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#288427 - 03/17/18 04:41 PM Four Meals Away From Anarchy
Tirec Offline

Registered: 08/24/07
Posts: 49
Loc: Rocky Mountain West
I've heard ranges from four meals to three days. I suspect the more urban the environment, the shorter the time.

Of course, those of us here are well prepared...?

Britain 'four meals away from anarchy' if cyber attack takes out power grid

"a study by the UK’s security services had estimated the country is “four meals away from anarchy” because looting would erupt and civil order would start to break down as soon as people had eaten what they had in their cupboards and fridges."

There are organizations I've never heard of before, i.e. the "Centre for the Study of Existential Risk."

Keep on Preppin'

#288428 - 03/17/18 05:27 PM Re: Four Meals Away From Anarchy [Re: Tirec]
adam2 Offline

Registered: 05/23/08
Posts: 432
Loc: Somerset UK
I agree with the generally doomerish report.
I might even consider that four meals is a bit optimistic.

I would be fine for a lot longer than that, but find the potentially dangerous effects on wider society to be very worrying.

This is not the place to speculate as to whom might launch a cyber attack on the UK, but I can think of several possibilities.
Broadly similar arguments apply to other developed nations.

#288429 - 03/17/18 05:39 PM Re: Four Meals Away From Anarchy [Re: Tirec]
Ian Offline

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 198
Loc: Scotland
Have you never heard of the 'Blitz Spirit"?

Perhaps less strong these days but it is still here and any opposition will see it increase in very short order.

#288430 - 03/17/18 05:52 PM Re: Four Meals Away From Anarchy [Re: Tirec]
Bingley Offline

Registered: 02/27/08
Posts: 1384
"Four meals from anarchy" sounds like the sort of greatly exaggerated rhetoric that gets attention from the press, internet forums, and people handing out grants. It hits the primal panic about food shortage. If food is the only concern, how is looting supermarkets "anarchy"? It's just a particular type of merchandise. It's not like people are getting killed. After the power is restored, the corporations will get their insurance pay off. The disruption of fuel, money, sewage, and other basic services may have a much bigger impact than running out of food. Some hospital patients may die quickly if there is no electricity. So I'm not disputing the conclusions of the study, just the tag line.

Cities in the US have endured blackouts, sometimes lasting for days. If there was any sort of violence, it was because of an underlying, pre-existing problem. I was in a extended blackout, and I seem to recall the crime rate went down and the backyard grill party rate went up. But then these were local blackouts, and other areas could ship stuff over. If the whole country's grid went down, that'd be a different story.

Edited by Bingley (03/18/18 09:29 PM)

#288433 - 03/18/18 03:46 AM Re: Four Meals Away From Anarchy [Re: Bingley]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6745
Loc: southern Cal
There seems to be standard story that runs on a lot of survivalist material. Something catastrophic will occur. The unwashed, clueless masses will immediately turn to rioting and looting, while the valiant, prepared will be safe in their fortified bug out locations.

Let's just say this is a bit simplified and is not borne out by the history of past disasters as they have unfolded. This is not to say that looting,etc. go away in bad times, but society doesn't usually collapse into total chaos.

Ian's mention of the blitz in WWII is a good example of toughness in the face of adversity.
Geezer in Chief

#288435 - 03/18/18 07:43 AM Re: Four Meals Away From Anarchy [Re: hikermor]
adam2 Offline

Registered: 05/23/08
Posts: 432
Loc: Somerset UK
Whilst it is true that multi day power failures have occurred previously without leading to widespread disaster, I feel that an organised attack affecting a whole nation would be much more serious.

In previous breakdowns, food has still been available, perhaps from smaller owner operated shops that remain open without power, or from larger stores with standby generators.
In a national event, such supplies would soon be exhausted and replenishment not possible without electricity at the wholesalers premises.

In the UK I expect considerable disorder from those who have not received social security payments.
How are these payments to be made without power at the government offices ?
And even if the payments are still made, how are the claimants to access the money, with all ATMs and banks shut.

#288436 - 03/18/18 10:13 AM Re: Four Meals Away From Anarchy [Re: Tirec]
quick_joey_small Offline

Registered: 01/13/09
Posts: 503
Loc: UK
The 'Centre for the Study of Existential Risk' is a legitimate part of one of the UKs best University. The fellow quoted though is a researcher referring to a study that referred to another 'study' from MI5.

The 'four meals rule' is an oft used, supposed quote from an MI5 study (the UK counter intelligence and security agency). But no one has ever produced this study.
Please provide evidence for it's existence.

Common sense says it's not true.
I live in the UK, have family on social security and know of no one with just a days food in their house. We are europes fattest people. Most have a months spare rations on their tummies alone.

All previous experience shows this doesn't happen. Like the supposed crime holocaust after Katrina, it's a myth.

Adam2 can you provide some evidence for this smear against the poor?


Edited by quick_joey_small (03/18/18 11:29 AM)

#288437 - 03/18/18 11:22 AM Re: Four Meals Away From Anarchy [Re: Tirec]
adam2 Offline

Registered: 05/23/08
Posts: 432
Loc: Somerset UK
I would not call my remarks a "smear against the poor" but more of an observation that those reliant on state support are less likely to hold stocks and more likely to resort to desperate measures.

Whilst I am glad to hear that your family have more than a days food to hand, I suspect that they may be in a minority.

A lot of people are indeed overweight and could do with losing a bit, but that might not help much.

#288438 - 03/18/18 11:41 AM Re: Four Meals Away From Anarchy [Re: Tirec]
quick_joey_small Offline

Registered: 01/13/09
Posts: 503
Loc: UK
Several areas were without power when 'The Beast from the East' snowstorms hit a few weeks ago. Please provide the evidence of those on social security rioting.

Yes being overweight will help. That is what fat is for.
Though since you are talking about peoples behaviour, not health, maybe it's irrelevant.


Edited by quick_joey_small (03/18/18 12:19 PM)

#288439 - 03/18/18 12:44 PM Re: Four Meals Away From Anarchy [Re: quick_joey_small]
M_a_x Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/16/02
Posts: 1038
Loc: Germany
It´s interesting to know where that rule comes from. It helps judging it.
To my observation the poor may be affected less by a temporary interuption of food supplies. I know a few people who actually have only food for a day or two in their house (not counting the spare supplies on their bodies). None of them can be considered poor by any standards. They can afford to buy when the items are not on sale or go and eat in a restaurant (which may run out of food fairly quickly too).
If it isn´t broken, it doesn´t have enough features yet.

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