Thursday, September 25, 2008

A note on timing

A lot of people commented on to the following sentences in my last post:
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.


Anonymous said...

why did you delete comments from the "superpower similaities" post?

Dmitry Orlov said...

I haven't. There are lots of comments of A lot of them seem off-topic, though.

Anonymous said...

Aye, just as there are many people living post-civ while civ still is predominant.

Unknown said...

Stock up on canned foods. (Not just spam.) Of course, you have garden, but do you can the extra? Mormons are all supposed to keep 2 years of emergency food on hand, and one of their non-nutty ideas.

Unknown said...

Re: timing prediction, I suggest you don't mention dates ahead of time (that's gotten any number of prophecy preachers in trouble). Instead, just explain whatever after it happens. This works well for astrologers and other fortune-tellers, and apparently for stock-market analysts as well.

Zhu Bajie

Earth Bound said...

Nice save, makes sense.

Next, you don't seem to attach much importance to guns and violence in the post-collapse society. Surely alongside the hippy subsistence gardeners there will be organized gangs formed, much like in the early-90s Russia. It is unclear that FBI/CIA/??? will come up with a Putin-like figure to retake control.

Earth Bound said...

Also, the other scenario, as espoused by Julian Roberson, former George Soros partner. Emergency powers for the president, 15m people in debtors prisons, buy stocks of Halliburton-like companies and private prison operators (eg Corrections Corp).

Less likely, because there doesn't seem to be an organization competent enough to pull it off and the majority of the population doesn't long for a strong hand ruler yet, but a viable scenario nonetheless.

Who's going to be the Sith Lord Palatine, swearing allegiance to democracy, Dick Cheney or Hank Paulson?

Is there a way to articulate this scenario without getting a crackpot label?

Admin said...


It was impossible not to mention your name and your approach and view of the American politics in my today's post
on the 2008 US Presidential election: