Showing posts with label survivalism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label survivalism. Show all posts

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Father and Son Survive for 40 years in the Vietnamese Jungle

You probably heard about the father (82) and son (41) in Vietnam that spent 40 years in the jungle after escaping during the Vietnam war. If you’ve been under a rock yourself for the last week, its an incredible story, and a reminder to all of those that believe in the “If SHTF I’ll run to the nearest national forest” mentality. 

Surviving isolated in the wilderness for decades is not only unbelievably hard, its not much of a life either. The common denominator in these stories is that people perished to sickness, hunger and those resilient enough to survive show great physical and mental deterioration. As important as it is to learn wilderness survival skills, I don’t believe that the point of that is to use those skills to perpetually hide from the world.
Its fascinating though to see how they lived. Other than a handful of rusted blades, its clear that their most precious piece of gear was their metal cooking pots. This was the same with that family that lived for decades isolated in a Russian forest. The metal containers to cook were extremely valuable an irreplaceable. 

The Lykovs also spent 40years isolated in the Siberian wilderness, and according to their accounts when the last of their pots succumbed to wear and rust, getting by without them became much more difficult. The wood and bark containers they made to replace the metal ones couldn’t be placed directly over the flame, changing the way they cooked, and their diet, for the worse.

The Vietnamese father and son gathered fruits from the jungle, hunted, and even farmed one hectare to grow sugarcane and some tobacco. They lived in a tree house 6 meters from the grown,  a clever choice for jungle shelter.
Here are some pics, notice the worn tools, woven clothes, baskets and bamboo containers.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Interview with Ray Gano, Part II

This is part II of the interview with Ray Gano.
In case you didn’t cath the first one, this is part I
The conversation was very interesting, hope you enjoy it.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Reply: Survival in Egypt


Here is a good article on Egypt you will be interested in, reporting on
things that most media ignored, notably a short period of anarchy when
all hell broke loose:

Here is an excerpt:
"Saturday was indescribable. Nothing that I write can describe the utter
state of lawlessness that prevailed. Every Egyptian prison was attacked
by organized groups trying to free the prisoners inside. In the case of
the prisons holding regular criminals this was done by their families
and friends. In the case of the prisons with the political prisoners
this was done by the Islamists. Bulldozers were used in those attacks
and the weapons available from the looting of police stations were
available. Nearly all the prisons fell. The prison forces simply could
not deal with such an onslaught and no reinforcements were available.
Nearly every terrorist held in the Egyptian prisons from those that
bombed the Alexandria Church less than a month ago to the Murderer of
Anwar El Sadat was freed, the later reportedly being arrested again

On the streets of Cairo it was the scene of a jungle. With no law
enforcement in town and the army at a loss at how to deal with it, it
was the golden opportunity for everyone. In a city that is surrounded
with slums, thousands of thieves fell on their neighboring richer
districts. People were robbed in broad daylight, houses were invaded,
and stores looted and burned. Egypt had suddenly fallen back to the
State of Nature. Panicking, people started grabbing whatever weapon they
could find and forming groups to protect their houses. As the day
progressed the street defense committees became more organized. Every
building had its men standing in front of it with everything they could
find from personal guns, knives to sticks. Women started preparing
Molotov bombs using alcohol bottles. Street committees started
coordinating themselves. Every major crossroad had now groups of
citizens stopping all passing cars checking their ID cards and searching
the cars for weapons. Machine guns were in high demand and were sold in
the streets."


Friday, February 4, 2011

Retreat in Canada

Hi Ferfal,
Been reading your blog for the last week or so, and ordered your book. Just wanted to say thanks for the great info, and a much needed adjustment in my take on things.

We moved to 'the bush' four years ago from a city near Toronto Canada, to 32 acres and a small house that needed much work. We wanted to be mortgage free, near clean water, ect. I've built a 30x12 greenhouse attached to the house, and it heats the place nicely in spring and fall. We keep a dozen chickens, and give eggs to a few select friends. The nearest towns are 40mins drive in either direction. Peak oil/economic turmoil, was the fear that sparked such a radical change in lifestyle.

You are absolutely right about the difficulties of living so far from cities that offer work. We've watched fuel prices climb nervously since moving here. Many of the local people leave much to be desired, alcoholism, drug abuse, and general laziness are rampant among many of the people my age. Scammers and liars scraping by mostly. I'm 40. Those that aren't relying on government assistance to survive, are generally on the religious side. Everyone knows your business, and general affluence.. and many times I've felt as though we were being cased when new people came to visit.

