Surviving in a barter economy

(Survival Manual/ Prepper articles/ Surviving in a barter economy)

A.  How to Survive in a Bartering Economy Post-Disaster
By eHow Contributor
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The Great Depression

People can and will survive after a disaster whether it be war, famine, or even another Great Depression. Life may drastically change quickly but with a little knowledge, you can survive and thrive in conditions where essential commodities become currency.

1.  People may think you are a little crazy for being prepared for the next disaster, but keep in mind the people who begin preparations after an event such as war or economic collapse, for them it is simply too late. Within 24 hours of panic, there will not be enough societal order to protect the society from themselves. This means gas stations could be dry, food shelves empty, and pharmacies empty – whether by panic purchasing or through looting. So, protect your family and make modest preparations, and best not to tell anyone of your post-disaster preparations.

2.  History is replete of examples where currency becomes worthless and people begin trading in commodities. For example, the Weimar Republic in Germany in the 1920s printed money at such an alarming pace that the currency was worthless. Germans began trading in food and other necessities to survive. Even without a nuclear exchange, conventional war, or a serious terrorist attack, it is possible for economic conditions to deteriorate to the extent that currencies become worthless.

3.  When hyper-inflation hits, which means our money will be worth very little, using gold to conduct trading for goods and services will likely be the preferred transactional currency. However, gold is quite expensive now and may be difficult to acquire enough to make a difference, but nevertheless, it is wise to have a little on hand. When commerce grinds to a halt, food, medicine, and other survival essentials could be used to trade for gold however. And the great news is that you can use your survival stores.

4.  The types of food to store will vary depending upon your storage capability. For a quick and easy food store, Costco sells a 280 meal sealed bucket of food that lasts for 20 years. It is vegetarian and only requires hot water to prepare the packet and costs roughly $79. You can also purchase large bags of rice to store in a USDA approved plastic sealable container. There are a variety of canned foods that have a shelf life of three years. As long as you rotate these canned goods into your daily family food plan, the food will never spoil. Other food items that you can store: dried fruit, canned fruit, canned meat, canned tuna, canned salmon, canned vegetables, water, and powdered milk. It is advisable to conduct an inventory of your food stores periodically to check the expiration dates and rotate food if necessary.

5.  There are other items that while useful also will be quite valuable during post disaster. Depending on the type of disaster, some items may be more valuable. For example, Iodine tablets will be invaluable during a nuclear fallout as will any nuclear biological, chemical (NBC) protection devices such as masks with filters and NBC suits. Other post-disaster commodities of high value will be alcohol (yep, people will still drink and people who never did might want to start), over the counter and prescription drugs (I am not advocating storing prescription drugs), most commonly used ammunition and weapons (society without a dependable order will necessitate personal protection), gasoline (be advised that storing gasoline is dangerous and I am not advising you to store it), Kerosene (heat will mean the difference between life and death in areas without electricity or natural gas).

In short, you need to think of scenarios that may increase the value of commodities in a post-disaster environment. Life will go on, kids will get sick, family members might be injured, and your septic tank will still need maintenance, which means you will need to be in a position of power to barter for services.

6.  A prepared but measured approach would be to store 6 months of food (a bare minimum of caloric intake) for your family- both for sustenance and a trading commodity. You don’t have to go all out “Y2K” on your family but simple preparations can ensure that you survive in a post-disaster and that you can participate in a bartering economy.


B.  Foods For Barter
December 7, 2012, Submitted by: Ken (Admin)
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Many of us know that grocery stores operate on ‘just in time’ inventory management… meaning that there is basically no back room storage… everything they have is on the shelves and is replaced with deliveries to restock ‘just in time’ while taking advantage of cost savings from the efficiency of modern day transportation and manufacturing. If there ever were a disruption to this system, some say that within 3 days most grocery store shelves would be empty. Others argue that it may take a bit longer, depending – maybe a week.

Our dependence upon food being there in our grocery stores is an amazing thing. An assumption that it will always be so. It is an assumption that quite literally is life dependent. We cannot survive without it. Period. By ‘we’, I mean most. There are more and more people waking up and mitigating that risk by growing more of their own food and storing/preserving it, and more people are building a food storage inventory of their own.

With that in mind, imagine if the system was disrupted for not just weeks or even a month or two… but years… What are some of the foods that may be good for barter?

Canned meats
People will be craving for meat. I dare say 99% of meat that is consumed is sourced from ‘fresh’. Who is thinking about storing canned meat? This will be a very valuable barter item.

