Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Surviving the Economic Collapse

So I started reading a new book last night by survivalist Fernando Aguirre entitled, The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse. The book is based on his first-hand experience of the 2001 economic collapse in Argentina and I must say, it's been an interesting read. {Disclosure: Glenn bought the book from Amazon.com and if you follow the above link and buy it, I get a small commission--around 6-8%. I know, FTC rules don't start until Dec. but I am getting started early. There is also an Amazon ad in my sidebar that has been there for years that should tip readers off that I am an Amazon affiliate}.

Anyway, the first thing that caught my eye is that the book is not edited much and English is the author's second language. Some might be put off by this but I found it refreshing and it made the book more authentic. In a section on "What to Expect from this Book," Aguirre states that "if it's quality literature that you want, this is not it." He points out that his book is free from filtering and the book is self published. "The only editor that showed any interest in publishing said that the book was 'too aggressive' for their target readers."

I did not find the book particularly "aggressive," whatever that means. The author basically tells you to stop being a wimp and learn to think through what you would do physically and psychologically should the "shit hit the fan" (what he refers to as SHTF). He starts by explaining what happened in Argentina after December of 2001 with the economic collapse and the ensuing crisis leading to high unemployment, high crime, poverty and a (short) period of anarchy. What do you do? How do you survive in these conditions?

Aguirre gives tips on where to live (hint: the country may not be the best place as it is easier to rob or get away with a home invasion there. He says a small town or community is best), home security (think like a burglar, install security lights etc.), how to identify threats (don't look for action movie "stereotypes" of bad guys. Look instead for people who are out of place or people who look nervous) and even has advice on cars and how to drive defensively. For example, when buying a car, "Don't think fancy, think common, inexpensive, and readily available." That way, if you need it fixed in an economic collapse, there will be more mechanics who will know the model and brand and parts will be easier and cheaper to find. He also notes that "A guy in an expensive car is still in danger not because of his car, but because the bad guys may think he is rich and kidnap him."

The book is chock-full of a number of helpful tips, and if nothing else, really gets your mind set to thinking about solving problems that are less salient than an economic collapse in your own life. One thing Aguirre points out is that if you are not up to thinking in this manner emotionally and the thought of thinking through these issues keeps you up at night, it's best to let it go. But for those of us who find that a lack of preparation keeps us up at night, this book, along with practice and forethought, might just help us sleep more soundly.

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42 Comments:

Blogger dr.alistair said...

http://www.comebackalive.com/df/dplaces.htm

the guy who wrote the book and runs this website has traveled the world as a soldier and has great info on how to travel through places such as albania and nigeria, though it escapes me as to why anyone would want to.

interestingly his book, dangerous places, is now barred from the bookshelves at chapters, the big box book retailer here in canada.

politically incorrect i suppose, though they have books and magazines on homosexuality and pornography clearly displayed where my children can see them...but we aren`t allowed to learn about how freaking dangerous some foriegn destinations can be.

my girlfriend`s daughter was held at knifepoint while traveling in romania in the summer by a taxi driver who took her and her friend to a bank machine and made them withdraw $600 before he let them go.

our attempts to follow the issue through the embassy and afterwards fell on deaf ears.

we don`t realise the level of safety we enjoy here in consumer land. if this happy little wagon should tip for any reason most people wouldn`t have a clue how to adapt.

and when i say god bless america, i mean that i hope it doesn`t tip over like the zombie movies depict in thier sub-text.

8:33 AM, October 07, 2009  
Blogger Crime Watch said...

If anybody is looking for affordable home security - try www.freealarm.org or www.homesecurityalarms.net

12:06 PM, October 07, 2009  
Blogger Lydia said...

Wasn't there discussion about including an irrational fear of civilization collapsing in the new DSM version?

Something about Chicken Little Syndrome or ShitHitTheFan-o-phobia?

Excessive and irrational worries about this block out worries about other things, like most phobias.

12:23 PM, October 07, 2009  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

and hyper-religiousity tends toward hoping for the end-times.

but i think the issue of the collapse of society sheds light on the fact that we do have a wonderful standard of living here that should be appreciated...while it lasts.

obama scares me with his cavalier attitude toward the engine of our society which is small business and the entrepreneural spirit.

kill that and you kill society, though i think it`s had some serious infections for a while.