In the city, as a younger man I was very anti gun. I now own a .22lr semi, 12ga pump, and 30-06 bolt action hunting rifle. I absolutely love the shooting sports, and wish laws in Canada made it easier to get involved with pistol shooting. I also enjoy the compound bow very much. Unfortunately the locals know I own weapons as its hard to hide the sound, even in a rural area known for hunting. Although you can't beat having your shooting range right outside your back door.

We heat with wood, and one year I even split all of our wood by hand. Even with a power splitter, going through a tandem load of logs is very hard work indeed. Add the danger of dropping your own trees in the bush alone, and it quickly becomes a gut check moment more often than I care to recall. However, I've not found a better form of exercise than getting good with an axe.

I love your info about being a gray man, and must admit that is my greatest failure. I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve and wish to tell people just how bad the future might be. I just can't believe so many don't see it, and just don't want to hear. I must learn to emulate someone more like yourself.

I've been considering your info regarding security, and wonder how the people who install the shatter proofing films, window bars, and security lighting, fare as a business? Locksmiths? There are many high value cottages near us, that I know are already big targets to thieves as we hear all the time of break ins. As more of them get fed up, I wonder if someone who provides these basic security services, as opposed to the big companies who have monitored intrusion systems.. would be able to make some extra cash.

sorry so long, but I could talk your ear off I’m sure...
again thanks for the great info, and I wish you and yours all the best.

Hi Rich, thanks for your email and sorry for the delay in replying. I’m blessed to do what I like for a living but it also means that between research, book writing, blogging, setting up the new website where I’ll be moving the blog, learning wordpress, answering email, training, like minded buddies that want to go shooting, and a hundred other things time seems to vanish in thin air.
You’ve noticed the fuel problem. That gets more complicated when fuel prices keep going up. In the long run somewhat effective public transportation will be in high demand. Being closer to the city saves on gas, maybe you can just take the bike to work if the distance is short enough and that saves lots of money. Yet again, another reason why people tend to move towards the cities during complicated times rather than move out.
About sharing your beliefs with others, telling people about the bad times to come will often raise an eyebrow or two. Besides, its not good for you either. While tougher times will probably come in the future in general, that doesn’t mean that it will be your personal situation. You´re living in a place you like, you´re doing things your way in what I bet is a beautiful place, but if you tell yourself the future will be worse that exactly how you´ll perceive it even if objectively speaking yours is a position most would envy.
Indeed there’s a market there and I’m sure you’d do nicely if you offer a good service and know how to sell it. People here often go straight for burglar bars. With higher end homes they prefer to pay for esthetically nicer bars that fit the houses’s design, either more modern lines or classic, people appreciate when the burglar bars don´t ruin the looks of their house.
Some are even disguised as shades of some sort, the wide side is placed vertically, stops some of the sun and at the same time the visible area of the bar itself is smaller, the wider side of the rectangle cross section being placed vertically. You should look around and ask to see if people are interested in films. A simple demonstration of how well it works would help convince a few people. Maybe burglar bars are a bit of a taboo and they´d feel more comfortable with film. Definitely something to look into to make some money.
Take care and thanks for your email.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Surviving in Egypt

Anonymous said...
Hey Ferfal, considering the current and coming shitestorms in the middle east. Perhaps a good idea would be to get your book translated into Arabic, I'm sure you have readers who would be willing to do it for free. Egypt pretty much has shutdown and people are hurting. And there will be a great demand for the type of information you provide in your book in the middle east.
February 3, 2011 7:05 AM

Yes, talk about things going to hell fast. In countries where there´s a population very mad at their president and the corruption reaches insulting levels these things happen.
Its the same old story and not that different from our own: They are fed up and want the guy to leave, and the rioting and civil unrest makes this all abundantly clear. Notice two things right away:

1) No president, no government of any kid can «win» against an infuriated population. Remember this next time someone says things such as “Oh, but what can people do against armies, aircrafts, infantry and artillery?” Its actually the other way around. You can´t win a war against your own population guys. That´s on of the best kept secrets by those in power.

2) They just want Mubarak to leave. This is typical textbook scenario. We took the streets so as to kick President De la Rua out, feed up of every one of them politicians with the famous «Que se vayan todos» (Kick them all out).

In survival terms, the basics any recurrent reader of this blog knows by heart by now. Have supplies, have water, weapons so as to defend yourself. Have a defendable position, upgrade your home´s security. (videos on this coming soon) During Argentina 2001 some phone lines collapsed due to the amount of talking going on, people here used email and text messages to organize different demonstrations and protests in their neighborhoods. In Egypt they went a far as blocking the internet. Even that couldn´t stop the inevitable since they found ways around it using twitter through the ordinary phone. You could still tweet without internet by phonecalls to USA. This of course shows how the dieing giant tries to control things. Keep a radio to know whats going on, even better get a police scanner and UHF/VHF radio to gather information. When you have a police scanner and know some of the frequencies used by cops, civil defense, firemen, or emergency response you get a much better idea of whats happening out there.

