Comparing SHTF Scenarios with the Great Depression

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dabblingman
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Comparing SHTF Scenarios with the Great Depression

So I'm a 12-month stacker and prepper (my older brother got me started). I've read lots and lots and lots, and worried and stressed and obsessed about the various SHTF scenarios. They seem to often feel like Mad Max, zombie movies, post-apocalypse, which leaves me feeling rather hopeless.

I was watching the miniseries documentary "Prohibition" last week (pretty good, I must say) and of course, the Great Depression comes in a decade into the new amendment. Looking at, it got me thinking - isn't this a better template for what we might face as the SHTF scenario comes into reality?

If I use this template, I personally foresee the following happening:

* MUCH higher unemployment

* a great deal of homelessness

* a great deal of hunger and hardship

* an increase in crime

BUT, what I don't see happening is:

* the utilities stop working for all (water, gas, electric)

* the breakdown of the rule of law

* the breakdown of basic human goodness

So I'm curious, when you really look at the possibilities, what do you think of this? Thanks.

Edited by admin on 11/08/2014 - 06:06
Aeonios
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Seems like you're basically

Seems like you're basically on track. The breakdown of utilities doesn't usually happen until late in the decay process, and is driven by open political corruption.

One interesting bit of data, though, is that during the 1920s the banking industry, through inflation, managed to make up 50% of the total GDP. ***I'm not sure what that number is today, but I'm pretty sure it's not THAT obscenely imbalanced.

One thing is for certain though; from 1929 to 1933, 40% of all banks in the US were shut down permanently. Due to the corrupt fed action today, the same sort of scenario is certain to happen again. That's the benefit of having stacks, however.

Protect your freedom at all costs. As long as you have your freedom, you have the only thing worth living for.

EDIT: ***Oh wait, there's that whole 77 trillion or whatever derivatives market I forgot about. The derivatives exposure of banks today actually dwarfs our GDP, so technically we're much worse off than they were in 1929 =\.

Eric Original
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shtf

I think you are right on track.

I'm not a big believer in the Mad Max scenarios.  I'm particularly disdainful of those that are packing a "bug out bag", where they are going to head off into the woods for a while.

Are you kidding me?  If things get really bad, I'm still better off hunkering down in my own four walls and a roof.  Even if utilities get spotty, it still beats the hell out of sleeping out in the rain and snow in the woods.

Personal defense against roving bands of desperate people?  I'd still feel safer in my own home than out in the boonies.  

Oh, yeah.  And people are going to have their wives and kids bug out with them?  Get real...

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backseatdriver
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dabblingman

These two gentleman already nailed it. Not much to add it sounds like you have a good head on your shoulders. My piece of advice if you haven't already done so, buy a sidearm and a shotgun. Take some firearms training courses if your not the handy wielding a piece. Its better to have them and not need them than need them and not have them. Additionally the peace of mind is tremendous.

BSD

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Green Lantern
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I'm not sure why electricity

I'm not sure why electricity and utilities would stop working in a situation where either financial or political structures collapse??  Issues with the food supply and shortages much more likely. 

As far as the basic goodness of human nature, I think in SHTF scenario's as always those with good moral fiber will rise to the occaision and we will see people helping people.  HOwever, in this country and probably most western industrialized countries we've not had to deal with with major food shortages.  How will people act when their survival is threatened?  You'd better believe that their reptilian nature will surface and Darwins Survival of the Fittest might trump the human desire to bond and care for the well being of others. .  There are some individuals who step up to the challenge of dealing with crisis and their are those who will use occaisions like these to prey on the weak.  The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina is a good example.   Or even the streets of NY after 9-11.  Police began ignoring petty crimes or nuisances crimes becasuse everybody was in shell shocked state and every other person was a suspected terrorists.  So roving gangs is indeed a clear and present danger in any type of political or financial crisis.    Right now this exists in places like the outskirt of Detroit in which entire neighborhoods have been left desolate.   You can get a house for pennies if you want to deal with roving gangs.   I believe I've heard that they are going to let those parts go back to nature.  Whatever that means.  Not sure if you just start knocking down houses.    But Detroit and CAmden NJ are good examples.  Apparantly, Camden NJ which I think was the or one of the murder capitals of the USA has gotten worse.   Remember, law enforcement has families to so they will seek to protect their own.  In New Orleans many didn't show up for work. 

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Aeonios
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GL: Power, water, natural

GL: Power, water, natural gas, sewage etc requires infrastructure spending and maintenance which is very expensive. When either the money runs out (because utilities were nationalized and went the way of the post office due to price fixing) or taxpayer money is embezzled between politicos and utility tzars, rather than being used to upkeep the infrastructure, then there is the possibility (see inevitability) that utilities will first become unreliable, and later may not hardly be available at all. This is especially a concern for rural areas where infrastructure is less well developed.

dabblingman
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Thanks so far....

