38 votes

What will the collapse realistically look like in America?

We all hear of this inevitable collapse of our economy, and quite possibly our liberties, from just about everybody. What I don't really hear being talked about or asked is what this collapse will actually look like. Things like: will there be mass starvations? Will we be fighting off rioters? Will we just not get to eat out as much, or will we all be living in vans down by the river?

Does anybody have realistic insight into this so we may all gain a clearer picture of what is apparently to come?

Thank you,

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surprised no one mentioned ARGENTINA

It was almost exactly the same as the US.
I watched this film after Max Keiser mentioned it during some interview. And I have shown it the public library twice since.


I'm not sure this really IS the full version. The full version gets confusing for Americans because of the selling off of National Utilities like GAS and WATER and ROADS when we have been pretty much brain washed into thinking that Nationalized anything is bad. But they had to sell off their stuff to European buyers in order to help pay down that ridiculous debt - of course they never did - but they lost EVERYTHING....Hang with it.

Also I would recommend the book SURVIVING THE COLLAPSE its about living through the collapse of Argentina. Its available on Amazon.

oh and they are banging on pans because

guns were illegal there.

Michael Nystrom's picture

I think we're in the midst of it

And it is happening all around us. It is hard to see unless you break out of the trance we all live in.

The other day I saw a guy at a stoplight begging for money. Not the standard beggar - he looked like he belonged in front of the TV, on a Lay-Z-Boy with a beer in one hand cheering on the Patriots, or out in front of his house raking leaves. But there he was with his cardboard sign, "Anything helps."

Harvard Square is now like Homeless Square. The tramps and beggars and hobos and homeless abound. Many of them are young and healthy, but extremely demoralized.

I don't think there will be so much a 'collapse' as much as a massive bifurcation in income levels. We already see how the middle class is getting squeezed. But the upper classes - the well educated, those close to money, those in the right industries (defense, biotech, banking) will do well. Those without skills or education will have a harder and harder time. America will start to look more like a third world country - like China or India or Brazil. The divide will widen, and everyone will scramble to be on the high side of the divide.

Here are two articles that explain things pretty well - one serious, and one satire:

Satire from the Onion:
Nation's Lower Class At Least Grateful It Not Part Of Nation's Middle Class


Something a little more serious, and thoughtful, from the Archdruid Report:
The Onset of Catabolic Collapse


The central idea of catabolic collapse is that human societies pretty consistently tend to produce more stuff than they can afford to maintain. What we are pleased to call “primitive societies” – that is, societies that are well enough adapted to their environments that they get by comfortably without huge masses of cumbersome and expensive infrastructure – usually do so in a fairly small way, and very often evolve traditional ways of getting rid of excess goods at regular intervals so that the cost of maintaining it doesn’t become a burden. As societies expand and start to depend on complex infrastructure to support the daily activities of their inhabitants, though, it becomes harder and less popular to do this, and so the maintenance needs of the infrastructure and the rest of the society’s stuff gradually build up until they reach a level that can’t be covered by the resources on hand.

It’s what happens next that’s crucial to the theory. The only reliable way to solve a crisis that’s caused by rising maintenance costs is to cut those costs, and the most effective way of cutting maintenance needs is to tip some fraction of the stuff that would otherwise have to be maintained into the nearest available dumpster. That’s rarely popular, and many complex societies resist it as long as they possibly can, but once it happens the usual result is at least a temporary resolution of the crisis.

To be mean is never excusable, but there is some merit in knowing that one is; the most irreparable of vices is to do evil out of stupidity. - C.B.


I recently moved out of Boston, but I was seeing more homeless folk at the commons as the months passed. I know police have put a LOT of effort into 'controlling' the situation (read: making it difficult and/or uncomfortable to sleep in the park), but it only seems to piss everyone off on all sides.

BTW, it's not so much Homeless Square as it is Hipster Square. Half the people who hang around there dress like bums for style/pity/hipster cred, and just hang around listening to bad music all day while occasionally going down to the river to burn one. Or ten.

A signature used to be here!

The collapse has already

The collapse has already happened in a sense, it's in our minds, it's in the news ('financial cliff'), we're being conditioned for something that transpired many years ago. We are already being sucked down the crapper, round and round we go, and the Federal Reserve hit a royal flush.

Modern day bread lines no longer exist because of places like McDonald's and Burger King. For less than $10, you can feed your family a lot of calories.

