Skip to comments.5 Black Swans That Could Obliterate America's Future
Posted on 02/21/2012 5:11:24 AM PST by Kaslin
Nassim Nicholas Taleb wrote a fantastic book on the impact of large, high impact, statistically rare events called The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable. According to Taleb, history tends to swing much more than we realize on these theoretically foreseeable, but often unexpected large events as opposed to the much more predictable trajectory that we tend to forecast when we look ahead to the future.
Technically, Taleb would probably classify the events we're about to discuss as "grey swans," unlikely events that we should still be able to anticipate, but that's splitting hairs. Long story short, we should be aware that our world can change for the worse in a hurry and we should make sure we're taking steps to alleviate the danger.
Default on the Debt: This is, far and away, the scariest option on the list because all we have to do to ensure that it occurs is maintain the status quo for the next 10-15 years -- if that long. Congressman Mike Pence says we may only be a decade away from a default and Senator Tom Coburn thinks we may be less than 5 years away. By 2020, it'll take 19% of the world's GDP just to finance our debt and by 2030 it'll take 36% of all our tax revenue just to pay the interest on the debt. When people call our spending "unsustainable," that's not hyperbole. What happens if America goes bankrupt and defaults? A Depression would begin, your life savings could become worthless overnight, your taxes would explode, your standard of living would plunge, violence and instability would break out, and payments from the government could dramatically drop or stop altogether.
Demographic Assimilation: "According to a 2002 Zogby poll, 58% of Mexicans said that the ‘territory of the United States’ southwest rightfully belongs to Mexico.'" Mexico, being a bad neighbor, actively encourages both illegal aliens and Mexican-Americans to have their first loyalty to Mexico. This hasn't been a big issue thus far, but we still have porous borders and there's a genuine danger that Mexico could become a failed state. What if the worst happens and we go from 10-12 million illegals in the United States to 25-40 million packed into the southwestern United States in a relatively short period of time? Demographics are destiny, which is something we taught both Mexico and the Indians the hard way, which is why it's so ironic that we think that same lesson couldn’t ever apply to us.
EMP: There haven't been any high altitude nuclear explosions since 1962; so it's hard to definitively know exactly how much damage a nuke exploding over the center of the United States would cause. A Solar Storm, which could theoretically produce almost the same effect, is even more of an unknown. However, it's entirely possible that a single nuclear bomb or Solar Storm could fry enough electronics to send us all the way back to the Dark Ages in the space of a few heartbeats. Airplanes would drop from the sky, the power grid would go down long term, the Internet would go offline, and nearly all the electronics, computer circuitry, and automobiles people rely on would stop functioning. Millions would die in a few months’ time, economic activity would grind to a halt, and people all across America would get to experience the old school "Oregon Trail" video game in real time.
Nuclear Weapons: There's always a chance that some dictator or religious nut could launch a nuclear weapon at us, but as nukes proliferate to more unstable nations, the chances of terrorists or hostile intelligence agencies sneaking those weapons into the United States will increase dramatically. This will especially be true if Iran gets nukes, because that would undoubtedly inspire Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Egypt among other nations to also acquire nuclear weapons.
Imagine nuclear weapons going off in LA, DC, NYC, Chicago, Houston, and Philadelphia all in the same day. Millions would be killed, tens of millions would be displaced, it would cost tens of trillions, those cities could be unusable for decades, and it's entirely possible we would likely have NO IDEA who is behind it at first. That would seem to make our porous borders into a high priority problem although you certainly wouldn’t realize it from the lackadaisical approach the Bush and Obama administrations have taken to securing the border.
Biological Weapons: The Black Death killed somewhere between 30%-60% of the population in Europe, smallpox killed roughly 300 million people in the 20th century, and less than a hundred years ago, the Spanish Flu killed somewhere between 50-100 million people. Now consider that there are roughly 20 nations that are believed to have biological weapon programs including Iran, Egypt, Libya, Pakistan, Syria, and North Korea. Put together hostile and/or unstable regimes with access to weaponized biological agents with terrorists (or even environmental extremists who believe the planet is overpopulated) and you have the potential for tens of millions of deaths, nationwide disruptions, and panic that could last for months or even years.
SHTF in 5 easy lessons.
These five are in no way as ruinous as knowledgeable people not voting.
A supervolcano, or communist/liberal infiltration of the government are much greater threats than any of the above. Multiple EMP's could be a threat.
Or citizens being too lazy to become knowledgeable before voting.
Even more reason to be praying and fasting for our nation...
(How many people are doing this?)
We’ve had The man from Hope, Arkansas, Hope and Change and now, Hope we get out of this alive.
Too late, I’m afraid.
The sixth and most immediate item is the possible reelection of the Scarecrow in Chief.
Default on the debt is a congressional, and leftist red herring. We have complete and total control over our financial future, and if we continue as at present, we deserve the destruction that will be ours. It will prove once and for all just how stupid the American people really are...or not.
Cut, slash, defund, eliminate, etc are words that better start appearing in the headlines if we have any hope of surviving the next few years.
WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!
“The sixth and most immediate item is the possible reelection of the Scarecrow in Chief.”
