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21 Items You Will Need In Case of a Societal Collapse

william

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Mar 3, 2021
An ounce of preparation is worth a pound of cure as they say. If you've ever watched the show 'Alone', 'Castaway' or Naked and Afraid' you get an inkling of how much goes into merely surviving without the comforts of modern conveniences. While the concept of "Armageddon" or a societal collapse is scary it can be comforting to know about what you can do and prepare for in times of crisis. Here are 21 items that might be crucial to have in case of a large-scale societal collapse scenario:

 
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What Life Would (Really) Be Like After a Societal Collapse
by Emily Standley Allard

Ever wonder what would really happen in America if we were to experience a total societal collapse? Television and movies love to often depict a societal collapse in ways that are overly dramatic, terrifying and also often quite unrealistic. Here are some common elements in these depictions and the reasons why they wouldn’t likely align with real-world (sky is falling) societal collapse scenarios.

6 Scenarios of Societal Collapse in TV and the Movies

1. Complete Breakdown of Order:
- Depiction:

After a societal collapse, popular tv shows and movies like ‘The Walking Dead’ and ‘Mad Max’ and others often depict total anarchy and devastation where governmental structures cease to exist.

Streets are dominated by gangs, zombies or rogue militias, while ordinary people are left to fend for themselves.

- Reality Check:

Historically, even in crises, remnants of governance often persist, with local leaders, emergency services, and volunteer networks stepping up to fill voids.

People generally seek cooperative arrangements for survival rather than total chaos.

2. Instant Technological Regression:
- Depiction:

Society reverts to primitive technology quickly, with people abandoning vehicles for horses and resorting to makeshift weapons and resources.

- Reality Check:

While disruptions could occur in supply chains, basic infrastructure and technology like power grids and communication systems wouldn't disappear overnight.

Solutions would be sought to maintain or restore existing infrastructure using backup systems and solar equipment.

3. Survival of the Fittest Mentality:
- Depiction:

Stories often emphasize extreme individualism, portraying shady, tyrannical characters who trust no one and act ruthlessly to secure their own survival.

- Reality Check:

In reality, cooperation and mutual aid organizations tend to become even more critical during disasters.

Humanitarian efforts, resource-sharing, and communal support often prevail over total selfishness.

4. Limited Resource Locations:
- Depiction:

Survivors often fight over several sources of key resources (like food, clean water, shelter or fuel).

- Reality Check:
Although competition would indeed arise, resources are more varied geographically and economically than depicted.

People would seek alternative means of shelter, cultivate food locally, and attempt to source essentials from less conventional locations.

5. Rapid Urban Decay:
- Depiction:

Urban centers in the movies become ghost towns within days or weeks, with nature overtaking infrastructure almost instantly.

- Reality Check:

Although some areas may be abandoned, most people tend to congregate in remaining safe zones, and cities remain functional to some degree.

Urban decay usually happens over a prolonged period rather than immediately.

6. Simplistic Societal Roles:
- Depiction:

The collapse leads to tribalism with clear "good vs. evil" groups (think Hunger Games), where societal roles become overly simplistic (e.g., warlords, bandits, helpless civilians).

- Reality Check:

The diversity of responses to crises would be far more nuanced.

People would likely form various overlapping groups with mixed interests, often driven by necessity and varying ideologies.

Overall, these are common dramatic depictions that oversimplify human behavior and societal dynamics.

They prioritize heated conflicts and exaggerate chaos for entertainment, diverging from the complexity and resilience that typically define real-world responses to crises.
What Could Realistically Happen After a Societal Collapse?

As discussed, the concept of societal collapse often conjures images of terrifying post-apocalyptic wastelands depicted in popular culture, yet realistic scenarios are generally less sensational but nonetheless potentially quite devastating.

A societal collapse implies a drastic and often irreversible breakdown of institutions, economic systems, and civil infrastructure.

While it’s not certain, possible triggers or contributing factors could include economic instability, political polarization, environmental crises, or systemic infrastructure failures.

Factors of Societal Collapse

1. Economic Breakdown
A sudden economic downturn, triggered by hyperinflation, mass unemployment, or a financial stock market crash, could severely disrupt society.

