You certainly have heard of the latest NASA study on the collapse of our civilization. In this study, we have at best a few decades before disappearing from the face of the Earth. Beyond alarmism also prominently displayed in this study that in its conclusions, the whole of humanity faces challenges of historic proportions. It seemed interesting to try to return to this study that unleashed numerous comments on social networks and in my email !! So let’s try to see more clearly, and analyze the subject away from panic and taking a step back.
What is the position taken by the study of NASA?
Clarification, please find attached the link to access the original you is to say, the full document, in English and 27 pages!
We can summarize by saying that the study points to the threat of depletion of natural resources and the distribution of resources.
The researchers used a mathematical model called Handy (Human Nature and Dynamical) and listed the reasons that led to the fall of other civilizations: the Mayans, the Mesopotamian empire, the Roman Empire, the Han Dynasty, etc. By studying the dynamics between man and nature, the study shows that there is a recurring cycle found throughout history and that causes a « sudden collapse » of civilizations.
Among the recurring collapse causes include:
– Water, agriculture;
When it occurs, the convergence of these factors results in a civilizational collapse.
« For the authors, it would be wrong to believe that technological advances will solve these problems before it is too late, because they lead to higher consumption. One solution proposed by this study: the establishment of appropriate policies that would aim to reduce inequalities and resource consumption. «
Clearly, this NASA study actually advocates the establishment of systematic policies of « decay » to save humanity.
The collapse of complex societies of Professor Tainter
This is an excellent book. I enclose an annex again the link to read or reread it in its entirety you. To summarize again, for this American professor who has studied carefully the collapses of companies in our history the factors that lead to the tragedy are:
1 / Human societies are organizations doing to solve problems.
2 / sociopolitical systems require energy to maintain itself.
3 / The increased complexity carries with it increased costs for residents.
4 / Investment in sociopolitical complexity as a response to the resolution of problems, often reached a point of diminishing returns.
5 / As the marginal return on investment in complexity declines, the company continues to invest more heavily in proportionally less profitable strategy. It is then necessary to deal with outbreaks of tension out of the current operating budget.
6 / diminishing marginal returns make complexity an overall strategy less attractive, so that parts of a society perceive a growing political separation or disintegration advantage. Logically, various segments of the population increase their active or passive resistance, or openly attempt to secede.
Compared to this reading, it is clear that a country like France gets almost faultlessly criteria of collapse. Like what we can be first somewhere and with ease. Tax exiles or our compatriots who are simply choosing and they are increasingly likely to try their luck abroad, are nothing else than « segments of the population that increase their active resistance » .
We finance our complexity by increasing taxes always more things like electronic cigarettes, drinks, and creativity of our elites is the matter without limit.
« Clash of simplification » launched by our president is an old snake Wed Everyone wants to simplify the complexity, or the complexity is packed, it escapes us, we run behind her. We suffer. Once launched, the shock of simplification was soon forgotten, and frankly, among you … who still remembers about it while he was the « one » of our media there less than a year.
The Club of Rome and Dennis Meadows
Dennis Meadows is one of the authors of the visionary study « The Limits to Growth » which, in 1972, warned about the risk of a crisis of collapse in the first half of the 21st century caused by the depletion of resources of the planet. That makes 40 years that some have already sounded the alarm about the unsustainability of our economic model based on the idea that « infinite growth of mass consumption in a finite world. »
Now it is no need for any mathematical model to understand what common sense allows a child to understand. The infinite growth in a finite world is an intellectual aberration in itself. But our system is currently on the absurd premise. To pass it, it would take us to such access to other planets and we can obviously exploit massively. This again is illusory as the costs and technologies to achieve this we are missing.
Let’s be realistic. This is not to send a team of brave modern adventurers to Mars for a few months and 4! This would colonize, to live, operate and repatriate resources on Earth. We should build cargo space instead of our container. We obviously are not and we risk, as there is the problem, never reach the point where we will be technically able to go easily exploit another planet and know our collapse before.
