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The amount of gold or silver savings you should have

(Survival Manual/7. Warehouse / The amount of gold or silver savings you should have)

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What to Do When – Not If – Inflation Gets Out of Hand.
4 Sept 2012, Financial Sense.com, by Jeff Clark
Pasted from <http://www.financialsense.com/contributors/jeff-clark/what-do-when-not-if-inflation-gets-out-hand&gt;

“The cheek of it! They raised the price of my favorite ice cream.

Actually, they didn’t increase the price; they reduced the container size.

I can now only get three servings for the same amount of money that used to give me four, so I’m buying ice cream more often.

Raising prices is one thing. I understand raw-ingredient price rises will be passed on.

But underhandedly reducing the amount they give you… that’s another thing entirely. It just doesn’t feel… honest.

You’ve noticed, I’m sure, how much gasoline is going up.

Food costs too are edging up.

My kids’ college expenses, up.

Car prices, insurance premiums, household items – a list of necessities I can’t go without. Regardless of one’s income level or how tough life might get at times, one has to keep spending money on the basics. (This includes ice cream for only some people.)

According to the government, we’re supposedly in a low-inflation environment. What happens if price inflation really takes off, reaching high levels – or worse, spirals out of control?

That’s not a rhetorical question. Have you considered how you’ll deal with rising costs? Are you sure your future income will even keep up with rising inflation?

Be honest: will you have enough savings to rely on? What’s your plan?
If price inflation someday takes off – an outcome we honestly see no way around – nobody’s current standard of living can be maintained without an extremely effective plan for keeping up with inflation.

It’s not that people won’t get raises or cost of living adjustments at work, nor that they will all neglect to accumulate savings.
It’s that the value of the dollars those things are in will be losing purchasing power at increasingly rapid rates. It will take more and more currency units to buy the same amount of gas and groceries and tuition. And ice cream.
I’m not talking science fiction here.
When the consequences of runaway debt, out-of-control deficit spending, and money-printing schemes come home to roost, it’s not exactly a stretch to believe that high inflation will result.

We need a way to diffuse the impact this will have on our purchasing power. We need a strategy to protect our standard of living.
How will we accomplish this?
I suspect you know my answer, but here’s a good example. You’ve undoubtedly heard about the drought in the Midwest and how it’s impacted the corn crop. The price of corn has surged 50% in the past two months alone.
Commodity analysts say the price could rise another 20% or more as the drought continues.

While the price of gold constantly fluctuates, you would have experienced, on average, no inflation over the last 30 years if you’d used gold to purchase corn. Actually, right now, it’d be on the cheap side.
When you extrapolate this to other food items – and virtually everything else you buy – it’s very liberating. Think about it: gold continues its safe-haven role as a reliable hedge against rising inflation.
I believe that those who save in gold will experience, on average, no cost increases in the things they buy and the services they use.
Their standard of living would not be impacted.

I think this kind of thinking is especially critical to adopt when you consider that supply and demand trends for gas and food dictate that prices will likely rise for a long time, and perhaps dramatically.
So how much will you need to make it through the upcoming inflation storm and come out unscathed?

Like all projections, assumptions abound. Here are mine for the following table. I’m assuming that:
•  The price of gold, on average and at a minimum, tracks the loss in purchasing power of whatever currency you use, and that it does so from current prices. Given gold’s history, this is an easy assumption to make.
•  Gold sales, over time, capture the gain in gold and silver so that your purchasing power is preserved. (This doesn’t mean I expect to sell at the top of the market; I expect we’ll be selling gold as needed – if gold has not itself become a widely accepted currency again.)
•  We pay taxes on the gain. This will decrease our net gain, but there should still be gains. In the famous Weimar Germany hyperinflation, gold rose faster than the rate of hyperinflation.

To calculate how much we’ll need, I looked at two components, the first being average monthly expenses. What would we use our gold and silver for? From corn to a house payment, it could be used for any good or service. After all, virtually nothing will escape rising inflation. Here are some of my items: groceries, gas, oil changes and other car maintenance, household items, eating out, pool service, pest service, groceries and gas again, eating out again, vitamins, movie tickets, doctor appointments, haircuts, pet grooming, kids who need some cash, gifts, and groceries and gas yet again. Groceries include ice cream, in my case. How many ounces of gold would cover these monthly expenses today?

And don’t forget the big expenses – broken air conditioner, new vehicle, vacation… and I really don’t think my daughter will want to get married at the county rec hall. How many ounces of gold would I need to cover such likely events in the future?
The point here is that you’re probably going to need more ounces than you think. Look at your bank statement and assess how much you spend each month – and do it honestly.

The other part of the equation is how long we’ll need to use gold and silver to cover those expenses. The potential duration of high inflation will dictate how much physical bullion we need stashed away. This is also probably longer than you think; in Weimar Germany, high inflation lasted two years – and then hyperinflation hit and lasted another two. Four years of high inflation. That’s not kindling – that’s a wildfire roaring through your back yard.

So here’s how much gold you’ll need, depending on your monthly expenses and how long high inflation lasts.

Every corn-based product on the grocery shelf will soon take a lot more dimes and dollars to buy. But wait – what if I used gold to buy corn?

If my monthly expenses are about $3,000/month, I need 45 ounces to cover two years of high inflation, and 90 if it lasts four years. Those already well off or who want to live like Doug Casey should use the bottom rows of the table. How much will you need?

Of course many of us own silver, too. Here’s how many ounces we’d need, if we saved in silver.

A $3,000 monthly budget needs 1,285 ounces to get through one year, or 3,857 ounces for three years.

I know these amounts probably sound like a lot. But here’s the thing: if you don’t save now in gold and silver, you’re going to spend a whole lot more later.
What I’ve outlined here is exactly what gold and silver are for: to protect your purchasing power, your standard of living.
It’s like having your own personal financial bomb shelter; the dollar will be blowing up all around you, but your finances are protected
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And the truth is, the amounts in the table are probably not enough. Unexpected expenses always come up. Or you may want a higher standard of living. And do you hope to leave some bullion to your heirs?
It’s sobering to realize, but it deserves emphasis: if we’re right about high inflation someday hitting our economy…

Most people don’t own enough gold and silver.
If you think the amount of precious metals you’ve accumulated might be lacking, I strongly encourage you to put a plan in motion to save enough to meet your family’s needs.

We have top recommended dealers in BIG GOLD, ones we’ve vetted that are trustworthy and have highly competitive prices. We also recommend a service that will deduct whatever amount you chose from your bank account and buy bullion for you automatically. And now, given how concerned we’ve been about the inflation that’s coming, we’ve actually started our own service. You can check it all out in the current issue of BIG GOLD, risk-free. I can tell you that purchase premiums are incredibly low, due to a proprietary system that bids your order out to a network of dealers that compete for your business. We’re already using it, and the response from other investors has been tremendous.

Whatever plan you adopt, my advice is to make sure you have a meaningful amount of bullion to withstand the firestorm that’s almost mathematically certain to occur at this point. And now you know exactly how much gold you’re going to need.

See this article at:

<http://www.financialsense.com/contributors/jeff-clark/what-do-when-not-if-inflation-gets-out-hand&gt;

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The clock is ticking, time is running out

(News & Editorial/ The clock is ticking, time is running out.)

news-desk[1]A.  Will America make it to 2018 before the largest depression in history strikes?
July 2013, Answers.Yahoo.com, by Deusche
Pasted from: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20130626135336AACi7MV

Economic collapse is now a mathematical fact for the future of the western nations, the only question which remains is when. Every chart points to the 2018 period where we hit completely unsustainable figures in debt/income rations, 0% savings rate, and facing a deficit of 2X the taxable capacity. In other words, despite all the blind hope many people have, the US government can not raise taxes 100% and maintain a healthy economy, nor can people continue to spend 110% more than they make with $0 savings. It just simply isn’t possible. The trends will not reverse either, these trends have not changed since 1960, and would amount to a complete cultural shift of not spending anything and converting that money to debt and savings. This clearly is NOT going to happen before 2018.

So the question remains, will we slip into the depression prior to 2018, or will we do like everything else and wait until the last second and go off the cliff?

The days for disagreement and debate for whether the dollar will collapse are over. If you think there is a chance it will NOT then you lack the knowledge of our current economic system and I have no interest in your opinion because it is based on propaganda and complete ignorance. If you chose to ignore the blatantly obvious facts staring us in the face then you won’t matter soon anyway because you’ll lose all of your money on deposit and starve to death before 2020. (The FDIC currently only holds enough reserve for 40% of the nation’s current depositors, which is pointless anyway since the dollar will have no value)

Will enough people see the future and begin to withdrawal from the US dollar and cause the depression to begin early, or is this country too filled with the mindless and irresponsible that it will actually make it to 2018?

