A couple weeks ago I wrote, "When the EMP finally sends us back to the Stone Age...." When I wrote it, I paused and asked myself, "To what age would an EMP really send us back?"
I stuck with Stone Age because I think our bronze and iron manufacturing processes involve electricity, so they will be rendered futile. Of course, you don't need electricity to make bronze (which is why the Bronze Age came about when it did, long before the Industrial Revolution), but the world will have to reconfigure our bronze industry to use non-electronic manufacturing methods.
It would probably be more accurate to say that an EMP would send a targeted area back to the Stone Age with artifacts of more-advanced periods, and this condition would persist until new electronic equipment can be imported from non-targeted areas. But here's the next question: is advanced civilization a stable equilibrium, or an unstable one? Would we all calm down until the boats from Asia and Europe arrived with replacement equipment, or would be go full Thunderdome in a weekend?
My money's on Thunderdome.
PS: The post title is from a joke, which my students in China didn't understand.