(Survival Manual/2. Social Issues/Bartering your supplies)
A. When the supply line is broken
Bartering is an effective way to get goods and services and basically cut out the middle man. In really hard times, we would be looking to increase these exchanges and find ways to get things done, to feed, clothe and whatever else would be needed- without spending cash.
In a “worst case” economic situation or extreme hyperinflation, bartering goods and services could become an essential family survival strategy. Having pre-stocked raw material and manufactured goods that would become scarce will put you in a position to barter for those things you need and don’t have.
• Crisis Duration
During a short-term crisis that isolates people from goods & services, bartering will probably be done with cash for goods or by simple exchanges of food items. If you are sure the crisis will be short-lived you can consider providing goods at very low barter cost to assist those in great need. This will create a tremendous amount of local good will for you during and after the crisis.
Long duration crisis will be evident by a collapse of the national economy that affects production, storage and transportation of goods. Consider the various natural phases of a long-term crisis when deciding what skills to learn and what goods to pre-stock in preparation. What will become scarce?
What will people need during each phase? What goods should be held back for the next phases? What essential material can be refurbished and repaired using low-tech methods and tools? What geographic specific goods and services will be needed? As an evaluation example: there will not be much survival demand for a wood stove fabrication capability in Southern Florida.
• Value of Goods
The value of your trade goods will be determined by essential need and perceived scarcity. The value of goods will also change over the duration of the crisis as needs, conditions and availability change.
• Early Phases
Early on there will be some goods that disappear quickly, some will be essential while others will soon become the new luxury items. When was the last time you considered a bar of soap a luxury or even a necessity that you had to ration? As bartering becomes more prevalent after the big crunch, you will have to be able to decide, what to barter and when.
• Alternate Options
When some goods will become scarce or not available, there may be viable alternatives to replace them. When toilet paper disappears, newspaper will be in demand. Homemade soap will soon replace dwindling stock of mass-produced soap – homemade disinfectant soap will be the most valuable. With no electrical power, being able to make candles and candle lanterns can be a money-making skill. As time passes, there will be less and less pre-crisis manufactured consumable goods. Tools and other non-consumables will break and wear out.
B. Top 12 Barter Goods for WTSHTF
1. Water Purification Supplies – Does this really need an explanation?
2. Prescription Medications – Yes, this is a difficult one to stock up on, but if you come across them in the post-apocalyptic world – SNAG ‘EM. What do you think you could trade a bottle of nitro pills for with someone who has a heart condition? If you require prescription medications I would strongly advise you consult with your physician about obtaining a few month’s extra supplies.
3. Fuel – We’re talking all types: gas, diesel, propane, firewood, etc. Can you have too much? No, so you’ll likely keep it for yourself, but if you DID need something that you hadn’t already acquired, fuel will be a great commodity for bartering.
4. Guns –Yes, they’re expensive, but there are MANY people out there who are averse to owning a gun, but once TEOTWAWKI hits, their minds will quickly change. They’re expensive, yes, but to someone that’s unarmed, a single-shot shotgun and a box of shells will be worth its weight in gold.
5. Ammo– America is the most heavily armed nation in the world, but I seriously question how many people actually maintain an adequate supply of ammunition for those guns. Think about it, how many people do you know that go out and buy a few boxes of shells before hunting season starts? They don’t have an adequate supply should SHTF. You can have all the guns in the world, but if you can’t load them with bullets – they’re useless. Stock up on common calibers (.22, 9mm, .45, .223, 12 gauge and .308) and you’ll find yourself in high demand with people who need rounds. Now, the flip side of this is do you really want to give away ammunition that might be used against you? You’ll have to decide this depending on the exact SHTF circumstances.
6. Survival Books – Books with good information will be huge. They’re EMP-proof and don’t require electricity to run (unlike the pc you’re using). I advise you to at least print and save the pages of this Survival Manual.
7. Batteries – Stock as many as you can use while rotating stock and staying within the recommended life span. A better idea is to stock a few crank radios and flashlights.
8. Soap, Bleach and Cleaning Agents – Your local grocery store won’t be open. These items are critical for maintaining health and hygiene.
9. Cast Iron Cookware – People that run out of fuel will be cooking over an open fire – situations that call for cast iron. Settlers used it for a reason.
10. Survival Seeds – This would be for the pro-longed SHTF situation. Their value will be infinite.
11. Garden and Hand Tools – Those left alive will suddenly become gardeners and carpenters, whether they like it or not.
12. Canning Supplies – How will people survive the non-growing season without these?
Some items I’d like to cover that are not included above:
• Silver and Gold Coins – A lot of people advocate purchasing these for bartering purposes, but their value is entirely dependent on the situation. If you’re lost in the desert for 14 days, would you rather have a gallon of water or 4 bars of gold? Precisely my point. When the cataclysm hits people WILL NOT look for silver and gold coins, they’ll be looking for the items mentioned above.
• Booze – Yes, alcoholics will do flips and twists for it when they run dry, but what will your typical alcoholic have to offer in trade? Think about it. While I would appreciate a stiff shot of Jack Daniels post-Doomsday, I wouldn’t waste my time stocking up on it for bartering purposes. That being said, if you do drink, and you have a pantry stocked with food, it’d certainly be worthwhile to add the booze of your choice to the shelves and rotate stock. Remember: Shop in your pantry for dinner, shop at the store for your pantry.
• Toilet Paper –Don’t waste valuable storage space to stock amounts much beyond your typical household needs.
C. Internet Blog respondents list what they feel would be important barter items.
Blogger 1: My wife and I have been talking about things you can not go a day without. 1. toilet paper, 2. hand and bath soap, 3. tooth paste and brush. That is just a beginning. I think the next time we go to the BOL [bug out location] We will have to stock up on these items. I’m thinking a case or half case of each.
