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The One-Hour Meltdown: Part Two

Copyright March 2, 2015 by Robert Wayne Atkins, P.E.
All rights reserved and all rights protected under international copyright law.

A Quick Comment about The One Hour Meltdown: Part One

Pocket Watch In the year 2009 I wrote "The One Hour-Meltdown."

In the One-Hour Meltdown article I discussed what could happen if there was a worldwide "bank holiday."

Several years have passed since I wrote the One-Hour Meltdown.

I now believe that the chance of a worldwide "bank holiday" is significantly less than it was in the year 2009 for a variety of reasons.

At this time I now believe that the One-Hour Meltdown will be triggered by a uniquely different event that has very little to do with banks.

(Note: I use the term "one-hour" to describe the amount of time it will take for each geographical area to explode into violence. However, the looting, raping, and destruction will continue for a lot longer than one-hour. In other words, don't expect everything to be over in one-hour. The one-hour simply refers to the average amount of time it will take for huge mobs to come together and to begin the destruction of the communities in which they live. Since there are different time zones all around the world, the destruction within each time zone will probably not begin until most of the citizens within that time zone are awake. The reason is because mob violence requires the participation of a significant number of people.)

What Has Changed Since 2009 ?

The following financial indicators have continued to gradually get worse since the year 2009:
  1. Bankruptcies: There have been a huge number of personal bankruptcies and business bankruptcies since 2009. Many small family businesses have ceased to exist. In addition, some franchise restaurants and franchise retail stores in some areas have had to shut down because they could not make enough money each month to pay all their bills. This has had a negative impact on the local economies in many areas because the people who worked at those businesses lost their jobs and their incomes.

  2. Layoffs: Many national and multinational corporations have experienced a significant decrease in their sales. To keep their businesses solvent they were forced to completely shutdown a few of their facilities and they were forced to layoff a significant number of people at the locations they were able to keep open. This has had a negative impact on the economy of the United States of America and the economies of many foreign nations.

  3. Family Income: Since 2009 a few families have had their annual income increase, and a few families have had their annual income remain the same. However, the vast majority of families all over the world have experienced a reduction in their total annual family income. In some cases one person in a family became unemployed. In other cases two or more people in a family became unemployed. In some cases a person's working hours were reduced and this decreased their paycheck. This has resulted in many families not having enough money to pay all of their bills each month. In some cases they have had their vehicle repossessed, and in some case they have been evicted from their home or apartment. The lucky families have been able to find a place to live with a close relative but the unlucky ones have become homeless. This has significantly increased the "social stress" level around the entire world because this has happened in every country in the world.

  4. Individual Savings: A few families have been able to save some money over the past few years. And a few families have been able to keep the money they had previously saved without being forced to spend some of their savings. However, the overwhelming majority of families all over the world no longer have any type of savings. These families are just barely surviving on a month-to-month basis on what money they earn and whatever money and services they receive from social welfare programs. Their situation is very unstable and these families fully realize that they could become homeless, penniless, and that they would have absolutely nothing to eat if there were any reduction in the money and services they now receive. Although this significantly increases the amount of "social stress" worldwide, it also significantly reduces the chance of a worldwide bank run because there are now a lot fewer people who have any extra money in the bank that they can withdraw. (Note: The total amount of bank savings has gradually changed from being in the hands of a lot of average and wealthy families to being in the hands of a very few powerful families. These very powerful families have no intention of removing their money from their banks.)

  5. Interest Rates: The bank interest rate on savings in the United States of America over the past few years has been at its lowest level since I was born. On the other hand, the cost of a one-year supply of emergency food has increased approximately 40% from 2008 through 2014. This is important because inflation will gradually but systematically reduce the true purchasing power of any money stored in a bank savings account. Therefore anyone who wanted to retain the true value of their savings was forced to look for other investments that offered a potentially higher rate of return than a bank savings account. This is one of the reasons the stock market in the United States of America has done reasonably well over the past few years even though many businesses have reported decreased sales and decreased earnings each year. This transfer of savings from bank savings accounts into other investments has significantly reduced the chance of a worldwide bank run because there is now less money in bank savings accounts and more money in other forms of investments.

