Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Homesteads, security and devaluation.

Anonymous said...
How did land outside the larger cities do after the Argentina collapse... not the burbs, but small acre homesteads? I've read your notes on people who were tortured in isolated areas.

We are buying a place w/ cash for investment - about 5 acres with a humble house outside the city. Close enough to be w/in an hours drive, but far enough to be considered country and not burbs. We'll enjoy during good economic times as a second home. This has neighbors you can see, but just not on top of each other compared to inner city. This is not an Idaho retreat, but a place we could probably get to if our large US city had major problems. And we could store a few supplies to get us through a short term event; while also leaving our city life home going for job purposes.

Did these type of set-ups prove helpful for those inner-city people during the Argentina collapse?

Small farms and homesteads arent safe here. Even those are now offered within a community that has its own security these days.

Sounds like a nice place. Neighbors within screaming distance are more important than most people realize.
The retreat in Idaho works perfect as long as shit DOESN’T hit the fan, at least not bad. Its simply impossible to defend and well, you’re a sitting duck for anyone with a gun and half an ounce of brain.
The place you mention could be a good place to live in if things get worse and you can coordinate security with your neighbors. I wont lie to you. When crime gets bad there’s no other choice: You need security. When times are REALLY bad, you need, good security, not just a fool walking around. Here, that’s most often found in high end building of gated communities. The communities that went half way about security and went for the cheapest offered are now paying for that mistake.
Maybe this is not your case but you could eventually tlak with your neighbors, organize yourselves and either pay for good private security or do it yourselves if people are available. Usually what happens is that people have jobs and see that its better to keep working, chip in, and outsource your security, no problem there if you hire serious people.



Anonymous said...
Hey FerFal. You stated you need money most of all and I agree if it's a slow slide or a mild depression. But what good is money in a Weimar Republic or Zimbabwe type hyperinflation? What would you do in those types of extreme situations?
April 13, 2010 6:15 PM

Well, it depends on the kind of money you had. If you had Swiss Francs I’m sure you could have exchanged it for whatever currency you needed. If you had gold or silver I assure you, you wouldn’t be using it for fire like they did with their own currency.
When that type of thing happens, it happens in places that use a currency that isn’t very strong. These days a country going through that will start using Euros or Dollars on the side pretty quick. Laws forbidding it wont matter much, its impossible to control.
If something like that happens to the dollar or Euro, then you can expect an important parallel market running on gold and silver.
What would I do? I’d have my food, water and other basic supplies sorted out, means to defend myself too. The things we talk about here all the time. I’d try to have an emergency stash of money, put most of it into precious metals or a currency I trust more than my local one that apparently is about to collapse.

FerFAL

11 comments:

David said...

People who think the U.S. dollar is about to crash are probably analyzing incorrectly. Did the Mexican peso crash? Did Argentina's peso crash? Yes and yes...compared to the U.S. dollar.

Do you want to own future waste paper? Buy Euros because you're betting on the political compatibility of incompatible people. The PIIGS spell doom for the EU and its bastard currency. It was a joke of an experiment from Day 1.

There are two exchange rates that matter: 1) How does one fiat currency compare to another. 2) How does a currency compare to goods and services. The former of these depend on how a bunch of idiots mismanage their governments and central banks, and no future trend is sure (were YOU buying the USD on Forex last fall?).

The dollar vs. goods & services depends more on how much credit/debt is trustworthy than it does on the number of 20 dollar bills in circulation. If debts are uncollectable, housing continues to crash in price, and people lose jobs, there will be a lot less debt getting serviced, and if banks seize up due to lack of capital then there will be a lot fewer dollars left to chase goods & services. People who trade all their $US for gold bars at $1100/oz may very well be changing the gold back into $US at $600/oz (or $110/oz) in order to buy groceries in two or three years.

No one knows the future.

Loquisimo said...

Fernando, now I know why you advocate staying in the city, because there is safety in numbers and crime is so bad that the criminals seem to be more numerous than the law abiding, so anybody who is not a criminal is automatically targeted for robbing and killing. It seems that Argentina is becoming a bandit society, where banditry is the norm and non-banditry is abnormal, and eventually the non-bandits will be killed or flee the country, leaving behind a Mad Max type of society.