12:33 PM, October 07, 2009  
Blogger David said...

One of the most socially-disruptive economic phenomena is extreme inflation...being held in abeyance at the moment by economic contraction, but always a serious risk when money supply is being rapidly expanded by government.

Here's Sebastian Haffner, who lived through the great inflation in Germany:

"The old and unworldy had the worst of it. Many were driven to begging, many to suicide. The young and quick-witted did well. Overnight they became free, rich, and independent. It was a situation in which mental itertia and reliance on past experience was punished by starvation and death, but rapid appraisal of new situations and speed of reaction was rewarded with sudden, vast riches. The twenty-one-year-old bank director appeared on the scene, and also the sixth-former who earned his living from the stock-market tips of his slighty older friends. He wore Oscar Wilde ties, organized champagne parties, and supported his emarrassed father."

"In August 1923 the dollar-to-mark ratio reached a million, and soon thereafter the number was much higher. Trade was shutting down, and complete social chaos threatened. Various self-appointed saviors appeared: Hausser, in Berlin...Hitler, in Munich, who at the time was just one among many rabble-rousers...Lamberty, in Thuringia, who emphasized folk-dancing, singing, and frolicking."

Haffner calls the inflation "the unending bloody Saturnalia, in which not only money but all standards lost their value."

I doubt that we will see an inflation anything like the German inflation or Zimbabwe, but even a return of Carter-era-level inflation would be socially very destructive.

2:03 PM, October 07, 2009  
Blogger Alex said...

we don`t realise the level of safety we enjoy here in consumer land. if this happy little wagon should tip for any reason most people wouldn`t have a clue how to adapt.

dr.alistair - I don't think these Americans would agree with your assessment:

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

they forced their hostages to strip naked, bound and detained them, and subjected them to various forms of sexual humiliation, including rape and oral sex.[4] They also forced the men to engage in sexual acts with the women, and the women with each other. They then drove the victims to ATMs to empty their bank accounts, before finally bringing them to a snowy deserted soccer complex on the outskirts of town and shooting them execution-style in the backs of their heads, leaving them for dead.

So yeah America is not some utopia where horrific things won't happen to you.

3:33 PM, October 07, 2009  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

alex, the exception here proves the rule. america is one of the safest places on earth to live. and while it was a tragedy and horror for the people coming into contact with the whackos in wichita, it is a virtual certainty it won`t happen to us...and we live our lives accordingly.

my girlfriend and i drive luxury vehicles, i don`t cover my rolex while walking at night,and i don`t fear for my safety after dark...though i am cautious.

in zimbabwe or nigeria or albania or iraq at present or major cities in south africa it is absolutely certain that you will be assualted, raped, tortured or otherwise deprived of life if you step from the relative safety of secure areas around heavily armed police or military.

and forget siera leone or congo unless you are suicidal.

4:54 PM, October 07, 2009  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

though in new orleans a policeman did chase my wife and i on foot to warn us not to wander too far from the convention center dressed as we were...

4:56 PM, October 07, 2009  
Blogger br549 said...

Things aren't looking real good in the recovery department, I'll say that much.

7:01 PM, October 07, 2009  
Blogger Learning Curve said...

FWIW,a long discussion group post, presumably the one that led to the book itself, can be found here on the author's blog.

8:55 PM, October 07, 2009  
Blogger Learning Curve said...

Looks like my link is broken. I'll try again:

FWIW,a long discussion group post, presumably the one that led to the book itself, can be found here on the author's blog.

The link itself is http://ferfal.blogspot.com/2008/10/thoughts-on-urban-survival-2005.html

8:57 PM, October 07, 2009  
Blogger Dr.D said...

The big urban centers, NYC, Philadelphia, Baltimore, DC, Chicago, Detroit, LA, etc. will be an absolute nightmare if it comes to this. They will become open war zones very quickly.

9:55 PM, October 07, 2009  
Blogger Professor Hale said...

They will become open war zones very quickly.

