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6) Decline

The decline they discussed happened. In the cities matters got worse and worse yet they claimed they were living in a happy place. Gang life increased as the poor turned to crime to achieve the lifestyle the media portrayed. And more and more of the cities became land that people fought in.

The wealthy tried to escape this land but their children had been brought up on the images that attracted the poor to crime. The young rich were also attracted to these no-go areas where their money bought drugs for themselves, and maintained the violence amongst the gangs as they fought for the rich pickings.

But none of this mattered to the wealthy yet they had their own problems to solve. The brinkmanship their greed had brought them to previously was now losing control. Previously nuclear proliferation and climate catastrophe had been avoided at the last minute by the manipulation of the cartels. And throughout they had maintained their spoils, but they never dealt with the fuel issue. For centuries they fought wars and manipulated the fossil fuels keeping the profits flowing and filing their own coffers. But fossil fuels were a finite resource that they could control, what was to replace it?

Whilst they had maintained economies based on control of oil, marginal groups had developed machines that functioned under sun and wind. These were sources that couldn't be controlled - they were not finite. In the hot climates people started to use the sun as a source of energy, then the wind, then the sea and even hydro. People's demands far outweighed what the cartels could control as oil prices soared. And as less and less depended on oil, people developed means of maintaining their lifestyle by the use of natural power.

At one stage there developed a natural cartel. All the companies who produced the machines that harnessed these energies clubbed together and tried to increase the prices on the machines. But it was never the machines that had given the control in the 20th and 21st centuries it was the fuel. But the fuel was free. And soon people realised they didn't need the expensive machines.

Except in the cities. They maintained some control there as the cities had moved so far away from their natural origins that the cartels could still keep a grip. But in the cities more and more were poor - and even the rich were complaining as security cost them so much.

This natural cartel managed to convince people through the usual media ploys that fashion and lifestyle existed in the cities using their expensive machines - combining wind and sun power in an apartment block whilst the gangs destabilised. Transnationals developed more and more advanced technology using the natural power, and so still managed to control through consumerism.

But soon people began to move away. Older people recognising how awful their lives in the cities had become son opted for the country. Of course they brought their old habits with them, they had had a lifetime of modern technology, but they could maintain that technology in rural settings with cheaper machines - and the fuel was free.

Seeing this the cartel through the government started to appropriate the land, and hiked the prices trying to make it more difficult for people to move away. And this held sway for a long time as an uneasy balance existed for those controlling the land and the machines that used natural power. But vast amounts of land were owned by the oil cartels, and without the profits from the fuel they had no source of income except the land itself. Wars broke out as the natural cartel based in the west forced a religious war so that they could control the land that had once been the source of oil and controlled for them.

This meant that more and more of the land had to be centrally-controlled vastly increasing the military outlay as more and more bases were needed for global security.

But very soon a world that was controlled by 5%, became a world controlled by 1% and then 0.1%. With fewer targets there was an increased likelihood of so-called terrorist attacks. Back-to-the-land political movements worldwide sprang up, and more and more these organisations infiltrated and killed the 0.1%. These movements were resilient as they were funded by ex-city finance from those who had moved out. Although the usual hotheads gravitated to these movements, their rhetoric and aggression could not deter a popular base - because so many people in the world just belonged to the land.

Too much money had accumulated in too few hands. Somehow the city-oriented cartels needed to ally themselves with those middle-classes who returned to the land. But they couldn't manage this because to maintain their control they had to increase the cost of the land. They attempted to divide the rural communities by offering those leaving the city cheaper land under a false tied arrangement - cartel connections. But then the city poor tried to muscle in on this, and they began to lose control of the cities as the gangs started to move away. They increased the prices again as the middle classes allied with the rural poor.

The final nail in the coffin was that the rural poor started to control the drugs. The drugs that controlled the gangs and the cities had always been controlled by the cartel. But the peasants who controlled the drugs began to think that they could control the cartel. Previously the cartel had controlled the fuel that was necessary for the distribution of the drugs, but with natural fuel and machines built independent of the cartel the drug barons controlled their own distribution direct to the gangs.

There was a difference between the drug barons and the cartel, the purpose of the cartel was brinkmanship to maintain the lifestyle of the rich and famous - stabilising the global dictatorship whereas the drug barons got greedy for themselves.

And then the cartel got foolish. Recognising that the drug barons were getting beyond control, they targeted the richest and sent the military to destroy the land and drug crops. This polarised existing tensions. Afraid the drug barons formed their own alliance and allied themselves with the rural community. The cartel was losing control of the cities and the country, and began to rely more and more on the military. The military realised that the force behind their power-base, the cartel, was losing control of the situation, and they became divided as some sought power through the drug barons and others sought power through the cartel.

War broke out between the finance cartel and the drug cartel, but very quickly the finance cartel was defeated as they were not in control of any resource - except money. As they were nearing defeat, the infrastructure started to break down and then they knew they could not retain power. Fearing the worst they debated the nuclear stockpile but that too had become divided amongst the generals. They destroyed what they could but some still fell into the hands of the drug barons. Their alliance of financial greed then watched as the criminal greed started criminal warfare. City gangs once manipulated by the cartel allied themselves with their suppliers and added to their criminal armies. As these warring factions became more and more delineated, clear targets started to emerge and soon nuclear weapons were used by the drug barons. This broke down the only infrastructure that still existed - that provided by the drug barons and the supply lines. And what was not destroyed by nuclear bombs became waste ground as vestiges of the barons' armies and their associated gangs fought for whatever spoils of food and technology remained from the Drug Wars. The decline had fallen, what was to rise?