B.J. Campbell used statistical analysis to calculate the odds of a society-altering event
- (like a flood or armed revolution).
- Illustrating his approach (and keeping in mind that there are relatively few data points) he figures, е.g. that:
- the odds of a New Orleans-style flood disaster during the life of a typical 30-year mortgage is about 1-in-4.
- That, of course, will only affect people who live in or near the flooded area.
What about the odds of upheaval that will affect nearly everyone (like a revolution or a civil war)?
- There have been 2 in the U.S. since it was colonized by Europeans
- (not to mention Indian wars… fights with the French and Spanish… and even a battle fought between Catholics and Protestants near Annapolis, Maryland in 1655).
- Mr. Campbell uses 1678 as his start date, avoiding some of this confusion
- Calculating the odds based on just 2 events (the American Revolution and the War Between the States), he concludes that
- we have about a 1-in-3 chance of experiencing a major insurrection during our lifetime
- But those odds are probably far too low
Since our 1678 benchmark, Russia has had:
- 2 world wars,
- a civil war,
- 4 revolutions, and
- at least half a dozen uprisings, depending on how you want to count them.
- a 30-year war,
- a 7-year war,
- a particularly nasty revolution + a counter-revolution,
- Napoleon thing, and
- a couple of world wars tacked on the end.
China, North Korea, Vietnam, and basically most of the Pacific Rim has had:
- some flavor of violent revolution in the last 100 years,
- sometimes more than one.
- But even those “facts” don’t do justice to the risk you face.
Since the fall of Constantinople in 1453
- there have been 465 sovereign nations, which no longer exist, and
- that doesn’t even count colonies, secessionist states, or annexed countries.
- Even if we presume that half of these nation state transitions were peaceful (a vast overestimation),
- that’s still an average of one violent state transition every 2.43 years!
“Do you think the United States will exist forever and until the end of time?”
- Clearly any reasonable answer must be “no”
- So at that point, we’re not talking “if” but “when”
- Based on these numbers, Mr. Campbell believes you should prepare:
- by stocking, food, water, and firearms
- But the disasters that he imagines are only a small part of the dangers you face.
- There are also risks of bugs, mutant viruses, crop failures, solar flares, electronic meltdowns, volcanic eruptions, years without summers, and, of course, nuclear wars.
- Any one of those things could bring chaos, looting, and death. (Imagine West Baltimore when the power goes off.)
- But the most likely threat comes from neither rising water, nor war, nor zombie apocalypse
The main risk is financial
- And it too is not a question of “if” but “when”
- And here we find our question, laying on the treacherous ground in front of us, like an unexploded bomb in a playground.
- Sayeth Proverbs (21 : 6): "Wealth created by a lying tongue is a vanishing mist and a deadly trap"
- Why so? Because the fundamentals still apply; actions still have consequences.
- You never know exactly: what those consequences will be or when and how they will show up. (This isn’t science!)
B.J. Campbell, writing on an open-source publishing platform "Medium"