For your thoughtful replies. I am pretty set for an extended bank holiday, as well as food shortages and some gas shortages.

I keep it pretty much on the down-low except among family. The few I've ever waded into conversations with think I am nuts, so I just keep quiet.

Thanks for the input, and keep it coming. I really appreciate it.

rowdyboy
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SHTF and prepping

PMs and prepping are a very good start. You need to think through and "war game" scenarios of what you expect and also what you don't expect.

Food and water storage is most critical, along with cash, personal defense items, and a minimum of 15 gallons of gasoline (rotated every 3 months), etc. Pay attention to other items (toiletries, medical) you and your family use a lot that may be sold out when you may need them. If the power/utilities went out for a few weeks or months, what would you need? Lighting, backup power, how would you cook food? I built a 2 panel 240 watt solar panel system with large deep-cycle batteries and a 1750 watt inverter that run my mini-fridge and mini-freezer, lights, fan, computer, etc. I also dehydrate veggies and vacuum seal in mason jars.

One thing I learned from survivalblog is to prepare for an EMP event, whether natural or man made. Congress has conducted hearings on EMP and how that would bring down our fragile power grid. No power grid, no utilities. As you would expect, they are not prepared. I have read some parts they would need to replace are no longer made in America. We would have to order some of these parts from other countries with a 1 year lead time on some of these items. You can build a faraday cage to protect your electronics if you want to hedge this threat.

http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/09/emp_the_greatest_threat_to_america_and_what_we_can_do_about_it.html

http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2011/22jun_swef2011/

As far as a bug out bag (BOB), most preppers do have one or more. I have one in the house, and one in the car. Because of any natural or man made disaster, you just might not have time to run around gathering your birth certificate, your financial records, clothes, medical, food, water, toiletries, weapons, etc. I burned a cd with all my personal records and insurance on it (secured) and keep it in my bag. Not for "surviving in the woods" but maybe having to leave fast and travel somewhere safe. There are plenty of scenarios where you can't "hunker down" or may not even be at home when an event happens. If you don't have a BOB, will you have a better chance of survival? There is a vast amount of resources on youtube for preppers. And http://www.survivalblog.com/ (John Wesley Rawles-JWR is the man).

On human nature: "When people have lost everything, and have nothing else to lose, they lose it! - Gerald Celente, Trends Research

The fact that you are asking these questions puts you ahead of most people. Keep educating yourself. Keep the momentum. Protect you and yours. Good luck.

dabblingman
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So I agree about NOLA

As an example of where a lot of order broke-down, and fear and scarcity took hold. But I think that scenario always seems to be more of a natural disaster (or plague, or nuclear war, etc.) which breaks down infrastructure of all types in a fell swoop. The lack of order seems to free up some bad behavior (I think also of the NY blackouts in the 70's - can't remember the year).

Detroit, yup I understand (I was born there. Tanks went 7 blocks from my house in '67). But I'd say that Detroit's slide has been gradual. It's taken a while to get to that state. My dad likes to say of cities like that (I'd include Gary, IN in the list) "no good people want to live there - black or white."

I think as long as people thought that life MIGHT return to normal at some point, while there will be fear, people will remain somewhat civil (if scared and scarcity-driven).

I think it will be a big personal Rorschach test when/if it all goes down.

Best to all....

dabblingman
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And a Twilight Zone reminds me....

That when the lights and the TV (and Internet) go out, that's when people come out of their trances, come out of their homes, and basically don't know what to do.

Saw it when we had a blackout here a few years ago. It was basically a make-shift block-party.

But the Twilight Zone episode I am thinking of is called "The Monsters are Due on Maple Street"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Monsters_Are_Due_on_Maple_Street

Eric Original
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Twilight Zone

I saw part of one just recently that was really spot on to the discussion too.  

One guy in the neighborhood had a bomb shelter type thing in his basement, with food, etc.  Some scare was on, and of course all the other neighbors started coming around wanting in.  All the ethical questions arise.  If I help you, I'm taking away from my own kids, etc.   And all the prejudices arise too.  Neighbors who, a few days before were having cookouts together and swapping garden tools were now yelling hateful ethnic slurs at each other.  Very instructive.   Basically a good reason to keep your preps quiet.

Unfortunately, I don't know the name of the episode, or know of any way to track it down.

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Big L
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IF.....shtf

If there is a total bank failure, commerce will come to a halt, credit/debit cards won't work.  Stores won't be able to re-supply, including food, drugs, gasoline, you name it. The grocery stores will be cleaned out quickly.

