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Archive for the ‘Barter & Trade’ Category

Carrots of Color

Carrots of Color

While people the main stream media (MSM) call “preppers” are gathering supplies for the coming storm and its aftermath, eventually this too will run out.  Some of us are showing up late in the ball game and have not had extensive years to sock away copious amounts of survival supplies and have not been able to horde small mountains of gold, silver and toilet paper (barter items).   Money is also a very real constraint on most of us.  Many of us are living paycheck to paycheck to make ends meet or borrowing (credit debt) to maintain our current, yet declining, lifestyle.

Many issues could be addressed here, but I am not an expert at guerrilla warfare, living off the land, or a former special forces guy.  Even if I had a hand-grenade I couldn’t throw if far enough and run away fast enough to be a every effective combatant in the coming social strife and chaos that will soon consume the cities and urban centers.  By blogging standards, I am ancient.

I do believe that people will have to learn how to garden.  Why?  Because you won’t be able to go down to the store.  The shelves will be as bare as old mother Hubbard’s cupboard.  Your ATM will not dispense cash.  Your debit card will not work.  Fuel may be difficult to source so your generator will run dry.  Don’t plan on mowing your grass either.  I’m glad gasoline prices are dropping but once the currency loses value, no amount of it will be eggs from the farm lady down at the end of the road, let alone gasoline for your SUV.  Better get a bike.

Sorry for the digression.  Back to gardening.  First, learn about it.  This is both easier and harder then it looks.  Easy because of things like “Square Foot Gardening”.  Harder because there are a lot of plants with a lot of nuances.  Do the easy stuff first.  Time and experience will teach you the nuances.  If you really want to survive long term and you don’t have the option to just up and move (most of us don’t), learn about permaculture.  Google “Geoff Lawton” for starters or go HERE.

But lets simplify.

Philosophy: Think beyond yourself.  Very important.  Your aim should be to overproduce.  If you grow food for yourself, you are a target, if you grow food for others, you are an asset.  This goes back to the New Testament and perhaps further.  Anyway, Jesus knows what he is doing.

Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. Luke 17:33

Seeds: accumulate them and learn how to save them after harvest.  My step-son gave me 100 dollar gift card to a seed supplier for Christmas which was a wonderful gift.  P.s. weeds grow fast, kale grows faster.

More seeds please

More seeds please – coffee is optional

Soil: Think compost and raised beds to start with.  Fall leaves = Spring compost.

My first raised beds three seasons ago.

My first raised beds three seasons ago.

Exposure: North of the equator (like Virginia), look south.  If you have a sunny southern facing room, start plants indoors.

Indoor planting - onions

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ATM2

Once the socialist empire euphemistically called the United States of America collapses (possibly sometime this year), moneys for government, military, and civil authorities at every level will quickly dry up.  Police officers, like everyone else, will have to figure out how to provide for their own families.  Bureaucrats for a time will attempt to apply force to continue their pilfer from the communities over which they “serve” in an attempt to secure their own survival.  This too will shortly run its coarse.  Bureaucrats never see that they live at the expense of every one else.  As Bastiat pointed out long ago “Everyone wants to live at the expense of the state. They forget that the state lives at the expense of everyone.” 

Bureaucrats and other government employees that live by writing and enforcing regulations will soon find that these skills are valueless.  They will need to barter what they have or trade time and a useful skill for what they and their family will need to live.  If they have no skill, other than pushing paper, they will perish.  The vaunted civil servants other Wiemar Germany found this out soon enough.  When people are simply trying to survive, who needs lawyers and bureaucrats?  They produce nothing of real value.  The coming crisis will expose them for what they really are, parasites.  They will be forced to produce something useful for the survival of themselves and their neighbors.  Otherwise they will perish as the federal safety net vanishes.  Writing and enforcing regulations will not be required.

