The issue of timing is a bit complicated. Asking when collapse will happen is way too broad.
When people ask when we will see serious impacts I start by telling them we have been seeing very serious impacts in a broad sense since the early 70's. Think about it. Since 1971 the only way the industrialized West has roughly maintained their standards of living is through massive accumulation of debt. I say "roughly maintained" because we have seen an epic gutting of the middle class and a huge trend towards being a service economy - rather than making more, better, stuff, we've added waitress and bartender jobs exponentially. Then there's the very serious impacts of the fact that conventional crude peaked in 2005. We've been moving to unconventional sources that have way lower EROEI and are fundamentally inadequate to provide for our growing demand, as well as economically not viable - and have only been able to be accomplished through huge amounts of debt. This is coming to an end. And then there's the fact that economies around the world are crashing and there are riots and austerity measures in nations across the globe.
The point is that “collapse" is such a broad umbrella. Collapse in the sense of steady and ever-increasing decline is happening and has been since the early 70's. It's been papered over with debt for a long time but now net energy realities are hitting and those financial measures are no longer nearly as effective. Breakdowns in the system will invariably hit different places at greater frequency and duration - no two places will be alike in how it plays out.
Someone recently asked me: "When will we see the inevitable decline of GDP, and living standards due to the rise in the price of oil?" But the problem with this question is that we've already seen a world-wide growth (GDP) slowdown/decline. And I’ll be damned if it’s not obvious that living standards have certainly dropped significantly. Even in the US living standards have extremely eroded - there is a ridiculously large and growing gap between the rich and the rest of us who have to work two jobs to get by. The vast majority of Americans can't afford a $200 emergency, the vast majority are living paycheck to paycheck.
The lowest income groups in terms of nations have already dropped off. Inequality is skyrocketing in every industrialized nation. In terms of the US, the lowest income groups have already decayed. This can be seen in the destruction of the middle class. The middle class has become poorer and poorer, effectively becoming the new poor and adding many millions to the ranks of the lower class. The massive increase in reliance on government aid such as unemployment and food stamps show that the only reason the majority of Americans have not already dropped off the trough as the pie gets smaller is because they are increasingly dependent on the government to get by and live at their standard of living.
Take a look at Greece last year. There have been reports of pensioners - people who are past retirement age - rioting in the streets and overturning vehicles because of the forced "austerity measures." When the people on the street are effected in mass numbers like this, they will riot. Doesn't matter who they are or what country. Soon enough, this sort of thing will be common even in the West.
But of course the question you're really wondering about is when this going to be felt by the "main street" the "normal people" of the rich industrialized Western countries? To that question I would wager that barring any black swan events that might make it come sooner, we are inevitably going to face massive systemic change between the years 2020 - 2025. The update to the Limits to Growth study showed the "business as usual" or "standard run" scenario playing out pretty rapidly by 2025.
Source: One of the graphics from the original Limits To Growth study, showing the "Standard Run" scenario model. By 2020-2025, things start getting serious.
Source: One of the graphics from a follow-up study done in 2000 of the Limits To Growth study. This shows about 3 decades worth of actual historical data (in purple dots) plotted along the lines of the "standard run" scenario modeling. This proves that the "Standard Run" model is the model that actual historic data tracked up until the year 2000, instead of other models that ended in a "stable world scenario." Pretty impressive, if you ask me.
The real question is when will the next big event occur that shocks the system significantly? And the answer to that, as far as I can discern, is a massive oil price shock and shortages situation that should occur around 2020, give or take a year, according to all the industry top dogs. Saudi Aramco, Haliburton, the CEO of Shell, and many others have been warning about this lately. The other concern there is that this could precipitate another global market meltdown. In the '08 global financial crisis, oil prices spiked to $147/barrel and then we had the market meltdown. After that, well, I expect things to start getting ugly quickly, though it's not like all public services will cease overnight.
As I have said before, "about 2020" is the approximate heart attack. The deathstroke will be more like 2025, or a few years later. And the final red line beeeeeeeeeeep to signify death will likely be a few years after that, say around 2030. But remember, the patient is in extraordinarily bad health, and symptoms during the final years of life won't be pretty.
Here is a list of additional resources to support the fact that price shocks and massive shortages are on their way by about 2020. This is being reported all over even the mainstream media, if you pay attention.
IEA: Oil Price Spike Coming In 2020
ZeroHedge, Sep 19, 2017
Citi Says Get Ready For An Oil Squeeze
Bloomberg, Sep 25, 2017
IEA Forecasts Oil Shortages and Sharp Price Rise by 2020
Forbes, March 7, 2017
Oil Shortage Feared By 2020 as Discoveries Fall to Record Low
Wall Street Journal, April 26, 2017
People Are Almost Completely Ignoring A Looming Crisis For Oil
Business Insider, Sep 7, 2016
Brace For The Oil, Food, and Financial Crash in 2018
Insurge Intelligence, Jan 16, 2017
The future is going to be far different than the past. The next decade is going to look vastly different than the last decade. This blog is about the transition.
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Interview with Derrick Jensen
2020: A Marker For Collapse
Firearms And Our Future
Thermodynamic Failure: Phase 2
Firearms and Defense
Explaining Peak Oil
The Significance of Renewables
What Will The Future Look Like?
What Do The Experts Say?
Hope is Complex and Fragile
Personal Change Does Not Equal Social Change
Why Genesis 1:28 Doesn't Apply
It's Not About Running Out of Oil