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Another Place To Die
by Sam North
Next Great Flu Pandemic is coming.
Are you prepared?
will keep readers in suspense, laced with gritty-gallows humor'
plausible, and sickeningly addictive, this will terrify
you and thrill you.'. Roxy Williams - Amazon.co.uk
'Fascinating, frightening and compelling read'.
Another Place To Die
International Writers Magazine: Futures Revisited
World in 2050?
year 2000, many people had hoped that the 21st Century would bring
solutions and provide answers to many questions. But the real
story of the 21st Century was always going to be demographics
and with the rising numbers of people, containing poverty, political
strife and disease. It may not be the happiest or most comfortable
future, but in the next forty-four years the world could end up
with 11 billion people at the highest estimate and perhaps less
than a quarter will live the life we have now, with clean water,
regular food and a secure pension.
How we get there from here is the subject of this essay. This will be
a changed world with differing needs and objectives to the present, one
which is no longer dominated by the needs and wants of the West. The rise
of Hispanic culture and their political aspirations will transform the
North American (including Canada) landscape with awkward truths arising
for the rest of the world as they slowly, but with gathering pace retreat
into isolation, only bonding with South America to form a secure defensible
Even slight changes can alter much of what we do. Feeding the worlds poor
or defending the west from diseases that can no longer be fought using
20th century antibiotics. Will there be a pandemic? Will we choose to
consume less? Will China, now the worlds leading economy assume the role
America has until now claimed its own? Will Japan prove to be a bitter
rival? And Russia, by controlling Europes energy sources via its
vast gas supplies and slowly raising the price, will it suck all the money
out of Europe? As it does so, old wounds are opened. Will Climate Change
devastate the planet or just our pocketbooks as we compete to go green?
This essay looks at the world as a whole, but in particular considers
the fate of North America in the next fifty years. *This essay was
originally completed in the winter of 2000 for a competition run by The
abiding theme of the 21st century has been pressure. Pressure on natural
resources, fresh water, wildlife, world forests, minerals, energy in
all forms and the very health of the human race. Population estimates
at the turn of the century by World Population Data Sheet estimated
that USA and Canada would have 470 millions - and the world as a whole
a probable 11 billion - discounting major catastrophes or world war.
The present total of only eight billion has not been achieved
through careful and judicious choices, but a series of accidents and
catastrophes. Our world in 2050 has more than 20 cities with populations
of more than 40 million, yet cannot supply fresh water or dispose of
the sewage, for even a tenth of that number. This is a world of scarce
resources, unequal distribution, not helped by political extremes and
The election of the second Latino President, Nino Chavez, is a strong
indicator of how much the Norte Americano landscape has
changed in 2050. The demographic trends were all there for all to see
fifty years ago, and even though it was an uncomfortable idea for many,
Canada and the United States needed all the young blood it could get,
as the population was ageing rapidly.
According to figures compiled by the UN population monitoring system
in 2000, the incoming illegal immigration from Mexico amounted to 1,500
per day for the best part of 20 years, despite border patrols, fences
and mass deportations. During the period from 1970 to 2000, between
365,000 and 468,000 Mexicans per year crossed the border to work and
live in America. Surprisingly few of these were ever caught (or if caught,
came right back) and actually most found employment. In addition women
found husbands, men found wives and they had many children, as is the
custom in Catholic families.
A population survey of California in 1970 showed an eighty percent white
majority in that State. By 2000 it had already fallen to sixty percent.
Projections at that time showed the Hispanic population overtaking the
white population of California and Texas, Florida and other southern
states by 2010. (Keens-Soper 1996) The decision to spend billions on
a wall across Arizona's border with Mexico would be too little too late.
Estimates of the Latino population in 2050 are 125 million in the US
alone: one quarter of the total population. The future of much of America
would be Spanish, with all that that entailed.
*The birth rate of Latino child bearing women continues at 2.5 whereas
for white females it is at the non-replacing rate of 1.60 (already the
North European average at the turn of the century)
The transformation of the genetic make-up of the USA and Canada could
alter political and social mores and risk the break-up of the Federation.
Along the West Coast, the influx of Chinese and Korean immigrants has
placed pressure on the Judeo-Christian white domination of culture and
business. (No longer could a white society pass a law, as they did in
California 1860, demanding that no Chinese women be allowed on US soil
and that all Chinese dead must be buried in China).
