Borepatch embedded a very short, but very interesting analysis by Kenneth Clark on why Rome fell. It’s only two and a half minutes long, and well worth that much of your time to watch it.
Our modern civilization can fall, too, and in a surprisingly short time. It’s happened right before our eyes multiple times over the past half-century. Think of the Soviet Union in the late 1980’s, or Venezuela over the past five years. It could happen even to the USA or Western Europe, if enough of the storm clouds gathering over either economy were to let loose. (Think of what would happen if the US government, due to economic circumstances, were to stop providing Social Security and/or Medicaid to its citizens: or, alternatively, if we did not act to stop illegal alien infiltration, and they did to the whole of the US economy what they’ve already done to California. What would either and/or both of those events do to a very large part of our population? And what would that imply for our society as a whole?)
Food for thought.
Not only CAN it fall, but it will. Anyone who can use a calculator can see that the current system we have in place cannot continue indefinitely. Social Security, Medicare, and the interest on the debt already account for more money than the government takes in through taxation. We can't borrow to run the remainder of the government forever.
By definition, that which cannot continue will not continue. Then, as you say, what happens when the gravy train stops? What happens to the big cities when the EBT cards fail?
Have you seen Bill Whittle's 1:44:– video where he talks about that? It's truly excellent.
And OK, shameless self-promotional plug, it's embedded in my essay "Civilizational Collapse and the Brain":
That which cannot continue indefinitely, must eventually stop.
That sudden jerk at the end of the rope is going to come as a surprise to a lot of people, if only for a brief time.
The founders of the United States didn't expect it to last even this long, but were optimistic of the capacity of people to learn and make things better in the next iteration.
Unlike Rome, the means of decisive intervention hereabouts is not solely vested in the government's minions.
Hordes of illegals doing to the US economy what they've done to CA would simply initiate a bloodbath reckoning, and expulsion via the local cemetery, and in haste.
Stopping Social Security or Medicaid would be equally harsh, but the old and infirm aren't liable to kick up much of a fuss as they died from starvation or lack of medical care in the same numbers as the prior scenario.
In many ways, society is both more fragile and more robust than it was in 400 A.D.
Wholesale breakdown is less likely, though certainly not impossible.
You've just chosen the two scenarios least likely to do more than inconvenience society for more than a season or three, for those other than the target demographic.
Neither A Day Without A Mexican nor A Day Without Grandpa would affect most of society except to lessen the traffic load on the interstates, and shorten the waiting time at the local ER, ultimately.
Bring down the financial system or the power grid rapidly and in total, and you've got quite a different matter on your hands.
I just read this interesting piece: