Modern Civilization Is Dangerously Interdependent On Long Supply Chains And Technology

April 6, 2015, by Ken Jorgustin

fragile-supply-chains

We have created for ourselves an interconnected and interdependent web of technologies and supply chain dependencies which have enabled us to thrive, but at the same time has made us dangerously fragile to the risk of sudden depopulation.

Here’s what I mean…

 
Technology
Technology has been great, but it has also changed us as a people. It has enabled tremendous modernization, growth, and prosperity never seen before in humankind. It has also changed the way we ‘live’. Literally. To the point that we CANNOT live without it (most of us). Technology has enabled growth, efficiencies, and subsequent dependencies in many areas, including the following:

Food
Have you ever wondered how far the food has traveled to get to your table? When you browse through the grocery store have you considered where the various foods might have come from and the supply chains to get there? Most people have not, and simply don’t care. However if you begin to think about it, you may start to realize the systemic risks that are inherent in the long chains of interdependency between the source and your plate. This all exists because of technology and efficiencies of distribution.

Retail
When you go to the store to buy clothes, consumable supplies, or just about anything ‘retail’, do you have any idea where these products come from and the complex web of technology that enabled it to be on the store shelf in front of you (or online shopping for delivery next-day)?

Raw Materials
Even for the ‘things’ that are made here in our country, do you believe that all of the raw materials came from readily available sources here at home?

Long supply chains
The supply chains (for nearly everything) are very long, and therefore inherently filled with systemic risks and inter-dependencies. Today’s products and goods have often traveled thousands of miles after having been ‘made’ somewhere very far away. Some of these chains are also dependent upon political and international agreements, and who is to say that these cannot be disrupted in turmoil to cause serious ramifications down the line? There are lots of ‘assumptions’ for everything to work smoothly in these long supply chains.

Middlemen
Think about all of the potential ‘middlemen’ and processes during the long ‘chain’ of time and miles between when you bought that shirt at Walmart and when it was ‘made’ in China (or fill in the blank), or even before that during the procurement and processes of collecting the raw materials that went into the fabrication of that shirt (for example).

No more local
Same thing with some of our food (especially during the winter). The food on your grocery store shelves do not come from your local farmers (mostly). Instead, it’s more likely that it came from many hundreds or thousands of miles distant. And from agricultural systems that have been tweaked and modified to produce mass quantities of often sub-par foods.

Population growth
All of this, and more, have enabled an exploding and stunning population growth which is especially eye-popping when you look at a time-relative population chart as this one:

population growth

Additionally, and the most important enabler of our recent run-up in population, growth, and prosperity, has been ELECTRICITY. Most all things technological have been a result of available electricity. EVERYTHING ‘modern’ hinges on electricity. That means without it, it all crashes down. The power grid is THE foundation, the pillar of our modern existence. Without it, modern civilization would entirely collapse, and it would be fast…

Sudden Depopulation and Preparedness
The vulnerabilities are many – enabled by our modern technologies, our interdependent and long supply chains, and our dependence upon electricity. We can no longer survive without these things. Can you begin to imagine what would happen if some or many of these dependencies were to collapse? If you are honest with yourself, you will realize that we could lose MANY many people, depending of course upon the specifics of a given systemic collapse. It could be stunning and horrific to say the least. Most people are asleep at the wheel and continue to assume that our modern world is not fragile. They do not consider the history of the world and they do not consider that there are MANY ‘black swan’ events just waiting to topple this upside-down pyramid society. It has been estimated that perhaps only 3% of us are preparedness-conscious in any meaningful way. This leaves 97% who might be up the creek without a paddle when TSHTF. Just saying…