OR, the most depressing post you'll read today.
I get a kick out of the supposed prophecy that the world will end or face some sort of cataclysmic event sometime next year. My knowledge of the Maya Long Count is comparable to my understanding of quantum computing, which is to say I know it exists. From the very little research I've bothered to do concerning this doomsday prediction, it seems to be pretty much bunk from the scientific or historical perspective.
The world has a way of being really funny, however. And by "really funny", I mean there are a bunch of real life scenarios that could bring about doomsday next year, Mayas or no Mayas. Just a small list of things that make me worry:
China, despite being the new rage of statists everywhere (once upon a time it was Fascism, now it's Maosim, whatever will they think of next to enslave people?), is a time bomb. Their economy is supposedly growing at a tremendous rate, but it helps when you push through inflationist policies. Funny thing about those policies is that it drives up prices for just about everything, and when a huge portion of your population lives on a few dollars a day, rising prices can mean no food tonight. Such people tend not to be happy. Those people tend to be even less thrilled when they are young males who cannot get laid because there are not enough women. As we see in the Middle East, even Internet restrictions cannot stop word of a revolution from spreading like wildfire in our modern world.
There is always the old standby of the Middle East and oil prices. Fun fact: as China and India become more modernized, they will begin to use oil like we do in the West. Except there are 2 billion Indians and Chinese people, compared to roughly 700 million Americans and Europeans. Huge rises in demand when supply may begin shrinking...hmm, that doesn't bode well for a world that literally exists on oil. And this lifeblood is in an insanely unstable region. Also, Iran could be on the verge of obtaining nuclear weapons. If they do, we'll find out soon enough if they mean to go through with their wipe Israel off of the face of the planet goal and if Israel actually has weapons to respond to it. If that happens, we won't have to worry about oil prices, because the oil will stop flowing.
A new old problem is rising food prices. The 29% increase in food prices over the last year bodes ill for hundreds of millions of people in this world who struggle with sustenance as is. History is full of examples of starving people leading revolutions. Large portions of Africa and Asia will be impacted, but it appears the Middle East has also suffered as well, possibly pushing people to revolution now. Increasing population and decreasing access to oil will exacerbate this problem.
Terrorism has largely faded into the background these days, but it is hardly gone. If these people ever get their hands on weapons that can do some real damage...well, let's just say the aftermath won't be pretty.
Than again, if they become powerful enough, bandits can effectively wipe out governments of powerful states like Mexico, or at least control huge swaths of the nation and be on parity with the government. More citizens died violent deaths in Ciudad Juarez last year than in all of Afghanistan. Juarez, of course, is right on the U.S. border. Beware the spread of that conflict.
$14,186,168,803,680.47. That's how much the United States owes. That doesn't include state, local, school, or pension shortfalls. The total for those has been estimated in the trillions. A number of European states (Greece, Ireland) are only afloat due to bailouts, while others are closing in on needing such help (Spain, Portugal). Spain in particular is disconcerting, since they are a huge nation compared to the relatively tiny Greece and Ireland. Recent postings seem to show that the bailouts are not working, either. Dealing with this debt and entitlement shortfalls will cause political instability in all Western nations. Not that we are along; Japan is sitting on top of 210% of its GDP in debt. And they are the world's third largest economy. While unlikely, hyperinflation would bring upon us pain the likes of which we could not imagine.
And did I mention that solar flares could devastate our technological world? That the Sun is acting up and there is not a god damn thing we can do about it?
I'm not saying the world is going to end soon. However, there are a lot of things that could go very wrong, very quickly, and most of the things I've mentioned are lined up like dominoes. We live in interesting times, though I imagine most people viewed their own time as "interesting." The difference is, we have the ability to wipe the species off the face of the planet.