We were going along really well. And then the crowds came in. All the people who were looking for something….[There were] too many people to take care of and not enough people willing to do something. There were a lot of people looking fo the fee ride. That’s the death of any scene, when you have more drag energy than you have forward-going energy.”
From Blair Jackson’s excellent Garcia: An America Life, 1999, page 132 Paperback Edition
Garcia was referring to the Haight-Ashbury scene in the late 1960s. It was relatively small and crashed quickly under the weight of drag energy.
Larger societies, say continent spanning countries, will take longer to crash but the mechanism is the same and the results, well, they are likely to be much messier.