Predicting the future is always hazardous: there are no time-travellers nor Mentats nor psychohistorians on the horizon to offer advice. Malthus was wrong in his predictions by a few centuries but he is casting a long shadow on the fast-approaching rendezvous with new resource limits. We can still beat him if we can harness the sun or its secret, the fusion. But it is a long and squirrely IF.
Humans love muddy metaphors to expound their views. Social challenges and problems are a lot more complex, even for a true anarchy that never is. Muddling-through is best humans do. But it is more fruitful if one is well-informed: learn the rule, perhaps, just to figure out how and when it breaks. Building social constructs like capitalism or socialism or survival-ism are such exercises, not an eternal solution – they help focus the on-going tussle between the haves and the have-nots, the masters and the slaves. Remember divine rights of the king? They are coming back, yes! Complete with knights, castles, and torture chambers. Slum dwellers are suckers for a fairy-tale god, they love famine-induced spiritualism, and live on to procreate farm labor, and the gun fodder for the deadly games that the ordained uber-class plays with things that go swish-bang in the night or day. Beckets always die prematurely, at times gracefully perhaps, defending stupidity.
Production, interest, capital, growth, dollar, ever-higher GDP are words of an era whose end is suddenly upon us. We do not know it yet, like the chicken that runs about without its head, for want of a new vocabulary that fits the inexorable decline. The new catch words will include barter and make-do.
There is a pedagogic use for “He is dead, Jim” doomers. We pick on doomers because they offer a view that clashes strongly with recent history. But wait, Hobbes will reign again because he said, “…life is short, nasty, and brutish.” Nietzsche and his “God is dead” will fast disappear along with the uppity middle class as absence of religion takes away the last hope from the wretched, the spineless, and the doomed who find it hard to defend their dignity. I will not be surprised to see a sequel to “Return of the Native.”
Worry not, each community will live by its reach to resources. How they organize and live will depend on the wisdom and courage of the people. Sheep shall have a shepherd, lions a pride.
Meanwhile drive your humvee, lust for the pretty face on the TV, and enjoy modern-day Sinai in Las Vegas with its golden calves while Moses is away.