From Vancouver B.C., where the Chinese immigration was at its strongest,
it was not a case of the Chinese supplanting the white population but
of the white population being squeezed by the growth of the Indian and
Pakistani immigrant population. It was the rivalry between the Chinese,
Indian and Pakistani cultures in the metropolitan areas that led to
many clashes and a call for the city to be divided into ethnic areas
in 2025. Religion and ethic origin proved to be volatile mixes and led
to many ideological clashes at critical flashpoints all along the West
Coast. White flight to the interior had begun long before this.
Molecular electronics and nanotechnology as well as key developments
in artificial intelligence (robotics) have transformed the way we work
and live in the West. New technology reduced the need for manpower in
consumer and industrial production, but increasingly the 30 hour working
week and problems it produced in advanced economies caused new tensions,
reminiscent of 19th century labour strife. Who would pay for the increased
leisure time? The most advanced technology was increasingly unaffordable
or disadvantaged the worlds poorer countries.
The world found it could try to extend food production to support the
growing numbers to a life-sustaining level, but as energy costs rose
in line with diminishing supplies, social strife caused by mass migrations
to cities caused real problems. In addition, crop yields began to drop
as the price of fertilisers rose. Soil depletion (particularly in the
Loess plateau of China) meant that although the world population was
rising by one billion every decade, food production was actually falling
as a percentage, thus exacerbating regional conflicts. Finding enough
clean drinking water, irrigation for crops and water for manufacturing
became a regular cause of conflict throughout the globe.
*The introduction of GM crops in the Third World reduced dependence
upon fertilisers but concerns about long term effects on wildlife and
human health meant take -up was slow.
With China now containing 1,590 billions, the cost of feeding them and
moving them and manufacturing and distribution to all regions caused
political strains. China began to revert to old traditions with localised
power bases, Warlords and regional conflicts between urban dwellers
and the agrarian populations. The economic powerhouses around the coastal
areas began to detach from the more backward interiors. The general
sense of increasing internalisation, the rejection of global politics
became the reverse of the 20th Century and is gathering speed as problems
expand. Chinas exponential growth in the early years of the 21st
century where in ten years it began the worlds largest economy,
sucking in the worlds raw materials and driving up energy and metal
prices to record levels meant that they became the industrial powerhouse
of the world. But fast wealth comes at a prices and corruption, land
prices, pollution places huge strains upon China as a whole. At one
point they were building the equivalent on one new power station a week
and still the huge, underpaid population could out produce and out manufacture
any other country. (As was witnessed by all at the spectacular 2008
Olympic games.) The West believed that Chinas communist party
would not survive this dash to capitalism but hopes were crushed
along with those who tried to build labour unions and introduce
health and safety legislation.
China moved on from producing cheap products to sophisticated luxury
goods in every sphere in rapid time and as it flourished Europes
economy withered on the vine. European jobs were literally exported
to China and or India and although Europe was growing in size as countries
such as Poland, Romania and Latvia joined it was constantly being
hollowed out and living standards declined overall.
The North American continent, rich in raw materials, land space and
a highly organised social system, was best placed to survive the growing
population strains. Yet even by 2010, the West Coast was looking to
carve its own path. It was obvious that North America was not one country
any more, but diverse regions, with several languages and different
needs. Yet it held together at the Federal Level. By 2030, when the
first native-born Latino president was elected, the trend was seen as
unstoppable. Catholicism had supplanted Protestant values in all key
areas and meant that a drift to conservative right isolationism was
By 2030, most of the South, Florida, California and New York State were
firmly Catholic, run by Spanish-speaking politicians who were predominantly
anti-liberal, anti-abortion, intolerant of lifestyle sex
choices and freedom of speech.
The Gay Revolution died on the stake of family values. In
the wake of the European and African influenza and sex related
pandemics, sexual freedom became the sin it always had been.
America was purposefully striding back to the Puritan values of its
forebears and although it is ironic to observe this, the modern Catholic
state in 2050 has much in common with the original settlers beliefs
and mores. The schism in the Protestant Church where in North America
it accellerated the acceptance of lesbian and gays as priests and Bishops,
drove many into the Catholic Church and drove away in the whole the
Anglican Churches of Africa and elsewhere in the world who could not
accept these changes.
