Social Consequences of an economic meltdown?
Back in Jan 08, I pondered aloud several questions related to the potential Social Implications of (what was then) a looming economic crisis. Turns out, many readers were wondering the same and this was one of my highest traffic posts ever.
If you haven't already done so, read the info at the following link then come back to read the rest of this post.
SOCIAL IMPLICATIONS of a SIGNIFICANT ECONOMIC DOWNTURN
Well, nine months have passed since those words were written and there can now be no doubt (1) that this crisis is one of the most significant economic downturns in history and (2) the Massive bailout package being worked is just a bandaid to slow the controlled financial implosion. Even John McCain realizes this and recently stated in his debate with Obama: "This is not the beginning of the end, but the end of the beginning - if we come out with a package that will keep these institutions stable..
With that digested and the knowledge things are likely to get far worse, what can we anticipate for our future - just how bad could things get for the little guy living in the suburbs - trying to raise a family?
I'll refrain from trying to list all possible consequences, as there are far too many potential outcomes, but I would like to highlight several major consequences that could be initiated by a worst-case financial panic...
Note: I'm not trying to scare anyone here, but merely trying to create an awareness and food for thought - so that you can use the information to better prepare your family (in the event the worse-case scenario actually happens).
Let us hypothetically propose the economic crisis intensifies:
Hundreds more banks/financial institutions implode and the FDIC runs out of money - a nationwide run on the banks ensue; consumer credit has consistently gotten worse and available credit-card credit-lines have finally been turned off/reeled in - unemployment skyrockets due to the lack of new credit/spending; inflation rages as the dollar falls sharply; the economic crisis deepens and trillions in unpayable derivative contracts unwind quickly - stock markets collapse around the globe and the crushing pressure is exacerbated by foreign holders of US Debt who finally rush to the exit doors.
The Gvt panics and Stock Markets are closed indefinitely while ATM machines, banks and electronic commerce are shut down across the nation (as the government tries to figure out what to do). People grow anxious as their credit cards and debit cards don't work, and with no cash on hand, they can't buy food or gas... Those who do have cash rush to fill up their gas tanks and empty the shelves at their local grocery stores. The real economy comes to a screeching halt as deliveries of food, gas, etc can no longer make it to market.
Social unrest and general panic set in as our just-in-time economy breaks down. People are confused and scared while the government repetitively tries to reassure that they have everything under control. Hysteria eventually sets in as social chaos, looting, and roving gangs terrorize the masses (taking what they need from the unprepared). Similar situations take place across the nation as people who were on the fringes of society become hungry/desperate and/or take advantage of the lawless situation.
Martial law is ultimately declared and National Guard troops are deployed to major cities around the nation - to help restore order, distribute food, etc.
So many unknowns
Could this actually happen? I don't know - you be the judge; but it's probably better to be a prepared alarmist than an unprepared victim... Think about it.
If you've watched Paulson, Bernanke, Bush and the rest of our worried leaders over the last couple of week, you've probably been able to sense their state of alarm - Yes, they truly realize how big this crisis is...
What can you do to prepare?
I could list a thousand things here from generators, flashlights, etc, but the most important (I believe) are:
1) Have at LEAST a couple of weeks worth of non-perishable food/water on hand
2) Have enough cash on hand to make it through a possible electronic commerce shutdown
3) Maintain close relationships with friends/neighbors (help each other out)
4) If you have a gun, know how to use it - to protect your family, friends and valuable assets (cash/food).
Yes folks this could be bad, but we Americans are an industrious/resolute bunch and (though it will take some time) we will find a way to pull out of it.
However, be aware: regardless of the ultimate significance of this downturn, America is likely to forever change as the US Dollar loses it's reserve currency status in the not too distant future.
At a MINIMUM, this economic crisis will cause our standard of living to fall and our cost of living to increase significantly.
Our future is uncertain, and we're definitely in for some difficult times ahead, but the world will NOT end - and we will survive.
Again, this post was no meant to scare, but to inform by thinking outside the mainstream box. Use this information as you may, but it's probably not a bad idea to prepare for whatever the outcome.