Thursday, August 13, 2015

barter and inflation 1 of 2


Investing money used to be pretty easy.  Buy a duplex or triplex in poor shape while you were young and in good shape, live in one as you fixed up the whole thing.  As you gained renters you doubled down on your mortgage and in ten or fifteen years you have no debt.  From then on, you kept the place up and had an income for life.  Alternately, if you weren’t as handy with repairs, you buy a section of land, bribe the politicians for a favorable zoning, and rent out RV spaces.  Nowadays, it isn’t really easy to get a mortgage.  The banks are busy playing with derivatives and getting money from Washington, so that leaves little time to process mortgage applications.  Plus, far better to have a giant corporation with a line of credit be the investor in rental properties.  Not that you’d want to get into debt anyway.  And not that you could, with half the pay of seven years ago.  And as jobs disappear, so do renters anyway.  Now, far better to just downgrade your expectations.  The economy is going to implode, and being a landlord isn’t a great occupation once the fires from looting start ( and your insurance company goes bankrupt ).  I’m talking “downgrade to a personal consumption level”.  We’ve already talked about investing in skills and their tools, so now let’s talk about investing in inflation busting barter items.


Barter items have been covered extensively in survivalist circles, but that’s a currency substitution deal.  You know what I’m talking about.  Cigarettes and booze and rimfire ( back when it was affordable ) and the like.  My latest and greatest brain fart had been about learning way old school skills and investing in the books covering those and the specialized tools needed ( I’ll get that up in book form at one of these days ) as a way to invest in a better barter item.  The latest we will cover is investing in barter items that rely exclusively on modern petroleum inputs to make them exponentially cheaper than any version of them previous to or following the Oil Age.  First up are bike parts.  Yes, I know, there were no bikes long ago.  But there where horses and mules and camels and unless you were a nomad, where pack animals ate waste plants and procreated naturally, those were very expensive options for transportation ( because in an agricultural area, animals competed with human crop soil to a degree ).  Most poor people walked.  Or better yet, never ventured too far from their homes and fields.  A bicycle made personal transportation extremely cheap.  And while humans will once again contract into small villages surrounded by fields, or go nomad, until then they are so spread out that bicycles will be very useful for a very long time.  Next article I’ll cover bikes a bit more, then we’ll talk about grains, coffee, plastic, insulation and the like.  Just keep in mind these are items you park your money in before the currency is devalued.  It is a saving account, not a currency substitution.  More next article.

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  1. No doubt, the post-apocalyptic flea market is a common scene in post-apocalyptic prepper fiction.

    But you really have to wonder how much time is going to be spent at flea markets if our population is being reduced 90%. There are very few examples of trade where there is not a strong authority to regulate the proceedings. Even the Fairs of Campaign (libertarian economist's wet dream) actually had a very large and varied court system where disputes could be heard, and the evidence is that these courts are what made it popular.

    Sure people will trade with others, but at the level where you have centralized markets and need a "currency", I have my doubts.

    1. Here I am envisioning more of the single informal trades. And as a bonus, if no trade occurs you can use them yourself anyway.

  2. Me personally I would have to invested in sugar and yeast. 100 lbs. cost 43.00 In capable hands with the tools needed it will make 2 gallons of fuel grade alcohol and 8 gallons of medicinal alcohol :). Plus the value of trade in its raw form . Even pre collapse it has a 10 to 1 or more multiplier.

    1. Sugar has a pretty good shelf life, perhaps forever, but what about yeast? Or, was there something about using the leftover solids as the starter yeast?

  3. In our little community, I have found that doing favors for folks yields more of a return in the long run than trades.

    Friends are usually more helpful and loyal than 'customers'.

    Idaho Homesteader

    1. I imagine that's true everywhere, as them return value need not be monetary. I think we as humans are pretty easy and generous being group based, but also quick to turn if any perceived wrong is done. Perhaps being spo mercenary is a defense mechanism at times.

    2. Absolutely true. Favors are worth more than cash in small towns /rural areas. I only offered use of my gas can to a neighbor (just down the block - so about 4 miles away). next week I mentioned needing to mow more of my 40 acres, the guy gives me his 48 inch brush mower to use until next spring. " I wont need it till next spring, here you go". And even more useful and appreciated than loaning and trading items, is loaning and trading skills and labor.

    3. If we had the social cohesion to do an Amish "
      barn raising" and similar, we wouldn't need those bastard bankers. I'm surprised the Amish aren't made an example of.

  4. Idaho Homesteader, that's my outlook, I try to cultivate that "tribe" thing right where I live. I have found that if you help (good) folks when they are in need they will do the same for you if they can. At least maybe they won't murder you first in the dark times.
    Don't the Bison have the best hair?!!!!