Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Big Question

Commenter JM Johnson over at Western Rifle Shooter's Association asks the big one: 
“If and when the big poop hits the fan…” That is the million-dollar(no pun intended) question. We could end up like Japan, which has been operating with 100% debt-GDP ratio for years. Or, we could end up like Argentina, with private retirement accounts confiscated, high crime rates in the cities, but still a functioning country. Scenarios like in Rawles’ PATRIOTS are entertaining and sobering. They sell a lot of books. But just how realistic is Obamageddon?
How realistic is it?  Which country are we more like?  Japan is culturally pretty homogeneous; I've even heard them referred to as xenophobic.  They are inveterate savers (although not so much lately), and because of their cultural "closeness" are more inclined to do things for the good of the country.  Personally, I'm surprised they haven't had a currency collapse since the quake/tsunami which really knocked them back on their heels.  I know the Yen has been close to collapse several times, but intervention has kept it from happening. 

No, I think we're currently more like Argentina.  They have a charismatic Marxist president just like we do, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchener - whom Surviving in Argentina host Ferfal refers to as "she who shall not be named".  Their anti-discrimination laws have been expanded to include saying bad things about the government.  Remind anyone of John Kerry?  Crime is rampant, but if you should defend yourself, it's ordinarily portrayed as the rich vs. poor.  Sound familiar?  Inflation is raging, the government is a corrupt thugocracy that would be right at home in Chicago.  They've confiscated retirement accounts and shut down internet sites - if they make Cristina look bad. 

No, in my book, we're more like Argentina, and I expect an Argentina-like economic collapse.  Ferfal says the same things about a US collapse (and more here).  I suspect our riots will be much worse than Argentina because of the 50 years of stoking the class warfare ideas in the inner cities.  You can thank the Great Society, social welfare programs and the work of Cloward-Piven fans for that. 

Ultimately, like I said over on WSRA, you pays your money and you takes your chances.  If we go through a long period of economic stagnation like Japan has, that would be easier to live through - uncomfortable, but better than the alternative.  If it goes Argentina on us, life will be harder, more brutish, nastier.  In neither case is it a total collapse like Patriots; you won't be stacking bodies of mutant zombie bikers in your front yard, but you may have to bribe the local LEO to get out of a bogus traffic stop.  If you do have to defend yourself physically, you'll probably have to defend yourself in court.  And no one can rip you to pieces like the legal system can. 


  1. Interesting that you should post this, SG, as my thoughts recently have been running in the same vein. To a certain extent I have been prepping for a Rawles-style event, but I have been coming around to the understanding that it just isn't likely. I expect something closer to John Galt's "The Day The Dollar Died", with ever more severe repression, theft of my 401k and savings, a new currency removing any value from what cash I've saved, barter and use of silver or gold made illegal, and an attempt, at least, to completely disarm us.

    My preps won't hurt. When the stores are empty, or we are restricted as to what is available, I'll be doing all right. Shelter, food, water, and even a limited amount of transportation are all covered, along with the means to protect it all. I even have a small community of friends here - and in various parts of the country - where mutual defense is possible. I can even outfit a few more if/when that becomes desirable.

    But, I am expecting more of Argentina, too. Claire Wolfe's statement about it being too soon to shoot the bastards is what is going to make it difficult. I don't think it ever got down to resisting corrupt law enforcement in Argentina, but then Latin America has lived with that as a cultural norm for many years, so the difference here might be significant. It will likely get to the point where I will find it necessary before the general 2A population does.

    I fear we will discover how that shakes out before my life ends by natural means, anyway.

  2. I haven't read "The Day the Dollar Died", but it sounds like I should. I expect a future more like FerFal talks about than Rawles; of course, he says he exaggerates stuff to make a more exciting read, and to get more concepts into the book.