If the internet/TV are working we'll have information and there will be some unrest, but civil order will remain.

If our information sources are shut down, there would be no news or information of any kind. What would go through your head in that scenario? I expect panic to take hold within hours/days.

My First thoughts...... within hours or minutes of the realization I can't contact friends and family.

#1 What's happening with my friends and family? How can I find out? If the phones work, fine. If the phones don't work an increasing level of tension and fear will develop. What is happening with my elderly parents?

#2 Does anyone I know have any information? Rumors will run rampant. I have a city cop and a sheriff as neighbors, I'd check with them, if they're around. If they're not around all I'll have is rumors and guesses.

#3 Have we been attacked? EMP? Sun Flares? Alien invasion? I mean really! What the hell is going on?

#4 How wide spread is this? Can I drive out of it, like a hurricane? Or will I simply leave my safe haven? If I leave are the roads safe? Or will there be bandits stealing cars and gas? Can I stop to help someone in trouble? Or should I not take the chance?

#5 If someone comes to my house for help, can I help them? How long will this last? Do I have enough or not?

One big difference between this kind of meltdown and Katrina is that everyone knows a hurricane is limited in scope. That beyond the limits of the destruction is safety. And they had time to digest what was coming and prepare, make decisions, mentally come to grips with their circumstances. Everyone knew what was happening and why. They didn't know when the situation would resolve, but they knew it would.

In an unexpected melt down, without information about scope and severity, I would expect to see massive civil disorder because of fear and panic.

Eventually food and water will become the issue as supplies run out. But before that, it's information that is critical to maintaining order on a wide scale.

That's my guess. I have an emergency hand crank radio in my hurricane supplies, it has to be wound up every five minutes, but I can see how it would be essential in a total meltdown, assuming the radio stations are broadcasting.

At least we have the good sense to know that thoughts like this are 1/2 crazy. It's almost impossible to accept that these types of discussions and preparations may be used in the future.

I think that means we're still sane? We haven't turned ourselves into the 'nutters"?

How many discussions have I started at my house lately with the words, "I know this sounds crazy, but....." ?

dabblingman
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@Eric - yeah, Twilight Zone

@Eric - yeah, Twilight Zone is great at getting the heart of problems that come really from human nature, ESPECIALLY fear!

@BigL - I agree, if phone/Internet/TV goes down, that would actually be the thing that freaks people out the most. I used to work in the telecomm field, so I can tell you that THAT communication grid is built pretty damn solid. The biggest problem often is "overuse" in critical moments, resulting in the inability to make calls. But if you look at things like the uprisings that happened in Egypt, etc, over the last year, people have found interesting ways around that don't need much juice, bandwidth, or signal-strength - such as texting and Twitter. Heck, my 72-year old mom texts me most days.

I've heard the EMP arguments, and sure, that would totally totally suck. But I've assumed we are looking at a more economic-based crisis than open warfare/terrorism.

Best to all......

Santa's Elf
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@ Eric.....Twilight Zone

I know just the episode you're talking about...it's called "The Shelter":

Eric Original
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Yup, that's the one.  

Yup, that's the one.   Thanks!

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Bongo Jim
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@dabblingman: Not so sure

@dabblingman: Not so sure that everything will be up if the grid goes down. A few weeks ago when all of San Diego County's electricity went down, cell towers went down too. If your phone service was through Crime Warner Cable (at least ours is) it went down as well. No phone, no cell phone, no lights, no T.V., no computer,  some radio stations were up, got them in the car. The family got a taste of the future.

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Has anyone seen Jericho?

Jericho was a TV show on CBS in the mid 2000s. It had two seasons (more like one and a half). It is the story about a town trying to survive after a nuclear attack on the United States. They deal with all sorts of problems, including fallout, power outages, food shortages, winter cold, and hostile enemies trying to take their resources.

It's on Netflix. Was curious what people thought of it in terms of its realism. I think it does some things well, and some are maybe not so realistic. (Like, despite having no gas, they still seem to have enough fuel to drive cars when really needed, though they do uses horses as well.)

Probably the only show on TV to ever deal with this sort of thing.

Then, there is of course, the Waltons, but that's not really applicable today, except for the amount of scrounging they had to do for cash and food.

dabblingman
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Phones

Hey,

Any VoIP (Voice over IP) service will be most easily hosed in a power failure (esp since your computer and a router or DSL modem will all need juice to run). Cellphones are more resilient. Old POTS (plain old telephone service) with a wired phone is probably the most resilient. The juice for your old wallphone actually came THROUGH the phone wires.

I bet that Time Warner phone was VoIP (like Skype or MagicJack).

Take care....

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