Tag Archives: economy

A guide to cushioning system collapse

(News & Editorial/A guide to cushioning system collapse)

 A. Crisis Reality: “Within An Hour the Stores Were Emptied”

guide shelves
22 January 2014, The Daily Sheeple, by Mac Slavo at SHTFPlan.com
Pasted from: http://www.thedailysheeple.com/crisis-reality-within-an-hour-the-stores-were-emptied_012014
When toxic chemicals spilled into the Elk River in Charleston, West Virginia a couple of weeks ago we got another glimpse into what the world might look like in the aftermath of a major, widespread disaster.

There were several lessons we can take from this regional emergency and all of them are pretty much exactly what you might expect would happen when the water supplies for 300,000 people become suddenly unavailable.

Lesson #1: There will be immediate panic

Studies have suggested that the average person has about three days worth of food in their pantry, after which they would be left with no choice but to scrounge for scraps once their food stores run out. We saw this scenario play out after Hurricane Sandy, when thousands of unprepared people lined up at National Guard operated FEMA tents and temporary camps. That’s what happens when there’s no food.

With water, however, it’s a whole different matter.

Food we can do without for weeks, but lack of water will kill us in a very short time. The events following the Charleston chemical spill highlight just how critical fresh water is to maintaining stability.

A reader at The Prepper Journal web site shared his firsthand account of the events as they played out. In a situation where water supplies are poisoned, whether by accident or on purpose, the anatomy of a breakdown accelerates significantly from three days to mere minutes:

Just yesterday that ban was lifted, but what if this had happened in your town? Would you be able to live comfortably with no water from the tap for 5 days? The news reports that I read stated that there was plenty of water and the stores never ran out. That is in direct contradiction to what Steve tells me:

Immediately after the announcement, the stores in the area were rushed for any bottled water products. Within an hour the stores were emptied.  Do not let anyone tell you that everything was nice, peaceful and everyone conducted themselves gracefully.  There were fist fights and scuffles for the last of the water.

After the order was issued no one could give any answers as to when drinkable water would be available.  Those with water were either hording it or selling it at enormous prices.

48 hours after the ban,  water began to be distributed to the everyday person.  Hospitals and nursing homes received the first shipments.  By the way the hospitals (except one) were not taking any new patients).  If you got hurt or injured you were on your own or had to travel an hour away for treatment.

What if the spill was more serious or the supply of water non-existent? Would you have enough water on hand and the means to disinfect new sources to take care of your family? It is news like this that illustrates for anyone paying attention the importance of storing water.

If you live an area affected by a water supply contamination and have no water reserves, this report suggests that you have less than an hour to stock up. And during that hour there will be panic with the potential for violence being highly probable.

Lesson #2: Security forces will be deployed to maintain order This is a no-brainer, but nonetheless worthy of mention.

We saw it after Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina – thousands of troops and militarized police deployed to prevent looting and rioting. The fact is that when the water and food run out people will be left with no choice but to rob and pillage. It becomes a matter of survival. Crowds will unwaveringly stampede to get to the resources they need. They’ll stomp over you if you happen to fall on the ground in a rush, because when the herd starts running nothing will stop it.

Imagine how these people will act when they are desperate for food food and water:

There is a reason the government has been preparing military contingency plans and simulations for events that include economic collapse or a massive natural disaster. They know what will happen if millions of people are left without critical supplies.

In Charleston, after water supplies started being delivered to grocery store chains, local government and the companies themselves brought on hired guards to keep the peace.

The Elk River event was limited in scope, affecting about 300,000 people in an isolated area, thus it was not that difficult of a situation to contain as FEMA and government could throw all of their resources and assets at the problem.

But imagine a scenario that involves multiple large metropolitan areas simultaneously in different regions of the country.

There are simply not enough personnel (or supplies) to respond to such a situation and maintain order.

Lesson #3: Despite hundreds of billions spent, the government is ill-prepared It took emergency responders five days to get water to the Super Dome in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.
Following Sandy, FEMA had enough food and water to provide the absolute basic necessities to about 50,000 people.
In Charleston it took at least two days to get water supplies moving.
If this were a massive catastrophe it could be weeks before help arrives.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has itself warned that it is not equipped to handle large-scale emergencies. It’s for this reason that they strongly recommend a minimum two week supply of food and water.

guide fema
Considering that the majority of Americans have maybe three days worth of supplies, how many millions of mouths would need to be fed three square meals a day if we experienced a multi-city event?

It was recently reported that FEMA has in its possession about 140 million “meals ready to eat.”
In 2011 a FEMA/DHS organized National Level exercise simulated an earthquake on the New Madrid Fault in the Mid West. The simulation revealed that 100,000 people would be killed almost immediately, and another 7 million would be displaced from their homes.
They would only have one place to go – government managed FEMA camps. Those seven million people eating just two MRE’s per day would  consume FEMA’s entire emergency food reserve within 10 days.
Then what?
You probably already know the answer.
Prepare now, because the last place you want to be in is in the midst of crisis-driven panic.


B.  Report: Supplier Survey & Trend Analysis of Preparedness and Resiliency Provisions
30 Sep 2012, learntoprepare.com, by Denis Korn
Pasted from: http://learntoprepare.com/2012/09/report-supplier-survey-trend-analysis-of-preparedness-and-resiliency-provisions/

Here is my perspective on current trends relating to food products for shelf stable food reserves and resiliency provisions in general.
In the 37 years I have been in the natural foods, outdoor recreation and emergency preparedness industries as a retailer and manufacturer, I have experienced a number of fluctuations and factors that have influenced the availability and pricing of foods and supplies for preparedness. A number of current factors and converging events are affecting the preparedness marketplace today and potentially in the near future.

In addition to my own present-day observations and experience as a retailer of food reserves and preparedness products, I have very recently surveyed a number of suppliers, processors and manufacturers for their assessment of current conditions in the marketplace.

Here are my appraisals, reports, and insights regarding the state of the industry:

  • The numerous and diverse potential scenarios associated with emergency and disaster preparedness is so pervasive in contemporary culture, that a broad spectrum of citizens have begun to take some form of action. Others are acutely aware of the probable dangers and are waiting for a significant triggering event to act.
  • BOB1 foodIf a serious event were to occur, fence sitters and those who have done nothing to prepare would overwhelm preparedness suppliers, manufacturers and normal outlets. Products will be sold out or long lead times will prevail. The nature of the triggering events will determine the availability of preparedness supplies for both the short and long terms.
  • Preparedness niche companies and their suppliers have a limited supply of goods on hand during normal business activity. At all levels of the supply chain there is a restricted amount of products available. Y2K, hurricanes, international disasters have all been testaments to disruptions in certain product availability. A wide spread and prolonged emergency will have a devastating effect on the availability of goods and services. This is especially true of specialty food processors.
  • The main stream media will not accurately depict the real state of affairs regarding the current conditions in our society. This relates to politics, the economy, financial issues, government action and inaction, weather effects and anything that would be valuable for citizens to know so that they can prepare in advance for shortages. Information is significantly manipulated, controlled and fabricated. This includes what you hear and what you don’t hear.
  • The current drought has had some effect on food prices and availability but not a catastrophic one. The increases in costs have already been factored in as it relates to commodity futures. Corn, soy beans and wheat were the crops most affected by the drought, as was potatoes and to a smaller extent other vegetables and fruits.Internet- food, FD #11 cans
  • A record corn crop was initially anticipated, so the effect of the drought could have been worse. NOTE: 40% of the corn crop goes for ethanol.
  • Currently the price of most beans has dropped some due to good yields in North Dakota where 2/3 of the nation’s beans are grown. Availability of beans and other grains is good.
  • Rice prices and availability is stable.
  • Freeze dried food processors are very busy and are experiencing an increasing demand for fruit and vegetables from non preparedness manufacturers. This is causing shortages in some products. The drought has not substantially affected fruit and vegetables.
  • There has been a shortage in some “ready” or “no cooking required” ingredients that are necessary for entrée and blended recipes. Many of these ingredients use non freeze drying technology to enable a no cooking requirement.
  • Quality domestic food ingredients are becoming more difficult to source. It is essential that consumers do diligent research to establish trust with reputable manufacturers. Many current preparedness food packers have succumbed to using lower quality imported and processed foods.
  • Currently, other vital preparedness provisions – electronics, medical, tools, water filters and such, are in adequate supply. Last year at this time there were shortages.
  • Prices have risen in many sectors due to a multitude of factors such as transportation, packaging (paper prices have seen a steep increase), cost of benefits to employees, fuel, raw materials, regulations unfavorable to small business and lack of credit. Prices are expected to continue to rise, and with any new detrimental financial event they will rise dramatically.
  • As shortages continue lead times for fulfillment will increase. I see this currently occurring.
  • The current debilitating state of our nation and the attitudes of despair of our citizens are unprecedented in my lifetime.
  • I and others see a substantial spike in demand for preparedness food and supplies from possibly right before to definitely after the November election. Negative reaction to the outcome of the election will be momentous – no matter who wins. We will soon know how serious the reaction will be, what form it will take and what governmental actions will be executed.

Currently food products – with increasing lead times – and other supplies are available. However, there are a multitude of very volatile factors that could trigger a substantial increase in demand of preparedness supplies. A very difficult question to answer, although it discussed frequently is: How will a crisis effect fulfillment of essential goods and services?

During Y2K there were specific dates as to a potential problem, and specific remedies that could be addressed and possibly implemented. When citizens realized that problems had been addressed, demand for preparedness goods subsided. It was the unknown consequences of a potential computer calamity and the perceived resolution of those problems, which triggered the fluctuations in demand and supply.

The unknown consequences of the myriad of potentially devastating scenarios being discussed currently are not so easily resolved nor are the timing markers so easily recognized. There is so much uncertainty associated with current events that folks are either in denial or on edge waiting for a significant triggering event before they act. And when they do, preparedness suppliers, warehouse retailers and numerous provision dealers will be inundated.

I and numerous other observers of current events don’t ask if a catastrophe or serious events will happen – but when? Then we ask:

  • 1. How long will it last?
  • 2. How devastating will it be?
  • 3. How will the population cope with a dramatic lifestyle change if scenarios are dramatic?
  • 4. How many will be prepared?
  • 5. What will those who are not prepared do, and who will they rely upon?
  • 6. What repressive and draconian measures will the government implement?
  • The unknown consequences of the myriad of potentially devastating scenarios being discussed currently are not so easily resolved nor are the timing markers so easily recognized. There is so much uncertainty associated with current events that folks are either in denial or on edge waiting for a significant triggering event before they act. And when they do, preparedness suppliers, warehouse retailers and numerous provision dealers will be inundated.

C.  The #1 Preparedness Question – What’s Your Scenario? (Why?)
13 Oct 2012, learntoprepare.com, by Denis Korn
Pasted from:  http://learntoprepare.com/2012/10/the-1-preparedness-question-whats-your-scenario-why/

This is such an important question to answer when engaging in preparedness planning that I felt it necessary to examine it more carefully. It is the first question in my 12 Crucial Questions of Preparedness Planning, listed under 12 Foundational Articles for Preparedness Planning (as you can see I like the number 12).

Before I proceed with this topic I want to share some insights on the current state of fears and concerns I hear people discussing.

guide disaster formsIt is no secret that the societal, financial and moral issues of our time are wreaking havoc on the lives of most Americans. While at each election, the parties proclaim their election to be the most important of the era, what we currently are experiencing is that this statement is finally true. Not that the outcome will necessarily change the fundamental problems underlying our society and its governance, but that the results will indicate how really difficult true transformation will be. I am very passionate about my concerns for our country and the future for my children and grandchildren. I have never seen such blatant in-your-face displays of revolt, rage and lying by those who are ignorant, self-serving and delusional (a strong word yet in my opinion accurate).

Our leadership, corporate ethics, cultural morality and attitude towards truth, human compassion and right action has been so corrupted and dishonored that it will take a Divine act to significantly transform us and set us on the right path. Earnest prayer is essential! Over the course of the next few months we will see how difficult it will be during the times that lie ahead, and as it relates to this blog site – how can we be prepared?

Steve Wynn, a very successful developer and casino operator, was asked for his assessment of the current business climate. His answer included this statement, “…And I have to tell you, Jon, that every business guy I know in the country is frightened of Barack Obama and the way he thinks.” This response mirrors my experience in talking with many small business owners, and is an exact duplication of the circumstances surrounding the 1980 election between Jimmy Carter, incumbent and Ronald Reagan, challenger. The business climate was terrible (I was in the outdoor recreation and preparedness industry as a business owner at that time), and whatever one’s political viewpoint, the perception of a pro-business and competent President was critical in turning the decline around. This is not a political blog, so I will not dwell on the politics. However, I cannot turn my back on the obvious – too much is at stake.

The perception of the capability and aptitude of our leadership to instigate real change will have a dramatic effect on the course of events in the short term. For the long term, the fundamentals must be transformed.

Let me be frank, I am a small business owner who has owned various businesses for 41 years, and if we don’t elect leadership who will instill confidence and trust and initiate real reform for We The People during these darkest of days – we’re screwed!

Here is the entire question #1 of the 12 Crucial Questions:
What are the circumstances or scenarios you have determined may exist that will require you to rely upon your preparedness supplies?
This is not only the most important and first question to answer, it is often the question most overlooked, or not considered critically enough. While many people find it difficult to honestly assess potential uncomfortable and “fearful” possibilities, wasting time and resources on inadequate and ineffectual provisions can be detrimental to your health or possibly your life. Don’t be caught up in slick advertisements, fraudulent claims or irrelevant personality endorsements. I have seen them all – do your due diligence!

  • What will be the severity and impact of those circumstances on your life?
    Now starts the process of being specific and increasingly focused. Honesty is essential – this is no time for wishful thinking and denial.
  • Given your potential scenarios, how thoroughly have you researched the available options for food, water, medical, shelter, hygiene, and other categories of critical supplies?
    An actual physical list is vital in answering this question. Here you will begin to determine specific provisions you will need. You will have a broader perspective of available items required for your scenarios.
  • Are you prepared for emergencies during all seasons of the year?
    Depending on where you live, temperatures, rain, snow and other weather conditions can vary significantly. Cold weather preparedness is especially important. The anticipated duration of your scenario might require preparing for multiple seasons and conditions.
  • Is your family more susceptible to certain emergencies?
    Depending on where you live or where you might need to relocate will determine unique potential issues. Possible hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, storms, tornadoes, fire, riots, loss of electricity, lack of water, lack of essential medications are just some events that might affect your preparedness planning
  • How would your scenarios impact you or your family’s daily routine? Work or livelihood?
    If you scenarios are relatively minor and isolated, then of course there will be a minimum of inconvenience. If however, your scenarios are more impactful, severe, regional or nationwide and of longer duration, then you are looking at a significant disruption in routine and possibly a substantial lifestyle change.
  • How will you protect yourself and family against those who might do you harm?
    Many folks don’t welcome the notion that a significant emergency or disaster will create a dangerous environment with animals, gangs or groups of ill-intentioned people who can inflict injury. Where you live will determine the degree of concern. Those who are responsible for their own welfare and the protection of their family will need to reflect on this question with seriousness. Protection devices are numerous and diverse, consider the appropriate response for your anticipated scenarios.


 D.  9 Survival Items You Should Always Have In Your Car
10 June 2013, OffTheGridNews.com, written by: Travis P- Extreme Survival
Pasted from: http://www.offthegridnews.com/2013/06/10/9-survival-items-you-should-always-have-in-your-car/

In my home I have over a dozen firearms, thousands of rounds of ammunition, shelves and shelves of food, enough water to drink for weeks, and a two rucksacks packed to last seventy-two hours should this all be compromised.

Now how useful is all this if I’m not home when things fall apart? It’s no good to me at all if I’m thirty miles away and traffic is halted… or if a hurricane hits and I’m stranded. In addition, if a bridge washes out or I crash in the middle of nowhere, I might need a survival kit. As I discussed in last week’s article, I almost always have either a shotgun or my concealed handgun on me or in my car or truck, but what about other supplies? A lot of things can happen, and my survival gear may not be at hand.

So is the easiest answer to simply throw one of those seventy-two-hour bug-out bags in my car or truck? Well that’s a good idea, but not very practical for riding around with every day. These rucks are pretty big, and they won’t work well with strollers, car seats, work stuff, and trying to fit myself and others in my vehicles, and I can’t toss it in the bed of my truck without worrying someone will swipe it.

So that’s where the “get home bag” comes into play. Some people may see it as a smaller bug out bag, but I much prefer calling it the “get home bag”. The main difference between the get home bag and my bug out bag is size. My two bug out bags will last my family 3 days comfortably and can be stretched to five days if we have a good water source. My get home bag is more customizable in terms of food and water, and how long they need to last.

I’ll address those two first.
Food and water are critical, and the situation will vary on how much you need. So first I put a 24 count case of 20 ounce bottled water in my trunk. It fits perfectly on the floor, under my son’s car seat. That room is wasted anyway since he is rear facing. It doesn’t leave room for the mentioned stroller or tools, but there is enough for the case of water.
I also have a Camelbak hydration system, and a Nalgene bottle. I can fill both up and carry as many additional water bottles as I believe I’ll need for the trip home. I have loved these hydration packs ever since the first time I was issued one in the military. It’s an excellent way to carry water, easy to carry, and leaves your pockets and pack free for other things.

For the food portion, I keep six civilian versions of the military MREs. I have plenty of access to military MREs, but the civilian MREs are much better tasting, last longer [5years as listed at Amazon-Mr Larry], and I know the date of production. They also pack more stomach-friendly foods than the military versions. I field strip the MREs and tape them tightly together with duct tape for compact packages. I also have quite a few bags of sealed beef jerky and high fat protein bars. This all fits in easily with the spare tire in the trunk of the car.

So now that my food and water are in place, I can take or leave whatever I need. Remember this isn’t to last you forever, just enough to get you home. I feel I’ve over-packed, but it fits well so there is no point in taking anything out.

Now, as I write this, I’m building the actual get home bag portion of this. I didn’t buy anything special to build this; I used what I had laying around. I will honestly probably buy a few things for this kit in the future (and drive my wife a little crazier). Most of the items are extras I hang on to, but quality items none the least.

First off, my personal number one rule of survival is to always have a knife, and a good knife at that. I packed a Spyderco Enuff Sheepfoot. The Enuff Sheepfoot is a small fixed blade with a sturdy Kydex holster. I like Spyderco knives, and this little one wasn’t much use in my tool box, so into the bag it went. Next I tossed an extra small, folding knife in the bag (it’s a small, cheap Smith and Wesson folding knife).

Next was twenty feet of paracord, braided to make it more compact. Also known as 550 cord  (for its resistance), 550 could also be the number of uses it has. A good strong cord can do anything from make snares to fashioning a lean-to.

Next up was a good strong, metal framed, LED flashlight, and a Gerber headlamp. Neither of these are expensive Surefires, but they’re dependable and water resistant. Along with these are, of course, extra batteries to keep them lasting a few days. I may add a cheap crank flashlight to this mix as well.

One of the most important series of items is the medical supplies. This is a basic individual first aid kit. I packed a compression bandage, two triangle bandages, a cinch tight, some band aids, Betadine solution, gauze, and a burn dressing. I also included a flask of liquor (high proof), for cleaning wounds and if necessary, for starting fires.

