Newcastle Next: Life after the collapse

In 2014 Newcastle, much like most of the major cities of the world, will be recovering from the collapse of our current socioeconomic system that is characterized by enormous organizational pyramids – corporate, bureaucratic, and political – and which depends upon consumerism and the debt levels that it demands.

This system survived the apocalypse that loomed in the 2008 global financial crisis (GFC), only because a number of central banks injected many trillions of dollars into major financial organizations around the world deemed to be ‘too big to fail’.

But when it occurs GFC-2 will almost certainly involve the collapse of one or more of the central banks themselves – when there will be no meta-bank to decide they are ‘too big to fail’ and generate within their computers the tens of trillions of dollars that will be required to save the world financial systems.

What will trigger GFC-2? No one knows for sure. But the current leveraged debt pyramids are now larger than those which initiated GFC-1 and the domino effect through financial markets around the world will be much more severe.

The process by which GFC-2 unfolds will not be sudden – it will unravel slowly but inevitably over several years. But it will spell the end of giant corporations and the international markets which they dominate and upon which they depend. Quite possibly a major ecosystem collapse will exacerbate the financial collapse if not provide the initiating cause.

Severe social unrest will almost certainly break out as millions, even billions, of people around the world are faced not just with poverty, but with death. Transport systems and energy networks will become unsustainable.

No food or convenience items central to today’s lifestyle will be available in shopping centers. No petroleum products will be available for transport of any kind, much less private automobiles.

The economic viability of urban centers will be severely threatened and their survival in any form will depend upon a radical demographic and systemic restructuring. Major corporations and governmental institutions will inevitably become only historical memories.

But the time scale of this catastrophe will allow the appearance of some if not all of the following characteristics..

[1] Wherever possible, people will reorganize into small, self-sustaining communities capable of producing the food and products necessary for their survival.

[2] The technology associated with natural energy and communication will survive the apocalypse. Communities will communicate and wherever possible cooperate.

[3] Land-based transport between communities will have become either impossible due to absence of energy or too dangerous because of the gangs of desperate people excluded from the self-sustaining communities. However the technologies for robotic, airborne, solar-powered aircraft will have (hopefully) developed to the point of practical implementation, permitting transport and trade between neighboring communities.

[4] Many, perhaps most, large cities will be unpopulated except for small groups of people who are able to achieve self-sustenance in various parks and open areas – and gangs of the desperate who prey upon them.

[5] But in some of the cities small coteries of the financial elite who managed to salvage substantial wealth from the socioeconomic collapse, may well be able to establish heavily gated high-rise living areas where they live their lives high above the chaos, danger, and ruins of their city below. They obtain their food and other necessities from the communities that exist relatively near their urban area using personal solar-powered aircraft.

[6] Over time the violent gangs will die away (perhaps literally) and inter-community communication and cooperation will flourish. Craftsmen of various skills will be able to move safely back into the urban area to create their own lifestyle supported by providing their services to the elite – as was the case millennia ago when the first cities began to take form around the all-powerful religious and political elite in any given area.

So it is the above scenario which I predict will be in one stage or the other of Newcastle’s post-apocalyptic evolution in the year 2114. In summary:

– No automobiles.

– No railroads or other forms of large-scale public transport.

– Much reduced population generally collected in communities around heavily-gated high-rise buildings housing a financial elite.

– No need for major airports.

But reasons for believing that a new socioeconomic system is evolving based upon cooperation amongst small communities themselves organized upon the basic ethics of cooperation and without the need for gigantic organizational pyramids of power and authority – and hence, a world where the concept of war has been relegated to history.