Author Archives: sierra2one

Surviving Long Term Without Electricity

By: Tom Chatham

We all like to think that even if something catastrophic happens we will still have at least some access to electricity to run some of our most critical items. It is in our nature to be optimistic when it comes to our well being. Unfortunately the universe has no limit to the ways it can harm us. Whether through natural or manmade occurrences, we are subject to crisis at any time.

It is this potential for hardship that we are required as thinking persons to take due diligence and insure we can overcome potential events at least to some degree. Preparedness allows us to exert a certain amount of control over what happens to us.

It does not matter if it is a hurricane, earthquake, CME or war. How well we cope with the event is entirely up to us. When the worst of events happen we are forced back onto our own resources until things stabilize and resupply of basic needs is restored. In some cases it could be weeks or even years before this stabilization happens and distribution systems are reestablished. This will depend on the type of event and its damaging effects.

When the worst happens and society as a whole is stripped of its modern conveniences, only those that can cope with the new reality will likely survive. This means knowing how to use the ways of past generations to get by from day to day. Survival will depend on how prepared you are to revert to these older techniques to fulfill logistical needs. Here are some of the major items you will need to deal with when the worst happens.

Water sources and pumping –
Finding and retrieving clean water is a critical need when services are cut off for extended durations. Knowing where to go locally to find clean water and having a way to collect it and carry it home become life saving measures. Having the means to filter water or knowing how to build devices to do so becomes priceless knowledge.

Growing food –
Having food stores is essential to staying alive following an event until distribution and production systems are working again. Storable food gives you the time to find new sources of food or to begin growing your own food. The ability to grow your own food provides you with a sustainable source of food for indefinite periods of time. Extra food production also gives you a product to trade with.

Storing food –
Once you have food you must have a way to store it until you use it. Different foods have different storage requirements and shelf life. You may need several types of storage to satisfy all of your needs. Root cellars, dehydration, canning and salting are some of the most popular methods that do not require electricity to maintain food supplies.

Providing heat and light –
Providing heat and light without electricity will require primitive methods to some extent. Wood stoves for heating and cooking are necessities over long periods of time. Some stoves with glass doors will even provide some light. Oil lamps and candles are the most basic types of home lighting. In desperate situations it is possible to make additional candles and produce liquids to burn in lamps.

Transportation-
When modern types of transportation no longer work you must cultivate older systems to fulfill your needs. Bicycles, horses, boats and walking will be the fallback systems most will use when modern systems fail.

Communications-
Without electricity to send and receive signals from afar, older more local systems will be required. Bike or horse messengers will become standard again. For more technical minded people like ham radio operators, Morse code can still be utilized with the use of signal mirrors or signal lamps. Message boards at central locations will be useful for dispersion of information to local populations.

Sanitation-
Poor sanitation has the ability to kill more people than anything else on Earth. We see it all the time following major disasters. Whatever your living situation is now, it could drastically change within minutes. Understanding proper sanitation methods such as how to build an outhouse in your yard can mean the difference between life and death. You need to know how you will dispose of waste safely if your current system stops working. This is especially true if you live in a city where your options may be limited.

Security-
In the old days before telephones, the sheriff was a long ride away. Any imminent threats had to be dealt with by you. That can happen again and does following some disasters. Being able to keep your surroundings safe following some event will allow you to start the rebuilding process. Lack of a safe area makes survival much harder especially long term.

Medicine-
Long ago when a person got sick they either sent for the doctor or carried the sick person to him. This usually required actual horse power in either case meaning it was slow. When this happens today we have the advantage of having modern medicines and equipment to keep people alive when they would have likely died in the past. Many of these modern techniques and medicines can be maintained by individuals to insure they are available to injured persons if help cannot come. Knowledge of medical procedures and organic medicines would be necessary if a long term disaster occurred.

The possibility of total loss of electrical production and electrical devices is very small but not impossible. The only way to be fully prepared for any type of event is to assume the worst case will happen and have a plan to deal with the needs of the community. It is good to have back up equipment to satisfy your needs but some natural disasters can destroy that equipment leaving you only the most basic means to work with. When that happens what you know becomes very important.

Knowing how to take care of basic needs for long durations without the aid of modern conveniences becomes more critical as the world around us becomes more automated and technologically based. Many people today cannot function when something as simple as a power outage or communication outage occurs. They have forgotten how to think for themselves and think through the most simple problems.

If the worst should happen such as an earthquake or major war, leaving you cut off from modern services, it will be up to you to work through the problems you face with the tools available to you. Help may not come for a very long time and if that happens your life will be in your hands.

Revenge of The Silver Bugs

By: Tom Chatham

It has been a long wait for the silver bugs but the future may indeed see them richly rewarded for all of their patience. Those that have held on are now about to see the end game unfold.

