View Full Version : Economy at the end of the world

04-08-2011, 06:58 PM
The world is coming to an end. There is a fixed date when it will happen (no, it's not December 20, 2012 ;) ), and the world is sort of gearing up to face it. Also, we've known about it for some 20 years.

What will happen to the world economy, and how will it affect the individual. For instance - the credit market will probably slowly dwindle and die, resulting in bank collapses and a degenerating growth in basically all areas. Stuff like that.

Now I know this is probably the shortest possible way to put it, and that the answer is enormous, but I need some details for the background. Also, I'm a complete moron when it comes to economics, so I'm hoping for some help. Thanks fellas.

04-08-2011, 08:49 PM
I agree with PeterL, there are so many variables to take into account. In all reality a good portion of the population would probably fall apart but for the most part I think that governments would be telling people it was not going to happen just to minimize panic. If it was a cut and dry for sure the world is ending in 20 years then I think you are right, the credit market would die and people would begin hoarding, local infrastructures would begin to break down and people would stop doing their jobs and get a sort of survival of the fittest mentality. Eventually utilities would stop functioning and it would be like a giant episode of that show The Colony. I don't think it would be pretty.

04-08-2011, 09:50 PM
If everybody believed in their heart and soul that the world would be destroyed and there's no hope at all of surviving, then things would slowly grind to a halt. Why bother going to work, saving money, studying, or exploring? Just try to do the things you want to do and wait. The slowdown would escalate as the date got closer. Pretty much what Sharon says. An interesting phenomena might happen within a few years of the date. People won't need their savings or 401K anymore and will pull out all their money and spend it. There will be a spike in prosperity for a short while. Buy that cool car, go on that trip, do whatever trips your trigger. But, as things get closer, nobody is going to want your money anymore, so good luck getting what you want.

If some believe and some don't there will be massive fluctuations and some would get very wealthy and some would turn into scavengers.

04-09-2011, 09:00 AM
I have no idea when the world will end but, oddly, my newest book has the following blurb (in part):

In 2033, governments worldwide are bankrupt. There is no unemployment insurance, no social services or welfare, no pensions, and no health care subsidy. Unemployment sits at close to 60 percent, and those with jobs are the new elite.

04-09-2011, 11:18 AM
The world is coming to an end. There is a fixed date when it will happen (no, it's not December 20, 2012 ;) ), and the world is sort of gearing up to face it. Also, we've known about it for some 20 years.Is there any possibility of anyone surviving at all? That would make a difference.

My guess? You'd have several different factions. Those who fall into Nihilism will either become violent, crazy, drunk or some combination thereof. Some will go all Hedonistic, trying to squeeze every drop of pleasure out of life they can. Others will band together to give some kind of Order to the last days (which will probably involving assigning blame to somebody). Still others will cling to each other, seeking Comfort in loved ones and maybe religion, or simply by doing good (i.e. not dying alone). Then again there'll be the ones who'll insist on dying on their own terms, no matter what (imagine some of the most dangerous sports possible).

With two decades warning, the Nihilists in particular will be a genuine threat to everyone else, who will have organized to defend themselves.

04-10-2011, 05:49 AM
Except for those parts of the world that don't get the 'end of the world' updates. Either too isolated or little modern communication.
Or, those parts of the world where they're already in desperate straits, and to busy trying to survive in the present to care if there's a future or not.
Yeah, how the world ends is the big factor.

04-10-2011, 05:55 AM
As I was reading the posts since my post on this thread I thought of a movie I recently saw called The Road. I think it has Vigo Mortensen (prob spelled wrong) I think that is kind of how it would be only without all of the animals dying. People would commit suicide and they would begin to turn on each other. We would run out of food sources and move back into the dark ages. Like the others said, the closer to the end it go the worse it would be. Man I'm getting depressed just thinking about it. Let me know when your book is out I totally wanna read it now :)

04-10-2011, 09:46 AM
Well, I'll have a go.

The first effect would probably be the collapse of the credit market. All banks depend on lending, which stop because it would now only be a risk to the lender, not lendee. There'd also be a widespread liquidisation of assets. Having money in the bank (assuming it survived) would be pointless at the end of the world, so logically much of the world's saved assets would be spent. There'd be an initial glut of expensive holidays and splashing out on that guitar you'd always wanted.

Since there'd be no increase in goods available, the result would be a serious dose of inflation. Probably hyperinflation, accompanied by unemployment caused by a collapse of several major industries. For instance, there'd be no more major infrastructure projects (who would need a new road or library?). Education would go into decline. R & D would stop, except where applicable to stopping the end of the world. To restore order, I imagine governments would probably introduce new currency, wiping out the excess savings and so stopping the inflation.

It's difficult to believe that the market system would survive terribly long, but the actual production infrastructure would be intact. Governments would likely move things into a command economy. Since power stations, say, would still be needed, people would have to run them. If they wouldn't do it voluntarily, feeling that working is a bit pointless when you're certain to die in X years, they'd could probably be persuaded at gunpoint. However, I suspect this wouldn't be needed. Right now, everyone on the planet knows they are certain to die, but keep working, and people with incurable diseases often work until the end. Existential despair would be a problem, but we're an orderly species and I wouldn't be surprised if the economy, despite ructions, survived until doomsday itself.

04-10-2011, 06:29 PM
In my opinion, if the entire populace truly thought the end was nigh, there would be no imposition of order on the populace. There would be no effective government. Governments are tolerated to give the people order. There is a cost/benefit analysis. If the government loses its mojo, no more government, and the economy will become entirely local and based on barter for immediate necessities. Paper money will be completely valueless. "Intermediate Periods" in Egypt might be useful for you to look at for research: governmental and societal collapse, people couldn't even get tomb paint from a few towns up, cemeteries were burned, and there was piracy for food on the Nile. That's what I picture.

Smiling Ted
04-11-2011, 06:45 AM
Dude - isn't this a game you want to keep to yourself?
This is where YOUR imagination gets to shine. Why would you want our answers when YOUR answers could indelibly mark this story?

04-14-2011, 04:24 PM
Dude - isn't this a game you want to keep to yourself?
This is where YOUR imagination gets to shine. Why would you want our answers when YOUR answers could indelibly mark this story?

Very simple - I want to keep it plausible, because it's just a backdrop. And who says I haven't anyway ;)

I feel a bit more confident in my predictions now. Not giving too much of it away in my first post helped, since it obviously got you going in several directions. I can safely let you know that the "world divided" scenario is what I'm going for - half of the population will refuse to believe, the other half wait to die.

And on that cheerful note... thanks all.