Dennis Meadows is not anyone since he was the director of MIT, a very famous university, and his 1972 study described several scenarios of possible developments in the economy, population and global resources, each scenario corresponding to different choices that humanity could collectively make from their 1972 screenplay « It is business as usual« , which roughly corresponds to what happened thereafter, predicted that the approach limits the planet would begin to exert a strong impact on growth from around 2010, which would then impact increasing, eventually lead by 2050 at the latest to collapse, that is to say, a precipitous decline in living standards and perhaps the world’s population in a state of exhaustion of resources and the natural environment.
For those who wish to explore this subject (and I recommend them), you will find the link to the latest interview given by Mr. Meadows and French in the text!
Now that we have seen through the work of three different people or groups that the idea of a collapse was not nearly as unlikely, ask the question that really mad!
Western civilization is she now seriously threatened with extinction?
I would rather talk about a possible loss of civilization as we know it in the sense that the disintegration of Western structures does not mean they will be replaced by a new « dark age. » The current economic crisis can be considered as such in two ways: it could be an element directly trigger our potential fall or a precursor element through the tensions it can generate in the coming years, in this case it would mean in reality, the collapse has already begun.
The NASA report is also reflected, as we have seen in other studies, particularly those of the Club of Rome which had analyzed from an environmental angle of the farm commodity cycles. It was thus concluded that economic growth would eventually see a logical end facing the limits of available resources in a system of mass consumption, the basic idea can be summarized by « infinite growth in a finite world is definition impossible. « The other point of reference in this regard is that of the American Joseph Tainter (The collapse of complex societies) under a more political and historical analysis of the late great civilizations.
This leads us to wonder if indeed the system as we know, based on consumption and mass production can take forever resting on the full abundance of raw materials and energy, all of which should be available at a very low cost!
Like NASA and the Club of Rome, I am among those who think that such structures may not last, especially in a globalized world like ours. Once that is said, we should not say that our situation is hopeless so far: it’s not because our system can not make mass consumption its cornerstone that civilization itself is doomed to collapse. It should not be confused as such pure economic system (and its corollary politics) of a civilization as a whole: the recent fall of the Soviet system is there to remind the importance of such nuances. The end of an economic system is not the end of a culture much less the end of a civilization, however it can also be one!
The complexity weakens a company making sensitive to the slightest change
It is clear that the understanding and prediction of the environment is increasingly difficult. Tainter gives the impression, quite pragmatically from the rest, a company weakens gradually as it becomes more powerful, and more complex.
For example, there are not 20 years ago, it was possible for just about anyone to repair the headlight of his car, a simple bulb change is necessary to get there. Today, this problem asks to go to the dealership, to use special tools to disassemble half of the bumper, and buy a special bulb whose price is 10 times larger.
In the same vein, the proliferation of electronic equipment for our cars more sources of failures, and these failures are now impossible, almost, to repair for the average person. Less autonomous, we eventually depend on what we call « services-support » (water supply, energy, food, clothing by external services …). Moreover, these services are becoming popular more they weaken by definition an overall balance generalizing interdependence.
Thus, during the snowstorms of early 2013, the government had been forced to stop trailers at the entrance of the Ile-de-France, which had ended up creating shortages in several sectors after a few days. In a similar register, the impact of the tsunami that hit Japan in March 2011 on the Japanese companies had ended up creating supply problems around the globe. In other words, the more we develop specific systems, we are less able to adapt to unforeseen events.
The issue of complexity is also particularly worrying that it is so much more limited in space in the era of globalization. The problem is that it is impossible or almost « simplify » a system too complex, and the example of the « clash of simplification » desired by the Dutch government here is quite revealing as he indeed created new laws that added to the complexity of the french State. Finally, in a complex society, individuals are highly specialized and not by definition master the skills necessary for survival in a world more « natural. » Therefore a complex society makes people less resilient as dependent on others who have other skills. The complexity thus makes each of us more sensitive and delicate to the vagaries of the world.