Speaking of fires, I packed a good outdoor lighter, water resistant matches, and a cheap fire starter. Three different ways to start a fire is a good place to start. Fire can cook and purify water, as well as act as a signaling device.  It’s just as important as water because it will purify water too. On this note I’m also packing a military metal canteen cup in which to boil water. I’m also packing a packet of a dozen Micropur tablets, each capable of purifying a liter of water.

I have a few miscellaneous items to toss in there as well. First are two rolls of tape, one electrical and one duct tape. Tape is another item that has a million uses. I also threw in a D ring, just because you never know. I also tossed in three glow sticks—blue, yellow, and red—that will each last 8 hours. These can be used for signaling as well as lights. {I’d add a few items the author of this article hasn’t mentioned, ie.: cheap thermal blanket, poncho, insect repellant, gloves and stocking cap or brimmed hat, depending on time of year and location. Also more apt to carry a 1/2 lb or larger canister of Bear grade pepper spray, than a gun, for this two hour to over night emergency. Mr. Larry).

Now the last piece of gear I’m bringing is probably the most important—the gun. I had a hard time choosing a weapon; I decided that the weapon needed to be concealable, adaptable, and powerful. I ended up choosing the Taurus Judge. I chose the Judge for a few reasons. First off, it is powerful enough to deal with any man or critter I will encounter. I can also load a variety of different shots for close range snake dispatching and small game hunting. I packed a box of Federal .410 handgun No. 4, a box of number 7, and 15 Winchester .45 colt Winchester PDX, and ten double-aught buck. I have a total of 75 rounds for this weapon. This weapon will compliment my everyday concealed handgun, a .45 acp 1911 Commander, with two eight-round magazines.

Of course I packed my favorite holster, a Blackhawk Serpa, with a paddle attachment. I love the Serpa for the Judge. It holds the weapon high, is easy to conceal, and it also holds the heavy weapon really well.

The actual pack I use is a military surplus “butt” pack. The butt pack was used on 782 gear as a patrol pack to carry food, tarp, or whatever a soldier needed on patrol that day. I rigged mine up with an old two-point sling to act as a messenger bag (aka “man purse”). The butt pack is tough and lightweight, just big enough to fit everything, and still stays small and convenient.

The small get home bag is a pretty handy little bag to keep in any vehicle. The bag is perfect for a short survival situation and cost me nearly nothing to build. It takes up only a small amount of room in my trunk, or behind the seat in my truck. Like my bug out bags, I’ll be changing and upgrading it constantly, and it will become a permanent addition in my vehicle.


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The Cloward-Priven strategy is working.

Remember these points:
1. “Nothing in politics happens by chance”. — President Franklin Roosevelt
2. “Strategy is something that happens to you while you are looking the other way”. — President Franklin Roosevelt.
3. The illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer.” –Secretary of State Henry Kissinger

The Cloward–Piven strategy is a political strategy outlined in 1966 by American sociologists and political activists Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven that called for overloading the U.S. public welfare system in order to precipitate a crisis that would lead to a replacement of the welfare system with a national system of “a guaranteed annual income and thus an end to poverty”.

Cloward-Piven Paradise Now?

August 1, 2011, American Thinker, By Jeannie DeAngelis
“Combine class warfare, demonizing the rich, getting as many people onto the welfare rolls as possible, and pushing the economic system to collapse and you have a flawless formula for Cloward-Piven 2.0 — and a vehicle that ensures Obama remains in power. Cloward-Piven is a much talked-about strategy proposed in the mid-1960’s by two Columbia University sociology professors named Richard Andrew Cloward and Frances Fox Piven. The Cloward-Piven approach was sometimes referred to as the “crisis strategy,” which they believed were a means to “end poverty.” The premise of the Cloward-Piven collective/anti-capitalist gospel decried “individual mobility and achievement,” celebrated organized labor, fostered the principle that “if each finally found himself in the same relative economic relationship to his fellows … all were infinitely better off.” The duo taught that if you flooded the welfare rolls and bankrupted the cities and ultimately the nation, it would foster economic collapse, which would lead to political turmoil so severe that socialism would be accepted as a fix to an out-of-control set of circumstances. The idea was that if people were starving and the only way to eat was to accept government cheese, rather than starve, the masses would agree to what they would otherwise reject. In essence, for the socialist-minded, the Cloward-Piven strategy is a simple formula that makes perfect sense; the radical husband-and-wife team had Saul Alinsky as their muse, and they went on to teach his social action principles to a cadre of socialist-leaning community organizers, one of whom was Barack Obama. As the debt crisis continues to worsen, President Obama stands idly by an inferno with his arms crossed, shaking his head, and doing nothing other than kinking the fire hose and closing the spigot. Spectator Obama is complaining that the structure of the American economy is engulfed in flames while accusing the Congress, which is trying desperately to douse the fire, of doing nothing about the problem. Although speculative, if the Cloward-Piven strategy is the basis of the left’s game plan, spearheaded by Alinsky devotee Barack Obama, it certainly explains the President’s inaction and detached attitude.

The greatest nation in the history of the world is teetering on the brink of a catastrophic economic crisis. America was pushed to this point by a rapidly-expanding national debt and a stressed-out entitlement system; in the center of this crisis is the President, who insists on expanding it even further, all in the name “fairness” and “social justice.” As a default date nears and the President threatens seniors that there’s a chance they may not receive their Social Security checks, it has been revealed that the federal government disperses a stunning 80 million checks a month, which means that about a third of the US adult population could be receiving some sort of entitlement. Since the 1960’s when Cloward-Piven presented a socialistic guideline to usher in the type of evenhandedness Obama lauds, America’s entitlement rolls have swelled from eight million to 80 million. If the nation’s ability to disperse handouts were ever disrupted, it’s not hard to see how chaos would erupt should an angry army of millions demand what Cloward-Piven called “the right to income.” Couple the threat of dried-up funds for food stamps, Social Security, unemployment benefits and the like with the Obama administration’s vigorous campaign to turn a tiny upper class of big earners into the enemy, and you have the Cloward-Piven recipe for anarchy and complete collapse. If the worst happened, Saul Alinsky’s biggest fan, whose poll numbers continue to plummet, could use mayhem in the streets to remain firmly ensconced in the White House. Alinsky taught his students a basic principle that community organizer Barack Obama learned well: “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” Fiscal disintegration coupled with lawlessness would deliver the type of Cloward-Piven/Saul Alinsky trifecta that progressives have worked toward and waited decades for…”

The Cloward/Piven Strategy of Economic Recovery
February 7, 2009, American Thinker, By Nancy Coppock http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/02/the_clowardpiven_strategy_of_e.html
“Using borrowed money for a band-aid bailout of the economy should seem backwards to most people. However, it likely is a planned strategy to promote radical change. Those naively believing that President Obama is simply rewarding his far-left base, and will then move to the political center, must wise up.

The assumption that Obama will need the nation to prosper in order to protect the 2010 mid-term election incorrectly assumes that he esteems free market capitalism. He does not. Rather than win through superior ideas and policies, the Democrat plan for success in the mid-term elections is to win by destroying political opposition. Obama adheres to the Saul Alinksy Rules for Radicals method of politics, which teaches the dark art of destroying political adversaries. However, that text reveals only one front in the radical left’s war against America. The Cloward/Piven Strategy is another method employed by the radical Left to create and manage crisis. This strategy explains Rahm Emanuel’s ominous statement, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” The Cloward/Piven Strategy is named after Columbia University sociologists Richard Andrew Cloward and Frances Fox Piven. Their goal is to overthrow capitalism by overwhelming the government bureaucracy with entitlement demands. The created crisis provides the impetus to bring about radical political change. According to Discover the Networks.org:  Rather than placating the poor with government hand-outs, wrote Cloward and Piven, activists should work to sabotage and destroy the welfare system; the collapse of the welfare state would ignite a political and financial crisis that would rock the nation…[ Making an already weak economy even worse is the intent of the Cloward/Piven Strategy. It is imperative that we view the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan’s spending on items like food stamps, jobless benefits, and health care through this end goal. This strategy explains why the Democrat plan to “stimulate” the economy involves massive deficit spending projects. It includes billions for ACORN and its subgroups such as SHOP and the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. Expanding the S-Chip Program through deficit spending in a supposed effort to “save the children” only makes a faltering economy worse. If Congress were to allow a robust economy, parents would be able to provide for their children themselves by earning and keeping more of their own money. Democrats, quick to not waste a crisis, would consider that a lost opportunity…”

Can it be? When you’re in a hurry to get somewhere socio-economically and the combination of Welfare, Food stamps, Medicare, and Social Security aren’t getting you there fast enough, you must additionally provide  welfare subsidies for the automobile industry, for the some of the worlds largest Financial Banks and even guarantee the solvency of foreign countries.

The Debt Walkers Strike Back
The Automatic Earth, 2 Dec 2011, by Ilargi
“It’s very simple, but maybe that’s the problem. For all I know it’s just too simple for people to see.

There’s a group of people, and it’s tempting to call them the 1%, but they’re not really, since there’s politicians in there too who have no shot at even aspiring to be part of the 1%, and media pundits and economists and what have you, who all together try to save the existing financial system at all cost. A cost that they don’t bear: that cost is being paid for by the 99%.

Theirs is just one particular view, one particular idea, of what it takes to get out of the crisis we’re in. Nothing more, nothing less: just one idea. But one that prevails over any alternatives to such a radical extent that, from an objective point of view, it can’t but boggle the mind.

“If we don’t save the banks and the financial system at large, there’ll be Armageddon to pay”. That’s the endlessly repeated prevailing line.
However, if we keep on spending ever more trillions to prevent Armageddon from arriving, surely we must invite it, by the very act of doing exactly that, to at some point come knocking on the back door. After all, you can’t spend more and more, and then some, without ever being served with the bill for doing so.

So we’ve had all these rescue missions over the past 5 years. Behemoth-sized amounts of taxpayer money and future taxpayer money have been poured into our economies in this alleged attempt to try to save them.

Now, take a step back and tell me what you see. I’ll tell you what I see: a financial system that is in worse shape than ever before during those 5 years. At least half of Europe is flat broke, most banks have lost 50%-80% of their market value, Bank of America, a major bailout

recipient, is fast on its way to becoming a penny stock, China sees shrinkage wherever it looks and Japan is rumored to be awkwardly close to the chopping block.

Evidently, something’s not working the way it’s supposed to.
And here is why: it is becoming clearer by the day that saving the banks is not the same as saving the people, upon whom increasing austerity is unleashed to pay for … saving the banks.

We have a choice to make: either we save the banks, or we save our societies. Which are falling apart as we speak on account of the costs of saving an already deeply bankrupt financial system.

But we’re not even starting to discuss that choice. All choices and decisions are being made -for us- in a one-dimensional vacuum theater by a small group of people who, to a (wo)man, flatly deny that such a choice needs to be made or even exists. Because making that choice doesn’t fit their purposes and careers and fortunes and ego’s.

Merkel, Blankfein, Sarkozy, Jamie Dimon, Obama, David Cameron, Mario Draghi and Timothy Geithner, they are all servants of the existing financial system, of the existing banks, which are broke but try to hide that from us. At our debilitating expense.

Yes, they’ve been able to stave off the inevitable until now. But that has only been possible because they have virtually unlimited access to your money, to the wallets of the 99%.

We should grow up and make these decisions ourselves, instead of letting a group of morally severely challenged suits with very vested interests make them for us any longer.

They’re leading us straight into Dante’s Ninth Circle of Hell. And last I heard, that’s definitely not a place to raise your kids.”

We intuitively know what the executives of the bailed out Financial Institutuions must feel. After costing the American people 10s if not 100s of billion$ of dollars and trillion$ in derivitive guarantees,  they reward themselves with 100,000$ if not million$ in payday bonuses. While they did not share in their largess during times of plenty, yet we were forced to pay their debt.

How do the people toward the lower end of the economic spectrum feel?
As a ‘retired person’ living in a retirement community, I see a lot of elderly folks and have heard a lot of hardship stories.
At present, if you are looking toward retirement there is nowhere to put your savings. Money is not safe due to inflation. Banks are not safe. Funds, stocks, bonds…
If you buy gold & silver bullion or US Mint bullion coins, for protection from inflation, and safety from bank and debt collapse, you will be fined with a huge tax. The Federal Government does not want your money placed in bullion since they have no access to using those funds. They don’t want you to have freedom in your old age, they want you on welfare-where you are controlled by the threat of loss.

Everyone sees the national ‘news’ media and interprets the sound bites into the management of their own unique circumstance. What are people at the real grass-roots learning and what are their community social-economic expectations? Don’t laugh at what follows, it is the result of what was discussed in the article above.
Is the Cloward–Piven strategy working yet? Yes, and we’re far along on the road to what Ilargi refers to as ‘Dante’s Ninth Circle of Hell’. When the ‘system’ finally breaks, it won’t be paradise, but conditions may make our new minimalistic Socialistic Government subsistence checks  look like it.

Mother of 15 Kids: “Somebody Needs to Pay; Somebody Needs to Be Held Accountable”
A woman with 15 kids (and no spouse) complains that people around aren’t doing enough to help her – even though her rent, food and furniture have all been covered by good Samaritans and the government. You have to see this to believe it!
“Somebody needs to be held accountable, and they need to pay,” she said.
Um, maybe that someone should be you?

Paste the following YouTube link in your browser.




Professor Cornel West: Battle For Entitlements Will Be “Fought In the Streets”
December 5th, 2011, SHTFplan.com, by Mac Slavo  
With the economy on its last leg, poverty stricken Americans at record highs and mass movements against greed and interventionist government policies already organizing in major American cities, Princeton professor Cornel West predicts that the battle for entitlements will be fought in the streets.
[Image at right Professor Cornel West and President Barack Obama.]

“Some of this is going to be fought in the streets. Civil disobedience does make a difference. Because corporate greed now is an issue everybody’s got to talk about. Wealth equality – everybody’s must talk about because of the Occupy movement.” [What did we read in the articles above about the Coward-Priven startegy?- Mr Larry]

[Video link to Professor West’s interview. http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/professor-cornel-west-battle-for-entitlements-will-be-fought-in-the-streets_12052011  ]

Civil disobedience will only work until the people realize nothing has been done – and that nothing can or will be done. When they finally understand that politicians, bureaucrats and corporate interests have completely destroyed their way of life, then we can fully expect violent confrontations and mid-east style, potentially armed, riots in the streets of America.   This isn’t going away. In fact, the frustration, anger and desperation will continue to build pressure. Whether its the Tea Party movement, Occupy Wall Street, or other third-party protests, the momentum is gaining speed and strength.   When the powder keg finally blows all bets are off. We can only hope for civil disobedience. But considering what we saw happen in the mid-east, where many were protesting exactly the same circumstances – an out of control government, rising food prices and impoverishment of the working class, among other things – we should be preparing, as trend forecaster Gerald Celente has so oft predicted, for the people who have lost everything, and have nothing left to lose, to completely lose it.   The government is certainly preparing for this eventuality, because in many circles they know civil unrest is a foregone conclusion.

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Precious metals will become currency as the dollar goes bad

(News & Editorial/ Precious metals will become currency as the dollar goes bad)

bad dollar currency

A. Recent headlines:
1. China-Russia currency agreement further threatens U.S. dollar:

2. Brazil, China Sign Trade Deal to Bypass Dollars:

3. China-Australia to Ditch US Dollar…

4. BRICS Nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) signed Local Currency agreement at Summit. They will not trade in U.S. dollars anymore. Agreements around the world between Countries to Drop U.S. dollar for trade (including Australia http://sherriequestioningall.blogspot.com/2012/03/bric-nations-brazil-russia-india-china.html

5. The Germans Want Their Gold Reserves Back In Germany:

6. “Germany wants its gold back, Fed says…eventually, maybe“:

7. Texas Wants Its Gold Back From The Fed:

With the world human population being 7.0 billion, so 30% of the world has moved away from the dollar.
China (1.3 billion population), Russia (143 million), Brazil (194 million), Australia (23 million), India (1.2 billion), South Africa (51 million) = total 2.91 billion population of listed countries.


bad dollar historicB. Implications of the loss of the dollar’s reserve status
22 Mar 2009, MarketSkeptics.com, by Eric deCarbonnel
Excerpt pasted from: http://www.marketskeptics.com/2009/03/how-big-deal-is-loss-of-dollars-reserve.html

As the dollar loses its reserves status, at least half of the world’s $5,385 billion dollar reserves will be sold off and replaced with other currencies (yuan, euro, khaleeji, gold, rand, etc…). The US, with its $71 foreign reserves, will not be able to do anything to counteract this mass exodus from the dollar. With outflows of this magnitude, the dollar’s value will collapse to a fraction of where it is now. The process of foreign nations extracting themselves from the dollar is not going to be pretty. The likely impacts are:

1) The dollar’s value will plunge as investors see the writing on the wall and jump ship.

2) US credit markets will collapse. As the dollar fall, a mass exodus from credit market will begin. Investors sitting on toxic securities will sell at firesale prices to escape the currency depreciation.

3) The fed’s balance sheet will explode beyond all reason. In response to the mass exodus from credit markets, the fed will buy trillions worth debt in a desperate attempt to hold interest rates down. Unfortunately, the more debt the fed buys, the more quickly the dollar will fall, and the more panicked the credit selloff will become.

4) US interest rates will soar, despite (or because of) the fed’s efforts.

5) Countries around the world will be hurt badly by the dollar’s decline. These countries include:
_A)  Nations which are heavily dependent on US exports: Japan, Mexico, etc…
_B)  Nations with large dollar reserves: Japan, China, Gulf oil states, etc…
_C)  Nations which receive large amount of US foreign aid: Israel, Egypt, etc…
_D)  Nations which rely on remittances from citizens working in the US: Mexico, India, etc…
_E)  Nations which use dollars as their official currency: Liberia, Panama, etc…
_F)  Nations which have large amounts of dollars in circulation: Central and South America (especially Argentina), Eastern Europe, etc…

6) Some nations will see benefits from the dollar’s decline. These countries include:
_A)  Nations with large gold reserves: EU zone, Switzerland, etc…
_B)  Nations which owe dollar denominated debt will see that debt wiped out: Iceland, African nations, etc…
_C)  Nations who stable currencies: EU zone, Switzerland, China, etc…

7) World politics will be greatly altered. There will be considerable anger at the US from nations hurt by dollar’s fall. The US will lose influence to Asia (mainly China).

8) US retailers will get crushed. As the dollar falls, the cost of imports for retailers will increase, but the American consumer will be unable to afford to these higher prices. Competition between desperate retailers will force them the sell inventory at below cost, creating massive losses. Retailers most heavily dependent on imports (ie: Wal-Mart) will be the first to go under. Eventually as more and more retailers go bankrupt, the few survivors will be able to raise prices enough to cover costs, and the sector will stabilize at a fraction of its current size.

9) American lifestyles will change radically. The end of cheap oil, low interest rates, and deficit spending will mean a lower quality of life and higher taxes.

10) The price of gold and other precious metals will explode.

11) US will experience hyperinflation.