Canned vegetables
Although not packed with calories like other foods, it will provide a much needed source of fiber and nutritional balance.

Inexpensive. Easy to store. Simple to make a meal. If you can heat water, you can eat. Good barter.

Dog food
Lots of people won’t think to store much extra dog food. Your pet will thank you. Great barter value.

Peanut butter
Packed with calories and protein. Regarding calories per ounce, this one is high.

Powdered milk
Few ‘non preppers’ will be thinking about stocking up on this item. Most people don’t like the taste, but if milk disappeared, this would be a treat.

Dried beans
They are packed with protein. Taste can be altered with whatever creativity you can imagine with the spices and sauces on hand. They do require a fair amount of cook time though, but provided you can heat water, you’re good to go. A ‘staple’ barter item.

You need something to go with those beans, yes? Not as much cooking time required. Entire cultures survive on this stuff. Another ‘staple’ barter item.


C. Barter/Trade Items in a Survival Scenario
Ca. 2010, Urban Survival Site, Author: Urban Alan
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Imagine a worst-case scenario. It could be hyperinflation—it takes a wheelbarrow of cash to buy a loaf of bread and you no longer have enough money to buy even a small item or piece of food. It could be a nuclear war, a devastating act of terrorism, an EMP attack—banks are shut down, cash is unavailable. Even in more temporary disasters such as an earthquake or a hurricane, cash could become rare or worthless if people are more interested in food and supplies. How do you prepare for this? You’ll need barter and trade items. There are several options:

Precious Metals
Although PMs are a great thing to have as a part of your portfolio in order to protect your wealth, they might not be ideal in a survival scenario. If SHTF, most people are going to be more interested in things they can use than gold and silver. On the other hand, many people believe in the intrinsic value of precious metals. In a survival situation, metals could emerge as a popular form of currency. This is why I recommend getting some metal, but don’t put all your eggs in one basket. It’s probably best to buy silver as even small pieces of gold are too valuable to trade for any items you would want from your neighbors. Try a site like where you can buy a roll of 20 silver American Eagles.

Alcohol and Tobacco
Again, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. In survival situations, nicotine addicts are going to become desperate and will trade useful items so they can smoke. And if times are tough, a lot of people will crave spirits so they can temporarily escape the reality of their situation. However, if things are really bad, your alcohol and tobacco might be useless. In a post-apocalyptic scenario where people are starving, even nicotine addicts and alcoholics might be more interested in food. I recommend storing a few cartons of cigarettes and several small bottles of alcohol, but no more. Note: If you have a drinking problem or are an ex-smoker, please don’t store any alcohol or tobacco.

Other Items
The point of this article is that in most survival situations, people are going to want things they can use. If you want to store up items you can trade, they need to be useful and have a great space-to-value ratio. For example, people might want shovels, but they might also want lighters and a pack of lighters takes up a lot less space in your storage area than a shovel. Not to mention they are very portable, a necessity when visiting your neighbors and making deals. Note: Many others might disagree with me, but I would NOT trade ammunition. Do not give others the means to take what you have. Here are a few recommended items:
Allergy medicine
Aluminum foil
Animal traps
Apple cider vinegar
Baby formula
Baby wipes
Baking powder
Baking soda
Bar soap
Bicycle parts
Bug spray
Can openers
Canned food
Canned shortening
Canning jars/lids
Clothes line/pins
Coffee filters
Coleman fuel
Cooking oil
Dental floss
Disposable gloves
Dried soup mix
Feminine products
Fire extinguishers
First aid kit
Fishing gear
Glasses repair kit
Hand sanitizer
Hard candy
Hydrogen peroxide
Imodium A-D
Lamp oil
Lantern mantles
Lighter fluid
Magnifying glasses
Measuring cups/spoons
Milk, powdered
Mylar bags
Nail clippers
Nylon rope
Paper plates
Paper towels
Paraffin wax
Peanut butter
Pepper spray
Pet food
Plates and bowls
Pots and pans
Rat poison
Reading glasses
Rubber bands
Rubbing alcohol
Safety pins
Saline solution
Sand paper
Screw drivers
Sea salt
Sharpening stones
Shaving cream
Shoe laces
Space blankets
Sun block
Super glue
Survival books
Toilet paper
Tooth brush
Tooth paste
Trash bags
Tuna fish (in oil)
Wax paper
Ziploc bags

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