Scenario 4 – A Future where things Turn out Badly without Basic Income
It is the year 2040, and things are muddling on. It is the NAUSCOM, or “North Atlantic United Solidarity Command”. It is pretty much a defensive pact dedicated on providing shared defense against immigrants and uprisings.
In the last 25 years there has been a steady increase in uprisings and protests. A lot of people have been becoming steadily more angry, and with advances in technology this has caused major catastrophe. It proved to be easy to destroy cities. Nuclear weapons proved a lot easier to make and it turned out that perfectly reasonable non muslim westerners who have become steadily more psychotic after decades of unemployment and government persecution are quite capable of blind unreasonable hatred. Radicalisation of very large numbers of people started as far back as the early 2000s. We didn’t see much of it, but it was there. In the teens the first city went up in smoke – some say it was an offshot of ANON and Occupy, others still claim it was a false flag operation, but whatever the case, New York is now uninhabitable. The small yield nuclear detonation was publicly said to bee claimed by radical leftist group -although many claim it was a Tea Party Oathkeeper or radical anti-abortionist, or a radical anti-illuminati group. What is certain is that the detonation only killed a few ten thousand people in down town Manhattan. It was the radiation isotope and the panic that caused New York, Brooklyn and parts of queens to go up in flames. The ensueing death toll was two million people. It was blind hysterical panic.
Economy collapsed, dollar collapsed, oil imports drying up, most jobs in the developed world outrsourced, aging population, a gridlock political system, and extremely dissatisfied populations, the EU and US banded together in an alliance. Unemployment levels in both continents finally exceeded 30%, and youth unemployment, like always, double that.
as a result technological progress ground to a halt. Nobody wanted to study any more, and the few that did were rich kids who didn’t actually want to work. The jobs that were still available were underpaid and very stressful. So in effect the US and EU joined a state of affairs eerily similar to the collapse of the Soviet Union, a few decade earlier. All in all average lifespans went back between 2016 and 2026 to just over 50 in both the EU and US, and standards of living in the richest regions was comparable to the average standard of living of Rumania two decades earlier – pretty awful, but still not quite developing world.
The problems plagueing the western crisis world in the 2020s were manyfold – Very high average age. Extremely high levels of consumption of illicit narcotic derivatives of euphoria inducing antidepressant cocktails. Complete saturation of the economy by black markets, piracy and gangster culture. A severe obesity epidemic in most western countries caused by catastrophic loss of quality of available foodstuffs. Extreme levels of denial/faith based politics. Populism and Racism – but most of all a developing world caught in complete and horrific collapse.
The middle east had started dying. There were epidemics and constant famines in most of Asia and Africa. China was in civil war and South America was embroiled in an extremely bloody hot war over resources. This spurred on mass migrations, and they came any way they could, by sea, by land by air. The mass migrations matched oil prices pricisely, insofdar price in any of the massively inflated currency systems was still of any relevance. The dollar had long since in the late teens collapsed to about 5% its 2000 value, and the Euro was scarcely doing better. Trade had reverted back to a scarce resource standard, favoring Palladium, Platinum, Silver and last at the line Gold. Globalism was a distant afterthought, as most regional blocks becamse fiercely alienated protectorates. Each geographic region ended up with its own incompataible standards and laws. In 2025 most countries had an intranet, which was mostly overrun by malware and blackouts. Germany didn’t communicate with France, people stopped travelling and there were border skirmishes even between US states.
In 2025 the UN declares a state of emergence, anulled itself and created a series of self-defense blocks. The blocks used whatever remaining resources to collect taxes, often by force, to force people to work. There wasn’t much of an alternative – clearly people who didn’t work went crazy and started riotting from sheer desperation. Since most countries were fast burning coal and Uranium to keep at least a quaint semblance of an electrical powergrid alive, global warming was accelerating fast and global weather patterns had collapsed in to an unpredictable mess since the early 20s. Northern Europe was covered by cloud and rain 250 days in the year 2022.
So in 2027 most countries in the western hemisphere followed what would later be known as the Japanese model. The new cultural-economic paradigm involved forcing people to do work for food. All necessities were rationed, and everyone would be required to work, even if the work was completely senseless activity. Local governments were handed necessary goals. Most of these goals comprised of the generation, one way or another, of electricity, food and the recycling of previous era consumer goods. The idea was that to keep poeple alive, and to protect some semblance of the previous standards of living, the state had to force people in to activity and direction. The sheer systemic uselessness of large percentage of unemployable people had become a cultural cancer that resulted in desintegration of society. People simply stopped procreating. Alcoholism and heroin addiction was in some regions completely common.
But the worst was the constant threat of resistance groups, or “preppers”. These often ‘Libertarian’ radicals demanded freedom at any cost and became the New Al Quada in the eyes of the general public. Any time something blew up it was always the Libtans who done it. The only way the state had to respond was to build more prisons, round up more suspects. Install more “stasi” style spies. Interrogate more family members and (eventually) deport more Libtans to Africa declaring them as “unwanted hostile irreconcilables”, whatever that meant. Millions of Europeans and Americans were deported to war-torn Africa (generally the French enclaves managed by the Foreign Legions in the Sudan and they were just abandoned there. Most died.
It took close to a decade to restore order, and by the mid 2030s the EU and US started to trade back and forth again. The new ecomomy was based on generation of electrical power and trade of this surplus power and food to neighbors. Clearly everyone was now vegetarian. This system actually worked and people in 2025 declared themselves happier, more emotionally fulfilled than they faintly recalled being at the start of the century.
Work has acquired a spiritual dimension, out of fear of being irrelevant. In the late 2030s people will sometimes obsessively do things to appear working to their fellow citizens – ritual demonstrations of relevance, such as cleaning streets, over and over sorting dismantled car parts or caring for an assortment of animal pets. In 2040 most cities have been abandoned and especially in the US people live in what is eerily similar to soviets or kibbutzes – with strict social control, often very strict religious edicts and very strict feudal-style productive quota imposed by regional district governors and auditors. It is a very formal society that has been evolving, where people take pride in simple semi-agricultural joys, accept hardship and are always panickstricken to appear as useless or superfluous. Everyone of course is always afraid to be labelled at ‘Libtan’, and exile to the Sudan is still a fairly common penalty for social malcontents.
The first goal of NAUSCOM is of course the mantainance of a defense grid against the outside – the teeming post-apocalyptic nightmare in the middle east, India, Africa, South America, Asia. People in the NAUSCOM (and incidentally the remaining civilized coastal regions of China, the unified Koreas, Japan and what’s left of Australia) are very very grateful they do not have to become cannibals, like they all are in Africa. Or so the leaders keep repeating.