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Author Topic: The Wheels Come Off the United States of America  (Read 10340 times)

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Offline Silk

Re: The Wheels Come Off the United States of America
« Reply #100 on: January 07, 2009, 03:06:12 PM »
The only thing stopping Europe going on alot of wars is the tripping over itself. I know Britain isn't seen in a very good light at the moment because it said "sod the tape, this needs action now" when it came to Iraq, but then Britain is allways getting yelled at in both ears by the EU saying "Stay here!" and the Americans saying "Come help us!"

Alot of the European countries have alto of internal issues at the moment which doesn't help matters either, like Russia cutting Ukraine's gas supply which also gimps the rest of Europe, and other such things that do cause a problem, but end of the day, yes Europe prefers to defend, but it doesn't sit by if human rights are not upheld in a waring country.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2009, 03:11:01 PM by Silk »

Offline The Overlord

Re: The Wheels Come Off the United States of America
« Reply #101 on: January 07, 2009, 11:16:54 PM »
TO, you are thinking from a western point of view. Russia has no real problem with China atm. Militarily, they are more aligned with China and would -love- to see the US taken down a notch. They'd butt head over some things, but if China went after Taiwan, Russia would stay at the sidelines.  They might even supply some intelligence to China on the side.

  Europe has shown no signs it is willing to fight a war. Especially against one that's half way across the world. The EU military isn't up to the task for one, nor do they have the quick response forces close enough to make any difference. Sanctions are all that they'd really do. It's debatable if those would even work too.

  India would be hesitent to take a shot at China since China would respond and India has more to worry about from Pakistan than from China atm. If the only nukes that flew at first, detonated over Taiwan, it's very debatable that anyone would respond. India has more problems inside that would tear it apart than China.With it's hindu and muslim population that are more than ready to kill eachother. Pakistan would love to bite off the rest of the Kashmir region.

 China's biggest military threat is from the US. If they could stiffle us, they'd do it in a grab for Taiwan.


I hate having to quote myself but oh well.

The bottom line here is that we just won't know until we know.


...and between you and me, I hope we ever don't.  :-\


Offline Trieste

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Re: The Wheels Come Off the United States of America
« Reply #102 on: January 07, 2009, 11:34:09 PM »
Yes, Overlord, we know your opinion. This is the point where you let others express theirs, and add input if you have something new to say. :P

Offline The Overlord

Re: The Wheels Come Off the United States of America
« Reply #103 on: January 08, 2009, 06:06:05 AM »
Yes, Overlord, we know your opinion. This is the point where you let others express theirs, and add input if you have something new to say. :P


And I believe Zak has made hers quite clear as well. We're going to disagree on this and that's pretty much the end of it. Further discussion on it serves no purpose.

*fires up City of Heroes*

Offline OldSchoolGamerTopic starter

Re: The Wheels Come Off the United States of America
« Reply #104 on: January 12, 2009, 05:42:45 AM »
One of the hallmarks of the post-industrial age will be the failure of "Big Everything."  From nation-states to Wal-Mart, we will discover (rather painfully) that the juggernaut of Information Age civilization is actually contingent on several key systems that either operate smoothly, as a gestalt--or they rather quickly fall apart.  One of those linchpin systems is the petrochemical industry.  Oil undergirds pretty much every aspect of modern civilization...including the transportation systems that we rely on to bring in food, supplies and spare parts.

This may actually serve to reduce war as nation-states become too absorbed in their own serious problems to play the Great Game against each other.

Offline The Overlord

Re: The Wheels Come Off the United States of America
« Reply #105 on: January 12, 2009, 06:06:00 AM »


This may actually serve to reduce war as nation-states become too absorbed in their own serious problems to play the Great Game against each other.

One can only hope, should it come to pass. At least we'd be looking at our own issues instead of shooting at someone half a world a way, definitely the lesser of two evils.

Offline Oniya

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Re: The Wheels Come Off the United States of America
« Reply #106 on: January 12, 2009, 08:06:49 AM »
I was actually watching 60 Minutes last night (shock!) and learned something interesting.  The recent surge and collapse in oil prices was not driven by supply-and-demand economics, but by speculative trade on the commodities market.  This was made possible by that study-in-sleaze known as Enron, which lobbied successfully for deregulation of the commodities market just before they managed to jack up electricity prices across the Western US.

