72 hours to anarchy
May 8, 2006 8:33 AM Subscribe
Where did I read the claim that organized society as we know it here in the US could fall apart in as little as 72 hours?
posted by junkbox to Society & Culture (21 answers total)
I read an article at least a year ago which argued that given 72 hours without electricity, running water, police or medical services, re-suppling the local grocery store -- all those things we take for granted every day -- that what we think of as "civilization" would fall apart quite rapidly. The point of this argument was, I believe, that a stable and organized society takes a lot of time, money and effort to build, and very little to tear apart; that we are much closer to still being savages than we like to admit to ourselves. The article itself may have been about a much larger issue -- rebuilding Iraq, peak oil, rising cost of social welfare, homeland security, I can't remember -- but somehow this "72 hours" number stuck in my brain.
I was reminded of the article during the hurricane Katrina disaster, but my Google-fu has failed to turn it up again. Can anyone point me in the right direction?
I am 85% certain of the 72 hours factoid. All other recollections about this article may be fabrications of my own poor memory.