7 Unexpected Consequences of an Economic Collapse
Other than the obvious consequences, what might we expect from a partial economic collapse? A total collapse of the economy would throw the nation into utter chaos. But what if we endure an economic depression or a severe and long-lasting downturn? I think that some of the effects are not so obvious.
1. The college and university system will collapse
The system of higher education is a house of cards. The cost of getting a college degree has risen sharply and steadily, while real income has remained relatively flat. The price rise is due to the easy availability of grants and loans for education. But with so many persons getting a college degree, its value in the marketplace has plummeted. Many college grads are out of work, or they are working in a job that does not require a degree. Eventually, this practice of paying more and more, for something that is worth less and less, will collapse the system. Colleges and universities will not have enough paying students, and professors will not agree to a drastic pay cut. Overhead expenses are far too high.
The price of college tuition as well as room and board have risen very sharply because loans and grants are plentiful. These institutions of higher education charge more and more money, and people keep paying. There is a strong cultural mandate to get a college degree. And money is easily available. If people had to actually pay for college, as they went along, you would see these institutions finding ways to keep prices affordable, otherwise they would lose students.
But it’s too late now. The entire system is predicated on high salaries for college faculty and staff, as well as excess spending on infrastructure. If universities tried to lower pay to make tuition affordable, the faculty would strike. If Congress tried to reduce spending on educational loans and grants, the students would protest. There is no easy fix.
All it will take is some type of economic disaster, and the entire system will fall apart. An economic disaster would make many families unwilling to take on large amounts of additional debt. It would also cause college costs to jump even higher. And it would make the prospects of a good paying job after college, by which one might pay back the loans, much less likely.
All that is needed is an economic collapse, or partial collapse, to topple this house of cards. Many universities and colleges will be forced by economics to shut down.
2. Agricultural yields will plummet
The current U.S. agricultural system is based on the expectation of high yields. But high yields are obtained by high inputs — all the things that go into growing the crop, including lots of fertilizer, perhaps irrigation, herbicides, pesticides, labor, machinery. Then those high yields are sold and the money is then used to fund the inputs for the next crop cycle.
An economic collapse will mean that farmers will not be able to afford all the inputs needed for high yields. And when yields fall, the amount of money from that crop will be less. Then the next crop cycle will have even less money for inputs, resulting in even lower yields. And the process will continue — lower yields, less money, lower inputs — until many farmers are out of business and a food crisis results.
3. Violent crime will increase
When people lack money and food, they become desperate. And desperate people do desperate things. Theft and robbery will skyrocket, and people will be afraid in their homes, and afraid to go out in the community. Even a quick trip to the market will become risky. Sales of most goods will plummet, causing the economic crisis to worsen. Protests will turn violent. Home invasion robberies will become much more common. Many people will be killed or injured as a result of this increase in violent crimes.
4. Law enforcement will be overwhelmed
The law enforcement system in the U.S. is commercial. Officers are paid. We don’t keep a large excess of officers on the payroll, just in case crime sharply increases. So it is relatively easy for the system to be overwhelmed. And that means a call to 911 might not bring the police to your door in time, if at all. Those who have firearms for home defense will be much better off than those who rely solely on the police. But many households have no firearms. And that means that robberies will increase, and so will the economic damage and the number of injuries and deaths.
Source: 7 Unexpected Consequences of an Economic Collapse