    And not to quote myself too much, but last October I did a multi-part series on why I love technology. Part 2 included this:

    Readers of JWR's Survivalblog and some other survival literature tend to discuss complete collapse of civilization: The End Of The World As We Know It - TEOTWAWKI. While there is always a possibility of a complete end, my personal belief is that won't happen. I believe the most likely scenario is an economic collapse like Ferfal (Surviving in Argentina) describes here (I've highlighted things that I believe I've already seen in my travels):

    If lucky you’ll still live in that same house, Main Street will still be called Main Street, kids will still go to the same school, with a bit of luck and hard work you’ll keep your job… but employees may have to accept a 20% reduction in salary so as to save the company. Your kid’s school will have fund cuts and some classes may be canceled, the infrastructure may suffer for lack of maintenance due to low funds. The school quickly looks dirty, clearly needing some paint and repairs. As time goes by Main street is full of holes and no ones patches them. Stuff at Walmart is now more expensive. Little by little the packages, cans and bottles start getting smaller (yet the price it higher than before) , you see less and less of those mega super value 50 unit packs. There’s less variety too, they no longer import or produce locally the expensive brands anymore. Too expensive to do so. Crime is getting worse too. Home invasions in towns where it had never happened before, even people getting kidnapped. As more senseless violent crime becomes more common and criminals realize that the poorly paid police, with not enough patrol cars, not enough gas and not enough manpower is just a shadow of what it once was, armed robbery slowly becomes a fact of life across America, and those that don’t want to accept it suffer the consequences.

    That's Argentina today. Us in three to five years?

  3. "If you do have to defend yourself physically, you'll probably have to defend yourself in court."

    I do not see this particular problem in the US. Largely I agree any troubles would resemble Argentina more than any other model. We will still be America however. I don't see the model self defense laws of Texas, for instance, changing in any real way even in a collapse. Of coure people in Chi-town are still pretty much helpless but, again, no change there. Bottom line, a shooting today or after a collapse will be handled the same. In vast streaches of the American heartland the Popo might even be a little more tollerant; not of domestic violence or anything like that of course, but of out of town people stealing and robbing. Local man helps complete stranger/burglar achieve room temp in his kitchin in the middle of the night...Come on Bro.

  4. Or, we could go the way of Greece...

  5. Jason - for the stranger in your house in the middle of the night - absolutely. Here in Florida, my understanding is you have every right to assume someone in your house intends to kill you and deadly force isn't even questioned. The LEOs will take the information, call ambulance as needed and say "have a nice day".

    I'm thinking of the kid who runs up to you in the parking lot at work or shopping. There's no shortage of lawyers who love to play the race card (Eric Holder just filled the justice department with them), and no shortage of prosecutors who will try to get re-elected by trying you in the court of public opinion. I would bet someone will try the "rich guy just trying to find an excuse to shoot the poor little child" argument.

    But I'll admit I get that from Ferfals' stories...

  6. You know "collapse" in this context means "the yen is now worth more", right?
    Here's the 5 year history against the dollar, euro, and pound:;CURRENCY:JPYEUR&cmptdms=0;0&q=CURRENCY:JPYUSD&ntsp=0

  7. Anon 19:23 yeah. I found it tough to explain why in a short "aside" so I just left my kinda crude wording.

    Thanks for the link.

  8. I'm reminded of an old sci-fi story, Poul Anderson's "No Truce With Kings". After the collapse, half the army marched to war with bows and arrows, but they still had rockets and television. I suspect we'll see something broadly like that; tech used, but not universal due to the expense.

  9. Yet you can't compare The U.S. to Argentina or even Japan. They are not the holder of the world's (failing) trading currency. Japan has a work ethic and patriotism that the US has largely lost and Argentinia was never a land of the free to begin with. There are no precedents for what's to come. Bet your bottom dollar that it will be "World Order or Bust".

  10. Ausprepper, you raise a good point, and a good one to consider.

    We are the world's "reserve currency" until the groups (like the BRIC) trying to change that succeed. We wouldn't be given that honor today; no group in their right mind would make the most indebted country in history the reserve. A country that takes in 2 Trillion/year and spends 4 (rough numbers, obviously)?

    The recent downgrade to AA by S&P might end that itself. If not, it's another straw on the camel's back. When that goes away (not if) that will hasten the collapse.