Category Archives: Survival Manual

A place where we don’t take for granted, what we’ve taken for granted.

The SHTF, then what?

(Survival Manual/ Prepper articles/ The SHTF, then what?)

  A.  Houston – We Have a Problem
13 Jun 2011, ModernSurvivalBlog.com, by Ken Jorgustin
Pasted from: http://modernsurvivalblog.com/security/houston-we-have-a-problem/

Set the stage:
The ‘S’ has hit the fan. The dollar has collapsed and is now worth just 30% of what it could purchase just 6 months ago. The reasons for the collapse are not relevant any more. Most people don’t understand why it happened, and are now truly in dire straights. They are just trying to survive.

shtf then market

The DOW has dropped to 5,000 and gold is now $5,000 an ounce. Unemployment has soared to 35%, and those that are still working are sinking fast while food and energy prices skyrocket. Nearly all traditional investments have gone bust. Most people are in despair having lost what savings they had along with the value of their 401K retirement plans. The crash of 2008 is miniscule in comparison to what has just happened.

Many major cities have fallen into chaos. There aren’t enough police to hold back the rioting and roving gangs of desperate humans – many of whom were just ordinary blue-collar working folks just 6 months ago. Now they are congregating in numbers in search of food, fuel, and supplies – just to stay alive and survive. Even some of those working in law enforcement within these large population centers are not showing up for work, being more concerned to secure their own families safety.

The government in a desperate attempt to thwart off the raging populace has begun rationing food supplies and are attempting to re-establish food supply distribution channels (most drivers have stopped hauling due to extraordinary fuel prices and the risk of being attacked for their haul). What supply chains remain into the city regions, are being attacked by organized groups and gangs, while the supplies themselves mostly do not make it to their destination.

You live within the urban sprawl of a major city region, and although not located within city limits, you are surrounded by many thousands of others who themselves are hurting badly while trying to feed their families and keep a roof over their heads.

Burglary is now blatant, even during the daytime. Groups of 5 or more will surge their way through an area or neighborhood and break through homes mostly without resistance, while residents fear for their lives and freely give up what supplies that they have.shtf then control

As the various groups of thugs and gangs slice their way through the chaos and desperation, they organize and grow in numbers to larger and more sophisticated forces. The government has underestimated the threshold at which desperate people will do what they must to get what they need. It is out of control.

You are caught in an unimaginable horror. A horror not even conceivable in your mind just 6 months ago.

Does this sound like something that could only come from a novel? Do you think it is ridiculous to consider something like this actually occurring where you live?

Think again.

shtf then gangsYes, this is a doom-and-gloom scenario, purposely to make you think. It is human nature to be set in your ways and to assume that things will remain as they are now, at least within some reasonable variation, plus-or-minus…

While it is true that often times ‘things’ remain in a similar state (more or less), there are also times when abrupt change will occur after having reached a tipping point or threshold of some kind. If caught unaware or unprepared, these abrupt changes can hit you like a train.

Many people know in their gut that the economic situation within the US and some other countries of the world are teetering at their limits of debt service, having borrowed extraordinary sums to keep their systems going. Having read quite a lot of information from many different sources on this general topic during the past several years, and although I am not a financial or economic expert, I do know that despite what we hear from the mainstream, we are definitely at risk for some economic hardships beyond which we’ve ever experienced in our lives.

Things may not come to this, but then again, they may. Are you the type of person to stick your head in the sand? Or are you the type of person to take precautions and learn to adapt to an extreme situation.shtf then dumpster dive

This article offers no solutions, but instead is purposed with the hope of having you consider that things ‘could’ change, and change for the worse. The first step to recovery is admitting that there is a problem. And as heard from the crew of Apollo 13, ‘Houston, we have a problem…’

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B.  Cash will be King
6 September 2013, ModernSurvivalBlog.com, by Ken Jorgustin
Pasted from: http://modernsurvivalblog.com/security/cash-will-be-king/

How much cash do you have on hand, right now? Do you rely on electronic money for most or all of your transactions? You might want to reconsider that philosophy…

Three in four Americans (73 percent) say they use less cash today than 10 years ago (source: Mastercard). From online shopping with credit, debit and prepaid cards to making purchases via electronic apps, electronic money is convenient and easy to use, and is favored by most merchants because it enables electronic book-keeping methods that eliminate most human intervention.

Electronic ‘money’ is speed, convenience, guaranteed payment for merchants, and provides some security for consumers and merchants, while also enabling transactional records for governments.

shtf then 20

There are two major risks however, when one transacts electronically.
1.  Although not everyone is concerned with this… using electronic money will leave a definitive footprint, captured forever, of your every purchase (‘where’, ‘when’, and ‘what’). Your spending habits are quickly profiled and updated each time electronic money is used, most of it in databases that you don’t even know about.
Cash, on the other hand, is anonymous.
2.  Since nearly all of our modern-day transactional systems are electronic, if these systems fail us for any reason, we will be left without a commonly accepted means of exchange. This could include power failure (local or otherwise), internet/network failures, or even a financial/banking collapse.

Cash, on the other hand, will be accepted (by most), for a while – at least up until such time that it may become clear that TSHTF (if it were to get to that point).
So it seems to me, that cash not only is king, but will be king (for a while) during a system meltdown of some sort.

Consider this…
In today’s electronic world of money, there is only a comparatively very tiny amount of actual cash out there in circulation. If there is ever a panic, and enough people begin withdrawing some or all of their money from the banks, the cash might run out very quickly. Then what?
At least for the short-term, if you have cash, you will be able to procure some things. Long term however, and we’re all in a different boat, so to speak…

 How much cash to keep?
In a world of electronic money, how much actual cash money should one keep on one’s person and how much cash should one keep at home (be your own banker)?

Well that depends if you are going to eliminate most of your ordinary day-to-day debit transactions or not, and how much of a cash security blanket that you feel comfortable with.

shtf then cashWhen I made the transition from using my debit card (although essentially the same as cash) to using cash instead, I started out by simply going to the ATM and withdrawing a few hundred, and when I saw my wallet getting thin, I replenished it.

After a week or two of doing this, you will soon realize the appropriate cash flow for you. Not only that, but by using cash instead of debit (even though it’s the same ‘digits’), you will very likely begin to spend LESS than you did before. For some reason, using cash just seems like more money (because it’s tangible – even though it’s just paper).

A big advantage to using cash for transactions is that you will have more of it, on you, all the time. A merchant will always take cash – provided that their system allows it.

You can use it to get yourself out of a jam in an emergency. Ordinary ‘people’ will accept cash, because they are not equipped to accept your electronic money. If two people were bidding on the same thing or service (especially in an emergency situation), nearly 100-percent of the time the person with cash will win over someone with electronic money (debit or credit). Cash is king.

How much to keep at home (be your own banker?)

While it may sound over-the-top, if you can set yourself a goal to build a supply of 3 to 6-months worth of transactional cash that you would otherwise spend using debit/electronic, you would be doing yourself a favor. Look at it this way… the banks don’t give you any interest, so why should you give them your money?

During normal times, you won’t be tracked. During short-term disaster, cash will be king. It’s up to you…

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C.  Not Prepared: 17 Signs That Most Americans Will Be Wiped Out By The Coming Economic Collapse
25 June 2013, SHTFplan.com, by Michael Snyder
Pasted from: http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/not-prepared-17-signs-that-most-americans-will-be-wiped-out-by-the-coming-economic-collapse_06252013

This article has been generously contributed by Michael Snyder. You can follow his regular writings, research and analysis [online] at “The Economic Collapse Blog” and “The American Dream”. Read his recent book, The Beginning of the End, to get an idea of what America may look like in the very near future.

shtf then savingsThe vast majority of Americans are going to be absolutely blindsided by what is coming.  They don’t understand how our financial system works, they don’t understand how vulnerable it is, and most of them blindly trust that our leaders know exactly what they are doing and that they will be able to fix our problems.  As a result, most Americans are simply not prepared for the massive storm that is heading our way.  Most American families are living paycheck to paycheck, most of them are not storing up emergency food and supplies, and only a very small percentage of them are buying gold and silver for investment purposes.   They seem to have forgotten what happened back in 2008.  When the financial markets crashed, millions of Americans lost their jobs.  Because most of them were living on the financial edge, millions of them also lost their homes.  Unfortunately, most Americans seem convinced that it will not happen again.  Right now we seem to be living in a “hope bubble” and people have become very complacent.

For a while there, being a “prepper” was very trendy, but now concern about a coming economic crisis seems to have subsided.  What a tragic mistake.  As I pointed out yesterday, our entire financial system is a giant Ponzi scheme, and there are already signs that our financial markets are about to implode once again.
Those that have not made any preparations for what is coming are going to regret it bitterly.  The following are 17 signs that most Americans will be wiped out by the coming economic collapse…
#1  According to a survey that was just released, 76 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.  But most Americans are acting as if their jobs will always be there.  But the truth is that mass layoffs can occur at any time.  In fact, it just happened at one of the largest law firms in New York City.
#2  27% of all Americans do not have even a single penny saved up.
#3  46% of all Americans have $800 or less saved up.
#4  Less than one out of every four Americans has enough money stored away to cover six months of expenses.
#5  Wages continue to fall even as the cost of living continues to go up.  Today, the average income for the bottom 90 percent of all income earners in America is just $31,244.  An increasing percentage of American families are just trying to find a way to survive from month to month.
#6   62% of all middle class Americans say that they have had to reduce household spending over the past year.
#7  Small business is becoming an endangered species in America.  In fact, only about 7 percent of all non-farm workers in the United States are self-employed at this point.  That means that the vast majority of Americans are depending on someone else to provide them with an income.  But what is going to happen as those jobs disappear?
#8  In 1989, the debt to income ratio of the average American family was about 58 percent.  Today it is up to  154 percent.
shtf food

#9  Today, a higher percentage of Americans are dependent on the government than ever before.  In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau 49 percent of all Americans live in a home that gets direct monetary benefits from the federal government.  So what is going to happen when the government handout gravy train comes to an end?
#10  Back in the 1970s, about one out of every 50 Americans was on food stamps.  Today, about one out of every 6.5 Americans is on food stamps. [rising from 2% to currently 15%]
#11  It is estimated that less than 10 percent of the U.S. population owns any gold or silver for investment purposes.
#12  It has been estimated that there are approximately 3 million“preppers” in the United States.  But that means that almost everyone else is not prepping. [less than 1% preppers]
#13  44% of all Americans do not have first-aid kits in their homes.
#14  48% of all Americans do not have any emergency supplies stored up.
#15  53% of all Americans do not have a 3 day supply of nonperishable food and water in their homes.
#16  One survey asked Americans how long they thought they would survive if the electrical grid went down for an extended period of time.
 → •  Incredibly, 21 percent said that they would survive for less than a week,
 → •  an additional 28 percent said that they would survive for less than two weeks,
 → •  and nearly 75 percent said that they would be dead before the two month mark.
#17  According to a survey conducted by the Adelphi University Center for Health Innovation, 55 percent of Americans believe that the government will come to their rescue when disaster strikes.

Just because you are living a comfortable middle class lifestyle today does not mean that it will always be that way.

If you doubt this, take a look at what is going on in Greece.  Many formerly middle class parents in Greece have become so impoverished that they are actually dumping their children at orphanages so that they won’t starve…
Scores of children have been put in orphanages and care homes for economic reasons; one charity said 80 of the 100 children in its residential centers were there because their families can no longer provide for them.
Ten percent of Greek children are said to be at risk of hunger. Teachers talk of cancelling PE lessons because children are underfed and of seeing pupils pick through bins for food.

If the U.S. economy crashes and you lose your job, how will you and your family survive?
Will you and your family end up homeless and totally dependent on the government for your survival?

Get prepared while there is still time.  If you do not know how to get prepared, my article entitled “25 Things That You Should Do To Get Prepared For The Coming Economic Collapse” has some basic tips, and there are dozens of excellent websites out there that teach people advanced prepping techniques for free. See the “25 Things…” article at: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/25-things-that-you-should-do-to-get-prepared-for-the-coming-economic-collapse

So there is no excuse.  You can trust that Ben Bernanke and Barack Obama have everything under control, but as for me and my family we are going to prepare for the giant economic storm that is coming.
I hope that you will be getting prepared too.

shtf then pm's

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Filed under Prepper articles, Survival Manual

“I’ll be alright” vs. “Being prepared”

(Survival Manual/Prepper articles/ “I’ll be alright” vs. “Being prepared”)

Prep or not AlfredA.  A Sarcastic Survival Guide for the Unprepared
3 June 2013, prepblog.com, by Thoreau
Pasted from: http://www.prep-blog.com/2013/06/03/a-sarcastic-survival-guide-for-the-unprepared/

If you are well-prepared for a range of possible disasters, from storms and power outages to civil unrest, a disease pandemic, and nuclear fallout, you can face these difficulties with a calm confidence. But this prepping and survival post is for those who are unprepared. What can you, the Unprepared, do? How can persons, who know nothing of prepping and have made no preparations, handle the disasters that will certainly, sooner or later, fall upon us? If you are among the Unprepared, this is your (sarcastic) guide.

Food and Water
Those silly “doom and bloom” Preppers will be relying on stored food, stored gardening seeds, stored water, water purification equipment, and the associated knowledge and skills which they have acquired. But you, the Unprepared, have it much easier. Why spend money on food and supplies, when you can depend on FEMA to provide you with food and water? All you have to do is wait. Waiting is easier and less expensive than Prepping, isn’t it? Just wait until FEMA realizes that people need food and water to survive, then wait for them to find food and water. Next, wait for these supplies to arrive, and finally wait in long lines for your rations of food and water. What could be easier? It takes no thinking or preparation!

In addition to waiting, though, you might want to do a great deal of hoping. Hope that you don’t get too hungry or thirsty before government supplies arrive. Hope that you don’t get trampled by the crowds seeking those supplies. And hope that they don’t run out before you get your rations. But isn’t waiting and hoping way better than learning, buying, storing, growing, and then using your own supplies of food and water? The easy path is what you Unpreppers have chosen.

Nuclear Fallout
Preppers are so pessimistic, aren’t they? They even prepare for nuclear fallout from a nuclear power plant disaster, dirty bomb, or nuclear explosion. They have expensive active or inexpensive passive radiation detectors. They have KI or KO3 tablets to protect against radioactive iodine in the fallout. They have a Radiation Emergencies Kit, including antacids as a treatment for exposure to nuclear fallout. What a negative attitude!

– Wait, what? You didn’t know that fallout from a nuclear power plant disaster has many of the same radioactive isotopes as nuclear bomb fallout? You never heard that you should store antacids (Gaviscon, Tums, sodium bicarbonate) for treatment of internal contamination with radioactive isotopes? Of course you haven’t heard that. You are a happy-go-lucky Unprepper! You, the Unprepared, don’t need a Radiation Emergencies Kit (see at: http://www.prep-blog.com/2013/01/25/putting-together-a-radiation-emergencies-kit/ ) — because you will be depending on luck. You will be hoping that you are not in an area affected by nuclear fallout.

Of course, the backup plan for the Unprepared, if you run out of luck, is to rely on the Strategic National Stockpile — a national repository of “large quantities” of medical countermeasures, vaccines, and other medical supplies stored in strategic locations around the nation. How long will it take to get those supplies to you? Only 12 to 24 to 48 to who-knows-how-many hours or days. So, fingers-crossed, maybe you’ll get the supplies you need before you are glowing-in-the-dark. Oh, but they won’t be issuing radiation detectors or antacids. And you probably won’t get your first dose of Potassium Iodide (KI) within the FDA recommended time period: “within 3-4 hours of exposure.” (FDA FAQ on KI) And all the stores will quickly sell out of antacids. So good luck.

Knowledge and Skills
Preppers gather knowledge and skills for use in possible disasters. But you, the Unprepper, — well, you don’t want to spend your time that way. You might be labeled a “survivalist,” or a “prepper,” or “prudent and reasonable”. And no one likes to be labeled.

Prep or not - ready

But if a disaster strikes, what can you, the Unprepared, do? First, hope that disaster does not strike. I mean what are the odds that, on any particular day, an earthquake, or hurricane, or superstorm, or power outage, or something much worse will strike? The odds are very low! And what are the odds that some type of disaster will happen sooner or later? Only 100%, and that’s not such a high number, is it?

Second, when/if some inconvenient disaster strikes, you can simply rush to acquire a large amount of knowledge and many important skills on a moment’s notice! You’re a quick-study, aren’t you? You’ll be spending a lot of time trying to find copies of sold-out books on prepping and survival. But you can always search the internet for information — if you have power and the internet is still up and running. So why prepare?

Civil Unrest
If some severe disaster occurs, or if a set of disasters combines to an overwhelming effect, there may be civil unrest. Not many preppers will be among those causing the unrest, because they will be well-prepared with intangibles, like knowledge and skills, as well as tangible supplies. But you, the Unprepper, will not have to worry, not too much anyway, about civil unrest. For you will be part of that unrest.

If you don’t have food, water, medical supplies, and other “preps”, you can always rely on the government to provide. And when they fail to give you all that you need, protesting is your next best (by which I mean worst) option. On the other hand, if/when there is severe widespread civil unrest, these protests are likely to become violent. So maybe you should stay home, and let other people protest. Eventually the government will supply you with everything you need. Won’t they? I mean probably eventually before-you-die, right?

General Advice
I could go on at length in this vein, covering each area of concern in prepping. But let me give you Unpreppers some more general advice. If you find yourself unprepared for a disaster, especially one that is severe and long-term, just find yourself a nice Prepping family nearby and go begging at their doorstep. Most preppers have a mindset that allows for helping neighbors in need during any disaster. Just don’t expect too much from us Preppers. We have limited resources, and while we are generous, we are not stupid. We will not be giving away all our preps to the Unprepared, leaving our own families bereft of the necessities for survival. And don’t show up empty handed. We like to barter.
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B.  Collapse Reality: “If I Had to Be an Animal, I Was an Animal. It Was About Survival.”
25 Aug 2013, SHTFplan.com, by Selco
Pasted from: http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/collapse-reality-if-i-had-to-be-an-animal-i-was-an-animal-it-was-about-survival_08252013

SHTFplan Editor’s note: Our friend Selco at SHTF School will change everything you may think about your life in a post-collapse world. For many of us, the idea that the world around us may fall apart and lead to the worst that humanity has to offer is mostly theoretical. For Selco, it was a reality. He experienced a total grid-down collapse in war-torn Sarajevo during the 1990′s – and he lived to tell the tale. He has shared his knowledge with our community over the last few years, and in the article below he changes our perceptions once again. Just because we are making preparations – stocking food, or supplies or guns – means nothing if the mind is not prepared to comprehend the absolute horrors that may come.

Do you want to know what it will be like when law and order breaks down, when people turn on each other, and when there is no one to depend on except for those in your inner circle?

Then keep reading.

THIS IS REALITY.

Prep or not  Sarajevo1

(Pictured: People scavenging for supplies run for cover in Sarajevo’s notorious Sniper Alley – 1992)
(Courtesy: Felix Features)

Walking the Line Between Human and Animal
by Selco

As many long term readers or members of my survival course know, I like to talk about the important but what some may call the “not so spectacular” part of survival that is not as much fun as, for example, talking about latest guns and gadgets.

Today I want to talk about dignity and what it means in a survival scenario. Before I talk from own experience, read the extract below from the diary of Lieutenant Colonel Mervin Willett Gonin who describes what happened after his unit freed the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp during the second world war.
At the moment of his writing hundreds of people were still dying and it was place of pure horror.
“It was shortly after the British Red Cross arrived, though it may have no connection, that a very large quantity of lipstick arrived. This was not at all what we men wanted, we were screaming for hundreds and thousands of other things and I don’t know who asked for lipstick. I wish so much that I could discover who did it, it was the action of genius, sheer unadulterated brilliance. I believe nothing did more for those internees than the lipstick. Women lay in bed with no sheets and no nightie but with scarlet red lips, you saw them wandering about with nothing but a blanket over their shoulders, but with scarlet red lips. I saw a woman dead on the post mortem table and clutched in her hand was a piece of lipstick. At last someone had done something to make them individuals again, they were someone, no longer merely the number tattooed on the arm. At last they could take an interest in their appearance. That lipstick started to give them back their humanity.”

The importance of still being human and not becoming a complete animal is often overlooked for people who prepare for long term survival. I had over one year to fight against becoming like rats around our house during the war.

