2 hr 24 min

143: Thirdworldization of the U.S. and the Stages of a Collapse The Mind4Survival Podcast

    • Philosophy

I’ve been writing about Thirdworldization since the 2008 financial crisis. It is the process where the structures that support the system in developed nations become inefficient, crippled, and society decadent and belligerent. In this article, I talk about the dynamics of Thirdworldization, the intermediary stages of collapse, SHTF misconceptions - and how these things interconnect.

Historian Victor Davis Hansen nails Thirdworldization down with perfection, so I’ll kick this off in style by quoting him:

“In modern times, as in ancient Rome, several nations have suffered a “systems collapse.” The term describes the sudden inability of once-prosperous populations to continue with what had ensured the good life as they knew it. Abruptly, the population cannot buy or even find, once plentiful necessities. They feel their streets are unsafe. Laws go unenforced or are enforced inequitably. Every day things stop working. The government turns from reliable to capricious if not hostile."

The Collapse Does Not Look Like Mad Max

People believe civilizational collapse looks like Mad Max.



It doesn’t, I assure you. Not based on history, and not if we’re talking about man-made crises, which is what we’re going through, and the central theme for this article. I should know because I was born and lived most of my life in a country forever plagued by economic, political, institutional, and social volatility.



Brazil isn’t a Third World s******e. Far from it, my country is a vast land, blessed by great weather and immense, varied natural and human resources. We’re the 10th largest economy in the world. But thanks to inefficiency, bureaucracy, corruption, and short-sightedness, much of this wealth gets wasted, squandered, and poorly distributed.



This creates severe distortions with damning consequences: high levels of inequality, injustice, poverty, crime, and social divisiveness. This makes every day a lot more fluid, unpredictable, and difficult for a significant part of the population. Slow-burning SHTF is “normalized hardship.”



This is what I see now taking place in the US, Europe, and much of the world. It’s a result of the corrosion of the social, political, institutional, cultural, and financial pillars from decades of abuse and corruption of this arrangement.



Those are the causes, but the consequences matter a lot more.



Consequences Over Causes

On that, I see some misconceptions about the dynamics of SHTF. And this is critical because building plans and strategies around false assumptions can undermine preparation.



For instance, the idea that the entire system can crash down at once, abruptly, or over a short period. Sure: it can happen in large-scale natural cataclysms. However, the consequences are limited to the local affected, and resources and surpluses can be channeled to places in dire need.



Crises brought about by human action, on the other hand, are cyclical, often protracted, and long-winded. The frog boils slowly. It’s an overused cliche, but true nonetheless. And that’s not to make light of disasters, just pointing out the differences.



Anyway, things reach a tipping point and flare up, eventually shaking or even toppling the status quo. What happens, in reality, is a process in which decadence sets in, and the system gets overwhelmed, then rearranged. This impacts the standard of living first and the quality of life next of larger portions of the population and is seen and felt as an SHTF situation. Rightly so.

The Decline Takes Time

However, no developed, developing, or underdeveloped country ever dives into chaos overnight. There’s no jumping from the current system straight into a medieval one.



Bartering is one classic example.



There’s a lot of talk about how large stockpiles are critical for survival and how su...

I’ve been writing about Thirdworldization since the 2008 financial crisis. It is the process where the structures that support the system in developed nations become inefficient, crippled, and society decadent and belligerent. In this article, I talk about the dynamics of Thirdworldization, the intermediary stages of collapse, SHTF misconceptions - and how these things interconnect.

Historian Victor Davis Hansen nails Thirdworldization down with perfection, so I’ll kick this off in style by quoting him:

“In modern times, as in ancient Rome, several nations have suffered a “systems collapse.” The term describes the sudden inability of once-prosperous populations to continue with what had ensured the good life as they knew it. Abruptly, the population cannot buy or even find, once plentiful necessities. They feel their streets are unsafe. Laws go unenforced or are enforced inequitably. Every day things stop working. The government turns from reliable to capricious if not hostile."

The Collapse Does Not Look Like Mad Max

People believe civilizational collapse looks like Mad Max.



It doesn’t, I assure you. Not based on history, and not if we’re talking about man-made crises, which is what we’re going through, and the central theme for this article. I should know because I was born and lived most of my life in a country forever plagued by economic, political, institutional, and social volatility.



Brazil isn’t a Third World s******e. Far from it, my country is a vast land, blessed by great weather and immense, varied natural and human resources. We’re the 10th largest economy in the world. But thanks to inefficiency, bureaucracy, corruption, and short-sightedness, much of this wealth gets wasted, squandered, and poorly distributed.



This creates severe distortions with damning consequences: high levels of inequality, injustice, poverty, crime, and social divisiveness. This makes every day a lot more fluid, unpredictable, and difficult for a significant part of the population. Slow-burning SHTF is “normalized hardship.”



This is what I see now taking place in the US, Europe, and much of the world. It’s a result of the corrosion of the social, political, institutional, cultural, and financial pillars from decades of abuse and corruption of this arrangement.



Those are the causes, but the consequences matter a lot more.



Consequences Over Causes

On that, I see some misconceptions about the dynamics of SHTF. And this is critical because building plans and strategies around false assumptions can undermine preparation.



For instance, the idea that the entire system can crash down at once, abruptly, or over a short period. Sure: it can happen in large-scale natural cataclysms. However, the consequences are limited to the local affected, and resources and surpluses can be channeled to places in dire need.



Crises brought about by human action, on the other hand, are cyclical, often protracted, and long-winded. The frog boils slowly. It’s an overused cliche, but true nonetheless. And that’s not to make light of disasters, just pointing out the differences.



Anyway, things reach a tipping point and flare up, eventually shaking or even toppling the status quo. What happens, in reality, is a process in which decadence sets in, and the system gets overwhelmed, then rearranged. This impacts the standard of living first and the quality of life next of larger portions of the population and is seen and felt as an SHTF situation. Rightly so.

The Decline Takes Time

However, no developed, developing, or underdeveloped country ever dives into chaos overnight. There’s no jumping from the current system straight into a medieval one.



Bartering is one classic example.



There’s a lot of talk about how large stockpiles are critical for survival and how su...

2 hr 24 min