Collapse Has ARRIVED! : Dimming Bulb 3

(By the Doomstead Diner)

Due to my High & Mighty position as a Global Collapse Pundit, I am often asked the question of when precisely will Collapse arrive?  The people who ask me this question all come from 1st World countries.  They are also all reasonably well off with a computer, an internet connection, running water and enough food to eat.  While a few of us are relatively poor retirees, even none of us wants for the basics as of yet.  The Diner doesn’t get many readers from the underclass even here in Amerika, much less from the Global Underclass in places like Nigeria, Somalia,Sudan and Yemen.

Read also: The Dimming Bulb, The Dimming Bulb 2

The fact is, that for more than half the world population, Collapse is in full swing and well underway.  Two key bellweathers of where collapse is now are the areas of Electricity and Food.

In his seminal 1996 Paper The Olduvai Theory: Sliding Towards a Post-Industrial Stone Age, Richard Duncan mapped out the trajectory of where we would be as the years passed and fossil fuels became more difficult and expensive to mine up.  Besides powering all our cars and trucks for Happy Motoring and Just-in-Time delivery, the main thing our 1st World lifestyle requires is Electricity, and lots of it on demand, 24/7.  Although electricity can be produced in some “renewable” ways that don’t depend on a lot of fossil fuel energy at least directly, most of the global supply of electric power comes from Coal and Natural Gas.  Of the two, NG (NatGas) is slightly cleaner, but either way when you burn them, CO2 goes up in the atmosphere.  This of course is a problem climatically, but you have an even bigger problem socially and politically if you aren’t burning them.  Everything in the society as it has been constructed since Edison invented the Light Bulb in 1879 has depended on electricity to function.

Now, if all the toys like lights, refrigerators big screen TVs etc had been kept to just a few small countries and the rest of the world lived a simple subsistence farming lifestyle, the lucky few with the toys probably could have kept the juice flowing a lot longer.  Unfortunately however, once exposed to all the great toys, EVERYBODY wanted them.  The industrialists also salivated over all the profit to be made selling the toys to everyone.  So, everybody everywhere needed a grid, which the industrialists and their associated banksters extended Credit for “backward” Nation-States all over the globe to build their own power plants and string their own wires.  Now everybody in the country could have a lightbulb to see by and a fridge to keep the food cold.  More than that, the electricity also went to power water pumping stations and sewage treatment plants, so you could pack the Big Shities with even more people who use still more electricity.

This went on all over the globe, today there isn’t a major city or even a medium size town anywhere on the globe that isn’t wired for electricity, although many places that are now no longer have enough money to keep the juice flowing.

Where is the electricity going off first?  Obviously, in the poorest and most war torn countries across the Middle East and Africa.  These days, from Egypt to Tunisia, if they get 2 hours of electricity a day they are doing good.

The Lights Are Going Out in the Middle East

Public fury over rampant outages has sparked protests. In January, in one of the largest demonstrations since Hamas took control in Gaza a decade ago, ten thousand Palestinians, angered by the lack of power during a frigid winter, hurled stones and set tires ablaze outside the electricity company. Iraq has the world’s fifth-largest oil reserves, but, during the past two years, repeated anti-government demonstrations have erupted over blackouts that are rarely announced in advance and are of indefinite duration. It’s one issue that unites fractious Sunnis in the west, Shiites in the arid south, and Kurds in the mountainous north. In the midst of Yemen’s complex war, hundreds dared to take to the streets of Aden in February to protest prolonged outages. In Syria, supporters of President Bashar al-Assad in Latakia, the dynasty’s main stronghold, who had remained loyal for six years of civil war, drew the line over electricity. They staged a protest in January over a cutback to only one hour of power a day.

Over the past eight months, I’ve been struck by people talking less about the prospects of peace, the dangers of ISIS, or President Trump’s intentions in the Middle East than their own exhaustion from the trials of daily life. Families recounted groggily getting up in the middle of the night when power abruptly comes on in order to do laundry, carry out business transactions on computers, charge phones, or just bathe and flush toilets, until electricity, just as unpredictably, goes off again. Some families have stopped taking elevators; their terrified children have been stuck too often between floors. Students complained of freezing classrooms in winter, trying to study or write papers without computers, and reading at night by candlelight. The challenges will soon increase with the demands for power—and air-conditioning—surge, as summer temperatures reach a hundred and twenty-five degrees.

