What are the most likely causes for a complete societal collapse?

One of the most frequent questions I get, especially from people who are new to preparedness, is “what are you prepping for?” Well, now that’s a loaded question, isn’t it! Just because I’m prepping for something, doesn’t mean it’s the same thing you and your family should be preparing for.

The first thing you need to be prepared for is localized disasters and crisis that are likely to hit based on your unique situation. Read our article on how SHTF is not a specific event, it contains a lot of advice for people who are just getting started, and it starts to answer the question, “what should I prepare for?”

Once you have the basics covered, then you can start to focus on long-term disasters and things that might cause societal collapse.

What types of Disasters or Crisis might cause a Long-Term Collapse of the System?

Collapse of Civilization

I’m not going to focus on that one in a trillion situations; prepping for a doomsday asteroid slamming into the earth or one of those other crazy events that you see in sci-fi movies does little to prepare you for the real world, and if something like that does happen we are all screwed anyway. I’m going to focus on long-term disasters that I believe are most likely to occur based on historical events, politics, and the current threat structure facing the country.

A Major terror attack, targeting our infrastructure.

terrorists

There’s no way to deny the fact that there are people out there looking to cause chaos. Before 9/11, most people dismissed terrorism as isolated incidents that rarely affected large groups of people. Post 9/11, we need to start looking at these events and realize that it’s a threat that if delivered in the right way could bring a country to its feet.

While luckily most of the attacks since 9/11 have been relatively small, we’ve documented numerous failed attempts where terrorists tried to take down the power grid and poison local water supplies. Should a terror organization be able to pull off one of these attacks or launch some sort of biological attack in a large city, it would likely push the country into chaos.

The threat of radical Islamic terrorism is one of the most significant threats we face as a nation, largely because our government and our media have failed to name the threat!

  • Have a Bug Out Plan: You need to have a solid evacuation plan, and you need to be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice.
  • Prepare for Martial Law: The real threat may come during the aftermath of the attack. Time and time again, our government has shown they will first clamp down on the public, and then in all likelihood ignore the actual problem.
  • Have a Communication Plan: Emergency Communication is one of the least talked about parts of preparedness, but it’s probably one of the most critical pieces of the preparedness puzzle. It’s something that you can’t afford to overlook.

EMP: Electromagnetic Pulse Attack

Rocket being used to launch EMP

During the early days of nuclear testing, experts suspected that a nuclear blast could damage electrical equipment, so they took steps to shield electronics near the testing sites. What they didn’t know, and soon found out, was how powerful an EMP could be and how they were creating a weapon that could someday take out power grids throughout the world.

Over the last year, the threat of a nuclear attack or EMP has increased to levels not seen since the Cold War. In fact, the government through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently started taking steps to prepare the American public for the possibility of a nuclear attack.

  • For more information on preparing for an EMP and the history of EMP technology, check out our article on EMP Preparedness.

Political and Social Unrest

Tactical Riot Police

This is a controversial topic; the very act of mentioning this as a threat gets half or the country all riled up. But to ignore the fact that political tensions have been at a boiling point would be doing a disservice to everyone who is trying to prepare for the most likely disasters of our time.

From the riots in Baltimore and Ferguson to the political tension and attacks after the 2016 election, chaos and violence created by groups like Antifa and BLM are becoming a growing threat that we cannot ignore.

You need to take Self-Defense Seriously! There is no substitute for real-world self-defense training. Check out these articles to get started:

Financial collapse

Homeless Guy who lost it all

While economic optimism has swept certain parts of the country, the truth is the United States is anything but economically stable. The country is still well over $20 trillion in debt, with unfunded liabilities skyrocketing well past $120 trillion. I don’t care where you fall on the political aisle; there is no ignoring the fact that at some point the U.S. economy is going to hit its day of reckoning.

A couple of years ago when I wrote my book, The Ultimate Situational Survival Guide, I devoted an entire section to financial preparedness. I still believe it is one of the biggest threats we face and it’s still on top of my list of things to prepare for.

Another World War or a Civil War

Civil War

Whenever I mention the threat of a full-scale war, I inevitably get some moron on Facebook calling me a fearmonger – kind of odd since they follow a site that is dedicated to preparedness, but I guess that’s another article. One look at history is all you need to realize that at some point the world or our country is going to face a large-scale war.