As the burgeoning population of the North American continent rose in
the urbanised regions, it placed a strain on energy and food resources.
Violent crime by citizens unused to having to pay more for fuel, water
and food was matched by state counter-violence. Some cities - disadvantaged
by weather, unemployment and racial tensions - become battle zones,
not improved by localised corruption by officials. Increasingly there
is a political momentum to exclude outsiders on one hand and to go back
to the agrarian self contained Amish past on the other.
The retreat to re-inhabit Americas past has not ended there. As
white people began to be marginalised, unable to cope with becoming
a minority without political or financial influence, they sold up and
began to trek inland, mirroring the Afrikaners of 1890 in Africa, fleeing
British rule. In Canada, Alberta and Saskatchewan have become virtual
White Protestant enclaves. Quebec, singularly isolated by its Francophone
allegiances, has seceded, causing serious financial problems for the
remaining territories in Canada.
Below Canadas white enclaves there grows a white spine on the
back of the continent, electing extreme right-wing politicians, arming
themselves with defensive weapons and state laws to protect their viability.
The landlocked homogeneous white states of this middle region are only
restrained by their restricted trading access to the sea. (Oregon and
Washington States, being Asian/White predominantly are not always predisposed
to the harsh regimes of the centre.)
This white middle American ethnocentric powerbloc is likely laying the
foundation for a future war with the East and West Coasts in the future
*The now much regretted boycott of the 2030 election by several of these
states led to the landslide victory of President Hernandez and defeat
of the white candidate Chelsea Clinton-Kennedy.
In the East, even though the Spanish have a keen grip on the Southern
States and half of New York State, the position of the Black nation
is as yet unclear. Their history of population growth has traditionally
and increasingly been marred by an extremely high mortality rate amongst
young black males that continued throughout the century. The projected
figure of 60 million black people failed to materialise and they remain
a nation of people increasingly marginalised by the population growth
and economic success of the Hispanic and Asian ethnic societies.
To the extreme North from Massachusetts to Nova Scotia, a highly developed
(predominantly Caucasian) and politicised group assumes a numerical
strength, fed by the powerhouse of Boston. Extreme political views are
tempered by progress in education and technology that continue to sustain
Water shortages in the Southwest States where the population was growing
the fastest , created a great demand for fresh water and energy. (Phoenix
in particular was a city grown beyond its sustainable limits) In the
Northern states, (Washington State and British Columbia in particular),
water is considered to be an exportable crop. During the
hot summer of 2026 , when British Columbia itself experienced shortages,
it raised the price of water to a level two times greater per litre
than oil , rather than deny the south its pipeline supplies.
When the South attacked the pipelines, the water flow stopped completely
and the first Water War began between North and South. Trade and food
exports to the North were temporarily halted. The dispute and distrust
are still simmering.
The Oil gkut of 2045 sees some producers burning oil to create shortages?
energy companies such as BP and Shell still survive. The oil companies
sustained by a long period of rising energy prices in the first
part of the 21st century were able to gain control of most key fresh
water sources, electricity generation and delivery - a key component
for the production of hydrogen, the present fuel of choice for road
oil companies were later embarrassed when it was discovered that the
exhausted oil wells were beginning to refill under pressure from new
oil under neath. What was a shortage, has turned into a glut this mid-century.
It is discovered that in the modern developed society, where nano-electronic
servants that handle much of the work in factory and food production,
small is ideal. (This is the model for the success of Finland, Sweden
and micro- states such as Singapore, with its newly reinstated one child
per family policy and state controlled gender selection). These economies
that are not on a replacement population model are usually
highly sophisticated economies utilising robotics to do much of the
manual and dangerous work. Through life-extension medical breakthroughs,
it is now normal to retire aged 80. A limited number of migrants are
allowed into these regions to boost populations. Gerontology studies
are most advanced in these regions. (Japan is closely following this
pattern, using tax stimulants and generous cash bonuses to encourage
The Retreat from the World
The changes in North Americas political and economic stance came
with a new attitude in world governance. The Hispanic majority in Congress
and Senate no longer desired to be the worlds policeman. The decision
to withdraw US Military bases from the Far East and Europe was widely
support by the Latino populations, reinforced by the devastating consequences
of the flu and TB pandemic of 2008 -09. It arrived with a vengeance
in China and Europe cutting a swathe through populations unprepared
for a virulent strain of avian flu. The scaling down of US funding
for the United Nations World Health projects exacerbated a bad
* In 1919 almost forty million people died worldwide from Spanish Flu.
