Episode-475- What a Few Big Disaster Scenarios Might Be Like

I thought it was time for a bit of a change up today so I am going to go over a group of really big disaters, national/global in scope and tell you what I think the results would be like, the down fall, the response and the rebuilding.

Join me today as we look at scenarios like…

  • A real pandemic with a high mortality and morbidity rate
  • A second great depression
  • A solar storm that takes out the electrical grid
  • A global food shortage due to crop failures and other factors
  • The realization of true “Peak Oil”

Additional Resources for Today’s Show

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10 Responses to Episode-475- What a Few Big Disaster Scenarios Might Be Like

  1. Great episode– which got me thinking:

    This episode is not necessarily one that I would pass on to a new listener to preparedness.

    I think it would be really helpful to the community, to compile a “must listen” list, perhaps in the form of a single zip download, that would introduce the newbie to the Survival Podcast.
    I can think of a few in particular, but maybe if we could draw a consensus from the audience, and jack, and have it in a spot easily linked to, we could really blow this up.

    I want to get my brother an ipod for his birthday, and preload wtih music, and The survival Podcast, but I don’t want to jam 400+ episodes on there, I just want a dozen or so that will give him a good overview, and a little detail, and sink the hook. ( he’s definitely ready to hear, i just don’t want to overwhelm)

    I’d like to do the same for the inlaws, who both own iphones, but don’t use the ipod/podcast features.. I’d need to get the episodes onto a disk and load’em up like it’s music cd.. and then let them do the rest of the hunting if they are into it.
    I think you’d be surprised at how tech phobic some people still are when it comes to managing podcasts.
    I even think that burning a “hit list” episode pack onto CD/dvd with some vid to boot, and keeping a couple dozen copies in the car would be great. I know I’d be handing at least one out daily.
    Just thinkin!

    cz

  2. Inthego Prime

    Good show Jack… Should have called the show “Were playing yahtzee tonight Johnny” Keep it up!

  3. Great show, Jack.

    There is two things overlooked, though, in my humble opinion.

    One is that once our troops are out of Iraq and Afghanistan, we will end those costs, thus lowering our nations spending.

    Two is that there is an alternative to declaring bankruptsy as a nation. It’s a merger. Tin foil or American union?

  4. Modern Survival

    @Polar Bear, To much TV, Fantasy Fiction and Alex Jones for you, take a break.

    1. To much TV – What you are saying is nothing but a democrat talking point, well it was until they got in power an forgot about ending wars and went on with business as usual. The stark reality is we don’t spend that much more by being in Iraq or Afghanistan then being in Germany, Italy or any of the more than 100 nations we have a presence in. See we pay, supply and feed our soldiers even when they are in Georgia. The war numbers as to expense are inflated, sure end Iraq (which was done by Bush by the way slated for Aug 2011 and I am on record with that in Sept. of 2008 stating Obama would win and get credit for it) and if we pull from Afghanistan we can save say 20 billion a year due to how hard sending supplies there is.

    20 Billion a year, so what! It means nothing in the grand scheme. Deficit for 2010, 1.6 TRILLION. 20 Billion isn’t a dent, if the cost of all the wars was 300 Billion it would still pale in significance against the whole. The reality is the entire defense spending, all of it, wars and EVERYTHING from Coast Guard to Delta Force, the entire complex is about 600 Billion. Entitlement spending equals that and will be over 1 Trillion by 2018. Sure we can save money if we cut defense spending but how much can it be cut by, you can’t cut it to zero and even if we did it won’t plug our 50 Trillion dollar hole.

    2. North American Union as a Financial Merger – All the foil hat freaks are people with a very small understanding of many things. So they draw connections that make no sense but do make sense to the uninformed, the merger to starve off bankruptcy is exactly that.

    Say I own Jacks widgets and I am 1 million in the hole but want to survive, will merging with a company that is 250K in the hole and has no credit (Mexico) help me survive. Will merging with a company that is solvent but only does about 50K in annual sales and has the ability to borrow say 100K help me?