The reasons for these outages vary. With the exception of the Gulf states, infrastructure is old or inadequate in many of the twenty-three Arab countries. The region’s disparate wars, past and present, have damaged or destroyed electrical grids. Some governments, even in Iraq, can’t afford the cost of fueling plants around the clock. Epic corruption has compounded physical challenges. Politicians have delayed or prevented solutions if their cronies don’t get contracts to fuel, maintain, or build power plants.

Now you’ll note that at the end of the third paragraph there, the journalist implies that a big part of the problem is “political corruption”, but it’s really not.  It’s simply a lack of money.  These countries at one time were all Oil Exporters, although not on the scale of Saudi Arabia or Kuwait.  As their own supplies of oil have depleted they have become oil importers, except they neither have a sufficient mercantilist model running to bring in enough FOREX to buy oil, and they can’t get credit from the international banking cartel to keep buying.  3rd World countries are being cut off from the Credit Lifeline, unlike the core countries at the center of credit creation like Britain, Germany and the FSoA.  All these 1st World countries are in just as bad fiscal deficit as the MENA countries, the only difference is they still can get credit and run the deficits even higher.  This works until it doesn’t anymore.

Beyond the credit issue is the War problem.  As the countries run out of money, more people become unemployed, biznesses go bankrupt, tax collection drops off the map and goobermint employees are laid off too.  It’s the classic deflationary spiral which printing more money doesn’t solve, since the notes become increasingly worthless.  For them to be worth anything in FOREX, somebody has to buy their Goobermint Bonds, and that is precisely what is not happening.  So as the society becomes increasingly impoverished, it descends into internecine warfare between factions trying to hold on to or increase their share of the ever shrinking pie.

The warfare ongoing in these nations has knock on effects for the 1st World Nations still trying to extract energy from some of these places.  To keep the oil flowing outward, they have to run very expensive military operations to at least maintain enough order that oil pipelines aren’t sabotaged on a daily basis.  The cost of the operations keeps going up, but the amount of money they can charge the customers for the oil inside their own countries does not keep going up.  Right now they have hit a ceiling around $50/bbl for what they can charge for the oil, and for the most part this is not a profit making price.  So all the corporations involved in Extraction & Production these days are surviving on further extensions of credit from the TBTF banks.  This also is a paradigm that can’t last.

The other major problem now surfacing is the Food Distribution problem, and again this is hitting the African countries first and hardest.  It’s a combination problem of climate change, population overshoot and the warfare which results from those issues.

Currently, the UN lists 4 countries in extreme danger of famine in the coming year, Nigeria, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen.  They estimate currently there are 20M people at extreme risk, and I would bet the numbers are a good deal higher than that.

World faces four famines as Trump administration plans to slash foreign aid budget

‘Biggest humanitarian crisis since World War II’ about to engulf 20 million people, UN says, as governments only donate 10 per cent of funds needed for essential aid.

The world is facing a humanitarian crisis bigger than any in living memory, the UN has said, as four countries teeter on the brink of famine.

Twenty million people are at risk of starvation and facing water shortages in Somalia, Nigeria and Yemen, while parts of South Sudan are already officially suffering from famine.

While the UN said in February that at least $4.4 billion (£3.5 bn) was needed by the end of March to avert a hunger catastrophe across the four nations, the end of the month is fast approaching, and only 10 per cent of the necessary funds have been received from donor governments so far.

It doesn’t look too promising that the UN will be able to raise the $4B they say is necessary to feed all those hungry mouths, and none of the 1st World countries is too predisposed to handing out food aid when they all currently have problems with their own social welfare programs for food distribution.  Here in the FSoA, there are currently around 45M people on SNAP Cards at a current cost around $71B.  The Repugnants will no doubt try to cut this number in order to better fund the Pentagon, but they are not likely to send more money to Somalia.

