Author Archives: sierra2one

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.

How Do You Recover From An Economic Collapse?

By: Tom Chatham

The road to recovery from any type of societal collapse is largely dependent on the mechanism that caused the collapse. For this reason we need to determine what the likely cause of the collapse will be and have the appropriate equipment to fix the malfunction after it happens. This requires society to take a realistic look at the situation as it is and not how we want it to be.

Most people do not even realize that we are heading for an economic collapse of epic proportions so talking about recovery may seem like we are getting too far ahead of ourselves. What you need to understand is that what we do now, before the collapse will determine how well we are able to recover from it and how fast. When you leave on a trip you pack the appropriate clothing and make sure the car is running well and you have emergency equipment like a spare tire with you just in case. When the economy collapses if we do not have the proper emergency equipment on hand to fix the problems, we will find ourselves stranded and unable to move anywhere.

From a societal standpoint, being unable to move means we will not be able to resolve any of our problems quickly and will out of necessity begin to prey on one another to fulfill our needs. This is what will cause loss of life on a monumental scale as the crisis is drawn out over time. Having the proper emergency equipment and a plan to use it will greatly reduce the suffering that is endured by society. This does not mean there will be no pain, only that we can keep it manageable.

A nations wealth is derived from having a product to sell. A service economy is dependent on having a wealthy society that has sufficient disposable income to support service jobs that consumers pay for rather than doing the jobs themselves. A society cannot get wealthy by washing each others clothes. There must be some type of real production to generate true wealth.

For this reason, the type of collapse many western nations now face will require them to have the ability to actually produce real goods following any collapse to begin the generation of wealth that is required to lift society out of any depression. This means society will need those with insight to have the necessary emergency equipment standing by after the collapse to begin the production of real goods and provide people with real jobs. The lack of jobs and resources following any collapse will mean poverty and predatory actions by society when things finally bottom out.

Most of the manufacturing ability of America has been shipped overseas. This means when a collapse occurs here we will once again need the ability to produce those things we need because we will lack the ability to buy them from others. The lack of a functional manufacturing sector means we will suffer in the future if we do not set aside the necessary emergency equipment we will need in the future to restart our manufacturing ability. As with many things we will need equipment to produce other equipment to build up that ability. The lack of this basic equipment to rebuild that manufacturing ability will doom this nation to poverty and third world status for decades to come.

This does not necessarily mean we will need to build large factories with thousands of employees. We will likely need to focus on smaller mini manufacturing sites employing a few dozen people in each. This is a first step to building larger more productive factories in the future. .

China has embarked on a building spree over the past decade and the result is the existence of many ghost cities and new infrastructure all over China. They possess all of the manufacturing technology of the west and the factories to produce the goods. They have also sought to secure raw materials all over the world for future use. They have built up a huge stockpile of gold. All of this means that China has positioned itself to have the necessary infrastructure to recover from any collapse that the world may face in the future. They have the equipment to build their own wealthy middleclass to fuel their rise in the future. They will do what the U.S. did in the 20th century and build up a wealthy middleclass and become a world leader economically, militarily and politically.

Americans need to realize that China now owns vital ports and businesses in the U.S. Following an economic collapse China will be in the position to increase its manufacturing ability in the U.S. and smother any American attempt to rebuild its own manufacturing ability making it independent of foreign influence. This is the threat to America recovering any future collapse if we do not have a large number of independent operators that can rebuild manufacturing ability at the local level quickly following any serious event.

If America wishes to remain free, we need people with vision to prepare for this eventuality and be able to respond with a new program of production to counter the many dangers we will face in the future. There are two areas that should be concentrated on as far as production is concerned. The first is the extraction or harvesting of resources and raw materials. The second is the conversion of those raw materials into finished goods.

Once you lose the ability to work and earn a living you become a government serf that is forced to bend to their will as you ask for handouts to survive. In an economic collapse the medium of exchange is destroyed along with the savings of the masses. When this happens people can no longer buy the goods they need to survive. Two of the things that survive collapse are individual labor and raw materials. When you can combine these with a third item, production equipment, you have the means to provide the basics of survival for the people and a means to produce their way through the difficulties they are facing. Absent a medium of exchange people will still be able to work for the things they need. This is the key to overcoming a serious crisis that can fracture the population and destroy societies.

Small localized production can make all of the difference when goods are needed to sustain families at the most basic level. The basis of any society is the ability to produce agricultural products. Food is a basic necessity and is the basis of any prosperous society. It is the first level in any production scheme to provide basic goods. Food provides the means to support industrial production. Industrial workers earn pay so they can buy food for their families. Food becomes the primary trade item to support other types of production that eventually provides a higher standard of living for society.

