The above graph is adapted from Limits to Growth, Revisited. It is not a hard and fast prediction, but rather the product of a model with 40 years of high correspondence with developments. We are, at present, at the top of the growth curves, many of which have already begun to plateau. Slopes of decline do not factor in such worst-case scenarios as widespread urban- or domestic nuclear facilities collapse consequent to economic collapse.

I've added the shading and 'crossover' circle' (coincident with 'peak everything') to indicate my best guess as to the high probablility zone for global, economic collapse, triggering the onset of TEOTWAWKI.

I fear a hard landing... no 'reboot' or 'transition' to a lower functioning economy. I urge high priority preparation now.

I've got a short glossary of terms at the bottom of this page... if you come across an unfamiliar term, please scroll down and check it out.

Information I'm including or pointing to doesn't mean I necessarily agree with it. Rather, I've found it to be stimulating and worthy of consideration. I'm sure you'll exercise your own judgement... we're nothing if not independent! 8)

Friday, December 16, 2016

Pascal's Wager, Adapted for Prepperation

Calvin's Wager
by Bill Watterson

Yes; but you must wager. It is not optional. You are embarked. Which will you choose then?
-- From Pensees by Blaise Pascal

To make a choice is to change the future.
-- Deepak Chopra

Pascal's Wager, Adapted for Prepperation

Blaise Pascal considered the question of how a rational person, in the absence of proof, should wager (bet) with respect to God's existence. It is an early example of decision theory.

Paraphrased (and stripped to bare bones), the argument runs like this:
If God does not exist, belief in Him costs one little.
If God does exist, disbelief costs one much.
Therefore,  it is rational to wager that He does exist, and act accordingly.

Let's restate that in terms of Collapse:
If Collapse is not coming, preparation costs one little.
If Collapse is coming, lack of preparation costs one much.
Therefore, it is rational to wager that Collapse is coming, and prepare accordingly.

Wanna bet?


  1. Posted on behalf of JOHN:


    Some people think the logic behind Pascal's Wager is not very strong. Here is a website that gives 13 arguments against Pascal's Wager, and there are many other such sites.

    I don't think that the Collapse ideology is as poorly thought out, but I do think that Collapse apologists could do a better job of addressing critique 1) MISSING POSSIBILITIES, and critique 2) AVOIDING THE WRONG HELL PROBLEM.

    As I see it, Preppers potentially spend a huge amount of resources preparing for a low-probability event, and what they do do to prepare is likely to be insufficient if there really is a sudden catastrophic societal collapse. On the other hand, by spending large amounts of resources prepping they may be missing out on a lot of the enjoyment that "normal" life has to offer. Of course, one man's cake is another man's poison, so I'm not trying to stop anyone from doing what their heart tells them to do.

    In my opinion it would be much more beneficial for a lot more people if they were to prepare for less catastrophic, but more likely disruptive events, like that caused by hurricanes, or earthquakes, toxic chemical spills, or Carrington Event, etc. This could entail storing water, food, first-aid supplies and personal medicines, tools, etc, to enable you and those you are responsible for to survive with limited outside assistance for a few weeks to a few months. Suggestions for this level of preparations can be found at sites like the following:

    Best Regards,

    1. Hi John,

      Actually, I'm one of those who find Pascal's argument to be weak. But a tongue-in-cheek approach (I hope) helps lighten a heavy subject. 8) On the serious side, it gets one thinking about risk, how to evaluate it, and how to decide on a preparedness level.

      As you know, this is a fast collapse, hard landing blog. I am convinced that collapse is certain, that collapse starts slowly and that collapse will become abrupt and deep. I'm reasonably sure that the tipping point is reasonably close.

      The purposes of this blog are to present the case for this scenario, to present some response options, and encourage preparation in its face.

      The lesser crises you mention are well covered by others, including those you cite. I encourage short as well as longer term preparations; in fact, short term prep is a subset of long term prep. We can't get to the long term without surviving the short term. Meanwhile, no preparations guarantee success, but no preparation (virtually) guarantees failure.

      But I totally agree that sacrificing present happiness for future survival is a poor trade. Personally, I love interweaving the pleasures and challenges of my chosen lifestyle with the means to prolong them.

      There is, after all, more to life than mere survival!