USA Next?

No, at least not right away. But notice the things that cause people to just be fed up.

 “The country has gone to ruin,” Abdelaziz said. “Everything is expensive. How will my son marry, get an education, set up a household? There are no jobs, only for a select few. We have no hope.”

That´s it right there, folks. People that are used to being poor for generations may take longer to react. But ever rising Inflation? That´s what destroys a social class that once knew better. That´s what causes a country to explode like a powder keg. Happened in Argentina, happened in Egypt, will keep happening in other places. Know these things so you´re not caught entirely by surprise. As inflation an unemployment grow and at some point get out of control, that´s when all hell breaks loose.

 Going out during the eruption stages of civil unrest is not the smartest thing to do. Stay put until things calm down. DONT GO OUT. This may sound obvious but those of us that saw these kind of demonstrations in our country have experienced something some of you may not: You WANT to go out there and peacefully demonstrate how fed up you are, you want that guy to flee like a dirty rat, bad. This is where the survival mindset should kick in. Even though you want to be part of the historic moment and participate with those that get rid of the tyrant, its just not safe and the person with a family to provide for should remember his responsibilities.

And then... what?

This is what people in Egypt don´t know and may cause their utter ruin. What happens after you get what you want. The guy leaves and then...
These revolts are ideal territory for authoritarians to take control. May they be a local warlord, and extreme leftist or right(depending on the extreme of the one that got kicked out) charismatic figure may be voted into power with great popular support. They thrive and spread in these environments like bacteria in an infected wound.
In my opinion, the best possible outcome is not to have the guy escape like a rat through a tunnel or chopper like in our case. The best outcome is to leave him no other option but to call for elections within 6 months. Time enough for listening to serious propositions, not enough time for people to calm down and allow the rat to stay in place. This way the deomcratic process continues and isn’t interrupted. Believe me you don’t want that, no matter how much of a scumbag the president may be. You don’t want that because the one that gets hurt the most is the country´s image to the rest of the world. It takes decades to heal the damage the representative process suffers.
Much better to VOTE the rat out of power than kicking him out with rioting and pitch fork and flaming torch wielding masses. After that, the best person to plaice in office is a smart, conservative person, not too much to the right, not too much left leaning either. In times like these moderation is your best friend for a quick recovery, and charisma, smiles, good looks but no ideas and empty speeches are your worst enemy.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Economic Collapse Preparedness: What to do?

It was during that conversation with Ray a few days ago that he nailed me with that question.
We had been talking for about an hour about how things went down here in Argentina, the similarities, inflation, how “shopping carts” keep getting more and more expensive, how crime affects your lifestyle. But what to do? The person now gets it, the person not only understands the wisdom in preparing for disasters large and small but comprehends that due to the current economic situation, life in general is going to change from now on, unemployment, inflation, loss of life quality in general, crime. But now what?