Expect to become more like an animal
You can have all equipment ready for SHTF – ammo, weapons, gear… you can even be perfectly well trained in lot of different skills and fields and still when SHTF you can end up dead in the first days just because you “refuse to believe” what’s happening.

It is that state of mind when a man simply does not want (or is not able) to comprehend the new situation.

It can be one quick life threatening situation like folks attacking your home and you just waited few seconds too long to shoot some attacker, and then you are dead, end of the story. Or it can be whole process of failing to recognize the new world around you and the new rules (or absence of rules) and then again you just not doing correct things for the situation, and again you end up dead.

Example would be that when SHTF you are trying desperately to have and use power generator and light all rooms in your houses just because it mean normal life for you. And that normal life is gone, and trying to bring it back in that situation usually means more troubles.

Holding on to all the comforts and behavior you are used to can be dangerous.

To make a long story short, what I am trying to say is that you may be trained and equipped like a SEAL team member and yet you can still be killed easily from some 70 years old dude, with even older rifle just because you were surprised when SHTF with amount of destruction and violence and you did not seen that old dude coming (or being so evil).

On the other side that old dude maybe lived through couple of SHTF events in his life, and he knows when it is time to act without hesitation and mercy.

There is still a fine line you have to walk between losing your human side and becoming pure animal.

One of the things that changed a lot when SHTF is fact that everything became really dirty.

It was something like slow process, first people tried to keep it as clean they could, but without all normal services, like garbage trucks, running water and all other community services that make normal living soon it simple became impossible.

Later all garbage was used somehow, but in beginning it started piling up everywhere, when you add to that ruins on the street, human waste and dead bodies it was very ugly picture.

After some time, we started to accept dirt outside and it then was priority to stay clean and keep clean only inside that small circle inside your home, and when I say „clean“ I do not mean „clean“ like today. Maybe as clean as we could be.

For example simply moving through the city in the middle of the night meant that you needed to crawl, jump, hide, walk or run trough all kind of things, and very often some real nasty and dirty things.

Many times I was hiding on places so dirty that stench was almost paralyzing, once in the middle of the night I jumped behind some wall because sudden shelling, and when I jumped there I realized that I landed on dead guy.

His face was smashed with broken wall, and partially buried, place there was so small that I had to actually lay on him for some 20 minutes. He died probably when wall from the house collapsed after some shelling, who knows.

Fire from the shelling was so strong that I actually loved that dead guy and that place in that moment. I almost hug him while I was trying to be as small as possible because pieces of steel and rock were flying around me just like some crazy rain, while my stomach was rising and floating from the detonations and smell.

All I was saying at that moment was „thank you, thank you, thank you“ like some magic words, and I even was not aware who do I thank to, that dead stinky guy, my brain for noticing that small space, or God for saving me.

Today years and years later I still carry that smell inside my nose. But I did not move from there before danger was gone. It is survival and luckily I was already used to dirt enough to just stay with that dead guy.

Some folks just stopped to care about cleanliness and hygiene completely. So for them washing and cleaning become something like not wanted luxury. They went complete animal.

They simply stopped to care about these things, so I also knew some guys with look and smell so awful that even dead guy smelled like perfume store.

It was easy to surrender to stuff like that, I mean in trying to keep yourself clean.

But it was stupid not only in terms of the hygiene and illnesses, also by surrendering yourself you admit that you do not care anymore, and when you admit that you are only few steps from becoming animal with what you do too. People give up on themselves.

For me being as clean as I could be had something like preserving one of the last connection with “normal” life, with life before sh!t hit the fan, when things like neighbors, breakfast, car etc, were just things we took for granted, like things that always gonna be there unchanged.

Of course I was aware that being clean is important in order to stay alive because all diseases problem, no doctors hospitals etc. but on some psychological level it kept me sane and it kept me normal man.

Even in survival situation you need to still care about few little things to keep your dignity, to keep spirit up, to not lose yourself. If you stop caring about everything it is like disease that eats you.

When I came back from trading or scavenging in the city, I would clean or wash myself thoroughly in my yard before entering my house, again of course because common sense, hygiene and diseases, but maybe even more important I tried to keep all chaos and violence, suffering outside of my home on some psychological level.

I try to stay out of the everything, or actually I tried to keep everything outside of my home, like some ritual. I would keep the clothes for outside in bag, my boots were in one corner, never entering my room in it etc.

One of my relative wears pink slippers (mittens) when he was home sometimes, he would say that he just felt that everything is fine when he wear it. It was spooky and strange to see him in pink slippers while outside world is going to hell, but we all have some strange ways I guess to keep ourselves sane. Maybe wearing those slippers after he was forced to shoot some folks kept him sane, reminded him on some normal times when grandma wear it in the evenings.

On the other side, like I said in beginning if you stick too much to old habits you are not doing best for survival too.

So if I had to be animal, I was animal. It was about survival. For example there was a period when I eat just to survive, like animal, without paying attention what I eat or how. If I found some food I ate it in quick way, if there was some food with worms in it, I would eat it in dark, without looking what I eat etc.

Point was (and still is) to be man, but to be ready to be animal if you are forced to be animal, and that’s it. It comes down to being flexible, adapting to situation and I hope this helps to crush the idea some Hollywood or fantasy survival scenarios show that survival is about being complete animal. No, it is fine line to walk.

You can (and you have to) have as much hand sanitizers, soap, disposable face masks etc. as you can but you can still end up dead if you are not ready to accept fact that one day you might be forced to „hug“ dead guy in order to survive, or eat roast rat or pigeon.

Once next collapse comes many people will wake up to reality and struggle to be human like they were or become animals and as skilled survivalist I hope you will walk fine line in between. The people who were walking that path were and I’m sure will be those who have biggest chances to survive.

You can follow Selco’s story at SHTF School and learn how he survived one year in hell, at website  http://shtfschool.com/community/selco-one-year-in-hell/

THIS IS REALITY.

Prep or not Sarajevo2

Please keep in mind that the residents of Sarajevo weren’t all luxuriating in middle class largess one day and involved in a civil war the next. When conditions deteriorate to a point where all can see there will be no fix, all it takes is an unforeseen event (a Black Swan) to destabilize the remaining social structure and the killing starts.
Of course the previous article was about “far away” Sarajevo and not at all the kind off thing that could, or would, happen in America, or is it?

Below, images from Detroit. (Google: Deserted Detroit suburbs, etc. and see for yourself.)

prep or not Detroit1

prep or not detroit2

Is America sliding toward a Black Swan event that will destabilize the social structure. Are you prepared for hard times?
Mr. Larry

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Society’s Five Stages of Economic Collapse

(Survival manual/Social issues/Society’s Five Stages of Economic Collapse)

Society’s Five Stages of Economic Collapse
28 February 2012, Target of Opportunity <http://www.targetofopportunity.com/editorial.htm&gt;, by David   Meyer
Pasted from <http://www.shtfplan.com/emergency-preparedness/societys-five-stages-of-economic-collapse_02282012>

“Society as we know it will break down and collapse in a five stage process outlined here.
While it can be accelerated by certain events like war, a natural disaster, pandemic, terrorist attack, or even an impending asteroid impact, history has shown that economic collapse will essentially happen in this five stage process.
To survive the collapse, it is important to read and interpret the signs and understand what assets are important to the current situation so you can be prepared for the worst thereby allowing you to survive intact and with as little damage as possible.
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STAGE 1. The Decay Begins
Everything is good and the economy is thriving. A high standard of living has been achieved. This is the way things should be. Goods are cheap and readily available. Everything seems to be in abundance. Stores are filled with retail items ready to be purchased. Life in general is good. The nation’s working infrastructure is solidly intact and working well. However, the idea that everyone is entitled to have what others have earned now permeates society. Redistribution of Wealth Policies are implemented and quietly woven into the fabric of society. Unchecked and under the guise of fairness and equality, these policies slowly decrease productivity and increase dependency on government entitlement and welfare programs.

Primary Assets:
• 
Career
•  Home Value
•  Savings
•  Investments – Stocks and bonds
•  Health Insurance
•  Lifestyle Image
•  Good Credit Rating for Debt Accumulation
.

STAGE 2. The Slippery Slope
The economy goes into a slow but steadily increasing decline. Unemployment is on the rise. Ever increasing numbers of people receive government assistance in one form or another. People are paid not to work. Government spending has increased dramatically. The price of gold, silver, and other precious metals rise to prices unheard of just a few years earlier. Inflation reaches the double digit levels.

Primary Assets:
•  Cash
•  Precious Metals, Gold and Silver coins
•  Job Stability
•  Elimination of debt
•  Health Insurance
•  Home Equity
•  Automobile with good MPG
•  Acquiring secluded land more than 40 miles from densely populated areas
.

STAGE 3. It is Going to Get Worse
The total collapse of the economy begins after a significant and prolonged decline. The government implements price controls. Shortages on essential goods become widespread. Foreclosed houses sit vacant and deteriorating by the tens of thousands. Middle class neighborhoods begin to look like slums. The government begins to print currency to pay its bills and support the tens of millions on public assistance. Inflation increases even more and unemployment exceeds 25%. Banks and businesses fail at ever increasing rates. Nobody seems to have any money. Many are now homeless. Labor unions instigate strikes, civil unrest, and large scale riots. Government services are interrupted and unreliable. Local and national infrastructure is in decay. Violent gangs begin to appear and assert themselves. The government begins confiscation of firearms from law abiding citizens. Violence is everywhere. Cities and urban areas become very dangerous places to live.

At this stage, the country seems pretty much beyond the point of no return. However, things can still be reversed even at this stage if the right person at the top really believes in the basic fundamental concepts of Freedom, Independence, Liberty, and Individual Rights and is not afraid to do what is necessary to reverse the current trend. He will be vilified and hated because of his attitude toward personal responsibility, cutting entitlements, and ending welfare programs. Of course, if the right person were in power and did what needed to be done, none of this would have happened in the first place.

Primary Assets:
•  Gold and Silver coins
•  Cash
•  Job
•  Automobile
•  Home
•  Short term food supplies
•  Short term fuel stores
•  Firearms and ammo
•  Plans to relocate to a secluded rural hideaway
•  Small livestock – chicken, rabbit, fish…
•  A close network of like minded people
•  Survival knowledge and skills
.

.

STAGE 4. The Grab for Power
The collapse can transition to this stage at any time after Stage 3. Most of the middle class have lost everything. What used to be well manicured middle class neighborhoods are filled with the carcasses of empty houses damaged and destroyed by vandals. The nation’s infrastructure has been seriously neglected and is in need of a major overhaul. The power grid becomes unreliable. Rolling blackouts are a daily occurrence. You can no longer buy or sell gold or own foreign currency. Inflation is out of control. Now the economy collapses. There is a rush for everything and the shelves go empty in a matter of hours. Society falls into chaos. The control of urban areas shifts when violent gangs takeover control of the streets and urban neighborhoods. The government issues restrictive measures in an attempt to control the economy. Everything is in short supply and heavily rationed. Food and gasoline is very expensive and there are very long lines to get them when they are available. Affordable quality health care is non-existent and your job is a distant memory. You will do without what you are unable to provide for yourself. You will discover what it is to live in a third world country.

Primary Assets:
•  Relocation to the rural hideaway
•  Firearms and ammo
•  Long term food supplies (1 year minimum)
•  Adequate fuel stores
•  Security plan to protect the group and assets
•  Trained dog for security
•  A working knowledge of survival gardening
•  Survival knowledge and skills

Once all of the above has come to pass, the realization of the current circumstances at this moment must be all too obvious. It is too late to prepare at this point. What you did not acquire earlier, you are not going to possess now. Anything of value necessary for your survival has already been claimed. The situation gets worse… much worse.
Stage 5 is next… and it is not pretty.
.

STAGE 5. Freedom, Liberty, and Independence is Lost
The government implements martial law. Fighting between civilians and government forces break out nationwide. Maintaining more than a 30 day supply of food is considered hoarding food and is illegal. Severe poverty and starvation become a common sight. The government offers marginally acceptable food, water and shelter in exchange for your Freedom, Liberty, and Independence. Democracy ends and a Socialist form of government takes over under the guise of fixing society’s problems with the false promise that peace and prosperity will return better than it was just a few years ago. A Totalitarian regime assumes power and the individual freedoms and liberties once enjoyed by the people are completely eliminated.

Primary Assets:
1.  Rural Hideaway
2.  Security plan to protect the group and assets
3.  Living below the radar in a community of like minded people
4.  Firearms and the ability to use them
5.  Guard dog for security
6.  Survival knowledge and skills
7.  A working and producing garden capable of feeding 150% of the group
8.  A stable supply of clean water
9.  Vegetable seeds for long term food production and barter
10.  The will to live and survive in a harsh political climate

As you can see, priorities change as the world changes. Your most prized assets of today – your good credit, luxury automobile, and career are no longer important after the economy collapses.

Things to thnk about:
•  Failure to prepare today will increase the magnitude of your suffering tomorrow.
•  It is better to prepare 10 years too early than 10 minutes too late.
•  Many who lack vision will say that it will never happen and for those who decide to live unprepared, you should consider the following statement, “The lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.”

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Filed under Survival Manual, __2. Social Issues

Danger from dog packs after TEOTWAWKI

(Survival Manual/ Prepper articles/Danger from dog packs after TEOTWAWKI)                    

This article traces the feral dog pack problem from the present, as it makes it’s public appearance and extrapolates the problem into a TEOTWAWKI event.

Dog pack1

A.  Abandoned Dogs Roam Detroit in Packs as Humans Dwindle
20 Aug 2013, Bloomberg.com, by Chris Christof
Pasted from: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-08-21/abandoned-dogs-roam-detroit-in-packs-as-humans-dwindle.html

tv news3

See the video report of Detroit’s feral dog problem at –
http://bloom.bg/173Xmx0

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As many as 50,000 stray dogs roam the streets and vacant homes of bankrupt Detroit, replacing residents, menacing humans who remain and overwhelming the city’s ability to find them homes or peaceful deaths.

Dens of as many as 20 canines have been found in boarded-up homes in the community of about 700,000 that once pulsed with 1.8 million people. One officer in the Police Department’s skeleton animal-control unit recalled a pack splashing away in a basement that flooded when thieves ripped out water pipes.

“The dogs were having a pool party,” said Lapez Moore, 30. “We went in and fished them out.”

Poverty roils the Motor City and many dogs have been left to fend for themselves, abandoned by owners who are financially stressed or unaware of proper care. Strays have killed pets, bitten mail carriers and clogged the animal shelter, where more than 70 percent are euthanized.
“With these large open expanses with vacant homes, it’s as if you designed a situation that causes dog problems,” said Harry Ward, head of animal control.

Symbiotic Suffering
The number of strays signals a humanitarian crisis, said Amanda Arrington of the Humane Society of the United States, based in Washington. She heads a program that donated $50,000 each to organizations in Detroit and nine other U.S cities to get pets vaccinated, fed, spayed and neutered.

Arrington said when she visited Detroit in October, “It was almost post-apocalyptic, where there are no businesses, nothing except people in houses and dogs running around.”
“The suffering of animals goes hand in hand with the suffering of people.”
She said pet owners who move leave behind dogs, hoping neighbors will care for them. Those dogs take to the streets and reproduce. Compounding that are the estimated 70,000 vacant buildings that provide shelter for dogs, or where some are chained without care to ward off thieves, Ward said.

Most strays are pets that roam, often in packs that form around a female in heat, Ward said. Few are true feral dogs that have had no human contact.
Ward said Detroit’s three shelters — his and two non-profit facilities — take in 15,000 animals a year, including strays and pets that are seized or given up by owners.

Fearing Humans
They are among the victims of a historic financial and political collapse. Detroit, a former auto manufacturing powerhouse, declared the largest U.S. municipal bankruptcy on July 18 after years of decline. The city has more than $18 billion in long-term debt and had piled up an operating deficit of close to $400 million. Falling revenue forced cutbacks in police, fire-fighting — and dog control.

With an annual budget of $1.6 million, Ward has four officers to cover the 139-square-mile (360-square-kilometer) city seven days a week, 11 fewer than when he took command in 2008. He has one dog-bite investigator, down from three.

“We are really suffering from fatigue, short staffed” and work too much overtime, he said in an interview.
The officers, who wear bulletproof vests to protect themselves from irate owners, are bringing in about half the number of animals that crews did in 2008, Ward said.
In July, the pound stopped accepting more animals for a month because the city hadn’t paid a service that hauls away euthanized animals for cremation at a cost of about $20,000 a year. The freezers were packed with carcasses, and pens were full of live animals until the bill was paid.

Famous Fighter
Pit bulls and breeds mixed with them dominate Detroit’s stray population because of widespread dog fighting, said Ward. Males are aggressive in mating, so they proliferate, he added.

One type of fighting pit bull has become known as far as Los Angeles as the “Highland Park red,” named after a city within Detroit’s borders, Ward said.

Their prevalence was clear as Ward and officers Moore and Malachi Jackson answered calls Aug. 19. On a block where vacant houses and lots outnumbered occupied ones, they found four dogs in an abandoned house — a male and three females, including a pregnant pit bull with a prized blue-gray coat.
Ward said it appeared the dogs were fed by someone who used the house to hide stolen items.

Walking Small
Aggressive dogs force the U.S. Postal Service to temporarily halt mail delivery in some neighborhoods, said Ed Moore, a Detroit-area spokesman. He said there were 25 reports of mail carriers bitten by dogs in Detroit from October through July. Though most are by pets at homes, strays have also attacked, Moore said.

“It’s been a persistent problem,” he said.
Mail carrier Catherine Guzik told of using pepper spray on swarms of tiny, ferocious dogs in a southwest Detroit neighborhood.
“It’s like Chihuahuaville,” Guzik said as she walked her route.
At two nearby homes, one pet dog was killed recently and another injured by two stray pit bulls that jumped fences into yards, said neighbor Debora Mattie, 49.
Last year, there were 903 dog bites in Detroit, according to Ward, adding that most go unreported to police. He said 90 percent are by dogs whose owners are known.

After Attack
Many de facto strays are called pets by owners who let them wander, said Kristen Huston, who leads the Detroit office of All About Animals Rescue, a non-profit that obtained the Humane Society’s $50,000 grant last year to feed, vaccinate and sterilize pets. Some dogs run away from their neighborhoods and threaten people, she said.

“Technically, it’s illegal to let a dog roam, but with the city being bankrupt, who’s going to do anything about it?” Huston said.
Huston said she walks through some of the poorest neighborhoods to talk to pet owners about how to care for their animals, sometimes giving them bags of food or even a free doghouse.
Ward said more needs to be done to educate pet owners. He said his crews are too few, but help keep dogs in check.
Four months ago, a woman sitting on her porch on the east side was attacked by two strays that tore off her scalp, Ward said.
“We got those dogs,” he said. “It’s a big difference to that lady that those dogs were gone that day.”

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B.  3 Weeks After The Blackout, Man’s New Vicious Enemy (A short work of fiction to make you think. Remember it’s message.)
20 August 2013, ModernSurvivalBlog.com, by Ken Jorgustin
Pasted from: http://modernsurvivalblog.com/security/3-weeks-after-the-blackout-mans-new-vicious-enemy/

Dog attack

Jake had been taking up the rear while Chester about 200 yards ahead had been setting the pace while out on patrol.
Ever since the blackout had sent the world tumbling into chaos, their small rural community had banded together for protection and resources once they had realized the power wasn’t coming back any time soon. It had already been almost 3 weeks and word had it that there had been some sort of EMP attack…

Something about several high altitude detonations launched from 3 freighters just offshore… one on the west coast and two on the east. At least that’s what Phil said, who was monitoring a battery operated shortwave radio which had survived the EMP damage…

He had kept it in a metal filing cabinet with other stuff in the basement, which just so happened to be touching up against a cold water pipe, which was grounded. Somehow it had protected the radio from damage…

Jake knew what the outcome would entail, and it wasn’t pretty. In fact he knew it would be horribly bad. Fortunately for him and his small community of neighbors, they were not in a high population zone and would stand a better chance of making it through what was to come.

He worried though about the people in Casterlan, a moderate size town several miles away. At least it wasn’t a city, but he knew that people there were beginning to starve. The stores were looted of all food after the first week and people were now walking out beyond their town to find others with food. He knew this because he and Chester had crossed their paths while out on patrol.

