I was listening to a radio story about Preppers recently. These are folks who are learning to be self-reliant so that they can survive a future societal collapse. If you are going to be prepared, you have to have plans. Currently the plans that are consuming my resources are the 401k, 529, HDHP/HSA/LEX, ESPP, FICA/FUTA, and multiple forms of insurance including cryonics.
While I am not a Prepper, I am obsessed with stories about the forthcoming zombie apocalypse. I have been listening to a horde of audio books on the subject. I eagerly pay $2 an episode to watch the television series Walking Dead. I read the Center for Disease Control's zombie comic book. Although technically about "vamps", I classify the infectious undead in the movie Stake Land as being close enough to be in the same genre.
I know that there are a lot of theories about why people are fantasizing about the end of civilization right now and I suppose I fit into at least one of those descriptions. Perhaps it is because of all of those aforementioned plans.
The radio story made me think about why we are so interdependent. When we specialize and trade, the efficiencies make everyone better off. Subsistence farming is what it sounds like.
The specialist optimizes on one particular method of making a living right now. The generalist diversifies in anticipation of sudden environmental transitions. Which is correct depends on being able to accurately predict the future.
And the future could go either way. Collapse or Singularity? It seems to me that prepping should include the possibility that things could go very right. Rational optimists might want to join me in reading the recently published book Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think.