Thursday, July 20, 2017

In Which I Answer a Commenter

Commenter tomfrompv to my post two days ago asked,
How about advice on preparation for the upcoming disaster? I think we all agree it's on the way. But what should the patriotic American do to get ready. I'm sure the globalists have already planned it out.

I'm not talking about "preppers". Most of us are either too old or think the "year zero" scenario has no chance of occurring. To me, it's more about how the individual can maintain his personal wealth, freedom, security, and well-being when the hammer finally hits.
What's the strategy for the ordinary guy?
Let me start out by saying that whatever I say here is probably being said by other people elsewhere.  I don't think I have any exclusive ideas in this arena, and, to be honest, I'm concerned about what's coming and being prepared. On the other hand, I recall while reading Rawles' "Patriots" many years ago that, "if I'm really going to have to do all that to survive, I'm toast".  It was while they were putting in half inch thick steel to bulletproof their retreat.

Perhaps unexpectedly, another commenter answered tomfrompv with a lot of solid advice as a starting point. 
As for a coping strategy, does your public image from the street serve as a defense against envy? From the outside you look poor, wearing thrift store pants and repairing an older car, but from the inside you are wealthy in the necessities of life like food, shelter, and medical care. Is your backyard a food garden? Do you have gold coins to give to the sympathetic veterinarian who will X-ray and set your broken bone without reporting it?

Are you the center of a radio kit ecosystem which sells better the worse the news gets? You can't retire, that is not going to work. Social Security is bankrupt, and will continue to decline 10%/year forever. Those big company pension funds are going to be swept into Social Security to keep it going another year; the only portion of it you own is the last check that cashed. If you can withdraw any of that paper wealth and turn it into coins, do it.

Hard coin money fixes almost anything. With money, if WWIII breaks out you could take a "long vacation" in Mexico, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Italy, Germany, South America, the Pacific's a big world out there, and it will never all be involved in war at the same time. You can't fix politics, not even a little bit. But it's practical to prepare to step to the side as the stupid goes charging past.
My starting point is to look after those "necessities of life" like food, shelter and medical care.  If you have medical issues that require regular prescriptions, sorry but you're behind the 8-ball  It's probably too late to take a few years and get out of debt, but do your best to get six months to a year of food put away while getting out of debt.  Live below your means. 

Do you really need to look like a pauper?  I don't know, but I don't think you should look like the richest people in your area either.  I don't think you want to stand out on either end.  We have two cars that were purchased used; one for cash and one on payments because it was 0% APR and that's really paying us to take the loan.  Made sense at the time.  It has been paid off for years.  Still, I've had people walking by comment on the cars and act surprised when I tell them one's an '09 and the other's a '13. 

Yes, I think it's wise to have silver coins or other barter material on hand.  I think gold is too "concentrated"; too much money in too small a coin (more here).  I think there will be more people trying to counterfeit things like US Silver Eagles than the junk silver coins.  (Junk silver is the usually pre-1965, 90% silver US coins)  Silver Eagles are more uniform in appearance, especially if you have them new, in their mint tube (they're all uncirculated now); by contrast, the junk silver is generally old and used looking; they have the advantage that everyone knows what a dime or quarter is.  I think they'll quickly learn that the silver versions are worth more.  Compared to Eagles, the old coins are dinged up, and usually have black sulfides on them.  If someone offered you a few silver quarters, all dated the same and all looking brand new, that would get your suspicions up.  If they offered you a couple of quarters of different years in different conditions, that would look more believable.

What about other things to barter?  Do you want to have some whiskey or cigarettes around?  I don't drink or smoke and don't have any put away.  Should I?  I can't say.  A major part of this blog has been to emphasize having skills that can be bartered. Learn to fix things.

