Friday, September 25, 2009

Stupidity is a crime... and this man should not pass go.

I was reading an article referenced by Lew Rockwell on China's diminishing taste for the dollar and it's implications to world trade. Decent article, little light on effect, but it's just a quick editorial. They didn't go deep, but they didn't really get anything wrong, either.

Then I read some of the comments. Some, on all sides of the issue, were quite good. Then there was this idiot:


I'd like to see China or anyone come and try to claim debt from the USA. We still have the big red button biaaaatches!!
on September 24, 2009
at 06:08 PM

and they don't!!!"

Let's just pick this apart.

First, China doesn't have to call in their markers. In fact, they are unlikely to do so as it would adversely affect THEIR currency faster than they are likely to be able to deal with. All they have to do to put an end to the dollar as the world's reserve currency is STOP BUYING THE GUARANTEES that the FED likes to sell to them. A refusal to take on more American debt is non aggressive and indefeatable.

Then the last part. The willingness to initiate a nuclear war over a disagreement on DEBT. This moron would kill BILLIONS over a trade dispute. Never mind the wrong idea that China doesn't have nukes (they do, they can reach us, they are probably targeted on us), but just look at that mindset. If the United States gets called on it's default, this moron wants to shoot at the DEBTHOLDER.

See how well that one flies next time you're late on a loan payment. Yeesh.

There are moments when I'm ashamed of being born American. This is one of them.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

More on survival.

Bugout Kits. Gold. Passports.

All of the above.

As the dollar continues to decline, it becomes increasingly obvious that at some point, the currency will reach a negative value. The question is really only "when".

So, what are some of the signs?

Well, historically, the most obvious sign that the line has been irrevocably crossed is when merchants stop taking the currency in favor of something "a little more real". That hasn't happened yet, though more are giving preferential treatment to gold and silver.

On this issue, I'm going to take exception with Murray Rothbard and state that a dual metal standard might be desirable, as gold is TOO scarce for small purchases. However, I would state that the use of which metal, and it's price relative to the market, should probably be left entirely up to the actors rather than any sort of imposed or regulated standard. Not that there is any problem with a PUBLISHED standard, or series thereof, just no requirement that it be followed.

So, I'm all for purchasing silver. I in fact intend to start doing so on my next available payday, as a hedge against inflation and a preparation for when the Shit Hits the Fan.

In a previous post I talked about some of the things you should have for very basic survival. But that's only part of the equation. Eventually, and not very eventually, after a currency/regime collapses, trade must resume. Thus, part of preparing for the end of a system is to establish the beginnings of another. As an anarchist, this means preparing to both stand alone AND voluntarily trade your goods and services as necessitated by both survival and your long term goals.

Survivalism, despite the bum rap it gets in the media, is a good strategy for the short term. Worst thing that happens if you train regularly for basic survival is that you never need the training. Since it's a lot of fun, that's not a terrible consequence, eh?


Survivalists often paint their scenarios as if the "post apocalyptic" world will never renew itself. This has never been the case. Trade will always re-establish itself. It always have. If there are humans alive, there will be trade. So, in my arrogant opinion, way too much of the survivalist's focus is on the near term. Now, I know this is not universal, but I've been involved in survivalism to some degree since I was a young boy. The attitude is prevalent. When the SHTF, the fan will keep spinning and the shit keep flying. I don't buy either side of the equation.

So, what should your plans include for the mid and long term?

The above mentioned precious metals are a good start, so you have something to trade that has always been of general utility in markets. After that?

SKILLS. Multiple skills. Learn how to do things that make you marketable. Not artificially marketable, as you and I have NO CLUE how the market will shape up after a major collapse. If the dollar falls, a lot of the world's accumulated capital goes with it. In the short term, that will be disastrous. In the mid term, it'll probably be a new renaissance, as people rediscover that spirit of individualism that made their ancestors brave 3000 miles of ocean in crude sailing vessels to start a new life. The more things you can do, the better.

Now, as I know that a lot of my audience are familiar with Austrian economics and the division of labor theories, you might wonder why I have and continue to promote the "jack of all trades, master of none" philosophy. It's because I don't believe in specialization at an individual level as a defensible paradigm. Sure, you might want to master one or two trades, but NOT exclusively! A guy who is a great programmer, but can't fix his car/plumbing/clothes/etc. is at a huge disadvantage over the guy who's a good programmer and can do all these other things and many more. Specialization in employment makes a large amount of sense, and in fact drives major economies upwards. Specialization in your life HARMS you.

Try to make an effort to either learn something completely new or expand your knowledge and skill on something you already know EVERY DAY, and when the shit stops flying, you'll be in a better position to prosper in the coming world.