Most people who have never been to Alaska don’t really have a good concept of just how BIG a place it is and how few roads are cut through the territory. So few people live up here it was never economic to build many roads, especially because its fabulously expensive to build them. This because the state is extremely mountainous, as well as being fabulously cold in the winter, which does plenty of damage each year to any roads that are built. On the flats you have issues with heaving and cracking in the permafrost, and then of course there is the annual cost of keeping all the roads plowed.
Despite these problems, because of the great mineral resources here, beginning with the Alaska Gold Rush, a main Rail Line was built from the port of Anchorage up to Fairbanks. What there was of White settlement of Alaska came mostly along this rail line. All the rest of White settlement came along the Southern Coast, where there were fishing communities.
However, once Alaska became a State in 1959, to bring all the far flung villages together as a political unit, light aircraft became the quickest and easiest means of bringing the accoutrements of modern society to these places. Its fabulously expensive of course to do this, so it was subsidized.
Now, these places are mostly inhabited by native Alaskans, and before this network was established they were mostly subsistence level communities. They led pretty harsh life of course. However, the monetary settlement made with the native tribes gave these people a guranteed income, and they imported in modern housing, electricity, etc. All the modern conveniences. In return for this, Capitalists in Cahoots with Da Goobermint got to rape Alaska of whatever resources they could bring their train tracks to and later, their Pipeline. If you ask any Native, they sure wouldn’t want to go back to the “old ways” of living, on a physical level their lives were vastly made easier with all the technology that got delivered to them on these planes. Spiritually though, their lives went to hell in a handbasket. Extremely high rates of alcoholism, family violence, all the stuff that occurs when you take a population and turn them into dependents.
Now however, the great cost of maintaining this subsidized air network which holds the state together as a political unit is unaffordable, despite the fact we are still pumping some Oil off the North Slope. The state Senator Mark Begich is of course fighting these cuts, and might even be successful getting these subsidies renewed for a while longer. But of course in truth its just not affordable or economic to run this kind or air network, so these communities will eventually be cut off from regular supplies from the industrial economy. If the people who live in those communities cannot revert to subsitence living, they will either die off or they will move in towards the currently still functioning main rail line. The second alternative here is probably the more likely one for most of these folks.
The same thing is likely to be true of many of the smaller towns in the lower 48 that get all their supplies from the industrial economy from the trucking system on the interstate highways. If these towns are not reasonably near a main rail hub, they’re going to be the first places which get cut off. Tanker trucks won’t be arriving to fill the Convenience store gas tanks, and most of the people won’t be prepared to start living a subsistence life without gas and diesel to power their cars and tractors. Most will start migrating toward towns that are on the rail lines, probably with little more than the clothes on their backs. At the same time, people in the Big Shitties will be migrating outward from them, as their systems fail. If Da Goobermint holds together through this period, the greatest economic opportunities will be in smaller towns that are on the main east-west and north-south rail lines, but never grew large enough to get big Airports. Such places would be good to think about relocating to if you are not up for trying the subsistence farm completely independent from what is left of the industrial civilization.
Up here in Alaska, as the economics spin down, I think many of the people currently living in Anchorage & Fairbanks will migrate back to the lower 48, where they probably have some relatives and where the climate is a bit nicer. I think we will retain some level of economic activity of the industrial era along the rail line. Tonight on the way home a long train of Coal Cars was moving down the tracks toward Anchorage. The coal probably headed for Japan or China right now, as probably the Chinese have “locked in” long term coal supplies buying a contract on it for 20 years. Good luck enforcing that contract when Eminent Domain is declared and all the coal is directed down to the lower 48 to run the trains on the rail system down there. This is the great FALLACY of the Chinese using their current surplus of Toilet Paper to “buy mines and resources” outside their borders. Once TSHTF, all those things will be Nationalized by whoever lives on top of them, the contracts will be worthless toilet paper also. You only own what you can PROTECT. Unless the Chiense send over an Army to make sure the coal heads their way, it doesn’t matter WHAT contracts they have that says they “own” it. They don’t, because they cannot PROTECT that ownership.
Basically, you are looking at a Hugo Chavez world coming down the pipe here. If a Multinational Corporation is taking rice out of Venezuela and Venezuelans are starving, Hugo and his buddies will take over the rice plant to distribute out to all their local supporters. You think Hugo gives a flying fuck if Conagra signed a 20 year contract with the Chinese to send rice over from Venezuela? The Chinese can spend every dime they saved up here from years of slave labor and its not going to buy them a damn thing overseas, because unless and until they can send over an army to enforce those contracts, they are SOL.
You really think anyone is going to be following the “rules” and abiding by these contracts once TSHTF for real? No fucking way. That means of “doing bizness” is going the way of the Dinosaur along with the monetary system. Ownership of property is not about what is on a freaking piece of paper you bought trading on the bourses, its about being able to protect and defend that property, and the further it is from your home location the less likelihood there is you will retain control over it.
Since it is unlikely that anybody can send over a big enough army anwhere to control the resources of other areas, everybody will be fighting over what they CAN fight over, which are the local resources within their own borders. The FSofA probably can retain some integrity for a while using the Rail Lines, assuming a transition back to Coal can be made quick enough. China however never really built up such a system through their late entrance into industrial economy, so they will likely lose cohesiveness quicker as a political unit. Once their local ag goes into failure mode and they cannot import enough food from parts of the world they “bought”, that population of 1.3B people is going to be in a WORLD of Shit, and so will the Elite in charge of it be in a world of shit.
People who believe China is in the Catbird Seat here because they send a lot of the children of their Elites here for an education are deluded. There is a much more powerful dynamic in play here beyond how smart or “hard working” any given population is. The dynamic is energy depeletion, because REAL hard work was all done by OIL, everywhere, particularly in industrial economies like China has become, a Day Late and a Yuan Short in this game. As the Oil depletes, there is NOTHING that can save the Chiense population from the fate of a polluted and degraded environment with too many people living upon it. The impoverished Chinese are going to REVOLT, just as the impoverished Egyptians have once their bellies are going empty. Its going to happen there before it does here, because far more of their population is living at the subsistence level under $3500/yr income than lives that way here. The FSofA is NOT likely to run out of food to feed the population FIRST, it is likely to run out LAST.
Even in Alaska, with our small population there are enough resources to subsist. Somewhat uncomfortably in the Winter, but very nice in the Summer when the Salmon run along the Copper River. There is plenty of Coal here to keep us warm in the winter for quite some time to come, and we will NOT be shipping it off to the Chinese when TSHTF, no matter what contracts for “ownership” they hold. I signed no such contract, neither did any of my friends. That Coal will go NOWHERE but into our stoves and furnaces, unless somebody shows up here on our shores to TAKE it. Good luck with that one, we are entrenched here on the High Ground, and like the Pashtuns of Afghanistan, these are OUR Mountains. No foreign army invading will win in such a terrain. Far as the Chinese are concerned, I say let ‘em COME for the Coal. We will knock them ALL DOWN, like a lame and starving Caribou. They can take their “Contracts for Ownership” and stick it where the Sun Don’t Shine. Meaningless, Worthless Toilet Paper.
You only Own what you can PROTECT and DEFEND.