There have been many projections on the highs that silver could hit in the future ranging from a low of $100 to highs of $1,000.

It should be noted that much of the above ground silver has been used in the past few decades for industrial purposes that leave most of that silver not reclaimed due to the small amounts used in individual products. The plans of China to increase solar production will take a great deal of future silver production to power their energy grid.

The current production has silver at about a 10 to 1 ratio of gold. On the surface this means that silver should be valued at least at the 10/1 ratio. The current disproportionate ratio of 78/1 will insure silver rises at a higher percentage than gold during the current bull market.

If current projections of $10,000 gold are anywhere near correct that would put silver in the $1,000 range. Regardless of the ultimate price, gold and silver will rise substantially as chaos enters the markets. It is this chaos that will also require people to store the necessary resources to care for their families until the chaos subsides. Gold and silver holdings do not insure access to resources during chaos but will be valuable afterward to take advantage of good deals due to revaluations in the economy.

In times like this when most people are at risk of losing much of their wealth, the current low price of silver can help the average person not only preserve what little wealth they have but even increase it many fold to offset the failure of incomes to keep up with real inflation over the past few decades.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to beat the bankers at their own game. When the economic leverage shifts back from the paper wealth to real money those holding real money will reap the benefits. Even small holdings of silver will help individuals to insure their wealth will remain in tact after this economic cycle comes to an end.

Gold and silver are a form of escape hatch in the banker controlled economic system we are forced to play in. When they pull the plug on the current paper wealth, those that know no better will cling to those worthless paper assets to the very end never dreaming they will someday be totally worthless. The very few that understand what is taking place will use that escape hatch to save what they have so they can continue to prosper in the future.

The bankers know of this escape hatch but they have few ways to close it without alerting the people so they use their position and trust to convince the population this doorway is dangerous. They call it a barbarous relic that has no place in a modern society. They do this because they know the truth. If they can convince the people long enough, by the time people know the truth it will be too late to exit this door.

Those that have already taken this door out of the system are now looking in at the fire that is about to burn the house down. When the rush to the exits happen, many will not make it out. There is still time to get out ahead of the crowd but time is now very short. Any more procrastination on your part will likely be lethal to your economic health. On this Independence day free yourself from the banker controlled system by purchasing some real money and renew your declaration of freedom.

Small Homes: A Shelter For All Economic Seasons

By: Tom Chatham

With the economic conditions becoming ever worse around the world every day it is becoming harder for the average person to build or buy large homes that make their owners feel successful. In recent decades it has become the norm to keep up with the neighbors in consumer spending. Nobody wants to be the neighbor that has the smaller home, the older car or an older phone. Competition has gone to extreme limits and now those limits are becoming unsustainable as people find themselves working lower wage jobs part time.

A home used to be a shelter for your family and nothing more but now they are seen as a savings vessel and a trophy to hold up to society as a whole. This mantra is coming to a catastrophic end very soon as those that still have a good job will soon find they can no longer keep up with the payments as society becomes mired in massive inflation and later deflation destroying everything not fully owned that can be protected from theft by politicians and bandits alike.

The more you have and the bigger it is the harder it will be to protect it in the future. You cannot simply pick up your 2,000sq.ft. home and move it when necessary in a turbulent environment. That elephant becomes a ball and chain. That’s even if you own it outright which most people do not. All of the years of payments you put into it could easily be lost through no fault of your own even though you did everything right.

When everything goes wrong in the economy you will still need a place to call home to provide shelter for your family. Being comfortable does not mean being big. A small home can provide everything a family needs to get by whether times are good or bad. It will be less costly to build, to maintain and cost less in taxes every year.

Most people can not fathom having to live in the small homes that many of our grandparents called home. That mentality will have to change and will be for the better as it will allow people to relearn the difference between needs and wants.

A small cottage or cabin can provide everything a family needs to have a good life. When times are good and they have extra money they will be able to save it rather than pour it into an asset that can go down faster than it goes up. Having actual savings is very important especially if credit is difficult to obtain.

A small home of only a few hundred square feet can be used as a vacation spot, a primary residence or an opportunity to rent it out for additional income. It can also provide a struggling millennial with a low wage job the ability to actually own a home now. This last fact will become more important as time goes on. Not only that but the ability for you to own a home free and clear will alleviate the anxiety if you come on hard times and risk losing your primary home. Knowing you still have a place to go that you can afford to maintain will be worth a great deal to you and your family.

Most people do not realize how cheap a small home can be built for. A great deal of the expense of a home comes from the size, the zoning regulations and the cost of labor to build it. Not to mention the cost of land in certain markets. A small home that can be built by you from kit form is a poor persons dream. It only requires a person to think in terms of function rather than size and looks.