Disruption of food supplies among those who do not plan ahead tends to do that. If you have a 6-8 day supply in your pantry, a 3 day interruption is no big deal. But if you are used to living day to day in a world of 24 hour restaraunts, you start to panic on day 2 when you notice fast food places are closed and grocery stores are empty.

There is a mentality among some people that civilized behavior is only required when the police are around. If they suspect anarchy is going on, they want to get in on it.

8:45 AM, October 08, 2009  
Blogger Prime Designer said...

Hm, no Kindle version,

Converting a book into electronic format is easier than making a 1990s web page.

I'm no longer interested in collecting reams of paper.

9:53 AM, October 08, 2009  
Blogger Cham said...

I am utterly fascinated by America's fascination with safety and looking good. We are a nation that loves to talk about avoiding being a victim of crime, planning for inevitable disasters and figuring out ways to avoid injury. Our other obsession is talking about looking good and (of late) being healthy. The ads for botox, stomach stapling and plastic surgery abound as the healthcare profession has learned to earn a buck off our low self-worth.

If one listens to enough of us they would think anarchy here is imminent and we are hideous figures desperate in need of transformation. Our homes become more and more like fortresses, the enemy is everyone else. We must look good, become actors to fool people that we are more in control than we actually are. We are no longer living life for us, but for the impression we give to others. We are exactly where the government wants us....terrified and controllable.

5:45 PM, October 08, 2009  
Blogger Alex said...

Cham - speak for yourself. I don't have any need to botox, stomach stapling or plastic surgery. I'm absolutely fabulous and anyone who doesn't think so can bite me!

5:51 PM, October 08, 2009  
Blogger Chuck Pelto said...

TO: Lydia, et al.
RE: DSM & Paranoia

Wasn't there discussion about including an irrational fear of civilization collapsing in the new DSM version? -- Lydia

Being concerned about what awful things might happen to civilization is just being smart.

Disaster can come in MANY forms. Including a largish hurricane. Just ask the people who used to live in New Orleans.

Then again, we witnessed the economic collapse of post WWI Germany and the rest of the world. Including US.

I see Newsweak has the cover of a nuke going off and talks about Iran getting some.

Interesting to hear the guy who showed me the mag telling me it's nothing to be worried about. And I'm reminded of Dr. Strangelove Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.

On the other hand....

....I notice how Iran recently tested a 'short range' missile that could deliver nuclear warheads to Israel....DIRECT.

And I'm reminded of how such a delivery mechanism could be used to loft a nuke warhead, or four, high above the atmosphere of the US to deliver enough EMP to knock out 98% of all electrical power.

Imagine life in the US without electricity for several years.....

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. Check out One Second After from Amazon.com.....

11:49 PM, October 08, 2009  
Blogger Helen said...

Cham,

Actually, the government wants us helpless and dependent on them. Books like this one help us to be independent and help ourselves. If the people of Katrina had tried this approach, instead of waiting for government help, they would have been a lot better off. You, and the current government fear people who don't need them, for they are the ones who are hard to control.

6:20 AM, October 09, 2009  
Blogger br549 said...

If Iran began a nuclear exchange with Israel, it would be out of existence in no time. The lands in and around Iran and Israel would be uninhabitable for years, and that would progress well beyond each individual nation's borders. The Persians may well be Muslim, but I don't see them as a nation of suicide bombers, even if it is just a couple of big ones mounted on rockets. The nukes would basically be strapped to every Iranian. The Iranian people must certainly know that.

6:21 AM, October 09, 2009  
Blogger br549 said...

Where Iran is dragging its people, and what has happened there recently, is one of the best arguments for our second amendment.

It appears our government has forgotten why it is in existence, and who it works for.

6:27 AM, October 09, 2009  
Blogger Salt Lick said...

I think what distinguishes Fer Fal's book from other "survivalist" works is that it grows out of an author's real-life adaptations to his country's slowly deteriorating economy, security, and public infrastructure. This is different than other works, which anticipate less likely, Sci-Fi, Hollywoodish or Revelationist-type collapses.


