An Accurate Description of the World Today from Fallout 4
So, a while back, while hanging out with a group of friends, we idly began chatting about Fallout 76. Naturally, I never preordered or thought about purchasing the game. I respect Bethesda for being willing to gamble the future of their game series by trying new concepts. But this is Bethesda we’re talking about. I knew the launch would be a glitchy, buggy mess combined with a lot of people who would be jerks and use these bugs to their advantage to upstage other players. For PC players who discovered the framerate unlock, this was exactly the case.
But talking about Fallout, we got into an interesting conversation. One that I really enjoyed. We started talking about the current world of today and what it would be like if we were living the post apocalypse. I said we already are. Then, each of us decided to come up with a day that the post apocalypse happened. Each of us had a different answer. And the results were really interesting.
Naturally, one of the first dates presented was October 26, 2001. This is a date eerily close to Fallout 4’s October 23rd, 2077. This is the day the Patriot Act was signed into law by then President George W. Bush. The Patriot Act enabled many unconstitutional actions in the defense of national security. It allowed the indefinite detention of new immigrants based on their level of suspicion or if they were being given temporary access into the US. It gave police the ability to enter and search a home or business without the owner’s consent or even notification, and the ability for them to get financial records. And, most suspicious of all, it gave the FBI full access to collect a person’s phone records, emails, and financial information without a court order. Essentially, it completely destroyed Due Process and allowed the government to take your information if they suspected you of the slightest crime linked to anything that they could say was “terror related.”
Why did this set us up for the post apocalypse? Because it led to the massive data harvesting environment that we live in today. Today, companies are so thirsty for more data to add to their machine learning algorithms that they practically jump on any opportunity to add to it. Facebook already has shown how much data they really collect, and how disorganized they are at protecting it. Protecting it is not their goal, sending it everywhere to be analyzed, measured, and developed into a useful equation to predict more accurately what an individual’s future might require to keep them hooked on their website is. YouTube has publicly stated that they specifically created the buttons on their website to encourage people to sign up, and that they know how to make ads appear at the most annoying times in the video to encourage people to subscribe to their services. We live in a day when our lives are valuable to others, not because of the value that we all inherently possess, but by the value of the data we leave behind.
The next suggestion of the post apocalypse was August 15, 1971. This is the day Nixon announced that the US would no longer back the convertibility of the US dollar to gold. Technically, this is incorrect, because the actual day that this decision was made was two days prior to the announcement, on August 13, 1971. Nixon’s decision baffled many people, and changed the way many people viewed money. For some people, it put them on the path to becoming millionaires. For others, it was a giant bait and switch. Losing the direct convertibility of the dollar to gold was something that politically earned Nixon some great credit. Years later, it’s a decisions viewed with a great deal of suspicion. The debate over the validity of this decision still rages on today.
The Federal Reserve is not obligated to tie the dollar to anything. Though the gold standard was a safe tether, not tying the dollar to gold has the advantage of allowing the Reserve to print or not print as much money as they feel appropriate. This is a powerful advantage to the Reserve, because it allows them to pump money into recessions. The problem is that it creates a great deal of uncertainty in foreign traders and investors, and causes the dollar to have a lot of volatility. With the volatility a known issue, there are nefarious people who can take advantage.
The last date of the post apocalypse, mine, was December 23, 1913. This was the day that the Federal Reserve was created to centralize control over the monetary system to “alleviate financial crises.” The Federal Reserve has always been a nefarious organization in my eyes, particularly because control over the money supply means that it would inevitably end up in the hands of someone who simply desires to take advantage of it. I’m a person who views money from the standpoint of Bitcoin and what it can do the money supply, and having centralized control over a single currency is a proven disaster. Control over money should be decentralized, placed in the hands of the many rather the hands of the few. When control over the money supply is given to the consumers and not to the leaders who create the laws for consumers, many positive things can start to happen.
At the end of this discussion, we decided to take a vote on which post apocalypse date sounded like the right one. It was decided with 3 votes in favor and 2 without that the winner was the Patriot Act date. I disagreed with this assessment, but the majority won. I did enjoy the conversation, though, because it was interesting how the post apocalypse in our minds concerned either the use of money or the loss of certain freedoms and protections.
An actual post apocalypse would mean the collapse of governments, and therefore, the collapse of unifying monetary systems. Survival from that point onward would be based on finding a unifying currency, one that follows the basic laws of what define a currency: it must be rare, but not too rare become impossible, it must be inflation resistant, it must be easy to find and hard to fake. Gold would still become the desired currency of the masses even if we reset the human clock, because it still fills all of these demands. Gold is easy to mint into coins that be can used as currency (because of its low melting point), and it meets all of the rest of the laws as well.