29 May 2013, Gold-Eagle.com, an editorial by Larry LaBorde of http://www.silvertrading.net/ Pasted from: http://www.gold-eagle.com/editorials_12/laborde052913.html

What if the US lost its world reserve currency status?  What might it look like? I suppose the first question is; what does it mean that we have the “world’s reserve currency”?
At the end of WWII the allies met at Bretton Woods and decided to use the US dollar as the official world currency and that it would be backed by gold.  All worldwide trade would be priced in dollars and settled in dollars.  Food, energy (oil), etc from around the world would be priced and paid for in USD.  New York became the financial center for all world trade. Fast-forward to President Nixon in 1971 and the USD was cut loose from the gold standard due to OPEC oil imports and a growing imbalance of trade that was causing gold to flow out of the US in large amounts. Today goods from around the world flow to the US and newly created paper dollars flow out.  (Well not really paper dollars, just newly created electronic digits made up on a computer.)  In essence we create IOUs that everyone must accept due to the Bretton Woods agreement and they send us their stuff.
Once we completely figured this out we decided in the 1990’s that we would “think” and they would “work”.
The US was going to run as a clean “information society” and all that dirty industry would go somewhere else.  Our balance of trade kept getting worse and worse.  We imported way more than we exported.
We used to report our imbalance of trade numbers a couple of decades ago with great concern.  Now no one seems to care at all since it is so far out of balance that it can never be fixed.  (Sort of like an annoying knock in the engine that you fix by turning up the radio.)  Ocean going freight containers started to pile up over here because we didn’t have enough goods to send them back fully loaded.  For a while we sent hay overseas in freight containers because we had to send empties back to get them refilled so they greatly discounted the freight on the backhaul or return trip.
Many people have started to find creative uses for these freight containers that are building up over here.  They are the empty boxes on Christmas morning.  Who sends the empty boxes back to the store for more toys?  You just get new boxes.
Under the original Bretton Woods agreement if one country imported more goods than they exported the difference was settled up in gold.  After a while the lazy country sent so much gold overseas that its currency dropped in value and they could not import as many goods.  The lower priced currency made their exported goods more competitive so they began exporting more and the gold flowed back.
When the link to gold was cut this self-regulating mechanism was broken.  So now why should the US export anything?  Why not import everything and just pay for it all with USD made up from nothing?  Works great for the US but everyone else may have a problem with that system.  So why does the rest of the world still accept our USD electronic digits?

One reason is the rest of the world can still spend them at the Middle East gasoline station to tank up with oil.  In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s a deal was cut with the Saudis that so long as they priced their oil in USD and USD only, we would support their family rule with the full force of the US military.   So even though we did not export enough goods to soak up all of our exported USD, the Middle East did.  The OPEC countries then purchased our US bonds with their excess USD and earned a pretty good interest on their USDs – until now.  Whenever someone in North Africa or the Middle East failed to live up to the agreement they were “replaced” with someone who would. The whole system is now broken but still working somewhat.  The only reason the rest of the world has not thrown it out altogether is there is not anything else to easily take its place.  (Your thoroughbred now is old and swaybacked and stumbles along but it is still better than walking.)  The world thought the Euro might offer an alternative to the USD when it was first launched.  We all see where that is now leading.  Doug Casey famously said, “The dollar is an IOU nothing but the euro is a who owes you nothing.”  It seems that the euro is not going to offer the USD any serious competition.  The USD is still the prettiest horse at the glue factory. So what is next?

Well the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) have started their own development bank.  This cuts the World Bank out of the picture in much of the world.  The G-20 is talking about alternative currencies to challenge the USD and perhaps replace it one day with something a bit more fair to everyone else.  China is cutting trade deals directly with Brazil and Australia outside of USDs.  India is cutting deals with Iran outside of USDs.  This is in direct violation of the Bretton Woods agreement.  However, these countries feel they are exchanging value for value in their trade with each other on a more fair and equitable arrangement.
What would make a new reserve currency attractive?  If the country that issued it had a trade surplus or at least balanced trade with the rest of the world a lot of the resentment would disappear.  If the new currency were backed by gold once again the self-regulating mechanism would be fixed causing no one country to benefit to the detriment of another.  If a basket of currencies were used from several strong countries with both of these attributes then even better. Rumor has it that Russia and China have both been working hard to build up their gold reserves and they are both about 5 times the US gold reserve at its peak.  Rumor also has it that the US gold reserve is maybe not as large as reported. What if instead of Greece (or another PIIGS country) pulling out of the European monetary union and reissuing its own currency that something more interesting happened?  What if the strong man with the 3rd largest gold reserves and a strong export economy pulled out and reissued its own currency – backed by gold!
What if Germany pulled out leaving the Euro to collapse?  Then what if Germany looked east and linked up with Russian and Chinese currencies that were also backed by gold?  A new reserve currency made up of a basket of these three currencies (all backed by gold) would be a Eurasian powerhouse. But where would this leave the USD?  So long as the Middle East Gasoline Station was still in business and accepting USD it would survive.  But what if the Muslim Brotherhood took over Saudi Arabia?  What if the house of Saud fell?  What if the Chinese would not loan us any more money to mount Gulf War III to save the house of Saud?
There are several “ifs” here but what might happen? If the rest of the world could not spend their USD reserves at the Middle East Gas Station and we are not able to ramp up our exports and sell them something they might want, then what exactly would they do with those USD?  Why would anyone else in the world want them?  And since 1971 we have been sending them all over the world and they have been piling up in every corner, there are a lot of them out there that suddenly find themselves unloved.  I believe that all at once there would be a race to spend them all at the only place where they must be accepted – to the only place where they are legal tender for all debts both public and private – right here within the US.  They would buy everything that was not nailed down.  Cranes, bulldozers, tractors, trucks, ships and entire factories all to be crated up and carted off.  The mad rush of so many dollars would cause these items to be bid up to very high prices in USD.  This of course would devalue the USD even further.
All of a sudden all those old ocean containers that have been piling up over here would be filled to capacity hauling assets off as fast as possible.  All of those IOUs would come home to roost at the same time.  Of course we could default or slap on export taxes of 1,000% or some sort of currency controls for repatriated USD.  They could even call all of those USD overseas illicit drug money and seize all of it!  But that might lead to a war or several wars.  Wars have been fought over issues far less trifling than that.  No one likes to get stiffed on an IOU.  Especially the largest pile of IOUs in the history of the world.

Assuming that we did the right thing and honored our debts.  What would the US look like after the smoke cleared?  What few factories remained would be largely owned by foreign interests.  With much of the means of production carted off we would have a hard time exporting more than we consumed.  Anything imported would be terribly expensive priced in USD.  A trip to Wal-Mart would be like going to Neiman Marcus.  Since we no longer grow enough food to feed ourselves our imported food would be very expensive.  If the welfare state continued the dollar would devalue even more and finally collapse.  Everyone would have to accept a much lower standard of living as we worked in factories owned by foreigners.  As our dollar finally devalued to a fraction of its former glory the US would become a cheap labor country.  Factories would move back to the US for the same reason many moved to Mexico in the 1980’s and 1990’s.
Slowly we would rebuild and in a few generations we could be a first world country again.
So what can you do now?  Where can you run?  When the War Between the States began and the first Battle of Bull Run was fought, Southern General P.T.G. Beauregard set up his headquarters in the home of Mr. Wilmer McLean.  Mr. McLean was too old to fight in the Southern army and sought to move his family to safety.  He glanced at the map and picked a nice safe place 120 miles further south  – in Appomattox.  You see the war started in his front yard and ended in his parlor as General Lee surrendered the Army of Virginia to General Grant several years later.  The first and last great battles of that war both found Mr. McLean.   Sometimes you can run from danger but in the wrong direction.  Take some time and carefully think things through for yourself.  Make sure you are not jumping out of the fire and into the frying pan.  A storm could be coming our way.  Build a good storm shelter just in case.  Years too early are better than seconds too late.


D. Arizona lawmakers back gold, silver as currency
18 Mar 2013, Yahoo! News, by Cristina Silva/ Associated Press
Pasted from: http://news.yahoo.com/arizona-lawmakers-back-gold-silver-233837866.html

Arizona Republicans want to allow gold, silver to be used as currency

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona lawmakers say the global economy is on the precipice of financial ruin and the U.S. dollar could soon be worth less than the paper used to make it.

These doomsayers are pushing forward legislation that would declare privately minted gold and silver coins legal tender, no different under state law than the U.S. dollar printed by the federal Department of Treasury.

The measure is Arizona’s latest jab at the federal government, which prohibits states from minting their own money. It also reflects a growing distrust of government-backed money.

“The public sees the value in it,” said Republican Rep. Steve Smith, of Maricopa. “This is the type of currency we have had over the history of mankind.”

The bill, which advanced in a 4-2 vote by a House committee Monday, states that gold and silver should be legal currency not subject to tax or regulation as property. The Republican-led Senate gave the bill its blessing in February in a 17-11 partisan vote.

The bill would let people use the precious metals as money as long as businesses agree to take them. If made law, it would take effect in 2014.

Democrats oppose the measure. They say it would be a bureaucratic nightmare because businesses don’t have the equipment to determine the value of gold and silver.

“This should be addressed by the Federal Reserve and not by the state,” said Democratic Rep. Rosanna Gabaldon, of Green Valley.

Keith Weiner, president of the Gold Standard Institute, which supports gold-backed currencies, said he envisions a system where people can pay for goods and services with debit and credit cards backed by gold and silver.

Paper money is a “recipe for worldwide bankruptcy,” Weiner told Arizona lawmakers Monday. “Everybody is going bankrupt on this system so we need a sound and honest money system, such as gold and silver.”

In 2011, Utah became the first state in the country to legalize gold and silver coins as currency. Lawmakers in Minnesota, North Carolina, Idaho, South Carolina, Colorado and other states have debated similar laws in recent years.

Many investors have invested their money in precious metals in recent years as a hedge against the declining value of the dollar. When the value of the dollar declines, gold prices rise.

Gold rose $12, nearly 1 percent, to $1,604.60 per ounce on Monday with news of Europe’s bailout plan for cash-strapped Cyprus. Silver inched slightly higher, up 2.3 cents to $28.874 per ounce.

The dollar was up against the euro, the currency used by 17 European countries, as well as the Japanese yen and the Canadian dollar in February.

Proponents of the switch to gold and silver argue paper money is too vulnerable to government manipulations. When central banks boost the amount of currency in circulation to drive down interest rates, the value of that currency relative to others can decline.

“It’s actually strange to me that we don’t have this already,” said Republican Rep. David Livingston, of Peoria.

Gold-backed money fell out of favor during World War I because the U.S. and many other countries needed to print more cash to pay for the war. In 1971, President Richard Nixon formally abandoned the gold standard.


 E. Arizona’s Hard Currency: How Much Gold Might It Need?
27 Apr 2013, Gold-Eagle.com commentary, contributed by Miguel Perez-Santalla
Pasted from: http://www.gold-eagle.com/editorials_12/perez-santalla042713.html

How much gold & silver might Arizona, Utah and the other states now involved in hard-currency laws come to need…?
ARIZONA is moving to allow gold and silver coin to be used to pay debts, and – effectively – go shopping. This has already been approved in the state of Utah, and there is an assortment of other states that are moving in this direction as well. However, Utah’s gold currency law has been on the books for more than a year. But it has not yet made any headway into how to manage gold and silver being used as currency. Nor will payees be obliged to accept bullion as payment. As a result, many pundits are pooh-poohing Arizona’s gold idea, acting as obstacles to its possible success.
Though I don’t personally believe that physical gold and silver carried around by persons is the future of our country, I do believe that there will be some structural change to come. The small yet actively progressing action in many states is an indicator of the demand for better controls and justification of the value of our money. Concern that the ability to print money without measure will destroy this country is not only just, but is also warranted.

The Federal Reserve – which is not part of the government – is actively in charge of our currency. By injecting capital to the markets to support the banking sector, which irresponsibly lost billions of Dollars in their management of customers’ funds, they have instituted an invisible tax on all citizens of the United States of America. It is no surprise that many people who pay close attention to these matters are up in arms. Especially, since they don’t participate in the windfall of free capital given by the Federal Reserve to the banks as a safety net.
In essence, every time the government issues money freely and gives it to others it is a promissory note on the ability of the populace to pay, it puts us all more in debt. The people of the United States of America are becoming fed up with the free-flowing funds the government regularly gives away as gifts of supposedly humanitarian aid to foreign countries that are not even considered allies. These gifts in the billions of Dollars are on top of expenses needed to support our infrastructure. This creates a mountain of debt that essentially devalues the US Dollar. Our ability to pay is what the citizens are concerned with.
To avoid this many are turning to silver and gold bullion as a reliable asset or marker of value. Of course when you tie up your money in an asset like gold and silver you want the most easily accessible manner to extract that value whenever needed. This is where the effort to make gold and silver accepted as currency is coming from.
So let’s take a look at what would happen if one state such as Arizona were to convert to a precious metal economy. Arizona’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) was roughly $258 billion at last count. As a proportion of the United States’ entire economy, that’s about 1.7%. Which if we apply that number to the total of currency in circulation and bank deposits (known as M2 by the economists) gives Arizona a money supply of somewhere around $180bn. Using today’s market prices, in gold that would represent 126,000 ounces which is nearly 143% of the current annual world production, and it would represent over 945% of the world’s annual silver production. But of course silver is an extremely bulky and difficult metal to handle. No one thinks the entire state of Arizona would go to 100% metal-backed currency. People will of course remain free to use fiat (backed only by faith) money, and most would likely choose the same fiat Dollars and bank-account credits we already have.
But it’s important to understand that – in the proposals as they stand – people could choose to use metal-based currency for all their in-state transactions. So the potential ceiling on the gold or silver needed is much nearer to 100% of that $180bn than it would be under a formal “Gold Standard”. There, with Dollars redeemable for gold, full gold-backing wasn’t necessary.
The Gold Standard instead used precious metals as a standard of value. The last US gold standard was a 25% basis of gold in fact, before it was repealed in 1968. Applying a classical Gold Standard, and using a 25% basis for gold or silver, Arizona’s cash and bank-deposit holdings would occupy 235% of the world’s annual silver production at current prices, or 36% of the world’s annual gold production.
A more logical decision may be a combination of the two, with a 5% silver and 25% gold funding which would represent 30% annual gold production and 39% silver production. This of course would drive the value of the precious metals much higher, as the market adjusted to accommodate Arizona’s impact on global demand. But as we just saw, Arizona’s proposals go far beyond a Gold Standard, making 100% metal-backed banking and currency a possibility, if highly unlikely. Note, this is only for one state – and one where barely 2% of the US population now live. The numbers involved are already stupendous.

You can imagine what would happen to gold and silver prices if all 18 states currently working on similar “hard currency” laws saw only 10% of their citizens move to holding precious-metals. But that being said, I do not believe at this very moment it is the goal of this legislation. The new legislation deems to allow transactions to be negotiable and settled in full using gold or silver if the parties involved agree to it. Hence you can sell your car for 4 ounces of gold or buy a house for 10,000 ounces of silver. But to do so without an official government structure you would have to in effect be your own central banker and invest your currency into your own private gold and silver reserves. Hence when you go to enter into a transaction the value of your asset should have been protected from any central banking or government debt fiascos. Are currencies backed by gold and silver to be the future? This is possible in some form. Had this system not been tried before? The answer to this is yes. But the methods that were used in the 20th century were complicated by the entry of the Federal Reserve System and other Central Bankers. It was prior to central bank machinations that gold and silver brought stability to the financial markets and the economy in general.

With the entry of the central bank models, including the Federal Reserve, free spending of the people’s money became a possibility and is what eroded the gold standard and derailed a more functional system. Unfortunately most of the spending was used to fund wars. Maybe if wars had to be paid in hard assets they may have ended sooner than later with less loss of human life. However, there are arguments on both sides of the fence. As I read and study more and more about our modern-day banking system it is a miracle that it has not failed sooner. Of course this is my personal belief. This is also what is driving the current activity in the states to bring in some correlation of currency to gold and silver as hard assets. The history of the Federal Reserve, which is not a bank, has the US economy since its inception riddled with negative GDP growth. It is peppered with financial calamities. Its primary function was said to be the stabilization of the economy.
It has failed and has not performed better than any other prior system. I don’t have the answers but I know it doesn’t lie in the Federal Reserve System. This is a centralization of power away from capitalism to a form of modern day socialist tendencies of spending without limits within our system. This indicates to me in the event of a serious economic downturn, which seems to be forthcoming since we already did kick the can down the road as far as we can, we will have serious troubles in the union of these United States of America. But for the time being the general public who are able, are happy buying their gold and silver and keeping it in a safe and secure place for when this situation rears its ugly head. Those that do and are in the states where they have legalized its use as currency stand to have a much more secure environment moving forward as the government is not allowed to take away your money without cause. At least, not at the moment.

bad dollar charts

[Today, we have a price buying opportunity in gold and silver bullion coins. When the SHTF, prices on retail items will rise, inflation will surge, precious metal prices will have risen steadily ahead of events as the global situation deteriorated in ways not understood by the public. When everyone realizes that they need a stable source in which store the value of their rapidly eroding currency (dollars), those precious metal commodities will already be exceptionally expensive in dollar terms. You have to buy the dips while the opportunity exists, as the ancient adage says, “By low. Sell high”. Mr. Larry]

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Prepare with Cash and Equivalents

(Survival Manual/2. Social issues/Prepare with cash and equivalents)

Prepare with Cash and Equivalents

 Our financial system needs growth to sustain it, so that loans can be paid back with interest. Once  peak oil hits, growth will be gone. Economic growth may even be replaced with economic decline. It is not clear our financial system can handle this.

When it becomes serious, you have to lie”, Jean-Claude Juncker, Chairman of the Euro zone finance ministers and the currency union’s key spokesmen, May 2011.

Projection from early 2005
Today’s fiat money system is in joint peril with other paper assets during the upcoming worldwide depression. Unlike the last depression, our Federal Reserve paper money is backed by nothing but
air, hot government air, redeemable in like units. And nearly as cheap as air to give to the body economic, Rubin and Greenspan (Plunge Protection Team) will work like crazy to inflate the bursting economic bubble with huge quantities of this air.
•  I would expect the discount rate to drop to near 0% enticing us to borrow more, refinance again and to help them float the market and the world on the sinking U.S.S. Titanic. [Local bank interest rates 0.1% in 2009-2010, 0.05% during 2011.]
•  But eventually this ploy will become unworkable as we find ourselves mortgaged to the hilt and questioning our ability to repay. (July  2011]
•  Mass bankruptcy will follow and the good faith and credit of the U.S.A. will look to be in real trouble to the rest of the world. [First international bankruptcy 2010-2011]
•  There will be a flight to quality, dollars around the world will be sold at any price as they go through a confidence crisis. This is the reason that the next depression will eventually end up being inflationary
and not deflationary. [Gold started its long-term rapid rise in the summer of 2008. Silver ‘took off’ in April 2010]
•  Money then is a commodity (pretty printed paper, cheap metal slugs, barter items, and/or precious metal coins) that you can use in trade for other commodities you would like. You choose each day what you will trade your labor or stuff for, to use as money.  You are wealthy only if you own and control the means to sustain life for yourself and possess items that can be traded with others.
•  Paper assets are about to be destroyed in the upcoming years during a stock market crash. These overvalued pieces of colorful paper, with the engraved images of our national forefathers, will not feed or take care of you because nobody will be willing to trade anything worthwhile for them. These include Stocks, Bonds and any other debt based paper asset like Federal Reserve Notes and your bank account valued in Federal Reserve Notes.
Additionally copper-clad coins will eventually be viewed for what they are –  Slugs – imitations of the real thing. What then will be used as money?

Four Characteristics of Money
1)  It must be divisible.
2)  It must have high value in relation to its volume and  weight.
3)  There must be widespread recognizability.
4)  It must have transportability.
Gold and silver coins satisfy all these requirements.

