THE DAY THE MACHINES WENT OFF 10
TheDay the Machines Went Off
Acompete shut down of all the electronic equipments due toelectromagnet pulse would lead to the crashing of the financialsystem and result to long term and momentous implications that wouldchange the core of modern existence. The finance system today reliesheavily on electronics to make it effective and efficient. As such, acomplete shutdown of all electronic equipments would lead to majorchanges in the finance system operations. Use of currency, banking,and credit cards would completely go off because all these aredependent on electronic equipments. This would change the manner inwhich money is used today causing both immediate and long termeffects in the economic societal exchange that would necessitate longterm governmental action. The four functions of money would bereduced or eliminated immediately. This means that money would loseits entire value. The immediate effects would be immense and wouldrange from changes in employment and food rationing. The governmentwould have to enact emergency measures so as to keep the economy onits feet.
Thefour functions of money that will be missed
Thecomplete shutdown of electronics would change the four functions ofmoney in various ways as discussed below
Moneywould no longer be used as the medium for exchange, or rather itwould not be accepted as a method of payment. Money is currently usedas a medium of exchange. This means that people use money facilitatesvarious goods and services transactions. People buy items in exchangefor money. People are able to afford certain things of money.However, if electronics were to shut down completely, it would meanthat there would be no more money processing, and varioustransactions would become impossible. As such, people would no longerbe able to use money as a tool of exchange anymore.
Completeelectronic shut down would also mean that money would no longer beused as a unit of account. Under normal circumstances, money is usedas a common standard for determining the worth of services and goods.Using money as a standard of account facilitates modern trade andbusinesses because it is easy to measure the net worth of goods usingmoney. The more a good or service is quality and highly valued, themore money value is attached to it. As such, the complete shutdown ofelectronics would render this value useless because people moneywould no longer have any value under the circumstances. It would bevery difficult to determine the worth of items without money as thecommon denominator.
Likewise,money would no longer be used as a store of value because it wouldhave lost its role in buying of services and goods. People use moneyto store the surplus and use at a future date. They use it as apurchasing power whenever need be. However, with the crash in moneysystem due to electronic failure, money would no longer be used astore of value. Those with money would find it valueless as it willnot help them acquire or buy anything as is the case today.
Moneywill no longer serve as the standard of deferred payment. This wouldresult to a significant decrease in the credit business activity.Typically, the current business world relies operates under credit inwhich case money is used to pay for these credits. Many aspects oflife and businesses rely on credit to solve immediate issues and payat a later date. Without money, there would be a great problem forpeople or entrepreneurs in dire need of credit to pay at a deferreddate. Its function as a standard for a later payment would no longerbe functional in such cases.
Electronicshut down would have various immediate effects. First and foremost,rationing of goods such as water and food would become necessary ifelectronic system would shut down. This would be a great step by thegovernment to prevent starvation and death. Much of the food consumedtoday is dependent on electronic system. For instance, machinery isused in farming to produce various types of foods. Further, manytypes of foods require that they are processed using electronicequipments. Delivery of these foods to various destinations requiressome forms of electronic use either directly or indirectly.Therefore, the failure of the electronic equipments would havedevastating effects on the availability of food. It is also notablethat availability of water in many places is dependent onelectronics. This is because piped water requires electronicequipments to purify water and deliver it various destinations.Therefore, electronic failure would require the government to rationthe available food and water before it can find a solution to providefood and water to people. It would be essential for people to usewhat they have without wasting because the system that makes foodsand water accessible will be affected by machines going offcompletely. Rationing would be the only tool for ensuring that peopledo not die from starvation.
Theemployment and financial system would also be greatly affected by theshutting down of the machines. Almost all companies in the worldtoday rely on machinery for them to become fully operational. Assuch, it would mean that many people would lose their jobs in theemployment sector as they will no longer have machines to work on. infact, almost every person would become jobless, something that wouldlead to depression. Considering that almost every person requiresmachines to become effective, companies would also crash. Even thosethat do not require to work using machinery would be affected too asthey rely on those that work using machinery. For instance, the humanresource management, which is assigns people jobs, would beineffective because the data of people is stored in the electronicsystem, computer. Therefore, even those that do not require machinerywould have no one to assign them jobs. Companies would also not beable to make transactions normally because not just because moneywould not be accepted, but because data stored in the computer aboutbusiness transactions would no longer be available. Even the means ofcommunication would be affected as things like telephones and mobilephones would not be work as they are also part of the electronicsystem. A depression greater than what has ever been experienced inthe lifetime would be experienced leading to more life hardships.
Similarly,the demand for paper money would reduce as money would have lost itsfunctionality, value, and the security associated with it. This meansthat money will be of less value or no value at all. As such, thedemand for paper money would reduce as people will no longer need it.Paper money is the most useful commodity in the society today orunder normal circumstances. However, with electronic shut down,people will realize that its value is gone. Business people wouldalso be hesitant to receive paper money as a means of payment whenthey realize that its value is jeopardized. Paper money attains itsvalue because of the regulation applied to it. Without regulation, itbecomes useless hence, people would no longer accept it as a meansof payment or conducting business.
