How to Survive an Economic Collapse

Thankfully, history can give us some advice here. The person who produces, whether that be food, shoes, holsters, or some other form of a tangible good, is the one who holds true wealth. They’re adding something to society, creating something that others need or want.

In the same spirit, I would argue that the person who can provide a tangible service as well also has true wealth. An electrician who can provide light to a building, a plumber who can ensure personal hygiene is a diminished issue, and a doctor who can repair a wound are all examples of people who may not necessarily produce tangible goods (such as in the case of farmers, leatherworkers, and blacksmiths), but they still are able to produce a service that is both wanted and needed. So, one of the first things that we can do to prepare ourselves for economic collapse is to become capable of producing. This can be done in two primary ways: by learning a new skill or by getting into the business of producing merchandise.

Learning a New Skill

This is part of the reason that I went and became a locksmith. I have more than one job but wanted to have something of a backup plan perchance something should happen to my primary income. Tradesmen are both necessary and (typically) in short supply. Learning a concrete skill seemed to be something that would provide a fairly decent insurance policy should I need to fall back on something else. I’m glad I did, too. We’re a ‘key’ business.

Whether it be plumbing, carpentry, farrier work, or any other kind of trade for that matter, the point is that becoming proficient in trade is to make yourself proficient in something that is likely to always be necessary.

Learning to Produce Products

The second aspect would be an investment in particular merchandise. It involves producing products, starting a side business of some sort, perhaps. True, this often requires increasing one’s knowledge in a particular field, but there are some regions where it is simply the investment that allows a man to produce. As the saying goes, it takes money to make money.

This is where a shopkeeper would fit in. It is because such a man has invested capital into supplies that he is able to produce wealth for himself. Post-economic collapse though, which supplies will help one to produce wealth, however? Well, that leads me to the next topic: bartering.

Barter Society

I think that one of the first things that people need to realize when it comes to economic collapse is that things revert to a BARTER society. Look throughout history, and you’ll see that this is the case. People start with trading goods and services for other needed/desired goods and services. Greece proved this with its recent economic collapse within the past five years or so. People traded eggs, milk, and meat for what they needed. I think it’s important to note that the farmer – a producer – was the one that was able to provide this for people as well. HE had true wealth throughout the collapse.

In Venezuela, we saw the same thing. People resorted to trading bananas for haircuts. The FIRST thing that becomes of value during an economic collapse is goods and services. True, there will be a very short window in which cash is king until people realize that the paper they have trusted all those years is now truly worthless in every sense of the word, but that window is short.

Barterable Goods and Services

So, after the brief cash window closes, after your world resorts to barter, the question becomes: “Okay, so what do I barter with? How do I get the things that my family needs?” Regarding goods, I believe that the following is a good list, to begin with. These are the things that people are going to need, and that are going to hold intrinsic value post-economic collapse:

  • Water – Particularly water bottles. These are readily portable, and not so value dense as to be unpractical for trade.
  • Water Filters – The majority of Americans have less than 3 days of food in their home. That includes water. If people can’t afford their electric bill, post-economic collapse, they are going to need access to safe water, and a water filter provides that.
  • Ammo – I truly believe that this will be one of the most practical and widely accepted forms of currency. It’s been used before as a currency, and it’ll be used again.
  • Guns – Value-dense, but there are going to be people who want them to protect their families from post-collapse violence. The demand for guns skyrocketed this year thanks to the riots and government action. What do you think the demand will look like post-collapse?
  • Gasoline Containers – Everybody will need them, and very few have them.
  • Food – There will always be a need for food, and – as witnessed by food bank lines – one of the first indicators of economic downturns.
  • Diapers – Parents go through thousands of these per year and will not have an adequate supply for their kids post-collapse. I believe reusable cloth diapers will be important.
  • Body Armor – Value-dense, but people will want it. There are record sales of it this year, and that desire will continue in a violent, post-collapse economy.
  • Coffee – It creates an addiction, and the withdrawal effects SUCK. People are going to want coffee, and there are ways to store it for a long time.
  • Boots – There will be an increase in the amount of walking the average man does thanks to the unavailability of gasoline. Shoes will wear out and need to be replaced.
  • Coats – Clothing wears out, new people are always being created, people constantly change size, and people always need it.
  • Gloves – There will be an increase in outdoor work, and gloves wear out.
  • Alcohol – Another thing that mankind can’t seem to get enough of. I just wouldn’t broadcast how much of this stuff that you have. People kill for it.
  • Tobacco – Another addiction that I wouldn’t broadcast you have a lot of. Cigarettes were routinely used as currency among POWs in WW2, and still are used in prisons throughout the world as currency.
  • Baby Formula – If breastfeeding is no longer an option, people are going to need formula to feed their babies. Parents WILL feed their babies, and there will be a dire need for such. Once again, not something I would advertise that I have a stockpile of.
  • Gasoline – This will always be needed for vehicles and generators.
  • Salt – Needed for meat storage since it is very unlikely that people will have access to constant electricity for refrigeration.
  • Medical Supplies – Crutches, slings, gauze, various first aid equipment and more will be in short supply. People always hurt themselves, and very few of much stored for their own first aid.
  • Medicine – There will always be a need for medication.
  • Spare Gun Parts – Guns break, and few have spare parts stored.
  • Holsters – The thousands of people who bought pistols to keep in their nightstand will come to realize that they need a way to carry their weapon around with them. Things will be too dangerous to do otherwise, and many forget to buy a holster ahead of time.

When it comes to services, these are the skills that I believe will be in great demand post-economic collapse. It would be wise to learn at least some degree of proficiency in one of them.

  • Farming – Food production will be vital, and the man with beehives, fields, a garden, chickens, or dairy animals will be able to produce an item that people need on a daily basis.
  • Ranching – Much different than farming. Whether you know how to manage cattle for somebody else, or have the knowledge to raise them of your own accord, cattle, sheep, goats, and so on are going to need to be cared for to provide meat, leather, hides, and more for people.
  • Mechanical Work – Vehicles, generators, and more will break down and people will need them to be fixed.
  • Electrical Work – Wiring solar, pumps for wells, and more will always be needed.
  • Machining – It is likely that there will still be factories producing, and machinists will be needed for such.
  • Gunsmithing – Accidents happen, and few trust their own abilities to fix a firearm. Gunsmiths will be needed for such events.
  • Leatherwork – Primarily for holsters, gun straps, and clothing.
  • Medical Work – There will be a dire need for such workers post-economic collapse. People will be unable to afford their medications, or regular healthcare services, and thus there will be a drastic increase in acute conditions. Medical workers will be needed to address such, even if it is on the individual barter basis.
  • Protection – Herds, businesses, neighborhoods, and residences are going to want permanent protection, and will be willing to hire experienced armed men to do so. Knowing how to patrol, set up a perimeter, and dispose of threats will be in demand.
  • Baking – Knowledge of how to make bread will allow you to produce an item that everyone will need and want post-collapse.
  • Textile Creation – Whether this comes in the form of knitting, crocheting, tailoring, or so on, there will be a need for items of cloth as clothing gradually wears out, is lost, soiled, or stolen.

Keep in mind that all the above are general lists. Undoubtedly, you will be able to think of both goods and services that will have post-economic collapse values that are not included above. These are simply given to get your mind thinking about some sure-fire ways to be able to barter for what you need in the event of an economic collapse.

How to Survive an Economic Collapse Summary

If you had asked people a year ago if they ever thought the entire world would enact lockdowns and refuse people for not wearing a mask at Kroger, they would have said you were nuts. Yet, here we are. Why is it so improbable to think an economic collapse couldn’t be next? All of the warning signs are there? Is it foolish to just ignore them, and pretend that things will always continue on as “normal”?

I’ll let you come to your own conclusions.

Hopefully, however, this article has helped you to come to some decisions on the matter. Hopefully, it has given you something to think about. Are there other factors with an economic collapse that you don’t think I covered? Are there other skills or goods that you believe to be an inherently valuable post-economic collapse? Let us know in the comments below!

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Published by SULV Foundation

Build and Repeat is our Mission and Purpose, we strive to make the world a better place while creating inter-generational wealth.

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