On this day, late in the afternoon as the sun began to transform the world below into that golden hour… when the shadows are longer and the colors are deep in yellows and orange, Jake was jolted into the hear-and-now when he heard the shot. Then another.

It was Chester out in front. He could barely make out his shape in the glint of the sun, and there were shadows of shapes moving around him. Some of them moving closer. Jake started to run to help and knew that this was bad. He could see Chester fall down as he began swinging his rifle at the objects that were apparently attacking him. Another shot.

It seemed like forever but as Jake closed the distance between him and Chester, he saw them… a pack of dogs.

Grotesquely he could see one of them, what looked like a German Shepard, biting and chewing at Chester’s neck and another smaller but just as viscous dog tearing his leg.

As he closed the distance between them and was close enough, he dropped to one knee, aimed and began firing. The two that were on Chester ran off with the first report of his 308. There were at least half a dozen others who had been circling around Chester and Jake managed to finish two of them as the rest ran off just into the brush of the wooded edge.

He was stunned at what he saw. These were not wolves or coyotes, they were dogs!

Then it hit him. He realized that with all the chaos and lack of food, these dogs were starving and had probably been abandoned or let loose. Some of them had become feral and had reverted to their wild state, and were hunting to stay alive. He had never thought of that possibility. They were out there, forming packs, and would present a very real danger for all of them – whenever they were outside.

So, that was my short story segment which could potentially become a reality if things ever really get bad…

Imagine how many people have pet dogs. Lots! If people are starving, do you think the dogs will too? Unfortunately, yes. Some will die as they are too domesticated and won’t be able to find food for themselves. But others will hunt. It could become very dangerous in areas where there are high concentrations of people and dogs. Some of these dogs will revert to the wild and will kill for food. And that could be you…just another thing to think about.

.Dog pack3

C. Wild Dogs Pose Post-TEOTWAWKI Danger
Pasted from: http://www.captaindaves.com/buckshot/dogs.htm
I was in a chat room tonight and we were discussing dogs. I said “If TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it) happens, then 100 millions dog will be a major problem.” Then we got to talking about the Great Depression and how the land was almost hunted dry.

First, before we accept that as fact, here was the argument. One person stated that when the great depression happened there was half the population, then there is now. So, if a great world collapse was to happen today, his premise was there wouldn’t be anything left in the forest. I have to disagree. My biggest point was during the G.D., 40 percent of the population came from farms, most knew how to hunt and a fair percentage knew how to trap. Then it makes senses that the game would disappear. But even then, there were a percentage of trappers all over this country that fed their families and saved their farms with the fur money. See the value of trapping?

My premise is we have 90 percent of the U.S. population in the cities. Most are soft and would rather steal what you have then work at hunting or trapping. I believe most will never get out of the cities and will die in a hail of gunfire, rioting and fires. When all this is going on, they will let their pets go free, thinking at least they can survive on their own. This is why at 4:00 am I’m writing this article. I could not sleep. I know city people will do this and we will have 100 million dogs and 80 million cats released to go wild.

OK, for those that are still with me, these animals will be a major problem and must be dealt with. Period. This isn’t Disney, where you can talk to the poor dog and cat and the world is all fuzzy and warm. This is reality. If you own animals never, ever, EVER, release them to go wild. If you don’t have the stomach for putting them down, have someone else do it. If you have to put dog food away at your camp, cache, whatever, great. I think a dog is invaluable then. A cat in the wild in this crisis is your greatest enemy. One study in Wisconsin found that the best predator against small game was the house cat. The common house cat killed more small game then all other predators in the study.

Now the reason I’m up this late and can’t sleep is the dogs. I understand pack mentality and a pack of dogs scares me more then a pack of wolves. I have been studying the woods and wildlife my whole life. This is how the dogs will form packs, an alpha male will take control of the pack with a beta male as second in command, the packs will range from 6 to 100 dogs depending on the food supply.

This scenario, I read years ago of a pack like this had 45 dogs and this was how they attacked people. The alpha picked a friendly looking female like a collie. This is the decoy dog. As you are walking in the woods, the collie approaches and draws your attention, as the packs circle you for the kill. When the pack sneaks up to striking distance, they will attack and so will the decoy. I’m talking lighting fast 45 dogs coming at you. How many rounds does your clip have?

You see when the riots and the death in the city is happening the dogs will learn to fed on the bodies then in turn will acquire the taste for humans. Now you have a pack of wild dogs who consider you and your loved ones as food. They have no fear of man and will kill you to insure their own survival. Now, I’m not trying to scare you and sell fear. I am telling you that this will happen if the chaos of TEOTWAWKI occurs. You’ll have to learn to kill dogs and cats on sight. Period. This is not an option.

If you want to insure your own survival, then listen to me. This is no game. If you think I’m just stating this to sell you trapping equipment then click off this article and go take a poll of the people you know, ask the following question, “What would you do with your dog and cat if you lost your job and could not afford to fed them?” I have lived in the country most of my life and I have had to deal with these animals that people let go on their own.

I have talked to the people who have told me that they still believe their Ralphy boy is probably still out there hunting with the best of the coyotes. Dreamy like and with pride in there voice! Or I know my cat is still alive because he was the best hunter in the neighborhood, he killed more birds then any other cat!

I’m not selling anything but reality! I’ll tell you another dog story that happened to me. I was trapping on this farm years ago and I caught a black mangy, scaly looking black lab mixed mongrel. I have caught lots of dogs over the years and I can let most go with out a problem, unharmed. Anyway, I approached this dog and started talking to him and slowly moving closer. The dog stood up, wagged his tail and appeared happy to see me. When this happens, 99% percent of the time I can release the dog and place him in my truck to take to the farmhouse and explain what happened. Most dogs are fine and have a sore foot for a couple of days, then they’re back to normal. Not this dog he lured me in with his friendly attitude until he thought I was in striking distance, then turned into attack mode. Lucky, I was prepared for the reaction and quickly jumped back. I never will forget that lighting fast change and the snarling teeth just missing my hand. The dog misjudged his strike range, if I had been a little closer this would be a different story.

So I walk back to truck, found the farmer and told him I caught his dog. The farmer says I don’t own a dog and what color is it, because some black mongrel attacked his wife yesterday. To make long story short, the dog was turned over to the humane department and tested positive for rabies. Now this was back in the early eighties when a lot of people were getting laid-off. People were letting their dogs go in the farmers’ fields and without proper care, and the dogs picked up all kinds of diseases. Someone has to deal with these dogs. There is no such thing as a dog or cat that is better off let go to fend for themselves. I have seen them all and most of the time you would never recognize them after 6 months on there own.

If a TEOTWAWKI does happen then someone in your group preferably everyone should trap, hunt and kill every dog and cat that has gone wild in your area. Period! I’m writing this early in the morning because I couldn’t sleep at the thought of that many wild dogs and cats free in America.

The best defense to protect your garden and livestock or game animals would be snares. I would have 10 dozens coyote grade snares and enough heavy wire to set all of them at once.

Here is another theory: Starving people will kill the dogs for food. I say sure some will become food, but the average household that has guns has less then 50 rounds, although most survivalists will have much more. So, I think after the first week most people will be out of ammo. Then the packs will rule.

Let me know what you think, am I way off base? I just keep thinking of all the people in the cities and their “My dogs are my children” attitude. Dog and cat food is a huge business. I mean, they have pet psychiatrist for Christ sakes. Think about all the movies and shows like 911 where people risk their lives to save animals. I’m not saying that this is wrong, all I’m pointing out is people’s attitude toward pets, and I guarantee they will let them go to fend for themselves when the food runs out. Make sure you are ready to face this threat.

Dog pack2

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High Inflation – Hyperinflation

(Survival manual/1. Disaster/High inflation-Hyperinflation)

A.  How to survive runaway inflation
February 9th, 2010, Capital Flow Watch.net, By John Schroy.
“At this writing (February 2010), it seems possible that there will be runaway inflation in the United States by the end of the decade. Americans are accustomed to low-level inflation of 2% to 5% a year — a rate common in developed nations over the last half century.

Many have tried to understand inflation, with varied results. I define ‘runaway’ inflation as endemic, “controlled” inflation at a rate inexcess of 20% a year.
Beyond ‘runaway’ inflation, we have ‘hyperinflation’ which I take to mean “uncontrolled” inflation at a rate of 100% to 10,000%, or more, a year. (Note: there are no precise boundaries between this concepts.)
By “controlled” inflation I mean inflation that is permitted by the monetary  authorities to vary between some target range. For example, mild inflation of 2% to 5% is the target range generally regarded as acceptable by monetary authorities in the United States, while inflation in the range of 20% to 40% was considered acceptable to monetary authorities in Brazil during the years of the “Economic Miracle”.

When inflation is caused by government spending not being financed by taxes or bond sales, it becomes a surrogate for taxation.

Deficit spending not covered by borrowing or bond sales results in the government ‘printing money’. This occurs automatically as the government issues checks to pay its bills.

The practice debases the currency, making money worth less.

When the shortfall results in inflation of 20% to 40% a year, it  is a tax that transfers wealth from creditors to debtors — a form of wealth distribution that Barack Obama seems to admire.

Living with inflation
In the early years of long-term, runaway inflation, when there are more debtors than creditors, inflation can be beneficial, even popular, with that part of the public that has been profligate with credit cards and that owns homes with sub-prime mortgages.

However, once the debt-wipe-out phase is over, inflation of 20% to 40% works to the disadvantage of the working classes, benefitting the self-employed and entrepreneurs — a type of hidden taxation that does not favor public employees and wage earners.

Eventually, the population becomes accustomed to living with inflation of 20% to 40% a year.

During these years (1965-1979), I was able to successfully set up and run two businesses, earn a good living, marry a wonderful lady, raise two children, afford two maids and a chauffeur, and
accumulate sufficient assets to retire at 40, starting from scratch.

I never considered inflation a problem, having learned to live with it.  Inflation was a fact of life, like the air or warm breezes in summer. Of course, this was not hyperinflation, which is entirely different

Controlled inflation: what to expect
People who have lived anywhere on earth since 1971, when the world went off the gold standard for good, know about controlled inflation and how to survive when money is constantly losing value.
As long as inflation is controlled — that is, varying between expected guidelines — people can use commonsense and figure out the best course of action.

Controlled inflation, whether on the order of 2% or 20%, has certain constants:

  1. Business cycles persist. There are still economic ups and downs. Employment levels fluctuate.  Salary and wage levels still follow the laws of supply and demand.
  2. The rate of inflation is not fixed, but varies. The importance given to this variance depends upon the expected range of inflation in a particular country.
  3. Interest rates usually reflect the rate of inflation and taxation.  Generally, the higher the inflation, the higher the rate of interest. Nevertheless, interest rates still fluctuate with supply and demand.
  4. The higher the rate of inflation, the shorter the tenure of bonds that are marketable, unless some form of monetary correction is applied. Contracts may be drafted in terms of currencies with lower rates of inflation, when permitted by law.
  5. The higher the rate of inflation, the shorter the terms of insurance policies that are available.
  6. Budgets must take inflation into consideration.
  7. Generally, people who are self-employed and run their own businesses can adjust income to inflation more readily that those  who work for others or who live on pensions. Business cycles persist, even in inflation.
  8. Contracts that provide fixed income (rentals, annuities, bonds, pensions) become progressively less valuable at higher rates of inflation.
  9. Real estate and other tangible assets provide better protection against inflation than monetary assets. However, this protection is not absolute. For example, the value of real estate will still vary with rentals, location, supply and demand, and age.

The important thing to note here is that once an economy settles into a certain, more or less, predictable range of controlled inflation, ordinary investment logic can be used to set up portfolios and select securities.

However, it is the periods of transitions to higher or lower rates of controlled inflation, or in and out of periods of hyperinflation, that pose the most danger.

Surviving transition points
At the time of this writing (2010), there is a general expectation that higher inflation lies in the future. However, how much higher and whether this inflation will be controlled or slide into hyperinflation is unknown. Although Obama’s policies of higher taxation and bashing business is expected to keep unemployment high, deflation seems unlikely — excesses in government spending are simply too great.

Therefore, a strategy for transiting into higher inflation would be:

  1. Avoid long- and medium-term debt and equities.
  2. Avoid fixed annuities.
  3. Borrow against real estate long-term, with fixed interest rates — as long as you can be assured of the ability to make the payments.
  4. Hold gold, silver, and other precious metals.
  5. Hold cash in money market funds. (When inflation hits, short term interest rates should rise quickly, protecting this investment.)

•  If it appears that hyperinflation may be developing, get out of cash held in money market funds, except for modest amounts for day-to-day needs.
•  Once it seems likely that the economy will settle into controlled inflation and that prices of the
various asset classes will adjust to levels appropriate to current rates of interest, you should consider quickly getting out of gold, silver, and other precious metals. This type of asset pays no income and has a carrying cost.
•  Holding gold once there is hope that inflation will be contained can be extremely risky. As fear of inflation subsides, gold often falls in value, sometimes precipitously — well before inflation is under control.
•  During a hyperinflation, everything is greatly diminished: your savings account, your safety and your lifestyle. You feel that there’s no safe place. It not only destroys the wealth you’ve amassed, but robs you of any sense of security and order. It takes you for all you’ve got.

 The acceleration of hyperinflation
Below is a table of  the acceleration of hyperinflation in Zimbabwe – this was a multi-year breakdown and we can expect something similar here:

year         rate of increase in prices
1999         56.9%
2000         55.22%
2001         112.1%
2002         198.93%
2003         598.75%
2004         132.75%
2005         585.84%
2006         1,281%
2007         66,212.3%
2008         231,150,888.87% (July)

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B.  The Worst Episode of Hyperinflation in History:  Yugoslavia 1993-94
Thayer Watkins, Ph.D.
Between October 1, 1993 and January 24, 1995 prices increased by 5 quadrillion percent.  That’s a 5 with 15 zeroes after it!

Under Tito, Yugoslavia ran a budget deficit that was financed by printing money.  This led to a rate of inflation of 15% to 25% per year.  After Tito, the Communist Party pursued progressively more irrational economic policies. These policies and the breakup of Yugoslavia (Yugoslavia now consists of only Serbia and Montenegro) led to heavier reliance upon printing or otherwise creating money to finance the operation of the government and the socialist economy.  This created the hyperinflation.

By the early 1990s the government used up all of its own hard currency reserves and proceeded to loot the hard currency savings of private citizens.  It did this by imposing more and more difficult restrictions on private citizens’ access to their hard currency savings in government banks.

The government operated a network of stores at which goods were supposed to be available at artificially low prices. In practice these store seldom had anything to sell and goods were only available at free markets where the prices were far above the official prices that goods were supposed to sell at in government stores.  All of the government gasoline stations eventually were closed and gasoline was available only from roadside dealers whose operation consisted of a car parked with a plastic can of gasoline sitting on the hood.  The market price was the equivalent of $8 per gallon. Most car owners gave up driving and relied upon public transportation.  But the Belgrade transit authority (GSP) did not have the funds necessary for keeping its fleet of 1,200 buses operating.
Instead it ran fewer than 500 buses.  These buses were overcrowded and the ticket collectors could not get aboard to collect fares.  Thus GSP could not collect fares even though it was desperately short of funds.

Delivery trucks, ambulances, fire trucks and garbage trucks were also short of fuel.  The government announced that gasoline would not be sold to farmers for fall harvests and planting.

Despite the government’s desperate printing of money it still did not have the funds to keep the infrastructure in operation.  Pot holes developed in the streets, elevators stopped functioning, and construction projects were closed down.  The unemployment rate exceeded 30 percent.

The government tried to counter the inflation by imposing price controls.  But when inflation continued, the government price controls made the price producers were getting so ridiculous low that they simply stopped producing.

In October of 1993 the bakers stopped making bread and Belgrade was without bread for a week.  The slaughter houses refused to sell meat to the state stores and this meant meat became unvailable for many sectors of the population.  Other stores closed down for inventory rather than sell their goods at the government mandated prices.  When farmers refused to sell to the government at the artificially low prices the government dictated, government irrationally used hard currency to buy food from foreign sources rather than remove the price controls.  The Ministry of Agriculture also risked creating a famine by selling farmers only 30 percent of the fuel they needed for planting and harvesting.

Later the government tried to curb inflation by requiring stores to file paperwork every time they raised aprice.  This meant that many store employees had to devote their time to filling out these government forms.  Instead of curbing inflation this policy actually increased inflation because the stores tended to increase prices by larger increments so they would not have file forms for another price increase so soon.

In October of 1993 they created a new currency unit. One new dinar was worth one million of the “old” dinars.  In effect, the government simply removed six zeroes from the paper money. This, of course, did not stop the inflation.

In November of 1993 the government  postponed turning on the heat in the state apartment buildings in which most of the population lived.  The residents reacted to this by using electrical space heaters which were inefficient and overloaded the electrical system.
The government power company then had to order blackouts to conserve electricity.

In a large psychiatric hospital 87 patients died in November of 1994.  The hospital had no heat, there was no food or medicine and the patients were wandering around naked.

Between October 1, 1993 and January 24, 1995 prices increased by 5 quadrillion percent.  This number is a 5 with 15 zeroes after it.  The social structure began to collapse. Thieves robbed hospitals and clinics of scarce pharmaceuticals and then sold them in front of the same places they robbed.  The railway workers went on strike and closed down Yugoslavia’s rail system.

The government set the level of pensions.  The pensions were to be paid at the post office but the government did not give the post offices enough funds to pay these pensions.  The pensioners lined up in long lines outside the post office.
When the post office ran out of state funds to pay the pensions the employees would pay the next pensioner in line whatever money they received when someone came in to mail a letter or package.  With inflation being what it was, the value of the pension would decrease drastically if the pensioners went home and came back the next day.  So they waited in line knowing that the value  of their pension payment was decreasing with each minute they had to wait.

Many Yugoslavian businesses refused to take the Yugoslavian currency, and the German Deutsche Mark effectively became the currency of Yugoslavia.  But government organizations, government employees and pensioners still got paid in Yugoslavian dinars so there was still an active exchange in dinars.  On November 12, 1993 the exchange rate was 1 DM = 1 million new dinars.  Thirteen days later the exchange rate was 1 DM = 6.5 million new dinars and by the end of November it was 1 DM = 37 million new dinars.

At the beginning of December the bus workers went on strike because their pay for two weeks was equivalent to only 4 DM when it cost a family of four 230 DM per month to live.  By December 11th the exchange rate was 1 DM = 800 million and on December 15th it was 1 DM = 3.7 billion new dinars.  The average daily rate of inflation was nearly 100 percent. When farmers selling in the free markets refused to sell food for Yugoslavian dinars the government closed down the free markets.  On December 29 the exchange rate was 1 DM = 950 billion new dinars.

About this time there occurred a tragic incident.  As usual, pensioners were waiting in line. Someone passed by the line carrying bags of groceries from the free market.  Two pensioners got so upset at their situation and the sight of someone else with groceries that they had heart attacks and died right
there.

At the end of December the exchange rate was 1 DM = 3 trillion dinars and on January 4, 1994 it was 1 DM = 6 trillion dinars.  On January 6th the government declared that the German Deutsche was an official currency of Yugoslavia.
About this time the government announced a NEW “new” Dinar which was equal to 1 billion of the old “new” dinars.  This meant that the exchange rate was 1 DM = 6,000 new Dinars. By January 11, the exchange rate had reached a level of 1 DM = 80,000 new Dinars.  On January 13th, the rate was 1 DM = 700,000 new Dinars and six days later it was 1 DM = 10 million new Dinars.

The telephone bills for the government operated phone system were collected by the postmen.  People postponed paying these bills as much as possible and inflation reduced their real value to next to nothing.  One postman found that after trying to collect on 780 phone bills he got nothing so the next day he stayed home and paid all of the phone bills himself for the equivalent of a few American pennies.

Here is another illustration of the irrationality of the government’s policies:  James Lyon, a journalist,
made twenty hours of international telephone calls from Belgrade in December of 1993.  The bill for these calls was 1000 new dinars and it arrived on January 11th.  At the exchange rate for January 11th of 1 DM = 150,000 dinars it would have cost less than one German pfennig to pay the bill.
But the bill was not due until January 17th and by that time the exchange rate reached 1 DM = 30 million dinars.  Yet the free market value of those twenty hours of international telephone calls was about $5,000.  So despite being strapped for hard currency, the government gave James Lyon $5,000
worth of phone calls essentially for nothing.

