Interesting article: Closing the Collapse Gap. It works from the premise that the US economy is likely to collapse in the not-too-distant future, and compares how well prepared the US is for such a collapse with how well prepared the Soviet Union was. (Summary: The US doesn’t do as well as the Soviets on that score.)
It’s a chilling read, and seems a plausible line of reasoning if the economy does collapse. (I know nothing more about the author or web site than that, but I don’t think the author needs any particular credibility to judge the plausibility of his presentation.)
I will admit that I basically have my head stuck in the sand when it comes to the prospect of the US collapsing (economically, politically, or otherwise). I don’t think a collapse is imminent, but I think it’s likely that sometime in the next hundred years the US will have to change or die. If nothing else, I think a hundred-year horizon should see us to the end of accessible oil reserves, and that will force some sort of fundamental change. Living as I am at the top of the world consumption curve (and if working at a major high-tech company isn’t the top of the consumption curve, then I don’t know what is), I realize that I personally am not well-prepared for such a collapse. That’s probably a big part of why I don’t like to think about it. 🙂
I think one of the take-away points of the article is the value of do-it-yourself knowhow. That’s one thing I cling to in the software biz: Acquiring the tools to do certain useful things myself if I need to, because convenient software packages can obsolesce before you know it. (This is one of the great things about Mac OS X: It has all the UNIXy scripting tools I’m used to using for my DIY projects.) Obviously in a collapsing economy, self-sufficiency is a prime virtue, and I agree with the author that American urban and suburban culture doesn’t contain much of the DIY nature.
Okay, back to burying my head in the sand…