Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Many People Now Accept the Concept of an Impending US Financial Collapse

           
What is behind this door ?  Is it a basement, a coat closet, or a pantry ? We won't know until we open it.

 

 My interest in general preparedness began in 1979 when I was a college student.  I thought it made sense to be reasonably prepared for short term weather situations which could be downright dangerous for those who hadn't given thought to ice storms or snowdrifts.  I also commuted great distances to clinical affiliations all over the New York, Northern NJ area, and once, I had to stay in a hotel because I couldn't get back home in Winter.   That year I also read a book called "Crisis Investing" by Douglas Casey and it broadened my horizons.  For the first time I read that many people thought that both the culture and the government of the United States spent money unwisely and that eventually a financial collapse which would likely be worse than The Great Depression.   My parents, like most parents of the day, believed in reasonable preparations.  My father kept extra oil filters, extra oil, and tools for emergency repairs.  My mother kept basement shelves with canned goods on them and a couple of times she met with women from the nearby church and they all learned to can whatever they had each year in abundance.   When I graduated from nursing school and moved into one of my first jobs, a patient who was being discharged from the hospital was required to have a disaster plan on their chart as part of discharge planning.  Most nurses hated doing this, but I didn't.  The idea that we could do everything correctly, and then discharge the patient with specialized equipment, and then have all our work go down the drain when the power went out, bothered me. I took discharge planning and post discharge disaster planning very seriously for my patients. Sometimes this meant that they needed to stay ahead on medication. Other times it meant that a second device was kept in their home in the event that the first one malfunctioned or a power surge blew its logic board. Sometimes it meant that extra oxygen tanks were delivered to the home.  As time passed, the care many people receive in the hospital has deteriorated probably secondary to staffing far fewer numbers of licensed nurses, and the over-reliance on those in scrubs who aren't really nurses, and weren't really educated or trained as such. .  Many times patient and family teaching has suffered, and the preparedness plan for the medically fragile has become less common despite its continued great importance.

              When I married and had children part of being a good parent was to be prepared. I was prepared for high fevers following routine immunizations. I was prepared for vomiting and diarrheal illnesses.  Once again, I heard concerns about a financial collapse in the US.

               My kids are mostly grown now, and although it has taken all those years to get here, most Americans know about the very real possibility of an American financial collapse. They might not have believed in in early 2008, but by the end of that year a great recession began that either cost the family a retirement account, a job, a particular career, their homes, their pets, and sometimes their spouse and family. Very few families have been unscathed by this recession, and very few people believe the propaganda that it's on its way out the door.

                I think I liked it much better when mentions of an American financial collapse were simply an intellectual exercise, and an economic what-if.  We have always had a back up plan as to what we would do or where we would go, and of course, we never expected to need to use it. In the past year we have seen the loss of funds people had on deposit with banks in Greece. We have seen their government take over pensions. We have seen Portugal, Italy, Spain,  and other nations struggle with austerity measures. We have seen riots in the United Kingdom and France as austerity measures began to be implemented.  We have seen the Middle East on fire and our ally, or perhaps more accurately our former ally, Egypt fall into a bitter civil war in which Christians and Muslims have been tortured and murdered for having been the wrong religion in the wrong place at the wrong time. We have watched as Al Qaeda has made great inroads in North Africa, and as China locks up the rare Earth metals and mining business around the world.  Russia has paid down it's nations debts and enjoys a shining transformation from the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.  Capitalism, hard work, and the energy business has transformed Russia into a shining star of business and of culture. I do not begrudge them this success.  I do however sit in awe of my nation having elected an unqualified individual who has strong armed and implemented radical ideas, while Congress doesn't seem to be able to put the breaks on the runaway train of fundamental transformation of this nation into a Third World country.

             Now, as I spend time out in the world I see people planning for "the great collapse" and for "hyperinflation".  One woman told me today that she was stocking OTC medication for the day when the doctors quit and none of us could get one.  The Great Collapse was something I gave a little bit of thought to in my twenties. I believed that some of my assets should be spent in preparation for reasonable possibilities like floods, Winter storms, ice, earthquakes, and even domestic terrorism.  I honestly didn't think there would be a genuine collapse in my lifetime.  However, now people in stores tell me that the US debt, which is only conservatively assessed at 17 trillion using federal imaginative mathematics, is too large for spent America to pay back. Ordinary people now believe that the World's Reserve Currency will no longer be the US dollar, and that collapse, poverty, violence, attempted secession, and even civil war are coming.   I liked it much better when this was an intellectual exercise we all thought might never happen.

            I would love to have a "Pull-up-the-ladder-Jack, I'm-alright" attitude about a financial collapse, but I can't.  Even if by some magical circumstance my preparations were enough to help carry my family through a short term interruption in supplies, what about our friends ?   What about the people who helped build this farm ?  What about the men and women where my husband works, and their families ?  What about all the people who have been so good to my daughter in her challenging new job ?  I am not okay with being alright while "Rome burns".


15 comments:

Kristin said...

Neither am I content with being okay while Rome burns, but I cannot prepare for those who have not prepared for themselves. Most of these neighbors, friends, family, etc, have the wherewithal to prepare for themselves but for a variety of reasons choose not to. I think our best bet it to try to wake up as many people as we possibly can.

