The biggest question we face today is whether the USA will collapse as a society. If we collapse, it will not be pretty, Barry. We really do not want to collapse.
Now, there are some folks who would welcome such a collapse. They view any chaos as an opportunity to make money.
These are the folks who made lots of money in Iraq and Russia during the chaos there. They are bad people, Barry. We don't want to help them in any way.
According to a recent TV show on the collapse of the Egyptian Old Kingdom society in 2200 BC, there was sudden famine and starvation on a large scale. Starving families migrated to the only place there was food, Luxor, and begged the governor for food. They also sold their precious possessions for a measure of grain. When the food available was not sufficient for the hordes of starving people, the starving 'ate their children.' I think that phrase 'ate their children' was meant literally.
Regardless, it is an object lesson in catastrophe that we do not want to explore.
In his excellent book 'THE COLLAPSE OF COMPLEX SOCIETIES', Cambridge University Press 1988, Joseph A. Tainter describes many such collapses, among them: Mesopotamia, the Egyptian Old Kingdom referred to above, the Hittite Empire, Minoa, Mycenaean Civilization, Western Roman Empire and so forth for many civilizations studied.
Of interest is the reason the Egyptian Old Kingdom collapsed. Archeologists and geologists have identified the cause of that collapse as something the Old Kingdom was unable to counteract, even though they knew the cause and were able to literally see its effects.
Egyptian civilizations since the desertification of the Saharah have depended on the yearly flooding of the Nile River to bring both water and the precious black mud to the Nile Delta. The black mud, sediment from up river in modern Ethiopia, provides the rich soil that nourishes crops. Without that annual flood of rich soil, crops do not grow and people starve.
With the annual flood, the Old Kingdom built a complex society with plenty and well being for all its citizens. That society also built the Pyramids we view today.
About 2200 BC there was an approximate 100 year interruption in rainfall. No rain fell in the Nile watershed. Geologists know this because their study of sediments from that time shows only wind blown, fine sand in all the streams and canals the Egyptians built instead of the mud geologists find from water filled courses both before and after that time.
Without water and annual flooding, Egyptian society collapsed with the dire consequences listed above.
This is interesting in the United States of America in the 21st Century AD because we face a similar drought, Barry.
Our Nile Flood has always been the Aggregate Demand of consumers with the ability to spend money beyond food and shelter. That is the force that has lifted our country above others in the world.
Consumer demand is water to the economy: without that water, nothing will grow - all will die.
And, we are witnessing the drying up of Aggregate Demand in our economy today. The water that lifts all boats is drying up and about gone.
If that demand goes away for any length of time, the USA will collapse.
While we don't know exactly why the rain stopped in the Nile basin in 2200 BC, we know exactly why Aggregate Demand in the USA is stagnant or declining. It is stopping because of the accumulation of wealth and income into a few hands and the simultaneous reduction of wealth and income accruing to everyone else.
If we as a society can reverse this trend, perhaps we can avoid the collapse. But if we do not reverse this trend, a societal collapse becomes highly probable.
As previously mentioned, I have identified the government policies which can reverse that trend; you can read them here: http://www.mkeever.com/owsplaneleven.doc