Blogger 2: -Ammo -Pedialyte -Canned Goats Milk of Baby Formula -Dried Beans and Rice. This is a big no brainer, because you can have so many portions in such a small area of storage. But it could also be a form of currency if neighbors or others are starving. Start a little black market with dried goods. Only carry small amounts so if your life is threatened -Pain Relievers, and other medicines. I think a small stockpile of medicines is a MUST have if not just for personal use, but for the ability to make amazing personal benefit from it -Fire wood -Shoes or Boots.
Blogger 3: I was thinking of the following items: Sweeteners (sugar, honey, molasses, etc…), BIC lighters, vegetable seeds, OTC medicines, duct tape.
Blogger 4: In a crisis of months duration, with supply disruptions many people would probably desire the simple things that remind them of being human and civil that currently take for granted.
– I believe toiletries, especially soap, will be highly desirable. When I go shopping, I especially like buying extra tooth-brushes/paste, mineral oil, alcohol (isopropyl), hydrogen-peroxide.
– Coffee. Bean or ground.
Blogger 5: I like batteries as a barter item. A few common types, but mostly the expensive lithium-ion variety. NiCd, NiMH, Alkaline and old-style carbon-Zn batteries all only have a shelf life of a few years. Lithium batteries last 10 yrs or more. Solar battery chargers are another interesting item, although they’re a little big (charging batteries could be an interesting service to provide). Flashlights, too, esp. the modern compact extra-bright variety. – it wouldn’t hurt to have a few hundred to a thousand candles stashed away, if there is an EMP candles will be in great demand. Matches might also be good.
Blogger 6: Bathroom products such as soap, shampoo, toothpaste, shaving cream, deodorant would be good for trade. Toilet paper will be high up there too. All cheap stuff to get today and last a long time. I can’t help but think that keeping an extra bicycle or two around would be worth their weight in gold.
Blogger 7: 90% silver is popular with the SHTF crowd. Makes good barter material. Can’t trade a K’rand for a bag of apples. But a 90% dime will be worth about $7.25 if silver goes to $100. So make sure your PM is in small denominations if you intend to barter with it. My ‘survival mentor’ says…”to prepare for the unthinkable one must first think the unthinkable”.
Blogger 8: I would have to go with salt, that’s right plain old salt. I’ve spent a decent amount of time in areas with no/or sporadic electrical services, and have witnessed people getting around this by using salt to preserve extra food, and it takes A LOT of salt. Sugar would be a hot item as well.
Blogger 9: Here is a list of worthy additions to a “barter list”:
Seeds: general garden Bottled water Food of any kind – especially those in cans and jars, in small quantities
Alcohol Matches Candles
Batteries: primarily AA, AAA, 9 volt Flashlights Blankets
Radio Condoms First aid kits
Soap Tooth brush Toothpaste
Water containers Water filters or any kind Propane
Mess kits/cookware Tools of any kind – especially those most common (hammers, saws, hand drills, screwdrivers, etc.) Nails and screws
Toilet paper Aluminum foil Rope/cord/string
Small notebooks, wooden pencils/ink pens Clothes pins
Fishing line and hooks/lures Bug spray/insect repellent Duct tape
Tarps Bleach First aid kits & supplies
Knives & sharpening stones/supplies Ammunition (be careful with this one) Razors for shaving
Clothing of any kind – especially socks/underwear Work gloves Coffee/Tea/Flavored drink mixes
SPAM – I know its in the food category– great barter item Cigarettes/Cigars Gardening tools
Canning jars and supplies Fire starting supplies – including fire-steels, magnesium, etc. Spices
Something else to consider – bartering does not always have to involve some-”thing”. In many cases skills can be bartered as well. If you know how to get a garden going and another person can repair a roof – just do a swap and work things out. Maybe someone has some fuel that they will give you if you can fix their vehicle. After TSHTF the bartering of materials and skills may very well become the only method of commerce – as money may be worthless.
D. Top Post-Collapse Barter Items And Trade Skills
June 10th, 2011, Alt Market, Brandon Smith
Pasted from: http://www.shtfplan.com/emergency-preparedness/top-post-collapse-barter-items-and-trade-skills_06102011
The concept of private barter and alternative economies has been so far removed from our daily existence here in America that the very idea of participating in commerce without the use of dollars or without the inclusion of corporate chains seems almost outlandish to many people. However, the fact remains that up until very recently (perhaps the last three to four decades) barter and independent trade was commonplace in this country. Without it, many families could not have survived.
Whether we like it or not, such economic methods will be making a return very soon, especially in the face of a plunging dollar, inflating wholesale prices, erratic investment markets, and unsustainable national debts. It is inevitable; financial collapse of the mainstream system ALWAYS leads to secondary markets and individual barter. We can wait until we are already in the midst of collapse and weighted with desperation before we take action to better our circumstances, or, we can prepare now for what we already know is coming.
In today’s “modern” globalist economy, we have relied upon centralized and highly manipulated trade, forced interdependency, senseless and undisciplined consumption, endless debt creation, welfare addiction, and the erosion of quality, as a means to sustain a system that ultimately is DESIGNED to erode our freedoms not to mention our ability to effectively take care of ourselves. We have been infantized by our financial environment. In the near future, those who wish to live beyond a meager staple of government handouts (if any are even given) will be required to make a 180 degree reversal from their current lifestyle of dependency and immediate gratification towards one of self-sufficiency, personal entrepreneurship, quality trade, and a mindset of necessity, rather than unfounded excess.
This means that each and every one of us will not only be driven to form barter networks outside the designated confines of the mainstream, we will have to become active producers within those networks. Each and every one of us will need to discover practical goods and skills that will be in high demand regardless of economic conditions. Being that our society has all but forgotten how this kind of trade works, let’s examine a short list of items as well as proficiencies that are sure to be highly sought after as the collapse progresses…
Top Priority Goods
To be sure, this list is a summary of items that will have high value during and after a breakdown scenario. I welcome readers to post their own ideas for trade goods below this article. The following is merely a framework which you can use to get started, and was compiled using actual accounts of post collapse trade from the Great Depression, to Bosnia, to Argentina, to Greece, etc. These are items and skills that people were literally begging for after financial catastrophe occurred in numerous separate events.