Americans are so fat they need not worry about starvation.

Never be afraid to ask simple questions.

We don't see the lines

We don't see the lines because people have food stamps (debit cards). So those who are down and out aren't seen but there are millions. In 2009 I often heard about tent cities. (Now I don't for some reason - maybe because I don't have a TV) In 2010, I often saw homeless people walking the neighborhood. (It was rather shocking at first because I live in what I consider a pretty good neighborhood.) Apparently the shelters were over-crowded. One time I saw an elderly woman lie on a sidewalk at dusk as it started to rain. I heard her say "Oh Lord." Another time, a woman asked me if I had an extra garbage bag she could have to keep off the rain. She planned to sleep under a tree somewhere. The city must have more shelters now because I no longer see so many homeless. I know the economy has not improved.

ecorob's picture

perhaps the most presise description i've heard, yet...

Excellent analysis, zooam. Look around us.

I didn't see the recession/depression (this time, yet).

Is it because they did not come for my job that I have yet to see it?

The banksters, the royal flush to our deuces.

Prepare. And pray.

Write in Ron Paul

its 'cos I owe ya, my young friend...
Rockin' the FREE world in Tennessee since 1957!
9/11 Truth.

reedr3v's picture

Not starvation one hopes; but continued declining

health and quality of life seems unavoidable except for the farsighted, prudent, and lucky.

I can tell you what's not

I can tell you what's not going to happen. It's not going to be every man for himself trading gold and cigarettes for food and shelter. Or homesteaders fending off hoards of refugees with their personal rifles. In short 'SHTF' is a myth, a lie, a Hollywood fabrication, it's never gonna happen. What is going to happen, worst case scenario, is what happened in 1920's Germany, What happened in Argentina etc, even what happened in 1930's America. It will just be a greatly reduced standard of living. People will demand more government controls over every aspect of our lives, the food supply, the market, distribution of goods, security and policing. A few garden-type riots and protests will occur but nothing larger than what is already been seen in the history of this country. In short no opportunity, more misery, and less freedom. Gold and silver will be outlawed again, guns will be confiscated. All those "from my cold dead fingers" types will hand over everything and rat out their neighbors and friends. For all their bravado there will be nothing but big brown stains running down their pants. Anyway, that's my two centavos.

ecorob's picture

i'll take a 1930's style comeback...

With the available 21st century knowledge and background...as long as the banksters are purged!

And the sheriff is our friend.

What are the odds of that happening?

Write in Ron Paul

its 'cos I owe ya, my young friend...
Rockin' the FREE world in Tennessee since 1957!
9/11 Truth.

Your question and thus dilemna is quite valid and not at.....

all simple to answer. One response I can think of which I and my family are seriously considering over the next several months is Primarily Ecuador and secondarily. Panama. Panama actually has a retirement plan in place for current American retirees (or perhaps on the verge of retiring). They offer a number of wonderful benefits including reduced healthcare(based on figures from approx. 5-6 years ago were like 40-60% less than most American Healthcare Plans). Dental and Optical care significantly less. Food costs and housing costs significantly less as well. Insofar as Ecuador is concerned, the cost of living is comparable to Panama in many ways, however, in many if not most ways the cost of living is even better (cheaper)-- for instance(i.e.) An essentially brand new Condominium with three large bedrooms including a large master bedroom. large dining room, three full baths and 1/2 bath and a second level enclosed patio/porch. And the best part: Rental Fee just $500.00 (U.S. Currency) per/month.

Im not sure it belongs here but I find this interesting:

After QE3, why has gas fallen over 30 cents/gal in my area?

I thought it was supposed to go up exponentially.

It fell in California too,

It fell in California too, but now it's going up fast.

No, near term the word is

No, near term the word is deflation, deflation, deflation. That's why the fed is doing QE3 because the market is trying to clear the bad debt, trying to deflate. The inflation will come when people, institutions and international governments lose faith in the ability of the US government to meet it's debt obligations. So far that hasn't happened. But, QE3 is setting us full speed ahead for just such a situation.

Reading through some of these comments...

how are you people not in the entertainment industry? Some of these scenarios if fleshed out would make for really interesting movies or miniseries.

My view is a lot more boring, but also optimistic.

Firstly, like in Europe, there'd be mass protest in the streets as the bottom falls out for American small businesses and our standard of living. People would finally realize that government safety nets and entitlements are made of nothing but lies and wishful thinking. However, much like in the months following 9/11, I think there'd also be a resurgence of charitable giving and community service at the same time.

