Giving this supposed event a name allows us to study it better, so I'm proposing the term 'Worldwide Turmoil, Financial Upheaval and Cataclysm' or WTFUC for short. We have a new poll running at the right hand side of the page here - I encourage you to vote in it because it's kind of unique - the poll will run for 20 years finishing in 2035 and (fingers crossed) I hope to be around to write a synopsis on the final results. If the blogger platform remains constant then you should always be able to change your vote over time, although it won't let me change the options. The poll allows you to nominate your expected timing for the WTFUC and the hope is that this helps us discuss our beliefs and expectations in a practical fashion (even as they may change over time).
Some of this article was inspired by a recent reading of the 'Limits to Growth' paper, which shows 2015 as the point where it all starts going downhill. But when we say WTFUC, what are we really talking about? Over the weekend I conducted an incredibly unscientific experiment and asked my stepson (13) and his friends if they knew what the Global Financial Crisis was. Although they had heard of the term (but not the acronym) they didn't know any further details, offering only '... where china gets really rich?'. My point here is that the near-edge-collapse of the world's credit system isn't even part of the experience of today's youth, so historically it can't have been that bad right? As in, memorable, impacting and legacy-making. Sure, the event changed life for some folk who were over-leveraged in the wrong asset class and hey these same kids are being bred into tax slavery but again my point is that the GFC was not a civilization-stopping event.
By extension, any event (reprise) which might later be known as 'GFC #2' also doesn't qualify as being a WTFUC event. So my point here is that all the stuff we read about dollar collapse, ecology collapse, derivatives collapse, all talk about an expected paradigm shift for humanity resulting from the implosion of our modern debt-based economy. So just to be clear - the poll is for this type of event, but I wanted to clarify the details of what qualifies and what does not. In my view, it must have all of the following:
- Revaluation of a MAJOR ASSET CLASS, by a factor of 100-1.
Whether it be Gold revaluation or USD hyperinflation (or both) or banking system failure, derivatives, evaporation of digital money etc ... to qualify as a WTFUC event the change needs to be permanent and involve panic as the majority of the population seeks to preserve capital - all at once. Because of the intertwined nature of our modern finance, we presume this will be a global event.
- Massive widespread riots on more than 1 continent.
Any relatively sudden revaluation will leave winners and losers, and the losers will most likely express their sentiment and desperation by taking to the streets. Because of the widespread nature of the disruption, these riots would make today's rent-a-crowd-riot look like sunday school picnics. Looting and burning should be expected in populated centers across the world.
- Disruption of the just-in-time-delivery chain.
Today's delivery chain is efficient but breaks down immediately if the trucks cannot roll. If a fleet of vehicles or aircraft is grounded because the financial system has melted, then most supermarkets will be out of supplies within a few days even at normal consumption levels. Forget trying to send an overnight courier in this kind of situation. However, the demand to keep the system rolling will be huge therefore I doubt the system would stop permanently - so, to classify as a WTFUC event it need only merely be disrupted for less than a week.
- Mass casualties and deaths worldwide, measuring in hundreds of millions.
A complete breakdown of finance, credit and food supplies will be crippling for most of our densely-packed cities. Over a hundred million deaths worldwide would be a tragic loss but would certainly not spell the end for humanity.
Finally, good news - the scenario outlined above, although dire - is not actually a humanity-stopping event. If you think the implications will be more severe than I've written, please don't hesitate to add your comment below.