Invasion Shopping List

I was reminded of a story my, aunt in what was once Yugoslavia, told me one time. It was 1968 and the Soviet Union had just invaded and crushed a nascent independence movement in Czechoslovakia. Bear in mind this country was already Communist but apparently not enough. What she described was how her mom got her and her brother around the table and essentially told them to get ready for the invasion which was sure to follow. Okay kids, get ready for imminent collapse and let’s see how we can get through this. That sort of thing.

Apparently there was a list made. We need x litres of oil, x kilograms of flour, etc. A list. We need some basics for invasions and then we’ll adapt as needed.

This is how we need to start thinking. And designing. That is more specifically, that we need to design in terms of what happens when it all goes wrong, or we need to design for how to handle things that aren’t ideal. In the “Global North/West/Whatever” we’re absolutely shit at this and we know it. But we wished we didn’t, because to know you’re bad at something, especially in Anglo-American-Internet Culture is to admit that the future might be worse than right now and that you don’t have the means to solve it.

The funny thing is I wrote this maybe a year before the pandemic, when this sort of was a thing. Instead, we all still went to the grocery and we could buy bread. It wasn’t as severe or as scary.

What’s even more funny is last March when a certain biggest country in the world decided that it wasn’t big enough and invaded the one next to it for no apparent reason. My wife and I had a very similar discussion. What happens if the tanks roll into Hungary?