So out of curiosity,
How many here have at least 2 years worth of equity in non-dollar based wealth?
Who here has 3-6 months of access to food and water?
Who here has the ability to maintain these conditions > 100 miles from a major city?
Who here has NO debt, and a second trade which will be useful in a micro economy?

If you answer yes to all of these, congrats, you will survive to see 2020, if you answered NO to any of these, then your odds are incredibly small.

You have up to 1 year and 2 months remaining to make these things happen. You will not be warned by CNN, Bloomberg, newspapers, goofle, or any other media outlet, just like every other time in history when an economic crisis hits and they are blinded by normalcy bias. It puzzles me still why people think the news is going to warn them of a depression, they never have and never will. By the time you hear a Moody’s downgrade, the market dropping 1000 points in a single day, or the Fed doubling QE after an emergency session in DC it will be too late.

Many people tried to stop the great depression, dumping billions (trillions in todays inflated currency) into the systems hoping to stop it, but in the end the market and the collapse is not something anyone can stop.

This is the only Warning you will receive. It’s up to you whether you chose blind faith and financial data based on best case propaganda, or whether you do the research and realize the facts. Even common sense tells you a society completely based on financing there is something seriously wrong. Remember, the markets always surge before the crash. We’ve had the surge, so we know what comes next.

Additional Details
What you can do is stock up on basic living needs. Normalcy Bias tends to leave people with the false impression that we will always have access to cheap food at the grocery store. The average travel your food makes is 1500 miles, so it won’t take much to stop that flow. People need to remember, this past 50 years of success have been a FLUKE in human history. Starvation and suffering has been the normal for 99% of human history. We’re about to enter a NATURAL cycle of a major downturn. The reason is quite simple. The average person consumes more than they contribute. This adds up, and today our society is at its breaking point. Taxes can NOT rise and produce more, it will only shut down businesses and increase unemployment. Taxes lowered or remaining the same will definitely lead to US defaults. Either way it’s coming.

There is no “Which one” you idiot. The entire western civilization and their governments are completely broke. What part of this do you not understand? Which chart can’t you read? What part of 100% broke is so hard to figure out? These are not standing figures, these are ratios. Do you know what a ratio is? Probably not…

100% debt/gdp
110% consumer di debt/income
3:1 deficit increase

This means the entire western civilization is spending MORE than they bring in. So when people say there is nothing wrong, the economy can continue they are not only wrong, they are completely and utterly clueless.

1 – 2 does not equal + numbers. You can’t barrow out of debt, you can’t continue spending more than you make. At some point the lenders STOP, and what do you think interest rates will do?? We can barely afford the debt service now at practically 0%, so just how exactly are people and the governments going to afford 2X 4X 9X the payments???

B.  Celente Warns: “If You Don’t Have Your Money In Your Pocket It’s Not Yours”
22 Oct 2013, SHTFplan.com, by Mac Slavo
Pasted from: http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/celente-warns-the-collapse-of-2014-if-you-dont-have-your-money-in-your-pocket-its-not-yours_10222013

clock ticking

(Image courtesy Dees Illustration)

If there’s one thing that should be clear, it’s that nothing the government or their banking partners have done to solve the economic crisis has been for your benefit. They’ve enriched themselves, yet again, on the backs of the American people.

All the while, they’ve told us that everything is getting better. But anyone who’s paying attention know that nothing of the sort has happened.

We continue to shed jobs. Hundreds of thousands of people are still losing their homes. Personal debt is rapidly approaching 2007 levels. The U.S. government has borrowed more money than what we can ever hope to repay.

We are still in the middle of it and it’s only going to get worse.

If you think it’s over, that they saved us and we’re out of the woods, then you’ve got a lot of pain coming your way.

And if you think you still have plenty of time to prepare, that it’s decades or years away, you’d better think again.

Trend forecaster Gerald Celente predicted the collapse of 2008 in remarkable fashion. And now he’s warning of a similar crisis to come next year.

There’s fear and hysteria running through the entire global financial community, because as everybody knows all they did was postpone the inevitable.

[They’re going to] turn more of America into Slavelandia as well, where people can get those part-time jobs, have no insurance, no benefits, and not enough money to live on, and they’ll have to go on food stamps and other assistance…

I’m saying to everybody out there, If you don’t have your money in your pocket it’s not yours.

Any self-respecting adult that hears McConnel, Reid, Boehner, Ryan, one after another, and buys this baloney… they deserve what they get.
And as for the international scene… the whole thing is collapsing.
That’s our forecast.
We are saying that by the second quarter of 2014, 1) we expect the bottom to fall outor 2) something to divert our attention as it falls out.

It’s the militarization of the United States… because of the grand scheme. And that is, these people may be stupid – the people running government – but they’re very shrewd. And they know… that there’s no way to solve these economic problems.

The mayhem that went on at Walmart when people couldn’t cash in their food stamps.
Multiply that by tens of millions. Multiply that by a breakdown in society. 

Look what they did in Boston. To me that was a test. They closed down a hundred square miles… to hunt for a 19-year old kid.
Look at America’s most feared criminal of this last year. A 19-year old kids, Snowden, and Bradley Manning. Now there’s three faces of disaster you never want to meet in a dark alley.
So, you can see how this society is being controlled because they don’t want anyone to get out of line.

YouTube

Watch Gerald Celente and Alex Jones discuss the coming trends and our future at YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=SEgd8t339gU

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Make no mistake. It’s coming.
And when it hits, it’ll make the crisis of 2008 look like a picnic.
We survived that one, barely, but it took trillions of dollars just to stabilize, not fix, the system.

This time around, our creditors and the people as a whole may well lose confidence. And once that is lost, look out, because as Gerald Celente notes, the happenings at Walmart when the EBT system crashed were just a prelude.

Imagine that next time around it happens to not just EBT cards, but ATM’s and bank accounts, or that the U.S. dollar itself crashes to such an extent that it is no longer feasible as a mechanism of exchange.
In such a scenario you can fully expect disruptions to food supplies and the normal flow of commerce.
The only saving grace you’ll have are the physical assets in your possession – your arable land, long-term food stores, gold and silver ( http://www.jmbullion.com/ ), and the post-collapse labor skills you’ve developed.

The time to prepare is now or you may well experience the horrific effects to come.

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C.  Shadow Stats Founder On Hyperinflation: Disruptions to Food Supplies, Normal Flow of Commerce
5 May 2010, SGTFplan.com, by Mac Slavo
pasted from: https://www.shtfplan.com/emergency-preparedness/shadow-stats-founder-on-hyperinflation-disruptions-to-food-supplies-normal-flow-of-commerce_05052010

Many of our readers are familiar with John Williams of Shadow Stats (http://www.shadowstats.com/ ). We often refer to his economic analysis to get the real story about GDP growth, unemployment and most matters of government accounting.

In previous articles, we’ve discussed the threat of Hyperinflationary Depression – No Way of Avoiding Financial Armageddon and What is Money When the System Collapses?

Mr. Williams was recently interviewed by The Gold Report and the discussion revolved around the real possibility of hyperinflationary collapse of the US Dollar and an economists view of what the effects of such a collapse would be. If you haven’t read our previous articles, we’d recommend reading those now as they may provide some ideas, tips and strategies to help you whether the storm in the event that it does happen as Mr. Williams suggests it may.

The following excerpts are just snippets from an excellent interview that is worth your while to read in its entirety.

There’s strong evidence that we’re going to see an intensified downturn ahead, but it won’t become a great depression until a hyper-inflation kicks in. That is because hyper-inflation will be very disruptive to the normal flow of commerce and will take you to really low levels of activity that we haven’t seen probably in the history of the Republic.

Again, if you start to see,  1) a great depreciation of the U.S. currency or, 2) a tremendous increase in lack of confidence in the soundness of the government’s fiscal condition, there is a problem. You mentioned Greece, for example. The sovereign solvency issues there are minuscule compared to what we have with the United States, which is the elephant in the bathtub. The markets know it’s there. The central bankers know it’s there. Again, with the downturn in the economy, all the issues are going to be brought to a head. 3) As they come to a head, there will be that effort to dump the dollar. I would expect that, indeed, it will be decoupled from its reserve status, although it could follow after the fact as opposed to before the fact.

