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(500 posts)
Fri Jan 26, 2018, 04:09 AM Jan 2018

Why Were Underestimating American Collapse

Why We’re Underestimating American Collapse
The Strange New Pathologies of the World’s First Rich Failed State


You might say, having read some of my recent essays, “Umair! Don’t worry! Everything will be fine! It’s not that bad!” I would look at you politely, and then say gently, “To tell you the truth, I don’t think we’re taking collapse nearly seriously enough.”

Why? When we take a hard look at US collapse, we see a number of social pathologies on the rise. Not just any kind. Not even troubling, worrying, and dangerous ones. But strange and bizarre ones. Unique ones. Singular and gruesomely weird ones I’ve never really seen before, and outside of a dystopia written by Dickens and Orwell, nor have you, and neither has history. They suggest that whatever “numbers” we use to represent decline — shrinking real incomes, inequality, and so on —we are in fact grossly underestimating what pundits call the “human toll”, but which sensible human beings like you and I should simply think of as the overwhelming despair, rage, and anxiety of living in a collapsing society.

Let me give you just five examples of what I’ll call the social pathologies of collapse — strange, weird, and gruesome new diseases, not just ones we don’t usually see in healthy societies, but ones that we have never really seen before in any modern society.

America has had 11 school shootings in the last 23 days. That’s one every other day, more or less. That statistic is alarming enough — but it is just a number. Perspective asks us for comparison. So let me put that another way. America has had 11 school shootings in the last 23 days, which is more than anywhere else in the world, even Afghanistan or Iraq. In fact, the phenomenon of regular school shootings appears to be a unique feature of American collapse — it just doesn’t happen in any other country — and that is what I mean by “social pathologies of collapse”: a new, bizarre, terrible disease striking society.

more at link


(9,426 posts)
2. Would ANY other country
Fri Jan 26, 2018, 05:58 AM
Jan 2018

elect a buffoon like tRump as their president? Look at the so-called "representatives" surrounding him, protecting him, lying for him. The gop is a party of traitors, all eagerly taking Russian money. tRump is the worst person they could have backed as their leader, all because "He will sign anything we put in front of him" as McConnell claimed.The more he is exposed as a total failure as a businessman, husband, and even a HUMAN BEING, the more they champion the fat bastard. They have made this once proud country a laughingstock worldwide. Tooo bad there is not a single member of the gop who has enough self respect and love of country to speak up and say "Enough. This charade HAS to end" Sadly, they have allowed the office of president to mean absolutely NOTHING. May they all get outed as agents of Russia, taking the money to make their party into a JOKE, with an orange idiot as their leader.


(58,825 posts)
11. As if we were magically immune from stupidity and its consequences .. .
Fri Jan 26, 2018, 09:02 AM
Jan 2018

Guess again. 2016 is when the Chickens Of Dumb came home to roost.


(40,228 posts)
4. Interesting article
Fri Jan 26, 2018, 06:56 AM
Jan 2018

" ... new diseases of the body social that have emerged from the diet of junk food — junk media, junk science, junk culture, junk punditry, junk economics, people treating one another and their society like junk — that America has fed upon for too long."

I blame consumerism, and exploitation. We are more obsessed with a fancy house and the latest SUV - both 45% bigger than we really need - than with anything else. And the same formula applies to almost all areas of consumption.

Put conversely, to examine the effects, we are not valuing our own capital, the value that we earn. We give it all away in fat profits to whoever is selling us the products of the consumer lifestyle. And we'll mortgage our future - our income stream - and pay a fat interest premium to a bank - to obtain it all, or any part of it.

Many are subconsciously angry at this process of being fleeced, even though they do it willingly and cannot help themselves. We want violent digital fantasies as games and movies more than we want a quiet evening with our kids building inner strength.

I wonder what percentage of Americans have ever read a classic or a 5 pound biography of a great American? I'd bet it's less than 15%. These books nurture the inner self by showing how people got to where they did. Hint: it was not by consumerism on the low end of humanity, or by social media.


(59 posts)
5. If we can't "kill 'em with guns" let's deny them medicine
Fri Jan 26, 2018, 06:57 AM
Jan 2018

Many Type 1 (insulin dependent diabetics) who CANNOT live without insulin, are being priced out of the market. It seems you only have the "right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" if you can pay for it. A diabetic specialist offered a rant that merely supports what the author here contends--we're a sick country and getting sicker. In part, he said:

"I recently went with a friend to a Walmart pharmacy as he needed his insulin. His regimen included bedtime NPH insulin. I had a lengthy discussion with the pharmacist, a new graduate. He told me how almost daily someone comes in to pick up their insulin with a cost of over $1000. Of course, many can’t afford that and need to walk away without the medication.
"Of course, insulin isn’t the only critical medication that has become unaffordable to many.Although the cost of many generic medications has received a lot of publicity and scrutiny, the reality is old drugs such as digoxin, conjugated estrogen, and colchicine are now too expensive for low- or middle-income patients and their families. Now patients are telling me they need to change statins because, as with branded drugs, costs have increased and insurers only have one or two on their formularies. Average wholesale price (AWP) for 90 tablets of generic atorvastatin is now $519 (non-generic Lipitor is $1405!).4 This is upsetting to many as we were told prior to the 2016 election, by both parties, that drug price control would be a priority.


(4,517 posts)
7. effing great article
Fri Jan 26, 2018, 07:15 AM
Jan 2018
And that is my last pathology: it is one of the soul, not one of the limbs, like the others above. American appear to be quite happy simply watching one another die, in all the ways above. They just don’t appear to be too disturbed, moved, or even affected by the four pathologies above: their kids killing each other, their social bonds collapsing, being powerless to live with dignity,or having to numb the pain of it all away.

