Let's say that starting today, electricity "stops working" (I'd like to sort the details of that in a different question). The case is that somehow electricity can't be used anymore.

How would civilizations (specially countries in USA and Europe) would change in 20 to 40 years?

The sudden stop of electricity couldn't be predicted and would be unkown for everybody (except for the case that they no longer have electrictiy). What I mean with that is that nobody would know why that happened and how to solve it (if there is any way).

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    $\begingroup$ You are looking at the complete breakdown of society all over the world. Science, medicine, transport, food distribution, communication, medicine, refrigiration... all of it stops working. We would have to revert to sustenance farming, hunting and gathering. Expect famines and mass starvation, and large outbreaks of illnesses. Urbanized areas will be hit the hardest. Also voting to close because this is just too broad to be given any kind of sensible answer beyond this. $\endgroup$ – MichaelK Jul 27 '16 at 9:06
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    $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate: What would happen if electricity stopped working?. Also, short answer: everyone dies. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Jul 27 '16 at 12:16

The answer to this question depends too much on how this would be achieved.

If the driving force behind electricity stops working the universe ceases to exist. Atoms are held together by electromagnetic forces. Remove them and our universe falls apart. Without electromagnetism the force that would influence the remaining "dust" the most would be gravity. Places where there was a lot of stuff before the event (such as Planet Earth) would collapse into a black hole. Or, at least, if black holes still work as they did before the event. Eliminating a fundamental force from the universe is an action so disruptive that we can't even begin to predict what would happen.

If electricity didn't cease to exist but we are somehow rendered unable to use it, chaos breaks out. Governamental structures and infrastructure would quickly fall apart. 90%+ of the population would probably die in the chaos resulting from the ceasing of all electrical devices. The scenario is too complex (and depends, in part, on the finer points of why it exists in the first place) to give meaningful answers beyond "chaos". Simply changing the mentality of the next group that rises to power can completely change what human society will be like for centuries after the apocalypse.


No electricity = no magnetic field = breakdown of the ionosphere = radiation death of all land based multicellular organisms. Some may survive in deep oceans or underground, but it'll be millions of years before anything capable of living on the surface evolves.

The above assumes this only affects earth and then only unbalanced charges. Otherwise, the universe as we know it ceases to exist

On second thought, all chemical processes would cease too, leaving a ball of dust, as water would evaporate due to no hydrogen bonding


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