Sunnybrook Farm said...

I have brought up the subject of collapse to everyday people who i estimate as being lower middle income or even low income and I haven't found anyone who disagreed about the collapse. These are people who make everyday things happen and they can see what is going on. A guy told me today that people on the bottom won't have as far to fall as the ones on top. He said how it was going to be hard on the people who don't know how to make do with nothing. He was worried because he had lapsed into not growing a garden for the last few years because he didn't have time as he had to work so much to make a living the way things are rigged now. I told him that he did have gardens and knew how to plant one and that was what is important. I suggested that he plow and plant one thing that requires minimum work such as potatoes, field corn or beets. Any crop like that will keep you from going hungry even if you don't have time to tend it as things are now. It made me feel better that i have been running into people who know what is happening, there is hope that locally there will be people who bounce back and form new communities. This guy was taking EMT classes so he is a good person to have around.

K said...

While you concern for your neighbors is good, they are going to have to take care of themselves. The parable of the ten virgins (Matthew 25) is my first thought. You have to take care of yourself, before you can care for others. I've been working up a post about the parable, and hopefully this will give me fuel to push the words from my brain to the keyboard. Take Care.

Sandy said...

Jane,

When the collapse happens, all you can do is first lookout for your family, then others.
Your family is the number one priority.

Have you noticed a difference with grocery shelves in grocery stores?

BBC said...

I moved where I live in 98 (after a powerful dream) with every intention of becoming damn good at getting by on little, or as I like to say, a damn good bum. And I've become a damn good bum that can get by on just a couple hundred bucks a month if I have to.

I simply don't care what the money changers do, or what happens, I think I'll be able to deal with it, I don't hoard gold, I have no idea how valuable gold will be for trading as the future goes to hell but anyone that understands humans truthfully can clearly see that gunpowder will be in big demand. I suppose that the last human made noise on this rock will be an explosion. Or, “Oh fuck.”

If there must be trouble , let it be in my day, that my child may have peace. – Thomas Paine

lotta joy said...

Okay. You hooked me with the photo of the door. Now what? Will you open the door and let me see? I'm still locked into the "extra can of beans" storage. I have my Berkey. I have my emergency prep oven/stove. I have guns and ammo, but I think we ate the beans already.

I'm not making light of it. I'm just always "preparing" one minute, then eating the out of date food the next. Hard to balance things out that way.

JaneofVirginia said...

Kristin, Thank you for your post. Yes, I think one of the missions of this blog is to wake up as many people as possible, and help the others to think about a variety of things that homeowners and tenants should address for themselves.

JaneofVirginia said...

Thanks for your post ! I think your area of first planting durable and easier crops is an excellent idea. I too grow far less than I ought to because I have less time than I did. I commend your friends taking EMT classes. Your friend's assertion that there won't be as far to fall for those who are already struggling is a good observation. I also think stocking up on large sizes of vitamins with a long term expiration date, like Sam's Club,
I am glad to hear that people see the writing on the wall.

JaneofVirginia said...

K,

Thank you for your post. Although I am concerned for others, I can only afford to make preparations for my nuclear family and for my daughter and her intended. My heart is sad for those who chose not to prepare and for their children. I look forward to seeing your post regarding the parable.

JaneofVirginia said...

For someone who seems not to believe in anything, you certainly heard someone's word concerning your necessary relocation ! Yes, I agree with you concerning gold. I wonder if inexpensive silver (which is cheap right now) in small amounts might be a better idea. Of course, you can't eat silver, and so feeding yourself is always your primary investment ! Having the capacity to live as a bum is actually an important skill. My father had that ability and it allowed him to go all over the world relatively safely, and to help people who didn't bother to put on a pretense with him. Let's say he was the original "Undercover Boss". Thank you for your post !

JaneofVirginia said...

Lotta Joy,
I was sent the picture of the door and I have no idea whether it's a basement or a varietal closet door. I wanted a picture where I didn't know the answer either, just as I don't with the topic of today's post. I think you've touched on one of the issues with prepping. It is, and must be a dichotomy. We plan for the collapse of what we know by prepping, and then we live a life using the things which might not be there, while we're hoping that somehow the economy and our country find a way out of the tailspin it is so clearly enduring. We must be masters of doing both things. We must hope for the best and plan for the worst all in the same day. Thanks for posting !!

BBC said...

If you want to invest in something I suggest you invest in gun powder, just be careful in how you store it. If you don't invest in gun powder and need some in the future let me know, but don't offer me gold or silver for it, I'll likely want food for it. Or sex, hahahaha

JaneofVirginia said...

We trade eggs, poultry and some practical things here with local neighbors whom we know really well. We have a rule that we would never trade ammo. We do not, as yet, reload, so we do not have gunpowder. My eldest son has resisted my attempts to get a reloading kit.

BBC said...

I don't have reloading equipment either, but I can see it's usefulness for folks that do a lot of shooting. But most of my shooting is with my black powder guns and you don't need such equipment for that.

BBC said...

Not all of us thinks gunpowder is just for reloading bullets, there are other cool uses for it. :-)