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My journalism professor is not an expert in finance or economics but has studied history. She is always giving us a negative lecture on the America's economy and how the rich are taking al of the wealth for themselves and letting America fall to ruins so everyone else loses everything and just is on the streets. She said this is basically what it like in Detroit and Michigan right now and that seeing how divided we are socially, she thinks we're going down just as worse as Rome.

She really freaked me out. Is this true> I know it sort of opinion based but if you can just give an answer on what would likely happen in a case of economic collapse for just America, just Europe, and if the whole global economy collapsed as well. I know the rich have enough investments and saved resources to live for decades, but for people like me lower middle class, what will happen?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Giskard, BKay, Alecos Papadopoulos, HRSE, dismalscience Dec 7 '15 at 2:50

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ Sort of opinion based...? I am sorry but this is absolutely opinion based. You did not even specify the cause of economic collapse. Is it another housing bubble, was there a nuclear war, did your professor get elected and make herself supreme leader? Even knowing a general cause will lead to opinion based answers because total collapse is a vague an unprecedented situation. $\endgroup$ – Giskard Dec 6 '15 at 23:29
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    $\begingroup$ Voting to close because this is opinion-based, but while we're in opinion territory, I recommend visiting Detroit! You'll get to understand the complex issues that the area faces yourself, while also enjoying its charms. $\endgroup$ – dismalscience Dec 7 '15 at 2:50
  • $\begingroup$ @dismalscience Detroit is one of many as Michigan. I can't believe people embrace outsourcing because it makes things a little cheaper. What about the jobs America loses and how unemployment rises then? $\endgroup$ – Bruno1993 Dec 7 '15 at 18:28
  • $\begingroup$ @denesp you're right sorry. I meant something by economic means like political corruption, income inequality, automation putting humans out of work, things like that. What do you think in those terms? $\endgroup$ – Bruno1993 Dec 7 '15 at 18:29
  • $\begingroup$ @Bruno1993 The problem will persist as long as the question has a "things like" quality to it. In economics the devil is frequently in the details so too vague questions usually do not have good answers. $\endgroup$ – Giskard Dec 7 '15 at 18:50
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There is no simple answer to this question. She is just giving her opinion on the topic. However, so long as USD is the main reserve currency for other governments and oil is mainly traded in USD, Americans can keep buying their guns at low cost. Gun laws are more detrimental to Americans' lives and hence the economy than anything else in the foreseeable future. This is my view, there is more...

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    $\begingroup$ This answer seems like a better fit for skeptics SE. Perhaps you would feel more at home there? $\endgroup$ – Giskard Dec 6 '15 at 23:30
  • $\begingroup$ I feel safe with stricter gun controls... $\endgroup$ – london Dec 7 '15 at 12:16
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    $\begingroup$ And I have no quarrel with that. But please do not clutter this economics community Q&A. $\endgroup$ – Giskard Dec 7 '15 at 16:32
  • $\begingroup$ That's your view... $\endgroup$ – london Dec 7 '15 at 17:01
  • $\begingroup$ My opinion (that I have no objection to your views) is certainly my view. My second sentence is more of a request. $\endgroup$ – Giskard Dec 7 '15 at 18:48
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Neither American nor World economy will collapse as long as there at least two citizens producing goods and willing to exchange them. Roman Empire's economy did not collapse either, for the record, the Empire did.

In any economy some jobs and sectors become obsolete, others take over and attract a lot of capital. At some point of the 20th century the car industry was booming and made Detroit the richest city in America. Then manufacturing jobs got outsourced and now the US economy strives creating IT products.

Rich people rely on ordinary people's income and spending to maintain their wealth. It is the average people who buy products made by the rich people's firms and make them rich in the first place. It is the average people who produce goods and services that the rich people buy with their dollars. Also, the democratic political system of a country is centered around the median voter, the ordinary guy . If the tax and wealth redistribution policies favor rich too much, people will vote for more redistribution of wealth. This ensures resilience and sustainability of modern democracies, something the Roman Empire did not have.

There is a balance, or equilibrium, between how much capital the rich get rewarded for their contributions to society and how much an average Joe earns on the average job. In this equilibrium there are very rich, there are poor, and there are unemployed. Sometimes, it may seem, rich become too rich and there are too many poor.

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  • $\begingroup$ Unless the rich just want to finish buying out every resources of land, food and water etc. and leave the 99% of us not rich to die. Don't you think? It was the theme in Elysium the sci-fi movie.?? $\endgroup$ – Bruno1993 Dec 6 '15 at 23:18
  • $\begingroup$ @Bruno1993 If it was in a movie it must be true! I just don't understand how come the rich don't need doctors and waiters anymore. Maybe eating lots of green dollars makes you healthy? $\endgroup$ – Giskard Dec 6 '15 at 23:30
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    $\begingroup$ I think your third paragraph makes no sense. Why should rich people be only as rich as the median citizen? Clearly there are many income distributions possible with the same median income. The remark on the dollar is also strange. Clearly, the value of the dollar can be controlled by an inflationary/deflationary monetary policy. Finally, hypothesizing about the journalism professor does not make this a proper answer. $\endgroup$ – HRSE Dec 7 '15 at 2:14
  • $\begingroup$ @HRSE Ah jeez what did I write this morning... Thanks for reviewing my scribble, I made an attempt to fix it. This is still a hard question to answer precisely and there is definitely room for better answers. But I've heard similar questions many times so it is relevant. $\endgroup$ – Arthur Tarasov Dec 7 '15 at 2:48

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