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Life....after the Crash (future visions)

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If things really do turn South for the West, then I see essentially two scenarios over the longer term which can be illustrated (admiitedly to a fantastical degree) by two schools of dystopian future fiction:

(1) BladeRunner/1984/Brave New World/We: Society endures but becomes increasingly totalitarian, brought about by a stronger state using improved surveillance technology, a 'need' to keep teeming masses of disgruntled proles passive and reduce their resource use, higher taxes etc. The modern media machine, and the extent nowadays to which we are entertained (distracted?), the role of the police, personal freedoms, surveillance, property rights etc. are all elements to be considered here.

(2) Mad Max/Pacific Edge: A full-scale breakdown of society, brought about by a 'perfect storm' of factors such as peak oil (and other resource stress), unpayable debt levels, absence of community and community values - basically a scenario where globalisation is rolled back (if you think it won't happen, then remember that it already did at the end of the 19th Century/beginning of 20th), and central government in most countries actually stops functioning. In this case, the only way to protect your wealth would be to turn it into gold (or something else of a non-fiat nature) and bury it! The possibility of oil wars (ummm, aren't we already in one?), collapse of international transportation - for example aviation, food shortages, infrastructure decay (e.g. road networks, power grids), and tipping points into widespread civil unrest, looting are issues here.

These sort of visions make negative equity look like a party, and it may sound barking mad to even consider this kind of thing; but the central conceit of every age is that the people in it consider their way of life to be somehow immutable and eternal...history says otherwise - all civilisations collapse in some way or another. Couple this with the fact that our civilisation is the most integrated, and it would suggest that an 'unravelling' could have much worse consequences this time around (example:-large scale food shortages and starvation in Western cities if food supplies were disrupted). Additionally, we should also acknowledge that several of the elements mentioned above are already happening to some degree:

Increased Surveillance: ID Cards, CCTV, biometrics

Restricted Personal Freedom: New legislation

Media distraction and manipulation: a consant cacophany of music, TV, blah blah

Resource shortages and Wars: Peak Oil, Iraq, fighting in Africa over Water

Infrastructure Decay: Airlines going bust, power failures in California

What are peoples thoughts on the future direction of society? Will the state become more authoritarian, or will the state cease to exist in a complete collapse? Most importantly, what sort of TIMESCALE are we looking at for these scenarios? Can we expect sudden or gradual change, and how severe will that change be? What are the TIPPING POINTS? How might our society look during and after such events?

Thoughts?

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Here's what I posted on the singingpig when this site was down a couple of weeks

ago. Admittedly, it was in part to get a reaction from the HP bulls, but I don't

think the possibility of complete meltdown can be entirely dismissed...

When will the UK move into economic recession? I say 2007.. 

There's no doubt about it, the UK is on a downwards and irreversible economic

slide that can only lead to one thing – full blown recession, which I believe will be far worse than anything in living memory (unless anyone here can

remember the early 1930s)

Here's my timescale for disaster. Economic growth will continue to decline this

year (I'd go with the Item Club figure of 2.1% now, not Brown's 3.5% that he

needs to fulfil his spending pledges). Job losses will continue to rise and

although the official unemployment figure will stay under 5%, cos that's the

rule, welfare claims will soar, creating an even bigger black hole in the budget

(lower tax revenues/more welfare claimants)

House prices will "edge" lower for the rest of 2005, at least in the stats being

reported, but the price reversal will accelerate through 2006 as the last few

fools wake up and realise it's all been one big scam. Consumer confidence will

slump in the summer of 2006, extending job losses and there'll be no turning

back from the road to recession. My prediction is that Q2 and Q3 2007 will show

successive negative growth figures, hence a recession.

NuLab will become increasingly desperate, but it's too late for them to do

anything as the damage is already done. They'll probably create more government jobs, storing up more problems for the future. The only option though will be to slash government spending.

The summer of 2008 will see widespread civil unrest, known as the "Chav riots",

whereby by housing estates across the country erupt. Also expect a huge increase

in racial tension (particularly if the bombings continue) and the Chav riots

will quickly become race riots.

Despite widespread backbench rebellion, Labour will just about cling to office

until 2010, at which point the Tories will be returned. UK PLC will have to take

some very bad medicine, involving massive social and economic reforms,

prolonging the Chavs anger. Police authorities will not be able to cope and as

more estates become no-go areas, expect to see the troops that have recently

exited Iraq on British streets in summer 2012.

