And that will bring on Phase 2: Commercial Collapse. That is probably what we are getting for Christmas this year, or shortly thereafter.Some take it to mean that I have committed the cardinal sin of prognosticators in making a Specific Prediction. Actually, I was just being a bit glib, thinking that commercial collapse would make a perfectly suitable Christmas present, that being the most commercial of holidays.
Timing collapse phases is just like timing peak oil: it becomes possible to do only after each phase has largely run its course. I believe financial collapse has a while to go, and may partially overlap with commercial collapse.
When it comes to social and cultural collapse (phases 4 and 5) I am not even certain that I got the relative timing right. To wit: there is a little city park around here that is always full of people who are drunk and stoned out of their minds 24/7. There are a few police on hand who try to keep them from getting into fights, and to herd them right after sundown into a maximum security flophouse they have for them right on the square. A truck stops by periodically to hand out food to them. Clearly, cultural collapse is quite far along for these folks, but political and social collapse have not caught up with them yet.
So have a Merry Christmas, but don't be surprised or despair if you are touched by commercial collapse in some form, mild or not so mild. You might be short on gas to drive to the mall to buy presents, or the road might be impassable because there is no money in the budget for snow removal (a touch of political collapse there). Even if you do get to the mall, some of your favorite stores (Sharper Image?) might be gone, or your credit cards maxed out. I hope that that's specific enough of a prediction, but that is as specific as one should be, I believe.