Step One: Mental preparation

Anyone that knows a thing or two about survival will tell you that survival is 90% mindset. While I agree with that survival is about embracing a certain mindset, I know there’s certain basic “always” gear that you must have to get through some situations, and that no matter how much mindset you have a person with 100 pounds overweight and no physical conditioning whatsoever is not going to walk 50 miles cross-country during extreme cold weather. Mindset doesn’t change the material reality.
Yet I agree, mindset is the most important part and its your first step towards dealing with the “What to do?” question.
1)Accepting there is an economic crisis to being with.
My grandma says it to me sometimes “ Look Fernando, all these people in restaurants, going out for dinner. And then they say there’s poverty.” The false hope is evident in her voice. A couple blocks worth of restaurants and busy bars does not compensate the square miles all around it of poverty and shanty towns. A small number of people do well (there’s always that) but the ever increasing number of poor accepts no debate. If every year there’s more poor, if every year shanty towns or Hoovervilles grow, then things are not getting better.
This is step one for you my friend. Accepting there is a problem and you should do something about it.
2)Accepting that things are different from now on and acting accordingly.
This will influence every aspect of your life. From understanding that you may lose your job at any time to knowing you can’t foretell how much your salary will be worth (its purchasing power) 6 months from now. There’s no “normal” any more. You don’t graduate, get a job and live happily ever after. You study a career which you enjoy because you know you’ll have to be very good at it, maybe create your own source of income. You understand that from now on you will have jobs, lose them, get fired no matter how good you are, and at time be unemployed for long periods of time. You have to be mentally tough so that this doesn’t get to you, getting depressed makes everything much worse. Its understanding your kids aren’t safe anymore. You know you can no longer just trust them and let them make their own mistakes. Mistakes get teens killed here. You can no longer afford to be adventurous, get off the main roads you know. There’s places here in Buenos Aires where you simply will be attacked, lose your car, your clothes or your life. The GPS wont tell you this, you have to know the areas and the risks they represent yourself.
Getting mentally ready for tough times involves all this and much more. The way you spend money. Can I afford to go on holydays? Can I afford to leave my house alone, or trust the neighbor to keep an eye on it for me? Its like Homers lion repelling stone he bought from Lisa. Your neighbor “keeping an eye on your house” has worked so far because there was no real threat to begin with. Your neighbor can’t watch over your place all day and criminals aren’t stupid, they’re just evil…
Ask yourself what would you do if you lost your job NOW. What would you do for money? What kind of home business would you start? Who would you call? You should check now if that person can or is even willing to help. What expenses would you cut? All these things, people are much better off if they plan ahead. If you review your expenses its not hard to cut it down a hundred bucks or two at he very least. There’s people that pay for cell phones they don’t use, subscriptions to magazines they never read. Go over your bank and credit card statement and see which are needless expenses. Even better, use cash instead and write down every single cent you spend on daily basis. I did this and I can’t begin to explain how it puts everything into perspective.
Start saving money. Yes, in spite of the crisis. If you can’t save 5-10% of your income then seriously review your lifestyle and expenses, maybe your job isn’t paying as much as it should. What would you do if your bank closed today, if ATMs have no money? Let me answer that for you. You are screwed. Exactly. Have a at least a months worth of expenses in cash at home. This is what you use when banks close their doors and everyone is running around looking for cash, going to the next town to see if they find an ATM with money. As of today, I’d say that you should put 25% of your savings into precious metals. More if you don’t have physical investments. Understand that as you read this, the purchasing power of the money in your bank is going down. Gold and silver aren’t going up in price. It’s the dollar that is slowly sliding down. Don’t panic but understand this. That’s why commodities in general are going up. Its not gold, silver, coffee and soy becoming expensive. It’s the fiat currency losing value.
Every rational decision made from now on will go through this mindset filter. From parking on certain areas of the parking lot (close as possible for a quick exit) to the groceries you buy (nutritious, easy to cook, long shelf life) Your goal is to achieve to do this without even thinking. There’s also another factor that comes into play: Commitment. Talking is easy, even spending money isn’t that hard if you have it, but if it comes along with a time consuming and even worse, physical effort, that’s where the line is drawn between those that do and those that don’t. Will you have the willpower to start going to the gym and lose that extra weight? Both for your physical health as well as strength for self defense training? Working out will build up your immune system, improve your health in general, sure it will save you thousands worth of medical problems that come along with a sedentary life style. The benefits are too numerous. Dropping the junk food saves money and helps you lose weight, can you restrain yourself next time you go to the supermarket or stop for gas?
Survival mindset wont cost you a single buck, but it’s the hardest thing to achieve. Not just thinking a certain way, but actually reflecting that with your actions and change of lifestyle.
That’s step one folks.

Step Two: Physical Preparation.

