Saturday, March 28, 2009

What Is Economic Collapse Like?

Not good. Worse than I had thought, actually. Courtesy of Gary North's site is a posting by an Argentinian on what it is like to live through a severe economic collapse. Here's an excerpt:

After all these years I learned that even though the person that lives out in the country is safer when it comes to small time robberies, that same person is more exposed to extremely violent home robberies. Criminals know that they are isolated and their feeling of invulnerability is boosted. When they assault a country home or farm, they will usually stay there for hours or days torturing the owners. I heard it all: women and children getting raped, people tied to the beds and tortured with electricity, beatings, burned with acetylene torches.

Big cities aren’t much safer for the survivalist that decides to stay in the city. He will have to face express kidnappings, robberies, and pretty much risking getting shot for what’s in his pockets or even his clothes.

So, where to go? The concrete jungle is dangerous and so is living away from it all, on your own.

Argentina has had chronic financial problems for decades, as has most of Latin America. It has defaulted on its national debt not once, but multiple times during that time period. In 2001, it faced what was apparently a very serious collapse. I was aware that Argentina had fiscal problems; I was not aware that it got this bad. If you are concerned or curious about what might happen in the event of a currency collapse, I would advise reading the whole thing. The author does not speak English perfectly well, but he is clearly a clever guy with a lot of insight on what we in the US may be facing. I would also note that the USA is not Argentina. The argument could be made that our crisis will be much more severe; the opposite argument could also be made. I, for one, cannot say for sure, and only time will tell. But I do think we are in for a long, rough ride. A lot of his suggestions are readily doable and easily affordable by most people: have some rechargeable batteries on hand and a solar or mechanical charging system, LED flashlights and headlamps, food, water, etc. He gives particular attention to the security situation, which I found most frightening. He makes the very salient, and what ought to be obvious, point that criminals are inherently dishonest; they are not going to have a skull-and-crossbones flag flying over them and likely won't engage you in an honest fight. That assault rifle you got at the gunshow last weekend is not going to do you much good, since you likely won't be fighting at long range. The criminal will use guile and dishonesty to get up close, then spring his attack. It is more likely to be an up-close and personal battle, with the enemy having the element of surprise. Doesn't look good for honest, gullible folk. We middle class Americans may be getting a lesson in street smarts... Bottom line: it does not have to cost you very much to prepare at least somewhat for a bad scenario. You won't be able to prepare for every contingency, certainly, but a little preparation now could save you an awful lot of suffering and reduce the magnitude of the adjustments you will likely have to make in the event of a crisis. Think about it.

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