By Fabian Ommar
It’s time to review and update the unfolding of Thirdworldization, or the slow descent of First World countries into banana republic territory, in light of the latest local and global events and trends.
In Brazil, the new year only starts after the Carnaval, beginning February 10.
Everything is open, and everyone has been working since January 2. But – and this is kinda awkward and difficult to explain – the period between that and the end of the world-famous popular festive on Fat Tuesday (yep, like Mardi Gras) is sort of considered something of a “warm-up”, and not really the game. Or so dictates the tradition.
That little idiosyncrasy, a folklore typical of less-developed nations, might be the perfect introduction for my first post of 2024 for The OP.
Even though I don’t consider conflicts and geopolitical disturbances as Thirdworldization by themselves, no doubt wars can impact in more than one way the standard of living in countries not directly (i.e., physically) involved in the conflicts but by proxy or some other way.
That’s the pickle the US and its allies in Europe find themselves in at the moment, their governments intent on keep funding Ukraine against Russia with billions of taxpayers euros and dollars, on top of what has already been spent.
People at large have lost count of the total, and few are even following that much anymore. The media keeps covering the scam because it’s impossible to hide it and also to give an alibi so that, in the future, no one will be able to say the politicians did it on the back of the population.
Now, that could be some 4D chess strategy, or maybe these governments know something we don’t. Perhaps this time, it’s different. However, this process has led to more than one empire’s bankruptcy. Wars are costly.
Border and migration crisis
First, let’s call it what it is: an invasion.
Engineered or not, intentional or not, it’s past the point of crisis. Impacts are already being felt in the US, the UK, and countries in Western Europe and for some time now. Notably, there’s been a rise in all kinds of crime and violence. However, the actual plight is yet to come.
Borders and migration are being weaponized. Look at the Texas quarrel or how the US government uses the issue to hold the Senate hostage and get even more money for conflicts in distant lands. It borders on criminal, pun intended. The issue isn’t much better in Europe.
Other practical effects will come from that. Mass migration at this level is a time bomb. No one knows the true extent of the effects once it goes off. Sleeper cells, overburdening of the welfare system, cultural and religious conflicts, impacts on jobs, legislation, and the market – the list of potential threats goes on.
All that contributes to Thirdworldization, but there’s more: the reactions to those developments can be as harmful and damaging as the original problem and end up worsening it, things like extremism, nationalism, xenophobia, the rise of divisive populist leaders and politicians, and so on.
I was in Germany this January when the farmers first took to the roads and cities to protest against the government’s over-taxation and over-regulation. I watched it happening up close. It was all very German, i.e., very organized, civilized, and (mostly) peaceful, with the support of the population and all that.
However, in the short period since, it’s grown more tense. It is spreading to Belgium (capital of the EU and NATO), the Netherlands (the second biggest food exporter in the World), and France (anyone remembers the summer Olympic Games are coming?) and gaining momentum. It’s also becoming more physical, more violent and these are concerning developments. (Read more about the farmer protests here.)
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I’ve been trying to warn about strikes, sit-downs, and other similar second-and-third-order effects from the beginning. They are not immediate but lagging. I know we’ve seen that before and whatnot; also, it’s one of those “Big Circles” things. But pissing off the people that grow our food or transport our stuff can get very real on the ground and quickly.
Economy and markets
This is where all other chickens come home to roost. When money that could otherwise be used for education, rebuilding, improving, and expanding infrastructure, law enforcement, disaster mitigation, or reducing the debt (i.e., lower interest and combat inflation) gets squandered or used up abroad, that feeds Thirdworldization.
The blanket is short in nations holding the printing press or the World’s reserve basket of currencies, too, and the channeling of already-scarce resources ends up crippling further the finances and worsening the already-dire fiscal situation of the countries involved. The long-term effects will be much worse.
Markets are rigged and keep going up when news are good or bad. They no longer reflect the real economy and production of goods and services, but if something triggers the algorithms, it can become a bloodbath in a snap. Everything is so interconnected and complex that it’s even hard to fathom all the consequences, but more Thirdworldization will be one of them, that’s for sure.
That’s one trend that keeps getting worse by the day. Increased poverty and homelessness, crime and violence, and social unrest are the part of Thirdworldization which directly impacts people’s standard of living and quality of life, what they feel the most.
The undoing of the social fabric is more visible than ever, but I expect it to aggravate much more in the coming years, and that’s very Thirdworldizing (I made that word up).
People realize something big is brewing. They also feel the system failing, the cracks, the corruption and decadence. Hence, the tension, radicalization, polarization, and tribalism are on the rise. The question remains whether, at some point, this will lead to torches and pitchforks on the streets or not.
I can’t detect something reversing this trend, so we might see more pushback and unrest in the near future. Prepare.
