Monday 9 December 2013

How will The West collapse? - gradually or suddenly


Many people say gradually, and that there is 'a lot of ruin in a nation' - they believe in 'graceful' degradation.

But complex (interconnected) systems are different - they are more efficient than simple systems, and better at tolerating modest deviations from normal; however, highly complex systems degrade suddenly, and catastrophically, due to their multiple inter-dependencies.

Previous human societies were 'segmentary' - composed of mostly-autonomous, (and mostly self-directed) units. Each can subsist after a catastrophe, and replicate to make like themselves.

But we are living in the least segmetary society ever.

In the UK, almost every vestige of segmentary organization (local government, the professions and trades, universities, societies and clubs) have been destroyed, or subverted and absorbed into the national government; and the national government has experienced the same with respect to the European Union.

Power and responsibility are dissociated. Spontaneous self-organization - gone. Autonomy - gone. Self-help - gone, crushed, illegal; to be replaced by dependence; demands for 'rights', subsidies, looking-after.

So I think sudden, catastrophic collapse is the likelihood - and the degree of collapse and disorder would then be much greater than in the past (since there is little or nothing to stop this) - and the recovery will be much slower/ more difficult than in the past.

Have a Nice Day!



Bruce Charlton said...

Comment from AlexT: "A question: When it does collapse, which group or groups are poised to benefit? My guess is anybody with any dose of clannishness."

And that is what is almost entirely lacking in the UK. Clans are organized extended families - based around male relations. These have gone among the indigenous population - except among those whose lives are so selfish, dumb and chaotic as to be unable to self-organize.

I don't see any viable grouping in the UK - not a single one.

I don't think any cohesive group will do *well* in in the UK in the medium term - in a material sense, all will lose in a state of famine, disease, unroganized violence. Like the Dark Ages in England after the Romans left.

I don't think it is really to anybody's advantage for there to be a major collapse but of course they might imagine it would be.

And that will not, in the slightest, stop it happening - since nobody is really tring to stop it happening.

Spiritually... well, things might be different.

AlexT said...

I'm sorry, but i have to ask a couple of stupid questions. You say clans are gone 'except among those whose lives are so selfish, dumb and chaotic as to be unable to self-organize.' To whom are you referring here? In other words, what group is both clannish and chaotic?
Also, you say that 'spiritually, things may be different'. Please expand on that.

JP said...

It will be much, much worse than the Dark Ages after the Romans left. The fall of the Roman Empire was a political collapse, not a technological one. There were still plenty of people who knew how to grow food and had the means to do so.

Who in Britain today knows how to grow food without using gasoline and electricity? Do they have the animals and old-time farm equipment they need? How will they hold off the starving hordes? How many of the 63 million people on the British Isles could one hope to feed with such methods? A reduction to the Dark Ages British population of 2 or 3 million might be an optimistic forecast.

Nobody is "poised to benefit" from such a collapse because 97% mortality is a total disaster from which nobody can benefit.

Boethius said...

Monastic communities will survive,I think.

Maximo Macaroni said...

You say, "...the recovery will be much slower/ more difficult in the past."
Recovery toward what? Right back to the status quo now? Re-emerging on the slippery slope to slide down again? Maybe the notion of "recovery" has changed, needs to change. Man cannot live for long without religion, without reason, without morals, without hope.

Bruce Charlton said...

@AT - The underclass, or what get called 'chavs' (or, around here, 'charvers') - these are the only significant group of natives with above-replacement fertility.

Spiritually, things could not be worse than they are now; in the sense that this is the most irrelegious age in human history.

@JP - Agreed. "Nobody is "poised to benefit" from such a collapse because 97% mortality is a total disaster from which nobody can benefit." Very well put.

@B - I doubt it. I don't think that modern gangs will refrain from looting monasteries and murdering monks; but anyway there are very few devout monastics in England - very few. Most of the 'religious' are Liberal 'Christians', as far as I can tell.

@MM - Good question. Back to a simple agricultural society, I suppose - along the lines that JP suggests.

George G. said...