Secondly, the DNC and GOP would officially be screwed. IMHO, there's no way either party can survive such a major collapse. The demographics already prove this: more and more people are abandoning our rancid two-party paradigm and registering third-party or independent, especially among younger generations. Both parties would also deserve an equal share of the blame for this collapse due to the policies their recent administrations have enacted dating back to Dubya's first term. This is good for us - as people start to see with their own eyes that the idea of "government as provider" is a fallacy, they'll be more receptive to the ideas of a small federal government and personal liberty.

Thirdly, if the failure of the Articles of Confederation caused us as a nation to permanently write off the idea of having basically no centralized government at all, I don't see why The Collapse wouldn't lead to everyone finally giving up on the opposite extreme of the nanny-state big-government system once and for all. We could finally return to the careful balance of centralized vs. decentralized power that the Founders intended in the Constitution.

I don't play, I commission the league.

ecorob's picture

i'm hoping that is what we'll see...

In our States!

The federal government will collapse but the INDIVIDUAL States will survive.

Possibly, a stroke of genius to separate the Federal government from the States. We are free again to govern ourselves when the CORPORATION fails.


its 'cos I owe ya, my young friend...
Rockin' the FREE world in Tennessee since 1957!
9/11 Truth.

Allthough I try to prepare for anything

I fear that the collapse will institute the removal of private property for the good of the whole. The government/PTB will own everything and it will be distributed "as needed". Those who resist will be "removed" but most will submit because of fear and despair, kinda like when you hear someone say "The guy/gal didn't do anything because they might loose their job." Fear makes people without a firm conviction conform to whatever causes the least physical stress.

About revolt... see my comments below.

It's not as viable an option to regain freedom as we wish it could be, I fear.

[see rambling post below]

What would the Founders do?

The real picture of collapse

Collapse happens every second of every day to multiple people in multible ways. People lose everything in a flash. You come into the world alone and you will leave this world alone, even if you were among many.

We all have our own experiences despite the crowd.

I would not worry about a collapse. Live your life to the fullest, enjoy it, try to not collapse, but thrive.

Focus on thriving. Head in the direction you want to arrive.


You could learn something by taking a look at what is happening right now in Spain. Of course, it's hard to determine since the American media is full of lies. Folks in the countryside would probably be better off, the cities would explode in violence. I think our country could swallow a bit of austerity and keep the lid on everywhere except in the inner cities. If we had better leadership, we could recover due to our abundance of resources and decent work ethic, but, delaying the inevitable is going to cost a lot more pain in the long run.

What about the revolt aspect?

David Robertson nailed what TPTB will try for below, but even that discounts the revolution that will ensue.

There are so many who are awake and prepping for this collapse that when the bell finally tolls to sound the collapse, whatever that event ends up being, that all H will break loose. After that point, the Inflation.US video probably has as good of a scenario as any for the next day. Many people will bug out while others will hunker down and hide out. Most people will realize they don't have the resources to make it this way for more than a few weeks and will join the food growers. Communities will arise with common sense 'laws' being harshly enforced.

The dumb people will flock to the store and then the bank. The smarter ones will flock to the bank and then the store. The ones who really are smart will clean out the hardware stores and welding supply shops. They will go 'pick up' a good old 60's diesel truck and lots of tools and other materials. These are the people who, by building makeshift equipment, will support the community until the chaos subsides a bit. They will start selling or trading bio-diesel, high yield aquaponics systems, alternators and generators and probably even roof-collected rainwater.

Many people will flee to Mexico and Canada and when the border guards refuse, violence will escalate. Other countries will try to help but that will be seen as NWO or Rothschild influence so it won't be tolerated.

The people with the small arms will end up becoming vigilantes at first and after desperation sets in, the militia... taking power from local small town police, etc. When the national police show up, the riots will be put down harshly, resulting in a loose coordination to go after all the bankers, politicians and a few certain war criminals. Those with the bigger arsenals will probably be enlisted for a unified pilgrimage to D.C. and the underground safe houses that are known. Unfortunately, some of these groups may turn for the worse and become nothing more than self serving. Either way, the power of the government and the TPTB will quickly vaporize.

The people who planned well for growing/raising food the best will become the Mother Abigail of these times. People will come from fair distances to get a free, healthy meal or some soap for a little work expanding the system. The future relies on these new leaders rallying their followers back to sound local money, local manufacture and produce and the Constitution.