A small home is a way for people that are marginally getting by to survive until they can improve their situation. Small cabin kits can be found for as little as $7,000 that two people can assemble in a few days. Imagine being able to buy a small piece of rural land, put in a well and septic system and build a livable home on it all for less than the cost of a modern luxury car. It’s possible in many areas.

Here is just one place where you can find prefab cabin kits for very little. Getaway Prefab Wooden Cabin Kit bzbcabinsandoutdoors.net

Even if you decide to build from scratch yourself these kits can give you some good ideas to start from.

In the coming months having a fully owned shelter you can depend on will become harder as the economy gets worse and people lose much of the money they think they have. It only takes a second for all of those digits in your banks computer to disappear forever.

Even if you have a good shelter now a cabin can provide you with an income producing opportunity that should not be overlooked. Also for those that have collage aged kids that are probably having a hard time in today’s economy, you can help them get a good start by helping to provide them with a small paid for home like a cabin that they can call their own. Having a paid for home starting out in life can open up many opportunities for a young adult. The money they can save even over a few years can be very helpful.

A small home provides a stepping stone to better things in the future but if things go terribly wrong in the economy you will have a place to go no matter what. Starting out small and working up is the way people have lived for centuries. It is only recently that people have been exposed to easy credit that has allowed them to live beyond their means and the future collapse of this credit will force people to return to a saner, more reality based existence. Start small, live within your means and follow your dreams and you may someday have the mansion on the hill to show for all of your effort.

How Will You Cope With A Lower Standard of Living?

By: Tom Chatham

The forces are mounting that will eventually overwhelm most Americans and send their standard of living to unknown depths. Americans that have only known the post WWII prosperity are ill equipped and educated to deal with depression level living. Easy credit and instant gratification have created a nation of whining, self absorbed, entitlement minded people with no moral or mental toughness.

Doug Casey believes we are headed for what he calls a super depression created by the ending of a debt super cycle. The bigger the debt cycle the bigger the depression that follows. That’s how reality works and most people are not prepared for reality.

When this depression, which has already started, gets momentum, it will overwhelm the plans of a society that is expecting to get things like social security, pensions and payouts from retirement plans they have paid into for many years. All of those things will disappear almost overnight and leave society gasping and stupefied over what to do. Their reactions will be to yell and scream and try to identify who to blame but the only person they should blame is the one in the mirror.

Many very smart people have raised the alarm and done their best to warn the sleeping public, but those slumbering masses have ignored the warnings and hit the snooze button one more time. The masses do not understand economics, do not want to understand economics and they will pay dearly for that ignorance in the coming days.

When the real unemployment rate becomes common knowledge as it increases substantially, people will be left to survive on what resources they have saved up outside the banking system that cannot be stolen by the politicians and bankers. That is a key point here. The assets you have outside the system that cannot be stolen from you with a few key strokes on some computer.

Those hoping for some miraculous event that will send the U.S. back to the days of manufacturing might and jobs for all will never see it happen. Those days are gone. The west line theory tells us our economy will slow down and become more modest as the shipping center of the world moves west to the next powerhouse region which is Asia. This is what history teaches us.

When people suddenly wake up one morning and they have no job, their retirement is gone and they need to care for their family, what will they do? When government services have collapsed and they suddenly realize they are now living in a third world country with few government services, what will they do? When the banks are closed and only a select few connected people have any type of money or access to goods, what will they do?

This is the reality that many people will face in the future and they have no idea how bad it can get. They refuse to contemplate the harsh reality they will be living in and take steps to mitigate the effects. To do so would be to acknowledge it could happen and they are taking personal responsibility. Personal responsibility is a dirty phrase in today’s entitlement society. To see some of the effects one only has to look at the collapse of society in Venezuela today to see what awaits.

When it happens it will all fall back to you to take responsibility for your family and take care of them for the duration. To do that you need to plan now for that eventuality and build up the resources you will need to provide food, shelter, clothing and security when the system fails to do it for you. You need to be Noah on his ark not the people watching as he floated away.

Having resources stored up is a must but it may not get you all the way through if the situation lasts for many years. That is why you need some type of plan to replace those resources as time goes by and have some way to generate some type of income or at least items to trade. Usable goods are for the short term and things like gold ,silver and production equipment are for the long term to help you get through the crisis with the least amount of pain.

Even with proper planning the days ahead will not be easy as the standard of living of society will fall substantially to levels only seen in failed third world countries or old pictures. The assets actually owned by people today is very small compared to how they live. They will default on their home loan, their car loan, and their credit card debt leaving them with very few real possessions and few ways to move what they have left even if they have some place to go. Ultimately these people will become the new serfs to the wealthy class that will take possession of anything of value. Feudalism will once again rule.

