I am starting this thread in hopes of stimulating a conversation about when the 'Great Keynsian Experiment' will end, and more specifically, how your personal view of this question structures how you prepare. Because let's face it: if you think we will see a currency collapse sometime next decade, your approach for being ready for that event would be VERY different than if you think it will collapse next week. In short, your view of how dire things are structures your 'decision tree' and dictates your strategy.
Let me explain why I am putting this out there- I have seen any posters at this site and others, whom I have great respect for based on their other writings, often say cryptic things like "better get your stuff together cause we don't have long", or even make direct predictions like "we have four or five weeks, tops". And I totally understand the mindset behind doing this- most of us are procrastinators and the more dire we think a situation is, the more likely we are to get off our lazy butts and start preparing. Nothing wrong with that, but I think people do themselves a great disservice by adopting a "world is ending next week" mentality. Here's why- many of the best preps are long-term projects that take some time to develop. An imminent doomsday mindset may keep you from taking on things that, ultimately, you would be very glad to have.
Check out the picture below. I took this yesterday and if you look very carefully you will see four different projects of mine that I would never have even started if I really thought the end was near when I began them.
The chickens are the newest- got my pretty ladies as little fuzzballs in February, when the buzz at ZH and other places was 'Greece is the first domino and watch them all knock each other over in a sovereign debt default extravanganza'. I built the coop over the winter, while gold and silver were exploding and some claimed the dollar was dying right before our eyes. If you look carefully to the left of the coop you will see my first big 'food production' garden, put in in the spring of 2009 when the trillions in porkulus spending and QE were exploding the deficit to no obvious end, and real unemployment was pushing 20%. Finally, to the left and right of the coop you will see plumb, apple, and peach trees. I was planting these in 2008 during the dark days of the financial crisis, when Wall Street firms were dropping like flies and it looked like economic apocalypse was upon us. Fruit trees that take 3-5 years minimum to start producing was a real leap of faith at that time, but I cannot tell you how glad I am that I took the 'long view' back then.
And I guess that's my point- if you get totally caught up in a "The End Is Near" mindset, you will likely not take on projects which will take months or years to develop. If the end really IS near, then short-term is the way to go. But if the great unwinding takes awhile, realize that you are costing yourself opportunities for developing long-term assets.
So how long do we have?
Best of luck, all! - Pining
Thank you for the reality-check and reminder. Thanks for sharing!!!
Great post, and it inspires me to continue my projects.
Yea, one of my pet peeves is there's way too much doom and not enough rationality. Sure people are asleep and have no idea what's going on, I get that. I also get that you're better off preparing for the worst than getting caught out in the cold.
I did nothing in prep for the whole Y2K scare and seem to be alive and well today.
I did not panic in 2008 and somehow still have tripped and quadrupled investments since.
Somehow I think those on the extreme will end up with alone and isolated with gigantic ulcers when the dust settles. Those that think they're "trying to help" through these repeated warnings and countdowns are not; it just makes them feel better about their own hysteria.
Good for you Pining for taking it upon yourself to taking on your projects and getting some livestock. No question many could benefit from that economic meltdown or not.
Prepping is not just about "surviving". It is an economic decision. You are betting that continued access to food goods will become significantly more expensive in the future, so you work to secure access to those goods now, even if that means paying more.
Once my preparations are complete (or rather, "complete enough"), I will go off grid, even before TSHTF. It is a lifestyle choice. You don't want to have to work your whole life do you? You can become self sufficient with just a few acres, a few tens of thousands of dollars (to maintain grid-connected levels of convenience, namely use of electronics), and a significant amount of personal labor. Once you have done that, you can retire if that is your wish, or you can continue to work, and put away 90+% of your earnings in non-dilutable currencies.
Indeed, I have been reading the same material - warnings of impending collapse that fall within a year, and sometimes even within weeks, of the time they were published. Yet here we are, months and even a year after those posts, stagflating away still.
My reaction to reading that stuff was to be more worried and that did indeed inspire a great effort to execute some of my shovel-ready projects around the house. While I can't call myself prepared yet, the accelerated level of home improvements (much expanded garden, fruit trees, xeriscape, motorcycles, and plans for solar power aquaculture, hens, and more) was a nice side effect of exposure to the doom and gloom. These are all things I fancied doing anyway, but the fear of impending collapse spurred me to git 'er done a LOT sooner (I tend to be a lazy dreamer). Aside from food related preps, I've been inspired to do a lot of reading/listening, in particular to FerFal's material, which I find to be far and away superior to the vast majority of bollox one comes across when getting up to speed on economic collapse and the things that come with it.