Should the world follow the American model — extreme capitalism, no public investment, cruelty as a way of life, the perversion of everyday virtue — then these new social pathologies will follow, too. They are new diseases of the body social that have emerged from the diet of junk food — junk media, junk science, junk culture, junk punditry, junk economics, people treating one another and their society like junk — that America has fed upon for too long.



(13,133 posts)
8. It's probably worse than this pathology but then again our country has been through a lot before
Fri Jan 26, 2018, 08:09 AM
Jan 2018

Many of us are the offspring of people who were rejected in their own country or from people who saw the place they were living as slow and constricting. At any rate, we are a country filled with survivors and entrepreneurs and as always living in the best and worst of times. It only seems overwhelming because it is.

Everywhere you look some kind of drastic change is taking place. The thing that I find the most interesting about all is how we always able to figure out ways around it or ways to survive it. I don't suspect the future will any different in that chain of events. People who feel doom and gloom are the ones who are too tired or have given up and most of the time that isn't all of us. I suspect we remain and push on but in what shape or form only time could tell


(2,679 posts)
9. Apathy. We just simply don't care anymore.
Fri Jan 26, 2018, 08:26 AM
Jan 2018

Great article! Thanks for the link.

The writer is pretty spot on. These trends are really just here, in the US. It seems that no one cares these days. We turn our heads, change the channel, block out everything and stare at our smart phones, at everything we don't want to address.

It harks back to the old saying/question:

What's the opposite of love?

The answer is not hate. Hate is the same thing as love, an extreme expression of the caring. If you care about something a great deal, love and hate show it.

The answer is apathy. Not caring. Indifference.

Which is what we have become. Indifferent to most everything. We hide in our tribes. We care about those. Everyone that pays attention to politics loves their party and hates the other. Many of us care on that issue. On everything else we tend to take an indifference stance.

Apathy kills.


(8,298 posts)
12. "The predator in American society isnt just its super-rich  but an invisible and insatiable force:
Fri Jan 26, 2018, 09:11 AM
Jan 2018
So my last pathology is a predatory society. A predatory society doesn’t just mean oligarchs ripping people off financially. In a truer way, it means people nodding and smiling and going about their everyday business as their neighbours, friends, and colleagues die early deaths in shallow graves. The predator in American society isn’t just its super-rich — but an invisible and insatiable force: the normalization of what in the rest of the world would be seen as shameful, historic, generational moral failures, if not crimes, becoming mere mundane everyday affairs not to be too worried by or troubled about. https://eand.co/why-were-underestimating-american-collapse-be04d9e55235

Sad, but true.


(62,054 posts)
14. we are meant to feel powerless, purposely so.
Fri Jan 26, 2018, 11:59 AM
Jan 2018

an engaged society is a dangerous one to the elected elite.

so keep us powerless and fighting each other.

we get beat down a little each and every day to the point, where eventually, no one will stick their necks out or speaks up.

that is the rich and the elites final goal: a complacent society


(62,054 posts)
13. After reading this: if America was a person it would be...
Fri Jan 26, 2018, 11:51 AM
Jan 2018

and angry drunk, with a gun tucked in his belt, pissing off everyone in the bar for not buying him drinks even though he has a huge amount of credit but never pays off it's tab.

in essence a total dangerous jackass.

Progressive dog

(6,779 posts)
15. Probably Armageddon is just a few days away
Fri Jan 26, 2018, 07:46 PM
Jan 2018

Strange new diseases, several people sick, 11 school shootings in just 23 days--nobody can explain it. Just terrible. Nothing like this has ever happened before and the 325 million Americans are doomed.
BTW I think that opinion piece is ludicrous. Sounds like a spoof on Pat Robertson.


(3,922 posts)
17. Meanwhile, the physical foundation is also collapsing.
Sat Jan 27, 2018, 12:00 PM
Jan 2018

As the USA descends in most international quality of life rankings, so too does our infrastructure.
Many bridges are deemed unsafe, roads are woefully undersized and ill-maintained, alternate means of mass transportation are - in many notable cities - antiquated and severely underfunded. Our education system, once an example of success to the world, is under attack from our own government - both state and federal. Alternative energy sources are threatened.
Basically, we're a mess. Flying into this country, even as a citizen, is a nightmare of near-Kafkaesque proportions with ridiculously long treks through barren, dirty corridors to long lines and interminable waits for one's baggage. Dour Customs and Border agents (can you blame them?) "greet" you - if your papers are in order. No wonder tourism from other countries is off.
In the midst of all this, a significant number of Americans rally behind a con-man as their leader and expect this fool to restore the country - to what, I have no idea.


(58,825 posts)
18. I spent a chunk of last week driving for a business trip . . .
Sat Jan 27, 2018, 12:15 PM
Jan 2018

Interstates in KS, OK and TX were patchy - decent for stretches of 20-25 miles, then just plain lousy for even longer. You know that quick "thud-thud-thud-thud-thud" you get at highway speeds? That would go on for half an hour or more, depending on location.

The cities were substantially worse. Ft. Worth's roads were basically appalling - big cracks and potholes in abundance on city streets outside downtown - and Tulsa was right down there as well.

Massive road construction in both cities, so they're at least investing in the interstates in and around metro areas, but they're both in low-tax states, so once again, I guess people are getting what they're paying for.

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