Average House prices by now will be approximately 45% under the Q2 2004 peaks and if anything, are drifting lower. But hey all you house price bulls, look on

the bright side. Prices will not fall as much as they did in Japan late 80s/early 90s, only nearly as much.

The future's bleak, start stocking up now. It's beans on toast time for UK plc

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Guest absolutezero

I can see a combination of the two.

First I think we will get the Mad Max scenario then someone (Hitler-esque) would step in and restore law and order by giving the unsettled masses someone to blame for the situation.

After this, your totalitarian state would happen with the reminders along the lines of 'You don't want THAT to happen again do you?' a la 1984 and Brave New World.

Like you say, we're already getting bits of each and there is always someone wanting to be in charge.

The change will be gradual until something happens to the food supply.

I already said after peak oil hits home we will see a return to local produce being transported by horse and cart. Tesco and the like will adapt to this or not survive.

I am not 100% sure about the security of gold. Why have central banks dumped gold in the not too distant past?

What if a NASA satellite finds a large deposit of gold somewhere? The price would drop.

What if nuclear fusion finally becomes feasible (not as unrealistic as people think) and we make gold that way?

In Mad Max scenarios food is the commodity.

Edited by absolutezero

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I am not 100% sure about the security of gold.  Why have central banks dumped gold in the not too distant past?

Wasn't it sold off to raise cash for spending?

After all, this time it is different and there will be no need for gold in the future, eh?

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Guest Bart of Darkness

Although Blade Runner is one of my favourite films, I'd tend to see a Mad Max style scenario as being more likely.

Blade Runner assumes a developing level of technology (flying cars, replicants, colonies on other planets), none of which could occur against a background of an energy crisis. Obviously they have developed alternative fuel sources (just think how much energy a flying car would use). Not to say that this isn't possible, but it doesn't look to be a priority amongst governments at the moment.

The Mad Max scenario (oil shortages, wars over oil supplies followed by the total collapse of society, seems more plausible because it requires less of a leap of the imagination. Indeed, shortages of clean water may be soon enough to start wars:

http://www.abc.net.au/science/news/stories/s1182739.htm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/677547.stm

If we start getting regular blackouts due to fuel shortages, what will happen on estates where yobs run riot already.

If food supplies start getting curtailed because other countries can't or won't export food (or lack of oil results in a lack of agrochemcals, resulting in poorer harvests), rationing might need to be introduced.

The overall effect of this on our economy can't be anything but negative. More people unemployed (and therefore unable to pay off their debts or keep the mortgage going)

(I'll stop now fefore I get too depressed :( ).

Edited by Bart of Darkness

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On the subject as a whole my "vision" for the future ties in with what many have already said in this thread.

- A global house price collapse with all the repercussions for the economy, debt, defaults and consumer spending;

- More generally, a general slow decline of the Western world and the rise of the East (India, China). Mass unemployment in the West, as cheap skilled labour in the East takes over.

- A gradual end of the migration trend to the Western world, because countries like the UK will not be desirable destinations for immigrants any more, who will instead stay where they are as their own countries become wealthier or migrate to the new economic locomotives in the East.

- Coupled with low birth rates, the population in the West will enter a dramatic decline and the population will become ageing. (over the next 20-50 years) Many people will reach retirement with no savings, as they had laden themselves with debt in the early 2000s to buy a property, which they now find is unsellable, as they had hoped, to fund their retirement.

- Over the next 5-10 years, there will almost inevitably be a trend towards more government control, eventually (20-50 years) leading to the collapse of Western democracy and the installation of totalitarian or semi-totalitarian governments. This will be justfied by the alleged fight against terrorism as well as by the riots that the house price collapse, economic recession, unemployment, running out of oil, and the general decline of the West described above will bring about. This trend has already started. We have had detentions without trial in the UK (Belmarsh) as well as Guantanamo Bay etc. Just this week Tony Bliar stated that judges should stop interfereing with the will of parliament, and ideas to change the Human Rights Act to stop terror suspects from taking advantage of it. There will be increasing restrictions on the freedom of speech, of which again we are seeing the first signs (this week's "treason" debate). Introduction of ID cards and other measures will contribute to this.

- The end of Globalism. But today's anti-globalism protesters should not rejoice. All the factors receited above will lead to a reintroduction of protectionism. The Western world will shut out products and workers from the East as a knee jerk reaction against the rise of these nations. The end result will be an isolationist West, descending down an Argentina style slope, whilst China and India become the new economic powerhouses. I think this is particularly true for Europe. The US, due to its sheer size and the enterpreneurial spirit of its citizens might actually turn the corner and join the club of new world economic powers in the East.