1) Your Body: Your body is in essence your most important physical tool. Buying guns wont change your ability to defend yourself bare handed. Buying a fancy “bug out” vehicle wont change your running speed or for how long you can walk. When was the last time you walked until you dropped? Do you have an idea of how long can you walk carrying a bag (+ a baby?) until you can’t go any further? This is strongly linked to your willpower capability, but all the willpower in the world wont help you overcome years of sedentary life, lack of strength and cardio endurance. There’s no other option but training, going to the gym, running, spinning, and working on that which you wish to improve.
I know people feel tired just by thinking of doing all this. The key here is associating these things with pleasure. If you think of spending a couple hours in the gym as a torture session you simply will try to avoid it. That’s the most natural thing. Instead if you associate it with pleasure, and working out does release endorphins, you will look forward to it. Its no longer a torture or unpleasant time, and you look forward to it and try to make time for it instead of coming up with excuses not to do it.
Your Gear: For anyone getting started into preparedness of any kind, some basic gear is needed. My advice is to do LOTS of research, this blog has countless reviews and posts about it, just click GEAR on the topic list on the left column. After looking at what you need, buy quality, cry once and don’t make the all too common mistake of buying junk. There’s affordable quality, you don’t have to spend a fortune.
For the person just getting started into this, the best way to go about is categorizing your items. EDC (everyday carry) will be what you keep with you at all times (again, check EDC on the Topics list) Your home kit is what you keep at home, and it may include a “bug out bag” in case you have to abandon your home (which you do only when you must) another survival kit should be kept in your vehicle and work place.
My quick shopping list for someone that is just getting started would go like this:
Buy a Glock 17/19 and learn how to use it. If you’re not a “gun person” and plan on not learning other than the basic safety rules, (I don’t recommend this attitude) get a 38 Special revolver for last resource self defense. You wont know much, but at least when you have an attacker closing in on you and wishing you had got better training and a better weapon, at least you’ll instinctively point the gun in the bad guys general direction and pull the trigger.
Stock up on food and water: 6 months minimum worth of food, two weeks worth of stored water (gallon per person per day) , more is better. I didn’t make it top of the list because people are more likely to buy food anyway than a firearm. Man, just trust me you need both. I’ve needed both at a time.
Camping gear: This will include a tent and sleeping bags for emergency shelter in case you have nothing else. A stove and cooking kit for preparing food (stock up on fuel as well, even if its just fuel tablets or fire gel) a water filter (very important) backpack, big knife, Swiss army knife, Leatherman Wave mutlitool. Also LED flashlights, get at least three of these, can’t emphasize enough how important it is to be able to see. Research disasters and you quickly understand the importance.
EDC: At all times on you. A folding knife, capable of being used for defense as well. Make sure you at least get one class on how to use such knife if you have to. An LED light and a multitool. I strongly encourage you to carry a bag at all times which allows you to have a bit more gear. Maybe you already carry a backpack in school or college, or a briefcase or laptop case. Include a small bottle of water and be mindful of keeping it full, a shemagh or large handkerchief (many uses), flat roll of duct tape. A couple energy bars ( not those sissy diet bars but ones that have calories in it), A small first aid kit, including a face shield, collapsible respirator and roll of Celox gauze. Hope you never need to use it but may save you if you suffer severe hemorrhage. These items don’t take much space in your bag. If you don’t carry one everyday you might want to start.
Gear isn’t just about having, you must know how to use all of this as well.

Step Three: Gaining the Basic Skills.

If you truly understood the need to be self reliant as a matter of principle you’ll soon want to be able to know how to do things for yourself. There’s people out there that can’t change a tire, let alone fix a leaking faucet, know basic first aid, what to do with different types of penetrating wounds and hemorrhages. What’s a sucking chest wound? What’s happening in the victim’s body, on the inside? Is there something you can do, other than wait as someone dies in front of you, with simple things you carry such as a small first aid kit, some duct tape, a plastic bag and a pocket knife? How about defending yourself with your bare hands and the weapons you carry? Do you even have the mindset to carry a weapon or do you still think that is over reacting? Perfectly normal people carry a gun every single day and there’s nothing wrong with it. In fact, with the crime levels already becoming common in USA, it’s the smart thing to do. The bare bone basic skills you should cover are first aid, self defense and defensive/evasive driving. Take basic or beginners course on each and specialize as money and time allows. There’s of course lots of information on line, but its no replacement for face to face instruction and hands-on practice. First aid classes provided by the red cross are free, though you want to learn how to treat more serious wounds, hemorrhages, penetrating wounds and fractures, this will cover gun shot wounds as well. As for firearms, again, you can’t learn to do it just by reading, it’s a skill that must be acquired through instruction and repetition. Occasionally there’s free classes by some well recognized schools. Even if you have to pay for it, its one of those things you just have to do and its well worth the money. Defensive driving is a bit more difficult to come by since its not as common, but you must know what to do and how to react when chased, attacked by carjackers or dealing with an angry mob.

Quick list:
1) Sit down and read this once again.
2) Go out now, or as soon as possible and buy the essential basics I mentioned, start with the gun and a couple boxes of ammo. Cross your fingers and hope you never need it. Don’t worry, if you buy a Glock you might as well buy gold, its not going down in value any time soon. Stop coming up with excuses for not having one. If that’s a concern for you, a gun vault or gun safe is still affordable and no one will have access to the firearm.
3) Go buy food, canned, long shelf life. If you want to start a garden knock yourself out but the thing to do right now is to have a supply of food. You’re not throwing a single cent away with this, you’ll end up eating it anyway. In fact the same canned food you buy now and eat 6 months later is likely to be more expensive.
4) Don’t forget the basic emergency supplies, including a stove and fuel, tent and sleeping bags, first aid kit, water filter, LED lights and lots of batteries.
5) Get some money out of the bank and keep a cash stash, put 25-50% (your call) into gold and silver. This %, is the only thing I can guarantee you’ll be saving if the economy collapses. Silver is a good alternative if you don’t have enough money for gold.
Once you have these basics covered you can relax. At the very least you’re better off than 99% of the population and you can start working on other long term goals.
Take care everyone,


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Interview with Ray Gano

Hi Guys,  110ºF in Buenos Aires and I had to run some errands today.
As usual, there was a small amount of anti riot police close to Puente Pueyrredon in case there was trouble. The first time I passed by they where all carrying their shields and helmets. At least the second time I passed by they had left them in the truck and were under shadow. 