Then in the 3rd week, people will find all the employees of the breweries and prosperity will flow once again.

After some time frame, the free market types, the libertarians and the constitutionalists will all converge in one place, realizing they never had much differences and reboot the government with some new checks and balances and a somewhat different power structure.

I'm not exactly sure what it

I'm not exactly sure what it will look like but I'm hoping for the best with the reaction of the people; depends on where you are I guess. I watched a community come together to help out people who were hit by tornadoes 10 years ago. Various churches got together and helped each other. I know there will be places that will be bad but we don't live in a vacuum. There are some who will be able to explain to others what happened and what we have to do to survive. I'm hoping neighborhoods and churches pull together to pool talents and resources to help each other. We're a resourceful people. I believe the freedom movement is well aware of what is coming and are already mentally prepared for at least the onset. I believe we'll be leaders when there is a lot of confusion.

What it will look like depends on exactly the catalyst and the

circumstances at the time - who's in power and what everyone's reaction is.

But mostly, at least initially, life will look just like it does now.

It's when things break down quickly that all bets are off.

The unknown is, will they breakdown so fast, that order cannot be maintained?

We need a collapse !@#$ing

We need a collapse !@#$ing Americans forget what it is to living simple.

We live in want superficial society. !@#$ing Americans need the education of hard knox.

I read all the comments

and they are depressing and some sound rather hopeless.
I know there are a lot of atheists who visit here, but for those with faith, prayer will be our strength against the deperate times to come. Prayer will lessen and shorten the hard times. To those without faith those words will sound crazy, but I believe the power of prayer helped George Washington lead our country to victory and prayer will see us through again.
Americans, real Americans, are a people like no other. We are a great people - generous, curious, determined, possessing a keen sense of justice even though that is not reflected in our judicial system. I believe there will be people who will take up the cause and lead our country back to its founding principles because Liberty and the want of it has always been. The hard times won't last a long time; nothing lasts a long time anymore.
I think a lot depends on our military. Will they uphold their oath to the Constitution or favor the usurpers? Will they defy their commanders orders to aim their weapons at the people? Will their loyalty be with the people or the politicians? If our military performs it proper duty, they will defend us against any president and/or general and/or the militarized police goons who I see as the most dangerous segment rising today. Maybe that's why DC keeps them far away on foreign bases and fighting unConstitutional wars because they know those men and women would defend the people.

If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.
James Madison

My nephew was given a

My nephew was given a questionnaire while in the military. A couple of the questions were: Will you wear a United Nations uniform if requested to do so? Will you fight American citizens if requested to do so? My nephew told me the soldiers who answered yes stayed in America and the ones who answered no were sent to overseas bases.

You ask if they will uphold

You ask if they will uphold their oaths to the Constitution...

Are you under the impression that their oaths are being upheld now?

How many wars have we been involved in since June 1942? The answer to that question is pretty much the answer as to whether or not oaths will be upheld.


The military will fire upon Americans because they won't see it

as a People vs. the Government fight.

They will see it as restoring law and order from chaos.

If you stand in their way, they will shoot you.

I believe that will happen initially, however, in a .........

relatively short period of time, the shooting of American Citizens will come to a halt. The realization of their UnGodly actions will undoubtedly enter their conscience, and these individuals (for example the high percentage of soldiers whom supported Ron Paul) now awakened to their recent human actions were intolerable not just in the mind of the soldier(s) but also in the mind(s) of his fellow citizen(s). True guilt at its core will come full circle.

like in Russia

The parasite classes ie. Pensioners, unhealthy, many poor, bureaucrats, will expire imo.

There will be jobs in the military and subsistence faming but both will be on starvation wages along with other emergency services. Ie. Doctors, police, professors, the best jobs will be in the national police...they will get their choice pick of the ladies...the ladies will be looking for a meal ticket, etc.

Walmart would most likely be nationalized for equal distribution of supplies. The banks will be reduced to two or three.

Horses will be a good asset along with wagons. Toilet paper, cigarettes, coffee, milk, bread, toothpaste and brushes,, deoderant, clothing, razors, will all be worth more than silver and gold imo.

Some instances in Russia during WWII people resorted to eating axle grease and congregated to public bathrooms for a meal. :O

In fashion, I could see furs making a major comeback along with polyester and speedos lol ...cotton will be too expensive.

Of course booze will be much sought after :)