Tomfrompv also says,
For example, I think we'll see something along the lines of 1930-38 America. Banks will fail and along with them retiree annuities. The stock and bond market will fail and along with them public pensions. Tax revenues will crater. The govt will inflate the currency while simultaneously banning the sale/holding of precious metals. And all the other crap that went on back then
This is really hard to predict.  I know some financial writers who say what's coming will be worse than '29.  Some banks will absolutely fail, but not all; Dodd-Frank guaranteed that by creating the Too Big To Fail banks.  Unless the government fails, and that's least likely.  Whether or not that leads to widespread failure of public and private pensions isn't as straightforward to predict.  Much of  the public pensions depend on the individual states.  Some states, thankfully like mine, are in pretty good shape financially.  Private corporation pensions?  That depends on how good the company is at managing them, so it will vary with the company.  I don't think there's a real financial manager who doesn't plan for 25 or 30% drops in the markets.  Remember that it's possible to make money in a declining market.  The more time the plan managers have to prepare for this, the better placed they are to survive. 

Will they ban precious metals?  Beats me.  I don't think it works any better than gun free zones.  If they banned guns, are you turning them in?  It's not like they don't seize "hoarded" food in bad situations either, though. 

I'm not going to tell you to get everything you have out of your 401k or other accounts.  That's a big decision and has enormous financial implications.  Is there a possibility everything depreciates to nothing and you lose it?  The smarter you were about allocations, the less likely that is.  On the other hand, if the collapse is bad enough, all sorts of financial institutions will be in trouble.   

If your house smells like food cooking while everyone else is starving, you can expect people coming looking for food.  They will probably not be friendly.  I'm not sure what the best way to avoid that is.  Perhaps eating room temperature food out of the package?  What about the smell on cans and the garbage?  I don't know. 

You mention, "Most of us are either too old or think the "year zero" scenario has no chance of occurring,"  I'm in the too old category for one, and think the most likely scenario is what I call the Argentina scenario - because I got it from Ferfal in Surviving in Argentina.  I first posted this in 2010.  I've highlighted the things I think I've already seen in blue text.
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 is 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.
Every one of the major ideas in this paragraph have been observed in the US.  The rise in prices and drop in package sizes ("shrinkflation") is something I've written about for years  Nationally, we have already had municipalities (Oakland, CA, for example) tell their citizens that they won't pursue burglary and property theft, and an Ashtabula County, Ohio, judge told citizens to arm themselves due to a shortage of Sheriff's deputies.

Our tendency to have a "disposable society" is going to decline.  People will hold onto possessions longer, and wear them out.  A close friend from West Virginia had a great saying that sums this up:  "make it, make do, or do without".  That means a return, at least partially, to a time when more people made much more of their own things.  On almost any weekend around town, you'd hear power tools going as guys would be making or repairing furniture or fixing their cars.  Inside, women would be making or repairing clothing.  If you don't already know: learn how to do these things.

I've written about all of these things many times.  The search bar in the upper left corner actually works fairly well, and you can search for single words like gold, silver, banks, or whatever, but even I go through periods not finding things I know are here.  It's always because I didn't remember the right word.
"Junk silver" dimes.  So-called because they weren't high enough grade to attract coin collectors. 


  1. municipalities (Oakland, CA, for example) tell their citizens that they won't pursue burglary and property theft

    When police are actually missing because they are actually overwhelmed by the tornado or flood, somebody spraypaints "looters will be shot" on plywood and there is no crime.

    That's not what's going on here. The police aren't actually missing in Oakland. Grandma does not get to carry a revolver to blow away muggers and home invaders. OJ does not get to retrieve his stolen memorabilia. The police still pursue brandishing and warning shots with great vigor. The police are protecting the thieves from the honest victims, to create a demand for more police. Just you try and patch a pothole, and see what happens to you.

    I expect private corporation pensions to be seized by the federal government and said to be dumped into social security...but actually into police pensions so police stay loyal.

  2. Fabulous write up. Actually, very few bloggers are talking about the ways to survive this depression 2.0 or whatever its called. I very much appreciate your insights and ideas.