The lack of planning by society will make this a reality if it is allowed. What will you do when everything you have worked a lifetime for is suddenly taken away? Do you have a plan to keep what you have? Do you have a plan to make money when you cannot find a job? Do you have a way to take care of your family until things stabilize? Do you have a home you will not lose if the whole system breaks down? What will you do if electricity or fuel is too expensive to buy or not available to the general population? These are the questions you should be asking yourself now and you better have a good answer because your family will be asking them when the greater depression sets in.

How To Prepare For Wheelbarrow Economics

By: Tom Chatham

Wheelbarrow economics become apparent when you find yourself toting a wheelbarrow full of paper money to the store to buy a loaf of bread. The loaf of bread always retains the same value, it is merely the value of the fiat currency being used that drops in value forcing you to carry ever more notes to make a purchase. Tomorrow’s version is the addition of new zeros to a bank account accessed by plastic cards. This is one reason there is a push for a cashless society. It would allow a government to simply add numbers to a bank account rather than actually printing fiat notes. Paper is far too valuable to debase it by putting numbers on it.

When currency begins to debase at a faster rate, such as weekly or monthly, by a large amount, the holder must convert it into real value as soon as possible to prevent the loss of their purchasing power. At some point the distribution system begins to break down as credit becomes more difficult for producers to utilize. The typical 30 day credit cycle that most developed societies use becomes untenable as value is lost and it becomes more profitable for producers to stop producing and selling on the open market thus preventing the loss of their work. This is where black markets begin to appear to satisfy the needs of producers and consumers.

If you do not understand the dynamics of what you just read you simply have to study the events in Venezuela over the past two years to understand. The people are on the verge of starvation and the government seems powerless to stop it. They made the age old mistake of assuming they could just print their way out of their problems. They have been selling their gold to pay for the billions of paper notes they had printed for circulation. This is the action of socialist politicians that do not understand economics. The same socialist actions are being implemented in most developed nations today in Europe and North America.

The simple cure for many of these problems would have been to simply use their gold stores to mint gold legal tender coins and the value of their monetary system would have slowly stabilized and production and distribution would have resumed in short order. Instead they have more pain to suffer as the country breaks down into chaos.

What you see happening in Venezuela will come to America and Europe if the current status quo continues. So, the question is what to do. If you understand the reality that awaits you in the near future you know you need to do something to prevent the kind of suffering you now see in Venezuela. If you knew a can of beans would cost $10 a year from now or a can of ham would cost $50 you might come to the conclusion that you should buy extra now so you wouldn’t have to spend much more later. If the money you earn in the future buys much less than today and your income does not keep up with this inflation you will slowly starve if you can even find anything to buy. So, how do you prepare for something like this?

You need to keep in mind that who you are and where you live has a lot to do with how you prepare for a situation like this. Someone living on five acres of land in the country may stock up on seeds and canning supplies while a person living in a multistory apartment in the city might want several cases of canned goods. You need to take any suggestions with a grain of salt and develop a plan that is tailored for you. Having said that there are some things you need to think about.

No matter where you are you need a supply of food and water you can depend on for a specified period of time. You need to decide what that period of time should be based on your assessment of the situation you foresee. You need to store foods you normally eat or could stand if they were the only thing available to you. They need to be shelf stable for longterm storage without refrigeration and be easy for you to prepare with minimal energy inputs, meaning heat. You need sufficient water storage for the duration just in case you cannot get any after the system breaks or at least a way to find and filter water if you have to forage for it.

When things get really bad you will have to have a way to protect yourself and those things you need to survive. There will be those that are unprepared for the events that will unfold and they will be desperate and willing to do anything they must to get what they need. This is what we are now seeing in Venezuela today. People are being robbed of the little bit they are able to get before they can get it home.

Economic problems will eventually lead to energy problems at some point. This means that if you depend on electricity for life sustaining systems you will need to have a backup system to fall back on if the power is not available off the grid. If you depend on a vehicle to get to work or someplace important you will need to have a way to get fuel if you can no longer buy it through regular channels. A few solar panels and some deep cycle batteries can go a long way to providing electrical power and a supply of fuel or alternative like a wood gassifier can keep your car running when others cannot. Just keep in mind that having power or a running car when others do not can make you a target so you need to keep that in mind.

When the system stops working properly it will be difficult to get the proper medical attention if you are sick or ill. Having some basic supplies to take care of all but the worst conditions can be a life saver and having a supply of medicine to cure viral and bacterial infections could be the difference between life and death. When urban systems begin to shut down the lack of proper sanitation can cause many of the dangers you must protect yourself from. The ability to maintain proper sanitation and hygiene will become more important as time goes on so supplies to take care of those things are very important.

Depending on where you live, the lack of heating or air conditioning may be a life threatening situation so you must have a way to provide those things or have a place to go to minimize the effects. Having a wood stove or quality sleeping bag to keep warm or having some place below ground level to keep cool will make a lot of difference when the time comes so you need a plan to deal with those problems now.