Fer Fal's experiences ring very true to me, as they remind me of the life I lived as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya in the 70's. The crime, the constant watchfulness on security matters, the corruption, the daily struggle to shop for basics -- all of this rings very real, and people in America under the age of 30 don't realize how far this country has ALREADY sunk in that direction. (Example -- I thought private security guards and home alarms were strange -- vulgar -- when I first encountered them in Kenya in the 70's. Now, you can't drive around any American suburb without seeing the security-system signs on lawns.)

I'd highly recommend Fer Fal's book, "just in case."

6:55 AM, October 09, 2009  
Blogger Prime Designer said...

Cham: What does anything you said have to do with the book?

9:11 AM, October 09, 2009  
Blogger David said...

There's a fairly good novel, titled "One Second After," about what happens to an American community after an EMP attack.

9:55 AM, October 09, 2009  
Blogger Chuck Pelto said...

TO: br549
RE: If

If Iran began a nuclear exchange with Israel, it would be out of existence in no time. -- br549

Looking at it logically.

[1] That may be true.
[2] The Mullahs may realize it.
[3] But would that stop them from trying?

On the other hand, retribution from Israel might not be enough. There's also, albeit ever so much less with Obama, the possibility of retribution from US. There are implications of Iran going nuke on Israel that go BEYOND Israel. There's also Iraq and Saudi Arabia and Lebanon and Egypt. Not to forget Jordan and Kuwait.

In order for ANY attack on Israel to be effective, the US MUST be considered....if not neutralized.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. It seems someone deleted my scenario of how to neutralize US, which was posted shortly after my missive at 11:49 pm, Oct 8, 2009.....

4 container ships. 4 nuke-tipped Iranian missiles and we have enough EMP to keep US 'busy' for a number of years....

2:21 PM, October 09, 2009  
Blogger br549 said...

Chuck - it's not just the U.S. who has an interest in non nuclear actions in the area. Turkey, don't forget them. But what I was driving at is the Iranian people. I don't think they are lock step with their government by any stretch of the imagination. They are just out gunned. The dumbest thing about Iraq is we removed the biggest threat to Iran in the area. And even at that they were (are?) sending manpower and equipment over.

I will admit it is hard to look at things as they are, without thinking of Revelations. The U.S. doesn't amount to a hill of beans, in the Biblical sense. Christianity is all about a personal relationship with J.C. It's not about nations. Very few people understand that, me thinks.

EMP testing has been going on for a long time. There are safeguards and back ups in place. Of that you can be sure.

6:01 PM, October 09, 2009  
Blogger Chuck Pelto said...

TO: Dr. Helen
RE: A Test

Testing....Testing....

7:56 PM, October 09, 2009  
Blogger Chuck Pelto said...

TO: All
RE: Heh....

It's 'interesting' that my replies to br549 are NOT coming through....

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S Maybe Obama's control of the internet are bearing 'fruit'.....

9:19 PM, October 09, 2009  
Blogger br549 said...

Blogger and I have never gotten along, Chuck. 90% of the time I have to send twice for a comment to show, quite often 3 times. On some of my long winded comments (no comment) they just disappear altogether.

5:46 AM, October 10, 2009  
Blogger Cham said...

I tend to copy everything before I post these days. It's a good insurance policy.

7:46 AM, October 10, 2009  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

nuclear war seems to have little profit incentive, though emp pulses might, and conventional warfare is proven to be a goldmine.

follow the money.

3:33 PM, October 10, 2009  
Blogger Chuck Pelto said...

TO: All
RE: Blogger

I keep trying to post to br 549....

...and nothing is getting 'through'.

How very....'odd'....

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Anyone else getting 'paranoid'?]

5:29 PM, October 10, 2009  
Blogger Chuck Pelto said...

TO: All
RE: The 'Postings'

Seem to be VERY 'selective'.

Not sure what the limitation criteria is, but something is in there.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. ONCE AGAIN....

....I call upon the good doctor to move to a REAL blogging environment.

And NOW I add that one she controls will allow for better Freedom of Expression.....

5:32 PM, October 10, 2009  
Blogger Chuck Pelto said...

TO: br549, et al.
RE: Heh....

