I really enjoyed your book, (so have my parents, my wife, my friends and a dozen people in my office). It is very well written and packed with useful information. In fact, your book occupies a place in our law firm’s bookcase next to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Your book and your blog bring credibility to the debate over whether and how to prepare for a financial or other collapse
One topic I have not seen covered deals with the timing of events. Most people I know who “prep” talk about “bugging out” and scenarios that rely on “triggering events.” Even in your case, you had a fairly short window of time during which time the currency collapsed. A currency collapse would definitely be a “triggering event” to almost everyone I know. In the last two years, however, I have come to believe we are in slow decline here in the U.S., and that there will not be a single “triggering event” that signals the time to start wearing my body armor (or whatever other example you want to use). The endpoint will be the same, but perhaps less dramatic than in Argentina. The problem is, there is a lot of danger and mayhem between now and what may be the final collapse of U.S. social order, perhaps even a generation. I am worried that in a slower, more orderly decline, it will be difficult to match my level of security with the level of threat. Many more people, even well prepared people, could be taken by surprise
Most of the skills you recommend to your readers are good life skills that all people should have to enhance the chances of daily survival, even under normal circumstances. That said, constant, extreme vigilance is not anymore practical than having Uncle Bob come over and help me guard my house 24/7 WTSHTF. While I am raising my children to be watchful and vigilant, there is a whole different level of vigilance I would apply if I lived during a triggering event like a currency collapse. For example, I let them play outside with their friends in the neighborhood without adult supervision. To disallow that would be unhealthy to their development, and the threat to their safety at the moment is not extreme. If the dollar were worthless and crime rampant as you have described in your book, there is no way I’d let them outside without an adult.
My question to you is this, assume I have taken all the advice in your book and acquired the skills, equipment and commodities to survive a pretty long time; what would be the top five or ten subtle changes in society, government, or markets that would cause you to go from a normal state of awareness to the “never let your kids out of the house to play in the back yard level of awareness?” Thanks,
An economic collapse in many ways is similar to the decline of an empire regarding how complex it is to prepare for it. Unlike defined disasters, natural ones like Katrina or man-made, there’s no clear beginning to it. It is a complex, multilevel event that in some aspects may have a clear trigger or milestone (such as defaulting or bank holydays) but on other aspects it may have been cooking slowly through inflation and unemployment for months, even years. Certain economic events may be easy to pinpoint, but how does unemployment affect people, when will this cause an increase in crime, or affect me directly leaving me without income? When will crime stop being only a factor related to the harsh economy and also be influenced in terms of how violent it becomes due to social hatred because of social polarization? Then there’s also the consideration that it may have been affecting people in different ways based on socioeconomic level and location in the country. Calling such a situation complex is an understatement.
Given such complexity and all the variables impossible to ponder, all you can do is stay informed, learn to tell the different signs and know how to interpret them so as to know what the future holds within a certain margin of error.
Things to look for would be unemployment, rumors from people within the banking and financial world (some of those rumors saved people millions when our economy collapsed) crime and what type of crime is taking place, corruption, debt and inflation. You must also become pretty skeptic regarding the information the main stream media provides. Who OWNS such media channel? Who are their sponsors and advertisers? What political agenda do they have or slightly tend to favor? If the media says the economy is doing wonderful but people on the street are barely getting by and you see more industries moving abroad, do have your doubts.
All these events and signs do tell you something. Don’t wait for the official SHTF day, in socioeconomic terms that simply will never happen, you will simply look back one day and realize the world around you has already changed. That is indeed how people will be taken by surprise. People sometimes talk about rule of law and no rule of law times, as if it were an on/off switch. One day everything is fine but the next week, ups! No ROL folks, so its madness out there, I’ll wear my MOLLE vest with armor plate to work and leave my Keltec 32. In the safe and pick my 1911 instead. Carried in a drop leg holster or attached to my vest of course. People that think this way are the ones that will indeed fail at protecting their families today, ROL or no ROL. If you suffer a violent home invasion in an upper class neighborhood like the Petite family did, does it really matter if some nutcase declared that ROL is still in effect, or that it isn’t? Preparedness is now folks. Modern survival is the way you analyze events, make decisions and ultimately live your life from day one, not after an event. In states where its legal to carry, I would get my CCW permit and carry today. Doing so wont bring any disadvantages to my lifestyle. My kids playing in the street with friends unsupervised? I´d be honest with myself. Can my son defend himself from a social predator? I wouldn’t leave a 10 year old kid unsupervised no matter where I live. How about 13 or 14 years old, and the general area you live in being pretty safe? Then I might be a bit more flexible.