A.  How much and what kind of money should I own?
To prepare for the  coming depression please consider the following:

1)  Newer Coins
You will want to have on hand a significant amount of pennies, nickels and copper-clad dimes and quarters.  This is for when limits on bank withdraws begin and cash is scarce. You do not want to use your gold and silver coins then, they are to be used when things start leveling out and the economy restarts. Most people will not initially know the value of gold and silver. Therefore, use the copper-clads until the populace gets educated. If you are on a budget, start by collecting a few hundred dollars face value. A wealthy individual could have thousands of dollars face value of copper-clad coins
tucked away.

2)  Paper Money
You will want to start by having enough paper cash money on hand to cover at least one month’s
personal expenses: mortgage payments, car and truck, taxes, utilities, household supplies, etc. If you are well enough off I would recommend that you have much more. According to the experts you must have cash on hand, not in the bank, to satisfy your obligations or you may be forced to forfeit your assets. Also, as the stock market crashes and banks suspend withdraws, you will be able for a  short time to buy pennies on the dollar. Additionally, banking services will be non-existent and checks, credit cards, etc. will be useless. An assortment of $1, $5, $10 and $20 bills is recommended (it may be difficult to get change for larger bills). The amount you feel comfortable storing is up to you. Keep the cash where you can easily get your hands on it.
You may not have access to your safe deposit box because of an extended bank holiday.

3)  The Transition Period Between Fiat Money To Real Money
Eventually, the liquidity crises, during and after the bank limits will pass, and paper dollars will be devalued (they become worthless), the federal government will begin taking over the failed banks, they will make good on the FDIC and FSLIC government bank guaranty and other government commitments by printing new larger denomination paper money.
$500, $1,000, $5,000 and then $10,000 bills will be reissued by the federal reserve in huge quantities, and/or they will circulate a new type of currency. Copper-clad coins, and small bills will become worthless, unless you have wheel-barrels full of them. Run-away Inflation. This will be a hyper-inflationary period for people holding paper assets, paper money and copper-clad coins. When you get wind of the coming currency devaluation dump your paper and copper-clad money for anything of real value. This is the time to already have your silver, gold and any other items you will want and to barter with.
Look for a new National Value Added Tax (V.A.T.) on all purchases and services. Government-controlled rationing will be setup and the Black Market will be in operation.

4)  Silver Coin
Now the importance of having gold and silver coin is evident after seeing the stock market crash scenario and the destruction of paper assets. The only money that is real is that which has intrinsic value. Currency like gold and silver money will be the only real store of money value. The wealthy individuals to emerge from the coming stock market crash and depression that follows, will be the ones who have preserved their wealth during the destruction of paper assets. Face it, after having a roof over your head, food to eat and clothes to wear, you will be wealthy only if you have things of real value to others and if you can turn that into opportunity for yourself. Barter any commodity that you can but the two commodities historically that always become real money and a reserve of value are gold and silver.

You will want now to buy as much silver as you can, before the VAT becomes law, and while the rest of the world is chasing after paper assets. Today, silver is a good value compared to how it will appreciate. Although you will want to acquire gold, silver is better suited for small exchanges and will be used more for the day-to-day purchases. Get plenty of junk silver, pre-1964 dimes, quarters and half dollars by the bag ($1000. face value), 1/2 bag or smaller amounts. You are basically getting old U.S. silver coins that have been picked through to remove the rare pieces. The price is currently about 5 times the face value. Old silver dollars are much more expensive costing about 30.88per dollar (based on 39.90 spot price of silver, 29 July 2011). Your best value for silver dollars is to get newly-minted US American Eagle silver dollars, the US mint has been minting the new silver coin since 1986 and they are about $44.60 each (29 July 2011) and contain 1 troy ounce of 99.9% silver, this is about a 0.3 ounce more silver than carried by the old silver dollars (0 .714 troy oz.).
All these coins contain a specific amount of silver and are recognized by the whole world as to their size and weight. U.S. coins are better than other coins or bullion because of their recognizability, so don’t hold anything, but U.S. gold and silver coins.

5)  Gold Coin
The best value in U.S. gold coins are the ones minted by the U.S. Government. US American Gold Eagle coins are currently minted, ranging from about $180, May 2011, for the 1/10 oz. coins to about $1,627, July 2011, for the 1 oz. coins. There are also 1/4 oz. and 1/2 oz. coins, but I prefer either the 1/10 oz. or the 1 oz. coins.
•  1/10 oz. gold coins should be used to barter on small items; items that are larger than what you can buy with your 1 ounce silver coins.  The 1/10 oz. coin is ‘valued/stamped’ at $5.00 and would be an easy way to buy something worth a fraction of  the 1 oz. of gold.
•  The 1/4 oz. gold coins are improperly valued at $428, May 2011 because of their weight;  the 1/2 coin is not a good value because of its increased commission.
•  The 1 oz. coin is the best way to store large quantities of gold and is the most cost-effective method.
Each coin contains 1 oz of 91.6 pure gold in troy ounces plus a small amount of hardening metal to strengthen the coin, each coin weighs slightly more than its stated value.

After socking away new copper-clad coins, paper money and silver coin, you will want to buy as much gold coin as possible. You will preserve your wealth through the coming paper asset destruction and will emerge as a rich individual.

My advice
(Note: Do your own research and come to decisions that fit your personal circumstance. I’m not a qualified financial advisor. Mr. Larry)
If you are financially capable of storing (your long-term ‘savings account’) gold  and silver, you should have different types of gold and silver holdings. I would suggest starting your bullion holdings with cash and junk silver, then progressing to American Eagle silver and gold bullion coins.
Besides being  the historical standard for money, silver and gold are also barter commodities.
You will want to have the right denominations/weights of silver and gold coin to transact business. Which silver or gold coin you will use, depends on the cost, situation and who you are working with. People familiar  with the old ‘junk silver’ coins would rather trade with them than with bullion coins. Some people will see your US gold or silver Eagles and feel secure that they can count on that coin to be what it  says it is and will be more willing to make a trade with you.

During shortages and government controlled rationing, a store keeper may have a limited supply of a desperately needed item like medicine that he can only sell at the government set price. Who will get
this item? The person next to you with a 50 dollar bill of questionable value, or  you with 50 dollars in silver or gold coin – the store keeper or trader will recognize that your coin has a much higher intrinsic value. Of course you will get the medicine; however, if you only had an unrecognized bullion coin or a ‘junk silver’ coin from another country you may not.

Buy as much junk silver and American eagles as you have the means for. The bullion coins will preserve your wealth through to the other side of the collapse of paper assets and you will have the means to get going financially.
Old junk silver coins are meant for dealing with local stores for small transactions during and after the upcoming paper asset collapse. Deciding what and how much to store all depends on your situation, will you have the desired money medium for the opportunity/life style you are pursuing?

You only want enough cash on hand to sustain yourself in the event of bank withdraw limitations, and until worldwide dollar confidence crashes and the world dumps dollars on the market in a race
to get any value they can from it. Other than a pile of small bills to see you through a crisis, cash is a bad thing to hold because of possible hyper-inflation and the fact that it is backed by practically nothing.
Obviously the bulk of your investment money placed in a good fund tied to the performance of the stock market is the best place to be right now; long if you see the market rising and a ‘short’ ETF (DXD and others) if you see a decline coming.


B.  Forces which cause gold and silver to rise in value.
•  Bank Failures
•  Rising inflation or the expectation of rising inflation
•  Devaluation of the dollar
•  Other currency-related crises
•  Increased Industrial and Investment demand for gold
•  Price increase in other commodities
•  Stock and bond market collapse
•  A New World War
•  International tensions

Gold serves as an increased hedge, though volatile in the short-term, against the erosion of the purchasing power of paper money. This is why you want to hold your portable gold coins for 3 – 7
years on the average. However, if a deal or situation presents itself that is extremely advantageous such as gold appreciating in value to quadruple or more what you paid for it–consider selling– you can always buy property with the proceeds.

Just before the peak of another depression, gold, is estimated to possibly rise to $3000 – $6000 an ounce. And if the President bans gold altogether; then places the U.S. back on the Gold Standard—as it is felt in many of the bearish financial newsletters, gold could a lot higher!
Spot silver prices are closely  connected to the same factors as those driving gold; however, because of  the low supply of available silver, it may become nearly as valuable as Gold.

You have five things working to drive the price of gold up:
1.  Increasing Gold Lease Contracts
2.  Increasing Consumer Demand- in China and India, as well as Europe.
3.  Gold Investors Needing Gold- international banks
4.  IMF: “By the IMF’s [International Monetary Fund] own documentation, the international banking community is trying to create a new global currency that will be backed by gold valued at between $3,000 to $5,000 per ounce.” –The Economic Outlook; Vol. 7. #1. January 1998.
5. Deflation: “To avoid outright economic collapse-Asian governments are devaluing currencies. Currency devaluation is a hidden form of hyper-inflation–the last desperate act before outright economic collapse. How do you protect yourself from currency devaluation? Gold &  silver.”
–The Economic Outlook; Vol. 7. #1. January 1998.

The following table provides my personal thoughts on the way to split up assets in order to cover most contingencies. I recommend you set aside the cash mentioned in the top half of the table first, and when this is done, do what you can to develop the funds to buy some combination of the bullion listed below.

Number to have on hand(minimum) Item cost
in each denomination
$50 bills none
$20 bills 200 $20 $4,000
$10 bills 50 $10 $500
$5 bills 50 $5 $250
$1 bills 300 $1 $300
$1 coin $1 none
Quarter (25¢)
10 rolls $10 $100
Dime (10¢) coin 10 rolls $5 $50
Nickel (5¢) coin 10 rolls $2 $20
Penny (1¢) coin 10 rolls $.50 $5
Currency   & coin• $5,150
Pre 1965 ‘junk -90% silver coins $200 face
$2844 $2844
Silver Eagle 1 oz 500 ea $19.87 $9,935
Bullion bar, 100 oz none
Gold Eagle 1/10 oz 20 ea $138 $2,760
Gold Eagle 1 oz 8 ea $1295 $10,360
Bullion $25,899
Currency, Coin and Bullion ‘On Hand’ $31,049

Table above updated on 16 Oct 2014

When faced with hyperinflation or other major calamities, you should have a pre determined  list of items to purchase ‘at the last-minute’ and/or items to invest your  cash in, things that will survive the
currency collapse or become more valuable in the post disaster period. When the window of opportunity is seen about to close, you must immediately transfer the bulk of your extra cash into some combination of ‘commodities’, such as; food, land, housing, other real estate, and barter items.

The totals shown in the table above are approximately the current annual gross wage of a mid level
US worker. With slightly reduced circumstances, this sum will provide 1) Four to five years of  supplemental income, or 2) in a severe depression it would provide about two years worth of 50% pre-crisis  income, or 3)  in a catastrophe, provide one full years income.

Coupled with your food  and water storage plan, as discussed in, 1) Survival Guide/ Food&Water /Develop a Survival Food List, and in 2) Survival Guide/Warehouse/Food, you should have the capacity to weather a serious dislocation.
With the adoption of other support systems, discussed and enumerated in Warehouse/… your resilience and survivability  should see you through most of the abrupt physical catastrophes that may impact a region or a national or global economic collapse.

While watching the short term, keep in mind that there are very long term cycles of human conduct and behavior toward one another, in our exploitive relationship with  the natural environment, our  modern civilizations energy use and resultant population numbers, as well as environmental ‘black swans’. The interplay of flux and flow between these relationships, trends and surprise events show themselves in the changing levels of human prosperity.

During the late 20th Century the world was very prosperous, we all poured our wealth into entertaining material goods, desiring ‘thing’s more than the traditional stores of value, gold and silver, hence the price of silver was the cheapest it has been in almost 700 years (Google ‘650  Years of Silver Prices’ or see http://goldinfo.net/silver600.html)

On 19 April 2011, the spot price of silver reached $43.07 and began an overdue correction. As technology developed the steam engine and later, our petroleum-based civilization with electricity, mining technology brought about an easier extraction of minerals. Now, as we moving through the brief peak oil plateau period, our open-pit mines have grown huge and underground mines extend for miles.
There are no more easy surface ‘finds’ of most of our civilizations industrial mining needs. When our oil supply declines there will be a diminished amount of minerals extracted from mines and at higher real prices (above what ever inflation will be). There will be less because the huge quantity of almost free labor provided by oil driven machinery will be declining, but also because we will have already extracted the bulk of the available resources.
The coming extended rise in silver prices will reflect not only scarcity, but difficulty and cost of extraction. The same shadow will fall across
all mined minerals, lumber, paper products, aluminum, rare earths and uranium. Costs will rise rapidly during the coming few years irrespective of whether there is inflation or deflation. The things we have grown accustomed to around the turn of the 21st Century will become increasingly difficult to obtain at ‘reasonable’ prices, the cost of ‘things’ will go up in real terms.
The decade from 2011 to 2021 will be wild.

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Filed under __2. Social Issues

Emergency Tent Living, Part 3 of 4

(Survival Manual/ 4. Shelter Issues/ Emergency Tent Living, Part 3 of 4)

Living off-grid in a tent

A.  Why we’re living in a tent – in winter
10 February 2012, The Guardian, by Patrick Barkham
Pasted from: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/feb/11/family-living-in-tent

tent2 cookingWhy on earth would Matt and Lily Gibson give up their house and take their baby daughter to live in a tent in the countryside? Patrick Barkham finds out…

The stove has to be topped up with logs every two hours to keep the tent warm.
A white frost clings to the fields and the mud on the farm is frozen hard. In a secluded paddock behind the stone farmhouse stands a small bell tent, a curl of smoke rising from the metal flue poking out of the canvas. The temperature dropped to -7C the previous evening but inside the tent it is surprisingly warm, which is just as well because since the middle of January this octagonal dwelling, 5m wide and mounted on old pallets above the mud, has been the home of Lily and Matt Gibson and their nine-month-old daughter, Louise.

As unpaid bills mounted, and the couple struggled to pay £625-a-month rent for a dilapidated house, they made a drastic decision: they believed they would be better off, and happier, trying to survive in a tent. When their tenancy agreement expired on 15 January, they pitched a tent they had bought for £370, borrowed from Lily’s mother, on a farm in the west country.

“The mud and rain may be depressing, but the cold is scary,” admits Lily. “But we’re glad we’ve done this, even though it is frightening sometimes thinking about our responsibility for Louise and how we must keep her warm.”

The wood burning stove inside the tent is their life. Everything is focused on keeping the fire burning. Every two hours at night, Matt must get up to feed it more logs. So far, it is working. It may be freezing outside but under a single layer of canvas, the couple have created a snug and idyllic-looking – if minuscule – home. The tent smells of wood smoke and a delicious beef and vegetable broth is bubbling on the stove.

Matt was working in retail, spending wages on an expensive commute to a nearby city, and Lily, a freelance graphic designer, had stopped work when Louise was born. “Matt wasn’t getting home until 7pm and we still couldn’t afford to live properly,” says Lily. “We paid all our rent but we weren’t ever going out. We weren’t buying new clothes. We didn’t even get our hair cut. We’d occasionally get a coffee with friends in the town, but we were living very frugally. There was no way we could save at all and we wanted to do something for Louise’s future. We tried to be positive and we wanted her to have a happy home, but it was really quite depressing.”

Then they chanced on a press cutting about Simon Dale, who built his own eco-home for £3,000. This inspired them to take the first steps in their dream of buying a plot of land and building a low-impact home on it. “For me it was also inspired by the Occupy movements across the world,” adds Lily. “I don’t know what they might achieve but they have shifted consciousness in some way.” Previously, she assumed that “if we could not afford our rent it was because we were not budgeting properly. The Occupy movement made me see it wasn’t my fault – that it was the system that was not working.”

Matt and Lily began by finding a farmer, a friend of a friend, who generously allowed them to pitch the tent on his land. Matt has quit his job but the couple are not claiming unemployment or housing benefit – Matt does farm work between cutting wood for their stove. It may sound romantic but the challenges of living simply under canvas are daunting.

“A lot of people would go mad in a tent at this time of year. People could find a million and one things to burst into tears about,” says Lily. This morning, she hung her one warm jumper on the stove flue to warm up for a minute, got distracted by Louise and singed the jumper. “You definitely need a sense of humour and you can’t be vain – you’re just going to get upset by the mud or lack of running water.”

Inside the tent are nice rugs, plants and homely trinkets the couple have picked up on their travels. “It’s got that nomad feel to it, which I love,” says Matt. It has been a steep learning curve, however. Because the sides slope inwards there is far less space than they anticipated – no furniture can be allowed to touch the canvas or the rain will come in. They have been flooded already, and after they failed to secure the stove flue, it blew down in a gale. It is now firmly screwed in place.

To begin with, they lived off tinned food heated on the stove top. “We were sat there for three hours wondering why things wouldn’t come to the boil,” says Lily. Since then, she has mastered slow cooking – Turkish meatballs with rice, pot-roasted chicken with roast potatoes and even omelet’s in tin foil – while Matt has learned how the type and size of log can radically alter the stove’s heating power. Although he is doing less paid labor now, he says his days seems fuller. “There are not enough hours in the day now.”

Washing is done with a Wonderwash, a hand-cranked machine Lily imported from the US for £80. Clothes are cleaned with six jugs of hot water and two minutes of vigorous cranking, followed by 30 seconds of cranking in cold water to rinse. As the tent is a temporary measure, they borrow the downstairs loo at the farm and pay to have an occasional shower and charge their phone. “There is more drudgery, like hand-sweeping the floor, but it is more liberating and empowering as well,” says Lily. “The simpler things are, the less alienated you feel from your own life – the more in control you are.”

They have had to learn to prioritize certain jobs in the precious daylight hours. After dark, they light the tent with candles. There is no television, although Lily gets the internet on her phone. “We like talking, we sit around the fire and I sing to Louise a lot,” she says. “We haven’t felt bored, not for a moment. We don’t miss having loads of TV channels showing things we don’t want to watch anyway.”

As they explain how they are coping with living in a tent, Lily and Matt are clear that their priority is Louise. They are meticulous about sterilizing her bottles and ensuring that she is never cold. She and Matt may exchange nervous glances when the wind howls outside, but Louise loves it. For her, it seems that the tent is a secure home, where she can be physically and emotionally close to her parents. “So far she seems to be flourishing health-wise,” smiles Lily. “She is very happy, alert and engaged with what’s going on.” Their concerns about Louise are assuaged by the knowledge that, in the worst-case scenario, they can seek a warm refuge in the farmhouse, as they were forced to on the night a storm destroyed their stove flue.

Their parents have been very supportive – “They get concerned when it’s cold and ring to check we are OK,” says Lily. What would they say to people who would see them as reckless for living with a small child in a tent in midwinter? “What we’re doing might seem irresponsible,” says Lily, “but if we stayed where we were with unaffordable rent we would have ended up in so much debt that we wouldn’t have been able to feed Louise properly or get her warm clothes. It was terrifying. We would have been very depressed and therefore not able to produce a positive home environment for her and we would have ended up more dependent on benefits as well. We’re trying to stand on our own two feet.”

Living in a tent places them at the mercy of the elements, but Matt and Lily feel they have taken control of their own lives. By staying temporarily in the tent, they hope to save up to buy a piece of land on which they can build their own eco-home, a roundhouse with straw bale insulation. They are not just surviving: they are learning off-grid living skills they hope to teach to other families who want to live in a simpler, more sustainable way. Ideally they want to build their eco-home this summer but so far have been too busy keeping warm to find land. They admit their hope of buying a secluded half-acre on a south-facing slope, with a stream, for a few thousand pounds is probably unrealistic.

