The following is a cooperative effort by yours truly, and fellow Turdite Gold Dog- we hope you find it worthwhile and add your comments and thoughts!
October 2013: With oil prices averaging $133/barrel (WTI, light sweet crude), high energy prices initiate a worldwide economic slowdown, portrayed by the financial press as “a pause in the global recovery”. Following a month-long pullback to 1603, on Wednesday, October 16th the S&P 500 opens limit down and trading is halted. The exchange goes limit-down on seven of the following thirteen trading days, and despite “extraordinary measures” taken by the Fed and the US Government to backstop the markets, by the first week in December the S&P sits at 784. The market wealth of investors has been halved in just over six weeks.
June 2014: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa announce the BRICS Development Bank Trade Settlement System. Each nation’s currency can be converted to the “unit credits” currency measure (quickly named “the Bricky” by the western financial press) offering direct convertibility to each country’s currency at a pre-determined level based on backing by gold and other commodities. China announces national gold reserves of 9,000 tons, Russia 7,500. Within three months, more than two dozen more nations worldwide sign agreements to conduct trade using the units credits system. When Saudi Arabia announces oil and natural gas sales to China denominated in the “unit credit” system, the Dollar is no longer the world's reserve currency, and the USD price of crude spikes to $268/ barrel.
May 2015: Public outcry over drastically rising food prices spurs the passage of H.R. 5722, the nationalization of all US railways, in order "to facilitate cheap transportation and economic recovery”. The US Department of Agriculture announces a nationwide farm licensing program, whereby all farmers must meet certain criteria for certification on a yearly basis, including proof of sales of staple crops at pre-determined prices. As these prices are at or below the cost of production given the rising price of gasoline, many farmers are faced with the choice of going bankrupt or selling their farms. The resulting foreclosure sales make three large New York banks and two private equity firms the five largest landowners in the US.
July, 2016: With black market sales of food estimated to be at 40% of total sales nationwide, inflation goes parabolic and the US Dollar heads rapidly towards its intrinsic value. A barter economy is increasingly running parallel to the official economy. What had been a trickle of people leaving urban areas for rural areas becomes a deluge as sporadic food riots become an unremarkable event. The mass exodus from the cities later becomes known as the “summer migration”, and some urban and suburban areas see a 40% depopulation from pre-crisis levels. The national guard of all 50 states is permanently placed under the direction of the Department of Homeland Security, as martial law is invoked nationwide. Nobody knows what is going to happen next.
NOW… it’s September of 2013 again, present day. To paraphrase the great Keanu Reeves in Speed; “Pop quiz, hotshot: You have three years to prepare for incipient hyperinflation and widespread societal instability. You know you can’t go it alone and your job is to come up with the ideal location, community makeup, system of local governance, and security preparations to deal with this situation. What do you do?”
Good question. In the comments of my last blogpost, our friend Gold Dog had some outstanding contributions, and I approached him about co-writing this post- he graciously agreed! So without further ado, here’s what our friend Gold Dog had to say on the subject:
Location: I think we would all agree that distance from large metros, 100% reliable water, (drinking and irrigation), good land, and low interference from local authorities are key. My own preference would to be within reasonable distance from a smallish city of 80 or 100 thousand so that construction materials and medical care would be available pre-disaster. The "end of the road" on a smaller community might be helpful if we could tap into city services. Expected Code of Conduct including Fair Dinkum trading with all members is high on my list. If you are having a piss poor day and there is nothing anyone can do to help you out right now, keep it to yourself. The "Bitching Stick" comes out Thursday nights so we can clear the air before the big weekend dance!
General Preparedness: It would be a good idea to assemble all of the basic stuff that you can find on any of the thousand lists out there and from time to time I add to the pile of T.P., paper towels, garbage bags, etc. as the mood hits me. For example, if the shelf life on the sprouting seeds is long enough I will grab some today. The two main things that concern me about this are mobility and preserving wealth after the reset. On mobility, I currently have a couple of locations that we can run to and enough SUV capacity to bring the majority of our stuff along with us, provided that travel is allowed. If not, our neighborhood is a good one and most of us get it. As part of that plan I have enough seeds to start food production and enough chow to get us through until the food production starts to pay off. We have been giving a lot of thought to getting to somewhere that currently exists on a subsistence basis, the idea being that the people there are already geared to the lifestyle and we can insert ourselves in a low key way and trade for our daily needs. They already know how to get by on the bare minimum. PM's figure in the mix. My instinct is to go 50% cash and 50% tangibles....I would appreciate input on this from my fellow Turdites!
Group Governance: As far as I can tell there have been three predominant types of small group or tribal Governance;
1- Strong man style....I am in charge or I am gonna kill you or at least kick your ass and have my way with your wimmin.
2- Hereditary/consensus....The son of the chief becomes the new chief. Much of this is conceded to because dad has passed on his knowledge to his son and this wisdom is usually vital to the tribes survival. Move or stay? Plant or hunt? It seems that if the son is a dolt a strong advisor(s) will emerge and the tribe will hope that the grandson is more like gramps.
3- A newer and now more prevalent style seen in many native cultures, I think literacy has a big effect on this, is some form of democracy with a "town council" elected for some number of years. Looking at what's up with the Eskimos and the Indians here in North America they seem to, for the most part, want a direct vote or referendum on the big stuff.
Tribal people derived their customs over many generations, and these usually are for the benefit of the organism as a whole. Newer, more literate groups will use a base document; for example, the US Constitution
So now it’s up to you, Turdville: Again, figure you have three years to prepare for incipient hyperinflation and widespread societal instability. You know you can’t go it alone and your job is to come up with the ideal location, community makeup, system of local governance, and security preparations to deal with this situation. What do you do? Let's say, hypothetically, that we found a place for Turdites to form a community that would be self sustaining and self protecting:
- Where would this place be and what would this place look like?
-What would be the primary goals informing such a community- what would you be trying to accomplish?
-What would the governing body be comprised of and how would it be selected?
- Could we be self-sustaining and how would we go about 1. Having people make their homes on-site and doing the work there now, vs. 2. Members for whom this would be a retreat but would not be living there?
-What would the maximum population be and what would be rules for bringing in new members/family members?
- How could we expel anti-social members? (Cal Lawyer?)
- In the big picture, can something like this work?
Feel free to share your thoughts on any of these questions individually, or tackle the whole thing if you feel like it. Remember, there are many ways to go about something like this and what works for someone else may not work for you, so keep an open mind regarding different approaches, and have at it!
Your friends, Gold Dog and Pining