    In one instance I make the issue worse in the other I kill the merging company with my debt. Canada has a GDP of 1.5 Trillion, that is their entire annual output. It would be like Taco Bell trying to bail out Exxon. Mexico’s biggest income source is US dollars from illegal aliens send that money home to family still in Mexico, their second biggest income is oil they sell to US. They have bigger economic woes than us and no one will loan them money.

    In a merger to stave off bankruptcy one party has to have enough money and clout to solve the problems of the other. The only way this works is with a financially strong US and a broke Canada and Mexico.

  5. Was there a fly buzzing around the mic at about the 21:44 mark? lol….

  6. @ Jack

    I never intended to mean that having the troops leave these areas would “balance the budget”. It would just save some money. I also want it on the record that I don’t give obama credit for leaving Iraq. That is totally Bush’s time table and thus no credit should go to Obama for it. (I never paid attention to Bush’s time table for Afghanistan, so no opinion either way on who gets credit for that one. Or blame either.)

    As for entitlements, Just realise that the first ones to be cut will be the export benefits to other contries such as Africa. With China doing so much there, we’ll “boost” money to maybe one country by taking it from another, and saying, “Look at how we’re helpijng them. China, step up and do your part.” Meanwhile we’ll be pulling 99% of all other moneyds from the reagion and others as well.

    The part two: Am Un poped up because of a story about Canadian money jumping right now while ours isn’t the best. It could turn really easy, so I just threw it out there. Thus “Tin-foil”.

    As to too much TV, What does Ghost Hunters have to do with it? LOL!

    Since you brought it up, how do you see our distant future? Star Trek, Star Wars, Firefly, or Aliens (without the monster)?

  7. Check out the following 4 book series by Terry Blackstone which is one of the most accurate representations I have read… and I read a LOT of post-apocolyptic fiction! It is about the loss of the electrical grid due to a solar plasma ejection. The breakdown of society and how “grandma & Grandpa’s Wisdom” helps everyone survive is very believable. Check it out at http://www.terriblackstockbooks.com/books/adult-fiction-books/restoration-series/

  8. Great episode, thanks Jack. I particularly like the way you present things, making us feel it will almost be all right.

    Regarding peak oil though, I am a bit more pessimistic. Of course this is my personal opinion, albeit an opinion I have researched a bit about before making my mind. There is a number of thing that can be meant by peak oil, usually either when demand outstrips supply (when demand increases faster) or when production starts to decline. The fact we are at peak oil-production now cannot be seen in gasoline price: prices will go up dramatically only when depletion will start to sink in.

    A good Peak oil analysis on the Northeastern university website can be found there: http://www.ccs.neu.edu/home/gene/peakoil/node2.html
    According to them, “When will we run out of oil? Never. When will we reach peak oil production? Soon (2007-2012)” The reason that we will never run out of oil is that the economy won’t be able to sustain the price of oil scarcity and will either collapse or adapt without.

    Also refer to US energy information administration, Page 8
    http://www.eia.doe.gov/conference/2009/session3/Sweetnam.pdf
    note consumption >80 millions barrels a day = over 3 billion gallons a day (to put into perspective with what Jack is saying about india and China)

    Individual peaks by country
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hubbert_world_2004.png

    According to wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_reserves the 17 biggest producers of oil have 54 years of oil left total. That is the total amount of oil left, not the time before we hit troubles, because the price would have gone up so much that the economy would have collapsed by then (assuming no replacements are found). And it is the time left at *current consumption levels*. Now if we double our consumption because of growth, emerging countries and so on, the time left before total depletion becomes ~27y

    note: Saudi Arabia, as biggest oil reserve on the planet, has about 260 billions barrels of oil.
    At current rate, this represents less than 9 years before total depletion => realy, realy big finds are needed. On that matter: oil discoveries vs production http://www.ccs.neu.edu/home/gene/peakoil/exploration.gif