    The junk silver seems to be a winner. Making gold illegal forces the blackmarket - and the 1 ounce coin will bed worth an awful lot of fiat money when it is traded. So much I can see me being a tempting target as I go into that black market. OTOH hand, I will have to store a LOT of silver, which I can do as long as I have a place of my own.

    My family has an old story from the Depression. A single woman raising 3 kids after her husband died in 1929. She had no place of her own. She had no pension. Back then a 5 dollar paper bill was equivalent to 1/4 gold coin. As she could, she saveed those gold coins in her local bank (no FDIC remember). Then came 1935, FDR made bold illegal, her bank closed for a week. The old paper money was replaced too. When her bank opened, all new people ran it. Her safety deposit box had been emptied of all the gold coins. The govt raised the price of gold to $35/ounce. Instant inflation.

    But this single mother, my wife's grandmother, had lost everything. She had no recourse, nobody did.

    In Depression 2.0, I expect the same. FDIC will fail, we will get cents to the dollar or some kind of exchange for a "pension" paid in fiat money.

    I also agree about that pothole stuff. Another old family story tells how my own grandfather got beaten up for daring to paint his own house; the thugs were union member who reallly needed work. As a pharmacist, my grandfather had an income of sorts and was a target of those who did not. He eventually painted it bit by bit at night with Grandma, uncle keeping watch. The police weren't interested, as stated above.

    Again thanks very much for your thoughts. If have others, please say. As I said above, most bloggers are great at the warnings and signs, but seem to avoid giving out advice.


    1. Glad you found it useful.

      Exactly what you need to do depends completely on what exactly what you're preparing for (well, duh!). In the case of the world the comment right below yours (anonymous at 0811 - Ray) describes, "everything goes back to 1795", much of what I talked about is meaningless. It doesn't matter if you have power tools and the knowledge to make masterpieces of furniture from freshly sawn wood, if you have no power.

      Some years ago, I told myself, "so if 90% of the population is dying off, what makes you think you're so special that you're not one of them?" (90? 60? pick a number) I think more people need to have that realization.

      This stuff gets debated endlessly. One guy says you need a compound at least three hours drive from the nearest big city and you need to have enough friends to essentially have a functioning military squad so that you can split up guard duty. Ferfal said the suburbs in Argentina got rough, but the people on isolated farms and ranches had it the worst. They became the real targets.

      Which will it be? Nobody knows. It all depends on what assumptions you make.

      (and, BTW, Ray, you don't need the wireless in the sense you're thinking of - the original commenter meant two way radios for keeping in touch with members of his group. All military squads work with radios, right?)

      I think backup power is life or death important. I have a backup generator that can run the whole house - including the air conditioning, but generators require fuel. Fuel runs out - I don't care how much you've stored. I have some solar panels but could pave my backyard in them. Backyard and not roof? That gets back to the thing about standing out in your neighborhood. The sound of a generator stands out when nothing else is running, too. Don't throw a steak on the grill if your neighbors are starving.

  3. Actually I believe that one the actual collapse starts it won't stop until the world "resets" to an earlier age. Silver and gold coin are good ideas. But why on earth do I need a wireless? So I can comfort myself in knowing that Peeta Vanderpoof and Cumquat Dogood are eating beans & rice three times a day too? Our entire civilization is based on international manufacturing and "on demand" international shipping. EVERYTHING is made and shipped that way. From food to fuel. NOTHING is local. Our world is a house of cards and seven days after a world wide "event" the gas and groceries are gone (some say one day) and 14 days after that it is 1795 outside. When that starts so will the period I have seen written of as "the great death". A time when the obese, the ill, the perpetually dependent on meds, the welfare dependent. The 60% of our country that would have been sorted out by Darwin's Law 100 years ago ---Die. In staggering numbers. IMO this whole thing teeters on a knife edge NOW. Tip it just a little and you had better hope your rural life skills are up to the challenge. Cause your "civilization" is paper thin, and all the "tech toys" on earth will be worthless once the slide starts. Cops, Government, The military. They are just organized crime. They will be part of your problem. No SIR! Once this "civilization" starts to fold it will collapse so rapidly and so completely that not even the most wild eyed, tin foil hat, "doomer" will grasp it at first.---Ray

    1. Bear in mind that this "division of labor/everything ships" isn't really new. There was division of labor in the time of Christ. Before that, really. Just In Time (JIT) and the razor thin inventories that come with it are a relatively new thing. JIT is the result of governments taxing inventory at ever higher rates. That could be solved with more rational governments (like that will ever happen) or if much more expensive transportation costs hit, which would encourage more inventory.