When you have satisfied yourself that you have taken reasonable precautions to deal with a situation out of your control, one final thing you need to think about is how you will preserve any wealth you have saved up for future use. No matter how well you plan there will always be something you forgot so you will need a way to buy what you need. If your only recourse is to use the quickly debasing currency that is still accepted you will be hard pressed to get what you need at any reasonable price. For this reason you will need to store that extra wealth in some form that will maintain its value. This can be in gold or silver coins or as a stockpile of easily bartered goods. A combination of the two might be the best solution. It is difficult to foresee a serious injury like an operation or broken bone that needs mending but with gold or food items that a doctor needs you will have access to those services.

Situations like we now see in Venezuela are survivable but most people suffer horribly due to the lack of understanding and preparation for situations that develop over time. Would you want to survive the crisis with very little suffering and loss of wealth or barely make it through having lost everything, possibly even your life. Those are the choices you must now consider while there is still time to affect the outcome.

America: The Future Third World Country

By: Tom Chatham

The purchasing power of Americans has been unequalled for the past several decades. This has been made possible by the high paying jobs created by our manufacturing sector. These jobs insured a wealthy middle class that could buy anything they wanted.

These high paying jobs meant that some of the wealth created by making things went to the workers. Before long, corporations began working on ways to keep more of that wealth. Enter the free trade agreement. By drafting and passing a number of free trade agreements, the corporations created a way to make their goods cheaper with overseas labor and keep more of the profit for themselves and their Wall Street owners. The deep pockets of the middle class began to dry up.

A thinking person might eventually come to the conclusion that destroying middle class jobs and the purchasing power of the middle class would be shooting themselves in the foot. With less income and purchasing power, the corporations would create a shrinking American market for themselves eventually. That is what we are seeing now.

So, what do you do when your cash cow begins to dry up? You turn it into hamburger. Just like all of the other third world countries that provided raw materials for these corporations to prosper, America will now become a supplier of raw materials for the next rising power to use. That rising power will likely be China with its large untapped populace. They have the gold and the manufacturing capability now. All they need is a good supply of raw materials and they can develop their own middle class and the corporations will be in the clover once again.

America is in debt up to its eyeballs but we still have large amounts of natural resources. Multinational corporations are chomping at the bit to get their hands on these resources so they can renew their ponzi economic model with another rising economy.

Between here and there they must break the American consumer and take everything they have and then get them out of the way so the strip mining can begin in earnest. When you look at the larger picture that is taking shape, that is where we are headed. Chinese corporations are gobbling up everything they can get their hands on right now all over the world including in America.

Those who say the U.S. will be invaded are a little late. The invasion has already started and the invaders have taken the form of corporations. If anything gets in the way of this resource extraction, that is when you will see the troops arrive under some pretence to help the people. Actually their main goal will be to secure the resources.

When troops start arriving that is when Americans will start fighting back by any means at their disposal. For all intents and purposes it will be an all out war on American soil. Regardless of what people perceive the reasons for this war to be it will ultimately be for resources.

You may ask why they do not just keep America prosperous and continue the gravy train. The main reason is that entitlement programs have gotten out of control. They are now spending too much money supporting people who do not work or produce any value in society. To simply take this money away would cause the same chaos that will erupt by destroying the economy but economic destruction will enable them to secure the resources with few people realizing what is really happening. Its all about controlling the amount of blowback from the people and the best way to redirect and contain it.

In the end America will become a third world economy or something worse. The people have the means to retain control of the nation and someday rebuild some of our infrastructure but that depends on the people and how much they want to remain free and in control of their future. As long as half of the population can get paid to sit at home and do nothing we will not change the course we are on. Change will only come when it is forced on the people and they decide to set a new course. Unfortunately, many may elect to do as they are told by the government and hope the free stuff will once again start to flow. Those people will be very disappointed, at least as long as they remain alive.

Economic Collapse Logistics For The Government

By: Tom Chatham

When a national currency collapses, the government goes into survival mode and does what is necessary to insure its continued existence. The state power becomes all important and citizens become expendable. The state exists for it’s own fulfillment.

When the monetary system collapses along with the banks, the government will still need a way to pay government employees to insure they continue enforcing the governments will. If all government employees suddenly decided to stay home the few officials that remained at their desk would be ordering 300 million people around with no way to enforce their orders. To maintain control of the population it is necessary for government minions to continue doing their job of enforcement.

This means the government would need the means to continue fulfilling the needs of government employees to insure their compliance and obedience. As long as people get the things they need to survive day to day they will continue to do as ordered to continue that supply.

The government would need to insure that a payment system and banking system would remain functioning after a collapse. The banking system may not look like the current one but something would have to take it’s place. Once the currency has failed it would be necessary for the government to issue a new currency. It may not be accepted by the majority but it is only necessary for it to be accepted by the government minions. This would allow the government to remain in control.