    Regarding renewable energy, total production is currently insignificant: http://www.renewablepowernews.com/wp-content/uploads/US-Energy-Consumed.png
    The cost of switching to solar power on a massive scale as to produce a yet-not-enough 35% of total US energy requirement is estimated to be in the half a trillion http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=a-solar-grand-plan (mind you, that may be a rounding error of the current US debt)

    Add on to that, Uranium may have peaked already: http://www.uex-corporation.com/i/maps/diagram8.gif and http://www.lbst.de/publications/studies__e/2006/EWG-paper_1-06_Uranium-Resources-Nuclear-Energy_03DEC2006.pdf “This assessment results in the conclusion that in the short term, until about 2015, the long lead times of new and the decommissioning of aging reactors perform the barrier for fast extension, and after about 2020 severe uranium supply shortages become likely which, again will limit the extension of nuclear energy.”

    Lithium also, upon which much depends to establish alternative renewable future, is not renewable and the resources are getting lower, with peak lithium arriving before 2020. (Lithium is used in batteries for such things as cell phone and laptops, and will be soon used in electric/hybrid cars) http://www.nationalpost.com/news/Automakers+race+secure+lithium+supply/2465243/story.html
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7707847.stm
    Ok, the general argument is that there is lots of reserve of oil, gas and lithium left everywhere in the world, and it may be so, but not in pockets of useful size.

    + add on top of that the current economic crisis which will delay necessary investments

    + add on top of that the fact that no plane, boat, truck and so on can rely on renewable as per current state of technology

    + add on top of that that most plastics, asphalt, tyres… are by-products of oil. Without oil, we are back to iron and wood (and maybe silicon nowadays). Are we heading for a modern version of the 18th century? (actually they had more coal at that time than we have now…)

    + add on top of that the other issues the world face, most notably
    * top soil depletion http://goo.gl/Yx2O http://goo.gl/rlz9 In the USA, soil is eroding at about seventeen times the rate at which it forms http://goo.gl/nhhP
    * massive species extinction http://goo.gl/dFUq at a rate not seen for millions of years
    * huge gaps in funding systems of our elders (1 to 3 trillions) http://goo.gl/RyBk
    * other unfounded liabilities which by some estimate runs into the tens of trillions

    I think, and that’s the problem, that we are in for 3 of Jack’s disaster scenarios, all at the same time. That is: peak oil, economic meltdown and crop failure (of course, that will eventually be followed by pandemics due to reduce hygiene)

    Can we make it?

  9. GREAT Show – one of my favorites. And makes me wonder – is there a distance needed to make one safe when/if pandemic strikes: e.g. are folks in urban areas screwed even with masks on all the time and other measures just due to proximity? Does being on 10 acres in a rural place mean safety or could something blow in on the breeze? I know there are myriad versions of ‘pandemic.’ But what do folks think?

  10. endure2survive

    Great show Jack. You’ve done a great job on not overselling doomsday, but this episode and others like it are important once in a while to recognize that it’s not all about trying to build a more self-sufficient lifestyle. So many of these scenarios can overlap. Say we are approaching peak oil production, say there is an epidemic that causes the US to close the airports and port facilities to isolate itself and the problem worsens, or because a critical number of essential people were too sick to work (i.e. ship captains and crews, truck drivers, etc.). In a matter of weeks you’d have major oil shortages, major food shortages, and an economic catastrophe. Sometimes there are cascading effects of major disasters that are unpredictable.

    I for one see the economic and peak oil crises tied together. Everytime the economy shows signs of growth, oil spikes; everytime oil spikes, which means “consumers” have less money to spend on goods other than energy, which stalls the economy. Prior to 2003 oil hadn’t been above $35/barrel, now it’s unlikely to drop below $70/barrel again unless the economy collapses, and even then, production costs will hold a firm bottom somewhere above $50/barrel. I don’t see a peak oil crash; I just see an undulating plateau controlled by a finite supply, increasing global demand, and a world economy tied to oil.