Let's hope that instead of the wheels actually coming off, this represents more of a 'flat tire' wake up call, which just requires some replacements and a realignment towards a more stable system.

Offline OldSchoolGamerTopic starter

Re: The Wheels Come Off the United States of America
« Reply #107 on: February 01, 2009, 10:04:17 PM »
Act I of the Fall of the American Empire is probably about halfway done now.

This first act of the "play" began with the vanishing of all the phony wealth in the derivatives, the subprime mortgages, the bogus "securities" based on said mortgages, and so on.  As all this money is sucked out of the economy, we are seeing epic declines in GDP, and businesses failing left and right.  This process, while well underway, is far from over, because the other shoe is about to drop: the crash in public-sector spending at the state and local level.  My state of California is wrestling with this now, and state spending is about to go off a cliff.  Moreover, there are talks of tax hikes, which will pull money out of the economy at exactly the moment when such a drain can least be afforded.  All of this will suck still more billions out of the economy, deepening the crash.  We could see this ricochet back and forth two or three times, as the public-sector spending crash causes waves of foreclosures and loss of private-sector activity, which depresses tax revenues, which necessitates still more spending cuts and tax hikes, and so on.

Act I ends when the crash...or, actually, the interconnected series of crashes...ends.  The crashes will end when assets are marked back to their true value, and demand reflects what real people working real jobs (at least, such as are left after the bloodletting is complete) can afford.  This means no more NINJA loans, no more fake money. 

Act II begins soon afterwards.  Act II could best be titled, "The Aborted Recovery."  As the massive disequilibria built up over the past four decades resolve, businesses and consumers will start to peek out of the trenches, and a slow, uneven recovery begins.  The recovery may be quicker if government acts to try and reflate the popped bubble of housing that helped caused the crashes of Act I.  However, the recovery will be doomed to fail.  Painful as the markdowns and revaluations and foreclosures and bankruptcies of Act I will be, they will fail to permanently address the most serious, intractable disequilibrium of all: the yawning (and growing!) gap between the amount of energy our civilization uses, and the amount of energy nature provides for us (oil).  If anything, the crash of Act I will make this worse by bringing oil prices down and destroying incentive to conserve oil and find new sources of energy.

Act III, the Oil Crash, will be far worse than Act I.  You see, Act I merely involved a matter of money.  Monetary imbalances usually resolve themselves within several months to a few years, if government stays out of the way and just makes sure no one starves.  The Oil Crash is different, for it involves a permanent shortage of a fundamental resource: crude oil.  And the shortage will impact just about every aspect of American life.  If you managed to keep your job and manage your finances decently, you could dodge most of the Act I "bullet."  Not so Act III.  In Act III, we will see the recovery aborted and the economy fall back into depression. 

Offline The Overlord

Re: The Wheels Come Off the United States of America
« Reply #108 on: February 02, 2009, 02:31:41 AM »
Act I of the Fall of the American Empire is probably about halfway done now.

This first act of the "play" began with the vanishing of all the phony wealth in the derivatives, the subprime mortgages, the bogus "securities" based on said mortgages, and so on.  As all this money is sucked out of the economy, we are seeing epic declines in GDP, and businesses failing left and right.  This process, while well underway, is far from over, because the other shoe is about to drop: the crash in public-sector spending at the state and local level.  My state of California is wrestling with this now, and state spending is about to go off a cliff.  Moreover, there are talks of tax hikes, which will pull money out of the economy at exactly the moment when such a drain can least be afforded.  All of this will suck still more billions out of the economy, deepening the crash.  We could see this ricochet back and forth two or three times, as the public-sector spending crash causes waves of foreclosures and loss of private-sector activity, which depresses tax revenues, which necessitates still more spending cuts and tax hikes, and so on.

Act I ends when the crash...or, actually, the interconnected series of crashes...ends.  The crashes will end when assets are marked back to their true value, and demand reflects what real people working real jobs (at least, such as are left after the bloodletting is complete) can afford.  This means no more NINJA loans, no more fake money. 