....since Blogger is apparently NOT going to allow me to reply to your comment at 6:01 PM, October 09, 2009, for whatever reason they think is 'political correctness'-challenged....

....I'll post my reply at my web-site, www.comensarations.info....

....and we can carry on the obviously 'politically incorrect' discussion THERE!

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives. -- President James Madison]

5:38 PM, October 10, 2009  
Blogger Chuck Pelto said...

TO: br549, et al.
RE: Go....

HERE!!!

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[If you're not 'paranoid'....

....you're not paying 'attention'.]

5:48 PM, October 10, 2009  
Blogger Chuck Pelto said...

P.S. HEY!!!!!

....Lydia!!!!


You catching 'on' here?

5:55 PM, October 10, 2009  
Blogger br549 said...

Yeah. Blogger is acting strange. Drudge report is slow, too. I am having to close my browser (Firefox) and open it up again to actually get anywhere. It must be all the swooning Obama fans world wide reading the multitude of lengthy articles out there, revealing the long list of accomplishments Obama has that have yielded the unanimous votes for his peace prize.

6:42 PM, October 10, 2009  
Blogger Chuck Pelto said...

TO: br549
RE: Actually....

Yeah. Blogger is acting strange. Drudge report is slow, too. I am having to close my browser (Firefox) and open it up again to actually get anywhere. -- br549

....it goes farther than THAT.

Yesterday, I was talking to a rep in tech support for HP. Something to do with a printer I procured from HP in February of this year.

His report—FROM INDIA—was that he is experiencing network-via-web issues THERE as much as we are experiencing HERE. Not only at his work, but at his home as well.

Something is 'up'. And I'm not getting a good 'feeling' about it.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[As an old colonel once told this, then young, captain....

There are two ways to exercise power.

The first is to make decisions for people who would be better off making them for themselves. The second is to withhold information from people that would allow them to make better decisions for themselves.

I would suggest a third way: to provide people with false information with which they make decisions.]

6:57 PM, October 10, 2009  
Blogger been there seen that said...

EMP testing has been going on for a long time. There are safeguards and back ups in place. Of that you can be sure.

No, you can't. A small set of key military systems are hardened.

Other military and pretty much all civilian infrastructure are vulnerable. That includes: power grids, communications grids, the financial sector, food and other supply chains, the transmission on your car if it was made after ~1974, electronic locks on your home safe or gun vault, your emergency backup radios unless they are kept in a sealed metal box, etc.

full disclosure: this is not my area of technical expertise. It is, however, the expertise of some people I know, who're about a knowledgeable on the topic as anyone in the country.

8:17 PM, October 10, 2009  
Blogger br549 said...

I was reading a couple days ago where the U.S. has relinquished control of the web. Should have bookmarked that, too. I wonder if the problems are a new set of strings entwining themselves within the web.

10:16 PM, October 10, 2009  
Blogger br549 said...

Google "US relinquishes control of the web" for lots of links to the subject.

The many news blurbs I've read over the last few years stating our government and military sites have been compromised by hackers that have been traced to China and to Russia (and elsewhere)have come back to mind.

10:30 PM, October 10, 2009  
Blogger David said...

One area of infrastructure that is very scary is water distribution. In the US, just about all water pumps are powered from the electrical grid, and I don't think very many of them have backup generators (which would have to be pretty large given the size of the pumps)

I understand that in the UK, some water pumps are directly driven by gas or steam turbines and hence are independent of the grid...sounds like a good idea.

11:31 AM, October 11, 2009  
Blogger Chuck Pelto said...

TO: David, et al.
RE: The Water Business

ne area of infrastructure that is very scary is water distribution. In the US, just about all water pumps are powered from the electrical grid, and I don't think very many of them have backup generators.... -- David

Generally speaking.....

....largish ones probably DO have back-ups. Smaller ones probably don't.

But what's the point of having a 'back-up', or emergency generator, if you can't get fuel for it?


RE: UK

I understand that in the UK, some water pumps are directly driven by gas or steam turbines and hence are independent of the grid...sounds like a good idea. -- David

How do they get the gas or whatever drives the steam turbines 'distributed'?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Be Prepared.....]

9:32 AM, October 12, 2009  

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