  6. Undeclared Government Cash Reserves: This strategy cannot be documented. However, it is highly probable because it has an extremely low cost and low risk, and it gives governments a significant amount of "reserve power" to save their banking institutions. All a government had to do was to print more paper money each month than they report in their official records, and then move that extra paper money into a safe, secure, secret storage area. (As an example, the United States of America could store their extra paper money in the now empty gold vaults of Fort Knox.) The cost of printing this extra paper money would be negligible because it is just paper. The cost of storing this extra paper money would also be negligible because it is just paper. And by printing only a small amount of extra paper money each month, such as between 2 to 5 percent, then it would be relatively easy to not report this trivial amount of extra paper money each month. But as the months (and years) gradually passed, this stockpile of fresh, new paper money that is not in circulation and that has not been reported to anyone (except to a few very important government officials) would gradually grow into a substantial amount of reserve cash currency. This means a government could immediately respond to a bank run by simply releasing its extra reserve paper money into circulation. This would allow the government and its banks to remain open and solvent. It would also allow the financial institutions to pay off their depositors with paper money and these financial institutions could remain open for business. The end result would be that a tremendous amount of paper money would be in the hands of the people of a nation. When the bank run was over then the governments could immediately devalue their currency and one of the primary losers would be their citizens who were in possession of huge quantities of paper money. Paper money is just paper. It is only worth what the government says it is worth (or in some countries what the local businesses say it is worth when the real value of paper money is far below its official value). It is impossible to prove or disprove this financial strategy. However, it is such a simple strategy, and it has almost no cost, and it has almost no risk, and therefore there would be almost no reason for a government not to implement this strategy in secret, and to deny this strategy if questioned about it.
All of the above factors have gradually led me to believe that there is now a very slim chance of a worldwide bank run that would result in a bank holiday.

The One-Hour Meltdown Today

I now believe that the One-Hour Meltdown will be due to the amount of "social stress" that is continuing to increase daily all around the world.

When an overwhelming number of people have lost everything, and they have almost nothing more to lose, then it will only take a very small incident to ignite their adrenaline and to unite them into an uncontrollable mob that destroys their communities. The incident could be anything and the incident by itself may not be very important in the global scheme of things.

However, it only takes a very small spark to ignite a million gallons of gasoline. In my opinion, the "social stress" that is constantly increasing worldwide is like gasoline. As long as it can be safely contained and it is not exposed to a source of heat, then the gasoline will remain safe even though it is extremely volatile. But if the gasoline is not safely contained then the "instant" that a spark makes contact with the exposed gasoline then all the gasoline will explode, and everything that is within the radius of the blast explosion will also be destroyed. The problem as I see it is that we now have millions upon millions of gallons of gasoline (social stress) stored in unsecured containers (people on welfare) at thousands upon thousands of different spots all around the world.

My theory on "social stress" may not result in a one-hour meltdown of society during your lifetime.

However, if a one-hour meltdown should occur, then it will probably include most of the situations I discussed in my original One-Hour Meltdown article plus the following:

  1. Military Troops: Each nation's military will be immediately mobilized to protect the nation's high-priority infrastructure projects (dams, nuclear power stations, water treatment plants, major bridges, etc.). They will also be assigned to protect important government buildings and high-ranking government personnel, such as the White House and the Pentagon in the United States of America. But there will not be enough military troops to protect all the Walmart stores, Target Stores, grocery stores, jewelry stores, guns shops, and shopping malls in a nation.