Communities that still survive after economic collapse will have to band together to provide basic protect for its members and its asserts.  This protection will of necessity be reduced to the very basics of law (and in my opinion the only legitimate jurisdiction), i.e., life, liberty and property.  Anything beyond this becomes plunder.  Each individual will have provide some measure of protection for themselves, their families and even the life, liberty and property of their neighbors.  911 isn’t going to bring the police.  When collapse occurs, Castle doctrine will be the default.  And if you are going to survive with neighbors around you in some suburb, then surplus and skills are even more critical.  If you are an asset to those around you then you may survive, otherwise you are simply a target.

 

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From New Zealand…

I teach Chinese students here in New Zealand. Each morning I like to ask them what they did, or what’s in the news.  Yesterday, one rebellious one – he likes to think he is anyway – an 18 year old recently-graduated school kid, said Obama postponed the American crash.  The others looked on, quietly sheepish.  I probed him a little, and he said with an evil glint in the eye, “China is waiting.”  “Waiting for what?” I asked. “Waiting to buy America.”  And he laughed.  The others continued the same sheepish look.  Then, I took out three silver coins and said, “Hey, I am ready too.”  Then all the class laughed. Every one of these kids knows what is going on.  They are shy to talk about it with me as I am a Westerner but once they realized ‘I was one of them’ the floodgates opened.  Once of them said that the longer America postpones the inevitable the more time we have to prepare ourselves to take advantage of it.  I could not believe it.  These 18-20 year olds are smarter than the people they have here teaching them economics (this is a business school). I kid you not.

This will surprise most Americas who get their news from the main stream media like CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, FOX or who…

  • believe that government statistics are true (I mean any of them)
  • rely up information from Wall St. or Bloomberg or Yahoo Finance
  • believe the load of crap emanating from the Federal Reserve chairmen and governors (including, no, especially Janet Yellen…See HERE)

I told one of my step-daughters about 2 years ago, China and other countries will stop buying our debt (treasure bonds) leaving the FED as the only major buyer.  All of my children, step children, children-in-laws (with the exception of my son) are strickened with normalcy bias (the belief that all things will continue as they have).  Their view of history is short and they think that this time what has happened in history will not happen here, or that somehow we have evolved to a higher place and are better suited to make collectivism work or they believe in American Exceptional-ism or some other such rot.  After all, I am old and they are young and know everything and can google and tweak and have nifty gadgets.

For whatever reason they think that we Americans are resourceful and will find a way to avoid the predicted oncoming disaster.  But economic laws cannot be continually violated without consequences, and those consequences are being stored up and hidden from most of us by our lying government and news media.  The severity of these consequences continues to accumulate.  When the dam does burst, it will make the great depression look tame by comparison.

Everything will change in a day and Americans will sell any and every item they have acquired for food and toilet paper.  To have something to barter with will make you a king.  Having a lot of US currency will make you a pauper.   EBT cards, pensions, social security checks, Obamacare will all be gone.  Instead, government employees and the voters they bought via welfare will riot to no avail.  Pensioners and Social Security dependents will starve.

There are signs leading up to this but they will be ignored.  They already have been.  Normalcy bias is everywhere…

2 Peter 3:3-4: Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

Seems like everybody has a short memory or are ignorant of what has gone on before.

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Most people think economics is about money. They think budgets, buying and selling, spending and saving, supply and demand, deficits and surpluses. Surely these topics are included in economics, but they are the specifics of it. They are not what economics is really about.

 

Economics is about what people value, and the decisions they make to obtain what they value. For example, transactions are about the decision to enter into an agreement with another party to obtain what one values. You do this by exchanging something you have that the other party wants for what you want.

What we value can go far beyond money, and often does. My wife has collected Fenton glassware over the years and has a fairly extensive collection of aqua-blue hobnail. And while many people would not pay anything for it, others would. Some people consider it valuable and others do not. Among those that do, that circle of people create a small niche market and will exchange money or some other goods for particular items that “suit their fancy” which is yet another way of saying they value the item and will exchange something for it.