A few days ago I was interviewed by Ray Gano for his website Prophezine, and we talked about survival and preparedness for over two hours. Very nice conversation, lots of topics covered and I just know you guys will enjoy it.
Take care folks.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Survivalism theorizing and lack of Connection with Reality

Mr. Ferfal,
I love reading your blog. You speak reality when so many other 'survivalist' bloggers like to forcefeed Mad Max and The Road to anyone who sees hard times coming.
I am curious- I just read Mr. Rawles predict that the dollar will collapse within the next few years. I'm sure you can hop over there and read it for yourself if you like.
I read your writing about Argentina, and KNOW that we have some good things going for us here in the U.S. Chief among our good things is the national 2nd amendment, which supports gun ownership nationwide, and that there are many local jurisdicitions (such as Texas) where the right to self-defense is heartily endorsed.
That being said- with so many American preppers preaching doom and gloom for the nation, and you finally being able to emigrate to this country, can you illustrate some reality for what Americans are facing? I don't just mean increased crime, increased unemployment, increased hardship and cost and poverty... I get all that. How legitimate is the idea that the U.S. dollar could collapse within the next few years? And if it did, what would that actually look like?
Tin Man

It’s been years since I last read anything by Rawles. Give me a second while I go check again... No, still not interested. The posts are long, boring and worst of all, his survival recommendations are frankly of little or no use to me. Probably my fault, that S didn’t HTF the way he said it must. :-) I prefer practical (useful) and to the point information. Maybe worst of all, some of the information given is simply wrong, and that wasn’t as bad back when he started writing and everything was fine in the US, but now that people are getting a taste of what an economic crisis feels like, these mistakes will cost you. Too many people have quit their jobs and moved to the sticks, even worse, used up their savings and bought retreats, farms, and such, spent their hard earned money, only to realize that itty bitty detail rarely mentioned by him: Its much easier to live in a retreat when you already make a lot of money through your blog and books. You make serious amounts of money from home already? Knock yourself out man. Buy a farm in Mongolia if that floats your boat. But when a person quits his job, moves to the sticks, and buys a retreat only to find out that its much more expensive and far less productive than he/she was initially led to believe, that’s a different story. There’s a reason why cities are overpopulated in the 3rd world, why they were overpopulated 5000 years ago too. Not because they look (or smell) nice, but because all things considered, that’s where the jobs are, and Americans need jobs more than ever these days, specially since the future isn’t looking very good.

Lets just hope things don’t get even worse. If violence strikes the American population like it does in some 3rd world countries or places like South Africa, the fantasy of defending your “retreat” with your family and a couple buddies will crash against an immovable object called reality.
Today I had some errands to run. Came across a couple roadblocks, found a group of people, maybe 100 or so protesting, another bunch living in tens just a couple blocks away from Obelisco. As I walked around the capital district, the foul smell and people living, sleeping on the streets surprised me,  there’s more and more of them. That’s what happens after an economic collapse. I see it here but it’s the same old story when you look at the experience in other countries.

Here’s a few photos I took today with my cell phone:
Tents in 9 de Julio Avenue. These folks job? They make a living out of protesting and supporting the officalist politial party.

Protesters blocking 9 de Julio in the Heart of Buenos Aires. They wont free the road until a rise in handouts is arranged.

Anti Riot tank of the federal police, common sight in the Captial District.

After that, I came back home and spent a few hours checking some of the survival forums and youtube channels. There’s more and more talk about doing this or that, in preparation for the coming “economic collapse”. Its good that people are getting interested, but apparently every possible thing people can come up with will be invaluable after such event takes place. Yet I scratch my head while I think “What the heck..?” Where do people come up with all this? Some people talk with absolute certainty and not a hint of a doubt about subjects they clearly know little of, or in some cases nothing at all. While some are clearly in it for the Benjamins (in that case I don’t care), I really don’t want to be mean with others because I believe their intentions are good. It’s a bit naïve though to think that your orchard will produce more than fresh food for the family. No, you wont be bankrupting Walmart with your fresh tomatoes. While crime will be a problem, nope, raiders wont be camping on the outskirts of town, just waiting for you. Its much more efficient to steal and rob when honest, hard working people are busy earning a living, and heck no, they wont fight fair. Hostages are plentiful, just take a look at your kids.
About your question, think of it this way.
If you keep saying that this or that will collapse, sooner or later you’ll “get lucky” I guess, but I don’t take that type of prophetic claims seriously. Rawls changed his novel’s title several times to fit the in vogue scare, each time adjusting the first couple pages to fit the current year. The world was supposed to end 20 years ago.  First it was Gray Ninties, then the world ended in the year 2000 (computers where supposed to take over the world, remember?) then it was 9/11, and now again the economy. For 2012 it will probably be the Mayan calendar or something. 