Beyond income issues, the problem with the hyper-inflation is that very quickly the use of cash will cease. Let me contrast our circumstance here with a very popularly followed hyper-inflation case that’s now run its course in Zimbabwe. There you had probably the worst hyper-inflation that anyone’s ever seen. After devaluation upon devaluation, they successively lopped the zeros off the bills. If you took a $2 bill that they first issued back in the ’80s and then tried to come up with the equivalent of a $2 bill in the last form of the currency, it would be very difficult to do because it was so worthless. If you put a pile of those together to equal the original $2 bill, it would actually stretch from the earth to the Andromeda Galaxy. We’re talking light years. There are not enough trees on earth to print them. Yet the Zimbabwe economy survived and functioned. They had a lot of problems, but they operated. The reason they functioned was because they had a back-up system, which was a black market in U.S. dollars. People switched out of the Zimbabwe dollar to U.S. dollars. They could live with that. In the U.S., we don’t have a back-up system.

In terms of preserving the purchasing power of your assets, the best thing I can think of is physical gold. That’s worked over the millennia. I’m not per se a gold bug. It just happens to be a circumstance in which it’s the cleanest asset around for that. You don’t need to put all your assets into gold, but hold some. Hold some silver. I’d look to get some assets out of the U.S. dollar and look to get some assets out of the U.S. When I say outside of the U.S. dollar, again, I look at the Canadian dollar, Australian dollar, Swiss franc in particular. I think they will tend to do particularly well, whereas the U.S. dollar is going to become effectively worthless.

As the dollar breaks down, you’ll also likely see disruptions in supply chains, including shipments of food to grocery stores. People should consider maintaining stockpiles of basic goods needed for living, much as they would for a natural disaster. I sit on the Hayward fault in California. I have a supply of goods and basic necessities in case something terrible happens-natural or man-made-that will carry me for a couple of months. It may take that long for a barter system to evolve, which I think is what you’re going to end up with; at least until a new currency system is reorganized and you get a government that’s able to bring its fiscal house into order. No currency system in the U.S. is going to work unless the fiscal conditions that drove it into oblivion are also addressed.

I like physical gold and silver. I look to gold as a primary hedge. If you can come out of this holding gold, you’ll be in a position where you’ll be able to take advantage of some extraordinary investment opportunities that will follow.

It’s coming, and top (non-mainstream) economists are telling us to get ready.

Contrary to what we hear from Mr. Bernanke, Mr. Geithner, and Mr. Paul Krugman, the economy will not continue to grow indefinitely and we have not completely recovered yet. This is all part of a greater depressive trend in the economy and if Mr. Williams is right, the real numbers will show economic contraction in the latter part of 2010. What will the stock market and bond markets do once global investors and US debt buyers realize that the so-called recovery was nothing more than a mirage?

The Federal Reserve is printing trillions of dollars, and when it becomes apparent that the plans put forth by President Bush and President Obama have failed, we are going to be in serious trouble.

We are going to side with Mr. Williams on a coming hyperinflationary destruction of the US Dollar at some point in the near future (timeframe: +- 5 years), and we hope that Mr. Williams’ assessment of a brief period of disruption to commerce is accurate. Because if it is anything longer than that, then the shit will most certainly be hitting the fan in the style of The Day the Dollar Died or Patriots,, and that will not be in any way pleasant, even for those of us who are ready for it.

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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:
http://www.ibtimes.com/china-russia-currency-agreement-further-threatens-us-dollar-248338#

2. Brazil, China Sign Trade Deal to Bypass Dollars:
http://silverdoctors.com/brazil-china-sign-trade-deal-to-bypass-dollars/

3. China-Australia to Ditch US Dollar…
http://www.stormfront.org/forum/t957807/

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:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertlenzner/2013/01/19/the-germans-want-their-gold-reserves-back-in-germany/

6. “Germany wants its gold back, Fed says…eventually, maybe“:
http://www.examiner.com/article/germany-wants-its-gold-back-fed-says-eventually-maybe

7. Texas Wants Its Gold Back From The Fed:
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-03-23/texas-wants-its-gold-back-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.

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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.

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C. WHAT IF?
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.

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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.

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 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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Why you should prep

A.  Your personal obligation,
May 2014 by Mr. Larry
“Two hundred years ago (1812) the majority of the human race lived an agricultural life, their tools, assets and  knowledge were fitted to extracting most of their livelihood from the land, their land.
Fast forward to 1937 (75 years ago) , agriculture had become mechanized, allowing a great many families to migrate to the cities. These new urban residents learned skills that replaced the previous agricultural knowledge on how to provide for their families sustenance.

Meanwhile, back in the countryside, as had been the practice for 8,000-10,000 years, the remaining farm families continued to use the excess from their crop yield to sustain themselves during the winter, they maintained a quantity of their produce as seed for the following spring planting, some of the crop yield fed their livestock, some grains was sold for trade currency,  and if  the harvest had been really good, they added a couple more head of live stock.

The farm family stored food supplies, seed for future crops, and maintained a supportive ecology based on agricultural foods, wood from the forest, and water from the well or stream. They maintained a supply capacity to cover the eventuality that: a rainstorm might damage an early planting,  a drought could reduce summer production,  or an early frost might kill crops before they’d fully ripened. There could also occur: a crop disease in the field, insect and pest infestations in storage, robbery, heavy taxation,  a wild-fire, or a number of family members (work force) could be ill and removed from the seasons production labor effort. There were and are a lot of potential threats, fortunately none have a high probability of severe occurence on any given year.

The new landless,that is,  the migrants from the farm to the city-town, like their country kin, needed to maintain a savings from the slight excess generated by their labor. Life,  in some ways, may have become easier in the city, but there was/is still the chance of losing one’s job; a business bankruptcy; severe, long term illness in the family; theft by robbery and taxation; currency devaluation (more governmental theft), fire, war, calamity, personal needs and eventual retirement.

There remained a need for everyone to set some of their income aside to cover an eventual, “rainy day,” and not just a literal day or a week, but to cover the individual or family in case they missed a significant part of their harvest or a seasons labor for wages.

During recent decades (roughly the last 75 years), the exploitation of essentially free energy (free lunch) from fossil fuels has made the world’s lifestyle wealthy compared to  that of ancient kings. The largess of Western social economic structures have grown to provide an economic safety net for both farmers and unemployed urban residents. These public welfare programs have become so prevalent, that people now expect someone else to look after their deficiencies.
Diligent industry and personal responsibility have given way to public welfare, there is no longer a need for diligent industry or personal responsibility; quite the contrary, both the rural and urban worker can at times maneuver their situation in conjunction with the letter of the law to profit from sloth. Once enrolled in the public welfare, enough people find ways to stay in the program that they become a burden to society. [See also my post, “Tragedy of the Commons”]

The point here is: While governments has set up well-meaning, social welfare programs, these programs can only be expected to function as long as government structures operate within  some nebulous limit we might call, “Normal Conditions”. It’s great that a new layer of protection has been added as insurance for our personal sustenance, but each individual adult, each family, still has to provide diligent industry and accept personal responsibility to protect themselves.

When you  fulfill your obligation to look after your own survival, like any other larger animal on this planet, then you can accept public welfare on a temporary basis.  Relying on and expecting public assistance in times of regional-national-global hardship is like an irrational farmer who thinks: there will never be a crop loss, who doesn’t maintaining supplies, who does not maintain a flock or herd, and who eats the seed set aside for next year’s crop. This is a line of thinking that is bound for disaster, this is “our modern way” in the West and it has been for the last decade.
All it takes is one crop failure; or, in modern terms: massive unemployment, an extended period of high inflation,  the government declaring bankruptcy, a couple of nuclear missiles entering our skies, a deadly pandemic, any form of economic collapse…
…In 3 days you could be dying of thirst, followed by several weeks of social disorder that escalates by maybe two orders of magnitude (100 times worse than what “bad” means in “normal” times), starvation begins in 4 weeks…” (Mr. Larry)
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B.  Aesop knew how it worked — 2500 years ago
If anyone doesn’t understand the obligation of families to one another during a serious economic national crisis, I recommend you read Aesop’s fable,  The Grasshopper and The Ant, as follows:

“Once there lived an ant and a grasshopper in a grassy meadow. All day long the ant would work hard, collecting grains of wheat from the farmer’s field far away. She would hurry to the field every morning, as soon as it was light enough to see by, and toil back with a heavy grain of wheat balanced on her head. She would put the grain of wheat carefully away in her larder, and then hurry back to the field for another one. All day long she would work, without stop or rest, scurrying back and forth from the field, collecting the grains of wheat and storing them carefully in her larder.

The grasshopper would look at her and laugh. ‘Why do you work so hard, dear ant?’ he would say. ‘Come, rest awhile, listen to my song. Summer is here, the days are long and bright. Why waste the sunshine in labour and toil?’

The ant would ignore him, and head bent, would just hurry to the field a little faster. This would make the grasshopper laugh even louder. ‘What a silly little ant you are!’ he would call after her. ‘Come, come and dance with me! Forget about work! Enjoy the summer! Live a little!’ And the grasshopper would hop away across the meadow, singing and dancing merrily.