Water Filtration: Stock up on water filters. Learn how water filtration works. Even make your own water filters using cloth, activated charcoal, and colloidal silver. Everyone will want to trade with you if you have extra filtration on hand. During economic breakdowns, especially in countries like Argentina, and Bosnia, which had more modern, city based populations, the first thing to disappear was clean water. Always. In some cases, the tap water still runs, but is filled with impurities, and needs to be boiled. Boiling does not remove bad tastes or smells, however, and clean filtered water will be in demand.
Seeds: Non-GMO seeds are a currency unto themselves. They can last for years if stored properly, and everyone will want them, even if they don’t have land to plant them. Get enough for yourself, and then purchase twice as much for trade.
Fresh Produce: Ever heard of scurvy? Probably. Ever had scurvy? Probably not. Believe me, you don’t want to have it. Your body essentially begins to fall apart slowly, and the result is an ugly boil and sore filled complexion, the loss of teeth and hair, and the eventual failure of internal organs. Don’t think you can live on beef jerky and canned beans for months on end. You need fresh vegetables and fruits, and the vitamins they supply. Anyone with a well-managed garden and a few fruit trees is going to do very well in barter. Vitamin supplements would also be a practical investment.
Long Shelf Life Foods: This one should be obvious, but you may be surprised how many preppers, even though aware of the danger in the economy, do not have ample stored foods.The rationalizations abound, but usually, you are dealing with a person who has a heavy hunting background, and believes he will be able to procure whatever food he wants whenever he wants with his trusty bolt-action rifle and a few hours in the woods. Don’t fall into this foolish trap. Thousands if not millions of other hungry, destitute people will likely have the same idea, combing the forest for deer, only running into (and perhaps shooting at) each other. In every single account of modern economic collapse I have read, the people involved kick themselves brutally for not stocking more food that didn’t require refrigeration. Even those that were moderately prepared stated that they wished they had stored twice as much as they did.
Sealed food kits would be highly valued trade items, as long as they contained necessities like grains (wheat or rice store well), salt (the human body will not function without salt), honey or maple syrup (the body needs sugars), and powdered milk, peanut butter, or any other foods with fat content (the body needs fats). Prepackaged freeze-dried foods are more expensive to stock, but they are, of course, easy to trade.
Food Producing Animals: Chickens are great for eating, but they also produce eggs. Cows and Goats can be slaughtered, but they also produce milk. Sheep can be easily herded towards your dinner plate, but they also produce wool. Rabbits make a good stew, but they also produce lots of other rabbits. In terms of barter, these animals will be life savers, as well as a solid source of trade income. Dual purpose livestock are really where it’s at for those who have even an acre of land, and many of them (except cattle) tend to feed themselves easily if left to wander your property. You can trade eggs, milk, wool, etc, that they produce. Not to mention, fetch serious value for trading the animal itself.
Solar Power: Solar power is so overlooked by most barter organizations and survivalists in general that it’s astonishing. If every home in America had at least two large solar panels on the roof, I would not be half as worried about collapse as I am today. My suspicion is that many ‘preppers’ believe that after a breakdown, we will all return to some kind of Agrarian pre-electric age where everything is lit with oil lamps. This is silly. If I have my LED lamp with rechargeable batteries, I’m certainly not going to rely on less effective burning lamps that depend on a finite fuel supply. And, I’m certainly not going to give up the advantages of night vision, radio communications, or refrigeration if I can help it. The key is to ensure that you have a continuous means of diverting electricity to these goods. This already exists in the form of solar power.
Depending on your budget, you can purchase solar panels that can be folded and carried with you for charging batteries, or, you can purchase entire arrays and battery banks that run your whole house. Those without electricity WILL want electricity, and solar is an excellent barter item. Wind generators, as well as water driven generators (as used often in Bosnia) are also a consideration. People that have the knowledge to set up these systems for others will not have trouble finding trading partners.
Firewood: Even with solar power, home heating will become a major concern for every household during and after a breakdown. If you can avoid running your battery bank out on inefficient space heaters, you will. The best way to do this is with a wood stove, or a fireplace. Those without any electricity will scour their immediate areas for loose wood, then move on to chopping down random trees for fuel. This is one of the few instances, ironically, that those in urban environments would have an advantage, being that dry wood for burning is literally everywhere in the city. During the Great Depression, families would often sneak into abandoned homes and apartment buildings to dismantle sticks of furniture, or even the walls, to use as firewood.
A small, well insulated home can be heated with as little as two cords of wood every winter. Larger drafty homes require as much as twenty cords per winter. A “cord’ of wood is a stack of split timber around four feet wide, four feet high, and eight feet long. This wood is “aged”, or dried for at least a year after being cut, so that it burns cleaner, and creates much more heat than freshly felled timber. When the general public begins to rediscover the need for aged cord wood, those with timberland will have a prized commodity on their hands for barter.
A disciplined cutting routine would be essential. Only cutting enough timber (of the right maturity) to create a decent supply while not erasing the whole forest for a single year of profit. Those traders with the correct knowledge will do very well in a barter economy.
Gasoline And Oil: This is a tough one, because its hard to predict how much petroleum the U.S. will be able to import or produce on its own during a collapse, and its very difficult to store for long periods of time. If you hear news that the wars in the Middle East have expanded even further, or that OPEC is decoupling from the dollar, you might want to run to the nearest station and fill as many storage cans as possible, along with a little bit of added ‘gas saver’ which helps keep it stable longer. Initially, people will be dueling to the death for gas and oil. I have little doubt. After the price hits $15, $30, $60 a gallon due to hyperinflation, and a little time passes, I think people will begin finding ways to live without it, or they will reduce its use to emergency tasks.
Desire for gas will always be there, especially in agricultural areas where one tractor could help sow the seeds that feed an entire town. But beyond storage, I would suggest learning ways to distill your own corn ethanol and alcohol based fuels. This is where the real barter potential is.