It was against the law to refuse to accept personal checks.  Some people wrote personal checks knowing that in the few days it took for the checks to clear, inflation would wipe out as much as 90 percent of the cost of covering those checks.

On January 24, 1994 the government introduced the “super” Dinar equal to 10 million of the new Dinars.  The Yugoslav government’s official position was that the hyperinflation occurred “because of the unjustly implemented sanctions against the Serbian people and state.”

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C.  The Nightmare of the German Inflation:   How Investments Fared
In the short period of about a year, from 1922-1923, the German people suffered under the torture of hyperinflation. The snippets below help the reader to begin to understand the hell the average German citizen experienced:

  • In September 1922, a loaf of bread cost 163 marks. One year later in September of 1923, this figure had reached 1,500,000 marks. A few months later at the peak of hyperinflation, November 1923, a loaf of bread eventually cost an inconceivable 200,000,000,000 marks!
  • People were paid by the hour and rushed to pass money to loved ones so that it could be spent before its value meant it was worthless.
  • People had to shop with wheel barrows full of money.
  • Bartering became common – exchanging something for something else but not accepting money for it. Bartering had been common in Medieval times!
  • Pensioners on fixed incomes suffered as pensions became worthless.
  • Restaurants did not print menus as by the time food arrived…the price had gone up!
  • The poor became even poorer and the winter of 1923 meant that many lived in freezing conditions burning furniture to get some heat.
  • The very rich suffered least because they had sufficient contacts to get food etc. Most of the very rich were land owners and could produce food on their own estates.

 At the start, it is important to understand how hard it was to obtain real income during the inflation. Professionals, skilled workers and others used to enjoying good income found their real salaries disastrously cut. Those who depended on savings, pensions or investment income for a living faced a terrible situation.

Interest from bonds or savings deposits soon depreciated to where they had no real value. Stocks paid meager dividends or none at all; corporate managements needed the money for working capital, or used it for capital building and speculation. Owners of rental property fared no better; the government froze rents, which soon meant that tenants were occupying premises virtually rent-free. Dipping into capital led to big losses, since cash, bonds and even stocks quickly shrunk drastically in value. The urgent need for income had important effects on the true prices of various types of property and investments.

Cash: Money held in cash lost value rapidly and soon became completely worthless. Of all investment forms, this was the most disastrous.

Bank Deposits: In theory, bank deposits became as worthless as cash. However, after the stabilization the government decreed partial reimbursement, and sums in the range of 15-30% of the original deposit value were repaid. Naturally, however, the great majority of depositors withdrew their funds at some time during the inflation, after much of the value had been lost, and exchanged them for goods. Few Germans held money in deposits through the entire period.

Bonds, Mortgages: As usual in an inflation, bonds and mortgages fell in value even faster than cash. After the stabilization, some restitution was provided by law. Holders of government bonds were reimbursed to the extent of 2.5% of the original bond values.
Mortgage holders also received some repayment, while a 1925 law provided for 15-25% reimbursement of corporate bondholders, though the payment was delayed for some years. Here again, few investors held bonds or mortgages throughout the entire period; most holders got rid of them for whatever pittance they would bring during the inflation.

Real Estate: Farmers and holders of urban property seemed to benefit if their property was mortgaged; the inflation soon wiped out the mortgage debt. However, they received no income, as noted above, since rents were frozen. After the stabilization, heavy new taxes and the urgent need for cash forced most holders to remortgage their property, often more heavily than originally, so that their gains were illusory. Still, those who held real estate throughout managed to save the capital thus invested. However, those who sold during the inflation (often through desperate need for cash) fared poorly. Because it brought no income, real estate sold at extremely low real price levels during inflation.

Foreign Exchange: Those who held funds in dollars, pounds or other stable currencies, or in gold, saved their capital. The government set up rigid exchange controls as the inflation proceeded. As usual under such conditions, a black market flourished. The ones who fared best were the small minority who had the foresight to exchange marks into foreign money or gold very early, before new laws made this difficult and before the mark lost too much value.

Personal Property: Capital was preserved by those who early changed it into objects of lasting value–rare coins, stamps, jewelry, works of art, antiques–or into merchandise such as clothing, fabrics, etc. Of course, most people did not understand the advantage of accumulating such property until the inflation was well along. By that time the prices of all goods had risen so much that they seemed outrageously bad bargains. In the event, however, cash proved an even worse bargain.

Common Stocks: In an inflation, common stocks are generally considered a desirable hedge to protect against or even to profit from the rise in prices. In practice, it is not so simple. In this country stock prices have been known to fall violently just when inflation was most evident (1946, 1957, 1966, 1969). Market fluctuations–the rise of exciting new speculative stocks, waves of fear or greed–all make it much too easy to buy or to sell at the wrong time or to go into the wrong stocks.

Getting down to specifics, we can say that those who bought a well-diversified list of stocks in solid, well-established companies quite early in the inflation and who held on throughout the period and also through the stabilization crisis saved much or all of their capital. However, there were many pitfalls along the wayside for the greedy, the fearful and the over-clever. Those who did best were investors with a certain unemotional, stolid character, a basic confidence that strong, well-managed companies would come through, and an immunity to excitement, anxiety and speculative temptations.

Many very sharp but brief advances and declines in the market led to widespread speculation, and well-intentioned investors often wound up as traders. Naturally most of them did as badly as amateur speculators generally do. Many decided that speculation was the only sensible approach; when the entire economy and financial structure was visibly crumbling, who could wait patiently with confidence in the long-range value of anything?

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D.  The Steps Toward Hyperinflation
Hyperinflation’s Deadly Ingredient #1: The Creation of Fiat Money
Citizens generally know that the paper currencies they are forced by law to use aren’t quite as good as gold. There is an oily, slippery quality to the paper. It’s been that way since the very first paper currency was used in China during the Song Dynasty, but at least then there was metal backing the paper. In the following Yuan Dynasty the government forced citizens to turn in their gold and silver and use the world’s first fiat currency: the Chao. The same thing would happen again in the U.S. under FDR some six centuries later.

That unbacked paper money’s value will go down gradually over time is a given, but most folks delude themselves into believing it’s for the best and that the government has it all in hand. They come to expect this gradual inflation of the money supply and decline of their currency’s purchasing power. But
eventually a nation has to face the inevitable outcome of government trying to manage an economy and print wealth into existence; centralized planning leads to misinvestments on a colossal—even global—scale, and this sort of planning can only be sustained by a fiat currency since the unfettered market would never allow for it. Eventually the whole thing collapses.

You see, when money supply is fairly fixed, it ties government’s hands. When you ant a strictly limited constitutional government, that’s a good thing. Of course, if you want centralized planning, market interventions and wars, gold standards are horribly restricting. That’s why governments get rid of them as quickly as they can. Then there is absolutely no need to be fiscally responsible. Then governments can use all the usual means to grow in scope and reach: the wars, welfare the market intervention previously mentioned…And the creation of credit

Hyperinflation’s Deadly Ingredient #2: The Easy Availability of Credit
Credit distorts prices. It’s how the banks—under direction from the central bank—get the disaster rolling. Fractional reserve lending laws allow banks to make loans far beyond what they actually have on reserve (a fraction of those reserves, hence the name). Assets get bid up with credit and bad business ideas get funded. People get all sorts of false signals because of the availability of credit and bad decisions get made. Debts grow on all sorts of unproductive purchases and ventures. The Fed is ultimately responsible for inflating explosively unstable financial bubbles.

The artificially low rates — set by a board of Fed governors, not the free market – allowed people borrowed beyond their means. To the average American, it all seemed to make sense. All their assets were going up – stocks, real estate, overall net worth. But what goes up, must always come down.

Hyperinflation’s Deadly Ingredient #3: Bursting of the Credit Bubble
This can’t go on forever—borrowing on reserves that aren’t really there. When it stops working, those debts have to be worked out somehow. This “somehow” manifests itself as losses and write-downs. Borrowers can only service these debts for so long when the debt-fueled activities and questionable investments inevitably fail to produce enough income and returns to pay the debt and interest. When the debts can no longer be serviced, then violent reallocations occur. Businesses, livelihoods and homes are lost.

Hyperinflation’s Deadly Ingredient #4: Sharp Contraction of Available Credit
Seeing billions disappear from your balance sheet is a hard pill to swallow. And when the banks were forced to wash it down, an funny thing happened: they stopped lendingThey stopped lending to each other. They stopped lending to consumers. And they stopped lending to businesses. The entire system goes into shock. As mentioned above, credit becomes scarce as banks worry about every getting their money back. Without credit, both prices and economic activity start to decline.

Hyperinflation’s Deadly Ingredient #5: The Deflation of Asset Price
Strictly speaking, deflation is a contraction in the money supply. Of course “money” can different meanings and include different measures. If available credit is counted, then deflation does indeed take place when that credit ceases to be available.
Credit can and does deflate and the effect on the economy is indeed very deflationary as prices bid up by credit collapse (housing is a very obvious example, but luxury items and even needed commodities are affected by availability of credit) and activity dependent on credit ceases, and the jobs attached to those activities disappear.

Hyperinflation’s Deadly Ingredient #6: The Rapid Printing of Money Out of Thin Air
Asset values and economic activity have to fall to painfully low levels in order for all the excesses of easy credit to be cleared away. After a while a sound economy can then be rebuilt on the basis of honest money and market-determined interest rates. But that’s not the sort of thing governments subscribe to in the Keynesian era. Governments and the rabble who elect them, believe that it’s possible to get something for nothing and that it’s possible to print wealth into existence. The average person really believes that all the government has to do is print money and take over production in order to keep the party going.
An easy way to devalue the debts is to make them easier to pay. A little inflationary easing thus seems like a really good idea. That’s how governments make inflation palatable to their subjects. It makes the weight of bad financial decisions easier to bear.
The government borrows money into existence (from the central bank) and then spends it into the economy.
The government labels this sort of thing as “economic stimulus” or “quantitative easing”, though a more honest description would be “defrauding the minority of savers” and “prolonging the inevitable painful outcome of propping up misinvestments.”
The new administration has decided to “monetize the debt.” They are going to create new money in order to bail out various banks and businesses and even mortgage debtors. But again, governments may be able to create money, but they cannot create wealth or purchasing power; they can only steal it outright with taxes or subtly with monetary inflation. It’s a swindle. The money they create dilutes the value of that already in existence. It is a way to siphon purchasing power from those trusting souls who have saved in the currency. It’s an indirect and subtle tax. This is wrong in principle and disastrous in
practice.

Hyperinflation’s Deadly Ingredient #7: The Acceleration of Money Into the Market
It may not come tomorrow. Or the day after. But be sure that our current monetary trajectory puts us on pace for the acceleration of money into the market. And that’s when things get really scary. Hyperinflation takes off when the entire population gets wise.
The money supply might have been growing in fits and spurts for decades, but the hyperinflationary storm happens when that money really starts to move around as people try to get rid of it. The prices of useful goods get bid up to embarrassing levels. The process accelerates when governments try to stabilize markets…often by adding more paper…because honestly, what else can a government do? Mismanagement and fraud are the only things governments really get right consistently. So for the government a problem that’s caused by the theft of inflation can only be solved by…more mismanagement and fraud. The entire process is self-reinforcing and results in the hyperinflationary death spiral to which all currency is heir.
The effect is that savings in the currency rapidly lose value. In an effort to sustain pretend wealth, the government wipes out real wealth. The only way to avoid this destruction is not to put one’s trust in the paper the government and the central bank issue. At some point in the future literally everyone everywhere will be rushing to exchange paper for things of real value. The trick to survival is to start before they do.

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E.  How To Protect Your Money
If you’re thinking that this whole fiat currency deal and the hyperinflationary death or money is an abomination, you’re right. If you’re thinking that there’s something you can do to prevent it, then you’re absolutely wrong.
This sort of thing just keeps happening over and over. Human beings seem to love making themselves slaves to the state and believing in the false promises of that false god. The rulers want more power and the ruled want something for nothing. Fiat currency has proven the most efficient way for advanced
civilizations to ruin themselves. Fiat seems like instant wealth, but it’s just sure death.
Like anything else, liberty and the sound money upon which it is built, seem destined to atrophy and die. All the individual can do is be aware of the lessons of history and to take the appropriate steps to protect themselves. You obviously need to deal in currency on a day-to-day basis, but a portion of the your savings should be in things of lasting value.

U.S. Hyperinflation Hedge: Long Precious Metals / Short the Dollar
Gold and productive farmland have been much more reliable stores of wealth than paper for several thousand years. Gold is just a bit easier to hide, however, should the need arise. And right now it’s the better buy.
When speaking of the collapse of a currency, people often  trot out the adage “you can’t eat gold.” By this they mean that in a true currency crisis and attendant collapse, only fuel and food and the arms to protect them will have any value. Gold, despite being branded a barbarous relic by Keynes, is actually a symbol of civilization and trade. Therefore it won’t perform its monetary function when civilization and trade break down.

In a true collapse, there may be no trade at all or what little trade there is could be limited to barter. As long as there is any exchange being done, people will find something to use as money; the guy with the cows that produce the milk you want is not always going to want the furs you have to trade. If trade
goes on at all, even if barter is a large part of it, precious metals will have a place. They’ve been used as money for thousands of years because they perform the function of money so well.

On the other hand, a common assumption is that gold is absolutely the best thing to hold during hyperinflation. Not necessarily true. It will do a lot better than the failing currency…but a hyperinflationary scenario means that just about everything is doing better than the failing currency…the currency is the one thing that no one wants to hold. Depending on where things are at the start, however, it may not do the best. Right now, real estate is still in the process of falling from a extremely high levels fueled by the credit that is still vanishing. The simplest way to diversify out of the dollar is to trade it for precious metals which have proven to be a much more enduring form of savings, especially in times of crisis.

The first step you should take is to trade some of the fiat currency in your possession for something of lasting value. Buy some gold. Non-perishable food items are also a good idea, but gold (and silver) do much better as money.

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F.  What becomes money when the system collapses?
Economist Mike Shedlock defines money through the eyes of Austrian economist Murray N. Rothbard as “a commodity used as a medium of exchange.”
“Like all commodities, it has an existing stock, it faces demands by people to buy and hold it. Like all commodities, its “price” in terms of other goods is determined by the interaction of its total supply, or stock, and the total demand by people to buy and hold it. People “buy” money by selling their goods and services for it, just as they “sell” money when they buy goods and services.”

 What is money when the system collapses and the SHTF?
In disaster situations, the value of money as we know it now changes, especially if we are dealing with a hyperinflationary collapse of the system’s core currency. This article discusses money as a commodity in an event where the traditional currency (US Dollar) is no longer valuable.

In a collapse of the system, there will be multiple phases, with the first phase being the “crunch”, as discussed in James Rawles‘ book, Patriots. The crunch is the period of time directly preceding a collapse and the collapse itself.

Traditional Currency
Initially, the traditional currency system will maintain some value, though it may be rapidly depreciating in buying power. For those with physical, non-precious metal denominated currency on hand (paper dollars, non-silver coins), spending it as rapidly as possible is the best approach.

It is during the crunch that ATM machines around the country will run out of currency as people aware of the rapidly devaluing dollar will be attempting to withdraw as much money as possible. This immediate increase in money supply, coupled with the population’s general knowledge of the currency depreciation in progress, will lead to instant price increases for goods, especially essential goods.

If your physical cash has not been converted into tangible assets, this would be the time to do so. Acquiring as much food, fuel, clothing and toiletry items as possible would be the ideal way to spend remaining cash before it completely collapses to zero, as it did in the Weimar inflation in 1930’s Germany, or Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation in recent years.

Precious Metals
During the initial phase of the ‘crunch’ precious metals will be a primary bartering tool, but this may not last long. The old survivalist adage “you can’t eat your gold” will become apparent very quickly. In a total breakdown of the system, food, water and fuel will be the most important tangible goods to acquire.

Consider someone who has a two week or one month supply of food on hand. Do you believe they would be willing to part with that food for some precious metals? The likely answer is no. There will be almost no bartering item that one would be willing to trade their food for once it is realized that food supply lines have been cut.

That being said, since most will not barter their food, not even for fuel, the next recognized medium of exchange by merchants, especially those selling fuel, will be precious metals.
For the initial crunch, silver coins, especially recognizable coins like pre-1965 90% silver quarters, dimes and half dollars, along with one ounce government mint issued silver coins like the US Silver Eagles, will be accepted by some, probably most, merchants. For those trying to flee cities to bug-out locations, silver coins of the aforementioned denominations may be a life saver, as they can be used to acquire fuel.
While we recommend having gold, as well, the issue with gold is that its value is so much higher than that of silver, that breaking a one ounce gold coin into 10 pieces just to buy a tank of gas will not be practical. It is for this reason that having silver on hand is highly recommended. Packing at least $25 – $50 face value of silver coins in each bug-out bag would be a prudent prepping idea.
In a total SHTF scenario, silver and gold may eventually break down as a bartering unit, as contact with the “outside” world breaks down. One reason for this, is that the fair value price of precious metals will be hard to determine, as it will be difficult to locate buyers for this commodity.

This, however, does not mean that you should spend all of your precious metals right at the onset of a collapse. Precious metals will have value after bartering and trade is reestablished once the system begins to stabilize. Once stabilization begins, the likely scenario is that precious metals will be one of the most valuable monetary units available, so having plenty may be quite a benefit. At this point, they could be used to purchase property, livestock, services and labor.

Water
Water is often overlooked as a medium of exchange, though it is one of the most essential commodities for survival on the planet. Had individuals in New Orleans stockpiled some water supplies during Hurricane Katrina, much of the loss of life there could have been avoided.

For those bugging out of cities, it will be impractical to carry with them more than 5 – 10 gallons of water because of space limitations in their vehicles. Thus, having a method to procure water may not only save your life, but also provide you with additional goods for which you can barter.

An easy solution for providing yourself and others with clean water is to acquire a portable water filtration unit for your bug-out bag(s). While they are a bit costly, with a good unit such as the Katadyn Combi water filter running around $150, the water produced will be worth its weight in gold, almost literally. This particular filter produces 13,000 gallons of clean water! A Must have for any survival kit.

Because we like reserves for our reserves, we’d also recommend acquiring water treatment tablets like the EPA approved Katadyn Micropur tabs. If your filter is lost or breaks for whatever reason, each tablet can purify 1 liter of water. In our opinion, the best chemical water treatment available.

Clean water is money. In a bartering environment, especially before individuals have had time to establish water sources, this will be an extremely valuable medium of exchange and will have more buying power than even silver or gold on the individual bartering level.

Food
In a system collapse, food will be another of the core essential items that individuals will want to acquire. Survival Blog founder James Rawles suggests storing food for, 1) personal use, 2) charity and, 3) bartering.

Dry goods, canned goods, freeze dried foods can be used for bartering, but only if you have enough to feed yourself, family and friends. They should be bartered by expiration date, with those foods with the expiration dates  farthest out being the last to be traded. You don’t know how long the crunch and recovery periods will last, so hold the foods with the longest expiration dates in your possession if you get to a point where you must trade.

Baby formula will also be a highly valued item in a SHTF scenario, so whether you have young children or not, it may not be a bad idea to stockpile a one or two week supply. (For parents of young children, this should be the absolute first thing you should be stockpiling!). In addition to water, baby formula may be one of the most precious of all monetary commodities.

Another tradeable food good would be seeds, but the need for these may not be apparent to most at the initial onset of a collapse, though having extra seeds in your bug-out location may come in handy later.

Fuel
Fuel, including gas, diesel, propane and kerosene will all become barterable goods in a collapse, with gas being the primary of these energy monetary units during the crunch as individuals flee cities. For most, stockpiling large quantities will be impractical, so for those individuals who prepared, they may only have 20 – 50 gallons in their possession as they are leaving their homes. If you are near your final bug-out destination, and you must acquire food, water or firearms, fuel may be a good medium of exchange, especially for those that have extra food stuffs they are willing to trade.
Though we do not recommend expending your fuel, if you are left with no choice, then food, water and clothing may take precedence. For those with the ability to do so, store fuel in underground tanks on your property for later use and trading.

Firearms and Ammunition
Though firearms and ammunition may not be something you want to give up, those without them will be willing to trade some of their food, precious metals, fuel and water for personal security. If the system collapses, there will likely be pandemonium, and those without a way to protect themselves will be sitting ducks to thieves, predators and gangs.