- The impoverishment of today's (home owning) middle-classes. Today's middle clases in the UK, whose perceived wealth is mostly based on irrationally high house prices, may well descend into poverty, as they lose well paid jobs to Indian and Chinese competition, and the value of their homes plunges, whilst they remain deeply in debt (which will not be eroded by inflation; I believe the trends I describe will lead to a depresseion in the West). But cash either saved by those that refused to buy houses at inflated prices or those that STRed may not be save either. Devaluation of currency, punitive taxes, savings banks collapses or even government confiscation of savings may occur. Europe may well become the next Argentina.

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I am not 100% sure about the security of gold.  Why have central banks dumped gold in the not too distant past?

What if a NASA satellite finds a large deposit of gold somewhere?  The price would drop.

What if nuclear fusion finally becomes feasible (not as unrealistic as people think) and we make gold that way?

I am not a physicist, but I think your scenarios are impossible/unfeasable.

I am not sure where that satellite is supposed to find gold. If you meant on Earth, I would say that mankind has looked pretty much everywhere on earth now for gold. In any event, a satellite would not be able to look for gold, as it can only scan the surface of the earth.

You cannot produce gold in nuclear fusion without putting in energy. Nuclear fusion extracts energy down to iron in the periodic table, after that you need to put vast amounts of energy into the process to make heavier elements. Heavier elements are only produced in supernova explosions which provide the necessary energy, which is precisely why the heavy elements are so rare.

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These threads need some balance or the debate becomes scewed and distorted.

By all means indulge but try and keep a sensible perspective.

These doomsday scenarios are nothing new. George Orwells 1984 was an attempt to paint a futurescape that people at the time thought would come to pass last century.

Freinds Of The Earth said 25 years ago 'An area the size of Wales is being cut out of the Amazon every month'. Look at a map of the Amazon. According to FOTE it should have vanished 20 years ago.

Think about all the doomsday scenarios painted previously; AIDS, MILLENIUM BUG, COMMUNISM, BIRD FLU, MAD COW, NUCLEAR ARMAGGEDDON, RACE RIOTS - RIVERS OF BLOOD, FOOT 'N' MOUTH, 9/11 AFTERMATH, 'THE COMMING GLOBAL DEPRESSION OF 1993', ASIAN TIGER ECONOMIES CRASH (and?).

Think about futurist predictions previously foretold; 'MOST OF US WILL WORK FROM HOME BY 2000', HOME ROBOTS BY 2000, MUCH MORE LEISURE TIME BY 2000, BACO - FOIL SUITS, LIVING IN UNDERSEA DOMES, TOWING ICEBERGS TO AFRICA.

Keep some perspective guys. Its easier to be negative than positive, ask any journalist.

Again, and Im not kidding, I refer you to 'The Mr Men'. Mr Worry would have loved this forum. Read Mr Worry to your kids, youll see.

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You cannot produce gold in nuclear fusion without putting in energy.  Nuclear fusion extracts energy down to iron in the periodic table, after that you need to put vast amounts of energy into the process to make heavier elements.  Heavier elements are only produced in supernova explosions which provide the necessary energy, which is precisely why the heavy elements are so rare.

And in case you were wondering, Fe is atomic number 26 and Au is 79.

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Well I hope not. I've been lurking on this forum for a couple of months now and I have to say its been a life-changing experience. If we're heading for a global economic depression (and I agree with you that this looks pretty likely) then we need to be thinking about collective responses and not just individual solutions Storing cans of baked beans and gold bars in the cellar and bolting the front door isn't going to be enough. That's when we're going to need family, good friends, neighbours and the collective wisdom and support that a site like this can provide.

And don't forget a tin opener for the baked beans...

We may well be heading into a global recession but I think you guys are getting a little carried away...

I'm surprised no one has mentioned WW3.

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And don't forget a tin opener for the baked beans...

We may well be heading into a global recession but I think you guys are getting a little carried away...

I'm surprised no one has mentioned WW3.

Good point, the Major wars have all followed economic collapse or vacum of power,

If USA falls as super power who will step up to claim the crown,

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On the subject as a whole my "vision" for the future ties in with what many have already said in this thread.

-  A global house price collapse with all the repercussions for the economy, debt, defaults and consumer spending;

-

Blimey, and i thought I was bearish. I'd better get my application form in to get permanent residency in Singapore. Sounds like returning to the UK might not be such a good option, even if house prices have fallen 60-70%.