Far as compassion for all the starving people globally goes in the general population, this also appears to be decreasing, although I don’t have statistics to back that up. It is just a general sense I get as I read the collapse blogosphere, in the commentariats generally.  The general attitude is, “It’s their own fault for being so stupid and not using Birth Control.  If they were never born, they wouldn’t have to die of starvation.”  Since they are mostly Black Africans currently starving, this is another reason a large swath of the white population here doesn’t care much about the problem.

There are all sorts of social and economic reasons why this problem spiraled out of control, having mainly to do with the production of cheap food through Industrial Agriculture and Endless Greed centered on the idea of Endless Growth, which is not possible on a Finite Planet.

More places on Earth were wired up with each passing year, and more people were bred up with each passing year.  The dependency on fossil fuels to keep this supposedly endless cycle of growth going became ever greater each year, all while this resource was being depleted more each year.  Eventually, an inflection point had to be hit, and we have hit it.

The thing is, for the relatively comfortable readers of the Doomstead Diner in the 1st World BAU seems to be continuing onward, even if you are a bit poorer than you were last year. 24/7 electricity is still available from the grid with only occasional interruptions.  Gas is still available at the pump, and if you are employed you probably can afford to buy it, although you need to be more careful about how much you drive around unless you are a 1%er.  The Rich are still lining up to buy EVs from Elon Musk, even though having a grid to support all electric transportation is out of the question.  The current grid can’t be maintained, and upgrading to handle that much throughput would take much thicker cables all across the network.  People carry on though as though this will all go on forever and Scientists & Engineers will solve all the problems with some magical new device.  IOW, they believe in Skittle Shitting Unicorns.

That’s not going to happen though, so you’re back to the question of how long will it take your neighborhood in the UK or Germany or the FSoA to look like say Egypt today?  Well, if you go back in time a decade to Egypt in 2007, things were still looking pretty Peachy over there, especially in Tourist Traps like Cairo.  Terrorism wasn’t too huge a problem and Da Goobermint of Hoser Mubarak appeared stable.  A decade later today, Egypt is basically a failed state only doing marginally better than places like Somalia and Sudan.  The only reason they’re doing as well as they are is because they are in an important strategic location on the Suez Canal and as such get support from the FSoA military.

So a good WAG here for how long it will take for the Collapse Level in 1st World countries to reach the level Egypt is at today is about a decade.  It could be a little shorter, it could be longer.  By then of course, Egypt will be in even WORSE shape, and who might still be left alive in Somalia is an open question.  Highly unlikely to be very many people though.  Over the next decade, the famines will spread and people will die, in numbers far exceeding the 20M to occur over the next year.  After a while, it’s unlikely we will get much newz about this, and people here won’t care much about what they do hear.  They will have their own problems.

The original article can be found at the Doomstead Diner here: Dimming Bulb 3: Collapse Has ARRIVED!

A very interesting article by the folks at Doomstead Diner.  While their forecast of collapse could be off a few years, it seems as if they are looking at the same time-frame the Hills Group and Louis Arnoux are projecting for the Thermodynamic oil collapse.

Lastly, people need to realize COLLAPSE does not take place in a day, week, month or year.  It takes place over a period of time.  The folks at Doomstead Diner are making the case that it has ARRIVED.  It is just taking time to reach the more affluent countries will good printing presses.

So… it is going to be interesting to see how things unfold over the next 5-10 years.

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30 Comments on "Collapse Has ARRIVED! : Dimming Bulb 3"

  1. Interesting perspective. Thanks, SRS.

    I have books written 50 years ago by elite mouthpieces that advocate deliberate policy of mass depopulation. Agenda 21/2030 was just re-packaging, and American foreign policy seems to be the vehicle. Clearly, wiping out millions based on various cooked-up narratives (lies) serves the underlying objective of Demand Destruction in an attempt to put off thermodynamic collapse for Chosen Nations (those that aren’t in the immediate crosshairs).

    Some of the cutesy acronyms are unfamiliar. I look up “1st World BAU” and come up with something regarding butchers, though it’s most likely Business As Usual. FSoA brings up articles about the Foreign Service, though it’s probably something like “Free States of America”…?

