|Slowly at first, then all at once...|
Case, case, case, cluster, cluster, BOOM!
-- Unknown, describing exponential growth
COVID-19: Observing the Collapse
The COVID-19 pandemic is bustling along exponentially.
Unmitigated, it would be an unmitigated disaster. Without hospital care, the death rate of the infected will approach the 20% with severe to acute symptoms. Virus spread would peak before August 2020 with higher numbers infected and dead.
Efforts to flatten the curve appear at this writing to be too little, to late. Outside China, measures have started late and not been as strident, losing the opportunity for containment. Even if successful, the measures prolong the crisis and must be maintained for the duration.
Either way, the healthcare system looks fail and the wider economy is shutting down.
Here to guide us in observing and understanding the Collapse are David Korowicz and Dmitry Orlov...
David Korowicz wrote several relevant papers, describing the Global Industrial Economy (GIE) in terms of Complex Adaptive System (CAS) dynamics. These two in particular provide a foundation, and a play-book of sorts, for interpreting current events.
Catastrophic Shocks in Complex Socio-Economic Systems: A Pandemic Perspective
His basic argument is that a CAS has a basin or range of stability bounded by tipping points. If it is sufficiently driven out of stability, a tipping point is reached. In the negative case, a single failure can lead to cascading failures among dependent sub-systems. When the dust settles, the system may well be collapsed.
In the human body analogy, imagine raising body temperature by one degree an hour. First discomfort an sweating as the body attempts cooling by evaporation. Soon, delerium and convulsions set in. Eventually, and organ fails, further stressing those dependent on it, and so on down the line. In a rapid cascade, the system collapses and stabilizes in death.
Yeah. I know.
Dmitry Orlov offers a simpler analogy, and I quote from his post, Fragility and Collapse: Slowly at First, then All at Once:
You see, predicting that something is going to happen is a lot easier than predicting when something will happen.
Suppose you have an old bridge: the concrete is cracked, chunks of it are missing with rusty rebar showing through. An inspector declares it “structurally deficient.”
This bridge is definitely going to collapse at some point, but on what date? That is something that nobody can tell you. If you push for an answer, you might hear something like this: If it doesn’t collapse within a year, then it might stay up for another two. And if it stays up that long, then it might stay up for another decade.
But if it stays up for an entire decade, then it will probably collapse within a year or two of that, because, given its rate of deterioration, at that point it will be entirely unclear what is holding it up.Since COVID, we see the cracks deepening and joining. Chunks large and small are falling thick and fast. We hear the groans of the still standing structure as massive weight is transfered.
Dmitry, again, this time with his 5 Laws of Collapse. Again I quote:
Stage 1: Financial collapse. Faith in "business as usual" is lost. The future is no longer assumed resemble the past in any way that allows risk to be assessed and financial assets to be guaranteed. Financial institutions become insolvent; savings are wiped out, and access to capital is lost.
Stage 2: Commercial collapse. Faith that "the market shall provide" is lost. Money is devalued and/or becomes scarce, commodities are hoarded, import and retail chains break down, and widespread shortages of survival necessities become the norm.
Stage 3: Political collapse. Faith that "the government will take care of you" is lost. As official attempts to mitigate widespread loss of access to commercial sources of survival necessities fail to make a difference, the political establishment loses legitimacy and relevance.
Stage 4: Social collapse. Faith that "your people will take care of you" is lost, as local social institutions, be they charities or other groups that rush in to fill the power vacuum run out of resources or fail through internal conflict.
Stage 5: Cultural collapse. Faith in "the goodness of humanity" is lost. People lose their capacity for "kindness, generosity, consideration, affection, honesty, hospitality, compassion, charity" (Turnbull, The Mountain People). Families disband and compete as individuals for scarce resources. The new motto becomes "May you die today so that I die tomorrow" (Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago). There may even be some cannibalism.
We are arguably in Stages 1-3, this early in the pandemic.
We are nearing or in the tipping point as cascading failures multiply and accelerate.
London Bridge is falling down.
Faith is taking hit after hit as we work through the Stages of Collapse.
This has all the hallmarks of the Big One in full swing.
Gather your peeps and see to your preps!