They may have chosen to live like this but, like other hard-pressed families, Matt and Lily have found that economic pressures made their old way of life intolerable. They believe more working families will be forced to live like they do, as rents and bills rise and first-time buyers are permanently priced out of the housing market. The government, however, seems unwilling to help people like Matt and Lily to help themselves. To get planning permission for a low-impact house on rural land requires navigating an impenetrable planning maze.

Lily would like to see reforms to encourage more self-built, low-impact housing. “There should be assistance to help people do this, not obstacles,” she says.

The reality of life in a tent in the middle of a British winter is far from bucolic but there are unimagined benefits. Sustained by their dreams of a self-built home, Matt and Lily are determined to accentuate the positives. Lily has noticed how well Louise sleeps at night in the tent. In fact, they all sleep much better than they did. On clear nights, the moonlight shines through the canvas and they hear the hoot of owls and the barking of foxes. Are they woken by the cockerel in the morning? “There are about 15 of them, which Louise loves,” says Matt.

“I love the sound of rain on the canvas, the candle light and the wood smoke. I like everything being simplified,” adds Lily. “It might be a cliché to talk about being in harmony with or close to nature but an element of that is very true.”

[Note: How do you heat the tents during a cold winter?
Answer: We recommend using space heaters, propane heaters, or a centrally ventilated heating system (easily run in through a deck vent). We DO NOT recommend using open flame to heat the tent. Canvas is a fabric material, and even though we do have customers who do use open flame in their tents and we’ve never encountered a problem, you are more prone to fire accidents if you use fire.
(Pasted from: http://www.exclusivetents.com/faq.htm#platform) Mr. Larry]

B.  Living Off-Grid in a Tent
March 2011, By Bob Wells
Pasted from: http://cheapgreenrvliving.com/Tent_Living.html

[The following example of tent living is provided just to show what one can do, its not the life style I would suggest for long term tent living, being way too Spartan for my comfort. Kudos to “Desert Rat” for setting up a generator-deep cycle battery-inverter- power system. On a higher initial budget this operation would have been better with a larger tent, more amenities and solar power. There is a lesson to learn in the life stories people tell, this story speaks to the possibilities of Internet connectivity while in a remote or possibly, regional “grid down” situation. Mr. Larry]
tent2 eureka cu canyon 12

[Looks like the Eureka Copper Canyon 12 (12′ x 14′) Mr. Larry]

No matter how small a house or apartment you live in, it is hard on the environment. First, the huge amount of material required to build a house has to be produced, at an enormous price to the planet. The raw materials (ores, minerals, wood and oil) have to be extracted from the earth, transported to  be processed, be processed, then transported again to wholesalers, then transported to retailers, then transported to the job site. You read that last sentence really quickly, but it represents a great deal of damage and pollution to the planet. Once the house is built and you move in, you must buy furniture and lots of “stuff ” to fill it.
All of those things do more damage to the earth. The house has to be heated and cooled to make it comfortable. You can’t sit in the dark, so the house needs lots of lights to keep it bright. For cooking you need a stove/oven refrigerator and dishwasher. You can’t possibly stay clean without hot water, so you need a 50 gallon hot water heater. The lawn and landscaping has to be watered, mowed and tended to. All of those utilities require huge amounts of pollution to produce electricity, bring you water, and process your sewage. One more way houses damage the earth: a long commute to and from work. Nearly all of us have to work, and the majority of us work in cities. So five days a week you drive to and from work in your car, often crawling along in miserable  traffic.

Contrast all of that to a friend of mine I will call Desert Rat. I met Desert Rat in the desert of the Southwest where he was busy working from his tent. He was sick of the rat race so he decided to chuck it all and move to the desert. He was fortunate that he could work from home via the Internet. He didn’t know for sure where he was going, he just knew he wasn’t going to be living in a city any longer. He had heard about dispersed camping on BLM desert land and National Forests, so he decided to give that a try. He had a plan, in the winter he would live in the warm desert and in the summer he would move up to the cool National Forests. Since nearly all BLM (Bureau of Land Management) and National Forest land has a 14 day stay limit, he knew that all he had to do was carry 14 days worth of supplies, and then he had to move anyway.

He got a Verizon data card and cell phone so he could work from anywhere. His pattern is that he goes out to a place where he gets a good Verizon signal (which is an amazing number of places) sits up camp and stays there for 14 days without starting his car again until the 14 days are up and he is out of supplies, then he breaks camp, gets supplies and moves on to the next camp spot. He gets the seclusion he needs and does just about the absolute minimum damage to the earth that a human can do in the twenty-first century.
Everything he has is as small, light and fold-able as he could find in order to fit it in his small economy car.
tent2 coleman white gas and gasoline stores
When he was preparing for his new life, he decided that essentially, he was going on an extended camping trip (for many years he hoped), so he went to an outdoor store and outfitted himself. He needed something to live in, so he bought a large, high-quality tent made by Eureka. It is a great tent! In the two months we camped together we had several storms blow through that brought winds well over 50 mph. The tent weathered them like a champ! He needed to
cook so he bought a Coleman 2-burner, dual fuel stove. He got it instead of a propane stove because he was already carrying gas for his Yamaha generator and he didn’t want to have to carry a second fuel.

He needed consistent power in the middle of nowhere, so he bought a Yamaha Generator which (along with the Honda) is famous for its reliability, quiet running and low gas consumption. I found it interesting that he set it up on a 5 gallon bucket to keep dust and dirt from coming in through the air filter when running. I thought that was a very good idea. He carries 10 gallons of gas which easily lasts the 14 days for running the generator and cooking.

He has deep cycle batteries he leaves on the floor-board of his car since they are too heavy to be carrying around.  He runs an extension cord from the generator to a battery charger in the car which charges the batteries. From the batteries he runs cables into the tent. In the picture below, top- right, we see the inverter and cords that run the many electrical items he uses for work.
tent2 interior power & inverter
In the picture above, lower- left, we see his office. Having a comfortable chair is important, so he bought a good folding recliner. A portable table holds his laptop and he uses five gallon buckets for tables.

His bed doesn’t look like much but, he has the highest quality self-inflating sleeping pad that Thermorest makes which is very comfortable. He is a cold sleeper so he has two sleeping bags so he can sleep inside both of them when it is cold, or just one when it is warmer. The desert can be surprisingly cold at night!

His tent is 12×14 feet and over 6 feet tall. That is a huge amount of room for one person, and would be more than enough  for a couple as well. He finds it very comfortable.

He carries a total of ten gallons of water in his two Coleman five gallon jugs. That’s enough for 14 days as long as he is conservative in its use.  Notice the spigot which makes getting water out and washing/rinsing easy. [If you plan to use a small utility trailer to carry your gear, I recommend increasing the water supply by bringing a 30 gallon potable water drum. The extra 250 lbs./30 gallons of water will keep you clean, bathed, keep your porta-pottie flushing, wash your dishes and laundry, as well as keeping your mornings coffee pot filled– without “cutting corners”. Mr. Larry]

All in all, it is a wonderful life! There is something magical about the desert that starts to get in your heart and changes you. Inevitably the strain and constant stress of city-living starts to fall away and a peace and contentment take its place. Desert Rat wasn’t sure if he would like his new life, but it has far exceeded his expectations. Already, he can’t imagine going back to his old life in the city.

It wasn’t his primary purpose, but a side effect of living this way is that it is one of the greenest, most environmentally friendly ways you can possibly life. He is completely off-grid except for the small amount of gas he uses to cook and for the generator. And that is much more than offset by the fact that he no longer commutes to work. In fact he only drives once every 14 days and that is in an economy car.
He is a true minimalist with nothing more than it takes to survive. His entertainment and joy come from nature.

tent2 alt solar additions

[Above, solar panel photos added by Mr. Larry, a recommended addition or alternative to the aforementioned generator.]

YouTubeC.  See the 5:04 video, “Off Grid: The tent in pictures,” at YouTube, click-or paste the following link:


YouTubeD.  See  the 4: 47 video, “Off Grid: The ultimate bug out location,” at YouTube, click or paste the following link:

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Filed under Survival Manual, __4. Shelter Issues

Life After The Collapse, Part 2 of 2

Survival Manual/2. Social Issues/Life After The Collapse, Parts 2 of 2)

J.  De-nationalization
Along come racial conflict, the disintegration of our nation-state will begin. It is not impossible to control large areas of land using primitive means. Look at China and Russia. They had their ups and downs, the enlargement than the contraction of the areas they were able to control. But over centuries they could keep large areas under one rule. The US might not be able to do so. This will mostly hinge on oil availability. And perhaps the ability to utilize the railroads. The East has the water transportation system, which might also be used for troop movement. Even with some neglect, as seen in all sectors of our infrastructure, the upkeep will be minimal. And the bulk of the population is on some waterway. But military transport is largely oil based. Whereas in World War Two we moved large troop numbers by railroad and merchant marine, it is doubtful we can duplicate this again. The support system has been neglected to a large extent. Nevertheless, if you have a railroad nearby you are hoping will help support your community come road transit breakdown, it is possible it will be nationalized and used for military use. Not guaranteed, but a possibility. Even if the military uses every possible means of transporting themselves to trouble spots, most likely their numbers will be too small. I can’t see an immediate withdrawal of overseas troops to quell local troubles. By the time they are shipped home, the civil unrest will be too large to contain. Assuming of course things get bad enough that kind of unrest takes place. Which I think is a safe bet. They might successfully subdue some areas, but not all. Long term, one area after another will become unruleable. Add in severe economic trouble, disease outbreaks due to failing health care and sewage main breaks along with water contamination, troops needing to help against huge crime upsurges, an unhealthy dependence on high tech needing foreign parts and a total mechanized military, the trouble of depending on troops to fight fellow citizens and even the inability to properly feed and reequip soldiers and I can almost bet on the military being too inefficient and undermanned to keep the peace.

      This in no way should give you peace of mind regarding military suppression and martial law. You could very well be effected. This is a long-term outlook. Short term, you could find yourself battling police forces, the military, criminal gangs, local militia, or more than one at a time. Which should worry you. Not only because it means you might get killed, but because trade will stop or become disrupted and you might find yourself with a dwindling stockpile of ammunition to protect yourself. If China stays around as a viable power, you might see them eager to help out the disruption and arm whatever group they see as helping their interests (which is the destruction of the US as a military power able to challenge them), but that is not a sure enough thing to base your choice of a personal firearm on. In other words, the steel cased ammo that feeds an SKS or an AK-47 may or may not still be available.

Unless you can stockpile as much as you think you will need beforehand. This projected resupply problem is why I frown on semi-automatic weapons. They are superior as fighting weapons in a lot of aspects, except logistics come collapse. Now, as much as I disagree with the direction our country has taken away from a Constitutional Republic, rest assure that if and/or when the government is unable to keep the Union together come collapse, local tyrants are not going to be any better and most likely will be a lot worse. Local strong men won’t even acknowledge there is any rule of law other than that from the barrel of a gun. And they won’t see anything wrong with wringing all the wealth from the citizens without regard of their long term health. And since they don’t rule from far away they will be much more effective in their suppression. So, while it will be nice to see the current group of thugs lose power, their replacement will be much worse.

So, after you get done suffering economically as everything you know and are used to (cheap energy, welfare state, your currently employable skill ) is done away with, after a short depression followed by hyperinflation kills any savings and dwindles your emergency supplies, you’ve just seen the warm up of the collapse. Oil will start running out or become unavailable from overseas. Food won’t be delivered and many people will start to go hungry. The military will try to contain unrest with brute force. The ghettos will spew violent criminals and race dominated wars. The US will start to break up. Infrastructure will collapse. Water won’t run, the toilet won’t flush. Disease will spring up everywhere, to include a lot of resurgent tropical or Third World diseases. Perhaps even a few man made ones to use against dissident areas. Neighbors will try to turn you in for rewards, crime will explode as authority recedes. If you don’t die now from mugging, kidnapping or home invasion, you might be gang raped and die later of AIDS. Both male and female. This is the start of the huge die-off.

K.  Die off
Die off’ will be due to a lot of different things. Disease. Hunger. Exposure to the elements without heat or cooling. Crime, which includes losing all your stored food and equipment. Combat with police or the military. Widespread death will happen. The global carrying capacity of a non-oil, primitive agrarian society is less than a billion people. And this number is assuming the entire population knows how to survive without petroleum. Since a lot of areas have completely lost their roots with nature, that figure will initially be less. Say half a billion. Globally. However, it is the nature of things that when a die off happens, the numbers of survivors fall sharply below the natural carrying capacity to begin with.
Rome went from the center of a vast civilization, a metropolis of its day, to little more than a village after collapse. Mayan cities went from large urban centers to overgrown jungle ruins with a few paltry settlements set on their fringes. China always had its farmers as the center of its civilizations and fared better, although in recovery its population figures did fall sharply. Populations are built up, having conquered farmlands to swell its numbers. Centralization helped the numbers increase. But when the lands carrying capacity was surpassed and there were no more victims to plunder, population took a swift downturn. Crime, disease, starvation and warfare took its toll. This process has been likened by others as a bottle of alcohol being brewed, and I can’t top that description. A sugar rich environment aids a rapid increase in the culture, who eat up the available food. When a critical mass is reached and the culture dies off to almost zero. There is no more food left. We are left with a bottle of spirits, which is a good thing. In the human environment, you are left with a corpse ridden field with just a few survivors remaining. In our case, the die off will result as the remaining oil is not sufficient to feed the swollen population. Most die off from hunger and the remaining few take the little available fertile soil and relearn organic farming on a decentralized level. Animal population are another illustration. In an example from others, a herd of caribou is introduced on an island which has overgrown with lichen due to no known “predator”. With this rich food source, the caribou population goes from a few pairs to hundreds or even thousands. The natural replenishment rate of the food is, say, a hundred. But once too many animals are there, once the plants no longer feed everyone, almost all of them die from hunger and just a dozen or two remain. Then it takes time to bring the population level up to that optimum hundred. Once the oil level declines just enough on a permanent basis to cease feeding all six billion, Humans, will see die off far below the level the globe can naturally feed with solar energy alone. Oil doesn’t have to run out, just fall below today’s needed level.

L.  Survival preps
This is where survival preparations come into play. You aren’t storing enough provisions to live forever. For most, a daunting if not impossible task (to say nothing of preparing for multi-generational survival). What you are doing is trying to prepare to survive the die-off period. Food stores are only part of the picture anyway. You must survive the conflict that accompanies the die-off. People will not stay at home, meekly waiting a slow death as the cupboards stay bare. Towards the end there will be no more strength to fight for what they need. But initially, they will try to take what they need to survive.

This is why a retreat out in the boonies is so often advised. It is far from the perfect answer, of course. Day to day employment and provisioning is necessary. And few have the means of buying this kind of land anyway. You can find remote land. The West is full of vast areas seeing no settlement other than near water sources. But the “perfect” retreat, with fertile land, woods for fuel, and available water is rare and expensive. I advise what I call junk land. The crap no one wants and is nothing more than a patch of dirt. You won’t pay much more than a thousand or two for it. But it has a poor road leading to it, no surface water or shallow water table, infertile soil and most likely in an economically depressed area. You can actually use these flaws to your advantage since few people will be nearby. It isn’t a farm, ready to feed you and your family. It is merely a legal squat so that in the initial collapse you won’t be harassed for camping on public land or private property or on the side of the road. Your supplies will keep you alive, not the land. After the troubles have subsided you can move to better land, into a settlement to barter any skills you have, or take up banditry or become a nomadic herder. No good answers, but if you are poor to begin with you don’t have a lot of options to pick from.

      It is impossible to guess the time period of collapse and die off. Some maintain it will be a long drawn out process. An emergency, shortages, ad hoc solutions. A traumatic period, then a leveling off as people adjust to the new way of doing things. Then, further resource depletion and more emergencies. More depopulation until the “new” level of resource availability is met. A period of relative calm until another spasm of die off, adjustments to the next level of food availability. Etcetera. This could very well happen, as illustrated by the two hundred year Mayan decline or the three centuries it took Rome to fall. I’m far less optimistic. Back then, a primitive level of agrarian existence was practiced, even as farms became bigger with conquest or water sources were centralized. Come overpopulation and soil depletion, you merely saw enough famine to adjust to less population, that which matched less fertile soil or limited water. Today, most soil is already infertile, only producing because of oil inputs. Farms are far from population centers and transportation is required. Instead of ninety percent of the population farming, there is only a few percent, in the single digits. Most farm areas have water availability issues, such as California seeing drought decrease mountain snow melt off or aquifer depletion in the middle part of this country (Texas, Nebraska, etc.). The adjustments needed will be much larger than in the past. There is far less knowledge of farming than in the past (we concentrate on the industrialized First World throughout). There is far less farmland available than in the past, due to artificial fertilizers and mechanized farming growing so much more per acre. I foresee a much bumpier, more rapid decline than in the past because of all this.

M.  Types of preps
Survivalists come in all shapes and sizes and they usually rival the different sects of Christianity in their dispute over doctrine. There are primitive Stone Age adherents, short term ‘weather disaster preppers’, ‘nuclear fallout shelter occupants’, ‘back to the landers’ only concerned with growing their own food, Yuppie Survivalists intent on recreating every luxury of their middle class existence in Armageddon mode, hoarders of gold and silver that will buy their salvation, modern day desert hermits who will survive through a collapse unknowingly due to loss of contact, or, my favorite, ‘frugal preppers’ that can prepare on almost nothing as their needs have been pared down to the bare minimum. I can’t say which group has the most chance of arriving intact on the other side of die off.
•  The Stone Age practitioners are least vulnerable to technological collapse, but any number of poor marksmen with modern firearms can invade their territory and kill off all large game leaving him nothing to eat but berries, insects and small rabbits. Will there be enough skins to get him through winter, or is he far enough away to thrive?
•  The short-term preppers don’t stand much of a chance with limited supplies unless there is an instant die off such as an asteroid strike, Yellowstone volcanic eruption or nuclear exchange and he can pick and choose supplies lying around as in a poorly budgeted B-movie.
•  The nuclear crowd is well equipped to survive only one type of disaster. Or will the local tax man except MRE’s in lieu of property tax during an economic depression?
•  The ‘back to the landers’ are well equipped to feed themselves, their arriving family and perhaps a neighbor or two. Unfortunately most of their plans need to have a strong government capable of keeping the lawless forces away from them so they can continue to till the soil unmolested. Plus, they usually owe a mortgage on their perfect farm and are thus susceptible to economic downturn.
•  The Yuppie Survivalists are the school most taught by authors of best selling preparedness books. That is because the breed will buy anything that promises to save them in complete comfort. Authors and salesmen follow the money and sell to these people. The ones who can’t stand the thought of any decrease in their standard of living. Instead of stocking candles for illumination they will buy $800 worth of solar panels, 12v auto lamps and a few hundred bucks in marine batteries to see with while off  the grid. Their whole preparedness plan is just like this, spend one hundred times the needed amount for tools because they can’t let go of their soft and comfortable lifestyle.
•  The precious metal advocates are not wrong because “you can’t eat gold”. Precious metals will play a vital part after the recovery. They are wrong because they think money alone, even in a safe inflation proof form, will help them survive. They only look at the aftermath, forgetting one must travel a ways through treachery to get to a society living once again on a gold standard.
•  Desert rats that are not at the end of their hoard of beans and bacon can blissfully ignore the world crashing around them as they are alone in the wilderness and protected from the folly of their fellows. Unfortunately, they only postpone the day of reckoning when they must come in for resupply.
•  Frugal preppers are not the most enlightened nor the smartest. This school of survivalism is not any more perfect than most other types. Except for one critical factor. It allows anyone, even those of the most humble economic means, to prepare as much as possible for the coming collapse. This is why it should be much more attractive than it currently seems to be. Especially during the current economic collapse when job losses are epidemic, credit continues to contract causing companies that were just a year ago sound and prosperous to see so many problems beset them.