The collapse of the financial system would affect supply chains, making it difficult for goods to reach markets, similar to what occurred during the Covid 19 epidemic.

Hyperinflation could devalue the currency, leading to bartering or alternative forms of exchange. The banking system might also fail, leaving people unable to access their accounts and savings.

Poverty rates would soar as government welfare programs become insufficient to meet rising needs.

2. Political Instability and Civil Unrest
Severe political polarization could lead to institutional paralysis, causing the government to become ineffective.

If public trust in democratic institutions erodes or if a faction attempts to circumvent democratic norms, the country could witness increasing levels of civil unrest or even violent clashes between opposing groups.

Some states could break off, forming new regional governments or declaring independence, which would result in fragmented authority and intense internal conflict.

3. Environmental Catastrophes
Climate change could exacerbate natural disasters like hurricanes, wildfires, droughts, or floods, overwhelming existing disaster management frameworks.

A series of major disasters might disrupt agriculture, create massive refugee movements, and accelerate resource depletion.

Water scarcity could lead to local conflicts over access to resources, and urban infrastructure might crumble due to rising sea levels or prolonged heat waves.

4. Infrastructure Collapse
Key infrastructure components like power grids, internet networks, and water supply systems become targets for cyber-attacks or physical sabotage.

A breakdown in any one of these systems could have cascading effects on others, leading to widespread outages and chaos.

Urban centers would be hardest hit, and with limited access to clean water, electricity, and reliable communication, millions could be left to fend for themselves.

5. Public Health Crisis
A large-scale disease outbreak, whether through biologicalwarfare, naturally occurring or artificially induced means, could severely affect public health and healthcare systems.

A shortage of medical supplies and workers could render hospitals ineffective.

Critical services like clean water, food distribution, and waste management might break down, exacerbating the public health emergency.

If large populations remain unvaccinated or undernourished, secondary infections and long-term ailments could spread uncontrollably.

6. Social Fragmentation
In times of crisis, trust in public institutions often declines, leading to the rise of local or regional militias and neighborhood watch groups.

These groups may begin enforcing their own laws, and as the central government loses control, localized power struggles could occur.

Society may then fragment into smaller communities, each operating with varying levels of autonomy and often coming into conflict over dwindling resources.

Mitigation and Resilience
The potential for societal collapse in America, however realistic, can be mitigated through strong and inclusive governance, building resilient infrastructures, investing in sustainable practices, and fostering positive community engagement.

Preparedness, diversification, and collaboration between different sectors can also significantly lower the chances or impact of such potential scenarios.

Conclusion
The potential scenarios resulting from a real societal collapse in America would not necessarily resemble outrageous fictional dystopias but could still fundamentally transform the political, economic, and social landscapes of the nation. And there's no doubt that in this present volatile climate we are seeking echoing visions of it potentially happening under our noses. By understanding and planning for these risks, American society can hopefully enhance its resilience and reduce vulnerability to these potential collapses.
 
My can is hungry. Of the 21 things 12 would sound like
stanag…..
 
Permanent magnets, lots of copper wire, maybe some premade solenoids, turbines, transformers, fuses, auto lathes, arc furnaces, steam engines, a lot of coal, solar panels, wind turbines, hydraulic presses, heavy machinery, etc...

I think that's what the government should be stockpiling. It would make restarting national industry much, much easier. Imagine having to manufacture circuit boards starting from hand tools. It would be much easier if you have a fully stocked underground manufacturing facility.

The best thing is, in the time before the war the government could save money on contractors and get their engineering work done in their fancy pants underground engineering facility.
 
Also, particularly in the UK's case, I think the equipment for coal liquefaction would be vital. The UK has massive untapped coal reserves, and we would need to be self-sufficient in hydrocarbons.
(Basically you can turn coal into a variety of hydrocarbons, from plastics to flavorings)
 
From an individual's point of view, obviously, you shouldn't be stockpiling to re-industralise your country :ROFLMAO:
You should stockpile things you might need in the next year that you couldn't easily obtain. That varies from person to person.
Yes there's the obvious food & water etc... but don't neglect things like spare parts for things.
If you've got an AC DC inverter for your off-grid solar panels, make sure you know how to fix it and if there's a critical part in it you can't make yourself then have a spare one handy.
Have spare filters for everything, air systems, fuel intakes, gas masks etc...

