I am suspicious of all unified field theories, including my own. Still, we have entered a new age and must try to explain and understand it. I am with James Howard Kunstler's "Long Emergency" in many areas. But I don't think the federal government will collapse anytime soon; crises tend to centralize power — even the Roman Empire took centuries to fall apart in the West, longer still in the East. Nor do I think small-scale food production and small towns will replace cities; cities have the power and wealth to draw resources, and metropolitan areas will be the economic and organizing entities of the 21st century, barring a major nuclear war. Nor do I accept Dmitry Orlov's theory that America will collapse along the lines of the Soviet Union.
I call the new age the Great Disruption. It is on display in Japan, where one of the most advanced nations in the world is struggling with a devastating earthquake and an unfolding nuclear disaster. The planet is at 6.8 billion people, at or beyond its carrying capacity. This will amplify the natural disasters that are a normal part of the world, bringing much more widespread death and misery to the Haitis and Indonesias, but not sparing advanced nations. The United States has nearly doubled its population in my lifetime. This not only adds huge costs that we have not addressed, in infrastructure to use one example, but also vulnerabilities (and lack of spending on infrastructure to soften disasters, e.g. New Orleans). A major earthquake in Seattle or San Francisco today would be catastrophic, and both are inevitable. And lest Phoenicians feel smug, they are downwind from the largest nuclear power plant in the nation, one with a highly checkered safety record, getting older, and whose water supply in an emergency should be question No. 1 for the press. This on top of (over) populating one of the most hostile desert valleys and basins in the world, a totally manmade environment, totally vulnerable to tribulation.
Overpopulation is a backbeat for most of the other elements of the Great Disruption. But most of all it is about discontinuity The next 30 years are not going to be a replay of the past 30, only with cooler personal tech toys. Why not?