Possible Futures
I'm going to indulge in some multiple prognostication. I've been thinking a lot about the future lately, with an eye towards some major changes in our communities. I feel that the coming shortages of fuel and water are going to bring about a new way of life for us all, at least to a minor degree. And here's where the multiple part of the multiple prognostication comes in. I'm going to make three sets of assumptions and attempt to describe the likely results of these three cases.

First, some background. I'm assuming that the cost of fuel for all purposes will increase steadily going forward. The degree of the increases will change with each of my three assumptions. I can safely predict rising fuel costs because of simple supply and demand. Currently, the U.S. imports over 9.8 million barrels of oil a day and 3.1 million barrels of gasoline. Remember, a barrel equals about 43 gallons. Due to falling production and rising demand elsewhere in the world, The U.S. is going to experience shortages of gasoline, and reliable alternatives simply do not exist. A good summary of this problem can be found here.

Perhaps more troubling are impending shortages of water. In my own community I have witnessed the inevitable march of Peak Water. With shortage of both fuel and water looming on the horizon, individuals will be well advised to prepare for the changes to come.

So, here are my three predictions about conditions in my own community three years from today.


This first prediction involves the least change. I foresee much higher gasoline prices and a deep recession still in play. As much as 30% of the U.S. workforce will be unemployed. People will be driving a lot less, so there shouldn't be any rationing in play. Water rationing will not yet be a permanent part of life, and the era of the green grass yard will still exist for years to come. Drinking water will still flow from the tap. This prediction is that most people will still have a very high standard of living, compared to other countries, but the deep recession will be effecting everyone in one way or another. Families will be the last lifeline for many of the unemployed. Government programs will be overwhelmed. Our communities will respond with compassion and goodwill, but many people will become desperate. Violent crime will increase dramatically and homelessness will be rising rapidly. 


This prediction sees even higher gas prices leading to depression and very high unemployment. Government infrastructure will still be intact but operating at low levels. Communities will attempt to take up the slack, but many people will be living in parks and hastily set up homeless shelters. Many communities in the U.S. will be struggling with lack of clean drinking water. Water rationing will be in effect everywhere. Violent crime will be high and many people will start carrying firearms. There will still be a high quality of life for many people, but a change back to an agrarian economy will have commenced.


In this scenario, gasoline is prohibitively expensive and depression is combined with a lack of basic goods due to shipping problems. Government at non-local levels is ineffective. Violence is increasing and many people are having trouble just surviving. Health care suffers from the lack of prescription drug deliveries, though those are given highest priority. Water is a precious commodity and gangs begin to take control of communities.