    I still regard CAGW as a clever, heavily-marketed smokescreen designed to rationalise state-centered solutions for real problems like falling EROI.

  2. “The folks at Doomstead Diner are making the case that it has ARRIVED. It is just taking time to reach the more affluent countries with good printing presses.”
    It will happen extremely fast, once the credit sqeeze will cause a banking holiday for more than a few days and supply lines collapse along with thr rest of so called “civilisation”-based amenities. That could happen any day now, I feel.

  3. Admittedly, we need to see such articles once in a while in order to be in shape. But the common aspect of all collapses is their unpredictable dynamics: a complex system undergoing a chaotic transition is unpredictable both in the outcome and the timing of transition. What can be accepted without question is the point that the next 5~10 years will be most interesting to watch, preferably from a safe distance. The Catastrophy of the Bronze Age took about 50 years to play out, that is from the first wave of troubles to a complete and irreversible destruction of a then-global Mediterranean civilisation, including the loss of literacy in Greece, the cradle of civilisation. It took them 4~5 centuries to recover, and the better part of that civilisation was not rivalled in achievements until well into medieval times. Let’s just hope we do not live to see that through!

  4. Great article, very easy to read and understand.
    Doomsday not that far, unfortunately unavoidable…

  5. Hi Lore,
    FSoA is the writer’s acronym for Fascist States of America. I’s a familiar acronym to regular readers of the Doomstead Diner. I had to look up WAG, a new one for me! Means a “wild-a** guess”!

  6. I have a habit of either using common internet acronyms or making up my own to save keyboarding time. I do have a glossary for them, although since I make up new ones all the time it’s not very complete. lol. (laughing out loud)

    Glossary can be found at:,2144.0.html

    Nice to make the acquaintance of fellow Kollapsniks here on SRS Rocco!


    • Thanks. I appreciate how you make a point and then show its real-world manifestation in a broader context. This is very valuable and sets watchful bloggers apart.

  7. I think the time-line of this article is overly optimistic. I recently went to N.Y. and flew in to LeGuardia airport. If you told me I was flying into Guademala or Paraguay I’d believe it. What a third world dump accompanied by standing military with AR15s. Across the nation roads and bridges are atrocious. We have serious social and societal issues spreading like a cancer across the nation. Based on the Olduvai bell curve energy availability will reach the 1930s level by 2030. I think we’ll see TSHTF well before 2030. I think we’ll see serious carnage by 2025. The U.S. population in 1950 was 151 million. It is over 320 million today. Just hitting 1950s energy levels will blow up a society without locally produced and sustainable farming. We don’t have a local sustainable farming system. Nope we’re destined for a good round of mother nature house cleaning. Let’s hope we don’t lose a nuclear site blow chunks here or somewhere else in the northern hemisphere. That’s the kind of stuff that will accelerate the chaos.

    • petedivine,

      LOLOL… do you talk like this at parties?? I gather there are few who would be able to stomach what you wrote.

      Unfortunately, Americans have no idea because the MEDIA has failed to report real NEWS.


      • What’s a party?

        • Petedivine,

          You know… gatherings with friends and family. I had to stop talking about this years ago around family and friends…LOL.


          • Petedivine | June 5, 2017 at 5:50 pm |

            Yeah.. certainly Debbie downer stuff..but for those of us that see the data what other conclusions can we infer? The deterioration of empire by a declining EROI is slowly and unwaveringly unfolding right in front of us, for those that have eyes to see.

    • Um, I’ll sleep well tonight after reading your post. Geez……..!

  8. Good article, RE!

  9. Base Bio – Mass Fuel
    Just Facts:
    Since the dawn of time, human population of planet earth has increased. As in going bankrupt, this happened slowly at first, then all at once!
    For the past 200,000 years, earths human population was fairly stable at 2 billion humans.
    This was all the bio-mass (animal power, wood, etc.) energy would support. Then along came the ‘Industrial Revolution’ using coal with steam power, followed closely by petroleum and the internal combustion engine.
    Archaic farming methods would support (feed) the farmer and 10 other people. This drastically changed with industrial farming. Now one farmer can support (feed) + 1,000 people. Until the cheap energy like oil runs out.
    It took 200,000 years for the human population to reach 2 billion inhabitants on planet earth and only 250 years to balloon to almost 8 billion. Now growing larger exponentially. These “extra” 6 billion people have oil to thank for their daily bread. When the oil runs out, so does the bread.