Summer faded into autumn, and autumn turned into winter.
The sun was hardly seen, and the days were short and grey, the nights long and dark.
It became freezing cold, and snow began to fall.

The grasshopper didn’t feel like singing any more. He was cold and hungry. He had nowhere to shelter from the snow, and nothing to eat. The meadow and the farmer’s field were covered in snow, and there was no food to be had. ‘Oh what shall I do? Where shall I go?’ wailed the grasshopper. Suddenly he remembered the ant. ‘Ah – I shall go to the ant and ask her for food and shelter!’ declared the grasshopper, perking up. So off he went to the ant’s house and knocked at her door. ‘Hello ant!’ he cried cheerfully. ‘Here I am, to sing for you, as I warm myself by your fire, while you get me some food from that larder of yours!’

The ant looked at the grasshopper and said, ‘All summer long I worked hard while you made fun of me, and sang and danced. You should have thought of winter then! Find somewhere else to sing, grasshopper! There is no warmth or food for you here!’ And the ant shut the door in the grasshopper’s face.

It is wise to worry about tomorrow today.” (That was human thinking 2500 years ago. lfp)
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C.  Remember the addage , “It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark.”  (about 5000 BC)
One thing about the future is that no one can be too sure how it’s going to turn out. Most of us are realists and understand that in regards to the future, it’s better to prepare for the likelihood of falling on hard times than be stuck in the middle of it without any preparations or plans.

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Definitions use in the following article
SHTF – Shit hit the fan (event). Think: Temporary, local or regional disaster that disrupt some services, business and-or social structures for days to months. Hurricanes, earthquakes, tornado damage, flooding, riots, local volcanic activity, major snowstorms, hyperinflation…Black Swan SHTF events that trigger a chain of cascading disasters can lead to TEOTWAKI.
TEOTWAWKI – The End Of The World As We Know It. (event). Think: long term wide spread disruption, systemic failures, extreme hardship, trying to survive within a collapsed social structure, crime violence escallates, seeing dead human bodies becomes somewhat common. Nuclear War, solar and terrorist EMP, deadly pandemic, major volcanic activity…
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D.  SHTF vs. TEOTWAWKI?
SurvivalCache.com, by  Captain Bart
http://survivalcache.com/shtf-vs-teotwawki/
“This past President’s Day, all the satellite channels on my cable went out. Annoying. About an hour later all power in the house went out! This is about how it would play out if a big CME (Coronal Mass Ejection) were to hit the earth.

Prepared?
First the satellites and then some time delay later (depending on CME speed) the power goes down. Since I hadn’t followed my usual practice of daily checking on the Sun, I didn’t know and it was too late to find out. Then I noticed the cell phones still worked, my Blackberry allowed me internet access (NOT a Carrington Event). Turns out a line fuse had blown and about 40 houses were without power for 20 minutes or so. Not even much of a SHTF event but for a few minutes, a whole lot of things I wish I had already done went through my mind.

We often use SHTF and TEOTWAWKI almost interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. For the first week or two, they may be almost identical. Law enforcement may still be in place well into the TEOTWAWKI event. In many scenarios we won’t know if it is TEOTWAWKI for weeks or months. This causes difficulty in preparations. Get it wrong and you could be in trouble.

My SHTF moment may be your TEOTWAWKI event. When Hurricane Ike hit Houston, I shared food, firearms and ammo with neighbors. It was a SHTF and not even a ‘Black Swan” event. The problem with this, of course, is that now my neighbors know I’m prepared. If you lived on Bolivar Penninsula near Galveston, Texas, Hurricane Ike was a TEOTWAWKI event. This Cat II hurricane had a storm surge like a Cat IV storm and in parts of Bolivar not even the foundations are left.

The point of this is that not only is one man’s SHTF another man’s TEOTWAWKI, one event can morph into the other. How you prepare for one event effects how you deal with the other type event. If you have only prepared for TEOTWAWKI and that plan is basically taking your fully tricked out assault rifle and scrounging what you need from your neighbor’s deserted homes, then you may find yourself in real trouble when the SHTF but it isn’t TEOTWAWKI. SHTF and even ‘Black Swan’ events happen to all of us to varying degrees with surprising regularity although we often don’t recognize it. If you worked for Bernie Madoff and his ponzi scheme, the SHTF big time when your job, your investments and your savings all went away at the same time! Everything changed overnight.

I think the most likely TEOTWAWKI event will be some type of pandemic that will start slowly and grow in isolated locations until some critical mass is reached. You may have a different “favorite” TEOTWAWKI event but this one serves for discussion. At the point critical mass is reached everything shuts down, martial law is declared and the TEOTWAWKI spiral begins.

Plan For The Mostly Likely Events
What does this mean for us? I would argue that most of our preparations should be for SHTF events. A TEOTWAWKI pandemic and a normal flu outbreak will be identical on the local level for the first days to weeks. So my first preparations will be to survive a one-week ‘shelter in place’ – grid up and utilities working. My next step is to survive a 2-week, shelter in place, grid down scenario followed by a possible 4-week bug out stint. I am ready and flexible if things change but I feel that this is the most likely scenario and what I base my planning around.

The moral is to prepare for the most likely events first since they are the ones that will surely happen. I KNOW Houston will get hit by another hurricane. If I’m ready for Ike, then I’m set for a different 2 to 4 week grid down Black Swan. If I stretch my preparations to 3 months then I’m ready for a massive commerce interruption and so on. Baby steps will carry you far if you are consistently improving. Giant steps can lead to major, perhaps catastrophic mistakes in planning and execution. Take care of the smaller, high probability events and the low probability events and Black Swans can be successfully handled.”

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E.  How Horrific Will It Be For The Non-Prepper?
May 12th, 2012, for  SHTFPlan.com, by  author, Be Informed
http://www.shtfplan.com/emergency-preparedness/how-horrific-will-it-be-for-the-non-prepper_05122012

This article has been made available by regular SHTFplan contributor, Be Informed.
Editor’s Note: You have no doubt had your own set of issues dealing with friends and family members that simply don’t see the writing on the wall. The following article may serve to assist you in convincing those who simply don’t know, don’t want to know, don’t care, or have never even thought to contemplate. Some of the scenarios outlined below may be frightening, as they should be, because when it hits the fan millions of people will be thrown into desperation with no hope of a solution. Be Informed provides a variety of point-by-point details that may (and hopefully will) convince the non-prepared individual to at least insulate themselves with the basic necessities. The consequences for not doing so, as you’ll see, are severe and often deadly.

I have become personally so disenchanted with the way people fail to prep. People still don’t understand how important it is to put away. I have gotten into arguments over this and had cretins call me a fool because I put away food, water, and supplies. I thought about this and the frustration that other preppers have with this laid back idiotic attitude that there is no need for preparation. There are good people that just can’t/won’t start preparing. They have the money to do so, but just don’t want to. Many have only seen what happens to non-preppers on TV, but it still doesn’t make an impact.

In this article I detail some hard core realities to show just how awful it will be for those that don’t prep. Every one of these scenarios is something that has occurred to the non-prepper throughout history. While strong images come to mind, the purpose is to jar some people out of their inaction and into action before it is too late.

Preppers are good people and care much about those around them, and unless something does jar those around them that choose not to prep, their own survival chances could be reduced. For every bit of food, water, ammunition, or supplies you sacrifice to the non-prepper, the fewer irreplaceable supplies are left for you and your family in a crisis situation. It is hoped that the following can help certain people put into TRUE perspective just how horrific it will be for those that don’t prepare.

Here are the awful consequences for those refusing to prep.
As the world continues to decay at multiple facets, the common person has and continues to be lulled into a sense that everything is improving and will continue to for the distant future. After all, to them unemployment has peaked out and will drop until everyone that wants to work will easily be able to find good paying work, North Korea is no threat because all their long range “bottle rockets” fizz out, sanctions will eventually make Iran give up their nuclear program, oil prices will start going down after June or so, Europe will bail out Greece and Spain and everyone else, and U.S. debt will eventually come under control.

After 2012 everyone that has prepared themselves will go back to more “sensible” lives. “Good times are coming”, baseball season is here, let’s get back to watching some more crackerjack news.

It is amazing how people become good conversationalists with most others discussing all the gossip related news, while becoming mentally tranquilized into a totally deceptive state of denial of truly dangerous issues of the times. It’s the blind leading the blind… right off the cliff.

Rather than dealing with harsh reality, people surround themsleves with easy to digest material that can be talked about without directly influencing anyone’s lives. Meaningless chatter. Even for those unwilling to even think to prepare for a societal catastrophic event, there is also no desire to even face the extreme possibility of a sudden loss of one’s employment. A personal SHTF.

