Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Taking Down America

At the moment, within the United States, it is the political right that is the loudest purveyors of a coming doom and gloom.  However, there are actually quite a few voices on the left.  Coming from TomDispatch: Taking Down America

A soft landing for America 40 years from now?  Don’t bet on it.  The demise of the United States as the global superpower could come far more quickly than anyone imagines.  If Washington is dreaming of 2040 or 2050 as the end of the American Century, a more realistic assessment of domestic and global trends suggests that in 2025, just 15 years from now, it could all be over except for the shouting.
Despite the aura of omnipotence most empires project, a look at their history should remind us that they are fragile organisms. So delicate is their ecology of power that, when things start to go truly bad, empires regularly unravel with unholy speed: just a year for Portugal, two years for the Soviet Union, eight years for France, 11 years for the Ottomans, 17 years for Great Britain, and, in all likelihood, 22 years for the United States, counting from the crucial year 2003.
Alfred W. McCoy offers for scenerios:
  • Economic Decline: Scenario 2020
  • Oil Shock: Scenario 2025
  • Military Misadventure: Scenario 2014
  • World War III: Scenario 2025
Some of these are, within prepper parlance, slow and some of them are fast collapse.  None of the scenarios seem to offer much guidance other than an idea that a limited retreat now is better than a cataclysmic one later.
I do not have any huge problems with the scenarios.  The idea that our problems started with Bush W. is in my opinion more polemic than substantive.  Also, the assumption that the United States is the only large country on a collision course with disaster strikes me as having a rather blinkered view of reality.  How China is supposed to maintain its growth with a population 4 times larger than the United States, and not suffer major problems from an oil disruption is also a bit mysterious.

No comments: