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All posts for the month December, 2014

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By Joshua KrauseReady Nutrition

Among preppers there is a common argument between those who buy gold and those who don’t. On the one hand, gold has been used as money for thousands of years. It wouldn’t be a stretch of logic to assume that if our current monetary system falls apart, something like gold might pick up the slack.

But on the other hand, gold by itself can’t help you survive. “You can’t eat gold” is a common saying on the other side of the debate, and I can’t disagree.

I would argue though, that it depends on how severe the collapse is. If we’re talking about an economic collapse, I believe gold will become very valuable. After the Greek economy contracted several years ago, gold was being sold on the streets of Athens for more than double its spot price.

However, if we’re facing a truly devastating event, something that may kill millions and take decades recover from like a nuclear war or an EMP strike, then things like gold may go on the back burner for a while. It’ll still have some value, but when survival consumes your every thought, your priorities tend to change.

So if you want an idea of what items may be used as currency when the grid goes down, it would be wise to look into history to see what our ancestors used for bartering. These people lived their entire lives with a standard of living that was far lower than ours, and the commodities they prized were essential to their survival. If you want to call yourself “rich” after the collapse, here’s what you can look forward to accumulating.

Salt

Water often gets all the praise for being so essential to our survival, while salt gets to play second fiddle. In reality, salt is almost as important to our well being as food and water. Nowadays salt can be had for a few dollars, but there was a time when it was worth its weight in gold, and was used as currency to pay Roman Soldiers. Not only was it valued for its health benefits, but it could be used to preserve food and cleanse wounds. Anywhere in the United States that is far away from the ocean will probably see the price of salt skyrocket after the collapse.

Fur pelts

During the Middle Ages squirrel pelts became a common unit of exchange among the lower classes in Russia, and the Czarist government sometimes demanded their taxes be paid in pelts. In Finland the term for money (raha) used to be synonymous with “squirrel skin”, a throwback to when pelts were used as legal tender. And in the colonial New England, beaver pelts became so prized that they could be used in lieu of money.

There’s really no mystery behind this. While clothing is relatively cheap nowadays, before the industrial revolution a good jacket could set you back. And in places like Canada, New England, and Northern Europe, the clothes you wore were a matter of survival. So holding a handful of beaver pelts might as well have been a wad of cash.

Tobacco

While tobacco has likely been used for trade among Native Americans for centuries before the Europeans arrived, by the 17th century it was practically an official currency of colonial America. In modern times it’s frequently used as currency in American prisons, and its portability and addictive nature makes tobacco a hot commodity almost anywhere in the world. After the collapse, it would be safe to assume that a pack of cigarettes will go a long way in any barter situation.

Knives

One of the strangest stories in the history of currency, involves a prince from ancient China. He was running low on funds for his army, and gave his soldiers permission to trade their knives with the local villagers for supplies. The knives became so popular among the people, that it soon became a standard form of payment for the next 400 years.

It’s easy to see why. Knives fit the profile of a good currency. They are portable, durable, and they have intrinsic value(especially for a population that is struggling to survive). It wouldn’t be surprising to see knives become a part of everyday transactions after the collapse.

Alcohol

During America’s colonial period, it was common practice to reward slaves with alcohol. However, even free men expected more than just pennies and silver for their hard work. Paying laborers beer in addition to money was considered customary.

However, if the grid goes down tomorrow it’s the hard stuff that would become highly sought after. It has a much higher shelf life than most beers, and is far more useful. Liquor can be easily rendered to its purest state, where it can then be used for fuel, food preservation, and for disinfecting wounds. In addition, alcohol is fairly portable, divisible, and durable, making it a great stand-in for modern currency.

Herbs and Spices

Much like salt, pepper corns used to be far more far more valuable then they are today, and were used as currency for centuries. No matter where you were in the known world, having a sack full of pepper could buy shelter, clothes, and food.

In South America, Cocoa beans were frequently used in trade, and cultivation of the plant was often suppressed by the Spanish to keep its price high. And in China, tea leaves were usually compressed into bricks which made them far more durable for long distance trading with their neighbors.

However, these items aren’t as valuable in modern times, and few would argue that these plants are essential to human survival. They are mere luxuries. If our modern world were to fall apart though, there is one plant that will likely become an essential part of everyday trading. That plant is marijuana.

Not only has it been recognized for it’s medicinal and pain relieving properties, but its hemp fibers can be used to make rope, clothing, paper, and fuel; and the seeds can be eaten for their protein. In Colonial times, hemp was so important to the British government that farmers were forced to set aside a small percentage of their farms for growing it. The plant was so valuable that it could be used to pay to your taxes. So if there’s one item on this list that may end up being the survival currency of the future, then I suspect marijuana is the strongest contender.

 About the author:
 
Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition: Six Kinds of Currency That Might Emerge after the Collapse

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Several months ago I wrote an article discussing how much ammunition survivalists should stockpile. As a bit of a recap, in that article I suggesting buying a minimum of 2,000 rounds of ammunition: 1,000 rounds for practice, and another 1,000 for stockpiling. You can never have enough ammunition, but 2,000 rounds at the minimum is a good guideline.

In that same article, I also briefly mentioned stocking up on magazines. Again, you can never have enough magazines, but I suggested a minimum of six magazines for each magazine-fed weapon.

Here, we’ll combine these two ideas of adequately stocking up on magazines and ammo by discussing magazine capacity. Is magazine capacity important?

Many states have enacted gun control laws that limit magazines to only 10 rounds. Other gun control laws include bans on semi-automatic weapons (so-called “assault weapons”) and stronger background checks. There’s also always the threat of the federal government enacting similar gun control laws on a nationwide scale.

We live in a modern era where the majority of magazine-fed weapons carry as many as 15, 20, 25 or 30-round magazines. But is magazine capacity really that important? Will things really be worse if you have only 10 rounds in your rifle when you could have had 15 to 30 in your pistol?

The answer is yes: It is.

The advantages to having a high capacity magazine over a low- to mid-capacity magazine are worth it. Granted, some small pistols only carry six or seven rounds. But we’ll be talking about larger pistols that carry 15 or more rounds in the magazine, and rifles that carry 20 to 30 rounds.

Using a high-capacity magazine isn’t just so you can put a lot of lead down range. Here are four reasons you should consider a high-capacity magazine:

1. Less Reloading

This one may seem like a “well, duh” reason, but the most obvious reason to having a high-capacity magazine is that you don’t have to reload your weapon as often. It takes more time to shoot 15 to 30 rounds out of your magazine than 10 rounds. You’ll regret it if you find yourself in a survival situation and hadn’t adequately stocked up on high-capacity magazines.

Continue reading at Off The Grid News: This Is Why Your Stockpile Needs High Capacity Magazines

big hobby man

By  – SurvivoPedia

Winter is a tough time, especially if you’re used to being physically active. It’s easy to get bored and stir-crazy so you need to plan for this time in advance. If a disaster strikes or even if you get a bad storm, you may not have electricity or other modern conveniences such as computer games, the internet, or video games, so be sure to have a mental list of hobbies and a stockpile of supplies to get you through.

Here are a few suggestions for winter hobbies for the self-reliant man.

1 – Wood Working

Though electric tools are great, you don’t need them to make things from wood. All you need are some saws, sandpaper, nails, a hammer and maybe some stain or paint and a drill. Hand sanding is time-consuming but you’ll gain two things from it: a tremendous sense of accomplishment and a great eye for not wasting product that you’re just going to have to sand down. You’ll learn to cut much better, we promise!

Oh, and don’t forget: you’ll have a finished product that will be sturdy, reliable, and custom-made to meet your needs. Wood products make great gifts, too. Be sure to stockpile plenty of dry, workable wood and some extra blades, nails and sandpaper or else you’ll end up with a bunch of half-finished projects.

2 – Gardening

A great winter hobby for the self-reliant man is gardening. There’s no reason that your food should lack fresh herbs or, for that matter, some fresh tomatoes or peppers, because they can all be grown inside. You’ll also want to start your summer garden plants in early spring while it’s still freezing so that the young plants will be ready to go in the ground when it warms up enough.

3 – Models and Art from Scraps

You can make models or art from scraps that you have laying around the house. Metal, wood, or even paper Mache projects are all great ways to pass the time and make aesthetically pleasing works of art. You can whittle, machine or layer many different projects.

Continue reading at SurvivoPedia: 12 Winter Hobbies For The Self-Reliant Man

digital-footprints

By Ken Jorgustin – Modern Survival Blog

We live in a modern society which for the most part operates on electronic services. You may not give it much thought, but nearly everything you do in this modern age leaves digital footprints behind – most of which are stored and saved – perhaps ‘forever’.

Right now, YOUR name is no doubt on many lists, in many places, with all sorts of information and profiles about YOU.

 

You might not be too concerned about it, and that is understandable given the normalcy of today’s electronic commerce, communications, and the surveillance state we live in. We’re getting used to it. We have been conditioned to accept it. What you don’t know however is HOW the information will be utilized in the FUTURE. Our personal and ‘private’ data (digital footprints) is collected, saved, and sold – even to the government.

While you may feel confident TODAY that ‘the system’ is doing nothing unscrupulous with your digital footprints – after all, you’re doing nothing wrong, right? However you need to know that what you don’t know is what you don’t know. And how do you know that ‘the system’ will not one day use or interpret your digital footprints in a crooked, corrupt, or even illegal way in the future? Maybe what you’re doing today will even be illegal in the future… You just don’t know.

Continue reading at Modern Survival Blog: Your Digital Footprints From Today And Their Future Consequences

obsolete-tech

By Mac Slavo – SHTFplan.com

The net effect of technology is a mixed bag, with one major side effect:

An entire generation of youth have become inept, largely helpless and dependent upon gadgets and devices that ‘just work’ with no knowledge of how they work. And most have no clue whatsoever about what to do if these high tech things break – or God forbid, if things go “dark” in society.

While the tech revolution of the past few decades has put the tools of innovation in everyone’s reach, many simply aren’t reaching at all for answers. They are waiting to be spoonfed new toys and electronics.

That pretty much makes the future bleak, at least in general outlook.

That’s the general take away presented by Professor Danielle George, who specializes in Radio Frequency Engineering at the University of Manchester in the UK. The Telegraph reported on her warnings:

Young people in Britain have become a lost generation who can no longer mend gadgets and appliances because they have grown up in a disposable world

[…]

under 40s expect everything to ‘just work’ and have no idea what to do when things go wrong.

[…]

Unlike previous generations who would ‘make do and mend’ now young people will just chuck out their faulty appliances and buy new ones.

“We’ve got a lost generation that has grown up with factory electronics that just work all of the time.

And much more is going to waste than just electronic gadgets… it is basically everything.

A University of Missouri study published in 2014 found that sewing, too, was going out the window, and tons of textile waste along with it:

In 2012, Americans created more than 14.3 million tons of textile waste. Much of this waste is due to clothes being discarded due to minor tears or stains–easily repairable damages if the owners have the skills and knowledge to fix them.

The National Defense Resources Council highlighted how some 40% of food is wasted by consumers and dumped in landfills:

Getting food from the farm to our fork eats up 10 percent of the total U.S. energy budget, uses 50 percent of U.S. land, and swallows 80 percent of all freshwater consumed in the United States. Yet, 40 percent of food in the United States today goes uneaten. This not only means that Americans are throwing out the equivalent of $165 billion each year, but also that the uneaten food ends up rotting in landfills as the single largest component of U.S. municipal solid waste… Reducing food losses by just 15 percent would be enough food to feed more than 25 million Americans every year at a time when one in six Americans lack a secure supply of food to their tables.

Pathetic? Unfortunately. And dangerously close to system wide.

We are at a time when most everyone is texting, talking, Twittering and Facebooking constantly with little relevant knowledge about the real world around them.

It goes along with the decline of manufacturing and engineering jobs, American-made goods and an overall loss of skills in a generation oriented towards the services industry and the information age. There has also been a crippling blow to our standards for education, news media and the informed voter, despite more time and money being thrown at all of it.

But it isn’t all doom and gloom. This professor set out to inspire a fresh take on how to repair and repurpose old electronics to inspire new crafts, devices and ways of putting things to work in the post-everything world.

I want young people to realise that that they have the power to change the world right from their bedroom, kitchen table or garden shed.

“Today’s generation of young people are in a truly unique position. The technology we use and depend on every day is expanding and developing at a phenomenal rate and so our society has never been more equipped to be creative and innovative.

Professor George is among those encouraging and sharing so-called “home hacks” – ideas to reconfigure and invent, typically using just a bit of basic knowledge of electronics:

“But there is now a big maker community who are thinking hard about what we do with all of these gadgets. They are remaking and repurposing things.

During the lectures she will also demonstrate how to send wireless messages using a barbeque, control a firework display with a laptop, use a torch to browse the internet, turn a smartphone into a microscope, how to turn a washing machine into a wind turbine, and how Lego can solve a Rubik’s Cube.

Hundreds of websites have emerged in the last few years where users post ideas about home hacks and electronics.

This mentality mirrors the few and the proud who have taken on prepping as a lifestyle… by first recognizing that – at so many different levels – this system is designed to fail and won’t last, and second, by taking steps to prepare for the worst, store supplies, create contingencies and build alternative and makeshift devices to survive and even thrive.

Learning to repurpose and reuse things that are broken, tossed out, or not normally used that way is essential to the survival mentality – at an individual and societal level.

Here’s just one example, from a SHTF commenter using the 1984-inspired handle “Winston Smith”:

Now for a shortwave radio. Most preppers will tell you to buy a good, name brand model. I agree with them but I also know that it is not realistic in the beginning. Instead, I will suggest an unorthodox approach that will let you hear strong international stations for less than $20. Go to E-Bay and find a Kchibo KK-9803 10 band world receiver. Yes, it’s cheap and Chinese but it does actually work. Now, go to Wal Mart (or any other store, for that matter) and buy a metal Slinky. While you are there, get a piece of wire and two alligator clips in the automotive section. Next up, buy a tin of Danish butter cookies (and eat them!). What do you have? Well, you have a Slinky monopole antenna, a receiver that can pull in strong stations like BBC World Service, China Radio International or Voice of Russia and a Faraday cage. To put it all together, stretch the Slinky out as far as it will go while still returning to it’s original shape. This can be done inside a house or in a tree if you have to. Next, attach the wire to the alligator clips and then use the clips to attach one end to an end of the Slinky and the other to the top of the antenna of the radio. Now, you have the ability to hear news reports in English from around the globe. When you are done, wrap the radio in a rag or old tee shirt and place it in the cookie tin. It is now (somewhat) insulated from an EMP. My cookie tin also includes a solar batter charger I got from Harbor Freight and some rechargeable batteries, but that setup was another $15-20. Usually I just run it off of some batteries I got from IKEA for $1.99 a 10 pack.

There is an endless list of skills that are on the verge of being lost to the younger generations that are of direct importance to any prepper making the best of what is on hand or can be found and obtained, particularly in a crisis.

Here are a few helpful resources to start your thinking, doing and recreating:
5 Ways to Make Candles From Household Items
Top 12 Homemade Firestarters For Survival And Camping
How-To Make A Multi Key Utility-Key 18-in-1 Tool
17 Great Ways to Utilize 2-Liter Soda Bottles for Survival
8 Home Security Hacks Every Household Should Learn
SHTF Life Hacks: Secret Prepper Tip List
Candles, Clean Water, Fire, Mosquito Repellant, Solar Oven, Compass and Oil: 7 Survival Life Hacks That Could Save Your Life

And the food waste? Learn to make do, as with other basic skills we need to reclaim.

Rather than waste all that food, put it to good use. Prepper Daisy Luther explains her perspective on the art of “repurposing leftovers.” From scraps, to soup, puree, casseroles, pie and more, there is much that can be done with seemingly unwanted or useless food waste.

If you can serve your family one “freebie” meal per week that results in a savings, for a family of 4, of about $10 – $520 over the course of a year. It doesn’t sound like much until you add it up, does it?

This article first appeared at SHTFplan.com: Can’t-Do Generation: “Expect Everything to Just Work,” and Throw Out What They Can’t Fix

By Michael Snyder – The Economic Collapse Blog

Should the federal government be spending billions of dollars to pump up Wal-Mart’s profits?  I know that question sounds really bizarre, but unfortunately this is essentially what is happening.  Because Wal-Mart does not pay them enough money, hundreds of thousands of Wal-Mart employees enroll in Medicaid, food stamps and other social welfare programs.  Even though Wal-Mart makes enormous profits, they refuse to properly take care of their employees so the federal government has to do it.  And of course this is not just a Wal-Mart problem.  There are hundreds of other major corporations doing exactly the same thing.  And they will keep on doing it as long as they can because relying on the federal government to take care of their employees allows them to make much larger profits.  This gives these companies an enormous competitive advantage and it distorts the marketplace.  If you love the free enterprise system, you should be aghast at this.  Our big corporations have become the biggest “welfare queens” of all, and Wal-Mart is near the top of that list.

Does your local Wal-Mart store seem like it needs help from the federal government?

Of course not.

Wal-Marts all over the nation were absolutely packed this holiday season, but according to a recent Bloomberg article, the average amount of welfare that Wal-Mart employees receive from the government each year breaks down to about $420,000 per store…

Wal-Mart’s low wages have led to full-time employees seeking public assistance. These are not the 47 percent, lazy, unmotivated bums. Rather, these are people working physical, often difficult jobs. They receive $2.66 billion in government help each year (including $1 billion in healthcare assistance). That works out to about $5,815 per worker. And about $420,000 per store.

Does that make you angry?

It should.

Today, Wal-Mart employs approximately 1.2 million people in the United States, and it makes a yearly profit of about 17 billion dollars.

So why does it need 2.6 billion dollars of help from the U.S. government?

Wal-Mart is a colossal money-making behemoth.  Just consider the following numbers

The size of Wal-Mart is sometimes difficult to visualize. To put it into some context, consider the following: 100 million U.S. shoppers patronize Wal-Mart stores every week. Wal-Mart has twice the number employees of the U.S. Postal Service, a larger global computer network than the Pentagon, and the world’s largest fleet of trucks. Americans spend about $36 million dollars per hour at the stores. Wal-Mart now sells more food than any other company in the world, capturing one of every four dollars spent on food in the U.S. The average American family of four spends over $4,000 a year there. Each week, it has 200 million customers at more than 10,400 stores in 27 countries. If the company were an independent country, it would be the 25th largest economy in the world.

Wal-Mart does well enough to be able to pay their workers a livable wage.

And yet they refuse to do it.

Shame on them.

Meanwhile, the six heirs of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton have as much wealth as the poorest one-third of all Americans combined.

This reminds me of something that I read in the fifth chapter of James the other day…

Come now, you rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.  Your riches are corrupted and your garments are moth-eaten.  Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have stored up treasures for the last days.  Indeed the wages that you kept back by fraud from the laborers who harvested your fields are crying, and the cries of those who harvested have entered into the ears of the Lord of Hosts.  You have lived in pleasure on the earth and have been wayward. You have nourished your hearts as in a day of slaughter.

But we continue to reward this behavior, don’t we?

100 million of us continue to visit Wal-Mart every single week, and we continue to fill up our shopping carts with cheap products that are made outside this country.

We refuse to support American workers and American businesses, and this is a recipe for utter disaster.  For much more on this, please see my previous article entitled “National Economic Suicide: The U.S. Trade Deficit With China Just Hit A New Record High“.

The truth is that we cannot consume our way to prosperity.  When we consume far more wealth than we produce, we pile up debt and we become poorer as a nation.

And as a country we have become exceedingly cold-hearted toward our workers.  If you truly love free markets and capitalism, you should be encouraging big companies to pay their workers properly.  Instead, we are moving closer and closer to the slave labor model employed by China and other communist nations with each passing day.  Sadly, I am becoming increasingly convinced that many prominent “pro-business” voices in America today are actually closet communists.  They seem to want everything to be made in China and for American workers to be paid just like Chinese workers.

At this point, the U.S. middle class is well on the way to being destroyed.  As I have written about previously, 40 percent of all American workers now make less than what a minimum wage worker made back in 1968 after you account for inflation.

How is the middle class supposed to survive in such an environment?

And for any “pro-business” people that want to defend Wal-Mart, do you actually like paying suffocating taxes to support all of the people that are being forced on to the safety net?

What is our society going to look like as millions more Americans become dependent on the federal government each year?  Government dependence is already at an all-time record high.  How much worse do things have to get before we admit that we have a real problem?

Unfortunately, it looks like our problems are only going to accelerate in 2015.  Thanks to the stunning decline in the price of oil, we are starting to lose good paying jobs in the energy industry

One company caught in the industry downturn is Hercules Offshore Inc. The Houston-based firm is laying off 324 employees, roughly 15% of its workforce, because oil companies aren’t renewing contracts for its offshore drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico while crude prices are depressed.

“It’s been breathtaking,” said Jim Noe, executive vice president of Hercules, which was founded in 2004. “We’ve never seen this glut of supply and dislocation in oil markets. So we’re not surprised to see a significant decline in demand for our services.”

These are jobs that we cannot afford to lose.

Since the end of the last recession, the energy industry has been the leading creator of good paying jobs in America.

But now as the U.S. energy boom goes bust, it might lead the way in job losses.

In order to have a middle class, we have got to have middle class jobs.

Unfortunately, those kinds of jobs are disappearing and the entire U.S. economy is moving toward the Wal-Mart model.

In the end, we will all pay a great price for such foolishness.

This article first appeared at The Economic Collapse Blog: The 2.6 Billion Dollar Welfare Payment That The U.S. Government Gives To Wal-Mart

About the author:

Michael T. Snyder is a graduate of the University of Florida law school and he worked as an attorney in the heart of Washington D.C. for a number of years.

Today, Michael is best known for his work as the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog and The American Dream

Read his new book The Beginning of the End

ebola

By Lily DaneThe Daily Sheeple

A day after flying home to Glasgow from Sierra Leone, a healthcare worker has been diagnosed with Ebola, the Scottish government reported today.

From Reuters:

The patient is being treated in isolation at Glasgow’s Gartnavel Hospital, having flown back to Scotland’s largest city late on Sunday on a British Airways flight via Casablanca in Morocco and London’s Heathrow.

“All possible contacts with the patient are now being investigated and anyone deemed to be at risk will be contacted and closely monitored,” the Scottish government said in a statement.

“However, having been diagnosed in the very early stages of the illness, the risk to others is considered extremely low.”

The patient, who is said to be female, will be transferred to a high-level isolation unit in London’s Royal Free hospital.

While reporting on the dangerous virus in the US has quelled, the threat has far from ended: the number of Ebola cases in the three most impacted countries has passed 20,000, with 7,842 reported deaths so far.

Reuters reports:

Cumulative case numbers in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea stood at 20,081, the WHO said in a statement. More than a third are laboratory-confirmed cases in Sierra Leone, which has become the worst-hit country in the worst outbreak of the disease on record.

Dozens of new cases have been reported in Liberia near its border with Sierra Leone. The rise in cases is said to be due to a number of factors, including people going in and out of the country, and traditional practices including washing the bodies of the deceased.

Meanwhile, the CDC is hiding information about Ebola cases in the US from the public. Investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson recently told Fox News that she contacted the CDC to ask how many cases of Ebola were being monitored in the US, and was given the figure “1,400.”

Resources:

Ebola Survival Handbook: A Collection of Tips, Strategies, and Supply Lists From Some of the World’s Best Preparedness Professionals

“Like” Pandemic Watch on Facebook

The Prepper’s Blueprint: The Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Through Any Disaster

Sealing Yourself In: Prepping for Bioterrorism, Chemical Disasters, and Pandemics (The NEW Survival Prepper Guides Book 3)

Delivered by The Daily Sheeple: Breaking: Healthcare Worker in Scotland Diagnosed with Ebola


Contributed by Lily Dane of The Daily Sheeple.

Lily Dane is a staff writer for The Daily Sheeple. Her goal is to help people to “Wake the Flock Up!”