What does China have to do with Thirdworldization, you may ask? Lots. If China’s two-digit GDP growth for almost two decades pulled the entire World, what can we expect once its economy declines, or worse, busts? I suspect few are prepared for that, especially considering China’s official numbers can’t be trusted. If something breaks, we may not even know something happened after the fact.
Other potential short-term consequences are funds freezing, banks shutting down, pensions disappearing, and those things. (More information here.) That sort of event can affect the standard of living in short- and mid-term terms globally, but particularly in countries with close trading and investment ties with the big country.
Keep watching that closely because a crack in any major nation or sector will lead to markets going down and investments stalling – those kinds of things. And it’ll be much worse if that happens in China, for obvious reasons.
Freedom, liberty & other issues
That is hitting home hard for me right now. Somber times as Brazil slides into authoritarianism, under the banner of “defending democracy” and courtesy of the leftist government and Supreme Court. I’ve already addressed this topic, but it’s getting awful. We even have a CBDC now.
My country sits in between the First-and-Third Worlds, so we can go lower. Brazil’s recent drop in the Transparency.org Corruption Perception Index is just another step towards Thirdworldization. That was expected, with the election of Lula last year and the attacks on the operation that sought to combat widespread corruption during his previous terms. The fiscal time bomb has also been set, but that’s for another article.
There are concerning attacks on freedom and liberty taking place in places like Canada, Australia, and also Europe, increasing Thirdworldization in these places too. No one is going to advertise dictatorship, so any time a government or authority takes the initiative to “save democracy,” you can bet it will do the opposite and take away from freedoms and liberties.
I’ve been addressing Thirdworldization for years.
It’s the cornerstone of my work in preparedness and survival. This mindset comes from being born and living in a developing country with many hindering deficiencies and crippling disorders, which is exactly what I see now spreading everywhere (actually for some time now).
Anyway, I mention that because this update is an excellent opportunity to provide a more in-depth and objective perspective of how I see it unfolding in places like the UK, the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia. The $64,000 question then:
How far will the First World slide into banana republic territory, after all?
I don’t foresee the First World countries like the United States becoming as dysfunctional as Third-World countries. It would take severe or multiple consecutive shocks quickly to shake institutions and society enough for that to happen in less than a generation.
Others may disagree, and I could be wrong, but I know both realities, the differences and similarities, well enough to affirm that. I’m not saying it’s impossible, just improbable, at least given the actual conditions.
That doesn’t mean things will be fine.
They won’t, and that’s the main takeaway of what I just presented. We should also remember that a fall from grace is more painful when it happens from a high position.
Good times can be artificial, but bad times are very real.
Trends and events in these arenas indicate turmoil and more Thirdwoldization in the near future. It is accelerating, and a soft SHTF can still be pretty bad. Not counting the possibility of Black Swans, which come in flocks during volatile times like these.
But I’m not saying anything new or unheard of. It all happened before. Not prophesying anything, either, just offering my perspective. When searching for a balanced view, I do my best to consider actual threats, but always with perspective on history and past events.
And therein lies the silver lining: history shows things never end up as good as we hope, nor turn out as bad as we feared. It all sounds darker in prospect than it is in reality. Call me an optimist if you want, but in my opinion, citizens of the First World will feel the loss more than the actual consequences of it. The majority will adapt and march on; that’s always been the case.
Finally, even though prosperity is on a slump, humankind keeps advancing. Evolution is not linear nor without setbacks or suffering. Actually, we advance through suffering. Still, we’re living the most peaceful and prosperous time ever right now. I find it important to keep that in mind and be grateful for that.
Keep saving, keep preparing, but keep enjoying, too.
What are your thoughts?
Have you seen symptoms of Thirdworldization in your area? What are they? What do you see as the biggest cause of American Thirdworldization? How are you planning for continued decline? And finally, how bad do you expect things to get?
Let’s talk about it in the comments section.
Fabian Ommar is a 50-year-old middle-class worker living in São Paulo, Brazil. Far from being the super-tactical or highly trained military survivor type, he is the average joe who since his youth has been involved with self-reliance and outdoor activities and the practical side of balancing life between a big city and rural/wilderness settings. Since the 2008 world economic crisis, he has been training and helping others in his area to become better prepared for the “constant, slow-burning SHTF” of living in a 3rd world country.
Fabian’s ebook, Street Survivalism: A Practical Training Guide To Life In The City , is a practical training method for common city dwellers based on the lifestyle of the homeless (real-life survivors) to be more psychologically, mentally, and physically prepared to deal with the harsh reality of the streets during normal or difficult times. He’s also the author of The Ultimate Survival Gear Handbook.
You can follow Fabian on Instagram @stoicsurvivor
Source: The Organic Prepper
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