      A while back, I saw a piece on apartments in New York City, which I assumed to be the case in other big cities. They're ridiculously, crazy expensive, and the girl they were talking with stored her shoes in her refrigerator. No food. Just shoes. She'll be starving within 3 days.

      Cities will have it bad. Hence the idea to be at least one full tank of gas away from the nearest city.

      But, yeah. People on medications that they can no longer get will be in serious problems. Not getting your statins or your blood pressure pills? F*** it, you're probably better off without it. Not getting your thyroid medication or your insulin? That's much more serious.

    2. The problem with any reset to the "modern" world is that almost no one has the ability to "do" anything. In 1929 80% of America knew how to harness a mule ,plow, plant , raise and harvest a crop. I would dare say that number is below 5% now. In 1929 even the poorest person could WALK to a farming community and buy or barter for fresh food. Most knew how to make clothes, many could make shoes (something you MUST have in winter over much of the CONUS). People WANTED to work and knew how to work. In the time of Christ locally consumed good were made LOCAL. Now foodstuff, even the most basic food. Might ship from 2000 to 12000 miles. The US has destroyed the farms and orchards of past generations and replaced them with Wal-Marts and theme parks. and last. About those "maintenance drugs" MANY people over the age of 50 would be dead in one year without there daily dose of drugs. Most especially the Diabetics and crazy's. But our civilization has spawned a host of permanently drug dependent who simply cannot live long at all without medical intervention. And how many of the 300+ pound power wheelchair riders in every town could WALK to food and water? No in the US a collapse would look(and smell) like the black death ---Ray

    3. Any hive that has its supply chain cut - especially for water or power - will collapse within about a week.

      Now the government has shown that they can pacify one hive at a time - think Katrina or Sandy. They can also probably stretch to deal with two at a time. But four or more simultaneously without one or the other of those basic "necessities" is beyond government capability.

      First of all, how many floors is a hive dweller willing to climb in one day? How much hive real estate is ABOVE that level? All that is immediately inaccessible.

      Secondly, every hive has a plethora of "urban youfs" who are kept in check by streetlights, which let Mere Citizens see and avoid, and security cameras, which let "Law Enforcement" identify the perps when they can bother to put down the coffee and donuts. Now "urban youfs" are not the sharpest tools in the shed, but even THEY will recognize after a few days that no power means no streetlights and no security cameras. And then they will have a field day! And when they loot, they not only take whatever they want "right now", but they destroy everything else they touch. Which means any private transportation will either be OUT of the hives within the first few days, or it will be unusable. Just how far do you think the average hive dweller can walk during daylight hours? Any who try and don't clear the hive boundaries will either be dead, or wish that they were.

      Now you say, ain't no way that all hives across the country are going to lose their supply chains at the same time. And that is true. But as long as at least four of them are "out of order", what I described applies. And by the way, hive dwellers dwell in hives because they LUVS them some big government. When urbanites from other hives see collapse elsewhere, they will panic. They will strip the shelves of every store in their hive - and some of them may pay for what they take while others will not - and when OTHER hive dwellers try to stock up and see NOTHING on the shelves, well...

      If ya wanna survive, don't live in a hive.