Look at some of the terrible personal pain experienced in America right now – and it hasn’t even hit the fan on a grand scale. Those people who have lived it up on credit, who failed to put much of anything away for a rainy day, who’ve lost their job, and who eventually lost their unemployment benefits are experiencing the first level of collapse. This is happening to millions of people in our own country, all around us, as we speak.

These Americans, who once enjoyed the luxuries that modern living had to offer, are now at their wits end, with very little hope for a return to their previous lives. They are no longer able to pay most or any of their bills. Many have to humiliatingly turn to others for help to pay for food, or worse, to obtain old, unhealthy and poor tasting food from locally funded food banks. Their credit cards are totally worthless. Many have been evicted from their homes and have uprooted their families to live either on the street, in tent cities, with relatives, or have been forced to live at homeless shelters, They’ve have had their vehicles repossessed, or simply can’t afford the gasoline anymore. Their living conditions often make it difficult, if not impossible, to look presentable for job interviews. For many, the life of stability they knew just a short while ago is gone, replaced with fear and a constant stress to the point of nervous breakdown.

A personal economic meltdown is confined to the individual or family, or at worst a few families. The human civilization remains intact and so do society’s safety nets.

With food assistance, rental assistance, homeless shelters, and family to turn to, even the most destitute are almost always able to find some sort of help – however menial.

It is no wonder with these known assistance programs, then, that people have forgotten or never thought to consider what happens IF and WHEN human civilization goes through a strong enough SHTF event. If that happens on a mass scale what happens to everyone that needs help that has not prepared ahead of time? What happens when governments are in such total disarray or destroyed altogether that they can’t help even if they wanted to?

The media and others have portrayed the good people that sacrifice much if not all “luxuries” of life to prepare themselves and their family and friends for extreme times, as chicken littles. Those who have made the choice to store up emergency food, water, and other necessities to avoid extreme life threatening risks, including suffering horribly during and after a widespread SHTF event, are laughed at and ridiculed often for “wasting” their lives on delusional paranoia.

But who is delusional? Those who see the signs around them and understand how vulnerable the system is, or those who believe that things never change, that politicians have their best interests at heart, and that if the worst happens the government will be there to provide everything they may need?

How many have considered the dire consequences of their failure to prepare in the event that the infrastructure and everything a country’s people depend on totally collapses?

The misery from long term unemployment and lack of money is like a walk in the park compared to the severe anguish and dangerous conditions that await those who have failed to prepare for the aftermath of a large scale cataclysm. The “minor” problems of unemployment that seem extremely major and painful to most today should serve as a wake up call to what life will be like when something much, much worse happens – when those proverbial safety nets are no longer there to catch us.

Many preppers have become deeply frustrated at those around them, especially those that truly mean something to them, because they simply refuse to put away anything at all for emergencies. The prepper is usually a person that cares a lot and it is often difficult for them to take a tough stance towards the people that they care about. However, unless someone changes the habits of those people that fail to get ready, decisions will need to be made, and they won’t be easy.

The choice of what the prepared prepper should do will boil down to either either adding these people to their own circle or survival group and reduce the group’s safety, supplies and self sufficiency, OR, they will have to let the non-prepper fend for themselves. This is a very personal choice, and each of us will need to decide based on our own morals, ethics and personal relationships.

As a last ditch effort, discussing the following scenarios with the non-prepper may help them understand what life will be like without what has sustained them so comfortably for so long.

This is the hard reality the non prepper needs to understand:

•  Without power the water company cannot get water to their faucets. Without water dehydration occurs within 24 hours. Dehydration causes much suffering before death.
•  Toilets in homes, unless they have an incineration toilet that still need power to work, don’t flush without water. Where will they go to the bathroom and then where will they dispose of human waste?
•  There will be no clean water available anywhere, especially in major cities, and they cannot live more than about three days without it.
•  Drinking dirty and polluted water will make them incredibly sick and accelerate the dehydration process.
•  Polluted water must be purified and that means having a good filter, bleach or other disinfectant, or fuel and something to boil water with.
•  Understand just how fragile the power and the infrastructure is that pumps water to the public. A breakdown in our power infrastructure or a cyber attack against utility systems will render them useless.
•  A single event can rapidly lead to a cascade of other events that would certainly collapse almost, if not, everything. This is why major snow storms, hurricanes or solar events  in the past have affected millions of people in an entire region all at once.
•  A single, seemingly unimportant event may become quite terrible as its repercussions spread; this can include a far and away disaster.
•  Understand that the economies of the world are so interwoven that when one major economy falls it affects everyone.
•  Not having any food in the house means that if the stores are emptied suddenly in a bad enough situation that there will be no food available for a long period of time afterward. Recent history during disasters around the world has shown that stores can literally be emptied in minutes.
•  Think about how totally horrible the feeling of being very hungry is and what circumstances would cause one to be desperate enough to eat anything.
•  ALL stores can be closed instantly under martial law.
•  Understand that you may not be able to purchase anything after it starts, especially with any credit cards.
•  Understand the complexity of food and water distribution; breaks in these chains can stop anything from getting to the people.
•  What life will be like if no toilet paper is stored?
•  Understand that without light sources, the night will be pitch black, often with zero visibility.
•  There will be no communications, other than probably martial law type of instructions over the radio, that is if they have batteries for the radio.
•  Other than ham and shortwave radio, any information that is available will be sent out by the government as filtered propaganda that “they” want everyone to hear.
•  Without power consider what it will be like to not have any heat to stay warm, or air conditioned air to stay cooler – with no way of alleviating the situation.
•  Travelling will likely be by  foot or bicycle, as their will be no fuel and roadways may be blocked.
•  Realize that ANY travel outside of the home or neighborhood will be extremely dangerous as ANYONE  who moves becomes a target
•  Non preppers will be pushed way beyond their limit because of lack of supplies.
•  The non prepper must realize their government does not really care about them individually, that they are a mere number and help will likely not come from them.
•  They have to figure out somewhere to get food. This can mean wild plants which they must know how to identify as safe, or risk poisoning themselves.
•  They have to understand that when we refer to “having no food” it doesn’t mean not having the food they are used to enjoying, it means no food to eat at all.
•  They have to understand that if they are fortunate enough to have any running water, they will probably have to bathe in cold water for lack of stored fuel to heat water.
•  They have to realize that the very strange and totally unexpected is going to be all around them, made that much worse because of lack of any reliable self defense stores or skills.
•  They might have to remain on the run constantly because of looking for water and food.
•  They must understand that bad will be magnified magnitudes to living misery because of lack of food, water, and other necessary items that they took for granted for so long.

Okay, now comes the “truly ugly and unthinkable” life that most, if not all, people that have failed and refused to prepare themselves will deal with. Clear vivid visualization is key here for anyone that ho hums the idea of prepping.
What horrors they will likely face after a cave-in of their nation’s economy, war, geophysical upheaval, or whatever crisis is bad enough to disturb or stop their nation from working and functioning? There are plenty of very potential SHTF events that are simply awaiting a catalyst to trigger them.

