I don't believe that there would be a total and complete social and economic collapse either. If such a thing happened, most of us would not survive it. The complete destruction of the division of labor and the break down of distribution of goods would literally cause the deaths of millions of people. They would starve, they would freeze to death, their health problems would rage out of control due to lack of medicine, it would be awful. And I don't believe that it would happen.
Not even the end of the Roman Empire was like this. It took centuries for the Roman Empire to decline until it fell apart. Its end wasn't violent, it faded. It was replaced by a lower order of organization in society, but not a complete breakdown.
I find it difficult to name specific periods in history where a total and complete breakdown occurred resulting in the complete destruction of the society in question. I think these events are so rare in history (and might even be mythical) that they are probably not worth planning for. They are also probably next to impossible to plan for, because you can't predict what will happen or how it will affect you specifically.
On the other had, recessions and depressions can and do happen. But remember that even in the worst depression the U.S. had, the Great Depression, 75% were still employed (25% unemployment). These are bad figures, but it just shows that even in that event, it was not remotely close to a "breakdown".
If you can develop a self-sufficient source(s) of income, live below your means, and so on, you would probably be better able to handle a great depression event. However, like everyone else, you would have to contend with lower-quality products, product shortages, and maybe even increased crime. But great depression events do not last forever. These are temporary events, even if they don't seem like it at the time, for the people who live through it.
The danger is that inflation and hyperinflation might destroy your capital. The best insurance against this "might" be to own gold/silver coin (American eagles for the U.S.), not so you would use them during a depression (gold as a commodity would likely be depressed in price during this time), but so that when the depression is over, and prices recover, you can liquidate the gold for the (new?, stabilized?) currency and reinvest again. (Paid-off real estate, too, can be a hedge against inflation.)
But there is no need to put all your capital into gold, nor is it wise. Gold under-performs as an investment, historically. It is a hedge, not really an investment. It's done very well in the last decade, but because more and more investors wanted a hedge. It's demand is growing as a hedge... but that demand will end someday. When? Who knows.
So I don't believe in apocalyptic scenarios. We won't see complete economic and social breakdown. We might see a higher incidence of problems. But none of this is new; as a human species, we've seen it all before. It may get worse, but it'll also get better again, given enough time.