Will the dollar collapse? No idea man. It sure is weak and it could, but that doesn’t mean it will any time soon. Do you think the world ends if the dollar collapses? No it wont. There will just be a lot more poor Americans, that’s all. In the long run if it doesn’t get back on its feet, t may be replaced from its leading role by another superpower but the world will not end a la Mad Max. America as you knew it will no longer exist though, and people would remember for generations its past glory. Again, these things have happened before, empires fall.

I understand your question and comprehend what you are going through. Man, I understand that more than you can imagine. We LIVE with that uncertainty every day here. That’s one of the things that kills people in Argentina. Let me give you just a couple examples. There’s little or no cash left in most ATMs in Buenos Aires. Same thing with gasoline. There’s just not enough gas and lines (if you find a station with gas) go for blocks. Will this situation be solved in 72hs as they promise? How bad will it be afterwards? We just don’t know, and not knowing is what drives you nuts. What will our economy look next month? In a serious country you can make a reasonably safe forecast, but not in Argentina. We lost that after 2001. We just don’t know what the president will do, what capitalists and investors will do, and the consequences it will have in the country’s economy. We live day by day and its about impossible to make long term plans. The average Joe in Argentina goes to work every day not knowing if road blockers, buses or train strikes will let him get back home that night. You are experiencing a bit of that right now, like sour aftertaste in your mouth. The dollar will collapse in the newt few years. What a daring statement, such precision. Kind of loses its awesomeness if you repeat that two decades in a row. 

In my opinion, I think that this year we’ll see the dollar losing more of its value, not collapsing or bluntly devaluating. If they follow the Argentine example which so many economists seem to believe it’s the best option (sons of B&!%*! Should try living here for a while as middle class instead of experiencing Argentina from their Hyatt hotel suits) what you’ll see is more inflation. Little by little inflation will undermine the American middle class and the dollar not officially collapsing. That game can be played for decades, but hopefully with a new administration the destruction of the American middle class will be stopped before its too late. Lucky for you, the American middle class is still strong. And it goes back to what this blog is about: The process already started, some people will be ready for it, some don’t even know its happening. The water level is rising and you must keep yourself at the top (or middle) of the social pyramid on all fronts. Security, economic wise, the things I talk about here. Some folks will be caught with their pants down by crime, others wont. Some will end up losing their homes, becoming poor, but others will manage to keep their standards of living, adjusting their budget where it can be worked on without significant consequences, creating additional income. Others will detect the new market niches and make money thanks to the crisis.

Trying to answer your question as best as I can, the concern of the dollar collapsing is legitimate given the current situation, but I don’t think it will collapse, at least not in any obvious way. As I said before, somewhat similar and less dramatic results can be achieved with a… lets call it “crappier” dollar.
And if it did, what would that actually look like?”
It will look like something you’re not used to experiencing. You mentioned unemployment, poverty and you said that you get all that, but that’s what I’ve been blogging about over two years almost on daily basis. Its such a complex matter I could keep writing daily aobut it for another two years and still have things to tell.

If the dollar collapses you are looking at the world ending as you know it like we did here. Forget the everything you know about everything. The American lifestyle as you know it will end. You guys have an entire country that is built around the assumption that transportation will always be dirt cheap. You barely use public transportation. What will happen? Well, if you can make a living and can’t afford gas or a vehicle, there will be mass exodus into the cities, not the other way around like survival gurus claim.
Cities will of course suffer high crime rates but people wont have much of an option. That’s where the little job to be found is. People will lose their farms like it already happened throughout history in different countries (including USA) and thousands of small towns will be killed by the deep recession that follows the collapse of the dollar combined with folks moving over to bigger cities desperately looking for work.
As the cities and suburbs become dangerous, overpopulated places where the mass of the country, mostly poor live, heavily guarded communities will be built in the outskirts, close enough to commute. Some of the nicer suburbs may be walled and turned into such a place if they are close enough. As the country in general deteriorates, it will be reflected in health and education as well. The O-Public health will be a joke, and only those that can afford expensive private health care (it will become a luxury)  will be covered for real. Of course his will be denied until the end of times like it always happens.
Many of the megastores I saw in Texas, there’s no way those could stay open if the dollar collapses. Some of the malls I saw in Fort Worth were already pretty deserted, wouldn’t want to see what happens to them if the dollar goes down. Lots of these stores that are having a hard time now will inevitably go bankrupt. You’ll be seeing lots of large, empty buildings, ruins of a glorious past.
Basically that’s what it would look like, a 3rd world version of USA. Lots of similarities with what happens here or other countries and of course some differences which you’ll have to analyze to see the provable outcome.

