It’s time to normalize the word, “collapse,” to describe the ongoing conditions in the US.
Some would counter it’s well past time—and I won’t argue with that—but I’d say we can no longer credibly claim that it’s too early to make this call.
“Decline” has been happening for decades at this point, as manifested in trends such as increasing class inequality, decreasing wages (as relative to inflation), higher infant mortality, lower life expectancy, a disintegrating social safety net, explosive growth of the prison-industrial complex, deteriorating educational system, etc. More and more people have been feeling the squeeze in their efforts to get by, even if establishment voices make claims to the contrary about “recovery.”
But “collapse” is more than “decline.” It’s when the system has lost enough integrity that it’s gone beyond the point of no return. With the multiple levels of disruption that have accompanied the COVID pandemic, we have passed that point.