I’ve received a lot of questions on this blog and in my email lately asking the following questions:
How bad is it going to get?
What exactly is going to happen?
What is the worst case scenario you think is going to occur?
When will this all happen?
I’ve answered all of these questions in comment form on all of my blogs over the last few years, but I’ve never actually written a full article about it. That’s what I’ll do today.
What Will Probably NOT Happen
Right off the bat, I’ll state for the record that I don’t think we’re in for some kind of Mad Max, Alex Jones, Glenn Beck, post-apocalyptic catastrophe. I don’t think we’ll have some kind of global nuclear war or world-wide collapse that sets the entire human race back into the Stone Age, where we’ll all have to huddle in huts in the desert clutching our bullets and water skins. Absolutely none of my data or my research indicate anything like this, even in worst case scenarios.
As an economist friend of mine once told me when I was interviewing him for my monthly coaching program, “History has reliably shown that humans always have major problems, but we get through it.” He’s right.
I’ll admit these kinds of doomsday scenarios are possible, but they’re well under the 2% Rule, so I don’t worry about it. You should still have food and water stores in your home, just in case your city loses power for a week, or if there is rioting near your neighborhood for an evening or two.
For example, in my house I have a store of two weeks of water (that includes water for both drinking and washing), 30 days of non-perishable food, the ability to cook and stay warm without any electricity or natural gas for an extended period, and various other safeguards, mostly from my extensive camping and hiking experience. But, this isn’t because I expect World War III or an alien invasion. That’s 2% Rule stuff. Instead, it’s to cover my ass in case of something like an earthquake, temporary civil unrest, or Hurricane Katrina, and something like that is above a 2% likelihood in my lifetime, thus I’m prepared.
That’s what won’t happen. Let’s talk about what will happen.
What Will Happen
I have no idea exactly what will happen and neither does anyone else. This is an important point. Any time anyone lays out specifically and definitively what they think will happen, they’re either delusional or lying. They don’t know. You don’t know. I don’t know. No one can tell the future with 100% accuracy. If you could, you’d be a high-end billionaire right now. So, if you ever read on the internet about specific predictions of what’s going to happen and when they’re going to happen, ask yourself if that guy is a self-made billionaire. If not, then ignore the bastard.
What I can give you, with reasonable accuracy, is a general idea of several possible scenarios that are likely to occur. One or more of these things will likely happen. As to which of these things will happen, I have no idea. I just know that the odds are very high that at least one of them will occur.
I will list these possible scenarios in ascending order, from least-bad to most-bad:
In this scenario, certain groups of Westerners snap out of their “We must make this work and save our culture!” haze, wise up, and secede from their greater parasite countries. This means states in the US secede from the union and declare independence, and/or European countries break away from the EU and go back to their own currencies, and/or provinces in Canada or European nations break away from their host countries.
Longtime readers may remember that last year, Scotland almost did this and I got very excited. Unfortunately, they pussied out and continue to suck on England’s teat.
In addition to Scotland, here are several places that may finally get some balls and break away from their oppressors, such as:
Texas, New Hampshire, or Alaska in the US
Quebec in Canada
Tibet in China
Catalonia in Spain
…and various other places, all over the Western world.
Secession is by far the best, or should I say least-bad scenario. If the shit does hit the fan, I’m strongly hoping for it to happen like this. As the US and EU continue to crumble and self-destruct, if smarter, smaller countries or states/provinces pull away and declare real independence from these beasts, there’s great hope for these smaller countries. (The larger host countries will still be screwed).
For example, if any state in the US ever secedes, I will immediately shift my plans to move there instead of outside the of the US. Odds are that a state like this will lean politically right, not left (leftists are too collectivist to ever secede from anything; this helps explain Scotland), so there’s at least a chance that small government principles might be followed there. Also, the smaller the country, the better, since it’s more manageable. This is one of the main reasons why places like Hong Kong and Singapore do so well; they’re little.
2. Slow Decline into Irrelevance
People are often surprised to learn that 400 years ago, Portugal ruled the world.
Yeah. Portugal was a military and maritime superpower, and more or less ruled the Earth. Even distant nations in Asia feared them and kissed their asses. Today, Portugal is a silly, tiny, bankrupt country that the IMF keeps having to bail out, that barely shows up on a map, and that hardly anyone knows about.
In this scenario, this is what happens to the West, specifically the US and Europe. There’s no major event or collapse that wipes everything out or screws everything up. Instead, every few years the US/Europe gets smaller, weaker, stupider, poorer, and more indebted.
If this happens, in 100-150 years or so the US is a tiny little country the size of Rhode Island that everyone makes fun of, surrounded by large Chinese and/or Hispanic dominated nations (and maybe a few small white ones too). What was once called Europe is now a tiny region the size of….Portugal, surrounded by predominantly Muslim and/or African nations (who will probably be bankrupt also). The power, wealth, and technology will all be in Asia (and possibly in some South American countries like Argentina, if they straighten up).
The cyberpunk novel Snow Crash demonstrated how this would look. In the book, the US is a collapsed, decentralized, bankrupt nation with a “federal government” that acts tough, but has no real power and everyone laughs at it. (I strongly recommend the book, by the way).
The slow decline scenario is pretty bad, but at least it takes a long time, giving you plenty of time to adjust, prepare, and/or move elsewhere.