Act II begins soon afterwards.  Act II could best be titled, "The Aborted Recovery."  As the massive disequilibria built up over the past four decades resolve, businesses and consumers will start to peek out of the trenches, and a slow, uneven recovery begins.  The recovery may be quicker if government acts to try and reflate the popped bubble of housing that helped caused the crashes of Act I.  However, the recovery will be doomed to fail.  Painful as the markdowns and revaluations and foreclosures and bankruptcies of Act I will be, they will fail to permanently address the most serious, intractable disequilibrium of all: the yawning (and growing!) gap between the amount of energy our civilization uses, and the amount of energy nature provides for us (oil).  If anything, the crash of Act I will make this worse by bringing oil prices down and destroying incentive to conserve oil and find new sources of energy.

Act III, the Oil Crash, will be far worse than Act I.  You see, Act I merely involved a matter of money.  Monetary imbalances usually resolve themselves within several months to a few years, if government stays out of the way and just makes sure no one starves.  The Oil Crash is different, for it involves a permanent shortage of a fundamental resource: crude oil.  And the shortage will impact just about every aspect of American life.  If you managed to keep your job and manage your finances decently, you could dodge most of the Act I "bullet."  Not so Act III.  In Act III, we will see the recovery aborted and the economy fall back into depression. 



You got it all scripted out before anyone else did, eh? Gratz...under a more concrete debate that would be impressive.



Don't take this as a personal flame because it's not intended that way: Over the holidays I had a discussion with my brother on this thread and your assessment of the situation.

I believe he called you out right: Guys like you sort of get off on these scenarios, in a way you're looking forward for all this to go down because in a total collapse of society, it's going to level the playing field, for princes, paupers, and everything in between.


What I do know for a fact is that you're a much bigger pessimist than even I, and here again I must extend some congratulations, because that takes some serious doing. Seldom do I meet anyone that dreams as darkly as I do.



Offline OldSchoolGamerTopic starter

Re: The Wheels Come Off the United States of America
« Reply #109 on: February 02, 2009, 02:31:47 PM »
I believe he called you out right: Guys like you sort of get off on these scenarios, in a way you're looking forward for all this to go down because in a total collapse of society, it's going to level the playing field, for princes, paupers, and everything in between.

:Nods:. 

He got a lot of it right.  You see, for reasons I'm not going to go into here, I have every reason to cheer the fall of government, particularly that of California.  I am a working man who keeps his nose out of trouble, yet the state government here has gone to great lengths to try and crash my life.  So, I relish the idea of it crashing.  Karma's a real bitch, and her payback can be sweet justice.

But truth be told, there's nothing really new in what I'm saying.  For decades now, people have pointed out that our civilization is recklessly overdrawing its natural energy "account" (and over-consuming other natural resources as well).  We now burn over four barrels of oil for every barrel we find.  Common sense and basic math tell us if a resource is used at many times the rate at which it is replenished, it will run out. 

Offline OldSchoolGamerTopic starter

Re: The Wheels Come Off the United States of America
« Reply #110 on: February 06, 2009, 02:44:07 PM »
For my fellow Americans still into the "word a day" vocabulary building thingie, the word of the day today is "deindustrialization."  Today's jobless numbers show an economy that is in full, unrelenting retreat.  And there is no end in sight.

And this is WITH cheap oil....

Here in California, the state government is already functionally bankrupt.  Politicians are acting less like educated leaders and more like crack addicts frantically tearing their homes apart to find the spare change for one more hit, a last fix before the black hole of full-blown withdrawal comes.

Offline Hyde

Re: The Wheels Come Off the United States of America
« Reply #111 on: February 24, 2009, 09:52:29 AM »
were I do believe America is in a rough spot I do not believe us to be on the skids. I don't mean to sound overly patriotic or give the impression that I stand out on my front porch shouting "USA NUMBER 1" before I put my flag out in the morning but in my opinion America will be just fine. We have a very uncanny ability to take weakness and exploit it till we turn it into a strength. When the times get tough we roll out the big guns. During the world wars we sacraficed many things, switched our factories from cars to guns, trucks to tanks, baking soda to bullets. We changed alot and got ourselves through it. We'll do it again. It may take a while and sacrafice but there is one message I think the United States is clear on.

We will no go down without a fight....and we are good at fighting.