Even in if you choose not to trade your firearms and ammo during the onset of a collapse, these items will be valuable later. As food supplies diminish, those without firearms will want to acquire them so they can hunt for food. Those with firearms may very well be running low on ammunition and will be willing to trade for any of the aforementioned items.

In James Rawles’ Patriots and William Forstchen’s One Second After, ammunition was the primary trading good during the recovery and stabilization periods, where it was traded for food, clothing, shoes, livestock, precious metals and fuel.

Clothing and Footwear
We may take it for granted now because of the seemingly endless supply, but clothing and footwear items will be critical in both, the crunch and the phases after it. Having an extra pair of boots, a jacket, socks, underwear and sweaters can be an excellent way to acquire other essential items in a trade.

As children grow out of their clothes, rather than throwing them away, they will become barterable goods. It is recommended that those with children stock up on essential clothing items like socks, underwear and winter-wear that is sized a year or two ahead of your child’s age.

Additional Monetary Commodities
The above monetary units are essential goods that will be helpful for bartering in the initial phases of a collapse in the system. As the crunch wanes and recovery and stabilization begin to take over, other commodities will become tradeable goods.

In A Free Falling Economy Makes Bartering Go Boom, Tess Pennington provides some other examples
of items that will be bartering goods during and after a crunch including, vitamins, tools, livestock, fishing supplies, coffee and medical supplies.

Another important monetary commodity after the crunch will be trade skills. If you know how to fish, machine tools, hunt, sew, fix and operate radios, fix cars, manufacture shoes, or grow food, you’ll have some very important skills during the recovery period.

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Developing a survival food list

(Survival manual/3. Food & Water/Developing a survival food list)

FOOD

The Rules of 3:
In any survival situation, prioritize your activities to protect yourself from the closest, most pressing element in the Rules of Three. If you are in an area with extreme temps seek to protect your core temp then look for water, if you have adequate temps/shelter and water, look for food…

Rules of Three table

3 minutes You can only live about 3 minutes without air/breathing.
3 hours You can live only about 3 hours exposed and unprotected to extreme temperatures. Hyperthermia (body core rises to about 103F-106F, and usually is slower to kill). Hypothemia  (body core declines to 87F-90F, can occur quickly if the body/clothing is wet freezing rain or submersion, then exposed to freezing or near freezing air temperatures).
3 days You can only live about 3 days without safe water.
3 weeks You can live only about 3 weeks without food.
3 months Death may follow without socialization after about 3 months.
3 years Apathy/Disinterested: May only live 3 years without an interest or goal in life

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DEVELOPING A SURVIVAL FOODS LIST

How Much Food do you Need?
1.  A good rule of thumb for calorie intake is the same rule used by athletes when losing or maintaining weight; check your weight then multiply it by ten. (example, my weight 162 lbs. x 10 = 1,600 cal per day). If you weigh 200 pounds, this means you will need at least 2,000 calories just for your body to remain healthy in an inactive state. If constantly active (which is likely) you will need more than 2,000 calories to remain in good health. Never scoff at calorie counting, it may save your life. For home storage, I recommend at minimum, a one year supply of food. Stocking more, especially for trade, is preferable.
2.  The second  answer: You can never have too much food stored away for hard times.
How much is the minimum for you is an answer you’ll have to come up with after reviewing your thoughts about the future. Will three days of food be enough, as many suggest? Or do you need a year’s worth? It is suggested that two weeks or more is the minimum for anyone in any potential survival situation. One to three months? Now you’re talking. A year? Let’s hope you never need it. A year may be excessive for most, but then, better safe than sorry.
Why should you stock up on so much food if the worst you’re planning to prepare for is a heavy winter storm? Several reasons:
•   It may take a while for store shelves to be replenished. Think back to the heavy storms that hit the East Coast in the winter of 1995.
• 96. 30 inches in cities such as Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia shut the city down for more than a week. And the trucks carrying supplies were stranded on the side of an interstate highway somewhere in the Midwest.
•  You may be asked to feed friends or neighbors. Think how you’d feel if on the sixth day of the storm you and your family were enjoying a delicious, rich, beef stew while poor old Mrs. Frugal next door was down to a used tea bag and the bread crusts she usually gives the birds? Or what if friends were visiting for the weekend and unable to return home because of the inclement weather, earthquake or other emergency?
•  Food rarely goes down in price. What you buy now will be an investment in the future. If you shop carefully over time, you can lay in stores of goods on sale or at warehouse club prices.
•  You will be protected from price gouging. Do you really think the last load of milk and bread into the store before the storm hits will be discounted? Shelves are often cleared out right before a blizzard or hurricane is set to hit. And food isn’t the only item likely to be in short supply; one grocery chain reported that when storm warnings went out, they sold more rolls of toilet paper than there were people in the city. Batteries, bottled water, candles and other staples are also going to be in short supply.
• You will be prepared for a crippling blow to our food supply system. As I write this, many are predicting our food supply is tottering on its last legs. Whether it’s a drought (like we saw in 1996 in Texas and Oklahoma), a wheat blight, the destruction of traditional honey bees necessary for crop fertilization or simply the world’s exploding population, they will tell you our food system is falling apart.

The dry matter of food
The Utah State University Cooperative Extension recommends storing one pound of dry matter per person per day as part of a long term food storage plan. “Dry matter” consists of most food products you would store, including rice, legumes, dried milk, flour, pasta and sugar, among other items. One pound of dry matter will provide approximately 1,600 calories. The way your food supply is packaged will greatly affect the length of time it will remain a safe and viable energy source. For example, dried milk and freeze-dried fruits and vegetables should be stored in nitrogen packed cans for maximum preservation. Your entire food supply should be stored in a cool, dark and dry environment in secure packaging to prevent spoilage and pest infestation.
Remember, 1 pound dry food contain about 1600 calories= 1 lb/person/day.

Spices/Oils/Flavorings
Food not only nourishes our bodies, but can also nourish our mood and spirits. Therefore, it’s important to include flavors and foods that are familiar so they can provide a source of morale and comfort during stressful or emergency situations. Most cooking oils, spices and seasonings will last several years if stored properly. Dried coffee, tea and cocoa will also have extensive shelf lives when kept well.

Other Items to Consider
In addition to food and water, you’ll also need supplies and tools to be able to prepare and serve meals. Don’t forget to include pots, pans, utensils, a can opener, a grain mill, plates, bowls, glasses and a some sort of cooking implement such as a grill or camp stove. Fuel for your cooking implement will also need to be readily available or stored. Vitamin and mineral supplements will ensure that each person will receive proper nutrition, particularly if part of your food supply becomes contaminated and unusable.
Lastly, be sure to store food and additional water for family pets.

General Shelf Life of Foods for Storage
Use within six months:
Powdered milk (boxed)
Dried fruit (in metal container)
Dry, crisp crackers (in metal container)
Potatoes

Items that may be stored (almost)  indefinitely (in proper containers and conditions):
Wheat
Vegetable oils
Corn
Baking powder
Soybeans
Instant coffee, tea
Vitamin C and cocoa
Salt
Noncarbonated soft drinks
White rice
Bouillon products
Dry pasta
Powdered milk (in nitrogen-packed cans)

Use within one year:
Canned condensed meat and vegetable soups
Canned fruits, fruit juices and vegetables
Ready-to-eat cereals and uncooked instant cereals (in metal containers)
Peanut butter
Jelly
Hard candy, chocolate bars and canned nuts

An easy approach to long-term food storage:
1.  Build up your everyday stock of canned goods until you have a two-week to one-month surplus. Rotate it periodically to maintain a supply of common foods that will not require special preparation, water or cooking.
2.  Buy a supply of the bulk staples listed above.
3.  From a camping equipment store or on-line business, buy commercially packaged, freeze-dried or dehydrated foods. Although costly, this will be your best form of stored meat– buy accordingly. Remember the ditty:  ‘A case if you can, a can if you can’t.’  Buy long term nitrogen packed foods by the ‘case’ if you can afford them, or  stock up with canned goods if you can’t.

Survival foods discussion
Analysis of historical data from selected US cities during the 1918 pandemic suggests that duration of implementation of non-pharmaceutical interventions are associated with mortality rates. Pandemic waves may average about 6-8 weeks; however, an extended wave may occur; communities should be prepared to sustain themselves for up to 12 weeks in a Category 4 or 5 pandemic.
Previously, Federal guidance called for three days of food and water for emergency situations. In response to pandemic flu, two weeks of food is probably the minimum for anyone in any potential survival situation. A stockpile of one to three months is probably a more realistic inventory for prolonged social distancing in response to pandemic flu. A year? Let’s hope you never need it. A year may be excessive for almost any purposes. This food reserve should not include food in your refrigerator or freezer, because you cannot count on those items remaining edible for more than a day (fridge) or three (freezer), at most.

You can survive over a week without food, but only 3 days without water. Roughly 70% of the adult human body is made up of water. FEMA suggests storing at least one gallon of water per person per day. A normally active person needs at least one-half gallon of water daily just for drinking. A two-week supply of water would be sufficient to deal with a worst case scenario in which there was a temporary interruption of the municipal water supply. Otherwise, tap water is safe to drink and poses no risk of transmission of flu virus.

General food storage: concepts & guidelines
a)  According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), food can be safe forever from a food borne-illness standpoint – but if shelf-stable food has been on the shelf for an extended period of time, you might not want to eat it because the quality may not be good. In this case, the “best if used by” date on the label of the product is an indication whether or not the quality of the food is good.
b)  Food quality deals with the taste, texture, and nutritional value of food.
“Shelf-life” is the length of time food will retain most of its nutrition and flavor. Food that may still be safe to eat may have lost much of its nutrition, if stored past its shelf life. Things that cause food to go bad are moisture, oxygen, insects, and animals getting into the food.
c)  Cans of food from the super market make good storage foods, but you should use the oldest ones first and replace them. This is called “rotating” your food. The easiest way to do this is to put the date that you bought the food on the top of the can with a magic marker. This makes it easy to use the oldest first. Canned foods will keep for at least one year, if kept in a cool, dry place and not allowed to freeze.
d)  Some foods, such as canned foods, have a product code stamped on the bottom or top of each container providing information such as “best quality date” or “use by date,” the name of the plant where the food was manufactured, and the lot number. The code number may not be consistent from one manufacturer to another. For instance, food manufacturers may indicate the “use by date” as month and year (APR00) stamped on top of the can. APR00 means the food should be consumed by April of 2000. The first letter and number (corresponding to month and year) of the stamped code also may indicate “use by dates.
e)  When in doubt throw it out! Never taste food to determine its safety! Check canned goods to see whether any are sticky on the outside. This may indicate a leak. You will have to evaluate each item separately. Food may be spoiled without a detectable off-odor.
f)  Food that is temperature abused will spoil rapidly as evidenced by off-odors, off-flavors, off-color, and/or soft texture.
g)  Dried fruits have a long shelf-life because moisture has been removed from the product. Unopened dried fruits may be stored for 6 months at room temperature.
h)  Canned vegetables can be stored in a cool, dry area below 85°F (optimum 50°F to 70°F) for up to one year. After one year, canned vegetables may still be consumed. However, overall quality and nutritional value may have diminished. Discard badly dented, swollen, and/or rusty cans.
i)  Dry milk may be stored at cool temperatures (50°F to 60°F) in airtight containers for one year. Opened containers of dry milk, especially whole milk products, should be stored at cold temperatures to reduce off-flavors. Reconstituted milk should be handled like fluid milk and stored at refrigeration temperatures if not immediately used.
j)  Canned evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk may be stored at room temperature for 12 to 23 months. Opened canned milk should be refrigerated and consumed within 8 to 20 days.
k)  Rice Dream is rice milk in boxes, similar to juice box packaging. They come in 8 ounce, 32 ounce and 64 ounce sizes. It tastes great with cereal, and for use in cream based soups. You can even fix yourself of chocolate milk using Rice Dream. Rice Dream has a long shelf life, generally the date stamped is one year ahead from the day you purchase it. However once you open it, it needs to be refrigerated and it tastes freshest if used within 4 or 5 days. The manufacturer says it will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 7 – 10 days, however the 5 day mark is the longest period time it retains its full freshness.
l)  Commercial bottled water has an extended shelf-life of one to two years due to extensive water treatment (filtration, demineralization, and ozonation) and strict environmental controls during manufacturing and packaging. Bottled water should be stored in a cool, dry place in the absence of sunlight. Household tap water has a limited shelf-life of only a few days due to the growth of microorganisms during storage.
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BULK STAPLES

Bulk Staples:
Grains, beans and rice, cornmeal, baking soda, legumes, salt, honey,  sugar,  flour, yeast, pasta, dehydrated dairy products and eggs.

Ways to Supplement Your Long-Term Stockpile
Bulk staples offer a limited menu, but you can supplement them with commercially packed air-dried or freeze-dried foods and supermarket goods. Rice, popcorn and varieties of beans are nutritious and long-lasting. The more supplements you include, the more expensive your stockpile will be.

Bulk food storage
A half a cup of dried rice, a little less than half a pound, is equal to roughly 1½ cups of cooked rice. That is a lot of rice per person, so no one should be very hungry. Rice and beans twice a day for a month will provide almost all the nutrients a body needs.
The question is, “How much beans are needed?” Figure one half of a 15-16 oz can of beans/ person per day. (1 can/2 people/day) It’ll keep you alive, but you won’t thrive.
If you get dried beans, figure ¾ cup dried volume per meal, or 22 cups/month (1 gallon=16 cups), hence, a 5 gallon container would hold a volume of dry beans to feed one person 3-1/2 months.
The drawback to dried beans is that they have to be soaked for 24 hours, so you will have to start soaking beans 24 hours in advance of each meal which is a pain.

How much rice & beans to store:
(Equivalents: ½ cup dry rice = 1/2 lb. dry rice= 1-1/2 cups cooked rice)
•  1 person x 0.5 lb rice (1/2 cup) /meal x 2 meals/day = 1 lb (1 cup) dry rice/person/day
•  1 lb (1 cup) rice/person/day = 30 lbs (30 cups) rice/month
•  30 lbs (30 cups) rice/person/month divided by 16 cups/gallon = 2 gallon volume dry rice consumed per month
•  A 5 gallon plastic bucket holds  80 lbs (80 cups) rice which is 2-1/2 months (80 days) for one person; or almost 1-1/3 months (40 days) food for two people. (if that’s all you had to eat)

A year’s supply of rice:
•  1 person on a 100% rice diet would need 350 lbs rice per year, 5 each 5 gallon buckets filled with dry rice).
•  On a 1/2 rice and 1/2 bean diet one would require an annual supply of  175 lbs rice (2-1/2 each 5 gal buckets) per person. Same volumes for combinations of rice, dry beans, legumes and peas.
•  2 persons 700 lbs rice or 10  each 5 gallon buckets, at half fare 350 lbs or 5  each 5 gallon buckets. Same volumes for combinations of rice, dry beans, legumes and peas.

For each volume of dry rice you should have a similar volume of a combination of beans, legumes or peas; a 1 gallon volume of dry rice goes with a 1 gallon volume of dried beans.

Dry bean storage
•  Equivalents:  For most beans: 1 pound dried beans = 2  cups dried, which yields  4 to 5 cups cooked beans.
•  1 lb dry beans/peas=5 cups cooked=5 days food as a rice accompaniment.
•  6 lbs dry beans/peas=1 month supply/ person as rice accompaniment.

Canned beans storage (15-16 oz can)
•  1 person ½ can/day or 15 cans/person/mo
•  2 persons need one can/day, 30 cans month

Beans & Rice priced during ‘good times’ at TheReadyStore.com, Saratoga Farms brand:
•  Long grain white rice value bucket, 47 lbs,  packaged in a 6 gallon sealed plastic storage bucket, containing 384 each ¼ cup servings, with a 20 to 30 year shelf life, $92.49.
•  Bean Sampler case of 6 each #10 (gallon size) cans with: 2 cans pinto beans, and one each kidney beans, navy beans, black beans, refried beans,  $88.25.
http://www.thereadystore.com/food-storage/saratoga-farms-long-grain-white-rice-valuebucket
The 6 gallons each of dry rice and beans provide 1 person with 3 months of bland, basic food. As Crocodile Dundee said, Yeah, you can live on it

Traditional & inherently long-lasting food items for storage
Did you know that with proper storage techniques, you can have a lifetime supply of certain foods?  Certain foods can stand the test of time, and continue being a lifeline to the families that stored it.  Knowing which foods last indefinitely and how to store them are you keys to success.
The best way to store food for the long-term is by using a multi-barrier system.  This system protects the food from natural elements such as moisture and sunlight, as well as from insect infestations.
Typically, those who store bulk foods look for inexpensive items that have multi-purposes and will last the long term.  Listed below are 11 food items that are not only multi-purpose preps, but they can last a lifetime!
•  Honey: Honey never really goes bad.  In a tomb in Egypt 3,000 years ago, honey was found and was still edible.  If there are temperature fluctuations and sunlight, then the consistency and color can change.  Many honey harvesters say that when honey crystallizes, then it can be re-heated and used just like fresh honey.  Because of honey’s low water content, microorganisms do not like the environment.
Uses: curing, baking, medicinal, wine (mead)
•  Salt: Although salt is prone to absorbing moisture, it’s shelf life is indefinite.  This indispensable mineral will be a valuable commodity in a long-term disaster and will be an essential bartering item.
Uses: curing, preservative, cooking, cleaning, medicinal, tanning hides
•  Sugar: Life would be so boring without sugar.  Much like salt, sugar is also prone to absorbing moisture, but this problem can be eradicated by adding some rice granules into the storage container.
Uses: sweetener for beverages, breads, cakes, preservative, curing, gardening, insecticide (equal parts of sugar and baking powder will kill cockroaches).
•  Wheat: Wheat is a major part of the diet for over 1/3 of the world.  This popular staple supplies 20% of daily calories to a majority of the world population.  Besides being a high carbohydrate food, wheat contains valuable protein, minerals, and vita¬mins. Wheat protein, when balanced by other foods that supply certain amino acids such as lysine, is an efficient source of protein.
Uses: baking, making alcohol, livestock feed, leavening agent
•  Dried corn: Essentially, dried corn can be substituted for any recipe that calls for fresh corn.  Our ancestors began drying corn because of it’s short lived season.  To extend the shelf life of corn, it has to be preserved by drying it out so it can be used later in the year.
Uses: soups, cornmeal, livestock feed, hominy and grits, heating source (do a search for corn burning fireplaces).
•  Baking soda: This multi-purpose prep is a must have for long-term storage.
Uses: teeth cleaner, household cleaner, dish cleaner, laundry detergent booster, leavening agent for baked goods, tarnish remover.
•  Instant coffee, tea, and cocoa: Adding these to your long-term storage will not only add a variety to just drinking water, but will also lift morale.  Instant coffee is high vacuum freeze-dried.  So, as long as it is not introduced to moisture, then it will last.  Storage life for all teas and cocoas can be extended by using desiccant packets or oxygen absorbing packets, and by repackaging the items with a vacuum sealing.
Uses: beverages, flavor additions to baked goods
•  Non-carbonated soft drinks: Although many of us prefer carbonated beverages, over time the sugars break down and the drink flavor is altered.  Non-carbonated beverages stand a longer test of time.  And, as long as the bottles are stored in optimum conditions, they will last.  Non-carbonated beverages include: vitamin water, Gatorade, juices, bottled water.
Uses: beverages, flavor additions to baked goods.
•  White rice: White rice is a major staple item that preppers like to put away because it’s a great source for calories, cheap and has a long shelf life.  If properly stored this popular food staple can last 30 years or more.
Uses: breakfast meal, addition to soups, side dishes, alternative to wheat flour
•  Bouillon products: Because bouillon products contain large amounts of salt, the product is preserved.  However, over time, the taste of the bouillon could be altered.  If storing bouillon cubes, it would be best repackage them using a food sealer or sealed in mylar bags.
Uses: flavoring dishes
•  Powdered milk – in nitrogen packed cans: Powdered milk can last indefinitely, however, it is advised to prolong it’s shelf life by either repackaging it for longer term storage, or placing it in the freezer.  If the powdered milk develops an odor or has turned a yellowish tint, it’s time to discard.
Uses: beverage, dessert, ingredient for certain breads, addition to soup and baked goods.