No one is sure how it crossed from bird to man, only that in the winter
of 1918, it did, with lethal consequences. We now know that the virus
that killed everyone was H5N1.
In 2006 experts predicted millions of deaths in Europe and the USA,
if the disease crossed over to man. In May 2006 the USA published a
National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza and committed billions of dollars
to a plan to save America. Also in 2006 it became possible to order,
within the law, any DNA sequences over the internet and pirate labs
with the right equipment could, in theory, develop lethal strains of
smallpox, H5N1, ebola and other Schedule 5 pathogens to hold the world
to ransom with. The world awoke to synthetic bio terrorism. (Stiching
together shorts strands of DNA to make viruses. For example: Polio has
7,741 letters, ebola, 19,000 letters. DNA sequencing in a lab would
be theoretically possible to make any lethal virus.)
Hospitals already weakened by MRSA (a bacteria highly resistant to all
known antibiotics) were now filled with illegal immigrants and local
populations with TB. Waves of illegal immigrants from the East to Germany
and from Africa to the South of France and Spain, brought social and
disease problems that completely overwhelmed the health systems. More
than a third of the European population was severely affected. Russian
figures, never reliable at best, put the figure at half the urban population.
*The viral nature of the disease (HN51) that originated in the southern
regions of China came from huge populations living in close contact
with poultry and other animals. That it coincided with the collapse
of the effectiveness of 20th Century antibiotics developed to their
limits, meant that the old diseases of TB, measles, chicken pox had
firmly reasserted themselves as leading killers to a vulnerable western
population, with little or no resistance to these diseases.
Following these events, Americas withdrawal from foreign bases
was logical, but was in any case inevitable, given the lack of political
will to interfere in foreign lands. Isolationist inclinations
went hand in hand with puritanical ideals. The withdrawal of the 38,000
US troops from Japan in 2008 led to the remilitarisation of Japan. Tension
that began to grow between China and Japan was key to the regions
instability and sudden decline in GDP, as industrial expansionist investments
in the economies were diverted to defence build-ups between the two
nations. Nuclear weapons posturing grew more prevalent and the likelihood
of limited nuclear engagement between the nations remains in the headlines
to the present day with Taiwan being caught inthe squeeze. Japan, completely
dependent upon imported oil and food feels itself particularly vulnerable
to expansionist China.
*Americas withdrawal from Europe was expedited by the loss
of many American soldiers to the ravages of flu and TB. It left
a bitter taste in the USA as soldiers were prevented from returning
to US soil whilst under quarantine.
The consequential financial crash of 2009-2012 as Europe faced up to
the fact that high energy prices, disease, illegal immigration, civil
disobedience and rioting in most urban areas, coupled with terrorism
from various religious doomsday groups and Muslim or general
separatist groups made safe travel impossible. Whole areas in Greece,
Italy, France and Spain (already overwhelmed by mass invasions of African
asylum seekers literally coming by the boatload) became economically
devastated and as a result property values plummeted. Mass tourism was
Indeed, one of the effects of the flu and TB pandemic was to reduce
property prices right across Europe, as many of the fifty and over population
groups died. Although this created long term buying opportunities, and
pension surpluses, prices continued to fall for thirty years as the
supply of dwellings outstrips demand.
The new European Federation Defence Tax was universally unpopular, but
the American soldiering gap had to be filled. Everywhere America abandoned,
a power vacuum was filled by aggressive minor nations, looking to take
advantage of older European nations that had not invested in their armed
In the aftermath of the 2009 pandemics, immigration to the USA from
the rest of the world was finally and brutally brought to a halt. The
US Army and Navy patrols of the extensive waters opted for a shoot-to-kill
policy and the Mexican Border Wall was the greatest construction project
since the building of the Panama Canal. (Began under President George
W. Bush in 2006.)
* Even so immigrants continued to enter the USA in significant numbers
aided and abetted by criminal organisations.