These go hand in hand, where companies have no choice to salvage some stock value and continue to give their top echelon workers a “merit” based raise or bonus at the end of each quarter. Before, when cutting costs was the path to efficiency during boom times, workers were habitually laid off. Today, vastly increased numbers are given pink slips regardless of the long term effect this might have on productivity. Panic mode is in full bore and where once the left over work force was compelled to handle the increased work from fired coworkers, now the trimming is so close to the bone it is doubtful the companies can survive. Before, another competitor bought off the suffering company with cheap and plentiful debt. Now, entire industries will all but disappear to a fraction of their former selves to claim the reduced demand of cash negative and credit impaired customers. States and all other levels of government are also seeing their ability to borrow suffering, and since they can’t print money like their brothers at the Federal level they will have no choice but to ax civil servants. Government will not be the safe haven for workers it used to be during downturns. Therefore, everyone should be very wary of being able to keep their jobs and thus their mortgages, credit rating, SUV’s and other badges of a middle class lifestyle. You would think a cheap way to insulate against calamity with an affordable stock of food and protection and alternate energy would be most welcome by frightened workers. Alas, the herd instinctively runs to the big money boys, the Yuppie Survivalist teachers and suppliers. Just as they did during the 1970’s.

      If you are one of the few that sees the futility of spending twenty grand on an arsenal, a quarter million on a remote farm and five grand per person on freeze dried field rations, welcome to frugal survivalism. Anyone can have the basics for under a grand. That includes food, shelter, protection, filtered water. Another three grand will see you safely on your own paid for land in a more permanent shelter.

To briefly summarize; The basics consist of a store of whole wheat kernels bought from a feed and grain store (untreated by vet medicine), stored in five gallon poly buckets. A $25 cast iron grain grinder. A moron proof way of constructing your own 13,000 gallon water filter for just $50. A used WWII surplus bolt action thirty caliber rifle, usually on sale under a hundred bucks. There is a bit more to it, but in essence by preparing at a bare bones level anyone can afford to stock a years worth of emergency rations and protect it adequately. The cheap homesteading method is to buy a piece of junk land (usually on E-Bay) on little more than a grand and park a trailer or build a very small cabin on it for the same amount. Most off-grid expenses such as a generator or well or septic can be bypassed cheaply. Remember, preparations only get you through a die off period. Even spending half a million on a remote farm and protecting it with your home grown militia toting semi-automatic carbines and eating MRE’s will do little to increase your chances of survival due to the rest of the world surrounding you and wanting to interfere with your existence. You should clearly see this as you read further. There will be strategies to diminish this threat, but all in all inexpensive functional tools will see you through as well as the much more expensive ones. Mindset will be far more important. Just ask yourself, do I want the help of dirt poor rednecks that learned at the school of hard knocks and are barely equipped. Or do I want a bunch of pampered Yuppies loaded with the most expensive tools who are unaccustomed to almost any hardship outside of the corporate boardroom along for the ride?

II.  Life after the collapse

A.  How far will we collapse

The last time an individual possessed all of the needed skills to survive was during the Stone Age while hunting and gathering. Since the Agricultural Age began almost no farming community has existed without outside trade. Before, an individual could survive physically if separated from his tribe ( psychologically was a different matter ). After, a farming community separated from trading with others could not survive, in most cases. If a local source of salt was available, and if there was an ore deposit nearby then semi-independence was possible. But, by and large, since we tied ourselves to the land we have needed to trade to survive. There were few areas were all the necessities of life were available, so trade allowed far more marginal lands to be settled. For instance, a dry rocky area was perfect for olive groves and produced almost no grain or meat but did have an abundance of oil. Another area rich in soil that yielded a surplus in grain could trade for oil, something they had little of. One area had forests of nut trees. Rather than fell the trees and plant on soil ill suited for anything else, the nut surplus was traded for other foods. Today, it makes sense to grow coffee on hilly areas (or cocaine, but that’s a different story) and trade it to the Americans, who have an over abundance of corn that is a staple of your country. The corn was cheaper (pre-Bush ethanol debacle) grown up north by mechanical means and shipped south than could have been achieved on those steep hillsides. When man was first growing crops and domesticating animals, there were few people and some really choice spots to settle down and grow. As the globe has filled up, trade has become more and more important as people live in far from choice spots. Trade is essential now, even for the barest necessities of survival. Almost no one outside a few nomads still living primitive lives can live without trade.

Why is this important? Because trade is impossible without a functioning economy, trust, rule of law and energy for transportation. All of these things are ending. The US has been living off of creating debt, inflating its currency, bullying its partners into nearly giving away their goods, and little else for some time. Our GNP is no longer a measure of manufactured goods being shipped overseas but of a measure how much the bankers borrowed from China and loaned to consumers through credit cards, how many dollars were created to “buy” our oil from Third World countries, how much houses were inflated in worth to create derivative sales to pensioners in Europe, and other computer manipulated, magically productive activities that only could come true with a healthy sprinkle of Pixie Dust. As our economy unravels, trust in the form of credit is being destroyed. Without trust, no trade takes place. As it is, credit is contracting wildly right now. And there is no end in sight, as everyone else is seeing how manipulative and dishonest our financial community has been. They are starting to show caution to our future promises. The rule of law, or law and order, is breaking down. African pirates holding ships hostage is only one sign of the coming unrest. Month long protests in once placid First World countries.

Energy for transportation is, as already discussed, on a downward trend. Add it up and it spells the eventual halt in trading. At the point where an international police man is impotent, trade falls to a low level, where only luxury goods are profitable, where only precious metal is accepted, and where the bulk of necessities revert to whatever can be produced locally. At that time, we are back in another Dark Ages ( Post Oil Dark Ages ). Mass migrations will occur, as the many uninhabitable areas are abandoned. The rest die off, their area unable to support more than a hand full. After Rome fell, and trade stopped, areas formerly pottery centers of the empire were reduced to being unable to produce anything other than crude approximations of their former wares. Specialists were supported by wide-spread business. They turned out quality and quantity. Once trade suffered, the factories almost reduced to ruins, the specialists departed or killed, the area known for high quality low cost pottery was unable to do little more than turn out misshapen lumpy, poorly glazed pale imitations. This is what the collapse of trade does. Specialists can’t ply their trade, centralization and economics of scale falter. Poorly made inexpert handcrafts take products places. Now, add in our dependency of oil. We are untrained in manufacture due to our dependence on machines. We are unschooled in many modern basics such as chemistry or engineering due to hyper-specialization. We are on the down side of the Oil Age. The collapse can go mighty low once the perfectly aligned parts are disrupted.

      Even if you can get an expert to join your group of survivors, they won’t have oil to run their machines. Or any machines, susceptible to parts failures. Or basic supplies to practice the modern arts due to trade disruptions. Add in the need to eat, and hostile surrounding forces. You all don’t stand a chance, and neither does our modern society. Things will turn primitive really fast. Knowledge alone is no guarantee a process will be practiced. It takes skill, practice, parts supplied from centralized factories far away, a strong defense force to protect against bandits. We all take progress for granted. But destruction is much easier. It takes two minutes with a match to burn down a million dollar mansion that took a year to build and several decades of toil to pay for. And destruction is only curtailed by the forces of law and order. Which will be hard pressed to achieve either. After a certain point is reached, the collapse continues until there is almost complete ruin and almost no one left alive. And where the technology level is far below that once practiced. We will return to a primitive agrarian society, and as our modern tools fail there will be only primitive replacements. Some areas will still pump and distill oil ( on a small level ). Some areas will mine and smelt the metal from the ruins. But it will be unavailable to most due to a collapse of trade and a shrinking of borders.

B.  Lifeboat communities
A nice concept, lifeboat communities. Get a bunch of modern hippies together and start a community that practices all those neat concepts that circumvent the need for oil. French Intensive organic gardening, alternate energy, super insulated buildings, integrated crop/livestock production, old time skills, etc. The first problem with these is that they are very expensive to start, as currently envisioned. It is one thing to put up some mud/straw walls and thatched roof, get a few chickens running around and making your own candles. It is quite another to build straw bale 2,000 square foot houses, greenhouses, import specialty livestock, install solar panels, sink hundred foot wells, convert a truck to bio-diesel, grow specialty crops for the French chef in the towns $75 a plate Yuppie Greasy Spoon, pay property tax and a mortgage on the land, etc. No one is going to get together and do it cheap and primitive, but high dollar and comfortable. Thus, very few go past the planning stage. Then, once your community is up and running, you have a nice big target painted at your front gate. Look, we grow crops here. We can survive the end of oil. Won’t you come on in an conquer us and make us the serfs to your royal personage? Lifeboat communities are not exactly security conscious. They attract the idiots that gazed at Al “I invented the Internet” Gore with a twinkle in their eye and tried to save the world by changing their regular lights with made in China by political prisoner labor fluorescent bulbs. They are not heavily armed with anything more than guilt over their opulent middle class lifestyle paid for with a taxpayer supported job as environmental consultants. Yes, their heart is in the right place. So was Jimmy Carter’s, and he made some colossal blunders.

      Unless you can get together a group of militia that likes to grow organic lettuce, forget lifeboat communities. They could have been the spark that carried knowledge through the coming darkness, if they hadn’t been plundered during the first food shortages. Wishful thinking and fantasy is what led us to this problem of oil dependency in the first place. Wishing upon a star to make it all go away isn’t going to work either. Power will trump righteousness. They might be just what the world will need, but some lazy, vicious greedy punk is going to exploit them quickly. It won’t matter if it is the current mayor or sheriff, a former drug gang or a new home grown power. The natural order of things is for a gang of criminals to exploit the work of others in exchange for “protection”.

C.  Organic farming
Organic farmers are not as vulnerable as lifeboat communities. They are not advertised in New Age magazines, nor do they give interviews to the local TV station for filler in-between the weather and sports scores. They are decentralized and widely scattered. They can include, more often than not, an armed owner. And they are the only way to farm after the oil stops running. Unfortunately, this does not come with a Get Out Of Jail Free Card. Just because you have a skill does not automatically make you precious and invaluable after the collapse. The local ruler can, indeed, force you to share your skills whether you want to or not. And likely not on your terms. When twenty horsemen approach you with an offer you can’t refuse, it might not be wise to do so. They can take family members hostage, burn down your house one night, snipe at you, horse whip you until you concede, etc. You are tied to the land. You can’t run away. This is the problem with farming. It leaves you as a stationary target. It is justifiable when you gaze with pride at a productive field. You created a means to sustain your family out of nothing. Hard work, a large investment. All for nothing when law and order break down and local tyranny triumphs. Unless you are isolated and have a lot of armed men with good logistics, you will not survive on your land unmolested.

      When slavery is mentioned, you usually think about a muscled black hoeing cotton. Grunt work. But look at history. Most advanced civilizations had highly skilled slaves. They were craftsmen, and they were teachers. They were not protected from slavery because they had skills. They were much more valuable than mere field hands, true. That fetched them a higher price at auction. And allowed them far better treatment. But they were still slaves. But you won’t even be that unless you are lucky. You will merely be a serf. Tied to the land. You won’t face as bleak of a future, since modern organic farming is a much better producer than ancient farming. You won’t starve as easily. But you will produce the food for your owner, and you had better do a good job because he will take his cut. You want enough to eat and sell for some small comforts, you grow as much as possible. Organic farming won’t keep you free, just better fed. It will increase your odds of a full stomach. Just not as a free man. That said, this might still be one of the few good options open to you. We will cover the other viable trades likely available after the collapse, but if you don’t realistically see yourself capable of performing them ( or don’t see your family holding up under their demands ) farming might be your only option. It is the only one most of us can practice now. If you have access to land, farming now has several benefits. It reduces your stress from your daily job, reduces your stress about the future, saves you money as times get tough, allows you to eat much healthier at a time when medical costs are making health care an unaffordable luxury, and will see you nicely through the Depression and the initial collapse phase. There is a reason that farming holds such an allure. It is better than money in the bank, which is a tool that only works in good times. Feeding yourself is tailor-made for bad times. Just beware of its long-term consequences when we enter a true dark age.

D.  Population shifts
Another bit of bad news for you to worry about is population shifts. Come collapse, the population will move. Even if little or no automotive transport is available, expect huge population shifts as people flee to perceived safety. Americans have always been nomads, shifting locations to better serve their financial interests. It is bred into us, as normal as breathing. We are not like most other societies, where staying near our safety net meant life or death. There have always been nomadic cultures. But they have been the exception for the eight thousand years we have lived by agriculture. It has paid to stay put. The Mongols were only able to live in areas of rich grasslands. The Gypsies have always been marginal in numbers, and more of a gang of grifters moving away from their victims. The Bedouin were confined to their desert. There is always a place for nomads, as they bring mostly agrarian wasteland into production to the benefit of all. But they are not the majority. The stationary farmers are. So American society has been somewhat unique in its mobility. Largely, this was the process of filling up a huge area that had never been “mined” of its wealth. We killed off the Indians and moved in wave after wave of people taking advantage of unexploited resources. After that was done, we lived the same life but now by living off the accumulated riches of our exploitation. We slowly started living off of our seed corn, the accumulated principle of our savings. That is now over and done with and the decline of our civilization has started, but the huge numbers of autos, the large amount of oil we take from others by trade or force, all this still gives us the illusion of the wealth we had and we still feel free to move around. A perpetual band of Okies seeking the illusive Golden State.

The point being, Americans are still very much in the habit of thinking riches (or at least safety) are just over the horizon. Most will turn into unknowing refugees with very little provocation. Expect several large waves of humans. To the warmer South and Southwest after heating oil, natural gas or even electricity are no longer available to keep them alive in the winter. To navigable rivers and waterways as all other forms of transportation fail. To those areas serviced by hydroelectric power or that have the potential to once again be dammed. From cities to the surrounding areas to farm the land. Away from highly populated areas to almost anywhere else regardless of its suitability. And from infertile areas to farms or potentially farmed areas. Thus, after waves of crimes, you can see waves of refugees and then waves of immigrants. You need to be aware if your area is a target, since all your careful plans can be disrupted if too many walking mouths move in next to you. To help visualize the scale of this, just think of Hurricane Katrina. Half the city of New Orleans took up permanent residence in other areas. And most of those people were life time welfare recipients with no skills and poor attitudes, thinking the government owed them a living and that crime was both recreation and if incarcerated their lifestyle would improve. Some areas such as Houston Texas were negatively affected by this influx of useless demanding refugees. Now multiply these tens of thousands at least several thousand times, and make it nationwide. This is what you can look forward to. Without much law and order, with no welfare system and not enough food even for the locals already there.

Warmer areas are naturally going to attract those needing to survive winter. There are plenty of hardy folk, braving out winters by storing up wood and food during summer. They like to live this semi-independent style as their ancestors did. But for every one modern pioneer, there are tens of thousands who live in normally frigid areas yet have no idea how to live with the cold. They go from natural gas heated dwellings where they wear the thinnest clothing, scurry hurriedly to their petroleum warmed cars and drive to work where central heat continues to comfort them. They expose themselves to a mere few minutes of cold a day, a thick synthetic jacket covering their torso, with tennis shoe clad feet, bare hands and not much else differentiating their clothing from what they wear in the summer. They are totally dependant on fossil fuels and a functioning infrastructure during the winter. They won’t be able to adapt to lack of oil. They will head south. Modern homes are largely not made to withstand the cold without petroleum inputs. Nor are southern dwellings made to be inhabited without air conditioning. This itself could be a life threatening situation, but that will seem a minor problem when the southeast reverts to its true habit of killing off its population with tropic diseases. On top of disease caused by improper sanitation, expect the return of things such as malaria. The northerners will discover their new home is a pestilent swamp which, without modern pest control and drug deliveries, will kill them off as quickly as the cold would have up north. The southwest will offer nothing more than starvation as the power fails and irrigated farms dry up as the water is no longer available. Even if a few wells still stay in production, the new population will overwhelm its capacity. If the newly empowered Mexican Rights advocated don’t go on a White killing spree as they quickly try to give back several western states to Old Mexico ( they will soon find it was the Yankee wealth that was coveted, not more desert, something Mexico already has enough of ). And water availability, already a life and death struggle, will just get worse with no oil and new state un-cooperation.

Most of the US population already lives close to a waterway. Partially, this is a holdover from when water was the only reliable and affordable transportation. As trade is essential to life, the waterways will take on increased importance. If certain areas still have desirable farmland, such as the plains states ( that which can be sustained by rain alone and not irrigation ), you might still see depopulation if their links to other areas are severed. At first, rail will hold an advantage over road freight, being much more energy-efficient. But in time, as infrastructure fails and fuel dries up ( as well as spare parts ), rail will fail and ancient waterways will become the only way to move goods. In the newly primitive state of existence, the level of technology will dictate this. Ocean front inhabitants may or may not see a continuation of trade. It depends on location, if they can offer an outlet to needed goods. For instance, Southern ports might be viable if tobacco becomes a new cash crop again. Los Angeles should not survive. It has little natural water available and is a thoroughly modern port. Unless the Long Beach port continues to receive container cargo from China, what is the point of it? Unless, somehow, paved over areas are exploited for their oil pumping potential, you will see very little L.A. has to offer that others need. And if water can’t be imported from the Sierra’s ( assuming its snow pack doesn’t shrink too much), forget the crop potential from the San Fernando valley. Even if they continue to grow, expect fighting over its resources to disrupt things anyway.

Sacramento has potential, with its delta watering crops and that outlet to the Pacific. But, expect levee breaks and flooding. What is currently there will be vastly altered. Yet, the thing to keep in mind about California is it is so overpopulated it will have major conflicts from now until it is largely depopulated. It will not be a pleasant place to live. Far down the future, after modern life and its supports have been erased, most freshwater and some seawater areas will be where most of the population live. Without pumping water by artificial means, man must accept those areas Mother Nature offers to live. For trade and for the life water makes possible. And a last word about population shifts and California. Much is made about the Golden Hoard, the masses of refugees moving from California out to all other surrounding states in times of disaster. The same can be said about the northeast corridor. Huge numbers of people with no means of support after oil. They won’t have any good place to go. But they will go there anyway, as anyplace will seem advantageous compared to the gang warfare, the militia fights, the cannibals and the racial conflict. The mass starvation, out of control fires, the water supplies being disrupted. Beware the arrival of these desperate people with insatiable demands and nothing to offer. Hope your community has an easily blocked, minimal amount of entrances.