Now THAT is funny...the way you put it. The possibility, however, is NOT funny, and I agree, Barack Obama poses a clear andpresent danger to the USA.
“The sixth and most immediate item is the possible reelection of the Scarecrow in Chief.”
Now THAT is funny...the way you put it. The possibility, however, is NOT funny, and I agree, Barack Obama poses a clear and present danger to the USA.
Here's TWO actual events in the process of fully actualizing that are better examples of "Black Swans":
In 1950, there were about 4 million Americans living alone, a little less than 10% of all households were one-person households. And back then, it was most common in the sprawling Western states, like Alaska, and Montana, and Nevada, because single migrant men went there.
Today, there are more than 32 million people living aloneaccording to the latest census estimates, 32.7 millionand thats about 28% of all American households. This is an enormous change. Instead of being most common in the West, its now most common in big cities, and it's common in big cities throughout the country. In Seattle, and San Francisco, and Denver, and Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., and Chicago, there are between 35 and 45% of the households have just one person. In Manhattan, where I live, about 1 of every 2 households is a one-person household.
I’ve gone into the Default on the Debt scenario extensively writing two books already out:
I have a third book about the Biflationary paradigm we’re in which I just finished and will show up in a couple days on Amazon :
Biflationary Depression: Protecting Assets From Inflation And Deflation In A Keynesian Collapse http://www.futurnamics.com/biflation.php
The numbers I’ve researched on the economy for these three books really are frightening. We may muddle through at some level (the sun will always come up) but buckle up for rough times.
I’m glad you got it all figured out Pollyanna.
“If you nuke us, use an EMP or a bioweapon we’ll default on our debt”.
Mutual Assured Destruction. Problem solved.
I don’t think the author understands what a ‘Black Swan’ is. Thery are surprises. Nothing in that list hasn’t been discussed ad nauseum for years.
I am far less concerned about knowlegeable people not voting than the ignorant showing up at the polls en masse.
Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large numbers.
EMP won’t take out the electrical grid,
decommissioning power plants will.
Bump for later
They aren’t surprises to the well informed, but that’s just a faction of the people, look at some of the comments already posted on this thread, by people who claim to be conservatives and yet clearly have their head buried in the sand.
Many will fall to what is called Normalcy Bias, a mental state many people enter when facing a disaster. It causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and its possible effects. This often results in situations where people fail to adequately prepare for a disaster, and on a larger scale, the failure of governments to include the populace in its disaster preparations. The assumption that is made in the case of the normalcy bias is that since a disaster never has occurred then it never will occur. It also results in the inability of people to cope with a disaster once it occurs. People with a normalcy bias have difficulties reacting to something they have not experienced before. People also tend to interpret warnings in the most optimistic way possible, seizing on any ambiguities to infer a less serious situation.
How many Jews do you think went all the way into the gas chambers never fully realizing what was happening?
There’s a good article about it in my Preparedness Manual, which can be downloaded here for FREE:
For those of you who havent started already its time to prepare almost past time maybe. You needed to be stocking up on food guns, ammo, basic household supplies like soap, papergoods, cleaning supplies, good sturdy clothes including extra socks, underwear and extra shoes and boots, a extra couple changes of oil and filters for your car, tools, things you buy everyday start buying two and put one up.
As the LDS say When the emergency is upon us the time for preparedness has past.
Or as the bible says: A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.
NIV Proverbs 22:3
Lastly this for the doubters and the scoffers.
There is no greater disaster than to underestimate danger.
Underestimation can be fatal.
I see it as a two edge sword, what the EMP doesn’t get the EPA will.
“I dont think the author understands what a Black Swan is. They are surprises. Nothing in that list hasnt been discussed ad nauseum for years.”
I completely agree. A black swan event is, by definition, an event that is not anticipated, not discussed constantly nor on the radar.
These events are often discussed only in very small circles, normally initiated by an individual who has a premonition/precognition about some dark event looming in the near future. The examples of dark swan warnings range thru all recorded history up to the analyst who tried to alert the SEC about the Madoff scam.
The most common of all dark swan events in the fullness of human history is the unexpected population event called a “bottleneck”.
For those of you who are not opposed to a bit of heavy science reading, there is such a discussion ongoing on this forum. You might find it interesting.
Probably because most of the people possessing the most bitter hatred for America already live here. :)
Office supply cabinet into a faraday cage:
>>These five are in no way as ruinous as knowledgeable people not voting.<<
Worse still is stupid people voting.
“decommissioning power plants will.”
Now, you’re talking. THAT is a major issue with me. As we add need and decrease power plants we can find ourselves in a nasty situation where it becomes harder and harder to maintain the power grid load levels and keep them balanced. At some point it becomes impossible to keep them balanced and every time they turn on a grid section it goes down because of overload, making it impossible to keep any section up at any time.
I believe Obama and his liberal Luddite ilk are after that exact effect.
Black Swan *ping*. Your two cents on what might be a Black Swan in our future?
I don’t believe they are Luddites.
They want the technology and energy use to be available, but only to the “elite” who know how to use energy prudently, not you and I or the masses.