  2. Police and Law Enforcement: When the one-hour meltdown begins there will probably not be any effort to enforce the law in most areas. The rioters, rapists, murderers, and looters will simply do whatever they want, to anyone they want, if they do not meet any civilian resistance. The reason there will not be any police officers during the meltdown is because during the past few years our police officers have been informed that they will be held personally liable for trying to defend themselves against hostile individuals. In addition, police officers have been executed while simply sitting inside their patrol cars. And many recent popular movies have consistently shown police officers and security officers as being expendable by anyone who simply wants to get rid of them. Do you believe that our police officers, who are just normal average people with families, will risk their lives and the future well-being of their families, to stand up to a mob of people who will shoot them or beat them to death just because they represent the "law?"

  3. Special Security Guards: Some stores and some communities have their own trained security guards. Some of these guards carry firearms but some of them are unarmed. During normal times a few security guards in uniform are adequate to enforce the law at the places where they work. However, when the one-hour meltdown begins a few security guards, either armed or unarmed, will not stand a chance against a mob of 100 or 300 or 1,000 angry people. Therefore the stores and communities that are depending on their security guards to protect them will discover that they have no protection from a violent mob of people who are determined to steal everything they possibly can.

  4. Personal Ethics: The "hero" of many recent movies is portrayed as being the only person who has any rights and that "hero" can destroy anybody and anyone in an effort to escape and survive, including a multitude of innocent men, women, and little children who just happen to be "collateral damage" in the automobiles that the hero runs off the road, or causes to crash into buildings, or to crash into other vehicles. The unspoken message of the "hero" in all of these movies is simply "Whoops, sorry, but my life is more important than all of your pitiful insignificant innocent lives combined." Today many ordinary people visualize themselves as a hero who has been abused by society and therefore they believe they have the right to behave in the same way as their favorite movie hero. During the meltdown these people will be out-of-control and they will not have any respect for the life of anyone or for the property that belongs to someone else.

  5. Personal Defense: During the meltdown you will be personally responsible for the safety and survival of your family. And every other family will also be responsible for its own safety and survival. The overwhelming majority of these families already know that will not be able to survive after the meltdown unless they can steal the things they need to survive during the meltdown. Therefore some of the individuals within these normal families will become part of the uncontrollable mobs that will destroy their communities. If you are not able to defend yourself and your family during this meltdown then there is a very slim chance that your family will survive the meltdown. However, at the current time you can still buy firearms in most areas throughout the United States of America. And ammunition is currently available in many gun stores in most calibers, although some stores do limit the quantity you can buy per day. (Note: At the current time it is very, very challenging to find any 22LR ammunition for sale.) If you do not currently have at least 1,000 rounds of ammunition for each of your firearms then I strongly suggest that you consider buying that ammunition now. The ammunition that you purchase before the meltdown begins may be all the ammunition your family will have for the rest of your lives. Ammunition will not go stale, it will not stop working, and it will not become obsolete. You simply need to store your ammunition inside plastic totes or inside heavy-duty plastic zipper bags in a dry temperature-controlled environment. Some information about the selection of firearms and ammunition is on my website here.

Life After the One-Hour Meltdown

Life will not gradually return to normal after a worldwide meltdown for the following reasons:
  1. The Amount of Damage: During a localized weather disaster or during a mob riot the area that is affected is relatively small compared to the size of the entire world. But if there is a worldwide meltdown then the financial value of the damage will be astronomical. And there will not be enough resources available to rebuild everything everywhere. Only a limited number of areas will be rebuilt and the reasons they will be rebuilt will depend on the amount of physical damage they suffered, their economic potential if they are rebuilt, and the chance of being able to defend these areas in the future from a repetition of the previous disaster.

  2. Insurance Defaults: Governments will grant their insurance companies immunity from having to pay for the damage done during the meltdown. If a government does not grant immunity then the insurance companies will simply go bankrupt because they do not have the financial reserves to pay for even a small amount of the total destruction that will be done during the meltdown.