Comparing the various food storage processes
The main difference between commercially prepared foods sold in grocery stores and specially prepared “survival” foods is the shelf storage. You can’t store grocery store items for five to ten years, as you can with specially freeze-dried or sealed foods packed in nitrogen or vacuum sealed. As a result, if you go with a larder full of grocery items, you can’t develop your food stash and walk away. You need to rotate your stock, either on an ongoing basis or every two to three months. This will ensure you have fresh food (if you can consider canned and dry food “fresh”) and do not waste your food and money.
Advantages of canned vs dehydrated foods:  Canned goods are less expensive – Canned goods bought in bulk are roughly, pound-per-pound of finished product, about 25% of the cost of the same product offered in freeze-dried or dehydrated form. Canned foods seem to take up a little more storage area. That’s a small sacrifice when you think about the amount of money you’ll be saving.
Canned goods generally have more calories – It’s difficult to make a direct caloric comparison between freeze-dried/dehydrated foods and canned foods, but it is generally true that canned goods contain more calories in the form of fats than freeze-dried foods. Published food values support this contention.
Canned goods already have water for preparation in the can. Freeze-dried/dehydrated foods have no water content. This means that on top of the drinking water you’ll need to store, you will have to store extra water for your food preparation if you have freeze-dried or dehydrated foods.
Other advantages – Canned foods have a good shelf life, they’re available at virtually every market, and you are already familiar with the preparation since these are foods you frequently eat.
Meals Ready to Eat:  Certain items such as MRE’s are excellent for emergency situations, because they come out of the package ready to eat, with no cooking needed. MREs do not provide as much roughage as you need, which can lead to digestive problems after a week or two of eating nothing else. MRE entrees are excellent supplements, because prepared sets of #10 cans are primarily vegetables, pasta and grains, while MRE entrees are usually meat-based. You may also want to add a few special items, such as hard candy or deserts, to reward yourself or for quick energy. And don’t forget to add vitamins and mineral supplements.
Freeze dried vs. dehydrated: Many people are unsure about the differences between Mountain House freeze-dried foods and dehydrated foods. Both foods are perfect for long term storage, offering about the same (30 year) shelf life when packed in #10 cans. The real differences are detailed below:
Taste: Dehydrated foods are without any seasoning or additional ingredients. Dehydrated foods require cooking and seasoning. Most dehydrated foods will benefit from added seasons. You can add any ingredients or topping to dehydrated foods. Seasoning is recommended simply for taste.
Most freeze-dried foods are contain a multitude of ingredients and seasonings. Nothing more is needed, just a little time in hot water to rehydrated them and have them ready to eat. They are pre-seasoned, pre-cooked and pre-mixed with other ingredients, making them the fastest, easiest and tastiest foods available.
Cooking:  Cooking is very simple. Measure out the amount of ingredients you wish to make (depending on the number of servings you want) and dump into hot water. Cooking time is usually around 10 – 15 minutes for most foods. This applies to all the Mountain House freeze-dried foods.
Ingredients:  Freeze dried food is usually an “entree”, containing multiple items for a complete meal. Most dishes have several items included within them and you don’t need to do any other cooking or adding ingredients to make a complete meal. Because it’s freeze-dried, you simply add hot water, or add the product to hot water and cook for about 10 minutes. This rehydrates the food completely and it’s ready to eat!
Dehydrated foods are usually single ingredients. You can mix any dehydrated food with any other food product for a combination of tastes, textures and varieties.
Freeze dried food are the easiest and tastiest food made for long-term storage. If you don’t like to cook and want great food with a great taste, freeze-dried foods are the hands down winner.
Shelf Life:  Freeze dried foods advertise a 25 year shelf life. Store your food storage in a cold (or cool) dark place out of direct sunlight, preferably at a constant temperature. Dehydrated foods in #10 cans will store about the same length of time.
Space Requirements:  Storable foods, whether freeze-dried or dehydrated foods, are very compact, way more compact then canned foods. There is no excess water or fancy packaging, no empty air spaces. An entire years supply can be fit into a 2 ft x 3 ft area, stacked 5 ft high. Or under the bed, in a closet, in the pantry, in the basement. These foods are concentrated, because the water has been removed before packaging. A single can contains 8 to 16 servings.

With Mountain House freeze dried products and a one-burner stove, or candle to heat water (cold water can be used in a pinch), you can still enjoy a hot, satisfying meal in less than 10 minutes.

Just-In-Case: The complete 7-Day food supply for one person, in one box  Mountain House Brand quality freeze-dried foods.
•  28 Mountain House freeze-dried food pouches.
•  17 kinds of Mountain House freeze-dried foods in the kit.
•  Three full meals per day, in easy-to-serve pouches.
•  Breakfast, lunch, and dinner items in the same box.
•  Freeze-dried flavor & nutrition in foil pouches with a 5-year storage!
•  No cooking required. Just add water, and presto! These one-week supply kits are Freeze Dried, and that means that an entire week’s food supply weighs only 9 pounds!

The 7 day Just-in-case boxed supply kit contents:

Breakfast
–  4    Granola with Milk and Blueberries
–  3    Scrambled Eggs with Bacon
Vegetables
–  3    Garden Green Peas
–  4    Whole Kernel Corn
Lunch (16 oz Pro-Pack)
–  1    Rice and Chicken
–  2    Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
–  1    Hearty Stew with Beef
–  1    Chili Mac with Beef
–  1    Pasta Primavera
–  1    Beef Stroganoff with Sauce & Noodles
Dinner (20 oz Entrees)
–  1    Noodles and Chicken
–  1    Chicken Stew
–  1    Mexican-style Chicken and Rice
–  1    Lasagna with Meat Sauce
–  1    Macaroni and Cheese
–  1    Turkey Tetrazzini
–  1    Sweet and Sour Pork
Mountain House JUST-IN-CASE (one week food supply). Price: $109.95 (Retail price $125 – A $145.65 value;  May 2011)

The #10 Cans (gallon size) of freeze-dried foods have the longest shelf life available up to 25 years! Each can is coated with a protective enamel inside and out for double protection, including the lid. The can’s contents are protected until you are ready to open and use them. After opening, use the contents with a week for best results and taste; using the convenient resealable plastic lid between uses. Treat any leftover food as you would fresh food. Mountain House freeze-dried foods are packed in airtight NITROGEN PACKED #10 cans or pouches. Up to 98% of the residual oxygen has been removed. The unique Mountain House canning process uses both vacuum oxygen removal and nitrogen flushing.
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LONG TERM BULK FOOD STOCKS

1.  Stocking up made simple: Buy what you can afford. Buy the kinds of foods or entrees that  you’re familiar with.
•  Buy foods on special, from warehouse stores, feed and grain supply stores, name brand packages from on-line distributors.
•  Organize your buying for 3-month increments.
2.  Rough guide to developing a deep storage plan (one year supply per person):
•  300 pounds hard red winter wheat (you’ll need a grain mill)
•  100 pounds of legumes
•  75 pounds of other grains (rice, corn, millet,  buckwheat, etc.)
•  35 lbs. cereal: whole rolled oats, grits, quinoa and similar dry grains processed for making gruel or hot cereal will last much longer
•  35 pounds pastas (lasagna, egg noodles, spaghetti, wheat, veggie)
•  100 pounds of dried and canned fruits and vegetables
•  50 pounds of dried/ canned milk, and freeze dry/dehydrated cheese and butter
•  50+ pounds of canned fish and freeze-dried beef, turkey & chicken
•  Eggs, 25 dozen powdered and/or freeze-dried
•  25 pounds of honey
•  25 pounds of salt for cooking / preserving
•  25 pounds of cooking oils
•  5 pounds each of baking powder / soda and yeast
•  Multiple vitamin and mineral supplements and extra vitamin C
• Treats; chocolate, coffee, nuts, dried fruit
3.  Developing a workable food supply list
The following survival food list will help determine what  to have on hand in the event of a widespread disaster or upheaval. The easiest way to get these foods is to order pre-measured long-term storage food. This food will be packaged based on the amount of people that need to eat.
(# = pounds per person per year)

Grains:
Beans (pinto, red, navy, black, white, lentils, split peas): 200#
Rice (brown, white): 50#
Barley: 50#
Quinoa: 50#
Oatmeal: 25#
Corn (whole kernel): 25#
Cornmeal: 25#

Baking:
Cooking oil: 2 gal
Shortening: 6#
Flour: 25#
Baking soda: 10#
Baking powder: 5#
Vanilla extract: 3 oz/person/year
Canned Yeast: 5#
Powdered Milk: 50#

Sweets:
Sugar (white, brown): 75#
Honey: 35#
Dried fruit (raisins, dates, prunes, figs, etc): 25#
Fruit preserves/jams/jellies: 6#

Seasonings:
Iodized salt: 5#
Black pepper: 5#
Minced onion: 10#
Minced garlic: 5#
Garlic powder: 2#
Plain salt: 100# (useful for preserving, toothpaste, saline solution, throat gargle)
Bouillon cubes: 50/person/year

Miscellaneous
Peanut butter: 5#
White Vinegar: 2 gal (preserving, cleaning and health)
Apple Cider Vinegar: 2 gal (multiple uses)
Household bleach 2 gal.
Packaged Foods
Pasta boxed dinners (Mac’n’cheese/Hamburger Helper): 25 boxes
Ramen noodles: 48 packages

Drink Mixes
Tea (black, green, herb): 1000 bags/person/year
Coffee: 25#
Kool-Aid: 50 pkgs
Hot cocoa mix: 100 single-serving packs
Apple Cider mix: 100 single-serving packs

Canned Foods
Vegetables: 100 cans
Fruit: 100 cans
Meat (tuna, spam, chicken, meat spread): 75 cans
Soup: 50 cans
Milk: 25 cans

Joseph in Egypt (ca 1900 BC)
Relating the decline in global grain storage volumes with the Biblical story of Joseph in Egypt (more likely Im-Ho-Temp):
Joseph found himself standing in front of the most powerful man in that region, who knew about him and his reputation; when it came to dream interpretations. The Egyptian ruler asked Joseph a question: “I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it?”  — Joseph remembers to stay humble stating: “I cannot do it, but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.”
After Pharaoh had heard Joseph’s reply, he began to tell him about his dreams: “In my dream I was standing on the bank of the Nile, when out of the river there came up seven cows, fat and sleek, and they grazed among the reeds. After them, seven other cows came up — scrawny and very ugly and lean.
“I had never seen such ugly cows in all the land of Egypt. The lean ugly cows ate up the seven fat cows that came up first. But even after they had ate them, no one could tell that they had done so; so they looked just as ugly as before. Then I woke up.
“In my dreams I also saw seven heads of grain, full and good, growing on a single stalk. After them, seven other heads sprouted, withered and thin and scorched by the east wind. The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven good heads. I told this to the magicians, but none could explain it to me.”
After Joseph had heard about the dreams, he gives his interpretation: “The dreams of Pharaoh are one and the same. God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good heads of grain are seven years; it is one and the same dream.
“The seven lean, ugly cows that came up afterward are seven years, and so are the seven worthless heads of grain scorched by the east wind: They are seven years of famine. It is just as I said to Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what He is about do. Seven years  of great abundance are coming throughout the land of Egypt, but seven years of famine will follow them.
“Then all the abundance in Egypt will be forgotten, and the famine will ravage the land. The abundance in the land will not be remembered, because the famine that follows it will be so severe.
“The reason the dream was given to Pharaoh in two forms is that the matter has been firmly decided by God, and God will do it soon. And now let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man and put him charge of the land of Egypt.  “Let Pharaoh appoint commissioners over the land to take a fifth of the harvest of Egypt during the seven years of abundance. They should collect all the food of these good years that are coming and store up the grain under the authority of Pharaoh, to be kept in the cities for food.  “This food should be held in reserve for the country, to be used during the seven years of famine that will come upon Egypt, so that the country may not be ruined by the famine.” (Genesis 41:25-36)

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The coming chaos

(Survival Manual/2. Social issues/The coming chaos)

THE COMING CHAOS: PART I

Planning and puzzle solving
Trends, expectations, and the  daily events of life can be thought of like scattered colored pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. From your experience and the short historical perspective of your life, you form an idea of the current and probable security provided by your environment. You look at the assembled parts of the picture and develop a general idea of the completed future image and your place in it.

 In good times, there are fewer puzzle pieces and each seems big, so putting a few parts together allows you to easily imagine the larger-view of the future.
In harder times, when nations and huge international (food, banking, energy) industries have financial, political and military reasons for hiding their ‘game hand’, the important pieces of information become numerous and small.
As global and national economic times deteriorate and you continue about your daily life, you have an ever decreasing  intuitive  understanding of conditions and less accurate view of the big picture, resulting in a diminished capacity to carry about your long term life business effectively.  The ebb and flow of your stored money, your potential energy is generally: Where to store these hard-earned savings? How much to save over any given period of time?  What is the best long-term manner in which to spend or store large blocks of value when a given need is seen  arising?

During increasingly difficult economic times, you still put those pieces of the puzzle together in your mind, the same as you always have, but the scale and quality of the information you receive, has changed.
Think of this as somewhat related to inflation. When inflations first begins, no one sees it for what it is, but as prices creep up, inflation slowly becomes visible and irritating to everyone, only then do people individually begin to change their behavior in self-interest.
Meanwhile, the entities causing the inflation want to cover their tracks, so information given to the public is doctored, altered and diminished, official news bites are false, designed to keep the populace calm, to keep them from acting in their own best interest.

Because the normal indicators are not functioning in the accustomed way, you have to rely on other lagging indicators to replace the ones previously used. This requires work, so most people, being busy, go with the flow and in doing so no longer have that ‘more accurate’ larger-view of the future which they once held.

It’s all about money, and if not money, power. What can you lose by not adjusting your view of the future to fit the current cycle of economic reality? You can lose: the value of your 401K, value in your Treasury notes and bonds, long-term stock valuations, your home equity, interest from saving in bank instruments, while paying higher local-state-Federal tax rates, food, energy, maybe even a Value Added Tax.

In todays context, if you knew how these broad investments were falling out of favor, you’d have begun putting your savings into other assets, ie., certain foreign currencies, gold, silver, precious metals stocks, energy production and infrastructure, a little more food in the back of your cupboard before prices rose, maybe cash in the cookie jar.
Believing there would always be plentiful oil and gasoline, maybe you bought a large auto– without  the  knowledge that within a few years gasoline would be  much more expensive in real terms and there might even be rationing. By then, with the economy, still in a recession, with everyone seeing higher gas prices and few having cash to spend, you would have to take a major loss on trading in the ‘gas hog’ vehicle for a smaller more gas efficient model.
Perhaps, with  better information you might have bought a townhouse close to your local shopping district, instead of a stand alone house in the suburbs, ‘gas-miles’ from the shopping district.
Rather than buying a recreational vehicle, you might have bought a small parcel of rural property for camping or a cabin, and used a car top carrier or utility trailer to carry gear to your private bit of nature. The rural property could also be used if for a while, things grew unsafe in the city.

Money is also supposed to be a store of wealth and accountability.
It’s not that ‘prices are going up, the value of your money is going down.
Note: 50 years ago, in 1961, the price of one gallon of regular gasoline cost 31¢, that would be a quarter, a nickel and a penny, 31¢ . The quarter you would have paid for the gas with, was what we now call a ‘silver quarter’ containing 0.18084 ounces of silver. Real money-silver coinage was discontinued by 1965, where upon, nearly valueless copper clan coins were issued and which we still use today.
The current value of that common old 25¢ coin is now $7.05 (silver spot price= $39.01). Today, 10 August 2011, a gallon of local regular gasoline costs $3.59, so that silver quarter would buy practically 2 gallons of gas,  2 gallons x $3.59/gallon=$7.18, while the value of the silver quarter is $7.05.
And this is why during the last 70 years we’ve gone from a condition where one worker could support his family, to a time when it took both Mom and Dad to support the family, and now takes Mom and Dad, credit cards, and  maybe a 2nd home mortgage to provide the same.

At some levels of societal organization, it’s all about money or power; on lower levels it’s about not being robbed and left to face the economic winter (depression, unemployment or old age) with out the safety net provided by your savings–the product of your labor.
In the deep past, when men depended directly on the land for their livelihood, when a robber Prince took part of that property the peasant family had less resilience to survive. Today we don’t have ‘land’, per sae, we have money and investments, when the modern version of the robber Prince takes your property, they take your money or your future claim to the things money can buy, leaving you less resilient to survive.

If you prepare for a man-made crisis, you will be on the same path as some one preparing for natural disasters: hurricanes, power outages, etc. Man-made vs. Natural disasters differ mostly by scale and duration. [Mr Larry]

The Coming Chaos, will turn over a few pieces of the puzzle, ones that you may not have seen, ones that give you a somewhat larger view.  Be aware, that sometimes its better not seeing to your life’s horizon.

The world is in a state of constant flux and continuous change and there is nothing so certain in life as uncertainty. None of us know what the coming years will bring. One must be wary both of the innocent and rose-tinted view that the US and hence the global economy are just fine and the good times are about to roll again and of fear mongers and prognosticators of doom whose only message seems to be ‘resistance is futile’.
Meanwhile, with the evolution of electronics into computer, satellite, Internet, and digital information technologies, the recent decades have created a web of global interdependence, of ‘just-in-time’ supply, transportation, international banking, a layering of complex financial interactions and the immediate spread of information. Globally, human society has accumulated such complex interdependencies that it has affectively become like a spider’s web – where a disturbance of one strand shakes the entire web. Further, this intertwined body of global humanity has reached critical points in its equilibrium. It is at a point of dynamic, critical vulnerability; and at such moments the slightest of impacts in one sphere of global concern can set into motion an unpredictable chain of events across the interconnections.
It is only common sense, with the fragility of our system, to prepare for any disturbance with supplies. How long could you survive with what is on hand? Think about storing extra food, water, fuel, and whatever you think you need to get through. If one very large, or several moderate to large (Volcanic Explosivity Index) volcanoes go off, we may experience very muted daylight for several seasons to a year and unable to grow enough food for even the prosperous nations. Are you even prepared for the possibility that your communities electric power could go out for a week or more, during the summer, during the winter?

Why We Need Insurance
Many of us have never had to make a claim on our insurance. Therefore when we continue to write an insurance payment check month after month, we feel as if we are pouring money down the drain. Even though you’ve never had to make a claim on your insurance, there is a good reason that it’s there. Naturally, insurance is there to protect your you, your family and your investments, but let’s face it; many of us wouldn’t bother with insurance if it wasn’t required by law, or the bank.

How we buy insurance
First, we decide which threats to protect ourselves from, then we find a way of doing so at the lowest possible cost.
Survivalism is basically the same. I’ve created a list of survival threats at the side of the page. Some events are so destructive that they are not worth worrying about and have not been included, i.e., multiple impacts from a fragmented comet, or a ‘nearby’ star emitting a planetary sterilizing gamma ray burst.. There is no way of protecting yourself against Hollywood style events so there is no point in spending money on them. The best value for your money is to identify threats that you think are moderately likely and that may be dealt with easily. Most threats require the same core defensive measures with varying specifics.
Everyone should take some simple steps to protect themselves and their families from potential real risks that are on the horizon, but don’t take my word for it. Answer the following questions:
1. Is your job & income 100% secure?
2. Would you be able to have the basic necessities (shelter, food, water) if you lost your income for a prolonged period of time?
3. Would you be ok if your local grocery stores didn’t have an inventory resupply for a few weeks?
4. How would your finances hold up in a currency crisis where the dollar rapidly lost much of its value?
5. Would you be able to protect your family in the event of increased crime and decreased police presence?

Ready America
From the FEMA ‘Ready America’ website:
“…Each person’s needs and abilities are unique, but every individual can take important steps to prepare for all kinds of emergencies and put plans in place. By evaluating your own personal needs and making an emergency plan, you can be better prepared for any situation. A commitment to planning today will help you prepare for any emergency situation. Preparing makes sense. Get ready now.
• Consider how a disaster might affect your individual needs.
• Plan to make it on your own, at least for a period of time. It’s possible that you will not have access to a medical facility or even a drugstore.
• Have a week or longer supply of medications and medical supplies
• Identify what kind of resources you use on a daily basis and what you might do if they are limited or not available.
• Buy or make an emergency supply kit.
• Have copies of emergency documents
• Create a support network…”

Headline: “15 Million Americans Infected with Xyz- Flu”
“You just heard it on the evening news. It’s now a reality. Your city has been locked down. There are roadblocks on all arteries in and out of the city. No one can come in or go out of the area.
The grocery stores, the gas stations, and all other public facilities are closed. Everyone has been told to stay in their homes.
Your family has five days of food left. Seven days, if you and your wife eat much less, and give it to the kids. Water is only sporadically available when you turn on the faucet.
You realize you should have thought about the news, what it might mean, but you remained a spectator of the events unfolding around yourself and in the world. You wonder how you missed the signs. You feel guilty and powerless because you don’t know how you will feed your family.”