You should all stock up on tins of beans though, you just never know.

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And don't forget a tin opener for the baked beans...

We may well be heading into a global recession but I think you guys are getting a little carried away...

I'm surprised no one has mentioned WW3.

I've already mentioned it twice in the last couple of days - China and the US to go at it with nuclear weapons within 15 years.

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These threads need some balance or the debate becomes scewed and distorted.

By all means indulge but try and keep a sensible perspective.

Well the forum is for everybody, so offer a different view. Just because you couldn't buy the stuff on Tomorrow's World in the shops isn't relevant here and there's no point trying to draw a parallel.

I'm genuinely interested to hear the upbeat argument because I struggle more and more to see it. Maybe there is a case for a soft landing, economic expansion in the UK/Europe and all looks rosy, so then make the case. Seriously, I would like to hear it. How can a country/countries/individuals go on spending what they don't have for ever?

Norway should be ok financially, unless Germany takes them over in the New World Order.

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I've already mentioned it twice in the last couple of days - China and the US to go at it with nuclear weapons within 15 years.

Blimey. Sort of makes the STR debate seem a little pointless.

If you really (I mean REALLY ) believe that then why are you spending (wasting?) time posting on HPC?

Note to self: Get some radiation proof cupboards in the cellar for those tins of baked beans...

New note to self: May be wiser to make the whole cellar radiation proof instead...

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I thought I was a pessamist until I read this lot.

britain will muddle through-it always does.

race riots-probably

economic melt down-no

I once saw economist describe a boom as being like an elastic band which is stretched intil it reaches its elastic limit. the band then rapidly contracts and returns to its normal size. this is what will happen and many positive things will come from the new reality:

smaller government

less or no immigration

bullsh@tters on the slag heap

no gordon

no tony

no blah babes

no pc bull

the country will rebuild itself (like after the erm) hopefully a lot wiser and a lot more independent

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Think about all the doomsday scenarios painted previously; AIDS, MILLENIUM BUG, COMMUNISM, BIRD FLU, MAD COW, NUCLEAR ARMAGGEDDON, RACE RIOTS - RIVERS OF BLOOD, FOOT 'N' MOUTH, 9/11 AFTERMATH, 'THE COMMING GLOBAL DEPRESSION OF 1993', ASIAN TIGER ECONOMIES CRASH (and?).

Don't dismiss BIRD FLU. This hasn't been discussed much here, but even the UK government has considered it worthwhile in ordering enough vaccine for 25% of the population. If it happens there will be a BIG economic impact.

Maybe this winter ....... coming to your country!

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good one STR,

nukes and aids by comparison don't kill that many people...a good flu pandemic is capable of killing millons in a matter of a few months.

personally,I think to avoid being involved in a blade-runner style country it might be well worth playing our financial system for all it's worth now and then booger off to tenerife when the first sniff of authoritarian rule happens.

tenerife is not too bad,it's outside the EU so just make sure you fill the papers in early!

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bubble pricker is right.

the best way to survive this is go back to basics...learn to feed yourself,and then emigrate somewhere out of the glare of orwells apostles and set up a commune.no need for money,just barter skills.NOW THAT'S A COMMUNITY.

a nice little stash of gold wouldn't go amiss though,especially if you had to go "abroad" for little extras.

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I can't believe this daft "visions" thread has been repinned to the top of the page like some sort of trophy.

What is the average new visitor to HPC going to think about this site after reading all this totalitarian/mad max/bladerunner sh*te?

He/she will think this site is devoid of any credibility and will probably never return. (I'm being polite here with my choice of words, trust me)

Keep it real (Oh no! now I sound like Ali G)

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Without a Paddle,

I do agree with you to some degree, I don't think this discussion is necessarily worth being pinned! It is very off-topic and bizarre! :blink:

It is still a good idea however to try and understand some of the undercurrents that are shaping our society, of which the housepricebubble is arguably symptomatic. Perhaps the use of colourful fiction to illustrate the argument was not a great idea as it does remove credibility somewhat....so let me try and rephrase in a more sober fashion:

Given the potent mixture of near and medium term realities - no real basis for our economy anymore (of which the HP bubble is a sympton), peak oil, unbeatable competition from emerging economies etc., what direction do you think things will take, and what are your thoughts on the best way to deal with these forces and protect your wealth?

Hope that is better :)

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  • 301 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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