     Hope that answers your question, take care!


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Preparedness, security, guns and calling it as I see it.

Today during Christmas lunch my wife’s family dropped by. After giving the kids what “Santa left for them at grandma’s house” and eating we ended up talking about current events during desert.
Light was out again at my mother in laws house. Yesterday they spent Christmas eve over at the house of other relatives and power went down there as well. When someone drove my mother in law and sister in law back to their place, they saw that most of the neighborhoods they went by where pitch black.
My mother in law told me that this Thursday, they robbed the bank around the corner from where they live. The robbers hit one of the clients and he died of a heart attack. The man died around 10AM. The cops arrived, then the ambulance but since he was dead on arrival and it was a crime scene they left him there in the sidewalk and only picked up the corpse around 6 PM.
This type of thing happens very often. Specially with older folks but adults in their 40s and 50s too, they get scared during the robberies and die because of heart attacks. It also happens when they torture people during violent home invasions. The cruelty some people are capable of is underestimated by most law abiding citizens.

She also told me of another robbery she witnessed recently. A Toyota Hilux was driving around the neighborhood, smashing display store windows and stealing merchandize. They would smash the glass and cut the padlocks of the rolling grille doors with bolt cutters and steal what they can quickly, then get back in the car and hit another store. During another incident a Bingo joint was robbed. Since they couldn’t get through the armored door they simply cut a hole into the brick wall of the building.
What’s the purpose of these examples? It’s the other side of the coin. On one side we have the financial meltdown, with unemployment, inflation and a broad spectrum of situations we must prepare for, but on the other side we have the consequence of the economic collapse, the violence, the lawlessness and crime. Hyperinflation is no joke, you’ve got to prepare for it, you need  to know what to do in case that coma moves a digit to the right all of a sudden. I went through that and it does send a very cold chill down your spine to feel the money in your pocket melts like that. But inflation wont kill you. Bullets, fists, knives and sticks (or heart attacks)  will.
I was just checking a new “Preparedness” website, one of the dozens that have been popping up since “preparedness” went mainstream and is offered like gadgets for perfect abs. Sterile, politically correct, and of course, little or no mention of this side of the coin. These type of emergency preparedness websites and books are almost out of FEMA. They look nice and tidy, (better than my messy blog  ;-)  ) but you can just see the business guy behind it and how its clearly all about the money and so very little about real preparedness.
These marketing type gigs are usually easy to detect. Designed for “click through” efficiency but little content. Same thing for the books. Every possible trick is used to stretch maybe 50 pages of real data into +300 pages.
I’ve been applying a little technique lately. Instead of wasting my time I just read the table of content. If the book (or website) even implies that its intended for anything other than wilderness survival and it doesn’t give serious consideration to “the man is wolf to man” problem (Homo homini lupus),I just stop wasting my time right there. The topic is that important, and anyone trying to sell you “preparedness” info but not willing (worried about losing the more PC type market) or capable of covering it due to ignorance of the subject isn’t worthy of your time and money.  The marketing textbook basically says to avoid the word “survival”, or even worse, “survivalist”. Preparedness is more politically correct. Avoid mentioning guns, its taboo and will turn away the sector of the market composed of sissies. That may be good sales scheme but it sure as heck is poor ethics. 

The economic crisis is already alive and well, the social consequence is just around the corner. People will and already are suffering this. You guys see it yourself clearly with all the emails you send me about violent crime, home invasions and other incidents that weren’t nearly as common before.
During good times you can afford to say useless BS, but when the chips are down and S really HTF beating around the bush and being politically correct about what’s going on will get people killed.
It’s wolves, sheep and sheepdogs out there guys, and this year will bring even more wolves. They are the natural consequence of our times. Just wait until the children of the “new poor” turns into adulthood. Children that saw their parents losing their jobs and not finding one again,  saw them drink, commit crimes and go to jail Poor kids that grow up hating the middle class. Just wait until the unemployment checks stop rolling in. The problem is already there, there’s already more crime than before.
Just wait a couple more years.