7 Things That Become Worthless In Case Of a Societal Collapse

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Predictions about the end of the world are old news. We are not at the brisk of societal collapse, and for once, we have reasons to be concerned. It won’t be like in the movies, at least based on what we know about previous fallen civilizations, but it will wipe away everything we thought we needed. While some are preparing for doomsday, we need to understand why many believe the end is near and talk about the things that will become worthless, regardless of their worth now. 

What makes people think Western civilization will collapse?


Some signs include political division, environmental challenges, the rise of AI, and the rise of billionaires. Collapse can come in several financial, political, social, and cultural stages. Can we stop societal collapse? Maybe. But will we? That depends on the most powerful figures on the planet. 

Tipping point


Despite what is happening in society, we might have reached the point of no return if global warming becomes irreversible. People accelerated their own demise, and the warnings are all around us. Massive flooding, deforestation, wildfires, earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornados were always present, but the sheer amount of natural disasters is not a good sign. But did we stop with the environment? No, we created AI. 

The great threat 


In 2014, the late Stephen Hawking warned that the rise of machines is no longer a Sci-Fi movie. The accelerated rise of AI could spell the end of civilization, and though this comment was met with skepticism at the time, today, more and more scientists are taking it as a grave threat. 

Other obstacles 


The collapse of Western society would essentially mean the end of the world as we know it, with only a handful of countries left almost unaffected. It would also mean the end of the human race. Another real threat could end us far more quickly than climate change or AI, and that’s nuclear detonation. Another gigantic threat could be another, more deadly pandemic, which is possible because no one knows what’s inside melting glaciers. 

Political aspect 

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Many Americans, or around 30 percent, are stocking up on food and other necessities ahead of the elections, USA Today reported. Some are afraid of Trump’s victory for two main reasons. One is that he would not know how to react in case of a threat, and they cited his responses to Puerto Rico hurricane season and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Events that could lead to civil unrest 

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Some believe Trump would establish a New World Order. On the other hand, Biden’s opponents are afraid of political prosecution, and so are Trump’s, and everyone is scared of potential clashes that would lead to civil unrest. While extremely dangerous, civil unrest is already part of our society, though the increase in the past several years has been alarming. 

So, what’s the first precious thing that loses its worth? 


Many people preparing for doomsday are sharing what you will need when and if that day comes. It is primarily canned food, flashlights, first aid kits, and medications. But, the weirdest part is when you begin thinking about things that will become worthless, yet they are so precious at this moment. The first thing on the list is money. 

Paper money 


Everything you’re looking at would become obsolete in case of societal collapse. We know that because at least 32 developed civilizations have collapsed before us. The money would likely become worthless almost instantly. Society would return to trading goods and silver until a new currency was established. 

Credit cards 


Credit cards, physical and virtual, will follow paper money because they are essentially the same thing. Additionally, credit cards depend on ATMs, which will likely collapse in a matter of hours. Remember that if the collapse happens due to “outside” occurrences, like a nuclear attack, food, water, and air would be worth more than anyone’s life. 

Say goodbye to communication 

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Power grids nationwide would be out in a matter of hours, and landlines and cell phones would follow. Old-school radios and well-maintained vehicles will be able to survive for a couple of years. Communication will likely be possible via walkie-talkies or old radios, though it is impossible to know because this civilization, like others before, is unique in its achievements. 



How do we know that phones and the internet will not survive societal collapse? We have already seen it during natural disasters, which were mild compared to possible scenarios. If you find a working data center, the internet will be possible for several days, but you’ll watch websites disappear. 

Social media 


With the disappearance of the Internet, social media, followers, and likes will all go down the drain. Remarkably, it plays such a pivotal role in our lives as a way to communicate, influence our thinking, and boost or ridicule our self-worth. But once the Internet goes, so do social networks, Google Maps, subscriptions to various streaming services, and all the little things we complain about today. 

Most material possessions 


Even a house could become worthless, with everything in it, from furniture to expensive clothing. Depending on what triggers the societal collapse, you might have to run or stay inside for an extended period. Regardless, books and writing down what’s happening could be helpful for the future. 

Your degree


If people go back to bargaining, meaning exchanging services for goods, a fine arts, marketing, law, or economics degree will be absolutely useless. Most degrees and jobs will not provide much-needed services, but skills will be valuable. People will be run by the most skilled and wise, which brings us to the next point. 

Government, as we know it 

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Governments have changed throughout history, so in case of a societal collapse, we will likely see further changes. Since government collapse is highly likely and will be followed by violence, we will have to rely on morals, ethics, and common sense to guide us. But keep in mind that it does not have to happen overnight. 

Ways toward collapse 


One popular theme in movies and books is that things will explode overnight. However, it is more likely a gradual process like in Ancient Rome, which finally crumpled after hundreds of years. However, that does not mean we will wait hundreds of years since many believe we are already witnessing the societal collapse.

The impact will likely be global 


Since we live in a global society and countries depend on each other more than in previous centuries, it is safe to assume that one country or even area will follow another. We don’t know anything beyond that because we have never had our society collapse. If we did, it wouldn’t be the same society. 

Decaying society 


We are likely living in a decaying society, as described by Robert A. Heinlein in the Sci-Fi book Friday. Yes, it is a work of fiction, but it depicts a decaying society that might sound too familiar. It includes symptoms like inflation, high taxation, a rise in violence, and, additionally, the disappearance of the middle class since its role is to act as an economic stabilizer. 

What we learned from the pandemic

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Since it is still fresh in everyone’s mind, the pandemic can be a great teacher regarding adaptability and things that will become useless in case of total societal collapse. After all, one of the triggers could be a deadlier pandemic, which would force you to stay inside. 

Can we truly prepare for the end of our civilization? 


You can try to prepare, but we still don’t know what we’re preparing for. Stacking food, especially if you live in coastal areas and have experienced hurricanes, is not uncommon. But if we’re talking about a doomsday scenario, preparing would take mental strength most of us don’t have because it would test our humanity. Would you be able to live and fight without your loved ones? 

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Kate Smith, a self-proclaimed word nerd who relishes the power of language to inform, entertain, and inspire. Kate's passion for sharing knowledge and sparking meaningful conversations fuels her every word.