Will the economy *finally* collapse in 2023?
Many of us have been expecting economic collapse for a long time now. I am so shocked Industrial Civ (IC) is still standing here at the beginning of 2023. Surely this year things will collapse or at least get dramatically worse?! (We could have a debate here about slow versus fast collapse. I side with the Seneca effect (decline is faster than growth)).
This was interesting in today's C & E thread:
“German coal mine standoff escalates as police move on protesters.
“On Wednesday morning, officers in riot gear moved into Luetzerath, where hundreds of activists have been holed up trying to stop the expansion of the nearby Garzweiler coal mine run by energy firm RWE.”
So ironic that activists understand the existential threat from burning fossil fuels, but don't realize IC will collapse without fossil fuels - and that the climate crisis is unstoppable anyway and life as we know it is f*cked.
Yes, many of us have been expecting a collapse of some kind for a long time. I’ve been thinking about these things (peak oil, excessive societal complexity, climate change, etc.) on and off since I was around 20 (25 years ago) – or perhaps even since I was a kid (I remember being attracted to things like simple living and homesteading in my early teens). And I’ve been thinking – from time to time – that collapse is imminent (and that soon, we’ll all be bussed to the countryside every day to do health-giving, meaningful work in the fields in the sunshine 😆).
But my feeling that modern society is unsustainable and fragile is just that – a feeling. I don’t have much knowledge to back it up. It’s pretty obvious that there are limits to growth and that global civilisation won’t last forever (a bunch of very trustworthy people say that - Williams Rees and John Gowdy spring to mind). But I suppose people like me will have a tendency to exaggerate the speed of things.
Having said this, however, I think, like you, that things will get dramatically worse this year. Gail Tverberg, Tim Morgan and Nouriel Roubini (and Steve Keen, I guess?) seem to agree that we’re heading for a financial crisis this year. And the climate seems to be changing much faster than we’ve been told it would (I trust people like James Hansen here).
François Roddier identified, in several posts on his blog (for example this one: http://www.francois-roddier.fr/?p=764), 2023 as the year when we’ll finally fall off the Seneca cliff. In his book on the thermodynamics of evolution he’s less specific, but it’s pretty clear that he expects collapse to happen soon. (François Roddier draws on both physics, biology and social sciences and is even bolder than Gail Tverberg when it comes to predictions. His predictions are grim short-term, but in the longer term he sees a bright future for humanity!)
I guess we’ll just have to wait and see ... (and watch everything unfold here on Climate and Economy).
@snufkin , thank you for your comment and welcome to the forum.
Like you, my sense of collapse is as much intuitive as it is intellectual. Although I was steeped in thinkers like David Korowicz and Gail Tverberg at the time, it was primarily a sudden shocking awakening to the suffocating population density in SE England and the parlous state of local eco-systems that prompted me to flee to the Hebrides in 2015.
That François Roddier link looks most interesting. I shall put Google-translate to work and have a read...
I am currently reading Nouriel Roubini's latest book 'Megathreats' Found a free E-Book version, as I do need to restrict my "discretionary spending" LOL after needing to replace my 18- yr old hot water tank. (I do like the comfort of hot showers!)
As for me, I'm now in my 60s, with kids long since grown up and moved away doing their thing approaching their 40s.
My doomer intuitions have led me to mostly think ind. civ is factually, undeniably, definitely on its way out, but at my age I have put my personally bet on the worst happening after I am gone 🙂
I'm living in possibly one of the safest small cities, seriously! ...a monument to 'environmentally friendly" urban architectural planning.
It was designed from the first brick being laid in the middle of nowhere special in 1913, to be built within the contours of the natural bushland setting over a large area of foothills, valleys and slopes, up against Australia's Snowy Mountain ranges. Some call it 'City of Circles' because every road curves with the landscape (still occasionally confuses me on which way is north etc. after 40 years!) No square grids or straight rows etc. No Street names, lots of Crescents, Circuits etc and the car license plates say "The Bush Capital'. We literally do have kangaroos hopping down the way, in the spring. Most Aussies hate it, never visit unless they have to.
I have yo-yo'd about leaving occasionally - but I can't believe now, that just a few months ago, I had decided to sell up and move down to one of the coastal villages (about 2 hrs drive down the mountain to the coastal plains). I had agent appraisals and the whole fiasco, went to auctions nearby to suss out the market here and elsewhere. Blah. Blah..I am still better off staying right here.
I am in one of the safest small rural mountain cities, in possibly one of the safest countries on the planet - at least economically.
My elderly Canadian aunt (just turned 80), came to Australia in late 2019 for one of her every 2 years or so, long visits to family, including her daughter. She ended up stranded here with COVID, and moved in with me for a year to get out of the big city Sydney, on-off lockdowns. (Canberra and most rural areas stayed relatively free of "hard" lockdowns)
But when international airports opened up in late 2021/early 22 she chose to stay on as an illegal. She said she is betting that Australia will probably be the last to fall, and go back to a Toronto winter? No Way.. LOL
And I nodded and said, and I'm probably living in the last rural city to fall, in the last country to fall.
So ... I'm staying put with my pets, my house modernised over the years when I did have money, my largish block of land on a short, quiet cul-de-sac, my rural bushland landscapes and parks to walk in to local shops, but still just 5-20 mins from all the services that you expect in a big city life, hospitals, 24-hr pizzas, fast broad-band etc
I'm one of the last born of the baby-boomer generation, I occasionally get tired, guilty, upset when seeing the young ones in XR, Just-Stop-Oil etc blaming and shaming us as an age-group.
Like you Cassandra, I'm gradually stocking up (but on yummies other than popcorn! Eg chocolate!), and assessing house maintenance tasks, household goods etc which may need repair/replacing before they die and while they are still available and/or affordable 🙂 and spend whatever is left to me of my ageing retirement years following these world events!
Rain, interesting post!
The location here is Oslo, Norway. I don’t know if that’s better or worse than other places. But I like to think that it’s better than, say, Paris or London.
Perhaps a more self-sufficient life in the countryside would have been better. But I’m no homesteader (although I did read both Scott Nearing and John Seymour in my youth!).
As for what to do instead, I’m not sure, but I like the list that Dave Pollard (howtosavetheworld.ca) published the other day. I’m also looking into Stoicism - but so far I’m probably a worse Stoic than the average person!
That book by Nouriel Roubini sounds interesting. I’m not sure if I’ll get around to read it, but I try to read Roubini’s articles whenever I come across them.
Panopticon, the Hebrides sound like an excellent choice!
Cassandra, very understandable! There isn’t much anyone can do now anyway. To try to be grateful is a good thing!