Prophets of Doom

The History Channel ran a show called The Prophets of Doom, with experts discussing the major global crises the country and world face.  The panelists discussed whether one of the topics was more urgent than the others, and most agreed that several if not all of these threats seem to be converging at the same time.  The threats to the future of the United States discussed included economic collapse, water shortages/contamination, peak oil, species dominance by self-aware robots, and nuclear terrorism.

Panelists:

Investigative journalist Michael Ruppert, who argued that the discovery of oil propelled unsustainable human population growth, and he predicts the population will crash with the arrival of peak oil.

Economist Dr. Nathan Hagens  asserted that the United States is insolvent and its debts will come home to roost.  He called the global economy a “giant Ponzi scheme” which can no longer continue to grow.  He predicts the economy will crash as natural resources run out and alternatives fail to come online in time.

Author John Cronin believes a shortage of fresh water is the most pressing threat to the United States because the world is a “water economy.”  He points out that the Oglalla aquifer is glacier-formed.  It is not rain-fed, which means it will not replenish.  As the glacier melts and the water is used, that’s it.

Investigative journalist/author James Howard Kuntsler says  Peak oil has arrived, and so the U.S. will experience a devastating energy crisis in the 21st century

Computer scientist Dr. Hugo De Garis presented a scenario that I hadn’t considered to be a realistic possibility.  He predicts robots (sold to consumers as helpers), will develop self-awareness by about 2040.  When this happens, they will no longer be under human control, and may kill us off.  On the bright side, because they will be so much smarter than us, perhaps they can solve some of these other world problems!

Executive editor Robert Gleason reminded us that nuclear terrorism is still a real and credible threat.

Oh, boy!  So many problems, so few answers.  The experts pointed out that many societies have fallen because they refused to face their great challenges.  It appears that America may be following that path, although we certainly have plenty of examples to learn from.

Several of the panelists on the show agreed that water is probably the most pressing problem.  It probably ties in with several of the other crises mentioned, as more water is privatized, bottled, and transported around to stores.  The sources of water are also potential targets for biological terrorism.

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