My opinion now is that nobody has a good handle on when or how bad things could get. Things could linger on this way for years and even decades probably. So how to financially proceed? Dollar cost averaging approach is my answer to this, as with any investment over time in a certain thing. My other answer is to stick to the preparations you know and enjoy, again as with any investing. Ie, don't throw down to go off the grid if that is something you would never do otherwise and are not excited about the prospect. Likewise, don't build up an armoury and vault if firearms and defense of treasure isn't your thing either. To each his own. In the end we will fill each others gaps, or I would like to believe so.
The end is near... or is it?
I read somewhere that the problem with predicting the end is you only have one shot at getting it right.
"Hope for the best and plan for the worst"
Geez, there's a 3,000 year old prediction for the end of the world as we know it on December 21, 2012, and it's not good enough for you?
Ever since the Crash of '87 I've been continually confounded and amazed at the ability of TPTB to find another way to kick the can down the road one more time. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that you must always consider the possibility that the world might not end tomorrow!
In fact, odds are that it won't.
Its kind of a long read but there is a good article on Harvey's Blog tonight. Best.
I'm really loving the perspective provided by this thread. Keep it coming.
I think a currency collapse in the next couple of years would be the best thing for liberty IMO. I view it as a positive thing. There is a chance we could get rid of this government based on theft. Start over, maybe educate.
On the other hand, if it drags out a decade!? Holy crap. That would be the worst thing in my view. It becomes normal for high unemployment and 50 million people on food stamps. Who's Ron Paul? That was the guy who thought the currency was going to collapse 10 years ago. Nobody learns anything. And I'm stuck in 1984. I've read 1984, and we lose. If I thought it was going to take a decade, i'd be planning for a move to another country like costa rica, not to live here.
Thanks to everyone for the excellent comments and additions to this thread- greatly appreciated! Just wanted to add that one of the advantages of taking a little longer view of our present circumstances is that it gives us time to work, and even to dream. I have read several times in comments here and at the old site a sentiment that goes something like "I wish I could afford some farmland or a place in the country so I could better prepare". I really feel for folks just struggling to get by today, who would like to achieve something like this but do not think there is enough time. Obviously, everyone simply has to do what they can given their situation, but maybe taking a longer view can free you up to dream a little:
Or maybe your work project would look something like this:
Now don't get me wrong, I think we are all in for harshly difficult times when people finally wake up to what our real situation is. I just don't know when that moment will be, so I hope people do what they can today, but also allow themselves take a longer view and allow themselves a chance to work towards their goals.
Thanks, guys! -Pining
Did you find your farmland on one of those two sites PJ? I'm looking through the first one now. Chickens look good! Looks like a Rhode Island Red and a Barred Rock? You have so much space I bet you could have a whole orchard. I had chickens last year but a bobcat got to them. One Barred Rock I had I couldn't help but name Barack. He totally knew his name.
If there's one thing I've learned throughout my awakening process, it's that Rome didn't fall in a day.
While the history books will cite the next decade as a blip in history, for us living through it it'll drag out like a horrible movie. The October 11th, Nibiru/Elenin, Madrid Quake shit has me a little nervous, but I'm still going to live as if I intend to live to 12/21/12 and beyond. Within my means, planning long term, but also living comfortably.
I don't think we're going to wake up one day and hear all the talking heads announce that everything we know collapsed last night as we slept.
Fact is, it's been falling down for quite some time now. Whether the end is near depends a lot on the length of your personal track. For example, Thomas Ball's track ended in self-immolation on the steps of a New Hampshire courthouse two weeks ago. The system had taken away everything that mattered to him, so he quit in a very public and permanent way. I don't believe his story would have ended this way in the storybook America they told us about in grade school.
If you're a minimum wage mom living in a car with 3 kids, the end may be a lot closer than if you're a bankster flitting between 3 different mansions.
The end will look a lot different to a Boomer couple living off the grid in the sustainable home they built over the years than it does to their grandson in is crappy apartment in the bad part of the big city. Maybe Gramps will invite him to come out and help them all make a good life, and maybe he won't.
From what I'm seeing in Italy, the Roman Empire still hasn't quite finished collapsing either. So maybe when Rome is done, we can start worrying about our own corner of the board.
Or maybe it really depends on what each of us considers "The End."
