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.


terry freeman said...

A fixed exchange ratio between gold and silver will result in Gresham's Law effects - people will hoard one of the metals, depending on which the market values more than the peg. But people will need to make smaller purchases. You certainly can't take a one-ounce gold coin to the grocer and say "fill up my cart - and these ten other carts too!"

So, buy a mix of gold and silver. One-ounce silver coins and smaller pre-1964 dimes and quarters will be much more usable for day-to-day purchases.

Kevin K. Biomech said...

I didn't intend to espouse a fixed rate of exchange, so if it appears that way, I need to clarify it :) The reasons I'm aiming at silver right now are twofold: I can afford it, and historically it has been nearly as valuable as gold as a store of value. (I don't mean by weight, but rather that it's nearly always seen as valuable).