In the 1970’s, as commercial survivalism reached its zenith, too many books to recount gave the same good advice. Get out of the cities, the urban areas, the ghettos. They told you to pick any city over a certain size on the map and then draw a circle around it for three hundred miles. This was the death zone.
You didn’t want to live anywhere near an area a car load full of gasoline and Angry Armed Minorities could travel to in the event of a disaster. The three problems with this advice were that,
1)  the cars could only travel along roads so that a lot of those drawn circles were still habitable,
2)  if you avoided all circles, there was maybe two areas you could retreat to and they had no stores or water for a hundred miles, and
3)  as the car loads of hostiles drove towards you, mechanical difficulties and the fact that not everyone had a full tank of gasoline meant that the immediate areas surrounding a city were much more dangerous than those a little bit further along (in other words, the danger dropped rapidly).

This did expand your options slightly, enabling you to choose a spot closer to work or affordable housing. But of course, this only addresses the immediate danger in the event of calamity. I think most philosophies were heavily influences by the Cold War, nuclear weapons and their fallout and the ability to live normal until the very end. This is simply wishful thinking, but to this day the ‘bug out’ is discussed and adhered to as a viable strategy.

Recently, after the nation as a whole has switched over to ‘just in time’ inventory where as soon the continually moving replenishment system hits a snag supplies dry up as no one carries excess inventory, hurricanes have shown how roads turned into instant parking lots and gas deliveries are severely disrupted. That alone should keep people from trying to work in one place and live a self sufficient lifestyle elsewhere. Yet, they simply carry more gas cans and map out alternate routes on minor roads. But, regardless of short term problems, the long term is what we are concerned about. Even out of shape people can walk at least twelve miles a day (the California missions were located twenty miles apart along the coastal chain, telling us this was the norm for encumbered travelers back before cars). It won’t take that long before all areas that are deemed desirable see the refugees show up there. So, if you do get caught up in mapping evacuation routes and population centers, follow the roads rather than a drawn circle surrounding a city. You are a lot safer, at first, away from the cities, even closer than three hundred miles. But in the end, those on foot will find your area if it is desirable. My strategy is to live far away from everyone, where few will want to go. Of course, it has its own set of problems.

There is a potential monkey wrench in the normal perceived flow of refugees. Global warming. Now, I hate Al Gore. I’m convinced that he didn’t contest the skewed Florida election results so the Supreme Court could crown Bush the new king in record time. As a result he was rewarded financially in a rather handsome manner (W. Bush is a total moron that needs help completing a coherent sentence, proof positive moneyed interests were behind both his election and the Gore buy off). After the election, he becomes, in effect, new global weather czar. He and his traveling circus travel the globe (in carbon spewing planes) trying to alarm everyone about global warming. He made a lot of money on his lecture circuit. So much so that he can drive his huge carbon spewing SUV’s from the airport to his huge country home, using more polluting natural gas to heat his several thousand square foot office space each month than the average American uses to heat their dwelling all year. So I am not totally sold on the concept of global warming. Rather, I should say I have problems accepting global warming is man-made, or that we can do much about it. When there is money to be made, place your hand firmly over your wallet. The scores of scientists genuflecting before their new idol, lashing themselves with branches, their mouths foaming in ecstasy as they proclaim everlasting devotion and fidelity, all this leads me to wonder if global warming isn’t full of crap. We do have the new solar cycle starting, promising colder weather as sunspot activity is down sharply. Yet, colder weather can lead to less moisture. And those pictures of retreating glaciers are pretty convincing. In the end, unfortunately, you must decide these things for yourself. No one, especially not me, can know enough about your circumstances to guide you through more than superficial preparedness. It is all fine a well to give advice on the basics such as food, water and weapons. It is quite another to give advice that effects your family. No author knows your circumstances, so all the posturing, positions and philosophy must be taken with a grain of salt. We present an argument, you decide if it has merit. Myself, personally, put enough stock into the possibility of rising sea levels that I never bought property in Florida. I left there for Nevada, higher and drier and so many less population. I made the right decision, for me.

Now, come rising sea levels, if they indeed occur, you are going to have the opposite problem of refugees. Rather than heading towards warm climates, they will be headed away from them. Or, headed from warm and wet climates to both colder climes and those warm but dry such as the southwest. I love the desert, personally. Mostly the fact that it is quiet and peaceful and lacking of hoards of slack-jawed mindless humanity. If this eventuality occurs, you might wish to be far away from seawater flooded areas. You look at a sea of starving humanity in refugee camps and you think of passive people glad to get their small cup of gruel every day. That is not what American refugee camps will look like. They will be short on weapons, since the politically correct police will disarm before allowing entrance, but attitudes can’t be checked at the door. To a man they will be belligerent and nasty, hostile and demanding and full of a sense of entitlement. They will demand full supplies (food cooked by others and available menu fashion to allow individual choice) and will put forth no effort for it. In fact, I would wager that in the act of wiping themselves after the digestion process in complete, they rue the effort involved on their part in that. The refugees on the road will have the same attitude. Our government long ago chose to pacify the mobs by allowing them to live off of a lavish welfare state. At the same time the government, as it was doing to everyone else, encouraged a sense of outrage at others. The divide and conquer routine. The young resent the old for their Social Security. The poor resent the rich. The ghetto dwellers resent anyone working. It works great to deflect anger from the government while also forcing a dependence on them. It is a win/win for those in power. After the system comes unglued, it spells trouble for the survivors. You have untold multitudes unable to take care of themselves and quite willing to band together to take what is yours. They are, after all, an exploited minority and deserve to be taken care of since they were oppressed and unable to fend for themselves

(as a good example of this, look to whites in South Africa today, after the blacks took over and started to loot the old western nation ). Fear their arrival as waves of refugees….”

If you’d like to read the entire book, Life After the Collapse by James M. Dankin
Click here to order the eBook version: http://www.lulu.com/shop/james-dakin/life-after-the-collapse/ebook/product-4419799.html
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End of article (Survival Manual/2. Social Issues/Life After The Collapse, 2-2)

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Life After The Collapse, Part 1 of 2

Survival Manual/2. Social Issues/Life After the Collapse, Part 1 0f 2)

Part I.  Life After the Collapse (a sample from the e-book)

Life After The Collapse © 2009, by James M. Dakin
Click here to order the eBook version: http://www.lulu.com/shop/james-dakin/life-after-the-collapse/ebook/product-4419799.html
Click here to order the Paper book version: http://www.lulu.com/shop/james-dakin/life-after-the-collapse/paperback/product-11179055.html

A.  Introduction
What will life be like after a collapse? This topic has been addressed by scores of fictional works, both the written novel and in movies. Many more short stories dwelt with various aspects of the topic. This also might be thought of as a work of fiction, because it is just like all the others, a WAG (wild ass guess). The only reason I think I might even have something remotely valid to contribute is I focus mainly on life after the Age Of Oil ends, and my guess is it ends badly. I could be totally wrong. I really hope so.
As badly as our current system is, the majority of us are either exploited poor or wage slaves encumbered with a pair of golden handcuffs, it still beats living a barbaric existence of dog eat dog, hands down. But I don’t think I am wrong. I’ve spent a great deal of my time, my effort and even my savings both studying and preparing for just such an occurrence to rudely alter my life. I don’t delude myself thinking that just because I’ve done this that I will be right. I am merely gambling. Just as I believe those that don’t are also entering their wager in this great game.
It is all a game, because none of us can know for sure. But only the blind or the blindly optimistic don’t plan for it one way or another. If you think things will continue as normal (at this point, a multi-generational slow decline) you invest your time and money in a college education, an automobile and a mortgage. If you think things will end badly you strive to insulate yourself somewhat by preparing for collapse. Obviously, you aren’t reading this as a part of your higher learning coursework.

I hope this humble work is more detailed and comprehensive than others of its kind. I hope I give you much more to think about than what end of the world fiction has. Fiction is a great vehicle, in that we think visually. Fiction plays into that medium. But I’ve yet to become proficient in fiction, so this booklet is what I offer. I’m going to cover the collapse in a quick overview. Not because I’m trying to fluff up this work. If I wanted to do that I would cover the multitude of reasons why collapse could occur. The end of oil isn’t the only possibility. No, I want to go through the collapse period because most likely this is going to effect you. I wish I could live on a remote mountaintop, enough supplies to divorce myself from society secured away. I wish I could avoid the coming messy business of society self destructing. I’m not that lucky and neither are you. So I won’t completely ignore what is likely to happen. But I promise not to spend too much time there. I have a burning desire to know what things will look like in our brave new world. As I imagine you do. By trying to spell it out I help myself as well as you. It won’t be perfect. It is just my best guess. I do know it won’t be pretty.
This is not a book destined to sell a lot of copies. I don’t include the required happy ending. Most authors seem to think they need to devote half the pages to giving you a glimmer of hope. A course of action to stop the insanity. Perhaps thirty years ago whining to your Senator produced change (or perhaps that change was for the worse, such as squandering our last giant oil fields on business as usual ). Today our Empire is on course to crash and burn. There is no going back since the vested powers won’t change. We are as the Roman Senators, working the last of the land for the last of the wealth, regardless of loss of soil fertility.

Why write this at all? Even writing short booklets is a lot of work. My financial gains will be minimal. The reading might well be interrupted by grid failure, as this will most likely never see past the electronic version. As I said, laying this out in semi-coherent thought helps me myself visualize what lies ahead. And, I like to think I am also helping those that want to think rationally. Those that don’t need a sugar-coating with their message. Perhaps seeing clearer will increase the odds of survival. That’s as happy an ending as it gets.

B.  Why a collapse?
Why am I convinced a collapse will occur? Why won’t we just see a gradual decline of our fortunes, as has usually occurred throughout history? After all, the average span of a historic collapse has been hundreds of years. Rome took 300 years to wind its way down. The Mayans saw 150 to 200 years from glory to jungle overgrown pyramids. My short answer is energy. Think back to the rapid advances we’ve seen since coal was first used, then oil. All these dizzying economic and technological advances were against the backdrop of an ever-growing pool of energy. Today, the entire economic foundations we enjoy are oil based. There are no more animal powered farms. No more agriculturally advanced armies. No more solar-powered industry. Not in any dominate form. That is only at the margins of society. You don’t revert suddenly to the forms of social and economic activity that sustained you one hundred years ago. All that activity rests on a slow laboriously constructed infrastructure. It takes many lifetimes of blood, sweat and tears to build anything the next generation can advance from. When you totally replace that infrastructure, you can’t magically go back to that place and time again. And we’ve replaced it all with petroleum energy.

We don’t even own the means of production anymore. Our industry is now overseas, mainly in China. What is left is all high technology and oil dependant. It’s not like we have the factories to start producing animal powered farm implements. Or the knowledge to do so even if the factory was there. Or the credit and financing to do so if we could. Hundreds of years previously, at least in some cultures, those illiterate peasant knew how to farm the land and built all their tools from what nature provided. Today, something as simple as building a bow and some arrows is a lost art. It is a simple concept, and those with the time can relearn the art. But without new training and the time to do it, you can’t suddenly master that task when your center fire rifle uses its last round. Now multiply that simple trouble by several orders of magnitude. Who knows how to convert a diesel train back to a wood fired boiler? Who can feed more than themselves when commercial fertilizers are no longer produced from natural gas? Who gets food from that hypothetical farm using that hypothetical train? I’m sure in hobby form all the lost arts of bygone eras are mastered and practiced today. But the numbers are minuscule. And who’s to say they won’t be casualties during the coming die-off? Or that they won’t live an impossible distance away?

Things aren’t so simple that we can revert to an economy based on less or no oil. Every activity in an economy is dependent on an infrastructure. Without the underlying support system, you can’t do anything. You need an industry, an educational system, a system of law and order, a transportation system, a system of payment and credit. Look at most of Africa today. They have vast treasures of natural resources in the ground. Yet, a corrupt system of rulers, a lack of a justice system, lack of a sound currency all keep those resources locked away. No one will invest and work without a guarantee that their efforts will not be subject to theft. Others countries all have an infrastructure where the opposite occurs. Investment is encouraged and rewarded. Look at oil. It doesn’t just appear at your gas station. There is a vast system that brings it from the ground to a distillery to you. It took a lot of time, effort and investment to put that system into place. It didn’t happen overnight, but over generations (with a lot of war and other calamities interrupting the process). The same must happen in reverse. In order to put a system into place that allows another system of energy or economic activity to happen, time and effort must be invested to build that system. The infrastructure of yesteryear is no longer in place. It was replaced and dismantled. Without a sound system to rebuild it, you end up with only the current dysfunctional system until the end.

In the 1970’s, we were rudely awoken to the need to replace our current reliance on petroleum. No widespread system for an alternate source of energy was introduced. Rather, conservation was used. We learned to be more efficient with less energy. But we didn’t replace petroleum. Lucky for us at the time, we went back to a glut of oil from Alaska and the North Sea, as well as replacing our currency backing with Saudi Arabian oil instead of gold. That saved us. But now, all those sources of oil are pretty much used up. Britain has gone from an energy exporter back to an importer, Alaskan crude is down significantly and is staying there and the Saudi fields are in permanent decline. And there will be no large fields to replace them. There hasn’t been a major oil field discovered for almost fifty years, and not for lack of effort. Coal will not last long if used to replace oil, nuclear fuel is not infinite, all hydro sources are already tapped. Ethanol seems to be a net energy loser, as well as doubling our food prices by using edible corn. Tar sands are also a net energy loser. We had nowhere to turn thirty years ago, and no where today. Petroleum was the only answer. Because it provides so much energy in such a compact space, no other energy source could compete. All others fell by the side. We have no other wide-spread source of energy available. And there is no incentive to provide one. All powerful and rich entities reliant on oil have vested interests in keeping things the way they are. They will go down with the oil powered ship.

Civilizations decline with the economic and energy system in place that brought them to power. There might be a few exceptions over time such as Japan. But they are the exception to the rule. Most civilizations follow a similar road. They do something right, that at the time brings them to power. Those in charge got rich following that path. They won’t give up that source of wealth. Usually as the system starts to decline, centralization keeps things running by bringing efficiencies of scale. In time, between the powers that be gripping their wealth and the lack of resources to keep the existing structure maintained or to devolve back to a decentralized form of production (even assuming the rulers would allow that), they collapse. In the end, ninety some odd percent of the population is dead or immigrated and the area is left fallow to replenish itself (in solar-powered civilizations, soil fertility is used up and produces collapse by hunger- a fate we will only avoid as long as oil fertilizes the soil we’ve used up). When our oil runs out, we all die. The soil stops producing food. We are no different from ancient civilizations other than we were able to grow much bigger and postpone collapse longer because of our one time use of petroleum.

      And we don’t need to get to the point where we run out of oil. All that is necessary is that we run out of enough. Oil production follows a bell curve. Rapid increase, a slowing to a plateau, then a drastic decline. Oil fields, oil regions, or global oil all follow this pattern. Not only is that bad enough, where we have nothing to take the place of petroleum, but here in the US it is even worse. We have built our entire system on not just oil but cheap and abundant oil. Where most other nations have never had the luxury of their own supplies, we have been cursed with an over abundance. We were blessed with one of the worlds largest supplies of petroleum, to the extent that we were the global leading exporter of oil until after the second world war. That allowed our economy to explode. But as oil reaches its global peak (the top of the plateau was reached in 2005) our dependence on cheap and abundant petroleum turns into a curse. Our economy, even our political system in the form of a generous welfare state to placate the masses, is based on lots of oil at essentially free prices. Nuclear power never reached its promise of “too cheap to meter”, but oil was always essentially at that point. That concentrated energy source was the equivalent of dozens, hundreds or even thousands of man hours of labor in every unit. And most of our existence has been dedicated towards making that labor as cheap as possible. Gold, a mineral so scarce that all of it ever mined could fit in a small building, buys dozens or scores of barrels of oil which is a non renewable resource. We invade countries to keep oil cheap. Political fortunes turn on the price. We burden our grandchildren with unplayable debt to devote military and intelligence resources to keeping the price low. All told, the sweat and treasure put towards stealing the global oil output is extremely high. That is the hidden cost. But the up front cost is kept low to keep the economy running. When oil reached a reasonable cost of $150 a barrel in the summer of 2008, our economy started to tumble. I say reasonable due to the limits of global daily output being reached and the inflation of the dollar. And the economy would have started to crumble sooner or later due to the massive over subscription to the derivatives market. But the timing is interesting none the less. We absolutely must have cheap, abundant oil for our economy to survive.

C.  PODA  (Post Oil Dark Ages)
PODA is my whimsical and witty title for the coming collapse and its aftermath. Post Oil Dark Ages. In a few generations when our grandchildren are scratching fleas under their animal skins while living in the basements of crumbling skyscrapers, there will still be oil in the ground. Granted, it will be that which was uneconomical to pump out. All oil is not created equal. The stuff close to the surface and without a lot of additional material costly to distill out is what we have mostly been living on. Not that which is two miles under the ocean and hard to get out. It all goes back to cheap and abundant. So we won’t actually run out of petroleum or other carbon fuels. But the consequences will be equal to running out. When the cheap stuff runs out, or it takes as much energy to pump the oil left as that oil yields, it is game over. Things start to fall apart. Crops don’t get planted or harvested, or that food doesn’t get shipped, or both. Essential trade goods don’t make it to our shores. The Age Of Oil ends, the Age Of Scarcity begins. When the military starts taking its dwindling share to take the last of the oil, and that leaves less than enough for food or transport or heat, things start going to hell. It will be a bit of a process, not everything stopping at once. But here is something important to keep in mind. It might take a civilization two centuries to fall into ruin, but that is everything averaged out. In the meantime, even from the first, individuals are adversely affected. When it takes ten years for employment to fall in half, you could be one of the first ones with a pink slip. When it takes twenty years for the death rate to double, you could be one of the first corpses. Averages look good on paper. In person they are a lot more deadly. This is how you need to look at the oil running out, depopulation, the economy falling and other aspects of society unraveling. It might take until your children’s old age for the last of the Petroleum Age to end, but you will be hurt much sooner than that.

      Some theories point to the end of the 1970’s as the start of the end. That is when the per capita amount of energy available started to decline. We don’t see that, being sheltered here in America. But plenty of the world’s population suffers while we fiddle in an orgy of gluttony. It is that average number. We do great, others live on almost no oil, on average the world economy looks good if not perfect. Looks can be deceiving. We are just masking reality. We will eventually see those low numbers. If we survive the unraveling. We will reach the point of less oil. I focus mainly on oil. There will of course be other factors. The credit crisis that started in the fall of 2007 and started to be felt a year later. That is sure to be a lot worse by the time you read this. The natural tendency of governments to hyper-inflate the currency when there is no other way to pay the bills. Our long vanished national grain stockpile and the idiocy of just-in-time inventories (great for saving money short term, suicide come any supply disruptions). Our declining soil fertility due to artificial fertilizers made from natural gas substituting for proper nutrient management. Over population encouraged by corporations as a downward force on real wages. All these things make it worse. But they are not the primary cause of our civilization collapsing. Energy is fundamental to life and an economy. The oil has already started to decline globally. We are making up some of the shortfall with less than ideal substitutions that are big picture energy net losers, such as ethanol and shale oil. Stay tuned. At first it will be easy. Less driving for the holidays. Turn the thermostat down, add insulation. Then, it becomes a lot harder. Rationing, learning to do without. Readjusting. Then it gets hard. Martial law, unrest, skyrocketing crime. Less than enough calories. Than it gets life threatening.
Ready for that journey?