When I look truthfully at the fundamental reality associated with the financial and economic condition of Western civilization, it's amazing to me that the entire structure hasn't flown apart already. Maybe we've been on this path of self destruction for so long now that, for many people, it seems normal.
I don't make predictions, but I have a gut feeling about timing. My gut tells me that this thing will unravel in fits and starts for another 3 to 4 years. Right now things are so fragile that one miscalculation by one of our political rulers could bring down the house in short order. However, the PTB might just be clever and powerful enough to keep the game going for awhile.
I like to read Martin Armstrong. His real estate forecast correctly predicted the peak to the day in 2007 and it also predicts a rally starting about now and peaking in 2015. The 2015 peak is not as high as the 2007 peak, but it may be associated with (prelude to?) an event. Martin himself wrote of the 2015 peak as possibly being an indicator of the end of the USD or fiat currencies in general.
I'm OK with the delicacy of our situation and that our worlds could all be shaken up hard tomorrow or next week, but my gut is telling me that this thing will drag on for a while.
So why this logic can not be expanded to infinity then? If total (and global) currency collapse did not took place yet, then it will never happen.
Because if it does happen, then there will be a moment in time when we are 1 month away.
While I feel that a currency collapse compounded by peak oil looms large in our future I think it will be a slow unravelling across the Western world. We live like Kings of old using the energy provided by cheap oil and electricity but as this becomes more an more expensive it will have more and more impact. I think our lives will change slowly but they will change. A few years ago I sold my canning outfit because it cost me far more to can and make jams/sauces/pickles etc than I could buy them for. Now, with prices for food creeping up it's about even. Another 12 months and I can see I will be saving money again by doing things myself. But look around you, how many people do you know who have the skills to do these things that were once commonplace. Can your kid's cook on an open fire, slow combustion stove? Can they make bread from scratch? Mine can't (something I am about to remedy this Summer)! When it costs more to run air-conditioning in stores, to run freezers, to transport food across country prices will go through the roof, shortages will happen and our choices limited. Planting trees - fruit and nut trees, herbs and spices, learning how to preserve and store goods will all keep you in the future and keep costs down.
I'm currently planning to build a much more energy efficient home, with a cellar/cold store that will be bushfire resistant (important in Australia) and as energy efficient as possible. I'm hoping to have a solar power system, Winter heating and huge water storage (we've just come out of a 13 year drought).
Already my 78year old father is complaining about the huge increase in power bills from a year ago. My sister made a comment the other day that she had been running her gas heater all the time after visiting me in Hong Kong and didn't know how she'd pay the bill. If the USD does collapse it will affect the whole world. I don't want to be without my creature comforts. If it doesn't then at least I will have set myself up to substantially lower my living costs and can choose whether or not I stay a wage slave or emancipate myself!
Either way I see it as a win win.
In my view, you should always take a profit/loss perspective. Since we are preparing for rather unpredictable times, this means you will have to do some educated guesses. But its always good to start with someone high-profit, low-loss choices. Here my simple list: 1. 3 month rotating food supply. Potential loss limited to some wasted time, and some small amount of discarded food staples. 2. Spend less, save more. Potential loss : You die before you can spend your savings. Youll probably not be in a position to care. 3. Put at least 25% of your savings into precious metals. Potential loss : The world monetary system is fixed, and we enter a new age of prosperity. Oh, and you have some piles of less valuable metal scrap. 4. Learn real skills, like food growing, fishing, hunting, carpentry, basic electronics, how to survive in the wilderness, first-aid, plumbing, animal keeping, and anything else that fits the description "stuff I needed to know if no one else does". Potential loss : You spend a lot of time transforming from lazy modern slob to Able Man. 5. Teach your children values and skills. Potential loss: They grow up and become better persons than you. With all this said, obviously large capital investmentso or decisions such as moving should also be considered, but they require more certainty and have larger potential losses. But starting with easy, high value decisions is often best. Unless something highly unlikely happens, Id think we have a at least 2, maybe up to 10 years before a total TEOTWAKI could happen. It may not happen at all. What is certain however, is that there will be less wealth, less healthcare, less elderly care, crappy education, expensive food and fuel, less work opportunities, and more violence, social parasites and politic bullshit. That however, should not be a large problem for a well-prepared able individual.
I'm really grateful for this thread because it's easy to get sucked into the doom and gloom mentality. As the OP said, if you think that "the end" is coming in 2 weeks, it drastically changes your action steps. The fact is that I'm MUCH more productive and proactive when I act like I have 2 years rather than 2 weeks.
“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree." - Martin Luther