Economist Richard Duncan has told CNBC that the debt of America and its closest allies is so big, and its growth accelerating so fast, that Western civilization is on the verge of a "death spiral."
He and his team of analysts have studied a variety of social and economic trends, and they have concluded Western governments have constructed pyramid schemes so large they are guaranteed to bring ruin.
Among Duncan's colleagues are energy expert Kent Moors and pathologist Chris Martenson.
"It's a pattern that's hard to see unless you understand the way a catastrophe like this gains traction," Dr. Moors says. "At first, it's almost impossible to perceive. Everything looks fine, just like in every pyramid scheme. Yet the insidious growth of the virus keeps doubling in size, over and over again - in shorter and shorter periods of time - until it hits unsustainable levels. And it collapses the system."
Martenson points to the U.S. total credit market debt as an example of this unnerving pattern.
"For 30 years - from the 1940s through the 1970s - our total credit market debt was moderate and entirely reasonable," he says. "But then in seven years, from 1970 to 1977, it quickly doubled. And then it doubled again in seven more years. Then five years to double a third time. And then it doubled two more times after that. ...
Dr. Moors warns this type of unsustainable road to collapse can be seen today in our energy, food and water production. All are tightly connected and contributing to the economic disaster that lies directly ahead.
Political divide. Duncan's team doesn't say exactly when the disaster will arrive, and that's the question that divides political philosophies in the early 21st century. How much reckless borrowing is too much? And how long can our corrupt leaders pay for their irresponsible promises with empty funds and fraudulent accounting?
Most of us in the West are accustomed to heat and air conditioning, electricity for our TVs, fuel in our cars, food in our refrigerators and water from our faucets. We've also had the wealth to pay for decent schools and, yes, good health care.
I want to be hopeful, but our governments have been so obsessed with serving themselves that they've bet our future on a mountain of lies. This will be hard to correct.