  4. I agree that 'junk' silver has a better value per coin for everyday uses than gold, however it does add up in volume in comparison; I would suggest buying at least some fractional gold, especially 1/10th ounce pieces so that you have them for larger purchases and repairs. Current market price is about $135, so they can be used when a $100 bill would be used - Have you seen how SMALL they are? They are about the size of a dime and are easy to hide and transport.
    While I think an extended period of "malaise" is more likely than a societal collapse, Anon above is right that once the tipping point is reached, things will fall apart FAST and if you are in the wrong place then, you will likely be stuck there. if you live in a town or city, there will either be some form of harsh government akin to, or worse than, martial law, or the lawlessness will be even worse. I suspect that small towns and people in rural areas who work with their neighbors will do the best.

  5. The problem is really "what" do you prepare for. History doesn't so much repeat it self but it rhymes. We will have another great depression. We will have WW III. We will have a terrible pandemic. But will any of them happen in your lifetime and if so which one?

    As for making your home appear poor; it isn't 'bad' advice but inadequate. If you want to test post-SHTF move to the bad part of Detroit and go ahead and appear 'poor' and see if that exempts you from crime. My advice is to live in a small town, not in the boonies and as far as possible from a large city especially a large city with social/criminal problems.

    I agree gold is not the best PM and silver may well be the best. Additionally I agree that junk silver may be the best of the best. I also agree food will be the single best prep (acknowledging that if you have health problems medication may trump food). Personal safety will be important but not simply a weapon but common sense and self control. For example if you like and must have a drink/smoke/drugs every day you are prone to bad judgement and will likely be out and about looking for your 'needs' when you should be at home. If you have a family member living with you who needs these things or has other habits that prompt bad choices YOU will likely suffer from their mistakes, i.e. their trouble will follow them home.

    Bugging out! Well if I were a jew in Germany in the 30's bugging out would be an incredibly wise choice. But if you have no place to go and/or can't get there easily more than likely what you will in fact be is a refugee and not a "savvy survivor" as described in Patriot. As for bugging out to a foreign country... well, if you are from that country and speak the language and have friends or family I would say it could work. But if you are a stranger there and don't have a support base I think you will be persona non grata and the only thing that will keep you alive is lots of money to buy 'friends'.

    If WW III happens it will go nuclear. If it goes nuclear Russia and maybe China will bomb the shit out of us. I mean it they will hit us with two nukes for our one in a nuclear exchange. Worse (could it get worse?) they intend to survive and have taken numerous steps to do just that and we have not. Ask yourself where your local nuclear shelter is??? Russia has set up enormous underground facilities to protect their military people and equipment and their critical manufacturing. We have not; nothing, zip, nada. SO if there is WW III it is likely you will die in a big fireball or coughing up blood from radiation exposure and if you survive that after our country stops smoking expect that both China and Russia will have millions of military to invade and kill us all. In other words nuclear war is going to kill you and I'm just not sure there is any prep that will "save" you. As for hiding in other countries; imagine the world after China destroys the West. They will have free reign to go anywhere and do whatever they want. Where are you gonna hide especially if you stand out like a sore thumb ad the 'natives' don't really like you anyway?

  6. The continental US has plenty of oil and gas wells, which remain profitable to operate no matter how paper currency is manipulated. Suppose the dollar is printed into hyperinflation. The wells are still there, the workers and equipment to operate them is still there, the refineries are still there, the pipelines, tanker trucks, neighborhood gas stations, attendants, 200 million cars, and roads. Oil industry workers can trade diesel fuel for food with the agribusiness industry, coal for electricity to power plants, electricity to factories for oilfield equipment. Fossil fuels can be used for money, a store of wealth.

    Consider Venezuela. I don't understand how 'everyone is starving while everyone prevents everyone from working' can be militarily forced. Just eat the thieves. If a car full of human predators show up, shoot them and feed them to your pigs. They immediately stop preventing you from working, you immediately have food, and the thief vs. producer balance of power is improved. The predators only win if the victims volunteer to give up their saved gold coins, livelihood, healthcare, guns; volunteer to collect into ghettos, etc. Don't volunteer to be ethnically cleansed.

    Ferfal said the suburbs in Argentina got rough, but the people on isolated farms and ranches had it the worst. They became the real targets.