  3. Loans: Most business have the majority of their financial assets invested in the inventories that they sell to their customers. When those inventories are stolen then they will not be able to purchase replacement inventories because they will not have any money. If their stores are damaged then they will also not be able to afford to repair their stores. And the financial institutions will not be willing to loan them money because those businesses will not be able to protect themselves from another round of mob violence and looting. This is a critical issue because the families in every community will be suffering after they have consumed whatever food they had purchased before the meltdown or that they stole during the meltdown. Therefore they will be paying very close attention to any business that rebuilds itself because that business will have stuff that they can steal. Bank managers are not stupid and they will not loan money to high-risk businesses in communities that they now consider to be high-risk communities.

  4. Employment: Many of the remaining businesses in every area will be closed and their previous employees will not receive any future paychecks. The reason many of the remaining business (including some schools) will also be closed will be because there will not be enough money circulating (including tax revenues) to keep the community solvent. Most businesses cannot survive if their revenues decline by 75% or more but their fixed expenses remain the same. In other words, if they have to pay $4,000 per month to keep their business open (rent, utilities, wages, etc.) but they only earn $500 per month then the business will not be able to survive.

  5. Utilities: The electric, water, and gas utilities will still be available in some areas but not in other areas for a variety of reasons. Even in those areas where the utilities are available, many businesses and many families will not be able to pay their utility bills and these businesses and families will lose access to these services.

  6. Vehicle Repossession: If a family cannot make their monthly car payment then their vehicle will be repossessed. You may not be able to imagine the devastating impact that losing your vehicle will have on your life. In fact, many people cannot image the possibility of having their vehicle repossessed or trying to live without a vehicle. However, after the meltdown the vehicle repossessing business will do very well for a short period of time. (Note: If you currently have a vehicle that is paid for, and that vehicle is dependable and reliable, then you should very carefully consider whether or not you should trade that vehicle in on another vehicle that you will have to finance.)

  7. Eviction: After the meltdown any family that cannot pay its rent or its mortgage will be evicted. I don't mind if you prefer to believe that the government will not allow this to happen. However, do you think the government will declare that the rent or mortgage agreement that you signed is no longer valid, and that the government will support all the financially broke people in their economy, or do you think the government will stand behind the financially solvent banks and other businesses?

  8. Law Enforcement: Law enforcement will exist in one form or another after the meltdown. However its primary objective will gradually change and it will exist to preserve the well-being of the people in law enforcement and the lives of important officials at all levels of government. Any person currently in law enforcement who does not agree with this new objective of law enforcement will simply be fired for one reason or another.

  9. Martial Law: After the meltdown martial law may be declared in a few large cities, if those cities serve a practical purpose, such as being a major international harbor. Martial law may also be put into force in a few smaller cities, if those cities are strategically located on a major interstate highway and travel through that area is critical to the survival of the nation. Some local law enforcement groups may participate in the enforcement of the martial law in their area if they believe it will help to stabilize their area and stop the rioting. A curfew will be enforced in these martial law areas and anyone who is found outside after the curfew will probably be shot with no questions asked. In the beginning many of the citizens in these areas will be content with the curfew because it will help to maintain law and order, and the peace, after dark. However, as time progresses most people will begin to resent the curfew because it will restrict their activities after dark. For example, if a person has a serious accident after dark and needs immediate emergency medical care, then the curfew may cause a delay that takes so long that the injured person simply dies.
    A Small Country Village
  10. Small Communities: Some small communities may not experience the mob violence that will occur during the meltdown. Very small communities with a significant religious population may remain completely undamaged. However, after the meltdown is over and after the mob has consumed all of the food supplies that they stole during the meltdown, then these small communities may become future targets of mob violence because of the resources they still have available. In addition, these small communities may find it very difficult to replenish some of the supplies that they had previously been able to acquire from outside their community, such as replacement parts, or fuel, or fertilizer, or medicine. Therefore these small communities may or may not be able to survive long-term depending on the decisions that will need to be made after the meltdown by the individuals who live in these communities.

