The Coming Economic Collapse

Now that we've about used up the earth, you don't have to look hard for evidence of the coming economic collapse.

| May/June 1979

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Because there are no new lands or stores of resources to exploit, the coming economic collapse will be a world-wide phenomenon.


You see signs of the coming economic collapse everywhere. Turmoil in the Middle East. Predictions (threats?) of dollar-a-gallon gasoline. Falling economic indicators coupled with mushrooming inflation. Spot shortages of this and that. Burgeoning surpluses of something else. Oppressive levels of unemployment (among blacks in this country, throughout Mexico, and other "underdeveloped" nations) alongside crying demands (in all parts of the world) for trained workers.

Electrical brownouts and blackouts. Cutbacks in social and other services. The bankruptcies of whole cities and countries. Taxpayer revolts. "Voluntary" wage and price "guidelines" that aren't so voluntary anymore. Mass suicides and other outrages committed in the name of religion. A paralyzing avalanche of government dictates, mandates, rules, regulations, and other red tape. Calls for a constitutional convention. Separatist movements and terrorist acts and "wars of liberation" all over the globe.

Nuclear proliferation. A steadily increasing stream of more and more deadly chemicals and wastes injected into the planet's land, water, and air. Legionnaire's Disease in the United States, "baby's disease" in Italy, and other new regional epidemics that "don't respond to conventional treatment."

An explosion in the incidence of cancer. A bewildering quicksand of shifting political, economic, and ideological alliances among nations. Earthquakes. Droughts. Record winter blizzards. Floods. Confusion. Hysteria, in some quarters. "Solutions" which only make the problems worse.

Why? Why, in this "enlightened" age, does nothing seem to work as well "as it used to?" Why, despite our best efforts, does the prosperity that we were so certain of 20 years ago daily slip through our fingers? Why do our political, social, and economic institutions suddenly seem dated, out of touch with reality, and ineffective? What is happening to us, our country, and the planet? How much worse will conditions have to get before they start to improve? For that matter, can today's downward trends be reversed? And it they can, do we as a nation, as a culture, as the dominant species on earth, have enough intelligence, wisdom, resolve, resources, and time at our command to pull it off?

Well, the "leaders" (elected, self-proclaimed, or otherwise) of our culture may not yet have gotten the word. But, as reported five years ago in this magazine a wise old man by the name of Walter Prescott Webb had the answer to all those questions—and many others—at least three decades back.

8/24/2007 4:56:55 PM

Now you are going to help me I hope? I have been searching for the source of that Quote from Lewis Mumford for some years ago, and you tantalisingly say it was from 1974. but what was the full quote and what is the full reference? I remember it went something like this "people are always telling us we are on the verge of a new dark age, what they don't know is that we are already in it" So the accurate version please.

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