    Customers approach your farm during daylight with a market basket, a smile, money to trade, and politely ring your doorbell. Anyone else is a predator. Did those farmers shoot the predators on sight with their existing rifles, warn the neighbor farms over CB radio, and hang the bodies for a warning display? I bet not. I bet they were consumed by liberal values like obedience to government and self-loathing and guilt for being successful, and allowed themselves to be eaten by noble savages.

    1. It is wishful thinking that you can protect yourself or just shoot anyone who you believe might intend you harm. The simple fact is if you get into a fire fight with someone/some group you or some of your family will die and some of the attackers will die. There is no magic; those who live by the sword will die by the sword. If it gets "that" bad you are likely going to be killed.
      The correct thing to do is to not be in that situation. Easier said then done perhaps, but don't get this crazy idea that like the cowboy in the white hat you are somehow going to shoot your way out and be fine. You are not!

  7. If the Yellowstone caldera blows, it will make create a great deal of havoc. I am more concerned about that sort of natural condition to create a tipping point, where all resources are overwhelmed. Store the kind of food that you eat. If you live in an area without a well, store enough water if you're able. Store ammo. You can trade ammo more easily than you can barter silver coins.

  8. There are counters for every suggestion, and alternatives, and other views. The basics are pretty basic though, and if you prepare for the most likely things you are getting prepared for the less likely too.

    As you continue to prep, you keep hitting milestones and there are more and more potential scenarios you can survive.

    It's a journey, not a destination. Trite but true.

    Food, shelter, water, medical, defense. Start there. Keep pushing your time line out until you're comfortable. Add comms, intel, networks (people), and skills as you can.

    Got no money? Work on yourself with skills, fitness, mindset.

    Need more money? Reduce expenses while increasing income. Sell crap you don't need/use/want. Take a second job. Drop services you don't get full value for- landline phones, cable, expensive prepared meals. If you have an expensive car and payments, trade down. If you can't afford your house, get out before it steals everything you have. You won't be the first or last to move to something more affordable. Live in a high cost/high tax area? Look at getting out. You can live much better on less in TX than most of Cali or the east coast cities.

    Yes, some of these things are hard. But most of them will result in a higher quality of life too.

    Getting your financial house in order is one of the most satisfying and rewarding things you can do. Having access to money gives you choices. It gives opportunity, and resilience. If you can't cover a new transmission for your car, or 2 new tires, you won't be able to recover from even minor setbacks.

    Most SHTF is personal. Spouse gets cancer. You lose a job (and at 55 you aren't going back to what you had.) Your kid is killed in a bar fight. Having food stored, and your finances strong will help you thru any of those things, as will a stable home life. Is your partner a problem or a help? Can you live with that? Is your home life stable?

    As for some specific things mentioned above, read Selco about bartering, what's valuable (it changes over time, but you can't beat food and meds), and the risks involved. In fact, between Selco and Ferfal you can get some idea of what it is actually like to live thru it.

    That said, no one trades ammo- why arm potential enemies?

    Gold is to preserve wealth and get some thru to the other side of whatever the disruption is. Gold has always been exchangeable for whatever the local and current valuables are.

    Ferfal makes the point that some of your cash alternatives should be gold chains, as you can sell them one inch at a time, as needed.

    Junk silver coins will be acceptable to anyone who's stockpiling them now, who are the only ones with anything you will want or need after the fall, right? Preppers and warlords have the stuff. Only one might sell you some.

    Depending on the timeline of course, but for low acquisition cost, light weight, and small size, IF I were stocking for barter or black market- antibiotics, aspirin, Midol, garden seeds, bic lighters, sewing supplies,- pounds of each...


  9. I'll add some stuff after reading the original comments...

    First, why not a prepper? If that word has negative connotations for you, you might not really understand what it means and the collective community around the word. It's not survivalism, militias, compounds in the woods, back to the farm, homesteading, bush crafting, or any other of a bunch of things but it has elements from all of them. It's about taking steps to be ready for bad things that happen. Along the way, it helps prepare for good things too.