If the government employees know they will still be able to get food, clothing, gas and other items they need when normal citizens cannot, they will be inclined to stay on the job and do the governments bidding in order to maintain their standard of living. This would be a necessary control mechanism in the event of a collapse.

Once the banks collapse along with the currency, the FED could take over any bank branches necessary under the control of the Fed and issue the new currency through them. There may be some form of physical currency or it could be digital. Either way the government would have control over who gets any in the beginning.

The government would likely confiscate any resources it needed to fill “government stores” for the purpose of supplying government employees. The rest of the population would be left to get by on their own. In this event EO 13603 becomes more clear as the mechanism to take whatever the government needs to fill these stores and keep their people supplied. In a collapse physical goods become the only thing that matters.

Those that have the things government needs will likely be sent to camps and their property taken for government use. Those with special skills that are needed to continue the supply functions would fall under the control of government agencies and be subject to internment if they fail to do their jobs. Once government has control of critical infrastructure they can let the remainder of the country fight among themselves and do the governments job for them. The few who remain after a few weeks will be easy prey for the government.

I do not claim this will happen, only that it is one possibility in the event of a total banking collapse. Those in power will do whatever they must to stay in power. That much is born out in history. This is not meant to scare you but to make you think about the possibility of this event and plan accordingly should the worst happen. Should the government confiscate resources following a collapse, you will need to be two steps ahead of them and the general population in order to get through the events in one piece.

Many feel a collapse of any kind is impossible in the mighty USA but times change and anyone that fails to heed the warnings will pay dearly when events unfold and they find it is to late to get the supplies they need. People buy many types of insurance just in case. They save for retirement just to make sure. Then they ignore economic warnings that make all those things useless. The government helps people when it is convenient for them. The government has also shown its willingness and ability to take from people when it suits them. Any government big enough to give you anything you want is also big enough to take everything you have. And, they will eventually.

All Depressions Are Not Created Equal

By: Tom Chatham

It has been said that history may not repeat but it sometimes rhymes. Just as the generals always seen to fight the last war people seem to prepare for the last depression. Times change and the mechanism that leads to misfortune changes with it. Looking at the past may not give us the clear answer to how to deal with the future but it can help us to determine what might happen and how to deal with it when the time comes.

We always look at the last incident because that is what we know. The problem is that social and economic conditions are always changing and they have a major impact on how things unfold. When people hear that they should prepare for another great depression they immediately think about how people survived the last one and how events unfolded. That is a good starting point but things will not be exactly the same the next time.

In the 1930’s people did not posses specialized skills, they had general knowledge that allowed them to take any job that was available. Today people are skilled in one area and loss of employment in that area requires them to obtain skills to work in a new area. The jack of all trades has been replaced by the specialist so when job loss comes they have a more difficult time finding a new one.

In the 1930’s we had a deflationary depression and anyone holding cash and bonds were able to hold on to their wealth and banks were allowed to fail. The farmers suffered from a drop in commodity prices but taxes were low and most people that had land owned it free and clear allowing them to stay in place. Today we are more likely to have an inflationary depression due to the mandate to save the banks at all costs. Anyone trying to save their wealth in cash and bonds will get slaughtered in the paper assets they hold due to massive money printing.

In the 1930’s most people lived in rural areas and people worked to help their neighbors in difficult times. Most people had the skills to take care of themselves and their families until things got better. Today most people live in urban and suburban areas and society has been fragmented into militant groups that cannot work together even in good times. Declining economic conditions will likely make society turn in on itself even more causing suffering and loss of life. Most people have no idea how to care for themselves if the system breaks down.

In the 1930’s people were forced to find new employment due to job loss because there were no social safety nets to provide for them. In difficult times they were forced to look to family, friends and the church for help but most people felt they had failed if they asked for help. Today people losing a job have unemployment, welfare, food stamps and dozens of other services to provide for them if they have no job. Many have come to rely on these services and expect the government to provide for them as long as necessary. If these services ever end it will trigger a violent response by certain segments of society.

In the 1930’s a man out of work could sell apples on the street corner for a nickel to make money to support himself. In a future depression environment anyone attempting to make some money may be selling apples for five dollars each and will likely be arrested for vending without a license. Another difference today is that most people do not want to get their hands dirty so they will opt for government assistance rather than hard work.

When people lost jobs in the 1930’s they could look for many different types of jobs they could do and they were able to negotiate pay with business owners to get the job. The large number of unemployed allowed businesses to negotiate lower wages that allowed them to stay in business. Today minimum wage laws prevent business owners from cutting wages to stay in business which will cause business closures in difficult times. The closing of businesses is a self reinforcing loop that puts more and more people out of work as time goes on.