Also, know how to fix things. Don't be afraid to just dive in and take something apart, take pictures as you go so you know how to put it back together. Look up tutorials.
Having off-grid power is useless if you can't fix it when it breaks.
 
Also, particularly in the UK's case, I think the equipment for coal liquefaction would be vital. The UK has massive untapped coal reserves, and we would need to be self-sufficient in hydrocarbons.
(Basically you can turn coal into a variety of hydrocarbons, from plastics to flavorings)
Yep but that’s a heretical opinion to voice, well done
 
From an individual's point of view, obviously, you shouldn't be stockpiling to re-industralise your country :ROFLMAO:
You should stockpile things you might need in the next year that you couldn't easily obtain. That varies from person to person.
Yes there's the obvious food & water etc... but don't neglect things like spare parts for things.
If you've got an AC DC inverter for your off-grid solar panels, make sure you know how to fix it and if there's a critical part in it you can't make yourself then have a spare one handy.
Have spare filters for everything, air systems, fuel intakes, gas masks etc...

Also, know how to fix things. Don't be afraid to just dive in and take something apart, take pictures as you go so you know how to put it back together. Look up tutorials.
Having off-grid power is useless if you can't fix it when it breaks.
My brother can fix anything from a circuit board to a diesel engine. As well as operate a tracked backhoe to a dozer. Always said he’d be the best person around if things went to crap.
Small local hydro electric generators.
Before the TVA brought electricity to the Appalachia. Men with third grade educations were building small water impoundments in the remote valleys and running electricity to all their neighbors.
Think out of the box and be prepared to sweat and be cold. Do you have real work clothes for sweltering heat and freezing weather?
 
100% of this info, videos etc given about survival is only ever designed for a short -term situation. Anything using batteries, fuel, generator, motors, bulk food storage etc is solely short-term and should not be relied upon for anything else.
Short term period i say days,weeks,months upto 1-2 yrs maximum. After that looking at a full global nuclear exchange for example, you will be looking at a minimum best chance decade more likely 2 decades before any real sign of normalization and accessibility to basics will be available. Probably longer depending on surviving population. Knowledge and practiced skills in worst conditions will be your best priority. Prepare for the worst .
Only prepared for natural disasters like fires, floods,earthquakes etc is absolutely no comparison whatsoever to a global nuclear war and its outcomes. Don't fool yourselves as weekend warriors will likely be dead inside 6-18 months.
 
Born too late to build an elaborate bunker, born just in time to eat one last can of chef boyardee before succumbing to radiation
 
100% of this info, videos etc given about survival is only ever designed for a short -term situation. Anything using batteries, fuel, generator, motors, bulk food storage etc is solely short-term and should not be relied upon for anything else.
Short term period i say days,weeks,months upto 1-2 yrs maximum. After that looking at a full global nuclear exchange for example, you will be looking at a minimum best chance decade more likely 2 decades before any real sign of normalization and accessibility to basics will be available. Probably longer depending on surviving population. Knowledge and practiced skills in worst conditions will be your best priority. Prepare for the worst .
Only prepared for natural disasters like fires, floods,earthquakes etc is absolutely no comparison whatsoever to a global nuclear war and its outcomes. Don't fool yourselves as weekend warriors will likely be dead inside 6-18 months.
You're not wrong, but I'd like to alter how you're phrasing it. Long-term survival preps are strictly transitional in nature. Their sole purpose is to provide shelter, safe food, and clean water until you are able to begin obtaining these items on your own without using what's in your preps. Best practice says that by the time you have used 50% of your stored preps in any type of global disaster, you should already be obtaining food and water from natural sources and reduced your need for electrical power to the point that solar panels, wind, or hydroelectric can provide you the power you need on your own property. By the time you have used 75% of your stored preps, you should be fully self-sufficient without having to rely on them any more, which means you still have a minimal supply available to you for other emergencies that might creep up. By this time you should also begin replacing some of your stored preps with new emergency preps obtained through traditional preservation methods.