They follow Nietzsche’s assertion that holding all men accountable to the same moral standard is detrimental to the “higher” men, and therefore detrimental to society.
Does Rumsfeld addressed this when he said, “There are known unknowns and there are unknown unknowns.” An unknown unknown would be Custer calling in a B-52 strike to save the 7th Cavalry. Unknown to Sitting Bull anyhow. The two nuclear bombs in Japan were an unknown unknown for most of the population of both Nations.
Aren’t you the cheery one this morning!
“Bio Weapons - Countries without good healthcare will be hit harder “
We can’t handle 70,000 anthrax cases all at once. We’d be on a par with Guatemala or Mali by week 2 in terms of being able to care for people.
And for the first several days, people will be dropping spores in emergency rooms and clinics, from their clothes and hair, so the military will have to set up what mobile tent facilities they have in country at the time.
And that’s just anthrax, with no additives or adjuncts.
“I believe Obama and his liberal Luddite ilk are after that exact effect.”
You have to condition people to accept a power grid that is spotty and unreliable to get them to embrace “green” energy that is on only when the wind blows or the sun is out.
The morning hurricane Rita hit, the wind was still blowing and gusting over 50mph. Limbs were still coming down from the trees.
A girl stopped in front of the house and asked if my electricity was back on yet.
She honestly did not have a clue that the power lines she had been driving over is how the power got to her house.
She honestly believed the power came from the post itself.
She also didn't know that gas stations had gas delivered to them. She thought it just came out of the ground.
To this day I'm still dumbfounded as to how ignorant she was and how she was even able to function at all.
Thanks I’ll look those up.
I always thought Black Swans were unexpected events.
Those all have reasonable expectations.
Let me add;
Major earthquake (like Japan recently), causing nuclear power plant issues.
This would cripple our already dicey economy.
About the EMP vs ouside hacking; although our power grid could be taken down for a period of time by “bad guys” it would never have the same results as an EMP. (Read the book One Second After). Even the Russians have long known that, if you only have one nuke the best use for it is an EMP.
The girl you described undoubtedly is an Obama voter, LOL.
Technically, true, but as the number of dollars in existence approaches infinity, the value of each individual dollar approaches zero.
EMP - hurtful, but nothing we couldn't bounce back from quickly,...
About 8 years ago, a large transformer supplying Phoenix failed; the nearest spare was somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. It was big enough it had to be transported by barge to LA, then on an ultra-heavy-duty truck from there, at about 5 mph. Overall, it tooks several weeks, and nothing else anywhere had failed.
An EMP event over the "Bos-Wash corridor", Chicago or Los Angeles would take months to recover from, even if everything went perfectly, which it never does. Millions of people would be dead, especially if it happened in winter.
Nuclear Weapons - We lost New Orleans to Katrina and barely noticed.
The only value New Orleans (the city) has is as a place to get drunk for Mardi Gras. Nobody is going to nuke New Orleans; they'll nuke a city that has actual utility beyond housing parasites. Come up with a better example.
He’d probably say “New Madrid Earthquake” (again).
Ironically, there was a small one earlier today.
You got that right.
She also thought that the generators people had had been given to them by the power co. because they were “rich”. The power co. didn’t give the poor people generators.
She also thought that there was 3 different prices for gas because it was rich peoples gas, middle peoples gas, and poor peoples gas. She had seen rich people buying poor peoples gas.
The only reason I talked to that idiot as long as I did was simply for the amusement value.
Apparently it had never dawned on her that those big trucks that pull up and park around the periphery now and again were delivering rather than picking-up.
This is “sort of” a novel black swan. In the space of one hour, something gobbles up the entire internet. Just makes it go haywire, FUBAR, you can’t get on anywhere to even discuss what the hell just happened? Then the infrastructure systems that tie into the net start going haywire, and at the end of the day, power is going out in cascades, water systems don’t work, planes can’t fly....
And nobody even knows what the hell caused it. It just “is.”
the internet destroying old media was a black swan.
the tea party movement was a black swan.
Prediction implies control.
The internet coupling with the tea party is a black swan because the kleptocrats could not control the situation.
I laughed about how stupid she was at the time, but as I thought about it she was just plain scary stupid and there are millions more just like her.
There was a 4.0 quake this morning in Missouri near the New Madrid fault line. A 9.5 quake along the New Madrid fault line with a simultaneous eruption of the Yellowstone Caldera would kill around 90% of America’s population.
In her mind:
1. Electrical power comes from a wooden stick
2. Gasoline comes from the ground.
3. Money comes from the government.
The first scenario of Custer would be in the realm of science fiction - not a black swan.
The two atomic bombs on Japan are indeed a black swan for Japan - and you cite an excellent example.
The knowledge of the bomb was held in a very tight circle - and in the realm of real science.
I write about real science and particularly the edge of new science. (i.e. thus my article about Mother Abigail transforming the media by hijacking Free Republic in 2003)
Her predictions on SARS and Ebola and now her prediction about “The Coming Wave”, are real science. They poke around at the edge of knowledge and understanding, but are rock solid in their basis of fact.
That is a black swan.