When I was a kid I in lived in Long Beach, CA. I collected baseball cards, especially Los Angeles Dodger baseball cards. They were way more valuable to me than any other card. A Duke Snider, Maury Wills, Sandy Koufax, or Don Drysdale card could fetch 5 or ten other cards or money. As kids, the value we placed upon these cards, within our own small market, was completely subjective, often based upon how we felt about the player or what it could bring in another trade.

The point of this is that there was never any fraud and never any need for regulations. Why? Because everything was done in the open. Nothing was done in secret. There was no government involvement in deciding for myself and others what is fair and just. When things are done in the open, there is no need. Now forgive the over simplification, but went markets are open and people are honest about what they are going, intervention by government is just not needed. What the courts are needed for is the enforcement of contracts agreed upon between parties.

 

So we can extrapolate some things from this…

  • Markets are not possible without private property.  Without private property there is nothing to exchange and no motivation to acquire items through work and transaction.
  • People make thousands of decisions each day to obtain what they want (what they value) and how much they will exchange to gain it.
  • Value is highly subjective which is why Keynesian economic modules are absurd.  They try to reduce people to mathematical modules.  Keynesians reduce people to a pile of stimulus-response insects in order to be easily managed.  This is one reason why they fail and why our central planners (Politicians and too big to fail Bankers) have steered us towards an economic cliff.  They think they can manage society because men can be reduced to formula.
  • The more resources one has to exchange things, the more options one has.  More choices can be made to enter into a transaction to acquire something of value.
  • The more choices one has, the more freedom to choice among possible options.
  • Conversely, the less private property (resources), the fewer options one has, thus the less freedom.

Thus without private property there is no freedom, no liberty, only the “state” or the slavery of the collective.

Hayek’s warning to our darwinian collective central planners is most illuminating…

The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.  F. A. Hayek,“The Fatal Conceit”

 

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Excellent interview with Max Yemets (4/12/2012) on the Financial Survival Network.  Max lived through hyperinflation when it occurred in the post-Soviet Ukraine in the early 90’s.  His web site is on my links page “How to be poor”.   Some high-lights from the interview are…

  • Obtain small amounts of silver (or gold if you can afford it) every payday.  Even if it is just pre-1965 junk silver quarters (US coins made before 1965 were made of 90% silver.  Silver and gold are not investments, they are money and are hedges against crisis.  The government cannot debase them.  When paper money (fiat currency) goes to zero, people will not accept it.  You will not be able to just pop on down to the store and get what ever you need.  He mentioned three places the small investor/purchaser can get some.  I have used them all three and all are good.
    • Provident Metals  – this is where I get most of my “junk” silver.  Often Gainesville coins will have better prices but provident comes out less expensive per OZ for small lots because of the much more reasonable shipping costs.
    • APMEX
    • Gainesville Coins
  • Hyperinflation is the debtor friend.  As inflation creeps in, debts are eventually paid off with worthless paper.  Fixed rate debts only.  Adjustable rate debts will keep up in with inflation and is the dangerous kind such as credit cards or ARMs.
  • Get away from cities, get rural.
  • Learn to grow your own food.  Start a garden.
  • Store things you will need and things you can barter with.
    • For barter you can have liquor, cigarettes, toilet paper (priceless when you have none).

Max can be found at…

http://www.youtube.com/user/ReasonSilver

http://www.howtobepoor.com/

His video at ReasonSilver Reason Silver – Ukraine 1993 Hyperinflation Lessons Learned” is a must listen.

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Once inflation turns into hyperinflation and the dollar becomes valueless and over-priced assets are done deflating (housing comes to mind) their will be a period of time before a reset of the system can take place.  By reset, I mean the world will have to go back to real money based upon a commodity such as gold or silver.  So when store shelves are empty and your children are crying from hunger, how will you survive?

Some helpful ideas may be found here…

http://howestreet.com/2012/03/what-will-you-use-to-trade-after-a-dollar-collapse/

Also a related post can be found here…

https://governedbymorons.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/100-things-that-disappear-first-in-an-economic-collapse/

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