Your descriptions of Buenos Aires remind me of Detroit and other former industrial centers where the remaining residents have to live in fortresses and hire mercenaries to protect them. It is very much like a lot of places in Africa, where everybody is stealing from everybody else to survive, and the wars between militias are endless. In America, the big cities are like that, and even most of the smaller cities are going that way, but so far, if you pick your locality correctly, you can have a five acre homestead and not really have to worry about anything more than an occasional brain-blasted druggie trying to break in.

There are still places to flee to, IOW. In Argentina, there's not. Nowhere is safe. It's to the point where one has to become a criminal oneself, just to ensure survival. Even the top personalities in the country travel in caravans of five heavily armed SUVs full of mercenaries, and they STILL get robbed. When a country gets to that point, where the rich can no longer buy their own safety, society is toast. A society doesn't get like that overnight.

I think that even if America did get that bad that there would still be islands of safety, where people band together out of some common cultural aspect, and support each other. The ones that come to mind are parts of Utah, where the population is all Mormon and descended from early settlers, and the White Nationalist settlements in Idaho and Montana. Rawles's novel takes place in northern Idaho, near Moscow and Coeur d'Alene, which are among the safest places in the US, and the population is not only all white but shares common positive beliefs that allow them to fend off evil. It is possible for a white population to slide into barbarism, it happened in Argentina, but I'm not sure that universal barbarism is yet possible in America, there's a shared cultural narrative that doesn't exist in Argentina.

Anonymous said...

"No future trend is sure"

I suppose it depends on what "sure" means?

I think there are plenty of trends both financial and social that are basically, minus a cataclysmic disaster, completely irreversible and quite evident.

"The dollar vs. goods & services depends more on how much credit/debt is trustworthy than it does on the number of 20 dollar bills in circulation."

Are you sure about that?
If everyone suddenly received a dump-truck full of twenty dollar bills, the dollar would lose purchasing power no matter how trustworthy.
See: Austrian Business Cycle Theory.

"No one knows the future."

I suppose it depends on what you mean?
Could a person know the future of a rock thrown in the air, or know basically what's going to happen when someone catches a falling knife?

There are informative directional windsocks everywhere, take your pick and place your bets, past performance is no guarantee, but it's a pretty good guide. The sun Will come up tomorrow.

There are plenty of articles discussing why this cannot, or most likely will not happen: but If gold were to go to $600 oz. other prices (such as food prices) would drop for the same reasons and your purchasing power would be the same whether gold was $1000 oz. or $250 oz. or $110 oz. And, getting $110 per ounce sure beats what a lot of stockholders received when their companies went belly up, which was zero. If prices dropped like this to create $250 oz. gold, a huge number of companies would fail.

Nothing "works" in a vacuum.

True safety does Not exist in nature.

True safety does Not exist in the financial world, and not in any hide-away tucked into the far corners of the earth. It's an illusion to think true safety is obtainable, it's just something to strive for, to get as close to as you personally feel is best. People like Ferfal might be able to tell you if you're doing half-way ok or not.

The tide is running out.

Anonymous said...

About the above comment on skin heads and mormon towns being safer. What a joke!

It may be true that it's safer for the skin heads or the Mormons, but if you come into that town and are not a Mormon or Skin head, even if you are a good upstanding law abiding citizen, you will be singled out. Your children will be singled out. And your life will become a living hell. We lived in the next town over from a Mormon controlled small town in Wyoming. What happenes over there to non Mormons is criminal, and it's even worse in the schools for the kids. Same thing with the skin heads. Even if you are white, if you don't belive like them then forget it!

Just because they stick together against what they see as "evil" doesn't make them good people, or even moral people. After all the Nazis stuck together on "evil". They were just a little more intense about a "final solution" to the Jew problem.

Christine

Joseph said...

"The place you mention could be a good place to live in if things get worse and you can coordinate security with your neighbors."
That is a big if due to the original quote stating they would essentially use it for a vacation home during good times. I would caution this family to seriously consider how much people would be willing to help for someone they see on rare occasions and do not have much of a relationship with.

