June 26, 2012
Whether the system is going to collapse is not the question.
Most informed individuals understand that out of control spending fueled by trillions of dollars in debt, unprecedented monetary expansion and ever increasing dependence on a government social safety net overburdened by millions of people in need of essential services can not be sustained forever.
For many Americans and our counterparts in Europe, the collapse is now.
To suggest that we are somehow on the road to recovery is nothing but conjecture.
We have no doubt that everyone is tired of bad news, but we are compelled to review the facts: Europe is currently experiencing severe bank runs, budgets in virtually every western country on the planet are out of control, the banking system is running excessive leverage and risk, the costs of servicing the ever-increasing amounts of government debt are rising rapidly, and the economies of Europe, Asia and the United States are slowing down or are in full contraction. There’s no sugar coating it and we have to stop listening to politicians and central planners who continue to downplay, obfuscate and flat out lie about the current economic reality. Stop listening to them.
We are, by all accounts, sliding rapidly into the abyss of an untenable economic, financial, political and social disaster.
The only question now is, “how is it going to look when it happens?”
A glimpse into our future can be found in the veritable canary-in-the-coalmine in Europe – Greece.
When the government of a nation can no longer borrow-and-spend-and-redistribute as before, when financial institutions reach the point of insolvency, when the consumer economy falls apart and when the people can no longer find jobs, very bad things will happen.
In addition to food shortages in Greek prisons that are leaving many at the point of starvation, it’s gotten so bad in Greece that thousands of desperate people lined up over the weekend to receive handouts of food from charitable farmers in Crete:
Starving Greeks queued around the block for free food handouts yesterday as the country’s politicians managed to end a crippling stalemate to form a coalition government.
Young children as well as the elderly waited in line in Athens to collect the parcels of fruit and vegetables donated by farmers from Crete to help ease the devastating austerity faced by many Greeks.
Source: Daily Mail
When the money runs out and the social safety net collapses, there is simply nothing the government can do aid in the recovery of an impoverished nation.
We’ve opined previously regarding the effects of collapse on emergency services and the power utility grid, and how a lack of funds would lead to shutdowns of essential infrastructure components such as medical care, electricity and water. In modern-day society such a thought seems unfathomable.
However, this is exactly what’s now starting to happen in Greece, as Natural News reports:
The economic situation in Greece is only continuing to worsen, as reports indicate that hospitals and care centers throughout the nation are running completely out of medicines, and many healthcare workers are now voluntarily providing care services without pay.
Strapped with spiraling debt, the Greek healthcare, which is government-run, has had to receive gobs of international financial aid just to keep operating with some semblance of normalcy. There has also been plenty of IOUs issued, and desperate patients quietly forking over cash “gifts” to doctors to receive treatments. All in all, the healthcare situation is in utter chaos, save for those that have sacrificed their own time, often free of charge, just to help those in need.
Today, the situation has gotten even worse, particularly because the Greek healthcare system heavily relies on brand-name drugs rather than far-less-expensive alternatives. Since the entire system is clogged because of unpaid bills, many pharmacies, for instance, have had to simply close their doors. Those that still remain and continue to supply drugs on credit — these are few and far between — are being overwhelmed by long lines of desperate patients seeking life-saving medications.
“We’re not talking about painkillers here,” said one Greek woman, a cancer survivor, to Reuters. “We’ve learned to live with physical pain. We need drugs to keep us alive.“
In addition to the immediate survival needs of food and medical care, Greek utility companies are so far gone that they are on the cusp of having their power and natural gas flows cut off, leaving the entire grid dark and throwing the an entire country back to the Stone age.
We’ve seen this disaster play out over the course of the last three years, so a ‘collapse’ doesn’t have to be some waterfall event that happens over night. It can take shape over time and slowly chip away at all facets of the system until it simply disintegrates.
How will it look when it happens?
Looking at such a collapse we’ll have seen food supplies diminish and potentially disappear. The power infrastructure will be so strained by individuals and companies alike not being able to pay their bills that electricity, gas and clean water will simply stop being delivered. Emergency services personnel including health care workers, police, and firefighters will not be getting paid by a government too overwhelmed by debt, leaving many to first act as volunteers. Eventually, they will simply stop coming to work, at which point law, order, and normalcy will go out the window.
All government services will be strained, leaving those who depended on the government for their backup plan with nothing. They will either stop issuing food assistance, or it will be such a paltry amount with respect to the price of food that it will barely feed your family. Medical care will simply become unavailable, and that includes life saving drugs like antibiotics. Violence and crime will undoubtedly rise and there will be blood in the streets, as the general unprepared population struggles to cope with the new paradigm.
For those who think it can’t happen here – simply take a look around. Just about every measure of economic, financial and social health in the United States is indicating that we are reaching a breaking point.
The collapse that many say will never happen, that others are waiting for as some event that will occur in the future, is happening right here and now.
All we can do now is to learn from what’s happening in Greece and take steps to prepare today.
We can learn a lot from those on the ground in the midst of a desperate situation. Those like our friend Manos in Greece, who in a recent dispatch noted “My Shotgun is Full and Well Equipped. I Hope I Don’t Need to Use It.”
This article first appeared on SHTFplan.com.