  11. Prepared Families: If a family is prepared to survive the meltdown, and if that family was discrete in the manner in which they made their survival preparations, and if the family is prepared to defend itself if necessary, then that family may survive the meltdown and they may continue to survive for many years into the future. However, if that family was not discrete and several of their friends and neighbors know about their preparations, then that family may become a high priority target for a family that they trusted but that other family did not bother to make any preparations for their own future survival under the assumption that the prepared family will simply share everything they have with them.

  12. Cash: During the meltdown some of the banks in some communities will be destroyed by mob violence. However, some banks will survive with little or no damage done to them. Even the banks that are destroyed will still have their financial records stored on backup computer systems in other areas so there is only a small chance that any financial records will be lost. However, it may not be easy to access your money in a bank for a reasonable period of time after the meltdown because the banks will need to verify the accuracy of the records of their branch offices that were destroyed before they reopen for business with the public. Most businesses and stores will have been vandalized during the meltdown and their computer systems may not work. In addition, they will have been looted so they will not have anything to sell. Therefore cash or debit cards or credit cards will probably not be of much use immediately after the meltdown. Each family will need to be able to survive on the resources they had the foresight to purchase prior to the meltdown, or that they were able to steal during the meltdown. The quality of life immediately after the meltdown will be at a much lower level for everyone when compared to the quality of life before the meltdown. And it may be years before most families notice any improvement in their standard of living because of the long-lasting impact of the meltdown. During this recovery period the purchasing power of cash may remain stable, or it may increase, or it may decrease. There are too many variables involved to be able to predict what will happen to cash. Before the meltdown if a family has access to enough money to pay off the loan on their vehicle then they should do so. If a family has enough money to pay off the mortgage on their home then they should do so. Unfortunately most families do not have the money to pay off the loan on their vehicle or on their home so they will probably lose both as a result of the meltdown.

  13. Silver and Gold: History has repeatedly shown us that paper money will continue to be accepted in payment for goods and services for a short period of time after a nationwide disaster. However, after a serious widespread disaster the purchasing power of paper money has gradually decreased and the purchasing power of silver coins and gold coins has increased. Whether this will continue to be true after the meltdown is impossible to predict. If a family has some money in savings then that family should use that money to pay off the loan on their vehicle and the mortgage on their home (if that is possible), and then keep a small amount of paper money for emergency use but convert a reasonable amount of their remaining savings into silver coins or gold coins. In the United States of America a family can still purchase pre-1965 silver dimes and silver quarters that contain approximately 90% of their weight in silver. These coins are available at some coin shops in huge quantities if you are interested. If a family has a lot of money to invest then gold coins are also an option. Small gold coins minted in the late 1800s and the early 1900s are currently selling for a very small premium when compared to recently minted American Gold Eagles. If a family lives outside the United States then the British Gold Sovereign coin is recognized in most nations worldwide and it is a reasonable investment. However, before a family invests in paper money, or silver coins, or gold coins, that family should make sure they own the things they will need to survive after the meltdown because those items may not be available after the meltdown, and if they are available then they may become extremely expensive to purchase.
Life after the meltdown will be drastically different from life before the meltdown. If you will take the time to think about this before the meltdown occurs, then you will probably be able to formulate a plan now that could help to minimize the negative impact of the meltdown on your family.


I would like to repeat a comment that I made near the end of my original One-Hour Meltdown article that I wrote in the year 2009:
At this time I now believe that "social stress" will be the cause of the One-Hour Meltdown instead of a "bank holiday."

I do not wish to be guilty of sensationalism so I do not write very often about the possible collapse of society.

On the other hand, I felt that it was necessary for me to update my original One-Hour Meltdown article because so many things have changed since the year 2009.

Finally, in closing, please allow me to remind you that a One-Hour Meltdown may not happen during your lifetime.


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