D.  Life during the collapse
So far we have followed trends already occurring. Now we move into murkier waters. The next phase, life during a collapse, is pretty straight forward. We have countless examples during the last century of war and conflict. Our situation will differ slightly, as we are not used to invasion or being an exploited colony. But we can guess at a lot of it. Remember, America was special at one time. We had the best government and the best society, despite a lot of flaws such as slavery, Jim Crow laws, Native American genocide and the like.
Sadly, we are reverting to typical heavy handedness as our resources run down and most likely will become just like any other fascist hell hole in time. The window dressing given our current government transformation should fool no one. Just because you call ‘water boarding’ or rendition Constitutional doesn’t make it any less like torture. Get used to it. It will get worse, not better. All societies decaying get a centralized government to manage the same in the economy. It doesn’t matter who is elected anymore. Not that elections are even fair or just. They are surely rigged. More of the same from now on. Czars will guide the Homeland. We are and will remain a curious American mixture of Nazi Germany and Soviet Russian and will be until the nation breaks apart. To think otherwise is to ignore history.
America was special, but will follow the path of past nations collapsing. We were blessed with natural resources which allowed us to share the wealth. These resources are now gone and as we fight for pieces of the diminishing pie the fight will get ugly. Free men were allowed to remain armed, almost uniquely American in practice. That abundance of personal weapons will make for a very bloody end. That is about the only way this collapse will differ from any other. Men will fight in a more decentralized fashion rather than being dependant on fewer sources for their weapons.

E.  Economic collapse
The collapse starts economically. It already has. Many people think this is a replay of the Great Depression of 1929 to 1942. Understandable as that is the only model on display. So, they believe this is another power grab by the bankers. Before, there were independent banks, not beholden to the new central bank, the Federal Reserve. In 1913 Congress slipped in its creation in a slow holiday period. Those banks that engineered and “solved” a previous bank panic pushed for its creation under the guise of stability. One imagines this was one of the cheapest national and economic power grabs ever. The bribes paid must have been mere pocket change compared to what followed. The banks then loaned money to the Allied powers during the First World War and pushed for our involvement when they were in danger of defeat and hence default. The German reparations also benefited the banks. Which paved the way for Hitler (also thought to have banker backing).
The easy credit of the 1920’s was courtesy of the Federal Reserve, which led to gross over extension and the Wall Street crash. Then, the Fed mopped up by buying failing banks that weren’t part of the central banking system, foreclosed on hard assets such as businesses, homes and farms, plus engineered FDR’s gold devaluation and confiscation to assure its printing press monopoly. It was in effect a decades long coup de ta. So, obviously, the banks know no limit to greed and want even more. Yet, what is there to gain this time? We were the global oil exporter, the globes premiere manufacturing economy. We were the global breadbasket. Today, we have no real economy other than a consumer economy with imported Chinese goods.
We import seventy percent of our oil, so there is a doubt we can even have enough for a bare minimum life support system.
We import twenty percent of our food, with domestic production endangered by water supply problems, oil dependency for fertility and transport and our ethanol program competing for stomachs.
There can be nothing but Monopoly money for anyone trying to win these spoils. I don’t think that this is a banker manipulated problem. It would be stealing gold trim off a sinking Titanic. I think this is the real deal. God, but I wish this was one conspiracy theory I would love to be right. It might mean we wouldn’t collapse in my lifetime. But this does line up with petroleum draw down. So let’s go ahead assuming this is really an economic collapse.

This is just the start of our problems. Normally, a few extra barrels of food, a couple of solar panels, some extra ammunition and a few silver coins would see us through until normalcy returned.
I’ll go ahead and cover the economy, then we can move into the much larger problems of system wide collapse. Those that make the economic collapse a warm up. Economic collapse makes matters worse for everyone, for obvious reasons. With soaring unemployment those households with diminishing income will immediately see petroleum shortages, regardless of outside supply. And when international trade starts to freeze up our nation will face oil shortages regardless of where international supply is at that point. An economic collapse will actually help in the oil run down since far less will be used. Less economic activity will see less energy use.
One the other hand, diminishing demand will scale back exploration, pipeline construction, new field development or even existing infrastructure upkeep. So the effects all in all will be to magnify oil shortages. Already in the winter of ’08 international trade in goods is down sharply, simply from the freeze up in credit. Gasoline prices at the pump were down to the levels not seen for five years (those five years saw doubling prices of everything due to inflation and a weakening dollar). Yet the economic downturn is well under way and decreasing energy prices are not boosting activity. This is the interplay between economics and energy. It looks as if the collapse will continue, mostly economic rather than from oil shocks. Is there a correlation between the three year long drop in oil supply and the economy? Global oil supply fell around five percent. Imported oil to the US fell eight percent. Most likely this was the trigger setting off the financial time bomb that grew larger since the Tech Wreck at the turn of the millennium. For seven years the economy was not allowed to falter due to easy credit creation. Housing bubbles fed the economy. This has faltered drastically and the financial house of cards seems to be going up in smoke.

As employment falls, housing loses value. Less jobs, more foreclosures, less value on homes as values drop as housing inventories explode. Credit is squeezed everywhere. There are no more home equity loans. Personal credit cards are seeing shrinking credit limits. Between the two, no one can make ends meet on credit. Businesses fail as their credit dries up. For a long time, business activity was not much more than buying out your rivals and acquiring its customers. Without credit to expand, business activity shrinks. Driving up unemployment. It is a vicious cycle.
Big businesses with high legacy costs are desperate. When vehicle sales drop due to rising unemployment and shrinking credit, Detroit can’t meet current retiree costs. Bankruptcy looms. If you think Detroit is bad now, with slum homes for sale for $600 in back taxes and an unemployment rate double that of most other areas, wait until the auto makers go belly up. And don’t think Toyota will rescue them. It is seeing sales fall over thirty percent in one year. Japanese companies are very well run, but their biggest customer is the US. Falling demand effects everyone.
Commodities stop their recent drive upwards. Gold companies close due to credit problems. Increasingly, people and businesses look for federal government help. As the government sees overseas loans dry up, hyperinflation is just over the horizon. There will be no other way to pay for the increased need for the welfare state. We will see a short period of declining prices as inventories soar and the remaining businesses are desperate for sales. Then we will see prices go insane as Washington turns on the printing presses (a lot easier now with computers replacing a lot of paper currency).

Remember, the economy is the result of cheap and abundant energy. Nothing else made it possible for our bloated welfare state and empire spanning military to function. Yes, the economy is going to be very important to you as it implodes. After a time, it won’t matter about global oil reserves. The price of gas is unimportant if you repoed your car and the electric company shut off your power. But it is important for a very simple fact. Declining global supplies of petroleum mean that the economy won’t recover. We will have ups and downs, false recoveries and periods of slowing decline. But long-term, we will not see the old days return. It is the beginning of the end. Don’t mistake this for a simple economic Depression. It is also coupled with oil draw down. Decline is here for good. The severity and timing are the only questions.

F.  Oil run down
Oil draw down is the process of running out of petroleum. Oil production is a bell curve. Sharply up, a plateau is reached, the numbers level off and then we start on the down side. A sharp downturn of oil production. Currently we are at the plateau where we have global oil production leveled off. How long this lasts is anyone’s guess. It won’t be that long however. Some very educated guesses have our oil age at about a hundred years. Take 1930 as a start, when oil really started to dominate rather than being a source of illumination only. By the end the 1970’s per capita global energy use started to decline, the half way point. In 2030 we will be back to the level of one hundred years previously in total oil use ( yet with a much larger population and no other way of powering the food and production like we had in 1930 ). But don’t think we have until 2030. The availability of oil is already starting to suffer. All of the king size fields are in decline, including Saudi Arabia. And no large fields have been discovered in fifty years. There will be no Alaska or North Sea oil to save us from the next oil shock. And, least you think cheap gas is a great Christmas present for 2008, this economic disincentive will discourage smaller fields from being exploited. Those would have smoothed out the large field slowdown. Right now the only thing smoothing it out is the fact that economic activity in the worlds largest oil user is in a tailspin. Less US oil use is helping to disguise oil draw down. Enjoy $1.50 a gallon gas, because it will be the last time energy is going to be cheap. We are, simply, running out of energy on a global scale. It wouldn’t be too bad if we only had to turn down the thermostat and stop driving our SUV’s so much. But, we will soon discover to our dismay, cold houses and weeds growing up the wheels of our thirty thousand dollar sheet metal monster are the least of our problems. Oil, today in our country and most other places outside Third World peasant fields, is food. Without oil there is no food. Without food there is famine.

G.  Famine
Famine is not something most of us ever consider. This country has been the bread basket of the world for over a century. The Ukraine used to be the bread basket of Europe before collectivism introduced by the communists. It isn’t that the soil isn’t still fertile, but back again to infrastructure, you need a stable system to reap resources. In America’s case, we are not only farming on infertile soil due to corporate profit being put ahead of maintaining the most strategic resource we used to command, but the only way to continue farming enough to feed the population we have is to pour oil into the process. Most of our fertilizer is not renewable animal manure, but non renewable artificial fertilizer derived from natural gas. We can’t use animal fertilizer as manure, or non mechanized machinery to farm because they don’t work for corporate farming. They are financially inefficient. Corporate farming is our main source of food, and they can’t function without oil. Or, for that matter, easy and cheap credit which may or may not be available in the near future. Now, it is true that there is enough widespread knowledge about intense labor organic farming that we will be able to switch to that form of food production when needed. However, that depends on government no longer favoring large corporations with taxes and subsidies. We can’t go back to decentralized, low lost farming without the government stepping out-of-the-way. Mainly by eliminating high property taxes. As suburbs have encroached on farmland, farmers have seen their land values skyrocket. So their taxes go up. Yet, grains are a commodity sold by volume by the big players. The little farmer can’t compete. The system favors the corporate farmer.

Now, by the time the government no longer favors the rich corporate lobbyist and allows small farms to proliferate, we might already see cracks appearing in the food supply chain. Governments move slowly. Especially if re-election money from deep pockets is at stake. However, our food supply is now on a just-in-time inventory system. We harvest it and ship it out. There are no longer any months long supplies of grain stockpiled, as was the case during the Cold War when it was felt feeding the population in an emergency was a good thing. Now, any widget sitting on store shelves is considered as lost profit to our bankers and corporations. Come any calamity, there is no stockpiled supply to see us through. And even if there were, you need to take into account our transportation system and our banking system. Less oil will also affect our ability to ship crops. And any problems with our credit system will halt shipping anyway. American business (I have left out of the equation our imported food- it constitutes 20% but is mostly processed or luxury goods and can be survived without) are used to ninety day credit. They buy on credit, then pay after they sell the item. This poses a potential problem. So, again, we see both oil and economics as a problem. Food should not be assumed to remain a gluttonous American birthright. We can see a famine, and since none of us remain farming the land it could be as bad as any African calamity or even worse. We have no cushion against shortages. And no stockpile to see our transition from mechanized corporate farming to decentralized local labor intensive organic farming.

H.  Military dictatorship
With both a shock to the economy from dwindling oil supplies and a potential of famine bringing on heavily armed civil unrest, we can be assured that government will at some time or another impose martial law. Whether we see a military dictatorship or not is not even very important. Whatever cosmetics they put on the pig to make it look like something else, the outcome to civilians is going to be the same. Whatever illusion you have that the Constitution will help you will finely be shattered. We don’t have a Constitutional Republic anymore. You can argue we haven’t had one since the War Of Northern Aggression. When a sovereign state which voluntarily joined a Union is forced at gunpoint from leaving same, you can call that a pretty firm break with the document that is supposed to protect our natural rights and limit the power of the government. But, barring that, perhaps because you are a Damn Yankee and won’t confess to a social crime committed by your ancestors like Southerners are supposed to do with slavery, you could at least make a good case that our Republic was sold out by creating the Central Bank in 1913. He that controls the purse strings controls the politicians. Even if that isn’t good enough for you, you have to admit that FDR (may his twisted foul soul be damned for all eternity) took whatever restraints on Federal government there were and wiped his liver spotted ass with them. After him, we had full blown socialism and an out of control military industrial complex along with unbridled bankers and corporate stoolies help them out to rape and pillage what was left of our nation. So, don’t think that quaint piece of paper is going to protect you. It hasn’t and it won’t. The only question we have to ask ourselves is, when and how bad. It is guaranteed to happen. All declining civilizations become despotic at the end. Centralization helps then survive and thrive. But you need a strong government to go from local, decentralized production to centralized control. For a time the economics of scale feed yet more population and bring ever more treasure to the king. When disaster strikes and resources start to run out (fertile soil, neighbors to conquer, rainfall, mild weather, mineral deposits, etc.) you can’t go back, as there are not enough resources to rebuild the old decentralized infrastructure. The only thing you can do is to tighten your control. Try to extract more resources from the profit takers. Try to prevent disorder and rioting as resources run out.

So, don’t think of the power grabbers introducing more fascism as just greedy and controlling. They are, but that is not the point. They are being played by events out of their control, just as you are. Resources run out and the government becomes stronger. They need to keep themselves running, not only to keep order so as to stay in power, but also because those benefiting from the old system won’t allow them to do it any other way. As the system crumbles, those benefiting economically from practices now harming things can’t give up what made them wealthy. They need that wealth to survive.

So, Roman Senators allowed their estates to play out of fertile soil just as there was no more fertile lands to take militarily. Southern plantation owners did the same, just as there were no more states to enter the Union as slave holders. New soil was needed to keep the rich wealthy since they had used theirs up, and there was no more to be had. It is going to be the same with the wealthy of today, those that buy and control politicians. Highly leveraged financial gambles will continue to be sold to the last sucker before the whole economy implodes. The last tanks using the last gasoline will fight over the last oil field, more than likely illuminated by radioactive glows from the distant city sites. No one is going to seriously push for independently owned cheap solar panels on every rooftop. The only serious solar (as far as supplying any large percentage of energy) will be centrally located and controlled by major utilities.

Martial law is as inevitable as the sun rising. No one voluntarily gives up power and wealth. When people begin to starve, they revolt. To keep the revolutionaries from sharing their wealth, the rich use the government to control the population. Luckily for use, our government can’t put many resources into this proposition. There is no real wealth behind them, just printed dollars backed by the ( dwindling supply from ) oil fields of Saudi Arabia. Economics also effects the government’s ability to pay for people and supplies. I’m not saying they won’t steal what they need, just that a broke and weak government is going to be trying to pacify a three thousand mile long nation at a time when transportation is not as easily fueled. As long as the oil flows, a relatively small government and military can control us. In fact, most of us want to be controlled. When that runs out, it will be a long-term losing battle to control us. Small consolation to concentration camp victims or tortured dissidents. I can’t see more that is going to be added from the long sorry history of martial law by us. We will start out being pretty brutal. When you don’t have a lot of resources to control people, you start out trying to terrorize them so most offer no resistance. This is how the Japanese controlled large areas of land with few soldiers. You give that crazy little bastard a bayonet and instructions to chop suey anything less than perfectly obsequious. I can’t see Americans anywhere close to as effective as the Japanese at pacification. We might have a few folks like Janet “BBQ” Reno able to torch small children or jack booted thugs willing to stomp kittens to terrorize a family, but they belong in the psycho wards to begin with. Normal folks have no ability to do these things, let alone to their own countrymen. Plenty can be brainwashed, but not enough to control all of us for very long. Yes, it will be brutal and bad at first, but the few thugs the Feds have will quickly lose control. There will not be enough of them to control the millions too hungry and cold to care anymore. Desperation will help the government for a time, then it will turn things against them. We will happily turn in our neighbors for unpatriotic thoughts, in return for bread and circuses. When that is no longer provided, the ‘narcs’ and stooges will turn on their handlers. Which is when we will see race wars on our way towards the national breakup.

I.  Race wars
The truly ignorant actually try to see a difference in people by their skin color or their religion. This can be pretty comical at times, if you are outside looking in. Such as the Nazi’s and the convoluted racial classifications trying to protect “pure” whites while discriminating against Jews or Slavic’s. Is a White Russian okay, but a Ukrainian not? Or a gypsies bad, even if they are mostly from Aryan stock? Why is a Jew impure if he is from a long line of Germans? Is the picture perfect white German less pure if his great-grandmother one-third Jew? Etcetera. My view is that skin is really not much more than adaptation to environment, but I’m sure that view will get me on a few elimination lists if the three members of the American Nazi party can get a few meth addled skinheads to assassinate me. Well, add the fact that I’ve been married to more than one Mexican gal. I sure wasn’t worried about protecting the purity of my race those times, even if I did practice birth control. Most people, despite the continual indoctrination of our public school systems (the ones controlled by white politicians that send their kids to private schools charging enough tuition to eliminate most of those of a darker hue) still have a certain problem with other races, even if they don’t know why. Typically, I hear racist attitudes along the lines against those types they didn’t grow up around. I have no problem with Mexicans, growing up in Southern California. But to be honest the majority of blacks are like foreigners to me. The reason is not skin color. That is a cop out for those not wishing to think the matter through. It is simply about tribal identity. And fear of the unknown. But mostly tribal. Humans belong in social groups. It is a survival mechanism. And we automatically identify with our tribe and against others. We are usually lazy and rather than rationally voice this, we spew some crap about skin color (and you all know the “colorful” terms used to describe other races). That is a mental shortcut. Give it any amount of thought and you can see what I’m talking about. Tribe equals safety. Other tribal members equal the enemy. Whether they are different skin colored or not is not the main issue, other than that is a sign of their tribal identity.

Multi-racial nations rarely work out long term. The tribal marks are not overcome in difficult times by national identity. During safe, economically easy times, we can all get along. As soon as times turn tough the old tribal markers mean a great deal more. We will have racial conflict. Not because blacks are evil, or whites are superior. It doesn’t matter. You can be any color. Others will turn against you. Skin color is just another excuse to exclude you from another’s tribe. Religion will also be dividing. But with the long history of conflict between the colors in this country, it will be easy to justify unpleasantries against others due to their skin. Blacks have a long grievance against whites, whites have always feared blacks because of this. Mexicans have been exploited economically, and we did steal a lot of their land (although to be fair they stole it from the Indians). Indians were nearly wiped out through germ warfare and have a lot of justifiable issues. I sure wouldn’t want to be living near any fair sized reservation come hard times. Nor near any ghettos, regardless if it is black or Mexican. A wouldn’t want to be a white living in Hawaii for that matter. Living in northern Nevada with a clear majority of whites is not preferred because I am racist. It is because I am trying to be on the local winning tribes side. Simply self preservation. You might give it some thought. Do you trust other tribes to treat you fairly when times get tough and they have an economic incentive to expel you ( less mouths at the limited trough )? And they won’t be offering a first class ticket on Amtrak to leave town. Far easier to attack you with ball bats and tire irons and throw you in a shallow mass grave.

Look at the tribal conflicts in eastern Europe or Africa. Skin color doesn’t come into play as much as actual tribes going back centuries. But the dynamic is the same. Starvation looms and one tribe turns against another. That tribe which eliminates the other survives on the limited resources available. This is human nature and explains why there are conflicts. I’ll cover this more later on, but it is pretty simple. Group identity is a survival mechanism, safety in numbers. And stealing another groups resources guarantees one group will survive in lean times. No one joins hands and sings about one world and helps those less fortunate in times of hunger. Not when both groups are starving. Charity is only possible when one group has a surplus. Without that, one groups kills off another to survive with full rather than half rations. And they will justify it in many ways, racial, tribal, vendettas, etc. Race wars will happen in this country as soon as times get genuinely tough. Count on it or you will belong to the body count.

Continued in (Survival Manual/2. Social Issues/Life After the Collapse, Part 2 of 2)

If you’d like to read the entire book, Life After the Collapse by James M. Dankin
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