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Message Subject Human survivability with supply chain disruptions and its effect on populations
Poster Handle 535
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I have decided to answer this.

You should decide to listen.


The scenario you describe is as follows:

A local collapse (United States centric) of the economic system, coupled with a severe isolationist political leadership which contracts U.S. global military resources.

Your question:

What happens over the course of a year?

The scenario will not play out as you have outlined. The last action of the first U.S. empire will be an unleashing of the military to usher in the second, and more powerful, supranatural overt empire.

Regardless, to your questions, I can answer to the contingency plan requirements.

1. The most effort from governmental resources will be to preserve the following (in order):

Military command and control.

Political command and control.

Major infrastructure command and control.

Major production command and control.

These are the top four. The largest population centers will be the last given help. Understand that large cities are not production centers, but rather concentrated centers of consumption. The personnel, infrastructure, and assets to provide and organize are of the highest priority.

Food, water, energy, sanitation, and weapons are of primary importance. Those that are not within these basic structures of production will, in effect, become second class citizens. They will be left out.

2. Water:

For the short term, your overall analysis is correct.

After one week of water disruption, the population impact is negligible, as the short term solutions you have listed are perfectly viable.

After one month, the population impact will be negligible in regions with large amounts of freshwater, either frozen or in liquid form. For example, the Great Lakes regions and Alaska. Other areas, which have only become habitable recently in the south and west because of cooling and irrigation technology, will have large dead zones. At least 15% of the population will effectively be deceased or become "water refugees".

After one year, assuming your worst case situation, at least 40% of the population are relocated or deceased. The Chicago area will be the last major city left at this point.

By the third year, the military built nuclear desalination plants necessary will be functioning, rendering the problem solved. A full 60-75% of the population should be eliminated by this point in time, ending in an acceptable loss.

3. Food:

Easily the most overblown factor in the equation as a whole, but not at the individual level. Again, if part of the priority system, not an issue.

For the common, the outlook is difficult, at best. Food, water, and electricity cannot be separated in any way in regards to industrial scale production. As a result, the numbers will exactly match the water projection numbers.

The time-frame is also accurate.

4. Medicine

Very salient points, but (to beat the proverbial dead horse), in the end it will not matter. After 3/4 of the population has been eliminated after a solid 3 years have passed, industrial medicines will be plentiful again for the reduced population.

This is all about surplus, nothing more. Currently, within the U.S., there is a surplus of food, power, and water. Remember that the only reason there are "water shortages" is because people do not like to live where it is cold. Not because there is a lack of water.

The surplus is currently tight, but it is there. This means that short term disruptions (weeks) are of little concern for survival, but rather of comfort. This being said, the surplus is not large enough to cushion a long term disruption (years). What this means is simple - the population will naturally drop and relocate until a balance is reached. The population will begin to grow once a surplus begins to be built.
 Quoting: 535 1326993

That was quite an extraordinary read. I'm curious if you'll expand upon it? Why is my scenario less plausible? Do you expect another more plausible scenario to a dollar collapse that results in a total war scenario? Or do you think something entirely different will come about that will usher in a total war scenario?

No disagreement on anything. Converting permafrost in Alaska to water is energy intensive to convert snow to water.(8-12 inches of snow = 1 inch of rain)

You believe that we adequate food supplies for critical infrastructure?

In my belief, if it were to go to full collapse, why not withdrawn to deep bunkers for two months (with the critical personnel you listed), let the chips fall where they may, massive population decline, then send the military topside to use minimal force to reclaim those areas.

Yes, with a vast reduction in population, then there's plenty of natural resources to draw from the carrying capacity of the forests, farmland, game animals, etc.

Yes, the initial move to try to control urban areas will be pointless and not feasible versus retreating to bunkers, but then a military invasion from China is likely.

Withdrawal of military forces to concentrate them in the US, will also lead to invasion from China. Perhaps a joint invasion from Russian and China.

All of that means nuclear war and end game.

It's possible that a dollar collapse would be intentional. Then the corporations that assume they control the military regear up oil production in the US using oil reserves that are not commonly known. They collapse the value of Middle East oil by the vast new reserves. Then propose a new currency based upon US reserves...in effect a new petro-currency.In effect, the Middle East in no longer relevent. The US wouldn't need foreign oil whatsoever, which is the basis of petro-dollars (money exchanged by purchase of Middle East oil in exchange for US bond (debt) instruments.

That scenario above might lead to a military coup d'état. It's highly likely that the US military would try to restore the Republic, otherwise the multinational corportation would be completely in charge.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1110734

To a certain extent, it does not matter what causes the a breakdown. What is certain, is that a breakdown will occur.

At the root of the matter is this: Might makes Right

This is why third world countries stay as such.

Firstly, the failure would have to be an honest one (unlikely, as they are always created).

Secondly, the failure would have to be for a commodity or complete system which cannot be replaced or fixed quickly.

Thirdly, the failure would have to be a massive AND quick disruption (no reaction time).

The only things that fit would be a CME/Space, massive thermonuclear worldwide strike (strategic or tactical), and earth process (volcano, earthquake, etc).

Even in those catastrophic situations, massive military intervention would be inevitable. If, for example, the United States mainland were to be devastated, then the military would immediately be sent back to the U.S. However, the relief efforts by the military would be minimal at best. A massive build-up would take place on the southern and northern borders. Canada and Mexico would have a very hard choice to make: Give up your land or be annihilated.

In these situations, there is nothing to lose and everything to gain. That is the ultimate safety net of massive military might.

In regards to a bunker solution, you are correct in the sense that it would only weaken the position. The military is fully aware of this. To be sure, much of the political and military leadership would be scattered about underground, in the air, and in space - but the combat personnel would be readying themselves.

China and Russia:

Currently, they are both far too weak to even consider any type of invasion. If anything massive were to happen to the entire population of the planet, they would almost immediately be at one another's throat.

China has massive problems keeping their own population in line throughout the frontier. China has little to no force projection capabilities - in fact, they just finished sea trials for their first true aircraft carrier. It is still not in the open ocean for patrol duty. They did not even build it, nor the airframe that lands on it. As a comparison, the United States has 11 Supercarriers with 1 more (even larger than the other 11) being built. Their ICBM and submarine numbers are comparatively very low. There is a huge land army, buy no way to transport it to Taiwan, much less North America.

Russia is in the same situation as China. They have their own massive problems in Chechnya and the entire frontier border with China. Their military situation is rather dire. Although they have a formidable ICBM and submarine fleet, they are still lagging behind. Their space military force is an open secret and they have no force projection capabilities to speak of. Their only option in battle with the Americans is MADD, only a little better than China.

Together, they have a massive nuclear arsenal and land army. Projections are clear: this is far more problematic for Europe, than North America.

Russia, China, and India also happen to be three large military/population powers that are right next to one another. Neither likes the other very much, and all have little force projection capabilities but massive land armies. It could easily be argued that they hate one another much more than the United States. It would not take very much at all to induce a nuclear exchange between them. Remember this.

Finally we are down to the bone of the animal. The military is, for all practical purposes, already not only a corporation... but also in control. As it has been for almost three-quarters of a century.
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