USA collapse (was: why a gun)

Hal Finney (
Tue, 16 Dec 1997 07:19:25 -0800

Anton Sherwood, <>, writes:
> My interest in guns has several roots. First, the future: I bet
> even money that the USA will either break up or go fascist within
> 15 years, and learning to shoot is one way to make myself more
> ready.

I've been exposed to the "survivalist" movement via friends for about 20
years. Back in the late 1970s and early 1980s there were a lot of
people predicting similar hard times ahead. At the time, unemployment
was high, and inflation was very high, about 15% or more. My friends
were buying guns, buying gold, stockpiling food.

We got through that crisis OK. Inflation and unemployment today are
the best they've been in decades. Predictions of imminent doom stayed
through the 1980s and early 1990s. The budget deficit was growing
inexorably, bank failures were on the increase, we were heading towards
fiscal disaster. When this list first started we had several members
who were convinced that economic collapse was just around the corner.

We got through that OK, too. The deficit is decreasing, bank failures are

The newest doom prediction is the year 2000 (Y2K) problem. The intricate,
interdependent financial community will be incapacitated when the
inevitable problems occur. Even businesses with their own houses in order
will fall when their debtors and creditors are unable to do business
with them around the Y2K transition. It's a big house of cards and it
is sure to collapse, given that a significant fraction of members are
taken down.

Actually I think this one has some credibility. I recall after the 1987
stock market crash there were articles saying that it was almost a lot
worse, that a chain reaction of bank and investment failures was aborted
only by extraordinary intervention. On the other hand the Y2K problem
won't all occur on one day; problems will start to occur and gradually
get worse as the transition approaches. This will give people time to
start adjusting to the problem. Maybe it won't be as bad as it seems.

Once we get past that, I don't see any particular reason why the US
should break up or go fascist within 15 years. We've gotten through
hard times in the past without this happening.

What do you see ahead that suggests as high as a 50% chance of this
kind of change?