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Acknowledging the Confluences of Catastrophes

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Confluence #3 [CSP]: Climate Change, Infrastructure Decay, Virus, Nuclear War

Though among the most hypothetical of the Confluential Catastrophes, CIVN is nonetheless worthy of serious analysis. If these Confluences mature, we must be prepared to study the impacts appropriately.

Climate Change

In this overall Confluential Catastrophe, we anticipate Climate Change to causally promote the events described in the overview presented in CSP (e.g., coastal flooding, migration/refugees, drought/deluge, increasing melt-off, significant economic impact, and political upheaval). We also posit that as much as 40% of the species will die off as a direct result of rapid change, though over a somewhat longer period than in the traditional "Species Collapse" scenario.


Infrastructure Decay

The Center for PostApocalypse Studies alone addresses Infrastructure Decay. The Institute for PostApocology completely ignores it as either a Confluential or Confuturist Scenario. That they blithely ignore it smacks of the sort of self-referentialism from which they have suffered from the beginning. As if all those water systems, sewers, bridges, county roads, piers, and high-rises built in the 1950s and 1960s, with a 50-year projected lifespan, could be taken for granted in any PostApocalypse analysis(!)

The raw cost of replacing decaying watermain systems (often composed of crumbling concrete and rusted steel pipes) has been estimated at $350 billion, not even considering sewer systems. Replacement costs of bridges built during the "golden postwar era" alone has been estimated at between $45 billion and $100 billion in the US, even ignoring the business disruption costs during replacement.

The costs for replacing skyscrapers and other buildings from that period, also planned for a 50-75 year lifespan, are difficult to calculate on a national, city-by-city scale, but are nonetheless substantial. The 1950's, 60's, and 70's were an era of exceedingly inexpensive labor, and seemingly limitless supplies of energy (and seemingly limitless technological possibilities). The compounding costs in the developing era of constrained funding (viz. expensive energy and materiel, and costly labor), especially as the economic pressures of Climate Change are integrated into the analysis, make a growing economic crisis likely.


Virus

Though a true "Plague Scenario" (as posited by the Institute for PostApocology) seems plausible, especially given the decline in public health systems, the rise of hypercleanliness (weakening human immune effectiveness), and the micro-organismic disruption of Climate Change, we at the Center have concluded that a Virus scenario holds more promise as an hypothesis.

The Virus Confluence presumes that a) "biotechnology at the desktop" continues to decline in cost and increase in effectiveness, b) such technology is currently possible in far more countries than are nuclear weapons, and c) in response to Climate Change and its political upheavals, many possible initiators of a Viral Event arise. Fundamentalist terrorists, rogue nations, or passionate EarthFirst!-like eco-fascists could be able to develop a relatively selective virus that targets a particular set of characteristics (respectively, Arabs or Caucasians, mildly to extremely obese individuals, or most men). As has been seen with most genetically engineered products, unintended consequences would likely result in a relatively worldwide pandemic, as it evolved to affect broader populations .

The costs of Infrastructure Collapse and Climate Change will have stolen funds from public health systems, community development, and disaster planning, creating a system ripe for disruption by a viral pandemic. With 25-40% of the world population either dying or ill, rising coastal waters, drought conditions in much of the breadbaskets of the world, and with the infrastructures of our major cities in collapse, extreme political pressures would likely eventuate.


Nuclear War

As is described in the PNR Confluence, politicians would seek to appear to take action, to find scapegoats, and to identify external resources to try to subsume, via military or economic might. This would in turn exacerbate economic, social, and political extremism, increasing the likelihood of threatening, and then using, tactical nuclear warheads, which would lead to eventual nuclear exchanges between crumbling superpowers.


Conclusion

As should be clear, this Confluence is yet another example of interdependent variables interacting to produce a PostApocalyptic result that cannot be predicted accurately without Confluentialist analysis. Others in the PostApocology community may find solace in hedonic solipsism (such as the embarrassment that is KissMyA**pocalypse), or in static specialization or willfull monocular vision (such as the Institute for PostApocology). Only the Center for PostApocalypse Studies has a theoretical paradigm and proprietary algorithms to provide computable, multivariate analysis of PostApocalyptic possibilities.

Copyright © 2008 The Center for PostApocalypse Studies