We live on acreage in the country and know our neighbors well. The weekenders that come out occasionally (even less when gas prices are up) and then show up when times are bad looking to 'join us' would be judged very suspiciously. Especially considering this family would most likely have other friends and family in tow because they were the ones that have a bug out location.

Just a different perspective.

Good blog and keep up the writing, your time and wisdom in your environment is appreciated.

Don Williams said...

Re loquisimo at 6:58 pm: "Rawles's novel takes place in northern Idaho, near Moscow and Coeur d'Alene, which are among the safest places in the US, and the population is not only all white but shares common positive beliefs that allow them to fend off evil. It is possible for a white population to slide into barbarism, it happened in Argentina, but I'm not sure that universal barbarism is yet possible in America,"
----------------------
1) The white supremicist Aryan Brotherhood is by far the most violent criminal gang in the US prison system. FBI estimates that it is responsible for 18 percent of all murders even though it makes up less than 1 percent of the prison population:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aryan_Brotherhood

2) When the head of the TOP Mafia family, John Gotti of the Gambino family, was beaten in prison, he went to the Aryan Brotherhood and asked for protection. These guys are reported to study books on anatomy to determine the best places to cut -- and Sun Tzu on the Art of War.

3) Anyone who has been in Appalachia in communities where the coal mining business has declined can see the same threats as occur in inner city ghettos: high rates of theft, high murder rates per capita, a thriving drug trade, and unmarried mothers on welfare.

4) The highest murder rates in the USA are not in black sections of our major cities -- they are in areas where the economy has collapsed and there is a mixture of poor whites and blacks.

Don Williams said...

1) I would note that Mel Tappan agreed with Ferfal. Mel argued strongly against having an isolated
homestead in the countryside -- and argued for being in a small town --in an agricultural area but large enough to have a diversified economy. (Including a hospital).
The concern, as Ferfal noted earlier , is whether those small towns (5000+ people) will dry up and blow away if the national economy collapses.

2) The model is Kinda like the fortified hill towns of the Middle Ages -- or the Greek city states that arose circa 500 BC.

One where people slept behind high stone walls at night with guards on watch --then went outside the city walls in the daytime to work on surrounding farms --with horsemen on patrol scouting the surrounding countryside to give early warning of any invaders.

3) The early pioneers of Kentucky also built forts to which the farmers could retreat from Indian raids -- and kept up mounted scouts to patrol and give warning.

4) As Mel Tappan and Ferfal both noted, a single sniper can take out an isolated farmer at any time.
then kill his wife and children. A bandit gang is even worse.

An advantage that farmers can have over such gangs is that farmers can grow hay to sustain horses -- and horsemen can run down and ambush bandits that are on foot.

This was what once defined an aristocrat.

WATYF said...

Ferfal... are you saying that there's no practical purpose whatsoever (as far as survival goes) to owning a remote parcel of land?

Could it not be used for food (hunting/fishing/farming)? Could it not be used for temporary refuge if crime gets too bad in the area you're in? Is the only choice really to just stay near a high-population/high-crime area and rely on security forces to protect you? Doesn't that make your every move (going to the grocery store, visiting a friend, etc) extremely dangerous?

I know you have experience with this, but I'm just having trouble wrapping my brain around how this works exactly. The US is pretty spread out. The urban areas are packed, but in the rural areas, population density can be extremely sparse. And crime is much higher (per capita) in urban areas than it is in rural areas. So that means that in urban areas, 6% of the populace might be inclined to commit violent crime, while in rural areas, only 1% might be inclined to do the same. So, not only am I less likely to be around people (in general), but even with the people I am likely to be around, it is less likely that those people will be willing to commit a violent crime against me.

And with the much higher percentage of home-owners in rural areas of the US being armed, how could a very small percentage of a very small population (i.e. those inclined to commit violent crimes in rural areas) be an overwhelming force?

