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This is the predictable path because it's the only one that's politically expedient and doesn't cause much financial pain until it's too late to stave off collapse.

While many fear a war between the nuclear powers or the breakdown of civil order, I tend to think the Crisis of 2023-26 is more likely to be financial in nature.

War and civil breakdown are certainly common enough in history, global/nuclear war has been avoided in recent history, largely because wars are typically launched by those who reckon they can win the war. Launching a nuclear strike against a nation with the ability to launch a counterstrike (from submarines, for example, and missiles that survived the first strike) guarantees the destruction of whatever concentrations of population and assets the attacker may have.

The breakdown of civil order has not occurred in developed-world nations for quite some time, as central states can marshal military forces to restore order and issue / borrow money to buy the compliance of the restive populace.

Financial crises, in contrast, remain a constant feature of the modern era, and developed-world nations are perhaps even more vulnerable to financial disorder than developing nations.

As I've often noted, systems tend to follow an S-Curve of rapid expansion followed by slower growth during maturity and culminating in stagnation, decline or collapse.

Successful economies generate a double-bind once they reach the stagnation-decline phase: the populace (and capital) both expect strong permanent growth as a birthright, and they see the previous boost-phase and maturity phase as evidence that the economy "should" continue delivering outsized returns on capital and widespread prosperity essentially forever.

They are willing to accept a temporary slowdown/decline as part of the process of prosperity, but their patience quickly runs out if...

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