Things you should know
• Don’t rely on the government to help you. As big as they are, when disaster hits they’re both: 1) too big a bureaucracy, 2) with too few people on the ground, to help a large number of people in a reasonable amount of time.
• Don’t rely on utility companies to help you. They will have priorities and will be working almost around the clock, to get things restored, but, a) it won’t be fast enough no matter who you are, and b) you’re probably not a priority. Don’t complain about it – be prepared for it.
• Don’t rely on your Insurance company for anything more than a check. Insurance is about money, it’s not their job to repair your home or put your life back in order. While some might refer you to local contractors, many do not, and in times of overwhelming need, both adjusters and contractors are going to be hard to come by.
• Know what your area is at risk for (i.e. Seattle has a major earthquakes every 100 years or so, and moderately damaging windstorms every 10 years) and be prepared to take care of yourself for awhile.
• The government’s, ‘Three Days of Self Sufficiency’ campaign, is woefully inadequate.
• Mankind endures ‘an episode of great wealth destruction’ at least once every century. People should prepare to ride out a disaster, be it a tsunami, a market meltdown, an EMP grid down scenario, volcanic winter, deadly pandemic or Islamic terrorists with a dirty (radioactive materials) bomb.
• The rich (all of us in the Western world) get complacent, assuming we’ll have time “to extricate ourselves and our wealth” when trouble comes. The rich are mistaken, as ‘the Holocaust’ proved.
• People generally do not feel the unthinkable will happen to them. However, many times there are situations out of our control that affect us in a big way. Major events that affect the food supply are especially troubling.
• Events move much faster than anyone expects’ and the barbarians are on top of you before you can escape.

The times that we endure today will be the history that others will read tomorrow. History has shown us events that have destroyed some societies and created new ones to take their place. Those who rise to power often decide the fate of millions. And there have been times when a people rise up as a nation, united to achieve mutual goals of prosperity and hope for a better future.
Today as a nation, Americans must uphold their moral convictions and beliefs that a nation of people who stand united will not perish. There are events occurring in this country that could change the very existence of our nation as we know it. And no one person or political party can decide the best course of action to ensure our prosperity and hopes will not be taken away from us. The answer to our problems is right in front of us, and we must cling to it as if it is our only hope, because it is the only thing ‘We The People’ have left: The Constitution of the United States of America .

Our policy makers are in a Catch 22. It’s checkmate, and the only thing that we can do is delay… to a point.
We need austerity measures, much more severe than those of France, Greece and the rest of Europe, but mass cuts in entitlement programs that tens of millions of Americans have come to depend on will lead to serious problems, not just for our economy, but on a social level as well. What happens if 40 million people were to lose their food stamps, or 20 million people lose their unemployment benefits? Many are already at the breaking point, if the government were to stop the gravy train, as Chapman puts it, the system would get very chaotic, very quickly. Thus, we just don’t see something like that happening anytime soon. But make no mistake, the current entitlement system, driven mainly by US government borrowing, is unsustainable. So, whether we like it or not, the cut to entitlement programs is coming one way or the other.
Politicians are just not going to do it. For many, it would be political suicide.
The end result we foresee is, as Chapman points out, ‘a high inflationary environment that will make it impossible for the average food stamp, unemployment or welfare recipient to purchase essential goods like food, energy and shelter’.
We’re seeing it in Social Security already, albeit in limited form. The government has not re-adjusted social security payments higher because the CPI inflation index has not shown an increase over the last couple years. However, the CPI does not include calculations for food and energy because our government says those are highly volatile and should not be counted. Thus, Social Security recipients are now paying more for food than they were two years ago, but there has been no adjustment made in their benefits. They’ve essentially taken a mandated pay cut as the US dollar has lost value.
This is exactly what we will see in other entitlement programs. Now imagine for a minute what it will look like if/when inflation is running rampant at 10% – 15% per year, and entitlement adjustments only account for 1% to 3% increases.
A lot of people will go broke a whole lot faster.
We’re not talking about people not being able to buy iPads, new home decor, or Christmas presents for the kids. No, we’re talking about being able to put food on the table, paying the rent for shelter and putting gas in the car.
This can get very ugly. As Peter Schiff previously pointed out, ‘a great number of Americans will be impoverished’ and, according to Gerald Celente, ‘many may take to the streets in riots and protests circa 2011 and beyond’.

 40 ways to lose your future
June 2009, TheAutomaticEarth.com
People have been asking how we see the future unfold. Here is a brief summary (in no particular order and not meant to be exhaustive) of the ground we have consistently covered here at TAE over the last year and a half, and before that elsewhere.
1.  Deflation is inevitable due to US financial Ponzi dynamics
2.  The collapse of credit will crash the money supply as credit is the vast majority of the effective money supply
3.  Cash will be king for a long time
4.  Printing one’s way out of deflation is impossible as printing cannot keep pace with credit destruction (the net effect is contraction)
5.  Debt will become a millstone around people’s necks and bankruptcy will no longer be possible at some point
6.  In the future the consequences of unpayable debt could include indentured servitude, debtor’s prison or being drummed into the military
7.  Early withdrawals from pension plans will be prevented and almost all pension plans will eventually default
8.  We will see a systemic banking crisis that will result in bank runs and the loss of savings
9.  Prices will fall across the board as purchasing power collapses
10.  Real estate prices are likely to fall by at least 90% on average (with local variation)
11.  The essentials will see relative price support as a much larger percentage of a much smaller money supply chases them
12.  We are headed eventually for a bond market dislocation where nominal interest rates will shoot up into the double digits
13.  Real interest rates will be even higher (the nominal rate minus negative inflation)
14.  This will cause a tsunami of debt default which is highly deflationary
15.  Government spending (all levels) will be slashed, with loss of entitlements and inability to maintain infrastructure
16.  Finance rules will be changed at will and changes applied retroactively (eg short selling will be banned, loans will be called in at some point)
17.  Centralized services (water, electricity, gas, education, garbage pick-up, snow-removal etc) will become unreliable and of much lower quality, or may be eliminated entirely
18.  Suburbia is a trap due to its dependence on these services and cheap energy for transport
19.  People with essentially no purchasing power will be living in a pay-as-you-go world
20.  Modern healthcare will be largely unavailable and informal care will generally be very basic
21.  Universities will go out of business as no one will be able to afford to attend
22.  Cash hoarding will continue to reduce the velocity of money, amplifying the effect of deflation
23.  The US dollar will continue to rise for quite a while on a flight to safety and as dollar-denominated debt deflates
24.  Eventually the dollar will collapse, but that time is not now (and a falling dollar does not mean an expanding money supply, i.e. inflation)
25.  Deflation and depression are mutually reinforcing in a positive feedback spiral, so both are likely to be protracted
26.  There should be no lasting market bottom until at least the middle of the next decade, and even then the depression won’t be over
27.  Much capital will be revealed as having been converted to waste during the cheap energy/cheap credit years
28.  Export markets will collapse with global trade and exporting countries will be hit very hard
29.  Herding behavior is the foundation of markets
30.  The flip side of the manic optimism we saw in the bubble years will be persistent pessimism, risk aversion, anger, scapegoating, recrimination, violence and the election of dangerous populist extremists
31.  A sense of common humanity will be lost as foreigners and those who are different are demonized
32.  There will be war in the labor markets as unemployment skyrockets and wages and benefits are slashed
33.  We are headed for resource wars, which will result in much resource and infrastructure destruction
34.  Energy prices are first affected by demand collapse, then supply collapse, so that prices first fall and then rise enormously
35.  Ordinary people are unlikely to be able to afford oil products AT ALL within 5 years
36.  Hard limits to capital and energy will greatly reduce socioeconomic complexity (see Tainter)
37.  Political structures exist to concentrate wealth at the centre at the expense of the periphery, and this happens at all scales simultaneously
38.  Taxation will rise substantially as the domestic population is squeezed in order for the elite to partially make up for the loss of the ability to pick the pockets of the whole world through globalization
39.  Depressive political structures will arise, with much greater use of police state methods and a drastic reduction of freedom
40. The rule of law will replaced by the politics of the personal and an economy of favors (i.e., endemic corruption)

We Have Some Hard Decisions Ahead
The economy has taken a dramatic turn for the worse for many Americans. While many individuals and households have had the financial resources and good fortune which will allow them to weather economic uncertainty, many will simply not be able to maintain their standard of living. Many two income households are now one income households and that income may have decreased due to companies cutting back on work hours. This situation has been occurring for many Americans for many, many months, forcing people to assess what is important and downgrade their lifestyle. The time to make hard decisions has arrived, and will dramatically alter the lives of many for years.
People who relied on spouses to pay the bills are now paying the bills. Those who have relied on savings and unemployment benefits to maintain their standard of living are now faced with the reality that those resources are exhausted. Bills are not being paid. Healthcare premiums are not being paid. Automobile and household maintenance is being neglected, which will create costlier repairs down the road. Simply put:
•  You might have to stop making your car payment and save those payments up to buy a used car. The car you currently have financed will be repossessed.
•  You might have to stop paying your mortgage and save those payments up to move into an apartment.
•  You might have to give up your healthcare, your magazine subscription, your club membership, your vacation plans, your charitable donations, your cell phone, your internet access or home phone service, your lawn care service, your financial support that you provide to friends and family who are having financial problems themselves, and many more expenditures not listed here.
•  You might have to contact an attorney to discuss bankruptcy.
•  You might have to sell off your possessions and assets.
•  You might have to move in with other families, friends, relatives, or shelters provided by the government or charitable organizations.
•  You may come to realize that what you thought was valuable and important to you has no value or significance at all.

Basic human needs will become the biggest priority in your life after you shed (lose the use of) the things that have merely brought comfort and convenience to you. You may be forced to downscale your lifestyle so dramatically that it will cause you to question your own intelligence and hindsight for not planning for such a life changing event.
The things that you have always taken for granted could become difficult to obtain now that there is no longer enough money to buy those things. Basic needs become vital issues that need to be addressed:
•  Food and ‘non-electric’–with the means both to prepare it and store it.
•  Portable water filtering devices and containers to store water for drinking, cooking, and bathing.
•  Over the counter medicines, vitamins, supplements, first aid supplies, and some basic health and first aid literature in book form. Individuals using prescription medications, or require medical attention, will need to determine their best course of action during a period of financial distress.
•  The need for shelter may require the purchase of a tent, camper trailer, and other camping equipment if you can no longer provide an actual roof over your head and have no one to turn to.
•  The need for personal protection will become more obvious as desperate people begin to take desperate actions to provide basic needs for themselves and their families. The level of security you choose will be determined by your location, your finances, and your personal views and beliefs. If chaotic conditions occur, lawless activity will surely follow. Past incidents of disaster and mayhem give much testimony to this.

A look at the civil unrest that can arise when a government just ‘proposes’ austerity measures
“French gov’t undercuts Senate on retirement bill
Oct 21, 11:40 AM (ET), By ANGELA CHARLTON
PARIS (AP) – The French government is short-circuiting a protracted debate in the Senate on a bill raising the retirement age to 62, brushing aside some 250 amendments.
Faced with widespread protests against the bill, the government is ordering Senators to vote on a package of its own design, using Article 44-3 of the Constitution that allows it to step into the parliamentary debate.
PARIS (AP) – Protesters blockaded Marseille’s airport, Lady Gaga canceled concerts in Paris and rioting youths attacked police in Lyon on Thursday ahead of a tense Senate vote on raising the retirement age to 62.
A quarter of the nation’s gas stations were out of fuel, despite President Nicolas Sarkozy’s orders to force open depots barricaded by striking workers. Gasoline shortages and violence on the margins of student protests have heightened the standoff between the government and labor unions that see retirement at 60 as a hard-earned right.
Shopping streets stood nearly empty Thursday in central Lyon. The Bistrot de Lyon didn’t put tables outside as usual out of fear of clashes. “We’ve seen a reduction of 30-35 percent of business overall, for the last few days with the rioting in town. Lunchtime, nothing is going on, we’ve no one. It’s more than calm,” said restaurant manager Philippe Husser.
In Nanterre, the scene of running street battles between masked and hooded youth and riot police in recent days, the scene Thursday morning was calm, said Mehdi Najar, one of a few dozen red-jacketed mediators organized by the city hall to try to keep the peace.
In Marseille, hundreds of workers blocked all access to the main airport for about three hours early Thursday. Passengers tugged suitcases along blocked roads as they hiked to the terminal, before police came in and the protesters dispersed.
Wildcat protests blocked train lines around Paris on Thursday. Protesters in cars and trucks blocked several highways around the country, from near Calais in the north to the Pyrenees in the south, according to the national road traffic center.”

Coming Chaos: No Banks, No Public Facilities, No Food and Rampaging Gangs of Desperate People
Bob Chapman, of The International Forecaster, says it’s time to prepare for the worst, comparing our impending economic crisis to that which was experienced at the onset of 1348 and the following century and a half.

Flashback to 1348:
The Black Death is estimated to have killed 30% to 60% of Europe’s population, reducing the world’s population from an estimated 450 million to between 350 and 375 million in 1400. This has been seen as creating a series of religious, social and economic upheavals which had profound effects on the course of European history. It took 150 years for Europe’s population to recover. The plague returned at various times, resulting in a larger number of deaths, until it left Europe in the 19th century.
While Chapman does not suggest we will experience our own black plague pandemic, he predicts that the consequences of our economic collapse may lead to total destabilization and wars, much like post-plague Europe.
As you are now well aware Fannie and Freddie are going to punish people who have stopped paying their mortgages, who can pay them, and who are paying other bills instead. This leaves lenders with foreclosures and much more inventory than they ever imagined. This additional problem will bring on the double dip that Wall Street and Washington so fear.
As a result of this and other failures we are about to experience the worst economic collapse since 1348. The stock market is topping out readying itself for its most disastrous fall in history. The fall will be followed by years of depression, all of which has been deliberately created to bring the world economically and financially to its knees in an attempt to bring about world government by Illuminists.
Some market analysts understand where the market is headed, but most who do understand, write and talk about the mundane observable trappings and not what the situation is really all about. We have several analysts talking about a market collapse. They do not talk about the real forces behind our misfortune.
There are always these lone voices in the wilderness, which at best – some 15% of the populace – listens too. You had better listen this time because it could well cost you not only your assets, but your life, especially when another war is being prepared for you to engage in. Nothing is really as it seems to be and there are no coincidences. You are about to enter a world of chaos from which few will survive unscathed. A world of no banks, no public facilities, no food and rampaging gangs of desperate people. Unemployment of 50% and little law and order. Violence will be rife. This is not a pretty picture, but we have spared you the details. The world had better wake up fast so they’ll be prepared to deal with what is to come. If you were not aware of it the dark side really exists.
We are now entering the next to last phase of our journey. The wanton creation of wealth, inflation and perhaps hyperinflation, which will rob you of your assets. A stealth attack on what you have left by the people who control your government. Such monetary creation is the only way these people can keep the game going. They know it won’t last, but they proceed anyway. For awhile they’ll keep the multitudes at bay with extended unemployment and food stamps, but that will fade in time for lack of financial control, as the system begins to break down.
You already see all fiat currencies under fire, as is sovereign debt. Can it get any worse? Of course it can, and it will. Implosion is the word everyone is going to discover and understand.
The picture Bob Chapman paints is one that may lead to an initial reaction of, “What? No way that can happen.” Perhaps it can’t happen. Perhaps, it really is different this time and our benevolent leaders and the powers that be are capable of managing this crisis. Perhaps they will restore jobs to pre-crash levels. Perhaps home prices will go back up to record 2006 levels because tens of thousands of buyers will appear in the market. Perhaps the Federal reserve will be able to sell of their toxic assets, not have to print more money to bail anyone out, and the world will demand that the dollar remain the reserve currency of choice. Perhaps all of these people in delinquency on their mortgages will be able to catch up on those late payments. Perhaps governments will stop spending more than they take in and all of their debts will be paid off. Perhaps the globe’s top financiers will figure out a way to deleverage the trillions of bad debt currently working its way through the system.

Or, perhaps they will not be able to reverse course. Let’s assume that they can’t reverse course. How bad can it really get? This is something that our elected officials and those at the Fed, Treasury and large institutions will not overtly discuss. But clues have been dropped throughout the last several years. And, you need to look no further than those very same officials.

President Obama, during the green shoots recovery of 2009 and 2010, told the American people
that a depression was avoided. Thus, we can assume that a depression is a strong possibility if we are in fact about to see another economic collapse. In 2008 and 2009, former Secretary of Treasury Henry Paulson said that we were “on the brink,” in fact, after he left his position with Treasury, he wrote a book with this very title. The brink, from what we can surmise, meant a complete collapse of our financial, economic and political systems. The result would have been martial law. Hard to believe? Yes. Impossible? No:

THE COMING CHAOS: PART II

Are some popular movie and television images from the end of the first decade of the 21st century, a harbinger of less severe, but rhyming themes to come? Movie entertainment themes are a fulfillment of consumer curiosity and expression of the sediment of the times.

Movie image, I Am Legend (left). Disease has almost eradicated mankind, only a few random survivors exits in decaying cities.
Movie, 2012. Earth crustal shifts with continents sinking into the ocean. Several thousand people escape drowning aboard huge ships.
Movie, The Road. A catastrophe has almost wiped out mankind. Survival is harsh in a barren land of armed scavengers.
Movie, The Book of Eli.  Most of Man destroyed by calamity, there are few survivors, much chaotic lawlessness is pervasive.
TV series, The Walking Dead. Brain disease reduces most of mankind to zombies, a few healthy survivors gather and try to eke out an existence without becoming infected.
TV series, Falling Skies. Aliens attack Earth; humans are slaughtered and small remnants driven from cities. Survivalist lifestyles develop as ragged groups try to feed themselves and resist the aliens.
Movie, Contagion. Earth population depleted by fast acting virulent disease. Chaotic conditions develop.

Real life images
Garbage lined streets (right) : During the (2011) snowstorms that hit the NYC, the Sanitation Department suspended garbage collection for days at a time in order to use trucks for snow removal, which meant about 11,000 tons of trash per day didn’t get collected. Granted, the mess has been caused by more than just missed collections. People have been tossing loose trash onto the bags, and it’s winding up on the sidewalks and streets. Plastic McDonald’s cups. Broken bottles of Budweiser and empty cans of Four Loko, cigarette butts, smashed umbrellas, sheet music, soggy gloves, old newspapers, and damp, dirty sofas — all left out in the open, as if they, too, will just melt away. And thanks to pet owners, who got a little lazy in the bad weather, many city streets are now shellacked with dog feces.  Crumbling Detroit, 2010.
In the late nineteenth century Detroit (left)emerged as a major transportation hub along the Great Lakes.  Gilded Age mansions and other grand buildings spawned the city’s nickname “Paris of the West.” The gasoline crises of the 1970s impacted heavily on the car industry, while racial tensions and increasing drug-fuelled crime spurred the beginning of the end for Detroit’s industrial supremacy.  As the city descended into high unemployment, many of its finest buildings, including theatres, hotels, offices and apartments, fell into ruin.

Our Jig Saw Puzzle:
The parts that go bump in the night, the parts that can trigger the coming chaos, are:

1.  Peak Oil
(Think broadly: ANY energy crisis.)
The world is rapidly approaching Peak Oil production and will be at an inflection point soon, if not already, after which, real prices will (or already have) begin a long rise. Price inflection is possible before the next economic recovery, but will certainly come with a recovery, which will then be short-lived, because rising energy prices will channel money away from other discretionary expenditures.
During the years, 2009-2010, the USA and Europe were in recession with lower oil requirements, which have skewered the associated 2007 chart by extending the plateau top and pushing the ‘decline in production slope’ (with subsequent increase in prices) into the future another couple of years past the original 2007 projection. Whether we are out of the recession or not by 2015, production declines and the resultant rise in petroleum prices will probably have become an unpleasant factor in our national and personal, financial lives.

