by Chris Martenson
September 18, 2020
Look, I'm a systems guy. I think in systems terms. You should as
Because we're entering a period of time when the major systems that
have supported humanity are going to fail.
Or, put more accurately:
they are already failing...
As just one example,
our monetary system delivers outsized gains to
the already stupendously-wealthy while piling up massive debts on
the backs of we citizens, both born and yet-to-be-born.
Federal Reserve (FED) is the unelected and unaccountable body that is most
responsible for have made America's billionaires nearly $1 trillion
the 'pandemic' hit.
These next three FED-related data points are, in a word, obscene...
The first shows that the US Federal Reserve now
"owns" more US
federal debt than all foreign central banks.
The second shows how
billionaires are getting grotesquely wealthier from the FED's "rescue'" efforts.
And the last shows
how the FED's record-low
interest policy has resulted in an explosion in federal debt:
This is obscene (and infuriating!) to anyone who cares about the
Leaving aside the morality issues for a moment, we can at
least conclude that the behaviors and values on display are
Eventually spending more money than you have ends in ruin.
Speaking of spending what you don't have, a similar story can be
told about ecological overshoot and humanity's extractive practices:
it's akin to spending both the entirety of the interest income as
well as some principal each year from our environmental trust fund...
There aren't many resources that one can point to which aren't in
some serious form of either concerning decline or depletion, or
Already thousands, if not millions, of people in the American
West are considering relocating because of the ever-present danger
of disruptive if not life-threatening fires:
The climate refugees are here
- They're Americans
California, Oregon, and Washington are on fire.
At least 33 people have died in recent days, and more than 5 million
acres have been scorched as out-of-control blazes rage across the
The 2020 wildfire season in California is already the
most destructive in the state's history - exceeding the record set
in 2018, which in turn beat the record set in 2017.
that rising temperatures from climate change have turned much of the
region into dry kindling, ready to spark in an instant.
"This is a climate damn emergency," California Gov. Gavin Newsom
said last week.
Disasters like these displace people.
Tens of thousands of fire
survivors have been forced to flee their homes, and more than
500,000 - half a million - Oregonians have been warned they might
soon be ordered to leave.
In the meantime, many evacuees are
"in an assortment
of RVs, cars, and tents."
Many do not
know if their homes will still be standing when they try to return,
or where they will go if those houses are indeed destroyed.
fires will eventually end, but for many residents of the region, the
disaster is just beginning.
The climate refugee crisis has come to America.
I'm less certain that we can pin these
fires entirely on
climate change, as poor land use and fire suppression practices factor in
But I'm certain that many of the afflicted people will
be convinced that wide-scale annual fires are now a permanent
feature of the region, and that will cause many to move to 'safer'
Once that perception is solidly in place, the masses will relocate...
Similarly, we'll see people abandon coastal areas which are already
losing battles to rising sea levels, and other areas where droughts
are getting worse and worse.
However you add up the data points, they coalesce into one theme:
massive and disruptive change
You can either ignore that reality for a while longer,
or get busy
Man, It's Hard
The hardest part about detecting collapse lies not with the data - that is clear as a bell ringing on a still morning
- but with the
emotional difficulty of accepting it (and then acting on it).
There's a lot of science behind how we humans are wired to accept or
reject information based on whether it confirms or refutes,
respectively, the belief systems we are already holding.
Nobody desires harder times for themselves.
Nobody wants to lose
financial ground or leave behind a worse world for their children.
But what we want has nothing to do with the reality of the
What we want is usually based on our preexisting belief systems.
those are out of alignment with the actual reality of the situation,
then our best chances for personal success lie with adjusting our
beliefs as rapidly as we can.
While our brains can come up with some clever delaying tactics and
can-kicking technologies, the reality is that we're just another
organism on a crowded planet, subject to the same rules as every
other life form.
When we have ample resources available to us, we're peaceful,
We do really cool things, like figure out germ
theory and make computer chips.
what happens when resources are tight, or even insufficient to
support daily life?
Then humans act badly towards each other and become tribal, but not
in a good way.
We squabble and go to war over dwindling resources.
We do this not because it's a dominant strategy with a proven track
record, we do it because of our inability to wisely recognize the
resource limitations in advance and cleverly avoid them.
During such times,
the elites have a noted tendency to cling ever
more tightly to their relative advantage rather than yield any of
towards the common good:
"People of privilege
will always risk their complete destruction rather than
surrender any material part of their advantage."
John Kenneth Galbraith
That's what's underway right now.
Economic oxygen is in short supply
and the elites are busy hoovering up for themselves a
gigantically-larger share of that dwindling air (see billionaire
headline above) even as tens of millions of their fellow citizens
find themselves increasingly financially strangled.
On the political side, the only true political commitment I can
detect (and it's equal in both US political parties) is to defend
the status quo.
In other words, they are committed to keeping the
causes of our problems fixed firmly in place.
As this all progresses, most will experience the changes as a series
of shocks, perhaps coming at too rapid of a pace for some to absorb
and so it will become overwhelming to them.
The emotional costs
involved will make it all very hard to accept, for myself included
(even though I consider myself a very fast adjuster).
As our systems continue to fail, shrink, or even collapse, the pace
of the changes will continue to be emotionally shocking.
I wish it
Frustratingly, it didn't have to be this way...
How To Get Ahead
The 'prediction' that stems from all this is not really a prediction
at all but rather a simple extrapolation:
things are going to
continue on their current trajectories:
Collapse is underway
it's a process, not an event...
To protect their relative advantage,
will pretend the
problems are difficult to address and resist dealing with them.
This means the future will consist of a,
larger wealth gap
social and political tensions
less nutritious food
fewer insects and other species
more climate change
date with future resource scarcity
And I mean hard...
None of which is actually all that unique in the human experience.
Nor is it something to be necessarily feared.
As a species we've faced plenty of difficult times in the past and
gotten through them. But some do manage to get through them better
That will be equally true this time,