New Zealand: In 15 Years Time
In 15 years kids will be kicking battered rugby balls around on multilane highways and sifting through wastelands, sitting amongst rubber tyres, the discarded detritus, the smouldering embers of yesterday.
Rich people still trying to buy very expensive petrol at the few remaining outlets will be subjected to attacks by marauding groups of resentful vigilante's, the baseball bat will emerge as the natural enemy of the SUV.
There will be a massive rush to get out of the suburbs as the middle classes realise all their investment in such lifestyles is worthless, many will remain in denial, desperately clinging to the hope that things will get better as their towns begin to resemble the Minsk ghetto. Things don't get better.
Feudal middle age style villages will begin emerging in rural areas, heavily protected and defended by those that heed the warnings early. Hoards of people will blame the government, totalitarianism will begin to emerge in place of democracy, law and order will become the primary occupation of the Government. Military coups are entirely possible.
Civil disorder, confusion, crime, rape, looting and fear will reign over wide sectors of society. Society will revert largely to a survival of the biggest and strongest. Racial violence will become rife as fringe groups like the National Front grow dramatically in size and assert their authority. People will view certain ethnic groups in society of having no place in NZ. As the fabric of society is eroded essential services will become increasingly unreliable, highrise buildings, sections of airports, The Warehouse, K-marts all will become squatter's quarters as they empty of businesses, unemployment will soar.
Child poverty, disease and malnourishment will escalate. Infant mortality rates will increase. Queues at what used to be supermarkets will be commonplace as transportation and supply lines are increasingly disabled.
The Government will initiate rationing, curfews and pass laws restricting all manner of behavioir, desenters will be severly punished. Hospitals will resemble war time field hospitals as funding drys up.
Suicide will rise dramatically as over committed heavily debted people find nothing left to live for. Universities will close down departments, many schools will close - massive downsizing will be the inevitable result of lack of funds.
Regional and city councils will be unable to maintain essential systems, water,waste and sewerage systems will suffer as rate's funds begin to dry up. Current market oriented business investment to upgrade and maintain electricitysystems will be nonexistent, black outs will be common. Government will be forced to spend money it doesn't have to procure such assets back in a futile effort to regain stability.
City streets will begin to resemble filthy third world cities, complete with beggers, thiefs, touters, hawkers and gangs. Alcoholism and child prostitution will increase.
All non essential funding for the art's, grants, research, subsidies, DOC and environmental projects, etc will dry up. Possum numbers will increase dramatically - that's good, we'll need them for food. Ecological diversity will suffer - but no one will really care.
There will be a necessary harsh adjustment away from our totally unsustainable lifestyles to one that resembles the latter part of the 18th century, but with 4 million mouths. Class divisions will begin to emerge. The debt heavy middle class will disappear overnight. Hundreds of thousands of people will lose their homes a month or so after they lose their jobs. A whole generation will be displaced.
New Zealand will descend into a totalitarian dystopia.
Life will become a bitch.
Long before we begin dreaming optimistically we need to face this reality. Because unless we begin preparing now this is what life in NZ will be like in 15 years - and that's probably an optimistic view.