In a collapse, a food producer with a small industrial facility can trade food for the labor to produce factory goods that provide value added goods for society he can trade for other items. With this type of production, a community can overcome economic obstacles even in the absence of a medium of exchange. The industrial equipment could be as simple as a portable saw mill, a grain mill, fiber processing machines such as a spinning wheel and floor loom or a shop filled with wood working or metal working machines. The size and scope of production will be dependent on the abilities of these forward looking individuals to procure these machines prior to any crisis.

This may seem like pie in the sky dreaming to some but the fact remains. The future will only be as difficult as we make it. If we fail to prepare then we are preparing to fail and that will cause suffering on an unimaginable scale yet to be seen. Even a small amount of preparing can yield huge dividends when the time comes so anything you can do to prepare for the changes to come will be worthwhile. I am a big believer in infrastructure and the benefits it brings with it. A farm with specialized equipment can produce more products and create more wealth than one with typical farm equipment. Someone raising livestock that sets up their own small processing facility can process their meat for increased worth and has the means to hire persons to do the work for payment in food products. A dairy that has the ability to produce cheese can increase their product line and produce a product that will keep longer.

When crisis strikes in the future the amount of infrastructure available at the local level will determine what hardships we will face. The production of real goods is the only way we will get through a future crisis and keep society in tact for the duration. The wealth of local communities will depend on what products they have to offer in the future. A lack of local production will end with poverty and societal breakdown that may not be recoverable for many years to come.

Your Survival Will Depend On A Long Term Plan

By: Tom Chatham

There are many people in the U.S. planning for hard times these days but even those numbers are just a small percentage of the entire population. Most people still believe the government line that everything is getting better. They want to believe life will go on as always because the alternative is too much for them to think about.

Those that are preparing have made the mental leap required to prepare themselves for a future that is less than normal. They have reduced their spending on normal consumer items and reallocated those resources to items that will help their families cope with disruptions in the future. They are preparing for the uncertain times ahead.

Most of these people are imagining a time when resources are cut off or hard to find for a period of time. They are trying to imagine the worst case scenario and prepare to get through those times in tact. They are storing supplies to meet their needs for this period of time. While that is a good idea and will benefit them greatly when the time comes, it may not be enough.

The future that stands before us will be a period of catastrophic change. Things will not be as they once were and they may never be that way again in our lifetimes. It is for this reason that planning for a period of disruption may not be enough. A longer term plan may be required to ensure sufficient resources for the rest of your life.

This will require you to think bigger than you have and develop a plan that goes far beyond your current stores. It does not have to be a big plan or an expensive one, it merely has to provide you with a road map to help you maintain a reasonable standard of living.

Your first reaction to this may be, I don’t have the resources to prep now so that is just not possible. You need to keep in mind that any plan of action starts out as a written plan to act as a guide. It will cost you nothing but some of your time to think about possible actions you can take in the future and write them down. That is always the first step to solving problems that seem too big to handle by yourself. As you write them down and address problems one at a time the bigger problem will become many smaller problems you can easily solve.

There are no guarantees for the future. The way you live today will likely change in the near future. When those changes happen you may not have the ability to live as you do now. Your income and living situation may change and when they do you will have to come up with solutions. If you have already come up with solutions and planned a course of action when it is necessary, it will be easier for you to remain calm and confident as you change your lifestyle to cope with the changing conditions. Here are some questions you will need to answer to get you started in your long term planning.

How will you feed yourself?

Where will you live and what kind of shelter will you have?

How will you provide clean water to drink and cook?

What will you do for clothing?

What kind of sanitation will you have?

How will you stay healthy and provide medical care?

What will you do for transportation?

What kind of communications will you have to stay informed?

What kind of security will you have to stay safe?

What energy resources will you need and how will you provide them?

What will you do to earn money or trade for goods?

What special equipment will you need to live and prosper in the future?

These are some of the questions you must be able to answer to insure your living conditions are sufficient in the long term. Simply answering these questions now will provoke you into thinking about possible solutions to future problems that you may not want to think about right now. Keep in mind that your living conditions will likely change radically in the future whether you plan for it or not so you will make it much easier on yourself if you think about it now.

When answering questions about the future keep in mind that you must be thinking about providing resources for years and not just a few months. This will mean you must have a plan to produce or procure resources in some sustainable way. The more resources you can produce yourself the easier time you will have procuring them. Any production you have will also provide you with goods to sell or trade. Thinking through this type of situation will many times provide you with solutions to problems simply by solving other problems. The more thinking you do now, the less you will suffer in the future.