Silver And Gold: I placed precious metals in the middle of this list for a reason. Concerns in a collapse situation will be varied, and the manner in which a derailment progresses will also determine the order of needs in a barter community. In a Mad Max scenario where there is little to no community, or the construction of any semblance of economy is impossible; sure, gold and silver will not be very high on most people’s lists. Has this ever happened in recorded history? No. Gold and silver have remained common currencies for thousands of years despite any catastrophe. This is why I have to laugh at those people who undercut precious metals or claim that because you “can’t eat them” they will not be important. In Argentina, in the midst of complete meltdown and monetary chaos, when people were shooting each other in the streets for food on a daily basis, gold and silver became king, and still are.
Barter networks that have formed in Argentina love to trade for anything made out of gold or silver, because precious metals are the only tangible form of currency in existence there. Being able to trade goods is fantastic, but sometimes, you may not have what another person wants.Do you go out to find someone who does, trade with them, then, try to find the guy who turned you down? No. If you have any meaningful localized commerce in place, then you should also have a common medium of exchange, and precious metals are the only thing that safely fits the mold, because they cannot be artificially reproduced or fabricated. Their rarity and their longevity make them the perfect method of common trade. Even if the worst of the worst occurs, rebuilding will result in the immediate resurgence of trade, and the immediate need of a new currency. Gold and silver will come back, as it always has, and always will. Every potential barter network should be including gold, silver, and maybe copper, on its list of accepted alternative currencies, and the values of said metals should be weighed by the inherent supply and demand of the community. The “official” market value ( which is very manipulated) should only be used as a loose guide.
Firearms And Ammo: Another obvious one. The problem is, the selection of calibers is so varied within the U.S. that stocking anything that will be needed by everyone is very difficult. The only recourse is to stick with common military calibers, such as 9mm, 40 S&W, 45 ACP, .223, 7.62 by 39, 7.62 by 51 (.308), 12 gauge, .410, and 20 gauge shotgun shells, and the ever pervasive .22. Stocking these calibers will result in a much greater chance of trade.
I can think of no instance of societal disintegration that did not lead to horrible violence. In places where firearms are outlawed, the carnage is always much worse. Criminals easily get their hands on weapons, while law-abiding citizens are left defenseless. Governments take liberties with the people, while the populace cowers. Accounts of torture, rape, murder, and genocide, are abundant in the face of hard economic times. EVERYONE should be armed, and as reality sets in, even those who clamored to outlaw guns will be clamoring to get one.
Of course, laws today very strictly regulate our ability to barter firearms, but post collapse, no one will care much.
Ammo reloading will be a useful skill in light of the fact that homemade manufacture of ammo is very difficult. The nationwide ammo supply will dwindle very quickly, except for those pockets of people who smartly stockpile for trade.
Body Armor: That’s right. Any kind of body armor is as good as gold in a collapse environment.People in countries across the world wish they had it, and would trade almost anything for it.When you live in a place where a random gun shot (a minute by minute occurrence in many countries), from a criminal’s weapon, or more likely a police or military weapon, could bounce off the curb or through your car windshield, and into your chest, you begin to respect the necessity of Kevlar. The fact that body armor is relatively cheap and is easily obtained in the U.S. should be taken advantage of by barter networks. This advantage may not exist in a couple of years.
Tazers And Pepper Spray: Easy to purchase and stockpile here in America. Better than nothing when facing armed attackers. Disables without death (in most cases), and easier on the conscience. Trades well.
Various Tools: A garden hoe may be a novelty item to most suburbanites and city dwellers now, but soon, it will be a mainstay tool. If you have extra, they will come to you for barter. I’m not going to list every tool in existence here, but I suggest using common sense. What tools do you see being required for daily use? What would YOU need post collapse?
Pesticides: I’m big on organic food and healthy eating, but if my life is on the line, I’m spraying my crops down with whatever poison I can find. Unless you have years of experience with natural pest deterrence methods, then I suggest you do the same, especially in that first year of calamity. A hoard of locusts could annihilate your crop within a day given the chance, and should be dealt with using the most powerful means available.
Cockroach and rat poisons will also be huge sellers, guaranteed. Vermin thrive in unkempt human environments, whether in the country or the city, and with them comes disease.Diseases you thought had disappeared off the face of the Earth, like bubonic plague or small pox, will make a comeback in cities, where streets of death and sewage act like enormous Petri dishes (remember New Orleans after Katrina? Imagine if that had never been cleaned up).
Stock pesticides, even if they offend your environmental sensibilities. You’ll use them, trust me.And, people will trade whatever they can for them.
Warm Clothing: The world is awash in textiles and clothing. Using clothes as your primary means of trade is not necessarily the best plan. However, most of the clothes made around the world are very poor quality, and are not designed for harsh environments. Clothes made specifically for harsh cold or rough wear are harder to some by, and are often very expensive.This is where you would want to focus your investments.
Gortex, for instance, could give you incredible bartering potential. Wool socks are a rarity (how many people do you know with more than two pairs of wool socks?). Water resistant and water proof jackets and overcoats, boots, well made hiking shoes, and waterproofing chemicals and sprays will be needed within trade networks. The ability to make these items, or repair them, will also be valued.
Medicines: This is another difficult item to procure, mainly because doing so often gets you flagged as a possible drug dealer. Certain items aren’t too hard to come by and store, though, and could be life saving barter material in the future. Antibiotics are handed out like candy by doctors today, so storing any extra you have away for trade may be a good strategy. Painkillers are another medical miracle that doctors seem to sprinkle out of helicopters without a second thought. With the risk of injury increasing one hundred fold after a financial tsunami, I suspect even mere aspirin would put a smile on the face of any barter networker.
Eventually, natural medicines and herbs are going to have to move to the forefront, as industry medicines begin to disappear, or become so expensive they are unobtainable. Stocking such herbs and vitamins would be smart, for protecting oneself, not to mention, its savvy business sense.
