I don't disagree that things are different this time. I do believe the mindset of most people is centered on themselves and their immediate family to the point of excluding helping anyone else. My parents were kids, and then adults, during the Great Depression and they said over and over how neighbors helped neighbors if you had extra tomatoes you shared with your neighbor who might be a mechanic who then paid you back by keeping your car running, and so on. Barter, trade, or flat out helping people simply because you can. I see that happening in small close knit ural communities, not so much, or at all, in the inner city.
My wife and I are working all the time to become more and more self reliant. From growing more of our own food, stockpiling food, medical supplies, hygiene supplies, tools and supplies to keep things running around the property, and guns and ammunition for both hunting and self defense. My network of who knows exactly what I am doing is VERY small and they have been made BRUTALLY aware of the consequences of breaking security and blabbing.
I do intend to work with my neighbors as much as I can to ensure our mutual survival. But I will not divulge what I have, and have done, to prepare myself for any scenario from natural disasters, to terrorist attacks, to economic and/or societal collapse.
I guess my main point was simply wondering how many people in the course of prepping are living each day waiting for the shoe to drop. I don't, I feel my prepping allows me to be ready without having to be at defcon 5 all the time. Situational awareness and being able to move quickly to protect yourself are my key elements to my plan.
There are two kinds of people, those that are prepared, and those that suffer.