How many people do you think saw World War II or a dictator like Hitler coming? How many Americans could have predicted the Civil War? History is filled with events that nobody saw coming. Unfortunately, today’s average person looks at these events as some sort of fictional account of history, and they fail to learn from these very real disasters.

Famine

Depression Era Breadlines

It’s almost unthinkable; walk into your local grocery store, and there is food literally everywhere. But the truth is it wouldn’t take much to cause a significant food crisis in this country; it happened during the Dustbowl, and it could happen again.

From our increasing reliance on countries like China and Mexico who now export a great deal of the food we eat into the country to a generation of farmers that have all but disappeared from the American landscape, our system is one disaster away from collapse. How many people do you know that still process the skills to grow or procure their own food without driving over to the local Walmart? While many of the people who visit this site might have those skills, 99% of the country does not.

Pandemics

1918 Flu Pandemic

According to the CDCs internal numbers – which are probably grossly under-reported – American Hospitals are in no way ready to contain a disease outbreak or pandemic. In fact, they can barely contain the pathogens that are already known to this country.

According to the CDCs numbers, over 1.7 million people become infected by healthcare-associated infections every year, with 99,000 people a year dying from diseases they acquired while at a hospital. If they can’t stop everyday known diseases from spreading in their own facilities, what do you think will happen during a large-scale outbreak?

Long slow death spiral caused by over-reliance on tech and the growing stupidity of society.

Idiocracy

One prevalent theory in the preparedness community is that we are already in the middle of a societal collapse. From an overreliance on technology that has created hordes of unprepared people to the violence and crime that has swept through this country, there is some credibility behind the theory. It could be that we are somewhere on the timeline of a long slow spiral that ends in the destruction of society.

So what can you do to Survive a Long-Term Societal Collapse?

There are three articles on the site that I point people to when they ask this question; they are probably the most popular articles on the site and they contain just about everything you need to know about preparedness and prepping for long-term disasters or collapses.

4 Comments

  1. Malakie
    January 9, 2018 at 3:50 pm

    Today, there are only a few things that could cause full on collapse, regardless of what people want to believe.

    In order, they are:

    1) man made or natural viral mutation
    2) Solar Flare/EMP/Asteroid/Comet or other space based event
    3) Man made HEMP strike by rogue nation/terrorist working together

    Some people might list earthquakes and such. Unless those are global events, they would not cause a full on SHTF. Localized is possible if, for example, Yellowstone erupted. But while it would impact the rest of the world, it would not be doomsday for mankind as a whole.

    Some might think economic collapse. Again, not probable because right now, so few hold the power at the top and they can pretty much do whatever they want to control economic conditions. The worlds economies are too intertwined now for a full on collapse to happen.

    Some will say WWIII/nuclear war. Never going to happen. There might be a terror strike or limited exchange because of some major thing but we will never see a full on war because the world is now too small. Everyone knows the consequences. AND since everything is now based on money and greed, those at the top will make sure whatever happens, does not impact that.

    Finally, some will say civil war. Again this is a localized thing. And in the end, least likely to take place especially in the USA UNLESS someone at the top actually does push to either outright abolish the entire Constitution or orders the immediately seizure and suspension of amendments like the 2A.

  2. Darren
    January 9, 2018 at 4:18 pm

    Or it may be nothing more than the fact that champagne parties run on beer budgets tend to be short parties.

    We’ve built and built and built. Technology to infrastructure. Skyscrapers and suburbs and and fancy electronics requiring rare minerals.

    Everyone wants to do it. China is close to catching up.

    Burning through the non-renewable. And sooner or later, anything unsustainable won’t be.

  3. Adam
    January 11, 2018 at 1:07 pm

    An EMP is the one that scares me the most, and is the one I have prepped quite well for. If an EMP happens though, it’s game over for millions!

  4. David
    January 16, 2018 at 10:16 pm

    After helping with disaster relief and working in the medical field; I feel the disruption of prescription medications, especially narcotics, would cause mass hysteria. This is just the panic of having to face reality, I am not even talking yet about the untold number of rebound effects from stopping a chronic medication cold turkey.

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