•  The Non-Prepper (NP) has to realize right off the bat that 911 and other emergency calls in will be met with silence or some recording telling the caller not to panic.
•  The (NP) that has no reliable self defense that can stop an attacker, will not get help from public services, and will become a victim of rape, assault, torture, or murder.
•  The (NP) that has no reliable self defense and will not only be at the mercy of criminal elements, but also have to contend with many desperate animals, some with rabies.
•  The (NP) that has no food will either have to find food or be ready to beg for food or worse, like sacrificing their bodies or other horrible acts or things to get a bite of food.
•  The (NP) will have to go through the worst, most rancid conditions of garbage to just maybe find what they should have stored up.
•  The (NP) will go through panic and near if not total psychosis looking for any water source right before their bodies begin shutting down during advanced stages of dehydration.
•  The (NP) will go through unbearable trauma when their children and other people around them are crying, screaming, and suffering with intense hunger pains in their stomachs.
•  The (NP) will have to deal with the awful stench of rotting wastes from many sources because they have not taken the effort to even store up waste disposal plastic bags.
•  The (NP) will have disease and pathogens everywhere, not only because they have no trash disposal means, but because they haven’t prepared how to deal with trash and waste.
•  The (NP) will have to live in very primitive conditions after things around them deteriorate rapidly, because they have neglected putting away anything to make life more bearable.
•  The (NP) and those around them will likely develop all sorts of infective skin rashes from the lack of insight of storing up toilet paper. Imagine the smell for a moment.
•  The (NP) will have to handle biting insects and other vermin that will collect amoungst the filth that will pile up. No pest control stored up along with no other supplies
•  The (NP) will have no way of treating sickness certain to follow a SHTF event, no first aid and likely no training or knowledge about how to treat the ill on top of this.
•  The (NP) will have sick and dying people around them because of not being able to treat minor injuries. Didn’t even stock up on disinfectives. Unsanitary conditions lead to infection.
•  The (NP) and others around them will experience much grief as they watch helplessly as their family members literally die of starvation right in front of their eyes.
•  The (NP) won’t believe how desperate hunger drives them and those that mean everything to them to “trying” to eat food that taste so bad it gags them and comes back up.
•  The (NP) will likely have  family and friends around them that have also not prepared committing suicide because they can’t take it any longer.
•  The (NP) will witness some of those people around them lose any sense of civilized humanity in them and behave like wild animals after some time from lack of necessities.
•  The (NP) and family members, maybe friends also, will at some point end up barbecuing or eating raw the family dog, cat, bird, any pet dear to everyone for food.
•  The (NP) will likely get into  physical fights with other family members over any scrap of food available as rational thoughts are lost to wanton hunger.
•  The (NP) as many other (NP’s) will eventually go out of any safety of their home looking for food and or water, become disorientated and lost, and die a hard death somewhere.
•  The (NP) that is “lucky” enough to find some government help will likely have to almost sell their  soul, probably all their freedom, to get tiny rations – just enough to keep them alive.
•  The (NP) will see widespread violence and barbarism that will shock them to the core and will wish that they had purchased some form of firearm and stocked up on ammunition.
•  The (NP) better get used to attempting to explain the children and other adults why they wasted all that money on junk, and didn’t buy any emergency food and other supplies.
•  The (NP), no matter how positive they are will drop quickly into depression and lose willpower as  having nothing to hold on to does this, along with lack of any nutrition.
•  The (NP) will feel the worst guilt imaginable as they hear their family moaning in anguish from lack of anything to eat, knowing they could have done something to prepare.
•  The (NP) will most likely not see the rebuilding and recovery after A SHTF event. They will, like almost all NP’s, be statistics. Some will die hours or a day before help arrives.
•  The (NP) from lack of food, drinking bad water, no light at night, the horrid smells, no good self defense, the overall horror, will often be paralyzed with fear and despair, blank stare.
•  The (NP) is totally helpless after SHTF, will have to rely totally on charity of those prepared to live. They will take all sorts of desperate measures likely to get them shot. They’ll attempt to eat hazardous foods like an animal trapped in a house will do, and get sick and suffer much before dying. The (NP) will      likely die (ugly and hard) as they lived, unprepared for anything.

If we were to use one single word to describe the torments that someone who “chooses” not to prepare will go through after a true you know what hits the fan it would be “PREVENTABLE”.

Almost every single person, even a very poor person, has the capacity to put away emergency food and supplies. Even homeless people have stashes of something just in case things become so bad that the normal hand outs and thrown-away items dry up. Many people with good sources of income don’t even have an extra can of food or any water put away at all. This is stupidity beyond words.

Every day lightweight disasters happen in all parts of the world that disturb services enough that people are confined to their homes for a certain amount of time. While recovery is short, people are still uncomfortable during these times. Look what happens after a power outage at night and you will be mystified at how many homes are completely dark for hours. People have not even bought an extra couple of candles or any battery operated light sources. Even in well-to-do neighborhoods you may hear only a lone generator going after a blackout. This lack of preparedness is truly frightening and plays itself out again, again, and again every time services are disrupted for minor to major reasons. It’s as if there is something wrong with storing extra food, water, and supplies.

Even after “lessons” played out to what happens to those non-prepared, most people still feel that it just cannot happen to them, or won’t ever happen to them again. It should be proof enough to people what happens to those unprepared after disasters simply by looking at those that have gone through it firsthand. The difference, though, comes in that these disasters have had recovery periods and help from others. Even Haiti received some help and conditions remain putrid over there.

After a TRUE SHTF, it is presumable that government help and others coming to the aid of those in need WON’T happen for long periods of time. During that time those that have chosen to not put food, water, and necessities away are going to be in life threatening positions. Most people just don’t get that when the supermarket shelves are empty they will stay that way for an extended period. When the utilities go down, especially water, it may be weeks, months, or longer before they come back, if ever. Without what someone needs to survive each day, it is not going to magically appear, and depending on the goodwill of others to feed them and sacrifice their own family’s survival chances is a terrible choice.

People MUST know what life will be like after SHTF in mega fashion if they refuse to prepare. This is NOT new. Terrible events have plunged people into the deepest levels of desperation and hopelessness, and they will happen again and again.

While the above consequences to the non-prepper are extremely abysmal for anyone to read, the simple fact of the matter is they have already happened time and time again to those that have nothing put away. People have resorted to cannibalism and gone to levels of primitive savage behavior out of shear desperation and out of literally losing their minds to the physical depletion of food and water that keeps the physical body operating. Sometimes showing the extreme severity and results of a person’s lack of action, such as failure of the simple act of putting away extra food, water, and supplies, can be the kick in the complacency that they need.

It’s really easy to put away food and supplies. All one has to do is add a little bit of extra food to the grocery cart for long-term storage. Over time this adds up to a well stocked pantry of supplies.

There is something that is in a can of food that everyone can eat and enjoy the taste of, so talk to family members about their nutritional preferences and start stocking up. Toilet paper and other supplies that really don’t have any expiration date can be put away and forgotten about ’til needed.

There MUST be common sense and intelligence to see what happens IF they don’t stock up for the future. There has to be the DESIRE to get started, and this is the real problem with so many.

Once started, however, prepping becomes a type of life saving routine or positive lifestyle habit. It is easy and can and will save one from misery. It may save their life and the lives of their family from ruin when SHTF, which is almost inevitably going to happen someday. Every month and year that goes by without a true SHTF event, makes it more likely that it will happen. Basic statistical chance shows this to be the case, but people continue the same pattern of behavior that has led them to the same devastation countless time before.

For those preppers that have people around them that refuse to prepare, you can at least have some degree of solace knowing that you tried to show the non-prepping person(s) what not having anything will mean to them and their families.

All we can do is try. Once we’ve given it our best shot, all we can do is let those who have been warned about the direness of the possibilities live their lives the way that want to. They will, unfortunately, live in a world of regret and suffering if the nation and the world falls apart around them.

To every action there is an opposite equal reaction. Preppers will see their efforts have been more than worth it. Objects that are motionless tend to remain motionless and non-preppers will find there are horrific consequences for their lack of effort and motion to put away “life insurance” preps for themselves and their families.”

End of article

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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?
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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)
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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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City Survival: Stay (Part 1 of 2)

(Survival Manual/ Prepper articles/ City Survival: Stay (Part 1 of 2))

A.  Letter Re: Hunkering Down in an Urban Apartment in a Worst Case Societal Collapse
25  Dec  2007, Survivalblog.com, blog author James Wesley Rawles
http://www.survivalblog.com/2007/12/letter_re_hunkering_down_in_an.html

city3 neighborhoodHello,
In the event of a disaster (I live in New York City) I intend to shelter in place until all the riotous mobs destroy each other or are starved out. I am preparing for up to six months. I have one liter of water stored for each day (180 liters) and about 50 pounds of rice to eat as well as various canned goods. I have not seen on your site anything about heat sources for urban dwellers who intend to shelter in place. I’m assuming that electricity would go first soon followed by [natural] gas and running water. Do you have any recommendations for cooking rice and other foods in this event.
I am considering oil lamps or candles, methane gel used for chafing dishes, or small propane tanks. Because of the small size of my apartment and potential hazards of storing fuel I’m unsure which would be best. Please advise. Thank You, – Michael F.

JWR Replies: I’ve heard your intended approach suggested by a others, including one of my consulting clients. Frankly, I do not think that it is realistic. From an actuarial standpoint, your chances of survival would probably be low–certainly much lower than “Getting Out of Dodge” to a lightly populated area at the onset of a crisis. Undoubtedly, in a total societal collapse (wherein “the riotous mobs destroy each other”, as you predict) there will be some stay-put urbanites that survive by their wits, supplemented by plenty of providential fortune. But the vast majority would perish. I wouldn’t want to play those odds. There are many drawbacks to your plan, any one of which could attract notice (to be followed soon after by a pack of goblins with a battering ram.) I’ll discuss a few complexities that you may not have fully considered:

Water. Even with extreme conservation measures you will need at least one gallon of water per day. That one gallon of water will provide just enough water for one adult for drinking and cooking. None for washing. If you run out of water before the rioting ends then you will be forced to go out and forage for water, putting yourself at enormous risk. And even then, you will have to treat the water that you find with chlorine, iodine (such as Polar Pure–now very scarce), or with a top quality water filter such as a nKatadyn Pocket water filter.