      Dave Z

  2. A perspective on fast crash/ slow crash. I also follow the arch druid report, and his stair step theory of slow collapse makes a lot of sense, it is just a matter of perspective on the size of the steps. Losing the grid and internet is a big step down, but not the end of the world (unless you are addicted to you electronic gadgets and live on the 80th floor of an apartment building).

    1. Hi Dennis,

      I'd love to agree, but don't.

      The grid (generically speaking) and internet are two of the main gears in what now makes our world tick. Virtually everything in the global economy depends on them (and others, such as finance, transport, energy, etc.). They, in turn are interdependent with the others and many thousands of systems which provide critical input to them. If human population is deeply in overshoot (as I believe it is), the unbroken function of civilization's life-support systems is essential.

      That is to say, I don't believe it's just a matter of going without a few, extraneous luxuries, but rather without anything provided by a functional economy.

      In TRADE-OFF by David Korowicz (available free via link in the sidebar), he makes a very powerful case for fast collapse based on cascading failures within our complex system.

      JMGreer 'rebutted' his argument by stating that national governments have both the will and ability to halt cascading (financial) failure. He cites examples from previous crises. Problem is, the measures he cites took years to enact, while Korowicz' argument points to days or weeks.

      I'm working toward reformulating some of these important arguments (and counter-arguments) in more accessible form. They are now couched in thickish systems theory terms.

      Dave Z

  3. Some things that the referenced article did not address was the amount of fat and parasites in the system. Much of the fashion, entertainment and tourist industries are "fat", and could be cut without the underlying economy being damaged. Also, a lot of the medical, legal and financial industries are more correctly classes as parasites. After a period of adjustment, and a lot of notional wealth vaporizing,(including my own retirement funds) the essential functions of the banking industry could be reconstituted without the gambling addiction of the too big to fail banks. Similarly, a collapse of the medical system would cause a significant number of people with medical conditions would die, and the expected lifespans of the remaining people would drop. However, the medical industrial complex would no longer be consuming 20% of the US economy.

    1. Hmm... well, yes and no. Maybe?

      I'm sure Korowicz would note that parasites and 'fat' stress a system, and render it less robust/resilient (he has, elsewhere).

      An analogy common in those circles is the 'pound of flesh' analogy. If you cut a pound of flesh at random off an animal, they may survive (fat is relatively expendable). But if it's the WRONG pound, they're down for the count.

      I'd think a planned transition would help, but see little happening on that score. An UNplanned transition tends to be chaotic and often fairly random. We see it all the tie in business failures. The Lehman's collapse was unplanned, as were its many, knock-on effects.

      Dave Z

  4. I expect that the standard of living for most people would drop, famine would re-appear as in the dirty thirties, and martial law would probably be the new normal. Overall birth-death ratios would reverse, until the number of humans on the planet once again approached (and overshoot to the downside) the long term carrying capacity of the biosphere. Publishing in pieces due to blogger eating my earlier attempt

  5. On re-reading this, I will clarify a few things. I live and work in North Central Alberta, an energy and food exporting area with relatively few people. I expect the standard of living would drop to something like the dirty thirties (my step father was in an orphanage at this time, and it was not pretty). Some areas with high population levels and no food production will be insanely terrible, worse than a war zone. That said, what is your definition of collapse?

    1. Hi Dennis,

      The main reason I expect far worse is that the dirty thirties, bad as they were, were far from a global collapse, though it was certainly a global depression.

      So many things have changed since then - industrial dispersal and integration, corporate farming dependent on fossil fuel fertilizers et al, population trebled and gone half urban, resource depletion, nuclear footprint (weapons and domestic) to name a few - all these increase vulnerability.

      Meanwhile the general loss of low tech farming skills, (non-hybrid) seed, husbandry and tools mean that a big enough interruption stops the food supply.

      I think, if we had another Great Depression, things would not only get worse, but critical, interdependent systems would completely fail (finance, production, transport, energy, IT), and with it all that depends on them. Image that orphanage, but with no substantial local agriculture, no communications, no financial support, no heat or running water. Plenty of orphans, though.

      I'm about to start a project making the case for fast and thorough collapse in systems terms... stay tuned (if I can hold your interest) as I translate some of these that I've found compelling.

      Dave Z


Hey Folks... I'm not in a position to moderate comments. If discussion remains respectful and on topic, I welcome comments (passion okay). If it spins out of control, I'll have disallow them... I thank you for your civility.

I've opened comments to all 'Registered Users' (whatever that means!) to help weed out pesky spam.

- Dave Z