Beginning in 1999, we predicted a systemic economic collapse that would take place in the First World and would impact all other economies. We began to list some of the "dominoes" that would fall as the collapse evolved and described that the "Great Unravelling," as we termed it, would take roughly ten years. At that time, we guesstimated that the first two of the dominoes, a real estate crash and subsequent stock market crash in the US, would begin in about 2005.

We were premature in this prediction, as the first of the crashes did not occur until 2007. And, truth be told, we have frequently been incorrect in the timing of the other dominoes. Whilst the actual events have been predicted correctly, our timing has often been incorrect. In every such case, the prediction has been premature.

Sadly, however, the prediction of the events of the collapse have been almost entirely correct.

We also predicted that, just as a ball of string speeds up its rotation as it rolls along unravelling, so, too, the events of the Great Unravelling would occur more quickly as the situation worsened. Additionally, the severity of the events would increase concurrently with the increase in velocity.

However, none of the above was the result of gypsy fortune-telling, nor did it require the brightest of minds to work out. It is mostly based on the simple assumption that history repeats itself—that the world's leaders make the same mistakes in every era, because human nature never changes. Anyone who is willing to expend the effort to study history diligently and to be prepared to think in contrarian terms, may develop a meaningful insight into the events of the future.

Back in 1999, of course, the very idea that the world was headed for serious economic calamity was considered ridiculous by most. The unfortunate fact is, most people do truly deal in the present, rarely questioning the future beyond what they consider to be the very next event. The truth of this statement is borne out by the fact that the great majority of people, who have already seen the first half of the Great Unravelling come to pass, still somehow cannot imagine the second half—the more disastrous half—as being in any way possible. Surely, somehow, the governments of the world will fix things.

However, the number of people whose eyes have been opened seems to be growing, and many of them are asking what the collapse will look like as it unfolds. What will the symptoms be?

Well, the primary events are fairly predictable: they would include major collapses in the bond and stock markets and possible sudden deflation (primarily of assets), followed by dramatic inflation, if not hyperinflation (primarily of commodities), followed by a crash of several major currencies, particularly the euro and the US dollar.

The secondary events will be less certain, but likely: increased unemployment, currency controls, protective tariffs, severe depression, etc.

But, along the way, there will be numerous surprises—actions taken by governments that may be as unprecedented as they would be unlawful. Why? Because, again, such actions are the norm when a government finds itself losing its grip over the people it perceives as its minions. Here are a few:

  • Travel Restrictions. This will begin with restrictions on foreign travel, including suspension/removal of passports. (This has begun in a small way in both the EU and US.) Later, travel restrictions will be extended within the boundaries of countries (highway checkpoints, etc.)
  • Confiscation of wealth. The EU has instituted the confiscation of bank accounts, which can be expected to become an international form of governmental theft. This does not automatically mean that other assets, such as precious metals and real estate will also be confiscated, but it does mean that the barrier for confiscation has been eliminated. There is therefore no reason to assume that any asset is safe from any government that approves theft through bail-ins.
  • Food Shortages. The food industry operates on very small profit margins and survives only as a result of quick payment of invoices. With dramatic inflation, marginal businesses (suppliers, wholesalers, and retailers) will fall by the wayside. The percentage of failing businesses will be dependent upon the duration and severity of the inflationary trend.
  • Squatters Rebellions. A dramatic increase in the number of home and business foreclosures will result in homelessness for anyone whose debt exceeds his ability to pay—even those who presently appear to be well-off. As numbers rise significantly, a new homeless class will be created amongst the former middle class. As they become more numerous, large scale ownership of property may give way to large scale "possession" of property.
  • Riots. These will likely happen spontaneously due to the above conditions, but if not, governments will create them to justify their desire for greater control of the masses.
  • Martial Law. The US has already prepared for this, with the passing of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which many interpret as declaring the US to be a "battlefield." The NDAA allows the suspension of habeas corpus, indefinite detention, and the assumption that any resident may be considered an enemy combatant. Similar legislation may be expected in other countries that perceive martial law as a solution to civil unrest.

The above list is purposely brief—a sampling of eventualities that, should they occur, will almost definitely come unannounced. As the decline unfolds, they will surely happen with greater frequency.

But the value in projecting what the collapsing governments may do to their citizens is not merely an exercise in speculation. By anticipating the likelihood of any of the above, the individual may find that it would be prudent to turn off the game on television tonight and spend his time musing on the possibility of what he would do if any of the above events were to take place. (And, again, these projections are not mere fancy; they are actions typically taken by governments as their declines play out.)

Most importantly, if the reader concludes that there is a significant percentage of likelihood that any of the above are coming his way, he would be well-advised to assess whether they are developments that he feels he could live with. If not, he might wish to assess how much time he has before these events become a reality and what he may do to sidestep their impact on him.

Whilst, throughout the First World, the comment, "The whole world is going to Hell," is becoming common, in fact, this is not the case. Although some countries are in decline, others are on the rise. It is left to the reader to decide whether he will fall victim to coming events, or will use them as an opportunity to internationalise himself.

Editor’s Note: You can find Casey Research’s A-Z guide on internationalization here.