One factor may lead to a collapse! … Though!
Our companies are both complex and therefore fragile but up to a point this complexity and this « technicality » possible to find solutions and workarounds. A complex society is a certain adaptable way. This is why, apart from a totally extreme hazards, the collapse of a civilization is always multifactorial and it is the convergence of economic, social, political, or cultural energy.
So some people think that a major energy crisis would not be able to conduct our industrial societies to collapse. While this may seem logical if we assume that the falls of civilizations are multifactorial, it is nevertheless forget too quickly how our whole life now depends oil and its derivatives. We are at the end of the age of abundant and cheap oil and the problem is also not to know when to sink the last drop of oil the last well that how much will cost the barrels when they truly rare. Our medicines, our medicine, our clothing, our food, our fertilizer, our furniture, everything, absolutely everything now depends on the availability of fossil energy. No civilization in history has never been so dependent on energy fairy and most energy today is oil. We are unable at this time to conduct what is called the transition to clean energy or renewable energy.
So I think for the first time in our history, one factor, and we will consolidate all under the term « raw material » can lead to a collapse of societies as we know them so it essential to our economic system is missing blood . Now, and all the figures clearly show, they are running out.
To go a little further in the reasoning, the Roman Empire had no power source other than the arms of slaves. Its collapse was therefore actually multifactorial. The same phenomena are more or less repeated until the emergence of our civilization that we can call « Industrial ». Without energy we are doomed to a very short time and this is what explains, do not be naive, the need to intervene in Iraq, Libya, Syria, or Ukraine. All countries of the world are engaged in a « soft war » to raw materials. When really miss those « soft war » could become far more dangerous.
So obviously, you want still hope and that there always has solutions.
These mechanisms collapses are they irreversible and can we have some hope?
The best historical example to me is the history of humanity, the latter punctuated by major shocks and readjustments often surprising.
Contrary to popular belief, the fall of the Roman Empire did not mean the end of all civilization and all technique, although this obviously represented a « regression ». Nevertheless, the following civilizations always manage to overcome the technological and economic threshold for that preceded them. At least this is the case in the history of the West.
The problem is to ask what might replace the globalized society at a time when no cons–model exists to replace them, which in itself is something totally new historically.
A collapse of this system where everyone is interdependent will logically globally and nothing will come in place alternative.
When a system collapses once, he always had the ability to be absorbed by a more powerful neighbor (it was the case of Rome with the military power of the Germanic tribes and intellectual matrix of Christianity), which is actually unthinkable in the current state of things.
What could lead to a collapse of our social models? Should we go to fear a new Middle Ages?
As I said earlier, we can separate the end of a politico-economic system of the end of a civilization, to which we can add a third scenario, far more apocalyptic, namely the end of humanity.
Most disturbing is that this pattern, as spectacular as it is, is not entirely ruled out.
Beyond the globalized aspect of our system, further weakness is to consider today: our incredible potential for technological destruction.
When the Roman Empire collapsed, there was no laboratory P4 focusing masses of deadly viruses, or nuclear power plants, let alone nuclear arsenals capable of vitrified hundred times the entire planet.
Or one can legitimately wonder what would happen if ever these structures were no longer managed by competent staff. Moreover, this issue of potential technological destruction was a real problem during the collapse of the Soviet Union with a nuclear warhead obsession is found sold on the black market by military whose balances were not paid since several years … !!
If we can always hope that the capitalist system, in its narrowest acceptance (respect for private means of production in the property) can rely on his incredible ability to adapt to find new life and new operating assumptions (like the circular economy for example), black scenarios are therefore clearly not be excluded. This brings us to the groundbreaking book by Nassim Taleb, The Black Swan, for which it shapes our history is not the « average normal events » … but the extreme and highly improbable events.
The collapse is inevitable, then,?
The answer will not like you because you do not like bad news, but yes, the collapse of civilization as we know it is only a matter of time and even if these subjects because they are particularly anxiety are not publicly detailed, all those who think it a bit seriously come to the same conclusion.