Venezuela Could Be The Future of Western Civilization

By: Tom Chatham

If anyone wants to see where western civilization is headed they need only to look at Venezuela today. The Bolivar has gone from 6.3 per dollar to 1,000 per dollar in the past few years. Last year farmers were ordered to turn over certain crops to the government for dispersion in government owned stores. About 100 shopping malls are now having their power cut for several hours a day as power shortages become a problem. But, as one citizen said, it doesn’t really matter because there isn’t anything to buy anyway. Last year their economy dropped 10% and this year it is expected to drop another 8%. They just had 36 747 cargo aircraft deliver newly printed cash to keep up with inflation.

This is the price of socialist programs and lack of sound economic practices. With currency inflating at this rate it is impossible for anyone to save from one year to the next. With government taking farm commodities how long will farmers continue to produce crops they will not get paid for or be paid in increasingly worthless currency. With power shortages commerce cannot continue in any serious way.

Gold has begun its move upwards in reaction to failing bank policies and the realization by the public that all is not well. If you do not get resources before they are gone you will not get them or you will pay dearly for them. Empty stores and closed banks make resource acquisition difficult if not impossible and life becomes much more difficult to survive on a daily basis. Nothing can create shortages like socialist policies and global war.

Saudi Arabia, Turkey the UAE and other actors in the Mideast are massing troops to intervene in the Syrian crisis. They must move soon or rebel forces which include Al Qaeda and ISIS troops will be destroyed by Syrian, Russian and Iranian forces that now threaten Aleppo and soon Raqqa which will end the civil war in Syria once and for all. The latest reports indicate about 350,000 troops, 2,000 tanks, 2,400 airplanes and over 400 helicopters are massing in northern Saudi Arabia. If this force invades Syria it is possible Russia may be forced to utilize tactical nukes to stop them. Once that line has been breached there is no telling where it might end.

One thing that is certain is that bankers and politicians will welcome an escalation to distract the people from the fact that they are about to loose everything they have. Major banks around the world are on the verge of bankruptcy which will trigger a massive derivatives meltdown. When that happens you can kiss any paper assets you have goodbye forever.

In times like this it is only prudent to protect yourself from the machinations of those that push the buttons of global commerce and banking. The rise in gold and silver indicate people are becoming aware of the dangers and are taking defensive positions. Those that realize inflation and shortages of consumer goods are on the horizon are taking the necessary steps to get through the times ahead. They are also taking steps to get through any dangers that governments and bankers are orchestrating to cover their illegal actions.

Let the difficulties in Venezuela be a fair warning of what can happen when the system no longer works properly and you are left to your own devices to get by. The ability to care for yourself is critical when large systems fail. When they fail everything you normally depend on stops and no amount of wishful thinking will change things. If you cannot touch it, you will not have it. A smart man learns from his mistakes. A genius learns from other peoples mistakes. Learn now or pay dearly later.

Is The American Dream Dead?

By: Tom Chatham

The American dream is not a thing in physical terms but an idea that lives or dies with certain beliefs in society. Can it die? Yes it can if those beliefs are purged from the conscience of society. This is what Jefferson meant by watering the tree of liberty with the blood of patriots from time to time.

Many people bemoan the loss of the high paying jobs and the mansions and swimming pools we all want to have. They look around them and see their dreams of easy living collapsing and the debt piling up about to drown them. They see life becoming harder every day and society becoming more dangerous.

The American dream is not about houses, swimming pools, expensive vacations or fancy cars. These are all benefits of that dream. They are the icing on the cake, not the cake itself. The American dream is about the freedom to earn those things if you are smart enough and work hard enough.

The American dream is about freedom. The ability to live the way you desire and to be all you can be in society. It is the freedom to build and accumulate and make something of yourself. It is the freedom to go from rags to riches in one generation because of your will and abilities. It is the freedom to own your own property and use it to better your position in society.

The American dream is about the freedom to walk into a clearing with a hoe and shovel and build a farm. It is about the freedom to walk into a stand of timber with nothing but an axe and an idea and build a town. It is about the freedom to design a new machine from your imagination and build a factory to use it.

For the dream to die freedom must also die. As long as you have the freedom to do your best the dream is always possible. The slow loss of personal freedom over the past century has led to the diminishing of the possible. We no longer see the possibilities because that ability is being taken away from us. Tyranny is the lack of possibilities forced on the population. You can no longer be all you can be because you are constrained by others that want to limit those possibilities.

When your freedom is constrained by those that are willing to use force to limit those possibilities, you must defend that freedom with force to preserve it. That is when the tree of liberty gets watered. That is when the dream is reborn to flourish once again.

The American dream can die but only when we fail to water it and let it die. If Americans want to eat cake then they first must bake it. Only then will they be able to treat themselves to the icing on it that we all love so much.

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