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ZetaTalk: Worst Case
Note: written Nov 15, 1999.

In worst case predictions, there is the assumption that all care of others will cease, and all laws except the rule of the strong and ruthless will be ignored. The populace sees looting after natural disasters, and assumes that such behavior would go on endlessly if a disaster were large enough, long lasting and global. Looting is an immediate response to an opportunity, store doors left open and the shop keepers distracted. Where shops and homes have been left empty during the weeks preceding and following the pole shift, they will surely be looted, but grab-and-run is not the mode when goods are looked after and not abandoned. Bartering will become the mode, with life-styles becoming increasingly simple and plain as goods become scarce.

Predictions that martial law will be imposed, world wide or in this or that country, are likewise based on projecting a single response of the military to the ultimate extreme, without considering the balancing forces. How will such martial law be maintained when the troops cannot be fed, and the foot soldier is intensely worried about his family back at home? Military campaigns, and repression, are maintained only where the resources to feed and reward an army exist. When food stores and the promise of continuing job security become empty, the generals and politicians wanting to rule will find themselves abandoned, and without the means to chase and punish their wayward soldiers there will be little threat to prevent this trend. Once the rulers have been ignored, without punishment or repercussions, martial law is over. Knowing these facts, most counties will not attempt martial law, and where this is imposed such campaigns will be short lived.

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