It takes time for even the most experience prepper to begin obtaining, preparing, and storing food obtained by hunting, fishing, trapping, foraging, and gardening. It also takes time to collect water from natural sources and make it safe for drinking. If rely solely on your preps without starting down this road as soon as you possibly can, you are merely postponing a very horrible death by slow starvation.

And I give weekend warriors 90 days or less, because most of them focus on canned food, bottled water, lots of firearms and ammunition, and that's it. They don't store vacuum-sealed seeds for growing fruits and vegetables. They don't keep any information on hand about food preservation without electricity. They have no idea which local plants, roots, seeds, nuts, berries, and mushrooms are safe to eat and which are poisonous. They keep minimal medical supplies on hand and no information on herbal medicine or wilderness first aid techniques. Probably half of them can't even navigate with a standard analog compass and topographical map or celestial markers. Most of them also don't understand that community organization increases their chances of survival.
 
You're not wrong, but I'd like to alter how you're phrasing it. Long-term survival preps are strictly transitional in nature. Their sole purpose is to provide shelter, safe food, and clean water until you are able to begin obtaining these items on your own without using what's in your preps. Best practice says that by the time you have used 50% of your stored preps in any type of global disaster, you should already be obtaining food and water from natural sources and reduced your need for electrical power to the point that solar panels, wind, or hydroelectric can provide you the power you need on your own property. By the time you have used 75% of your stored preps, you should be fully self-sufficient without having to rely on them any more, which means you still have a minimal supply available to you for other emergencies that might creep up. By this time you should also begin replacing some of your stored preps with new emergency preps obtained through traditional preservation methods.

It takes time for even the most experience prepper to begin obtaining, preparing, and storing food obtained by hunting, fishing, trapping, foraging, and gardening. It also takes time to collect water from natural sources and make it safe for drinking. If rely solely on your preps without starting down this road as soon as you possibly can, you are merely postponing a very horrible death by slow starvation.

And I give weekend warriors 90 days or less, because most of them focus on canned food, bottled water, lots of firearms and ammunition, and that's it. They don't store vacuum-sealed seeds for growing fruits and vegetables. They don't keep any information on hand about food preservation without electricity. They have no idea which local plants, roots, seeds, nuts, berries, and mushrooms are safe to eat and which are poisonous. They keep minimal medical supplies on hand and no information on herbal medicine or wilderness first aid techniques. Probably half of them can't even navigate with a standard analog compass and topographical map or celestial markers. Most of them also don't understand that community organization increases their chances of survival.
Yes absolutely agree. This unfortunately misleads most people that don't realise the difference between normal survival situations and the reality of the situation i reference. This is extremely important to clarify the differences in such situation.
The fact that preps and abilities and knowledge for the 2 different situations, also mean life or death. Most will die still in a relatively short period of time even if it months . Simply thinking help will come or things will improve. Sad really. My bags for different scenarios meaning only 2 packs in vehicle for foot transit and 2 packs at home that can be added to vehicle should I be home at time will be added to vehicle to extend basics should vehicle make it to location which is only 5 hrs away , doesn't consist much of anything needing electricity, really only a torch in all bags with fresh batteries but no spares to keep weight down. And I have 1 hand crank radio .
Yes I carry a 2kva generator and 1 Gerry of fuel for the that generator in vehicle. But this will only be used on the rare occasions of checking on situation after first 12 months. Not only to evade detection but also as to extend power source for radio should crank wear out to recharge or winter with cloud cover.. I'm extremely aware of sound, smoke ,smell and light giving away my approximate location. Hence my reluctance to use things like generator and torches. Fires and cooking will done at appropriate times of which won't be hard to adapt. But this is also good example of the differences of survival in different situations. For those not prepared to adapt to real basics of survival will fast perish and the true survivalists of absolute minimum numbers i believe will be left alive after the 2-3 years period.
 
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