Toiletries: Yes, yes, we all hear about how great toilet paper will be as a barter item, and how preppers plan to demand cows, trucks, and beach-front property, in return for packages of the silken quilty-soft huggable rolls of goodness. I don’t disagree that it will be highly desired at first. People don’t change their habits that quickly. But let’s face it; toilet paper is a luxury item in a post collapse environment, not a necessity. People are going to eventually go back to older methods of hygiene, like using strips of washable cloth. It might sound gross to us now, but hey, did you think we were going to start using poison ivy and pinecones?
Stock toilet paper, but don’t treat it as a priority. Focus more on cleaning items like soap, toothpaste, and bleach, as well as chemicals that cause human waste to quickly biodegrade.Staying clean is VERY important, because the alternative is catching a nasty bacterial infection that may kill you, when in more peaceful and comfortable times, it may have just given you slightly irritating intestinal distress. The rest of the country will come around to this way of thinking in short order, and many people will come to you for the cleaning goods you stockpiled.
Specialty Items: There are many circumstances that are hard to predict, circumstances that could severely affect barter markets and what items come into demand. For example; a nuclear event, as is in progress in Japan, could just as easily strike the U.S. There are 104 nuclear power plants in the U.S., not to mention the threat of a small nuclear attack (or false flag). The market for goods such as potassium iodide pills and Geiger counters would explode (potassium iodide suppliers were inundated with orders from around the world after Fukushima). How many people do you know with a Geiger counter? I’m one of the few I know with one, and I know preppers across the country! In the wake of a fallout situation, knowing what is contaminated with radiation and what isn’t, knowing if it’s even safe to go outside, is imperative. Having an extra Geiger counter could help you barter your way into any number of goods.
A biological event might bring medical grade particulate masks to the top of people’s lists, as well as disinfectants and even hazmat suits. It’s an ugly thing to imagine, but for those who plan to engage in independent trade, it’s a likelihood that must be considered.
Top Priority Skills
Provided below is a brief list of skills which have served people well in various economic downturns, and will do the same for you in this country. Keep in mind that almost any skill that other people cannot do well has potential for trade, but some skills are more sought after than others. In my research, it is those people who are able to produce their own goods as well as effectively repair existing goods that have the greatest potential for survival in a barter market. Next, are those people who have specific abilities that are difficult to learn and who have the knack for teaching those abilities to others. If you do not have any of these skills, or perhaps only one, then it would be wise to begin learning at least one more now. Keep in mind that competition will very much exist in a barter economy, so knowing as many skills as possible increases your chances of success:
Mechanic, Engine Repair
Firearms Repair, Ammo Reloading
Architect, Home Reinforcement
Agriculture, Farming Expertise, Seed Saving, Animal Care
Doctor, Medical Assistant
Well Construction, Water Table Expertise
Engineer, Community Planning, Manufacturing, Electrical
Firearms Proficiency, Security, Self Defense Planning
Martial Arts Training
Wild Foods Expert
Soap Making, Candle Making, Hygiene Products
Small Appliance Repair
HAM Radio Expert
Again, there are definitely many more trades of value that could be learned. This list is only to help you on your way to self-sufficiency and entrepreneurship in an Alternative Market. Unfortunately, too many Americans have absolutely no skills worth bartering in a post collapse world.
Bringing Back The American Tradesman
Barter networking is a powerful tool for countering the effects of depression, hyperinflation, stagflation, globalization, and beyond. But, networks require that participants actually have necessary goods and services to trade. In only half a century or less, American culture has been sterilized of nearly all its private trade skills. We have lost our desire to produce, and have been relegated to the dregs of a retail nightmare society dependent entirely on consumption and debt. This is going to change, one way, or another.
We can change on our own, or we can wait until fear and desperation force us to make hard choices. I would rather forgo the desperation and the painful fall into the gutter. It makes little sense.
The bottom line is, if you wish to survive after the destruction of the mainstream system that has babied us for so long, you must be able to either make a necessary product, repair a necessary product, or teach a necessary skill. A limited few have the capital required to stockpile enough barter goods or gold and silver to live indefinitely. The American Tradesman must return in full force, not only for the sake of self-preservation, but also for the sake of our heritage at large. Without strong, independent, and self-sufficient people, this country will cease to be.
E. Trading during an emergency
Know what you need and what’s available: During a “trade-day” gathering, take time to walk around to see what goods others are offering and their relative abundance. Never make an impulsive buy. Have a list of what you need for your group and what you may want for future barter as essential goods become more and more scarce. The longer a crisis lasts, the more people will be bartering for the essentials of life, like food, replacement clothing, salt and sugar, etc. Consider looking for worn-out items for low-cost that you can restore by repairing (a specific skill) and then resell at a higher price later.
• On-Display: Don’t keep more than one or two items of a particular kind in view. Let people make the assumption that there is a very limited quantity. After selling a “rare” item, you can evaluate whether or not to let the buyer know you have “a few more” for sale. Having just a few of a kind items for barter may make your “store” look bare, so be prepared to display other things even if you don’t think they will sell. People are psychologically drawn to seller areas that seem well stocked with all types of goods.
• Buying: Absent a controlling government for a means of correcting fraud or redressing a trade that was misrepresented the phrase “buyer beware” is even more important. Be very sure you have evaluated and examined all the goods before you accept the trade. The top layer of a barrel of apples may be fine, but what is the condition of the bottom layer?
• Contracts: For high value or large volume exchanges or for situations where goods are to be delivered or picked up, be sure to prepare a short contract that spells out exactly what each party will receive and for what and when. As a minimum, describe the goods, their amount and condition and delivery or pickup date. Never throw way these contracts as they will be the only evidence of ownership you have. Try to ensure buyer-seller goods are exchanged at the same time. Don’t pay for goods and receive only a promise to deliver later unless you know and fully trust the person with who you are doing business.
• 3rd Party Exchanges: Be on the lookout to buy goods that you know someone else wants. Keep note of what others are looking for that they can’t find. Being able to acquire these goods and then bartering them for more than you bought them will increase your “goods-wealth”.
• Beware Bait & Switch: Don’t assume the goods you receive from behind the curtain or from under the table will be the same quality of the goods you see on display. Provide payment only after you have examined the exact specific goods you will receive. Check expiration dates on canned and other packaged perishable goods. Check for wear and damage on all goods.