In the 1930’s the monetary system not only survived but cash was worth even more. The next depression will likely see the monetary system collapse and cash become worthless. This will likely lead to the creation of local currencies and barter among individuals. The attempt by bankers and governments to create new fiat currencies will likely be rejected to a large degree.

In the 1930’s most properties were owned by people that utilized the land themselves. The investor mentality of today will see the mortgage market collapse and the investors buying properties to flip lose it all. Some experts expect to see a 75% to 90% drop in land prices in the coming years.

Many of the things that allowed people to get through the last great depression will not save them this time. Social and economic conditions have changed and different methods will be required to get through the depression we are now entering. Where once cash and bonds were a safe haven gold and silver will, be now. The ability to negotiate wages is gone and wage laws will insure massive closings of businesses forcing people to become self employed to avoid the wage laws. Overall the standard of living will drop dramatically and most people today will not be prepared to accept it.

There are some things that are likely to be the same as before. Those who need help will once again need to turn to family and friends for help. Those that own land free and clear will be able to keep a roof over their head. Those that can supply their own needs will make out better than those dependant on others. Those with multiple job skills will make out better than those with no job skills. Those that can produce a product to sell will make out better than those in the service industry.

In order to learn from the past you must look at current trends and extrapolate where we are headed from here. It is not an exact science but those that pay attention to details will likely fare better than those that go blindly along their daily lives expecting things to always be the same.

Good Investments For The Coming Year

By: Tom Chatham

With more and more people raising the alarm about a coming recession, and possible depression to end all depressions, it is only natural for people to think about where they should put the wealth they have been able to hold onto. If you still have any wealth to speak of after the past several years, congratulations. If any of that wealth is in paper assets that can disappear overnight, you really need to think about a safer place to store it in the coming months and years.

As they say, if you can’t hold it, you don’t own it. If the banking system shuts down due to hackers, enemy attack or government edict, any money you think you have could disappear quickly never to be seen again. At that point all you have to prove it ever existed is a piece of paper that no longer means anything.

We are heading into a rapidly changing future where nothing can be taken for granted. When the current social and monetary system ceases to function, you will need wealth in the form of physical items to get by from day to day. Wealth is the excess production you have to save for the future. It does not matter what form that wealth takes as long as it preserves value for future use.

In a serious crisis, wealth in the form of physical goods can mean the difference between suffering and getting by. In a crisis, physical goods are as good as cash when the time comes to trade for items you need. In today’s crumbling system there are some notable goods that not only hold their value but can increase in value when times get tough and people scramble for limited resources.

Guns-
These not only provide security and can put food on the table but they hold their value over time better than many items. They can be worth many times their original cost when they can no longer be bought due to the lack of a functional financial system or decaying social condition.

Ammo-
Like guns, ammo can be stored for many years and current social conditions seem likely to make ammo costs stay relatively high for many years to come. Like food, when you need it you will be willing to pay many multiples of it’s original cost to get it making suppliers very important people.

Canning supplies-
Any disruption of the food distribution system for prolonged periods will force people to return to home canning to insure a food supply for their family. Most people no longer have canning supplies at home and when the time comes that they realize they need them, the cost will be very high if you can even find them. Anyone stocking extra canning supplies beyond their own needs will find them a good trade item when the time comes. Canning supplies like everything else will continue to rise in price in the coming years.

Gold and silver-
As the ultimate time tested wealth storage mediums, gold and silver will allow those that store them the ability to make good deals in the future when paper assets have lost all value. It does not matter if the price goes up or down, they always maintain their value through good times and bad. Today, price manipulation has made these metals available to the public at a major discount to their actual value but that will only last as long as there is confidence in paper. Those stocking up now will reap the rewards for their forward thinking .

Alternate energy systems-
When the grid goes down or energy prices spike at a time when many people no longer have meaningful employment, the ability to maintain energy in your home will mean a great deal to impoverished families. Generators are great but during a long term crisis, the ability to maintain power with a generator is limited. Even if you have a large supply of fuel your generator will likely fail at some point due to extended use. Solar and wind power systems offer the advantage of a one time expense and after that offer years of low or no maintenance to maintain power for critical systems such as lights and refrigeration. They are also much quieter than generators to avoid undue attention from the community.

Tools-
Tools can come in many types and forms. Tools allow you to fix or build items you need. They also provide you with the means to provide services you can charge for giving you a business to fall back on if it is ever necessary. Good quality tools can last a lifetime and maintain their value over time.

How-to books-
Knowledge is power. When you have the proper knowledge you can write your own destiny. Knowing what to do and how to do it when everyone else is running in circles gives you a major advantage in life. Knowledge also provides you with the ability to use that knowledge for trade or business purposes that can earn you income for items you need. It is difficult to put a price on a good library.

