Flag of JMG’s Lakeland Republic, from Retrotopia; own work
Last week, the issue of lead and its analogues were brought forward. The list of reasons why a civilization can collapse can be long (see Tainter and Diamond, naturally). When they go, its members lose some pretty nifty comforts, but also miss some of civilization’s problems.
On one side of ledger, we might lose antibiotics, birth control, cheap energy, domesticated animals/pet, electronic communications, fire brigades, geosynchronous satellite communication and GPS, houses that are heated in winter and cool in summer, icemakers and indoor plumbing, jaunts to far away destinations, cheap candy, laundry, money that is easily transferred and held safe, cheap optics and eyeglasses, search engines, tooth care (dentistry), zoos; the list is long (trying for a bit of an alphabetical list, but not all of these things will go at the same time, or degrade in any sort of uniform manner).
Likewise, we’ll lose some pollution (but gain in others), onerous regulations and taxes from far flung locales, reality television and celebrity news, food made with corn syrup, and commutes to jobs where you sit in a box and look at screens all day.
What will you miss, on both sides of the ledger? If it was possible to throttle back on “civilization” just a wee bit, what sort of tradeoffs would you make? Would you dial back life to a 1960s level of technology? Or want to go earlier? JMG made a world where these elements could live side by side in Retrotopia. Where would you be inclined to live?