Today, I want to look at some topics a bit beyond those in Preparedness Pays, relating to finances and non-normal disasters. The catalyst for this comes from a Substack article that looks at the fall of civilization but not government, and what that might entail. A fascinating and scary topic, that should be a concern given current events.
Between it and some other events, it also reminded me of a key scene early in Alas Babylon where a character commits suicide after realizing that all currency was now nothing more than paper. Nuclear war is not the only way such can happen, as all it requires is a large-scale (or even mid-scale in some cases) failure of the government or the improper imposition of continuity of government to provide the failure cascade that disrupts the true basic functions of government (public safety, currency, mail, etc.).
As I pointed out in my response to the very good commentary from A. Nonymous in response to my section on finances for Preparedness Pays, I have to walk a bit of a tightrope with the book. First, it’s a 101-level book that has two purposes: to help people learn how to prepare and to make it a part of their lives. It does this by changing from looking at the infinity-minus-one number of potential disasters to the five things that can happen, and to how being prepared for “everyday” or “normal” disasters saves time, money, and stress.
There is, unfortunately, a mindset out there that any form of preparation, practical or otherwise, is the domain of mentally unstable and unserious people. This has been encouraged by corporate news and entertainment media, among others. One good example of it was showcased by a local talk radio host who said on air that if someone was talking preparedness and pretty much said anything beyond typical natural disasters they shut them out, would not share, promote, or discuss it/them on his show or in social media. One of the things I hope to do with Preparedness Pays is to not just get around such close-mindedness, but to start changing what I consider to be a very harmful mindset.
Thus, the very short chapter on finances is very basic, straightforward, and notes repeatedly to get expert advice. I did mention precious metals and may have to tweak that a bit as I used to have a few gold coins, including some tenth ounce coins as well as some silver coins. Reason being not everything would be worth a gold or silver dollar/ounce.
The key to keep in mind is that large-scale events with have large-scale implications, and not everyone will be able to keep up with the changes. Just look at the banker in Alas Babylon, who didn’t consider the implications of what was happening and tried to keep it as business as usual until he couldn’t. You will be a LOT better off if you do study some history and consider the implications.
Given the fragility of both our power grid and the government financial systems, in a large-scale event, I’m going to use my debit or other cards for as long as I can to gather food and items. If they are already down, I will use cash if I find someone willing to exchange things or a service (get me out of here right now and I’ll give you $X) for cash. Cash is only good if the government can back it and if the other countries of the world will accept it. As such, until one or both conditions are met, I will try to have cash on hand.
Historically, precious metals and jewels have made for a good means to carry wealth with you. They can provide a good hedge against inflation or even the results of a depression. They hold value even amidst regional conflicts, and held up pretty well during the two world wars. You can also hide a pretty large amount on the average person via creative tailoring. For example, one reason that mercy shots were needed for the Czar’s family when the Reds murdered them is that the various corsets, vests, and such were full of jewels and jewelry, which acted as a makeshift bulletproof vest. The idea was that if they could escape or be rescued, the jewels could be sold to fund them, bribe as necessary, etc.
This will work, provided there are some islands of stability that will value and give fair value for those items. It also requires safety for all involved. In the case of the Russian revolution, the rest of the world provided that stability. In the face of a massive natural disaster (Welcome Sweet Meteor of Death!) or a global economic or societal crash, that may not hold true as A. Nonymous noted.
Also, given the linked article, keep in mind that if you are having to do either an overt or covert bugout, you need to be able to hide your valuables on you, in you, and around you. A major disaster can and does bring out the best in some people. In others, not so much. There will be people out to rob you, do bad things to you, etc. and some of them may be from the government confiscating for the greater good. Hate to say it, but you need to plan for that.
Quick side note, the linked article above also has some good play on what was talked about in an earlier chapter of Preparedness Pays. Have as many means of travel as possible for your bugout. The use of waterways is a great amplification and can be a good way to think outside the box and get around literal and figurative roadblocks.
When you look at history, a number of interesting things have become currency. Food, drink, spices — all have been used as currency along with precious metals and other valuable items. Or at least valuable in the eyes of the local population. In the event of a large-scale event, such probably will again.
It’s a good reason to look at the foods we take for granted that are almost entirely shipped in from overseas. Coffee, tea, pepper, cocoa/chocolate, and other spices are just a few of them. Good things to have on hand, and not just because I’m a caffeine addict and minor foodie. Individual salt and pepper packets are cheap in bulk, and provide portion control as well as trade goods. Buy bulk and portion down and you have trade goods to exchange for other goods and services.
Then think about the goods that will be needed for doing things by hand: needles, thread, specialty needles, hand tools, nails, screws, and other things we take for granted will just be there when needed. In the event of a large-scale, things like needles and thimbles will be worth their weight in platinum, not just gold. Fishing line, hooks, lures, and related are also things well worth keeping tucked away. Lot of these things are now made overseas, and that is problematic on more than one level.
On a higher level, industrial diamonds, cutting tools for manufacturing, along with some other high-value low-volume items could also be a sound investment in some circumstances. Any area, country, or region looking to get back on it’s feet will be looking for the tools and materials needed to make that happen.
You can’t do everything, but you can prepare for a good bit and on the inexpensive if not the cheap. Thing is, for a number of mid- to large-scale events, don’t count on currency or even current valuables. At least for a short time, you are going to be seeing a trade economy and it is always a good idea to have goods or services you can use for barter. After all, if you have a truly useful skill, or goods to barter, someone might just let you into the Ark.
Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.