Food-
In a crisis food is the ultimate currency. Regardless of what the social conditions are, people will need food. Since most of the population lives in urban environments today, they are dependent on food deliveries to stay fed. When that system fails those with excess food supplies or an ability to produce more will have a form of wealth they can use. Your money will actually be growing on trees.

There are many resources that you can store depending on your abilities and needs but these offer some of the best returns for the investment over time. The need to store wealth is for future consumption when you may not be able to earn the money due to age or economic conditions. The ability to invest some of your wealth now in items that will reduce consumption and supply your future needs is a winning proposition for most people. Only you can know what you expect from the future so you must plan accordingly now to avoid the worries later.

Self Sufficiency Requires Knowledge, Tools and Parts

By: Tom Chatham

When most people think of self sufficiency they think of seeds, garden tools and canning jars but there is a lot more to consider. Being self sufficient also means you must build and fix things yourself to a large degree. It is easy today to take your problems to someone else and have them fix them for a fee but the day may come when you either cannot find someone to do the work or you cannot afford to pay them for the work. True self sufficiency means you must become a jack of all trades to get by with the least expense.

A few weeks ago I had a flat tire on one of the trucks. When I went to inflate it I discovered the problem was a broken valve stem. Under normal circumstances this would require a trip to the local garage. In my case, I simply removed the wheel from the truck, put it on my manual tire changer and broke the bead. Then I looked through my cabinet of small repair parts and pulled out a new valve stem. I removed the broken stem, inserted the new stem with my valve stem puller and re-inflated the tire and put it back on the truck. This all took about half an hour. A major problem was reduced to a minor inconvenience. Just this week I rebuilt the carburetor on another truck.

When something you need is broken you can either replace it or fix it. Fixing it will require knowledge and parts provided by you or someone else. If someone else does it that is going to cost you. Have you ever noticed that someone else’s time is always more expensive than your time? To pay for this repair you will have to earn money to pay for it. Money is usually harder to come by these days than time so fixing it yourself is usually the preferred method if you have the skills and tools.

Over the years I have had various jobs that allowed me to build up a variety of tools. I have a good mechanics tool box with many specialty tools. I have carpentry tools and basic garden tools. I even have a hydraulic press to make hydraulic hoses. I have soldering guns, a mig welder and even a tube tester to fix old radios and TV’s. I don’t mention these to brag but to make a point. Not only do I have tools and knowledge to aid in becoming self sufficient but I also have resources to use for trade with others should it become necessary.

If you are self sufficient or on the way to it you will likely have a number of tools and machines to aid you in daily activities. If one or more of these machines becomes inoperable, can you fix it? If you are cut off from normal repair facilities you will either have to fix it somehow or do without. Nobody can do everything but the more you can do the more self sufficient you will actually be.

Being self sufficient means having knowledge, tools and repair parts. Knowledge can be procured or from your library of technical and repair manuals. Tools will likely be limited to your capabilities but looking ahead and buying specialty tools for future use is always encouraged. Repair parts are one area that few people think about until it is too late. Fixing a leaky faucet is simple unless you do not have a new washer to put in. In a national or worldwide crisis, you may not have the ability to run down to the local hardware store and buy the parts you need so you need to think ahead and store some of those small inexpensive parts now while they are cheap and plentiful.

I had to order the carb rebuild kit I needed but in a crisis I might not be able to do that so I may stock an extra one for future use now that I’m thinking about it. Even if I don’t use it I may be able to sell or trade it to someone in the future that is desperate for one.

When you think of self sufficiency you need to think about all of the little things that can cause things to come to a sudden halt for want of a few small parts. Simply having some selected parts in stock as well as things such as tape, glue, solder, JB Weld, grease or oil can make future problems much smaller.

Look at all of the things you depend on and study them one at a time to determine what might break on them and make a list of parts you might want to keep on hand. One thing I find handy are the little boxes of parts such as cotter pins, fuses, roll pins and springs that I bought from Harbor Freight. I may only open those boxes once a year but when I need a small part that broke, it saves me much time and money being able to fix it on the spot. That carb I fixed needed a new return spring and I had one in one of those boxes. A screw also broke off in that carb and I had to drill it out fill the hole and retap it. I did that without having to leave the house and that carb works great now.

The more you work around the house the easier it is to acquire these skills and tools. Someone who depends on others to do these jobs now will find it difficult to plan ahead for the day when they must do it themselves. The best time to start learning is today while you still have time to get the knowledge, tools and parts while they are still available. For those of us who can only afford old worn out equipment, it is second nature to learn how to fix it yourself. Being rich has it’s advantages but being poor also has some advantages that you may not think of until all of your resources are cut off for some reason. The ability to do it yourself in the good times will likely save you in the bad times when self sufficiency is forced on you and not just an idea you think about on your long commute home.

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