    Suggested reading; The Club of Rome World Population Studies.

  10. When energy use exceeds new energy finds, the end is certain.

    When consumption rate exceeds net investment rate, the end is certain. This is what I call the Keynesian singularity:

    • Lyonwiss,

      Correct… but let’s keep that between you and I… LOL. There’s 320+ million Americans who have no clue about that. If they were to find out… well then, we would have some serious problems.


  11. whereigohereiam | June 5, 2017 at 1:37 pm | Reply

    Please stop using the Hill’s group report already. It’s been debunked:

    They might be correct by accident, but their thermodynamics derivations aren’t valid. They made a false equivalency. Be brave, responsible, and truthful; look into the debunking and either issue your own mea culpa or debunk the debunking. I’m sure it’s a popular and lucrative video, but viewers have an expectation of credibility. Ignoring this issue and continuing to rely upon that report will only diminish your credibility.

    • whereigohereiam,

      Again… thanks for provided a BOGUS EMAIL for your commenting privilege.

      So, you are linking UGO BARDI’S RESPONSE to the Hills Group… LOL. That’s your DEBUNKING soure?? You got to be kidding.

      I would not take what UGO said, even though I respect him, as DEBUNKING the Hill’s Group Report. I have been in correspondence with many scientists on the HILL’S GROUP REPORT and I can tell you… what is happening right in front of our EYES is proof.

      While the Hill’s Group ETP Model forecast may be off by some years.. the overall guideline is proving to be SPOT ON.


    • SilverSeeker | June 6, 2017 at 3:00 am | Reply

      their model is wrong, but due to exponential progress in eroi and volume of solar energy production, the price of oil (whatever is left) will drop.

  12. Oil, and coal, natural gas, cheap and with technology, and paying customers, as easy as it gets, but we are only now realizing it’s great abundancy, collectively but slowly absorbing the possibility of it’s dentrimental effects, including the fairly recent “age of plastic”. Now oil has created waves of dependency, from economic to the backbone of societies.

    I don’t like to compare blackouts to collapse, but only because I see folks getting by, as they always did before the steam age came along, not having electricity is simply pre-steam age living.

    To envision maybe a better life – nuclear fusion, or a step backwards – a Carrington event. Collapse doesn’t have to be slow, or fast, it could just as well be upon us in an instant.

  13. Far as the Hill’s Report goes, I know BW Hill for a long time, going back to when he went by the handle ShortOnOil on the Peak Oil forum.

    The analysis isn’t rigorous thermodynamics from a theoretical standpoint, what they did was to do some curve-fitting to the data they were using. IMHO, it’s generally correct but neglects an important factor, which is the effects aren’t uniform across the globe because the distribution of credit isn’t uniform. So every place isn’t going to be going dark at the same time.

    The main question on the credit or monetary system is when will it reach the terminal breaking point of Loss of Faith by the very people who actually run it, the TBTF Banks? Somebody big has to run for the Fire Exit at some point, and when that happens, then you’ll see a real show.

  14. SilverSeeker | June 6, 2017 at 2:27 am | Reply

    just my two cents… these draughts and famines are ocurring because of global cooling. The ice age is coming :<

  15. “Of the two, NG (NatGas) is slightly cleaner, but either way when you burn them, CO2 goes up in the atmosphere. This of course is a problem climatically,”

    You lost when you asserted the above.

    • How so? NG doesn’t put up CO2 when burned? Coal is as clean as NG when burned? Coal always has some impurities in it like sulfur which add sulfur oxides to the mix of gas pollutants.

      The only way to make a case that NG is worse than coal is that these days you need to FRACK to scrounge it up. So that pollutes the surrounding land and water table. But it still does not put as much pollutant up into the atmosphere.

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