• Selling: Consider giving a good initial deal. Give good initial barter value to a new trader and he will return. It’s also a means to start a good will word of mouth campaign as well as build a positive reputation.
• First & Last Offer: Let the buyer be first to set a price. They may be willing to give more than you expected. If you don’t like the price, tell them how scarce and necessary the item is. This will psychologically reinforce the buyers initial interest in the item. A poker face is helpful. If you have to make a first offer, make it higher than what you expect you can get but not unreasonable higher. A counter-offer will probably be made by the potential buyer. Options:
Add more goods for a sweetener or remove some to meet the needs of the buyer. When a potential buyer exhibits an “I can do without it” attitude, you need to decide if you can live with a lower offer or just need to let them walk away. Never leave a bartering situation with less than you arrived.
o Evaluation of goods by buyers: Be sure to mention any major faults with your trade goods. Allow potential buyers to evaluate the minor obvious deficiencies on their own. If a piece of equipment does not work, say so. Of course there is no need to tell a buyer about all the rust that they can see for themselves. A non-functional piece of equipment might be very valuable to someone who needs replacement parts.
Make sure you leave adequate security back home when your group goes to trade days or you may find it stripped to the bone when you get back.
• Assess trade day area threats: Remember, this is a time of crisis and there are bad and desperate people about. If trade day organizers do not provide perimeter and walk-about security, you need to evaluate how many of your group needs to be at your trade area and how many should move about together during shopping tasks.
• There may be a need for everyone in your group to be carrying a visible sidearm in a holster to discourage theft and assault. But don’t act as a perceived threat to others. Be hyper-aware of activities and people around you. Do not go off with someone alone so they can “show you something”.
• After making a deal: Once a bargain is made, be sure to quickly close the deal by making the actual exchange. Take your new purchases back to your group’s area and keep them undercover and under guard. Trade days will attract thieves.
• Prevent post-trade day theft: Be on guard for people loitering around your barter area. They may be “casing the joint”. Keep all your trade goods inside your roped off trade area and establish a “no goods” zone of more than an arm’s length inside your rope barrier. Don’t be chatty about where you live or the number of people or conditions at your living area. Don’t wear your best clothes to trade days. Be clean and neat and polite. Strike a balance between appearing not too needy and not to well-off.
• Make your defense visible: During travel to and from trade days is the time to let your firearms be seen. Thieves and “highwaymen” will prey upon the least aware and least defended.
• Beware “Security” services: There may emerge in your area, groups that have only muscle and weapons who offer security services for “guarding” homes and travelers to and from trade days. These same people may also be engaged in shake-downs, extortion and other scheme of intimidation.
G. Price gouging
Congress Tells FTC to Define Price Gouging
May 6, 2006, Washington Post Staff Writer, By Steven Mufson
“In a recent blog entry, Edward Lotterman, an economist who writes a column for the St. Paul Pioneer Press in Minnesota, wrote that anyone trying to define price gouging should consider the following examples: “Paying $12 for two thin slices of cold greasy pizza and two small Cokes in an airport departure concourse; my neighbors selling a house for eight times what they had paid for it years ago; Twin Cities apartments renting for $150 more per month than a year ago; me charging $200 per hour as a consulting expert in a legal case when I get less than $50 per hour teaching at Metro State University.”
Traditionally, the FTC has played a key role in investigating price-fixing or manipulation, offenses that usually involve collusion between two or more players in a market who conspire to reduce competition so they can increase prices. There are many people who allege that major oil companies have engaged in such a plot by limiting output by oil refineries. Schmidt said the FTC was conducting “a very serious substantial investigation that is examining whether there has been unlawful gasoline price manipulation.”
But price gouging is something that usually involves one company or outlet taking advantage of temporary market conditions to charge an exorbitant price. As gasoline prices are going up by the day, many people think that’s what’s going on now.
In a competitive market, that wouldn’t be possible — at least not for long. Consumers would go to some other seller, demand for the price gouger would dry up and he would cut his prices.
Though the FTC has in the past avoided coming up with a definition for price gouging, many state governments and attorneys general have defined it. Usually the definitions are limited to pricing actions taken during emergencies or catastrophes, such as hurricanes. In Florida, the attorney general’s Web site explains that Florida law “compares the price of the commodity or service to the average price charged over the 30-day period prior to the declared state of emergency. If there is a ‘gross disparity’ between the prior price and the current charge then it is price gouging.”
But what’s a “gross disparity”? “Gross disparity would be determined by a jury of Floridians,” said Charlie Crist, Florida attorney general and a Republican candidate for governor. “I don’t think it would be too hard to give it some significant definition in the mind of a juror who would probably be very upset with someone trying to take advantage of a catastrophe.”
Exactly, what is price gouging?
Price gouging statutes seek to stem opportunistic behavior, which is designed to take advantage of an unforeseen opportunity to charge a monopoly price by threatening to withhold output. It is often defined as a 10 to 25 percent increase over prices during the month before an emergency. One state defines “unconscionable price” as an amount charged, which either represents a “gross disparity” or “grossly exceeds” the average price available for these items and services in the same area 30 days immediately before a declaration of a state of emergency.
The term is similar to profiteering but can be distinguished by being short-term and localized, and by a restriction to essentials such as food, clothing, shelter, medicine and equipment needed to preserve life, limb and property. In jurisdictions where there is no such crime, the term may still be used to pressure firms to refrain from such behavior.
The term is not in widespread use in mainstream economic theory, but is sometimes used to refer to practices of a coercive monopoly which raises prices above the market rate that would otherwise prevail in a competitive environment. Alternatively, it may refer to suppliers’ benefiting to excess from a short-term change in the demand curve.
In the United States, laws against price gouging have been held constitutional as a valid exercise of the police power to preserve order during an emergency, and may be combined with anti-hoarding measures. Exceptions are prescribed for price increases that can be justified in terms of increased cost of supply, transportation or storage.