By 2029, it was noted in web-blogs everywhere that the worlds
diverse animal and plant species had halved since the turn of the century;
that there was only twenty years of commercially exploitable oil left;
that Africa (after HIV/Aids) had just one third of the population it
had at the beginning of the century. (100 million already infected by
2006) Source Sunday Times June 06. Note too that global warming
was being exacerbated by the headlong rush to hydrogen powered vehicles
which churned out so much hot water vapour the rainfall levels in the
world were rising to unsustainable levels.
That America abandoned research in hybrid powered cars meant that Japan
really stole a march on them in the mid-00s. Toyota became the
worlds biggest motor manuafacturing company by 2006 and GM resorted
to hiding the evidence by crushing all previous electric vehicles it
had made in the past.
In the USA itself, the powerful alliance with the powers in South America
created a Fortress Americas effect (which included Canada,
Chile, Argentina and Brazil). Together they acted against the Central
American problem (cocaine) and it was finally neutralised with extreme
force in 2031. It was considered that the Spanish conquest of the Americas
*In 2033, when Greater Miami, was flooded for a month it was obvious
that Global Warming was a reality. In South America the last vestiges
of the Amazonian forest disappeared. Ironically the newly cleared lands
were quickly abandoned as unsuitable for crops and no gain was made
either environmentally or in overall food production. Indeed the loss
of the worlds largest rain forest increased the desertification
of the region as a whole and may lead to climate changes elsewhere on
the planet, not yet fully realised.
In 2001 it was thought that after 600 years since the Portuguese began
to roam the oceans - new technology, advances in health programmes and
science as well as the ubiquity of the web, creating English as a world
language, it would lead to a kind of global pax Romana. But the reality
of 2050, is that the world is divided into four unstable power zones,
Oceania-Sino-Japan, North and South America, Eurozone and the Middle-East
collective. Each are gazing at their own navels, strained by ever growing
numbers, unable to focus on anything other than self-preservation.
In effect, the world is in retreat from the age of discovery and the
sound we can hear is of minds closing everywhere.
© Sam North August 2000-2007
North is the author of The
Curse of The Nibelung A Sherlock Holmes Mystery
The Rush of 72
and now Another
Place To Die The
Next Great Flu Pandemic is coming.
READERS RESPONSES to the Orignal 2000 essay
What a wild piece you wrote! Some of it had
me chuckling -- like the reference to Hillary Clinton. Ironically, while
I was thinking that some of it was far-fetched, I arrived home from
work (I read it on the subway), put on the TV news and there was a major
report on how California is experiencing a serious state-wide lack of
electricity that is causing huge disruptions for business and gov't
functions. The report then went on to describe how large sections of
the country are experiencing similar electricity shortages (the west
particularly). So you may not be all that far off!
Actually, I DO give very serious weight to the consequences of environmental
pressures for the future, and I'm not terribly hopeful. I think the
planet is facing some very serious, dramatic problems. I see it every
year with the strange weather conditions we have here and the weather
conditions my family in Brazil tell me about all the time, as the years
go by. I have to say that I'm glad I don't have kids.
One thing I had to disagree with was your assumption that a more Catholic
U.S. would necessarily be isolationist. I thought that was a rather
But the formation of different regional blocs around the world is something
I think may indeed be happening, albeit slowly. I think your timeline
was a little too hurried --major changes in national structures like
this happen very gradually. But I think you're right-on about the seriousness
of the trend itself. I think the world is definitely changing in terms
of national and political boundaries.
One thing I found missing, tho, was the recognition of the increased
dominance of the free flow of financial capital, and the increased concentration
of transnational corporations past national boundaries. That old science
fiction dystopia of a world without state boundaries run by one or a
few giant corporations may be extreme but a version of that idea is
where the world is heading right now, I think.
I've recommended your piece to some friends and colleagues -- I think
it'll cause a lot of conversation. There's such a wealth of ideas in
it. I have yet to read the rebuttal.
<< Yep the population stats don't lie. America will be brown so
fast its going to hurt and I am not sure the whites with guns will go
quietly either.... >> There may come a time when a lot of whites
wake up and see what's happening, and may indeed react violently. Most
of them are asleep right now, tho.
Curse of the Nibelung - A Sherlock Holmes Mystery
by Sam North
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- The Rush of '72
By Sam North
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terrific piece of storytelling' Historical Novel Society Review
Now printed in the UK and available from
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*Now look for a cruel and witty
response to this article from the
writer John Lewell
Thanks for responses, it's great to know people are reading.
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