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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Futurists - Survivalism

The meeting started with a discussion about the economy among some new members, but it was soon made known that we have a topic each evening, and this time, it is about "Survivalism". Survivalism is about personal existence and co-existence with others.

Here is Stefan's survival kit: tablets, water bottles, thermal blankets...etc. Oh yes, even a condom! I was told it is to be used to carry water.
This is the book introduced this evening:
In the waning days of the American empire, we find ourselves mired in political crisis, with our foreign policy coming under sharp criticism and our economy in steep decline. These trends mirror the experience of the Soviet Union in the early 1980s. Reinventing Collapse examines the circumstances of the demise of the Soviet superpower and offers clear insights into how we might prepare for coming events.
In brief, we discussed about:
  • A friend of one of us who built himself a bunker to survive a nuclear attack in Queensbury, England. This person had food supplies, medicine, water and guns to protect himself.
  • Year 2000 - There were lots of preparations. Old equipment non-Year200-compliant were replaced; backup generators were installed; satellite communications dish were installed;...etc. Then when the time came, nothing happened! Consultants and IT companies made lots of money and IT stock prices plummeted by April 2000.
  • The experience of a severe snow storm in England. The electricity was disrupted and supplies in shops were getting scarce. Yet, people were fairly relaxed about it. Instead they come out and talked to the neighbours and mingle. Something they don't do very much when conditions were normal. We think that people were calm then, because there was expectations that the situation will be restored to normalcy. Otherwise there will be gradual collapse of order.
  • SARS - It became a bit scary at one stage when everyone in the airplane puts on a mask. One of the members called back to his step-mum and she asked if he has SARS and that it may be better that he not return, just in case. That was quite sobering, as it shows that even family members are ready to desert him, when come to the crunch.
  • H1N1 - When it started, the Singapore hospitals were on Orange alert, but then, it stood down to Yellow alert. Then, after the first case occurred in Singapore, it remained Yellow alert and had not escalated to Orange or Red. We think this could be that they have understood the disease better and hence are more confident of managing it.
  • Last year, the steep rise in oil prices and the reduction of state subsidies caused some riots in Indonesia.
In the event of a disaster, does the poor countries collapse first?
Are poorer countries, more used to hardships, more resilient?
Are urban areas more adversely affected than the countryside?

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