Food. For a six month stay, you will need far more than just 50 pounds of rice! Work out a daily menu and budget for an honest six month supply of food with a decent variety and sufficient caloric intake. Don’t overlook vitamin supplements to make up for the lack of fresh fruit and vegetables. Sprouting is also a great option to provide vitamins and minerals, as well as aiding digestion. Speaking of digestion, depending on how your body reacts to the change in diet (to your storage food), you may need need a natural laxative in your diet such as bran, or perhaps even a bulk laxative such as Metamucil.

Sanitation. Without water for flushing toilets, odds are that people in neighboring apartments will dump raw sewage out their windows, causing a public health nightmare on the ground floor. Since you will not want to alert others to your presence by opening your window, and no doubt the apartment building’s septic system stack will be clogged in short order, you will need to make plans to store you waste in your apartment. I suggest five gallon buckets. A bucket-type camping toilet seat (a seat that attaches to a standard five or six gallon plastic pail) would be ideal. You should also get a large supply of powdered lime to cut down on the stench before each bucket is sealed. You must also consider the sheer number of storage containers required for six months of accumulated human waste. (Perhaps a dozen 5 gallon buckets with tight-fitting o-ring seal lids would be sufficient.) Since you won’t have water available for washing, you should also lay in a supply of diaper wipes.

Space heating. In mid-winter you could freeze to death in your apartment without supplemental heat. As I will discuss later, a small heater or just a few candles can keep the air temperature above freezing.

Ventilation. If you are going to use any source of open flame, you will need lots of additional ventilation. Asphyxiation from lack of oxygen or slow carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning are the alternatives. Unfortunately, in the circumstances that you envision, the increased ventilation required to mitigate these hazards will be a security risk–as a conduit for the smell of food or fuel, as a source of light that can be seen from outside the apartment, and as an additional point of entry for robbers.

Security. The main point of entry for miscreants will probably be your apartment door. Depending on the age of your apartment, odds are that you have a traditional solid core wood door. In a situation where law and order has evaporated, the malo hombres will be able to take their time and break through doors with fire axes, crow bars and improvised battering rams. It is best to replace wooden apartment doors with steel ones. Unless you own a condo rather than lease an apartment, approval for a door retrofit is unlikely. However, your apartment manager might approve of this if you pay for all the work yourself and you have it painted to match the existing doors. Merely bracing a wood door will not suffice. Furthermore, if you have an exterior window with a fire escape or your apartment has a shared balcony, then those are also points of entry for the bad guys. How could you effectively barricade a large expanse of windows?

If you live in a ground floor apartment or an older apartment with exterior metal fire escapes, then I recommend that you move as soon as possible to a third, fourth, or fifth floor apartment that is in a modern apartment city4 socialbuilding of concrete construction, preferably without balconies, with steel entry doors, and with interior fire escape stairwells.

Self Defense. To fend off intruders, or for self defense when you eventually emerge from your apartment, you will need to be well-armed. Preferably you should also be teamed with at least two other armed and trained adults. Look into local legalities on large volume pepper spray dispensers. These are marketed primarily as bear repellent, with brand names like “Guard Alaska”, “Bear Guard”, and “17% Streetwise.” If they are indeed legal in your jurisdiction, then buy several of the big one-pound dispensers, first making sure that they are at least a 12% OC formulation.

If you can get a firearms permit–a bit complicated in New York City , but not an insurmountable task–then I recommend that you get a Remington, Winchester, or Mossberg 12 gauge pump action shotgun with a SureFire flashlight forend. #4 Buckshot (not to be confused with the much smaller #4 bird shot) is the best load for defense in an urban environment where over-penetration (into neighboring apartments) is an issue. But if getting a firearms permit proves too daunting, there is a nice exemption in the New York City firearms laws for muzzleloaders and pre-1894 manufactured antique guns that are chambered for cartridges that are no longer commercially made. It is not difficult to find a Winchester Model 1876 or a Model 1886 rifle that is in a serial number range that distinguishes it as pre-1894 production. (See: Savage99.com for exact dates of manufacture on 12 different rifle models.) You will be limited to chamberings like .40-65 and .45-90. You can have a supply of ammunition custom loaded. A Winchester Model 1873 or and early Model 1892 chambered in .38-40 might also be an option, but I would recommend one of the more potent calibers available in the large frame (Model 1876 or 1886 ) rifles. Regardless, be sure to select rifles with excellent bores and nice mechanical condition.

For an antique handgun, I would recommend a S&W double action top break revolver chambered in .44 S&W Russian. None of the major manufacturers produce .44 S&W Russian ammunition. However, semi-custom extra mild loads (so-called “cowboy” loads, made specially for the Cowboy Action Shooting enthusiasts) in .44 S&W Russian are now available from Black Hills Ammunition. The Pre-1899 Specialist (one of our advertisers) often has large caliber S&W double action top break revolvers available for sale. The top breaks are very fast to load, and you can even use modern speed loaders designed for .44 Special or .44 Magnum cartridges with the stumpy .44 S&W Russian loads.(It has the same cartridge “head” dimensions.)
Firearms training from a quality school (such as Front Sight) is crucial.

Fire Detection and Contingency Bug-Out. A battery-powered smoke detector is an absolute must. Even if you are careful with candles, lanterns, and cook stoves, your neighbors may not be. There is a considerable risk that your apartment building will catch fire, either intentionally of unintentionally. Therefore, you need to have a “Bug Out” backpack ready to grab at a moment’s notice. Although they are no proper substitute for a fireman’s compressed air breathing rig, a commercially-made egress smoke hood or a military surpluss gas mask might allow you to escape your building in time. But even if you escape the smoke and flames, then where will that you leave you? Outdoors, at an unplanned hour (day or night), in a hostile big city that is blacked out, with no safe means of escape. (This might prove far too reminiscent of the the 1980s Kurt Russell movie Escape from New York.”) By the time this happens, the mobs may not want just the contents of your backpack. They may be sizing you up for a meal!

Fuel storage. Bulk fuel storage has three problematic issues: 1) as a safety issue (fire hazard), 2) as a security issue (odors that could attract robbers), and 3) as a legal issue (fire code or tenant contract restrictions). I suspect that New York City’s fire code would not allow you have more than a week’s worth of propane on hand, and completely prohibit keeping more than just one small container of kerosene or Coleman fuel. From the standpoint of both safety and minimizing detectable odors, propane is probably the best option. (The odors of kerosene and chafing dish gel are both quite discernable.) But of course consult both your local fire code and your apartment lease agreement to determining the maximum allowable quantity to keep on hand.

Odds are that there will be no limit on the number of candles that you can store. If that is the case, then lay in large supply of unscented jar candles designed for long-burning (formulated high in stearic acid.) I suggest the tall, clear glass jar-enclosed “devotional” candles manufactured in large numbers for the Catholic market. You can even heat individual servings of food over these if you construct a stand with a wide base out of stout wire. Watch for these candles at discount and close-out stores. We have found that the large adhesive labels slip off easily if you soak the jars in water for an hour. Since their burning time is approximately 24 hours, and since you might need two of them burning simultaneously for sufficient light and to stay warm, that would necessitate laying in a supply of 360 candles! (This assumes that the worst case, with the outset of a crisis in October, and your having to hunker down for a full six months.)

Fire fighting. Buy at least two large multipurpose (“A-B-C”) chemical fire extinguishers

Cooking odors. In addition to the smell of fuel, cooking food will produce odors. I recommend that you store only foods with minimal spices. In situation where you are surrounded by starving people, just frying foods with grease or heating up a can of spicy chili con carne could be a death warrant.

Noise discipline. Just the sound of moving around your apartment could reveal your presence. For some useful background, see if your local library has a copy of the best-selling memoir “The Painist”, by Wladyslaw Szpilman. (If not, buy a copy through Amazon or request a copy via inter-library loan. It has been published in 35 languages. The US edition’s ISBN is 0312244150.) The book describes the harrowing experiences of a Jewish musician in hiding in Warsaw, Poland, during the Second World War. Following the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto uprising and forced deportation, Szpilman spent many months locked in a Warsaw apartment, receiving just a few parcels of food from some gentile friends. In his situation, the power and water utilities were still operating most of the time, but he suffered from slow starvation and lived in absolute fear of making any noise. His survival absolutely defied the odds. There was also an excellent  2002 movie based on Szpilman’s book, but the memoir provides greater detail than the film.