As a criminal offense, Florida’s law is reasonably typical. Price gouging may be charged when a supplier of essential goods or services sharply raises the prices asked in anticipation of or during a civil emergency, or when it cancels or dishonors contracts in order to take advantage of an increase in prices related to such an emergency. The model case is a retailer who increases the price of existing stocks of milk and bread when a hurricane is imminent. It is a defense to show that the price increase mostly reflects increased costs, such as running an emergency generator, or hazard pay for workers.
The true value of higher prices during an emergency
• A thought experiment: A massive pipe ruptures, tap water grows undrinkable, and consumers rush to buy bottled water from the only two vendors who sell it. Vendor A, not wanting to annoy the governor and attorney general, leaves the price of his water unchanged at 69 cents a bottle. Vendor B, who is more interested in doing business than truckling to politicians, more than quadruples his price to $2.99.
• You don’t need an economics textbook to know what happens next.
• Customers descend on Vendor A in droves, loading up on his 69-cent water. Within hours his entire stock has been cleaned out, and subsequent customers are turned away empty-handed. At Vendor B’s, on the other hand, sales of water are slower and there is a lot of grumbling about the high price. But even late-arriving customers are able to buy the water they need — and almost no one buys more than he truly needs.
• When demand intensifies, prices rise. And as prices rise, suppliers work harder to meet demand. The same Globe story that reported yesterday on Coakley’s “price-gouging’’ statement reported as well on the lengths to which bottlers and retailers were going to get more water into customers’ hands. From <http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2010/05/04/whats_wrong_with_price_gouging/>
Signal value of rising prices during an emergency
• Water 60c/bottle rises to 2.99/bottle. (400%)
• Typical 10-30KW Generator rent rises for $45/day to $85/day in winter power outage. (88%)
• Generators sales price climb from $500 to $900 in wake of Hurricane. (80%)
• Sheets of plywood rise from $18 to $60 with the approach of a hurricane. (233%)
Rising prices don’t just serve as a rationing mechanism, they also serve as a signaling mechanism. Rising prices for generators in Dade County send a signal that Dade County needs generators – and that there’s a hefty profit to be made in getting them there. The $900 price tag thus serves as a signal for people to buy generators for $500 in North Carolina and bring them to where they’re needed. As more people do this, the supply of generators in Florida moves closer to demand, the price of those generators moves down, and a new equilibrium is approximated. The lesson: price gouging is not just a static event, it’s part of a larger dynamic market process.
When a hurricane is coming, all the plywood will still be sold, but for more. It isn’t really “above the market” however, because markets change, and the “market price” is naturally higher when demand increases, as it does before a storm. But all that plywood will still be sold in any case, and will be covering windows and protecting houses somewhere.
What the higher price does, though, is more than just put more money in the retailer’s account. It does something else that benefits us all. Higher prices allocate the plywood to better uses.
F. Stockpiling vs hoarding
Hoarding vs. Stocking Up, by Deborah in the UP,
Pasted from: http://survivalweekly.com/?page_id=784
When the pioneers began their trek west, they took with them, supplies, food, clothing, animals.. All the things they felt they would need to make the journey. When they got where they felt was far enough, they stopped and set up shop. This was likely somewhere near a town, but not like we know it today. If they were 30 miles from town, (a trip that would take us 30 minutes) it would take them 2-3 days to get there, and the same getting back. Obviously, that trip wasn’t made very often, and certainly not for a loaf of bread or a quart of milk. That milk was gotten from the cow or goat, and bread was baked, from scratch, most often from a sourdough starter.
A food source was THE most important item on the schedule. Land needed to be cleared for a family garden and pasture fenced for the animals. That garden was all important, and meant life or death to the family. The woman’s role was very important for the homestead. While the man/husband/father toiled with the land, kept track of the animals and kept the family safe, a difficult job to say the least, the woman/wife/mother was expected to provide meals, the life sustaining essence. Where did those meals come from? The garden of course! And while the summer may have been bountiful, the winter could be very lean.. if the family/woman didn’t PREPARE. It was expected of the female to can (a different and difficult process back then), preserve, dry, smoke, salt, whatever process fit the food, just so it could be eaten during the time of lean. There needed to be a winter food source for the farm animals too.. or they would die.. The husband/father was the hunter, and the sons as they grew, but the kill needed to be extended as long as possible, by preserving the meat for later consumption. All of this needed to be done to get the family from one growing season to the next. A year. This was standard! This was normal! This is the way things were!
Granted, those trips to town were rare, but they were necessary for certain items: sugar, salt, bolts of cloth for clothing, maybe even new shoes for a growing child. Necessary too to bring barter items in, for exchange. Many times families did without, that was the way of life… but they made do! As long as they were fed, their world would go on. Having a good, healthy pantry full of food, was normal, desired, strived for, admired.
What has changed?
Today, if someone had a year’s worth of food, to get them from one growing season to the next, … they would be called crazy, hoarders, fringe… looked down upon, feared, ridiculed. … survivalists!! Today, those 30 mile trips to town are often made daily!
What has changed? Society perception.
Today, it isn’t the family garden that provides a secure food source, it’s the local grocery store! How dare we question the availability of the next shipment! Therefore we should all have only a week of food on hand… why? Otherwise we would be Hoarders!
From Wikipedia: Hoarding as a human behavior falls in to two main categories. One type of hoarding is triggered as a response to perceived or predicted shortages of specific goods. Hoarding behavior may be a common response to fear, whether fear of imminent society-wide danger or simple fear of a shortage of some good. Civil unrest or natural disaster may lead people to collect foodstuffs, water, gasoline, and other essentials which they believe, rightly or wrongly, will soon be in short supply.
Unlike hoarding immediately before or in the wake of a crisis, hoarding a resource while its supply is abundant can actually alleviate future shortages because those who stockpile in this manner will not contribute to future demand when supplies are reduced.
