very, very, hostile atmosphere. Then again, I don't know.

Of course, to be logically strict it may not be guaranteed that the U.S. will even go through such bad economic times. I think it's still possible to turn around, and it's possible the culture could save itself before then, but it's one of those "fat chance" ordeals where we might as well treat the probability as a certainty already given the momentum, so I mention this to make clear I'm not speaking of events definitely guaranteed to occur.

Anyhow, what do you think? Whatever ordeal we may go through, I hope I can come out respecting the present humanity in the end.

1 comment:

  1. Nice analysis! You've listed very good reasons for people to think about where they want to be when the sh** hits the fan. Some places will get very ugly, like Michigan (as you mentioned). I think NYC and many parts of CA could also be very dicey.

    The key will probably be to remain flexible with respect to lifestyle, out of debt, in good physical health, and to retain one's moral clarity.

    Overall, I think America could pull through in the long run. But the short-to-middle run could be very stormy...


Comment Etiquette

1.) Do not use vulgar swear words that denote sexual activities or bodily excretions.

2.) Employ common sense manners when addressing the author or other commenters.

Additionally, you're welcome to present contrary and challenging positions within these guidelines, but please do not assume that my lack of response, even if I commented before, is evidence of my endorsement of your position.