The growth of the world population is exponential, but our resources are not. The problem can be summed up fairly simply. Or we find more resources and I can guarantee you that it’s not on Earth as we find them, or we reduce our consumption of resources, or we reduce our population so demand.
So there are three parameters and not one more that you can play. There is this problem three variables and they are perfectly well known.
Less consumption of resources
For more resources should be as in the discovery of America, and it was a considerable contribution in new wealth and resources to old Europe, we left this time not our continent to discover a new one, but we were going to operate on another planet. Must we do before we collapse which obviously looks very bad start.
We can drastically reduce our consumption and this is what happens with unemployed workers and « poor » are millions to be diminishing by necessity, not by choice. We can go back to a much simpler way of life, leave the cities and move closer to the earth. Cities are an aberration in terms of city resources since by definition must do everything to bring depends on all services and supports. He has no autonomy as possible. It can not grow or raise chickens or rabbits itself housed in a hutch overpriced. I hope we can adapt to that way because if we do not do that then there will only be the last variable.
Reduce the human population … it can be done by disease, war or famine. Choose your end or your hunger but in any case this option is very unpleasant.
How to prepare?
Again I point you link an article I wrote about it recently, entitled « How to prepare for the economic collapse. »
Please note that access to raw materials problems, which we are already experiencing, are above all economic problems. Remember that before the subprime crisis in 2007, we were all glued to the price of oil eyes which exceeded $ 150 a barrel !! Why in your opinion? Just because there was enough oil to supply power to a world in economic growth.
This means that growth will not return CAN unlike anything we explain our goons leaders for the simple reason that if we had a future strong global economic growth, while the commodity prices flamberait and that brand, the very high prices of raw materials would « break » the economic growth and recovery would be strong. It is essential to understand this mechanism. Everyone has forgotten or obscured, but from 2005 to 2007 yet we‘ve all been there and we were able to measure the effect of resource scarcity. While the economy is in trouble around the world, the price of oil is now 10 times higher than during the first Gulf War !!!
So be aware that no matter what they tell you, there will be no return to strong and sustainable economic growth. We are already back in the era of scarcity and before the time of the collapse.
Then store which will come in handy, have tools and not « made in china », have plenty to keep waiting for your first harvest, learn to grow, sewing, repairing, horseback riding, hunting, trapping, learn to cope and to become as independent as possible, and particularly if you can leave the cities because in case of collapse of civilization cities will offer no chance of survival in the long run and it is exactly that it is happening in Greece. In Greece, it is a true urban migration taking place. 60% of Greeks want to join cities the countryside, past boards hello to tackle urban poverty.
While some will say but it’s much too pessimistic as analysis or as an approach! Except that my dear friends, the crisis began in the summer of 2007! There are almost 7 years !! We are waiting for 7 full years the return to growth that we are promised to each presidential greeting season !!! 7 years waiting to come see nothing except more misery and more poverty, more damage to our way of life, more taxes and less wealth … This movement is not just about our country. It is global.
So after 7 years of waiting, do not you think that the right question is not rather to ask and if the collapse had already begun? And if the collapse was not « brutal » as indicated by NASA, but just relatively slow? And in your opinion, how the Roman Empire was it collapsed? April 16, 3:23 p.m. at 376? In reality, NASA led us all astray in this case, the collapse of a civilization, because it has structures, rules, laws, official bodies, culture, technique, etc. because she always has a form of strength and resilience that explained its success and development never suddenly collapses. At first it is a slow decay, almost impalpable or is confused with temporary crisis terminal crisis and the events gradually accelerate, and finally the last stage, when reaching certain « threshold effects » that is to say, a sufficient accumulation of problems, so the end of the fall is brutal.
The collapse has already begun. It is economical, technological, environmental, social, political and moral course. This is not the end of the world but the end of a system, and one in which we all live today.
The complete 27 pages of the NASA study here