Modern society appears to be poised ready to introduce the greatest quantity of human suffering ever seen in history, based simply on world population numbers and the increasingly fragile organization of society. I think a good example viewed from afar might be the situation in Africa, where aid/assistance has introduced a larger population increasingly dependent on the same Western intervention. If that intervention stops, suffering is much worse than before it began. Even worse, if the intervention doesn't exponentially increase, suffering increases. It is the same situation currently playing out with central government balance sheets and monetary largesse. Or our use of energy and natural resources.

The Crow said...

The West has already collapsed. We are just remarkably slow to recognize it.
This slowness to recognize reality leads us to believe it happens slowly, but it is we that happen slowly, not it.

Commodore said...

So a question, then. Why remain in England? I am extremely glad to live where I do in the Southern United States. I have already experienced a "micro-apocalypse" in the form of a vast tornado system that wiped out power for over a week in my region several; it was very reassuring to live in a place where churches are active and were the center of all local relief/support/coordination. Only one looter in our entire county was reported; he was shot by the store owner and that owner was commended by the local police. Nobody awaited governmental aid, which was good because most of the Federal response was centered in bigger cities further south.

I several blogs removed from this one a (Christian) reactionary said "at the end of the world as we know it, individuals don't survive; communities do". That's about the shape of things.

Arakawa said...

I picked up a book entitled 'Enjoy the Decline' once (from a secular-right blogger), which seriously advocated the Twenty-Five Cent Retirement Plan in the event of total economic collapse. The Twenty-Five Cent Retirement Plan consists of a bullet to the head, and the author didn't sound like he was joking....

Bruce Charlton said...

@A - As I have written elsewhere - a lot of people think that way; it is indeed characteristic of secular modernity (although 25 cents is a strange estimate - presumably the marginal cost of buying one extra bullet; and leaving out teh cost of the gun, license, firearms training etc).

I would say that a world view which is based on short term hedonism, guaranteed (as it were) by what they hope will be the swift painless suicide, is the perfection of Life for secularism. It is supposed to be realistic.

What's wrong with it? Well, put it alongside the life of a devout Christian and the difference is objective, visceral, spontaneous.

So, then the psychotic evaluation system which leads to the hedonism-suicide life must extend to deny the objectivity and spontaneity of our rejection of this life - an the superiority of the best religious lives, and must invert our visceral response (by massive propaganda via the mass media, and the arts perhaps especially).

By the time the process is complete, then modernity is in place - including its dishonesty, fecklessness, inability to reason - the very attitude which leads to societal suicide.

From individual suicide to societal suicide.

ajb said...

Same question as Commodore.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Com &ajb - You both seem to be under the impression I am a secular right "survivalist"... Don't know where you got that idea from!

Adam G. said...

Modern societies were neither designed to have nor have accidentally come across non-catastrophic failure modes.

In fact, from a certain point of view our politics consists of avoiding non-catastrophic problems now at the price of catastrophic problems later. This is obvious to everyone when it comes to budgeting and financial issues, but its also true of demographics and leftism nostrums generally.

Bruce Charlton said...

@AG - I find that almost very single policy enacted nowadays will make things worse in the long term.

PinkFlamingo said...

What is the catalyst for the collapse? If the reply is that China will dump the dollar why? What is the motivation for actors (China) to start a collapse by dumping the dollar?

I say this as a person who started prepping in 2008. But of late I have been questioning whether it will happen.

I am of the mind that a collapse is the only thing that might give us a chance to avoid the totalitarian state being built right now.

Ben said...

Hi Bruce,

Why isn't survivalism good? (Not for the sake of simply prolonging life but taking steps not to needlessly shorten it--like wearing a seat belt.)

Bruce Charlton said...

@Ben - Survivalists are secular people selfishly devoted to saving their own skins. Being prudent is a different matter.

Dan said...

@Ben - Survivalists are secular people selfishly devoted to saving their own skins. Being prudent is a different matter.

Hardly. There is one religious group, that is, well, religious about survivalism and which is definitely into sharing.

When are you gonna become a Mormon, Bruce!?

I would choose them, if I didn't already have family and community elsewhere and if I were making a fresh start.