When Complex Systems Fail: Part II

By: Tom Chatham – Author of Rebuilding The Republic

It is critical to realize when a system is about to fail so you can take the necessary immediate steps to limit the effects of the failure on you. In a cascading series of failures it is important to think and act proactively to stay ahead of the curve. How the failures occur in your immediate area and what form they take will be to a large degree determined by the type of people there. Those with no preparations or resources to fall back on will likely react in a frightened and violent way. Some that cannot handle the reality when their comfort zone is breached will go into a state of depression, denial or shock and will complicate the situation for others and will become the helpless victims of those that will take advantage of the situation.

In a cascading series of failures, the first hard jolt will leave many reeling from the sudden and unexpected nature of the situation. Many of these people will not understand that this is only the first of many situations that will build upon one another causing more damage as the failures continue. Those that understand what is happening and maintain some situational awareness can position themselves to mitigate these failures and take preemptive measures prior to each occurrence.

Situational awareness is a key to staying ahead of each failure. Just as you know that when a snow storm is approaching you may lose power, you must learn to read the subtle signs in society to determine what is happening at any given moment. When you hear that there is a failure of the grain harvests around the world, you know that will increase the prices of many products made from grain. You know that livestock fed with grain will be more expensive and so will the meat. If there is a strike overseas in the primary cocoa producing regions of the world it will mean higher cocoa and chocolate prices. If there is a war in the Middle East that may cut off oil shipments in that part of the world, you know that may mean higher gas prices or inability to get any at times if it is severe. If the government enacts import restrictions on certain products, it may mean those things will become scarce or unobtainable in the marketplace.

These are the types of things that you need to concern yourself with to stay ahead of the failures. The ability to predict cause and effect will enable you to be prepared for these jolts to society and allow you to ride out the disruptions. For every action there is an opposite but equal reaction. One of the things you need to stay aware of are the actions within government. These are the most immediate and possibly dangerous things to your future and being able to determine how government actions will affect you will determine your actions in response.

If you hear the government is about to set up checkpoints to limit travel between areas, and you have a safe location you are planning to go to if things deteriorate, that may be the only warning you get to leave and go to your safe location. If you wait you may not be allowed to leave later. The warning signs before each situation may be subtle and short lived. There may be multiple signs indicating several things are about to happen simultaneously. You need to prepare for this and be prepared to multitask and do it quickly.

This is the reason to have several well thought out plans to draw on. Most likely you will have to draw from each plan as the situations develop and construct a new overall plan as you react to situations on the ground. This is where prior planning pays off by allowing you to quickly organize a new plan even while on the move.

When you set down to draw up a plan to deal with several different scenarios, it would be beneficial to include a few plans that deal with radical and unconventional situations to provide you with options if you are confronted with a situation outside of your normal sphere of thinking. In a developing situation it is critical to be prepared for anything. A plan can help overcome a lack of resources when something unusual happens.

When things start to fall apart on a national or global scale, they can get out of control very quickly. When that happens, you don’t want to be in the wrong place surrounded by the wrong people. If that should happen, you want to have a plan to deal with it. When systems begin to fail a few at a time over a long period, it is easy to become complacent and ignore the signs telling you what to do. It is your job to understand those signs and be prepared to react to them.

If you want to exercise this skill, all you need to do is start reading more and keeping up with current events. Pay attention to these events and watch what effects they have that affect you. This is the best way to learn situational awareness, and soon you will hear of something happening in the world and immediately think about what it will cause and what you should do to limit its’ effects on you. Those that wait for direction from government or media sources will not have the time necessary to react and protect their resources. Insuring that you stay ahead of any event is up to you. God gave you a brain for a reason. It’s up to you to use it.


Posted on November 16, 2012, in Preparedness and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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