Light discipline. If you have any source of light in your apartment, it could reveal your presence. In an extended power blackout, it will become obvious to looters within a couple of weeks who has lanterns or large supplies of candles and/or flashlight batteries. (Everyone else will run out within less than two weeks.) And I predict that it will be the apartments that are still lit up that will be deemed the ones worth robbing. So if you are going to have a light source, you must systematically black out all of your windows. But sadly these efforts will be in direct conflict with your need for ventilation for your heating and/or cooking.

Heat. With the aforementioned restrictions on fuel storage, heating your apartment for more than just a few days will probably be impossible. Buy an expedition quality sleeping bag–preferably a two-bag system such as a Wiggy’s brand FTRSS. Under the circumstances that you describe, don’t attempt to heat your entire apartment. Instead, construct a small room-within-a-room (Perhaps under a large dining room table, or by setting up a camping tent inside your apartment, to hoard heat.) Even if the rest of the apartment drops to 25 or 30 degrees Fahrenheit, your body heat alone will keep your demi-room in the 40s. Burning just one candle will raise the temperature another 5 or 10 degrees. For the greatest efficiency at retaining heat, your demi-room should be draped with two layers of  mylar space blankets.

Exercise. While you are “hunkered down”, you will need to maintain muscle tone. Get some quiet exercise equipment, such as a pull-up bar and some large elastic straps. Perhaps, if your budget allows in the future, also purchase or construct your own a quiet stationary bicycle-powered generator. This would provide both exercise and battery charging.

Sanity. .Hunkering down solo in silence for six months would be a supreme challenge, both physically and mentally. Assuming that you can somehow tackle all of the aforementioned problems, you also need to plan to stay sane. Have lots of reading materials on hand.

In conclusion, when one considers the preceding long list of dependencies and complexities, it makes “staying put” in a worst case very unattractive. In less inimical circumstance, it is certainly feasible, but in a grid-down situation with utilities disrupted and wholesale looting and rioting in progress, the big city is no place to live. But, as always, this is just my perspective and your mileage may vary (YMMV).

.
B.  Cities – A Prepper’s Nightmare & Solutions
10 April 2012, SHTFplan.com, contributed by Jessica Hooley
Pasted from: http://www.shtfplan.com/emergency-preparedness/cities-a-preppers-nightmare-solutions_04102012

city1The following article has been generously contributed by Jessica Hooley of the Salt n’ Prepper web site.
Is it a coincidence that all of my nightmares occur in big cities? While it may be a personality glitch, I find that considering the dangers you face in the event of an emergency while living in a city, my nightmares may be justified. If you live in a city – buckle up. As a prepper you will have to work extra hard to make your emergency plan viable. And while I make no judgments on city dwellers, I must say – MOVE! For your own safety – MOVE! Move, move, move, move, move. Okay. I think I got it all out.

Now I understand that not everyone can just pick up and move because some lady on the internet says so. So if you are in the situation where you must stay in the city here are a few things you MUST have in your emergency preparedness plan.

Define Your Strategy
One of the biggest problems with cities are the fact that they aren’t self-sustaining. They rely on outer communities to supply them with food, water and often times electricity. The second biggest issue with cities is the space. Most homes/apartments/condos don’t have the space needed to store supplies for 6 months to a year. And even if they did there is a severely high probability of civil unrest, leading to looting and robbery. In short – you need a plan. The three questions to ask yourself:
1.  How long will we stay – As I said before, in a city you must resign yourself to the fact that you will have to leave if the situation escalates to a point where you either have no supplies or your safety is in jeopardy. Decide with your family how long this period is going to be. After the power is out, the food is gone, and the shelves are empty in the grocery stores of all liquid – how much longer will you hold down the fort. Too short and you may have bugged out too soon. Too long and you risk the possibility of not being able to get out.
2.  How will we get out – Your exit strategy needs to be well planned out. Come up with a minimum of three routes out of the city. You’ve seen how a couple thousand people can shut down a road. Imagine the magnification of that situation when millions are out looking for food and water. You need to be able to navigate your way through the mess and be prepared to defend you and your family. I’ll go into further detail later.
3.  Where will we go – Once again, come up with a couple places as a destination if possible. Think of relatives out in the “boonies”. Anyone that you consider as being in a safe part of the world. If you don’t know anyone within a reasonable distance (you may run out of fuel) start thinking of areas that you could stay. Hotels. Camp spots. Some place to “ride it out”.

Make Connections
As we’ve pointed out before, the population of cities can quickly turn into one of your biggest challenges. So it’s up to you to change that. Build your community into your own personal defense. Help those around you prepare. Educate them about emergency preparedness. You don’t need to reveal all of your prepping secrets but by preparing others you are ensuring help in the event that looting reaches your neighborhood. If everyone has something to defend they are more likely to band together. By not including your neighbors you are making them a potential threat to you. And the last thing you’ll want is to have to pull a gun on your neighbor if they are trying to take your supplies out of desperation.

Get the Gear
__Bug-Out Gear
Although it may not seem like “gear” – a truck may likely be the most important bug-out necessity for someone in a big city. Reasons why:

  • Capable of hauling ALL of your bug-out supplies
  • You will need something capable of maneuvering around rubble, waste, people and stalled vehicles on the road.
  • Able to store extra fuel in the bed to get further away.

Outside of an off road vehicle, you will also need the following items:

  1. 96 hour kits for each person      in the family
  2. 7 days of water – 1 to 2      gallons of water per person per day
  3. A full gas tank and 40 extra      gallons to haul

Make sure in your plan to bug out, you have someone armed. When trying to leave the city there will be plenty of people outside waiting to stop you and take what you have. You must be prepared to face the realization that you may have to defend yourself with force.

__Water
No matter where you live, water is the basis to sustaining life. If you are planning to stay in your house longer than a week (after water is unavailable) you need to make storing water a big priority. Get creative with your water storage. As you can find in my other posts, polycarbonate containers are great for water storage. If you are crammed on space, I highly recommend “WaterBricks”. You can store upwards of 60 gallons underneath your queen size bed alone with them. No matter what you decide for a storage system – make the most out of it. You’ll want to store 1-2 gallons for each person in your family for every day you plan on staying in your home.

__Food Storage
Food storage goes along the same lines as water. Make a food storage list to last your family the time you will be staying in your home. The key to your food storage is making it secret. In cities, food is likely to completely run out within 3 days. People will get really hungry really fast. And if someone remembers seeing that stack of food storage in your garage, or remembers you saying something about having 6 months in your basement – you’re their first stop. Don’t put yourself in the situation where you are more likely to have to defend your storage by shouting it from a mountain top. Once again, get creative and bury it in your yard if you must.

__Lighting
In the event of an emergency, you will likely be facing a powerless situation. During the day you’ll just have to get used to being without certain luxuries like powered kitchen gadgets and television. But at night, no power can turn into a psychological battle. Especially for children. Have plenty of snap lights, flashlights and lanterns to keep it bright when the sun goes down so the little ones (and maybe even you) can relief during the night.

TIP: In most cities, homes and other living spaces are close together. When using your evening lighting make sure to draw the shades. Test your emergency lighting during peacetime and see which places in the house you can use them without it being seen from the outside. Light will draw more than just bugs during a power outage. And the result could end up in self defense.

__Warmth
Without electricity you may be in for some cold nights. Be prepared with some down blankets and 4 season sleeping bags. You can also get some indoor kerosene heaters. And if you are lucky enough to have a wood burning fireplace, put it use! Get stocked up on firewood and use it when necessary.

Defense
__
Weapons
The terrible truth is that most places in this country where self-defense is needed most, it’s unavailable to law abiding citizens. I’m talking about guns. Big cities, despite their soaring crimes rates, seem to find rationale in banning guns whenever possible. And while free speech is still available – I’m telling you to get your hands on a gun no matter what it takes. As long as you are an otherwise law abiding citizen and you don’t hear voices in your head telling you to kill people – you need the ability to defend your property and more importantly your family.

Other fantastic weapons to have stored for self-defense include:
•  Pepper spray
• Taser
• Trip wires
• A guard dog – a really mean looking one

These other defense tools are great to get someone off your property initially but keep in mind that they’ll get away and may come back with the knowledge that this time they’ll have to kill you to get your food.

__Fortifications
If you plan to stay in your home for more than a month before bugging out, you need to consider investing in fortifications for your home. This includes making some changes that are more functional than pretty. This includes things like plexiglass windows, steel doors, removing landscaping features that people can easily hide in, blacking out windows, etc. Anything that can make your home more secure makes you less of a target.

So for all you city dwelling preppers, I hope this helped. Make your plan bullet proof. You are already at a disadvantage so have a process in place for everything you need to do. Good luck and happy prepping!

CITY10 EVAC[Consider the evacuation concepts shown above and begin to impliment.  Mr. Larry]

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