Official Peak Oil reports
Saturday, 4 Sep 2010, FinancialSense.com weekly, ‘News Hour’ podcast, gave leads to the Peak Oil reports listed below. These articles (only the lead paragraphs have been re printed here) seem to be telling a story, a story which has not yet been shared to any degree with the American people by either the Government or the news media. Furthermore, there is not just one news item, but increasingly frequent, almost monthly reports issued by responsible, main stream institutions in Europe, the USA and the Middle East.
Europe is currently advancing on a continent wide program toward fossil fuel independence; its estimated that in 10 years, by 2020, 20% all of Europe’s energy, not just its electricity, will be derived from renewables. What is happening in the United States? Nothing that I’ve heard of or seen. Maybe the government is waiting for a ‘Peak Oil-Pearl Harbor’ type crisis to create a popular mandate for action—as opposed to making plans and choosing an intelligent path while there is more time and opportunity to implement and mass test renewable systems.
The energy transition from one type energy to an alternative, historically, only happens about once per century and does so with momentous consequences.  We will begin to move away from fossil fuels quite rapidly from here on forward. Business, families and individuals who can adapt to the charge and manage risk will gain an advantage with the shrinking energy pie. (See also ‘Survival Manual/1. Disasters/Peak oil and energy crisis’)

The reports:
a)  London, 10 February 2010: UK Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security (ITPOES) study on peak oil was released: “Business calls for urgent action on ‘oil crunch’ threat to UK economy”. A group of leading business people today call for urgent action to prepare the UK for Peak Oil. The second report of the UK Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security (ITPOES) finds that oil shortages, insecurity of supply and price volatility will destabilize economic, political and social activity potentially by 2015.
b)  March 2010: Telegraph.Co.UK, “Oil reserves ‘exaggerated by one third’. The world’s oil reserves have been exaggerated by up to a third, according to Sir David King, the Government’s former chief scientist, who has warned of shortages and price spikes within years. Published: 9:51PM GMT 22 Mar 2010, by Rowena Mason, City Reporter (Energy)
c) March 2010:  heatingoil.com, Kuwait University and Kuwait Oil Company’ Peak Oil report: “Kuwaiti Researchers Predict Peak Oil Production in 2014, Posted by Josh Garrett on March 10, 2010
d)  “A new study published in the Journal Energy & Fuels predicts that world conventional oil production will hit its peak in the year 2014.
e) April 2010: guardian.co.uk, “US military warns oil output may dip causing massive shortages by 2015” by Terry Macalister. The Shortfall could reach 10 million barrels a day, report says, while the cost of crude oil is predicted to top $100 a barrel.
“The US military has warned that surplus oil production capacity could disappear within two years and there could be serious shortages by 2015 with a significant economic and political impact. The energy crisis outlined in a Joint Operating Environment report from the US Joint Forces Command, comes as the price of petrol in Britain reaches record levels and the cost of crude is predicted to soon top $100 a barrel.
f) June 2010: Guardian.co.uk, news article posted 11 July 2010, “Lloyd’s adds its voice to dire ‘peak oil’ warnings”, by Terry Macalister. “Business underestimating catastrophic consequences of declining oil, says Lloyd’s of London/Chatham House report. One of the City’s most respected institutions has warned of “catastrophic consequences” for businesses that fail to prepare for a world of increasing oil scarcity and a lower carbon economy. The Lloyd’s insurance market and the highly regarded Royal Institute of International Affairs, known as Chatham House, says Britain needs to be ready for “peak oil” and disrupted energy supplies at a time of soaring fuel demand in China and India, constraints on production caused by the BP oil spill and political moves to cut CO2 to halt global warming. “Companies which are able to take advantage of this new energy reality will increase both their resilience and competitiveness. Failure to do so could lead to expensive and potentially catastrophic consequences,” says the Lloyd’s and Chatham House report “Sustainable energy security: strategic risks and opportunities for business”.
g) August 2010: Spiegal Online International, posted 4 September 2010, “German Military Study Warns of a Potentially Drastic Oil Crisis“, by Stefan Schultz “A study by a German military think tank has analyzed how “peak oil” might change the global economy. The internal draft document — leaked on the Internet — shows for the first time how carefully the German government has considered a potential energy crisis.
The study is a product of the Future Analysis department of the Bundeswehr Transformation Center, a think tank tasked with fixing a direction for the German military. The team of authors, led by Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Will, uses sometimes-dramatic language to depict the consequences of an irreversible depletion of raw materials. It warns of shifts in the global balance of power, of the formation of new relationships based on interdependency, of a decline in importance of the western industrial nations, of the “total collapse of the markets” and of serious political and economic crises.

The news report from Spiegal Online was specific about their study’s socio-economic findings, pointing out that:
•  “Shortages in the supply of vital goods could arise as a result, for example in food supplies.
•  Oil is used directly or indirectly in the production of 95 percent of all industrial goods.
•  Price shocks could therefore be seen in almost any industry and throughout all stages of the industrial supply chain.
•  In the medium term the global economic system and every market-oriented national economy would collapse.…
•  (Relapse into planned economy) Since virtually all economic sectors rely heavily on oil, peak oil could lead to a partial or complete failure of markets. A conceivable alternative would be government rationing and the allocation of important goods or the setting of production schedules and other short-term coercive measures to replace market-based mechanisms in times of crisis….
•  (Global chain reaction)  A restructuring of oil supplies will not be equally possible in all regions before the onset of peak oil. It is likely that a large number of states will not be in a position to make the necessary investments in time, or with sufficient magnitude.
•  If there were economic crashes in some regions of the world, Germany could be affected. Germany would not escape the crises of other countries, because it’s so tightly integrated into the global economy….”
•  The Bundeswehr study also raises fears for the survival of democracy itself. Parts of the population could perceive the upheaval triggered by peak oil “as a general systemic crisis.” This would create “room for ideological and extremist alternatives to existing forms of government….”

2.  Real Food Price Increases
Another sign of the times and portent for the near future burden of costs falling on household budgets is shown in the New York Times news article dated, 5 August 2010:
•  “MOSCOW — Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin on Thursday banned all exports of grain after millions of acres of Russian wheat withered in a severe drought, driving up prices around the world and pushing them to their highest level in two years in the United States…Russia is suffering from the worst heat wave since record-keeping began here more than 130 years ago…Wheat prices have soared by about 90 percent since June because of the drought in Russia and parts of the European Union, as well as floods in Canada, and the ban pushed prices even higher. Exports from Ukraine, another major exporter, are down sharply this year…Before this year’s drought, yields had risen steadily, and Russian grain exports totaled 21.4 million metric tons last year, about 17 percent of the global grain trade.
But on Thursday, rail cars heaped with fresh grain came to a halt around Russia, stopped in mid-journey from the country’s fields to the main exporting ports on the Black Sea. The order covered a variety of grains, including barley and corn, but will have its greatest impact on wheat exports…”
Global food supplies will be tighter and more costly in the last half of 2010 and into 2011. Beyond fall 2011 prices may not return to lower levels, because energy input costs from gasoline, petroleum, fertilizer costs, harvest, packaging and shipping will be tightening with the approach of peak oil.
See at right, the 2007 U.S.A. ‘Grain Stock to Use Ratios’ chart, projected to 2016. Note, that during the decades when the country was at its wealthiest, we had twice the ‘Stock to Use Ratio’ as when the current recession began. Rather than build and maintain reserves during good times, we have depleted reserves.
•  Globally, 2008 saw record lows in global grain stocks. When commodity prices reached their peak, average global grain stocks reached 18.7% of annual global utilization, equivalent to 68 days worth of supply, well below the long-term average.

Where are food prices going?
When combining: 1) globally reduced food stock supply plus, 2) increasing demand from a growing world population; 3) increasingly demand from affluent Asian markets wanting higher quality foods; 4) higher priced agricultural fuel & fertilizer, 5) higher priced packaging, and 6) more expensive transportation costs,m 7) devaluation of the US dollar, it points toward an escalating Real Cost of food across the coming years.

3.  National energy grid at threat from EMP disruption
“Civilization is like a great web upon which all things are connected. Bop one strand of the web and the whole thing jiggles. Perhaps no other country on earth is more enslaved to conventional, fuel burning transportation than the United States. Transportation is the lifeblood of the economy, which would quickly collapse if the means for transporting needed supplies were disrupted in any way. With our just-in-time inventory management system, grocery stores commonly carry only a three-day supply of food. This statistical three-day supply would disappear within a few hours during an emergency situation; a panicked populace would make sure of that.”

EMPact America, Inc. Conference, 8-10 September 2009, Niagara, NY, conference speakers pointed out:
•  “An electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, is a super energetic radio wave that’s immediately harmless to people, but it’ll burn out all the critical electronic systems that sustain human economic activity and human life across vast areas, including the entire continental United States.” Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, President, EMPact America
•  “It’s not a secret. You can’t do anything about something that’s this broad in impact and still keep it a secret. So in order to get anything done you actually have to acknowledge we have a weakness. And, we worried about the fact that if we acknowledged that we had a weakness, how damaging will that be since we will inform our adversaries. We came to the conclusion that our adversaries are really quite well-informed already.”-Robert Hermann, Commissioner, Congressional EMP Commission
•  “I have believed for a long time that EMP or electromagnetic pulse may be the greatest strategic threat we face, because without adequate preparation its impact would be so horrifying that we would, in fact, basically lose our civilization in a matter of seconds.”-Newt Gingrich, Former Speaker of the US House of Representatives

A)  Solar Flare produced EMP
The magnetic pulses from solar flares can fry microchips and disrupt any electronic devices. A solar flare disrupted primitive electronics such as telegraphs in 1859 and another one occurred in 1989 as well. One of the most serious solar flares took place in 1921 and disrupted communications in the U.S. An EMP from the sun in the 21st century could be devastating and wipe out any system using electricity or microchips.”
In 2008, the National Academy of Sciences produced a report for NASA that confirmed the EMP Commission’s warning that a “great” geomagnetic storm could have catastrophic consequences for modern civilization.  According to the NAS report, if the 1859 Carrington event happened today, it could destroy nationwide the electric grid, collapse the critical infrastructures and take 4-10 years to recover – if recovery is possible at all. In June 2010, the Department of Energy and North American Electric Reliability Corporation released a joint report that, again, confirmed the EMP Commission’s warning about the catastrophic threat from a “great” geomagnetic storm.
So it is incomprehensible why the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Aug. 5 – just days after NOAA warned about the possibility of a severe geomagnetic storm actually striking our planet – would gut H.R. 5026, The Grid Reliability and Infrastructure Defense Act, that is designed to protect the United States from the effects of a geomagnetic storm.  H.R. 5026 would protect the national electric grid from “all hazards” – including EMP from geomagnetic storms, nuclear EMP from terrorists or rogue states, cyber threats, sabotage and natural disasters.  H.R. 5026 embodied the recommendations of the EMP Commission, the National Academy of Sciences and the Department of Energy.
The revised H.R. 5026 does nothing to protect the United States from EMP from geomagnetic storms, or nuclear EMP from rogue states and terrorists, from sabotage or from natural disasters.  The Senate gutted H.R. 5026 despite the EMP Commission’s recommendation that protecting the grid against “all hazards” is technologically the best and most cost-effective strategy.  For example, an “all hazards” strategy could mitigate the worst threats to the grid from natural and nuclear EMP and cyber threats for $100 million – and possibly save the lives of millions of Americans.
But the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee chose to ignore the EMP Commission, the National Academy of Sciences and the Department of Energy.  Every member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee received a personal appeal from the EMP Commission and other prominent experts to pass H.R. 5026 with its provisions for protecting against EMP and “all hazards” intact – but those appeals were ignored.
Fortunately, Earth dodged the bullet from the August 6, 2010 solar flare.  Fortunately, NOAA’s estimated 10 percent chance of a severe geomagnetic storm did not materialize – this time.  We may not be so lucky next time.

B)  Nuclear EMP attack against the US electrical grid
“Wednesday, 18 August 2010, TVC Special Report: Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) weapons pose a serious and growing threat to our national security. Rogue nations and terrorists are working to develop EMP devices to attack the United States and other developed nations. These include North Korea, Iran and China. Once North Korea and Iran have missiles capable of reaching the U.S., they can use an EMP burst over our nation to destroy us.
1) A high altitude nuclear blast above middle America
A nuclear blast 200 miles above the U.S. could wipe out every electric grid in the country, plunging our nation into darkness. It would literally send our nation back to the 18th century. (A powerful X15+ class solar flare would have the same impact.) An EMP blast from a nuclear bomb would shut down devices, and our vehicles using microchips. Planes would stop flying; banks and hospitals would cease operation; trains would stop running; tractors, trucks and cars would cease working. Elevators would malfunction; subways would stop. All commerce would cease. A blast like this could not only wipe out the electric grid in the U.S., but in Canada and Mexico. The more technologically advanced a nation is, the more vulnerable it is to an EMP attack.
2)  What Can Be Done?
The United States must take seriously the threat posed by EMP attacks. The military has already taken measures to shield its systems from EMP attacks, but little has been done yet to shield our electric grid system from such an attack. This includes banks, water treatment plants, planes, hospitals, schools and any other facility that relies on computers. All of these must be shielded from the potential of an EMP attack or a solar flare.”
3)  If the power ever goes off for an extended period
• 
50% of the people will just sit down and wait for someone to come and help them, and if no one does, they’ll just die. 10% of the people know what to do and do what is needed in a logical way. 5% of the people become extremely dangerous almost immediately.  About 33% of the people  feel that they’re entitled to electric power and when they don’t get it they go nuts and will bring down the social system.
•   James Rawles interview by The Watchmen Radio Station, 3 Sep 2010:
“…If we were to have the onset of an EMP collapse in summertime we’d see a public health crisis very quickly. If it were to happen mid-winter we’d actually see more people dying of exposure, dying of the cold, than we would of dying of disease, especially in the Eastern United States and the North East. It doesn’t take too long a period before blankets are insufficient – people don’t have any alternate source of heat they’ll be freezing to death in large numbers. In a ‘grid down collapse’ that goes on for more than a year, we literally could see a 90% population loss in the big cities, and a 50% population loss in the suburbs and as much as a 40% loss in non-viable rural areas – I’m talking desert regions or other areas where there’s not a lot of agriculture that goes on.”

4.   US Debt:
As of this morning, ~ 4:05AM, Thursday, 9 September 2010, the Outstanding US National Debt is $14,278,946,101,012 dollars—that’s $14.2 trillion dollars and constitutes 93% of the national Gross Domestic Product. With the current US population of 310,383,941 the National Debt comes to $46,004 per person.
The Outstanding US National Debt is the sum of all outstanding debt owed by the Federal Government and includes: Social Security and Federal retirement programs, other trust funds, US Treasury Securities, and Savings Bonds.
Organizations loaning money to the US Government through US Treasuries include: state and local governments; individual investors, including brokers, public and private; pension funds; mutual funds; holders of US savings bonds; insurance companies; banks and credit unions; and foreign investors.

Add the GSE (Freddie/Fannie) debt to that and we are over 18 trillion.
Pile on the unfunded liabilities hidden on the government’s ‘off balance sheet ledgers’ and you will find these figures:  Social Security (14.6 trillion), Prescription Drugs (19.2 trillion), Medicare (76 trillion). You owe, your kids owe, all of us owe about $400,000 each.
Considering the median home price on the east-coast is $205,000.00, you now owe for two homes, in addition to anything that you may owe on your existing home, and it’s at a variable rate loan. In fact, principle and interest are subject to change. This debt is just like some toxic negative amortization pay-what-you-can-add-more-to-principle mortgage.”
http://www.financialsense.com/contributors/d-sherman-okst/mutant-rat-epidemic-spreading-economic-black-plague

Considering our economy (and the World’s too)
The annual US Budget Deficit is about $1.4 trillion. The annual budget deficit is the difference between actual cash collections and budgeted spending (a partial measure of total spending) during a given fiscal year, which runs from October 1 to September 30. In order to get an idea how much $1 trillion is, if you counted one dollar every second, you’d need to count for 31,000 years to go through the $1 trillion pile of dollars. About 31,000 years ago the Neanderthal died off across Europe. Our stone age ancestors were just beginning to make engravings on cave walls.
“The downside to increasing deficits and a rising national debt is that public sector spending “crowds out” more and more private sector investment spending. If you like the idea of Congress and the president playing a growing role in the nation’s allocation of resources, then I suppose that should be of little concern. On the other hand, if you think government leaders are far more likely to make bad investment decisions than are private decision-makers, then crowding out is of considerable concern.
The fallout will not be in the form of an unfair tax increase on our grandchildren when the associated debt is paid off because, it will never be paid off. The fallout will come in an increased drift toward an economy increasingly controlled by the federal government.”
“The debt merry-go-round cannot go on forever. When the average consumer runs out of credit, when the US Treasury itself is no longer considered creditworthy, and when the US dollar is recognized for what it really is, then things will get ugly. If you stop making payments on your car, the banks send a repo man to tow your car away. And when entire nations go in to default, it usually signals cataclysmic events. Be prepared.” James Wesley Rawles in How To Survive the End of the World As We Know It

China Syndrome
Today the United States has become so reliant on the largesse of foreigners that its needs are now larger than all the savings in the Western world. Someday soon, those foreigners will grow cautious about lending to a country with no self-discipline and demand instead higher interest rates to protect them from a depreciating dollar. Or they could, as hinted recently, insist on lending in Euros or Renminbi, currencies that the American government cannot print.
The unprecedented expansion of central bank liabilities, has made China nervous about holding more dollars and China has begun to dump dollars, driving up prices of dollar based hard assets. China is so concerned about America’s dollar inflation that it has reduced its treasury holdings to $776 billion from $801 billion in May. China has also bought more gold as a hedge against the debasement of the dollar.

5.  Then comes hyperinflation – spend it now!
“Hyperinflation is not just an increase in the money supply, after all the central bank increases the money supply all the time, a phenomenon we know as simple inflation and which we come to expect as a constant. Hyperinflation, however, happens when uncertainty in the future worth of the currency causes people to start trading it for things of actual utility and more reliable stores of value as soon as they can, as soon as they’re paid. The velocity of paper money moving through the system increases as people seek to get rid of it.
So hyperinflation isn’t just the expansion of the monetary base, though the expansion is at the root. The expansion is fuel, but the conflagration doesn’t start till the herd panics.
Hyperinflation takes off when the entire population gets wise. The money supply might have been growing in fits and spurts for decades, but the hyperinflationary storm happens when that money really starts to move around as people try to get rid of it. The prices of useful goods get bid up to mind boggling levels. The process accelerates when governments try to stabilize markets…often by adding more paper…because honestly, what else can a government do? Mismanagement and fraud are the only things governments really get right consistently. So, for the government, a problem that’s caused by the theft of inflation can only be solved by…more mismanagement and fraud. The entire process is self-reinforcing and results in the hyperinflationary death spiral to which all currency is heir.

Common threads during a Hyperinflation:
•   Early on, leaders see their popularity wilt when public anger over spending increased.
•   The banking system soon becomes an instrument of the government.
•   The printing of money becomes a priority, the hyperinflation may come in two waves   separated by a short, slower inflationary period.
•    The government may increase minimum wages by 75 percent.
•   Up to 80 percent of the population may become unemployed.
•   Living standards may fall 35-40 percent.
•   Some stores may sell goods in a reputable foreign currency.

When it’s all said and done, realize this:
Industrial society is built on, 1) a foundation of an organized social structure with feedback loops, 2) an  interdependent infrastructure of transportation, homes and utilities,  3) and a massive, energy driven commodity flow that processes materials from the mine, timber and field to operate; diminish any link and the size of the system must shrink, break any link and the system collapses.


Things to keep in mind:
•   Where ever you live– the greater the population density of your community and surrounding communities, the greater the resource requirements are, and the faster the breakdown will occur when the supply infrastructure (money, food, water, electricity, auto gas, etc.) is stopped.
•   Once the Welfare and Medicare checks stop ‘the poor will take care of their own family’ by taking from the people with an apparent wealth of material goods, people who are perceived to be their oppressors anyway.
•   Once you lose that sense of community, it’s basically every man for himself.

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