I understand that crime rates will rise (both in urban and rural areas) if an economic collapse happens, but even then, it's still a law of averages. I would be much more likely to be attacked in an urban area than I would in a rural area. And any precautions that can be taken in an urban area (i.e. always carry a gun/knife/spare money/meds/etc) could also be taken in a rural area, thus still keeping your chances better in the rural areas.

Just_In_Case_The_SHTF said...

Christine said:

> It may be true that it's
> safer for the skin heads
> or the Mormons, but if you
> come into that town and are
> not a Mormon or Skin head,
> even if you are a good
> upstanding law abiding
> citizen, you will be singled
> out. Your children will be
> singled out. And your life
> will become a living hell.

This is very true. In a small town, everyone knows everyone and what everyone is doing (there's even an old joke about how "people in a small town read the local newspaper to find out if the reporter got the story right").

If you happen to live in a small town and are different in any way, you will be picked on and ridiculed. If you are new to a small town, you are a stranger and are not part of that town. If you happen to be from a big city, you will be labeled a "city slicker" until you can prove to the locals that you are an OK person before you will be accepted and trusted. A small town is a clique and you have to fit into the group norm for your survival.

A larger city, on the other hand, allows for anonymity. No one knows you and for the most part, no one cares what you do (as long as you don't appear to pose a physical threat to anyone). Because there are more people in a city, you are more likely to find others who share your views and interests (if your views and interests happen to be off the beaten path). At the same time, you may not get as much help in an emergency due to the Bystander Effect:

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

Anonymous said...

"If you happen to live in a small town and are different in any way, you will be picked on and ridiculed. If you are new to a small town, you are a stranger and are not part of that town. If you happen to be from a big city, you will be labeled a "city slicker" until you can prove to the locals that you are an OK person before you will be accepted and trusted. A small town is a clique and you have to fit into the group norm for your survival."

I don't agree with this! We live in a very small town of only 1,000 people and we just moved here. No one has singled me or my children out. In fact people have been very welcoming and kind to us. This is a mainly farming community and the big time event of the year is the Combine Demolition Derby, where they take old combines and use them like a demo derby. It's a hoot!

We have lived in several small towns from moving for my husbands job and have always been warned beforehand

"oh, your moving to such and such? Well the people there are going to treat you badly because your not a native!"

I can tell you it has never happened! Every time the people embraced us and have even been giving to the point of shocking us. I don't think it was luck, I think it was us getting involved with the community right away and not trying to come in to change things.

What I was saying is that Mormons and Skin Heads from these small towns have "beliefs" that make anyone not like them the enemy. It is a thing that is ingrained in them from childhood.

However most regular small towns in America are not like that. Unlike what the media tells you small town America is not full of redneck racists. From what I've seen most people don't care about your skin color or religion here, they just don't want you coming in and telling them how to live or do thier buisness.
You will be noticed though, and maybe that's what city people don't like. Maybe they are just not used to it. Small towners are curious about new people, but not in a hateful way. It's just that if your new your a novelty! Kind of exotic! LOL

I really love living in small towns mainly because of the people and how people know you. In big cities people wont notice you all right, but they wont help you either. Here if you have a problem everyone knows, but they want to help you! You either like that kind of thing or hate it.

I just want to say that not all Mormons are like the above, just the ones who control small or large towns. It seems to be a power thing, and they get isolated and only see what the religion tells them. I have lots of Mormon friends from cities and they are very nice people. They are more tolerant of other religions.

Christine

David said...

@anon "The tide is running out."

The current estimate of US$ debt outstanding (not including notional derivatives) is 50 trillion or more.

Do the math: this is literally 5 cruise-ship-weights of cash if the Bureau of Engraving and Printing tried to print 50$T in hundred dollar bills. (I actually DID the math.)

The U.S. economy can't run on cash. It runs on credit, and credit is literally a state of mind, it is the embodiment of shared trust, AKA a product of mass psychology. So is the price of gold. Gold varied in purchasing power dramatically over the 1972 to 2009 period. It was a LOUSY inflation hedge. It's just one more asset, like all the rest, and has its day (like all the rest).

The trick, then, is to identify when it's cheap and when it's dear. Right now it's not cheap. It's the last asset class that hasn't succumbed to deflation.