Onthe other hand, while the paper money misses its value, commoditymoney will increase in value. In fact, it will replace paper moneyaccordingly. Commodity money refers to use of commodities as a meansof payment and business transactions. Usually, people value papermoney because of the powers it has on accessing commodities. Withmoney, people can get themselves good food, clothing, and shelter.However, if it becomes valueless, people will explore another type ofmoney commodity as an alternative to paper money. They would bewilling to trade their commodities for commodity money that will beput in place. Those with paper money will no longer be powerfulhowever, for those with commodities, will become the richest in thecommunity because they will have the bargaining power of buying.Examples of commodities that have been used as commodity money aresilver, gold, salt, cigarette and many others.
Theother notable immediate effect is the decrease in production of goodsand service would decrease because of the depression brought aboutthe collapse of the financial system. Production of food requiresmachinery as well as a financially stable population. Basically,people who produce commercial foods will not only be demoralized bythe collapse of the money system, but by lack of adequate resourcesto facilitate commercial farming. On the other hand, the populationthat loses jobs in the industrial sector will have little or no moneyto purchase foods. Further, machineries required to process food willno longer be there if the electronic system fails. There will also beless production of food because some requirements needed infacilitating maximum production will no longer be availed. Forinstance, fertilizer making companies may close down leaving farmerswith little requirements for maximum production. The service sectorwill also be affected. People will no longer afford the services, andthis would mean that service business will be closed down due to lackof customers.
Emergencymeasures that might be endorsed
Thecollapse of the money system would require the government to enactmeasures to enhance survival at this moment of great economic crisis.The government would reinstate the barter trade system and make itdominant. When money loses it function, barter trade becomes the nextalternative. It will, of course, be difficult for a society that wasused to paper money, which is convenient and easy to determine thevalue of an item. In a barter trade system, people will decide whatcommodities are more valuable depending on their scarcity and thedegree of need. Some items may have more value than others dependingon how people need and perceive them. Although such a system istedious and modern people have never used, it would become anessential means of conducting business where people will give whatthey have, and receive the commodity that they need but do not haveit.
Peoplewill turn for the natural energy sources as the primary source ofenergy. Energy sources such as wind and solar will become the primarysources of energy. These sources of energy are free and can be madeuseful by realizing their potentials. The sun would be the mostimportant source of energy.
Theuse of commodity money system would also become a new norm due to itsperceived value and historical characteristics of its stability(Weeks, 2012). Commodity money system is a type of money whose valueis in form of a commodity rather than paper money. These commoditieshave a value in themselves. For instance, commodities such as gold,cigarettes, salt, silver, and copper among other valuable commoditieshave been used successfully in history as a means of exchange.Commodity money is different from barter because it has a singlerecognized unit of exchange.
Historicalincidences that provide insight on what can be expected
Thereare a few incidences that have happened in the past that provides aninsight of what might happen. Although these incidences are rare,their presence have great impacts and often lead to black outs.Examples of these incidences include there was a geomagneticincidence in Quebec Canada that crashed several electronic systemsincluding the communication system (NASA, 2014). Geomagnetic stormsoccur when the sun’s corona produce large and violent eruptions ofmagnetic fields and plasma leading to geomagnetic storms. Suchincidences may have great impacts on the electronic system as witnessgeomagnetic incidence in Quebec Canada, which caused a 12 hours blackout. In August 1989, there occurred a solar system that producedelectromagnetic energy, which affected the electronic equipment usedin Toronto Canada stock exchange (Centra Technology Inc., 2011). Thisincidence was caused by explosion of the sun that released severaltons of gas resembling nuclear bombs. It caused several electronicsfailure including satellites leading to heightened black out.
Thecomplete electronic shutdown because of electromagnetic pulse or asimilar event would crash the current financial system producing longand short term effects. Such an effect would change the very core ofcontemporary existence. It would change the way people define, use,and perceive money in the economic societal exchange. Paper moneywould be more likely to lose value because there would no longer bemoney regulation or production. The banking system would fail andmoney would lose the value that the modern people attach to it. Sucheffects would spur the government to take immediate action to enhancethe welfare of people and the society. The lives of people wouldchange greatly and it would take time for them to adjust to the newsystem of economy. Despite that incidences that affect the electronicsystem are rare there is great need to take precaution because amajor incidence may occur leading to total failure of machines. Spaceengineers should be on the lookout for any electromagnetic incidencethat may affect the functioning of electronic equipments. Plans thatenhance the stability of the space should also be implemented inanticipation for future electromagnetic incidences.
CentraTechnology Inc. (2011). Geomagneticstorms. Retrievedfrom http://www.oecd.org/sti/futures/globalprospects/46891645.pdf
NASA.(2014). Theday the sun brought darkness. Retrievedfromhttp://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/sun_darkness.html#.VD8k8BawUTU
Weeks,J. (2012). The Theory and Empirical Credibility of Commodity Money1.Science & Society, 76(1), 66-94. doi:10.1521/siso.2012.76.1.66