    You want to know how to position yourself, what you can do to get your family thru whatever comes? In the most broad terms, maximize your resources, minimize your dependencies. Diversify your income, your skills, and your people networks.

    The bank can't take the farm (house) if you don't have a mortgage. The county can't seize it if you have the money to pay your taxes. You need savings. You need value that can't easily be inflated away, seized, or destroyed. You need income streams (in fact, one pundit makes a very good case for thinking of income streams and cash flow rather than amassing cash savings for retirement.)

    Your kids won't starve if you have food put away. Comments on other blogs are full of stories of families that lived primarily off stored food due to job loss, serious illness or injury, or emotional devastation. During depression 1, rural folks, who were much less dependent on money for the basics, or the supply chain for food had surplus to share or exchange for labor. They didn't have to learn how to be thrifty because they already were.

    If you have diversified your income it won't matter to you that your pension is cut in half, your SS payments are late, or your savings vanish when the money is inflated away. Rental properties, businesses (especially ones with cash), royalties, selling your services directly, or anything else that gets you paid in current dollars should be a good hedge against inflation. Self storage units, coin laundries, repair businesses, and service (the traditional trades) businesses should do ok.

    Every thing you can do for yourself, you can potentially do for others in exchange of favors, or for money or food. Therefore, the more you can do, the better. Can you do mechanical repairs? Woodworking or welding? Electronic repairs? Can you alter your own clothes? Cut hair? Make explosives? Reload? Gunsmith? Can you grow food? Care for children? Teach a skill? Treat the injured or sick? God forbid we fall so far, but if you had to, could you set a broken bone? Do you have the references and supplies or have you built out your human network. "My golf buddy is a dentist, and were talking the other day....."

    If you're white collar or professional class, how many people do you know who can actually DO things? You might want to see who's in your HOA, or local rec league, or Rotary club... you will need help fixing a car, HVAC, etc. or you might just want to know who might be able to get some coffee or eurythromyacin....


  10. The Indians are attacking the fort. The fort is low on supplies and ammunition, and the salty veteran leader of many battles is sick from infection and may soon be delirious with fever. How many nights can they hold out against the vicious savages? Will the fort be reinforced in time by the larger unit known to be in the area? Will they be overrun? Will the commander's wife be raped? Will they show it on screen?

    Even military results are produced by even matchups. Your assumption of an even matchup is driven by the needs of entertainment and story. But there is no requirement in reality that the matchup be even. Instead, what I had in mind was: the four attackers cut the chain at the gate, and approach the house. As they progress down the entrance road, they are blinded by a CO2 metal cutting laser and then slaughtered by a remote-detonated explosive. Just like the previous idiots were last week.

  11. You might want to download and read the free book “Beyond Collapse”:

    Although I don't agree with everything he says it is a extremely well thought out and practical guide to preparing before, steps to take during and how to organise after, the collapse of civilisation. You ARE going to print it out, aren't you and not rely on reading it on a computer that might be non functional due to no electricity, aren't you?

    Another book I own is by Weston Farmer called From my Old Boat Shop. In this book he describes how to build a wood gas producer which can power an internal combustion engine. Note that the gas producer is unsuited to rapidly varying demand, such as a road going vehicle but for steady demand (e.g. an engine on a boat, running an engine to turn a generator or pump) it is ideal. After the collapse, there will be a lot of cars around with perfectly serviceable engines and no gasoline that can be made to run again.

    There is plenty of information on steam engines (not locomotives) on the internet and with a bit lateral thinking, one can be constructed from hydraulic cylinders which again can be used to power various useful things (generators, water pumps etc.).

    Anyone with the skills to produce electricity using that knowledge to run a lathe or other machine tools etc. will be in big demand.

    Phil B

    1. I took a look at that site and downloaded the book. Likewise, too a quick look at it and it seems pretty reasonable.

      As you say, one guy's opinion, but what I saw makes sense.

