rwwff wrote:Crawford, TX...
...The disposable, replaceable people live in Washington.
You wish. I'm not talking about the Hand Puppet-In-Chief and his off-the-grid ranch. I'm talking about the people who are really running things.
The disposable, replaceable people live in Abilene, Joplin, Elko, Syracuse, Galesburg, Omaha, and Cookeville. The ones who will be getting the last of the resources live in The Hamptons, Annandale, Chicago's Gold Coast, Sausalito, Beacon Hill, Medina, and Bel Air Estates.
The multi-billionaires are not going to abandon their cities. They're going to see to it that the urban centers be maintained as long as is physically possible. Everybody else will get in line behind them. The smaller the community, the further down the line it will be.
The truly rural areas won't even know where the line is.
Zardoz, this makes sense to me, but I also agree with some of rwwff's points. I do think that the ultrarich will remain in certain cities. I also think that cities will remain key control centers for a post-peak economy, because they are the nodal points for the energy-efficient transport infrastructure (water, rail) and for the communications infrastructure. In effect, they will be the command centers, and the powerful want to be in the command centers. By the way, I would not write off Omaha. It is an important transshipment point for grain heading down the Missouri River. (And Warren Buffet lives there.)
But I do think that large parts of the urban sprawl will be left to disintegrate into chaos and destruction. There will not be the resources to defend areas where the unemployed poor live (including much of the former middle class). What I think will be defended are a small number of elite neighborhoods and the urban economic infrastructure.
The idea of the elites retreating en masse to isolated rural fortresses is hard to imagine, though some rich people will have them as well as an urban residence. What will be more common will be for elites to shift from their urban residences to defended summer and winter colonies in the usual places: Nantucket, the Hamptons, Malibu, Palm Beach (if these places aren't inundated by global warming), Aspen, Palm Springs, etc.
The focus of elite life has always been elite society. In earlier centuries, this was known as "attending court." Elites live to show off their wealth to each other, to trade valuable information, to cultivate relationships that might prove of political or material benefit to them. This requires that they be in close proximity to each other, at least part of the time. That points to clustered residences, particularly under conditions of high transport cost and social disorder.
As for small towns and rural areas, I don't think that it will be possible to generalize. It will depend a lot on economic resources and the strength of community institutions. If a place has strong, depression-proof economic resources, access to rail or water transport, and strong community institutions, it should be relatively conducive to survival. Without these things (e.g. most of exurbia), watch out.