If you're thinking Great Depression, or even something comparable to ravaged south toward the end of the American Civil War, you may be underestimating the potential.
Don Dickinson sent me a a few off the cuff thoughts he had over the weekend:
I was thinking about collapse Sunday morning.
When a one or two story building collapses, it is not a very spectacular or deadly event compared to something like the collapse of the World Trade Center towers. The reason is simple physics. A few thousand pounds falling a few tens of feet compared to millions of tons falling hundreds of feet.
U.S. Government photo/Library of Congress
The mid 19th Century collapse of the white ruled Haitian government or the late 20th Century collapse of the white ruled Rhodesian government were analogous to a one or two story building collapse. The surviving whites were many and went off somewhere else to resume their lives. The natives mostly returned to the squalor to which they were already accustomed.
The collapse of the Western Roman Empire in Rome in the mid-5th Century was a collapse from the highest level that had been attained up until that time and it lead to an 800-1000 year dark age. Millions of people died, whole cities, including Rome, and regions were depopulated and even the place names of significant towns were lost to history.
The situation in contemporary America is vastly different from all those examples. The height that has been attained by the lowest and middle classes in America, not to mention the upper crust, is orders of magnitude higher than anything previously attained in history. Therefore, if my analogy holds, once the collapse begins after all the fire and smoke, the velocity and violence will be beyond human comprehension and self-reinforcing in intensity. It will make the collapse of the Roman Empire look like a middling event.
When low height societies collapse, most of the people already know how to function in a minimalist, survival situation. Thus after the Haitian earthquake, the survivors immediately began rebuilding their hovels and knew how to forage for water and food until the norteamercanos arrived with help. When the sky scraping American society collapses, only 1-3% of the population (outdoors men, farmers, and preppers; a lot of overlap in these classes) will have any idea in hell how to take care of themselves and there will be zero help forthcoming from any source.Agree - or disagree? Don's analogy and the prospects for long, hard crash will be part our webcast discussion Friday. We'll also look at growing signs of an American decline - and other possible outcomes short of the full-out crash. Our program each Friday on BlogTalkRadio is always open to live callers and chat between 1:00 and 3:00 pm EDT. If you feel inclined, please join us.