G. Anti hoarding laws are vague and simple to implement
Pasted from: http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=122032.0
• State Legislation’s Role in Anti-Hoarding
Most states have chosen to enact their own anti-hoarding laws. That means some states may not have such laws, others do and not all are uniform. However, uniformity of state law is something governors are striving for under the Interstate Compact Agreement. The Compact Agreements, much like Executive Orders for the president, really don’t require voters’ input. They are law if the legislature doesn’t object, much like Congress that has 30 days to object to an EO before it becomes law.
At times of “declared emergencies”, each governor cedes (gives over) authority of his/her state to the federal government. When a governor declares it for his state, he becomes the delegated representative of the federal government according to an Interstate Compact Agreement.
Bottom line, even though federal legislation does not directly address anti-hoarding, goods can be seized if national circumstances are felt to warrant it whether or not amounts stored are deemed excessive in your state’s eyes.
• Hawaii As A Specific Example of Anti-Hoarding
For Hawaii, this information will be found in Title 10 under “Public Safety”. It is located after legislation on militias, state guard troops, etc. Then you find the jewel… In Hawaii you are considered a “hoarder” if you have more than one week’s provisions on hand BUT you have to dig to uncover this information. Here is a specific example:
“HAWAII REVISED STATUTES REVISED 1997, Title 10:
(1) Prevention of *hoarding, waste, etc. To the extent necessary to prevent hoarding, waste, or destruction of materials, supplies, commodities, accommodations, facilities, and services, to effectuate equitable distribution thereof, or to establish priorities therein as the public welfare may require, to investigate, and any other law to the contrary notwithstanding, to regulate or prohibit, by means of licensing, rationing, or otherwise, the storage, transportation, use, possession, maintenance, furnishing, sale, or distribution thereof, and any business or any transaction related thereto.”
In the actual Title document for Hawaii, you will not find the specifics for what length of time constitutes “hoarding” nor an amount. Instead, you must look at the committee notes which describes it as the opinion that one week’s supplies per person is considered adequate food provisions. It is not spelled out what those provisions shall consist of or how much is considered “adequate” until you get to the committee notes.
You will probably have to “dig” for the committee notes as well. Lynn Shaffer, our legislative interpreter, explains committee notes this way. “When the legislature agrees that a law or statute is needed to effect certain governmental goals to prohibit or encourage civilians to respond in a particular way, that statute has attached to it (you will see it printed in the law books) what is called “committee notes.” The courts, when making a determination of how the statute is to be interpreted and applied to the case before it, looks to “legislative intent” or what was recorded in the committee’s notes when the bill was meandering its way through the legislative process.”
• OK, so If I ‘hoard’, then what?
Again using Hawaii’s Titles as an example, any items in excess of what legislation has deemed appropriate to store (in Hawaii’s case any amount over 1 week) is subject to forfeiture and may be confiscated, ordered destroyed or may be redistributed for public use. See exact text below:
“128-28 Forfeitures. The forfeiture of any property unlawfully possessed, pursuant to paragraph (2) of section 128-8, may be adjudged upon conviction of the offender found to be unlawfully in possession of the same, where no person other than the offender is entitled to notice and hearing with respect to the forfeiture, or the forfeiture may be enforced by an appropriate civil proceeding brought in the name of the State. The district courts and circuit courts shall have concurrent jurisdiction of the civil proceedings. Any property forfeited as provided in this section may be ordered destroyed, or may be ordered delivered for public use to such agency as shall be designated by the governor or the governor’s representative, or may be ordered sold, wholly or partially, for the account of the State. [L 1951, c 268, pt of 2; RL 1955, 359-25; HRS 128- 28; am imp L 1984, c 90, 1]”
• Where do Anti-Hoarding Laws come in?
These ideas of anti-hoarding legislation may have stemmed from two areas of confusion:
First is from Executive Orders in place dating back to 1939 which Clinton has grouped together under one order, EO #12919 released on June 6, 1994. The following EOs all fall under EO#12919:
10995–Federal seizure of all communications media in the US;
10997–Federal seizure of all-electric power, fuels, minerals, public and private;
10998–Federal seizure of all food supplies and resources, public and private and all farms and equipment;
10999–Federal seizure of all means of transportation, including cars, trucks, or vehicles of any kind and total control over all highways, seaports and water ways;
11000–Federal seizure of American people for work forces under federal supervision, including the splitting up of families if the government so desires;
11001–Federal seizure of all health, education and welfare facilities, both public and private;
11002–Empowers the Postmaster General to register every single person in the US
11003–Federal seizure of all airports and aircraft;
11004–Federal seizure of all housing and finances and authority to establish forced relocation. Authority to designate areas to be abandoned as “unsafe,” establish new locations for populations, relocate communities, build new housing with public funds;
11005–Seizure of all railroads, inland waterways and storage facilities, both public and private;
11051–Provides FEMA complete authorization to put above orders into effect in times of increased international tension of economic or financial crisis (FEMA will be in control in case of “National Emergency”).
What has changed? The world has changed. Where once it was expected for a family to provide for itself, now, if they do, it could be taken from them, legally…to provide for those who did not.
Public attitude regarding stockpiling vs hoarding
• It’s not hoarding! Hoarding is taking more than your share when resources are scarce. In times of plenty, we STOCKPILE to minimize our need for resources when they ARE scarce… Remember – stockpile good, hoarding bad!
• I agree with the term “stockpile” not hoarding.
• We survivalists aren’t hoarding, we’re just food collectors. Myself I collect hard red winter wheat……… and a little bit of cocoa powder as well LOL
• Hoarding is a word with big time negative connotations. Purchasing all the wheat in town during SHTF and charging 3x what you paid (if selling at all) would be hoarding but going to the local big box tomorrow and getting a hundred points of rice would not be hoarding.
• Stockpiling the basics for your own use is “hoarding”, stockpiling so you can make absurd profits is known as “price gouging”, which is illegal in some states after the TSHTF has happened. In a TEOTWAWKI, price gouging could very well be punishable by facing a firing squad.
• If I save all my money and put it in the bank is that hoarding or being frugal with my resources? If I invest in things that turn a profit down the road i.e. food stuffs, or commodities, wouldn’t that be considered a wise investment? Perception is always the determining factor.
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