3. Currency Crisis
This is what I believe is the most likely scenario.
In this scenario, the US dollar and/or the Euro hyperinflates or hyperdeflates, absolutely ruining jobs and businesses all across the Western world, and destroying personal wealth on a mass scale.
In a hyperinflation scenario, major nations like China stop borrowing money from the US, and billions or even trillions of dollars flood back into the US, crashing the value of the dollar and turning the United States into 1920’s Weimar Republic. Suddenly, a loaf of bread costs $300 and all of your savings, investments, and real estate are suddenly worthless (unless you own gold; then make piles of money and get rich). Mass chaos ensues, and we’re in for a very painful few years until the free market adjusts, or big corporatist governments manipulate a temporary fix.
In a hyperdeflation scenario, some major catastrophe occurs somewhere in the world outside of the US, like Europe collapsing or a major Asian or European war, and the world flees to the US dollar. Or, everything is fine in the world but the US stock market bubble finally bursts. In either case, the stock market crashes at least 75% and commodities crash in a similar fashion. What remains of the US manufacturing sector gets completely wiped out. Banks call in all of their debts and no one can pay them, creating a scenario like the 1980s Savings and Loan Crisis, only 100 times worse, with everyone losing their homes and cars. Everyone is screwed (except for people with zero debt who own vast amounts of liquid dollars; they quickly buy everything in sight get very rich a few years later when things get back to normal).
Inflation or deflation, the entire Western world enters a deep depression that lasts several years. It’s very, very bad.
This scenario I consider the least likely, but it’s still possible.
In this scenario, people get sick and tired of the stagnant economy and other cultural and social ills, and a Hitler-like person takes power in a major nation, such as in the US, England, France, or Germany, along with many other people that support him (or her) in the congressional bodies of said nation.
Sweeping, authoritarian changes are enacted. Personal and business bank accounts, retirement accounts, and other assets are seized for the Good of the Nation™. Free speech is revoked “temporarily,” which is a lie. Foreigners are blamed for everything and are expelled or imprisoned. Travel outside of the country is limited, making citizens unable to leave their dying nation unless they hold foreign passports. A nationwide content-blocking internet firewall like China’s is put in place. War is also very likely.
The economy doesn’t crash but stagnates, except for the few industries or companies the government supports through extreme corporatism, morphing into fascism. Personal freedom vanishes.
Thankfully, I don’t think this scenario will happen, since this would be the product of an angry right-wing which is in the minority all over the Western world. Yet, I have to acknowledge its possibility, since historically it has happened many times. This is one of the biggest reasons why I’m working on getting a second passport.
5. War (and/or Large-Scale Terrorism)
This is pretty self-explanatory. Various possible scenarios include:
– Putin finally crosses a line of no return and causes a major war between Russia and European nations, forcing China and/or the US to get involved.
– A European nation loses it, explodes like a powder keg, and drags other reluctant nations into war, causing a WWI type scenario.
– China finally loses it and smacks down Taiwan or Japan for old territories it’s always craved. The US gets involved to some degree and things get very scary.
– US neocons finally get their way and launch a direct attack against Iran, ostensibly as some kind of response from a real or invented terrorist event. Russia and/or China gets involved on Iran’s side and things get very scary.
– An exact repeat of the 2000s: another 9/11-type event occurs somewhere in the US. It could be nuclear, biological, conventional, or something else. Thousands of civilians die, the US goes mad with rage as only Americans can, and launches major attacks against one or more nations that had nothing to do with it. Non-stop war ensues for the next 15 years. Hundreds of thousands die, American taxpayers pay trillions, more freedoms permanently vanish, the goverment goes even deeper into debt and seals its eventual bankruptcy, corporatist CEOs and politicans get rich, strongmen get elected and pass more insane laws.
– Civil war, likely in Europe. Nationalists get fed up with left-wing multiculturalism, protests occur, things get violent, the goverment cracks down, and the situation escalates into a real civil war in one or more European nations. It doesn’t spill out into other countries, but things inside the civil war nation go to shit and get very dangerous.
Exactly how bad it gets in a war scenario really depends on what happens, where it happens, and where you live. Generally speaking, Europeans are much more at personal risk than Americans, though Americans won’t be happy either. I don’t envision a WWIII scenario, but you’ll still likely be in personal danger, particularly if you live in Europe. Economic problems ensue and people get screwed (except for speculators or people invested in things like oil, who get rich). Totalitarian measures are enacted, particularly in the US. The safest people are those who live in neutral areas who stay out of this crap, like in South America.
When It Might Happen
So if something bad like this happens, when will it happen?
Like I said above, if I had the answer to that, I’d be a billionaire. No one knows when this stuff will happen, so all we can do is guess as to a range.
My prediction is that one or more of the above scenarios will happen within the next 2-20 years, though I think it’s more likely to happen in 7+ years. The longer we go without it happening, the more likely it will become.
I plan on moving my home base to outside the US in nine years, but I have safeguards in place where I could move much sooner if I needed to. Hopefully this stuff won’t happen in the next nine years, but it’s entirely possible. I will still be affected by it much less than the typical person for reasons I’ve described in my books and blogs.
So there you go. Next time you’re wondering how bad I think it will get, now you know. I recommend you prepare yourself for the coming problems ahead, but without being a conspiracy theorist or a panic-driven spazoid. Think preparation and calmness, not panic or irrationality.