    2. I meant to include that besides "From My Old Boat Shop", there is a FEMA document, number RR-38, called "Construction of a Simplified Wood Gas Generator for Fueling Internal Combustion Engines in a Petroleum Emergency". I don't know where I downloaded my copy (my file is dated November of '11), but SCRIBD has it. It seems like it requires some pipes hardware store parts and is doable by someone with hand tools.

    3. Thanks for the heads up about the "Construction of a Simplified Wood Gas Generator for Fueling Internal Combustion Engines in a Petroleum Emergency" - I found it no problem using DuckDuckGo.

      The "From My Old Boat Shop" design was used on a tug, towing logs and barges along the west coast from Canada to S.F. so was sized accordingly for a whacking great big diesel. The sizes of the plants in your recommendation are a bit better sized for the proposed application.

      I know that in Europe and the UK during WW2 gas producers were made for road going vehicles but, as I said above, they are not well suited to rapid changes in demand for fuel (such as a car) but for continuous, non varying demand, then they are well suited.

      I have a couple of spare lawnmower engines lying around (it's a long story!) so I will try a small scale producer to run one of those and gain some experience. Yep - I know I need to get out a bit more at night ... >};o)

      Phil B


      Wood gasification has come a long way. As far as I know, they still offer free plans and cheap partially constructed kits.

  12. Some more thoughts-

    A commentor on the original post shared that he used to be a survivalist but after decades of no disaster, gave it up [simplified and summarized] which I've heard from other people in other places.

    If you think about that, that should be a cause for celebration! The world as we know it hasn't ended! This is awesome. You don't hope that you get to use your life insurance policy, or grump about all the money you wasted on fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, and homeowners policies because your house never burned down!

    I understand his point that he was too busy getting ready and missed out on living. It's important to strike a balance between hiding in your fortress of solitude and living your life. It's why one of the rules for me is that my preps can not negatively impact our lives right now. It's why we still have retirement accounts, and haven't quit our jobs and moved to an off grid retreat.

    Fortunately or un-fortunately, I get to see the value of prepping every few years. I live in hurricane country. I used to live in earthquake country. I get a fresh reminder of what can go wrong every new hurricane season. Sown here we've been lucky for a while. You can extrapolate that out to the country and the world if you like. We haven't had a Great Depression, a World War, a deadly epidemic or pandemic, massive sneak attack, or devastating natural disaster in a while. BUT we KNOW they happen. We KNOW they aren't one time events. Therefore, we KNOW they will happen again. That's what drives me to prep, and what baffles me about those who don't.


    Added- I personally have lived thru or been near a bunch of nasty stuff. I have NO DOUBT that bad things can happen to me. While in Cali, I felt Earthquakes (all small), had my workplace set on fire, roommate attacked, and neighborhood burned during the Rodney King riots. I was 8 miles from ground zero and 2000 miles from home on 9-11. In TX I was here for Rita and Ike. Friends lived in Slidell, LA during Katrina.

    Bad things happen everywhere, and all the time. Be ready.

    1. That's really a good way of summarizing things. I've lived in hurricane country all my life, and one of my earliest vivid memories is Donna in south Miami in 1960. I would have been 6. Looking at the NOAA history today, it didn't even hit us directly.

      I was in Miami for Cleo and Betsey as well. Because of that, I've always had a storm pantry. It's just a lot deeper now than it used to be in the '70s.

      But like you say, you need to balance. Most of us work for a job that require us to be somewhere, so we can't live in a retreat far from anything. We need to do our preparations with consideration of our environments. If we have a soft collapse, like I call the Argentina-type, shooting someone coming on your property is still going to be questionable. You're still going to be legally responsible for every bullet leaving your barrel, and if it ends up in your neighbor's house, they'll very likely frown on that. I suspect most of us live in a place where that's a big possibility. You might have a sympathetic sheriff or state's prosecutor - but you might have a total asshole. Florida has fairly good gun laws, but there's still far too much influence from the big blue counties: Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Hillsborough, Orange...