Will we be in the same form? Who knows...thats the wonderful thing about America. We adapt, move forward and secure our future. If survival means changing a few things.....then so be it. Our fathers accepted change, as did their fathers before them.

Offline OldSchoolGamerTopic starter

Re: The Wheels Come Off the United States of America
« Reply #112 on: February 24, 2009, 07:28:26 PM »
The problem is that cheap energy has been the engine behind America's vaunted exceptionalism.  We built a nation, economy and culture around it.  And soon it's going away.

Don't get me wrong: I do believe life will go on.  Yes, human ingenuity will push back.  However, I believe it will be too little, too late to save the civilization we have now.

As energy shortages begin to bite down in the 2010s, we will see a re-localization of our lives.  The 2020s, I believe, will mark the end of the United States as a national entity.  By then, the power and transportation grids will have expired, and without them, America cannot exist. 

Some parts of the country will do better than others at surviving this.  I believe the Pacific Northwest as well as the Appalachians and the Great Plains have the best potential.  The Southwest, especially the deserts, will do the worst.  What's left of Las Vegas and L.A. will probably find themselves de facto parts of Mexico, inasmuch as they are viable at all without infrastructure to supply water from afar.

Offline Zakharra

Re: The Wheels Come Off the United States of America
« Reply #113 on: February 25, 2009, 09:16:29 AM »
 I doubt it will get that bad. We'll find other sources for cheap energy. Human inginuity is an amazing thing.

Offline Hyde

Re: The Wheels Come Off the United States of America
« Reply #114 on: February 25, 2009, 09:57:07 AM »
and ontop of human inginuity add capatilist desires for wealth...there is enough motivation there to move mountains. Litterally. It may take a year or two were the economy is tough but we'll find something and the person who does....will be a billionare!

Offline Zakharra

Re: The Wheels Come Off the United States of America
« Reply #115 on: February 25, 2009, 10:54:01 AM »

Some parts of the country will do better than others at surviving this.  I believe the Pacific Northwest as well as the Appalachians and the Great Plains have the best potential.  The Southwest, especially the deserts, will do the worst.  What's left of Las Vegas and L.A. will probably find themselves de facto parts of Mexico, inasmuch as they are viable at all without infrastructure to supply water from afar.

 If America is that badly off. Mexico would be even worse off.

Offline Oniya

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Re: The Wheels Come Off the United States of America
« Reply #116 on: February 25, 2009, 11:18:45 AM »
It makes sense that the more rural areas - where people are used to being more self-sufficient and existing without the infrastructure - will weather the storm better than the more industrial areas.  Given that, there are certain areas of Mexico that will be just as devastated as the U.S., but there will probably be a larger proportion of the country that barely notices.  I doubt that Las Vegas/L.A. will become 'part of Mexico', for the sheer fact that the crash of an infrastructure is going to occupy the militaries too much to go expanding borders.

Offline OldSchoolGamerTopic starter

Re: The Wheels Come Off the United States of America
« Reply #117 on: February 25, 2009, 08:17:30 PM »
Yes, human ingenuity is a wonderful resource, but we must remember that cheap oil has been the direct or indirect source or enabler of most of the ingenuity of the 20th and 21st century thus far.  The transistor, the internal combustion engine, cheap electricity, microprocessors, powered flight, antibiotics, plastics, the Green Revolution--all are petroleum based.

As for the lower Southwest becoming part of Mexico, I meant more in a cultural sense.  Politically, the industrial nation-states' days are numbered, and by 2030 they will either be defunct, or at least looking at very profound downscaling.  The concept of "one size fits all" unitary federalism is another recent invention relying on a modern transportation and communication network, as well as an easily manipulated but reliable paper money.  Before these inventions, we were "these United States" rather than "THE United States." 

As the federal system literally runs out of gas, individual states will likely take a far more a la carte approach to their participation in These United States.  Certainly the days of the federal government being able to dictate things like drinking age, cannabis non-use and other such aspects of state law will expire.  Even some of the larger states, especially those with diverse cultures, may find themselves devolving more political control to counties and cities, with some of the more important, strategically-placed communities that manage to adapt to a low-carbon economy beginning to take on some of the appearances of classical city-states, if informally at first.

