With our modern society, what would it take to cause another Dark Ages?
Right before the dark ages, the Roman empire was the most developed nation this world had ever seen. China and the middle east had well developed cultures and societies. What happened in Europe for society to lose its advances? Simple stuff, like running water to the cities was lost for hundreds of years after the fall of the Roman Empire.
What could cause our modern society to collapse upon itself? What could take our space age society and cast us back into the iron age?
I think there are three events that could potentially cause mankind to go into another Dark Age period – nuclear war or some new disease (event of Biblical Proportions), total financial collapse, climate change or a lose of government.
Event of Biblical Proportions, for the sake of discussion lets include everything that can kill millions of people rather quickly. This would include outbreak of a new disease, meteor strike, nuclear change,,, something that can wipe out 1/3 of the worlds population like what happened with the Black Death in 1348 – 1350.
Our modern technology has been developed over hundreds of years. We have to have trained professionals to teach the next generation. What happens when you remove a generation? Who will teach the next generation?
How does society replace tens of thousands of works to get basic services up and running again? How do we replace the people who run the refineries that make the fuel? How do we replace the people that ran the power plants? How do we replace the people who ran the oil wells? How do we replace the people who ran the rail road?
Our modern life is only possible because of the trained professionals upstream.
Take a coal fired power plant for example, you have to have people to mine the coal, transport the coal to the power plant, people to run the power plant, people to maintain the power lines from the power plant all the way to your home.
Once society shuts down, and a large portion of the population dies, how do we restart society?
How do we get trained professionals back on the job, if the people doing the training are dead?
Total financial collapse, think about how much our society depends on banks and loans. When wall street crashed back in 2008, the federal government was quick to bail them out.
How many people could go a single day without using a credit card?
How much of the U.S. currency is backed up by something of physical value? We have not used the gold standard in decades. All that backs up the U.S. currency is a promise, a promise that the government will pay back its debts. Sooner or later that promise will be tested.
With the federal reserve printing money out of thin air, sooner or later, its just a matter of time before the U.S. dollar is almost worthless. the U.S. government will have to pay its bills.
If there was a collapse of the U.S. dollar, there would be widespread, civil unrest. People would be unable to pay their bills, unable to buy food, banks could not loan money,,,, life as we know it would come to an end.
Our society thrives on progress. When things go backwards, we run into serious problems. What happened when the housing market crashed? Wall Street needed a bailout. Anytime a market loses value, there are ripple effects.
Climate change is something that has affected us since the dawn of mankind. Lets not debate whether the climate change is man made or natural. But either way, we have to admit that our climate is changing.
In 2011 Texas and some of the other U.S. southern states experienced a widespread drought. The kind of drought that had not been seen on half a century. Crops died in the fields as no rain fell for months on end.
Before the 2011 drought, there were the droughts in Russia and Australia.
Climate change has brought about the rise and fall of entire civilizations.
As the world population increases, so do our demand for food and water. Its just a matter of time before we have to decide whether to water our lawn, or send water to our crops.
Unlike something like nuclear war, climate change can take decades, or even hundreds of years. Its the slow pace that puts us in the most danger. As our climate changes, our scientist argue about what we should do. We spend untold resources and money trying to hold onto what we have, instead of just accepting climate change for what it is.
Take beach erosion for example. The states and the federal government spend millions of dollars trying to stop beach erosion, when it is a natural occurrence.
Lose of government after a wide spread disease such as the Black Death, or a nuclear exchange,,,, something that would cause a government to collapse. With no authority for people to look to, where do we go and what do we do?
In a world without law, people would turn to Customary Laws, or laws of the land. There probably would not be chaos in the streets, as most people are law abiding and know the difference between good and bad.
With no federal regulation or oversight, states would become their own nations and make their own laws. This would not mean a return to the Dark Ages, just a restructuring of power. It would take more then loosing the federal government to cause a complete collapse.
For a lose of government to lead to another Dark Ages, not only would the federal government have to collapse, but also the government of the states.
Our society functions because we have a generation after generation of workers who pass knowledge down from one worker to the other, money has some kind of value, and things stay the same.
It is this “ladder of stability” that allows our society to go about or everyday lives.
When the ladder is disrupted, or if the ladder becomes unstable, society runs into issues – drought, trade restrictions, civil war, social unrest, disease, famine, world war,,, society starts to become uneasy.
What would it take for another Dark Ages to happen again, I honestly do not know.