By 2030, there may still be a "United States of America" on maps, but its writ will likely extend far less even over its own territory than it has since, say, the late 18th century or so.

Offline Zakharra

Re: The Wheels Come Off the United States of America
« Reply #118 on: February 26, 2009, 09:21:10 AM »
 Do nation-states have a shelf life then? I can see some problems coming up, but I do not see most large nations splintering. I'm not seeing us running out of gas either. There are still billions of barrels of oil out there. Offshore and in other places. The technology to get the oil will improve and we'll still have enough fuel to keep our civilization going. Other sources of energy will come up to. It's not like we're facing the end of all oil by 2015 or 2020, or something like that.

Offline Nessy

Re: The Wheels Come Off the United States of America
« Reply #119 on: February 26, 2009, 01:07:36 PM »
There is the potential to never run out of oil or gas really.  Some would say it could never happen, but I am leaving room for the possibility of an unexpected event to occur, such as a natural disaster that wipes out the remaining stash. The last units of gas or oil wold not be simply burned up as we use it now, it would become so expensive that its consumption would drop to almost nothing (few could afford it). This would force us to seek energy else where. Most people who talk about running out of xyz resource work under the false assumption that consumption habits will never change, but they do.

Offline OldSchoolGamerTopic starter

Re: The Wheels Come Off the United States of America
« Reply #120 on: February 26, 2009, 04:53:44 PM »
We do not need to run out of all oil for civilization to crash...and indeed we never will.  Oil depletion is in fact an asymptote, not an actual condition we will ever encounter.

But running out of cheap oil is another matter entirely.  That is in fact in our near future.  And that will spell the end of our civilization and political institutions as we know them today.  America--and the rest of the industrial world--cannot exist without cheap energy.  Every advance our civilization has made has been predicated on our ability to utilize ever-greater amounts of energy.

Offline Silk

Re: The Wheels Come Off the United States of America
« Reply #121 on: February 26, 2009, 05:04:44 PM »
In my opinion the pessamistic outlook on life is one of the greatest things about humanity, because its that attitude of life "could" be better has been the true driving force for humanitys development because people keep wanting things better, so they make it better, would the Xbox360 exist if everyone was quite happy to pay the same price for the Xbox at this stage for example? Then look at everything else, its the pessamistic and wanting to improve outlook on peoples lives that make these developments happen, because without it there would be no motivation behind it, this motivation to improve is why i think the oil crash will not be as bad as people assume.

Offline The Overlord

Re: The Wheels Come Off the United States of America
« Reply #122 on: February 26, 2009, 06:44:55 PM »
If America is that badly off. Mexico would be even worse off.

I wouldn't be concerned about Mexico. That good old Texas pride that sometimes comes a little too close to arrogance for the other 49 states will pay off then; their former northern territory will be bristling with guns and attitude aplenty just daring them to come back in and try to take it.

Diverting west won't help either; the deserts of Arizona kills migrants now that try to cross it and avoid checkpoints. Try rolling an army through that when US forces are waiting for you on the other end. Good luck with that Pablo...

Offline OldSchoolGamerTopic starter

Re: The Wheels Come Off the United States of America
« Reply #123 on: February 26, 2009, 07:13:26 PM »
I doubt we're going to see an organized, state-sponsored attempt by Mexico to take American territory.  What I'm envisioning is more along the lines of mass migration...a slower, gentler but still very powerful demographic shift.

Offline The Overlord

Re: The Wheels Come Off the United States of America
« Reply #124 on: February 26, 2009, 07:45:43 PM »
I doubt we're going to see an organized, state-sponsored attempt by Mexico to take American territory.  What I'm envisioning is more along the lines of mass migration...a slower, gentler but still very powerful demographic shift.

Of course we've been seeing that for years; the migration, it just hasn't become en masse yet.


A recent article I read, one of several that suggests climate change is occurring faster and more drastically then we predicted, implies that that's where the true migrations will begin.

As the equatorial nations heat and become less habitable, migrations toward the temperate regions and poles will begin. The problem is, the numbers involved; millions or even billions of migrants worldwide, can't be managed in the relatively short time that it will occur.

Thus, that's what will trigger global warfare. And of course, wide-scale war is population control. In some macabre way, things might just level out in the end.