Wednesday, December 28, 2016

old time trade 2 of 2


From this two part article, take away this.  Do not practice less modern skills because you will earn much of anything before or after you need them, but because besides the familiarization you begin to divorce yourself from consumerism and idleness.  What has been sold to survivalists is the idea that because they heeded the On High Advice Pontificated By The Gurus and studied and practiced an old time skill/trade ( I’ve been guilty of this myself, although in my defense I believe I was more concerned with investing money before it became worthless than the reward in the post-apocalypse.  Or not.  Who remembers these pesky details? ) their future security is assured in one way or another.  Here I am saying that local trade won’t be reestablished, not for quite awhile.  Everyone will be so poor that tasks will be tribal and equitable rather than hierarchical and wealth generating.  So don’t go learning a skill because it is supposed to be lucrative in a Dark Age future.  Without trade, most skills however desirable will be hobbyist rather than a monopoly that generates wealth.


Let’s start with an obvious duet.  Gun making and a cobbler.  These are not skills one associates with the home cottage industry.  Well, as for cobbler, there were homemade moccasins and the Low Countries disposable wooden lower clogs that should have been easily home crafted.  So perhaps that isn’t a great example even if we currently don’t associate making shoes as something just anyone can do.  But guns, while easily compiled from parts ( the home owner crafted the stock, the barrel had to be store bought ), isn’t a cottage industry per se.  Yet I have grave doubts that will ever arise as an issue.  Kurt Saxon, the only survival guru NOT spoiled by affluence as a lifestyle until after his writing was done ( not that he was ever very prolific ), and even then I’m sure he was never drifting far from his roots, was fixated on a return to the 19th century as the post-apocalypse future.  At the time this was quite feasible, the country far from overcrowded, the family farm still a viable concern, the founding culture still vibrant even if fraying.  Soil was still fertile, the aquifers still full.  Metals were still abundant, as was energy of all types even if insufficient to continue ‘60‘s economic growth levels.  Yes, you could have recreated the coal and railroad economy with what was available. 


Not now, not by a long shot.  I would go so far as to stipulate that rather than stepping down a century, we have more like a millennium to go.  When the last thirty years resources extraction has been strip mining microscopic ores with Texas size machinery and energy application, and those are running out ( fracking/tar sand is the oil equivalent of this kind of ore extraction ), the only logical conclusion is that the globe has used up its resources for good.  If that is indeed the case, ipso facto, what could possibly be left for manual labor with a lack of energy to procure?  Lack of fertile soil means a nitrogen shortage, hence a propellant supply issue, and lack of low tech mining ores means no gun making.  I would imagine it is gun components salvage only, then down to salvage for archery ( crossbows being the higher tech [metal] but easier to use version of bowery ) followed by a return to natural organic archery only.  The question isn’t how we will make guns, the question will be how long can you stay better armed than your opponents during the devolution away from chemically propelled weapons.


As salvage only is the only feasible answer to a energy-less resource depletion future, rather than extraction and manufacture, then all men are equal in cottage industry fabrication and trades become as scarce as hens teeth.  No tradable currency ( how many people do you know that have actual precious metals?  The stuff is rare by choice now rather than scarcity and we share return to a historical norm of the peasant class having zero coinage ), no trade into the future.  Forget money for the post-collapse.  Don’t learn a ( old timey ) skill on the expectation of a paying job.  Rather, embrace whatever hobby interests you and learn it for its own sake.  For instance, with a food scarce future, I know that my skills as a writer are worthless.  Even a secondary position of librarian is not worth the wheat needed to keep me alive.  Leather working is an every-man occupation ( I’m slowly collecting the tools, going minimalist at first, as discretionary funds permit.  Past sheaths and pouches for my kit, I only foresee Christmas gifts as any of my output.  This is so minimalist of a hobby it would make other leather workers embarrassed for me.  I’m doing it mainly to get out of my head, where I live all day thinking on this prepper crap.  I need a diverse hobby ).


So, I’m definitely not worrying about acquiring old timey skills.  Defense and offense will be a quick and brutal on the job training I either graduate or not.  Not being because I’m dead.  Past that, any of the skills I envision being needed will take on the old school method of car repair.  The guys get together and teach each other.  It isn’t a trade, it is mutual survival and training for such.  A true group effort, not a mercenary activity.  Are 19th century skills and trades a worthless endeavor?  Of course not.  Heck, nobody can assure the future we have.  Reference books and tools and practice are not wasted, even if the skill is never needed.  I’ll never own a swamp cooler, but my last job where I learned to work on them was a good learning experience.  It got me started pursuing mechanical tasks I had previously been completely ignorant of.  It was surprising how transferable it was ( RV and car repair ).  It gave me the confidence and training to try new skills.  It is never a waste to learn something new.  The guys who used to repair TV’s and vacuum tube using machines easily went to other fields of repair with that starting foundation, even if the specific skill is obsolete.  Just look at it as a training hobby, and not as a paying trade.  And it beats sitting in front of the TV for too long, or paying someone else to perform basic tasks for you.  It isn’t your fault-society rewired all of us and how we get through life.


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  1. I both agree and disagree. For example Cobbler as a trade will not work inside the tribe, and likely wont work outside the tribe unless you have a surplus of shoe making supplies. BUT back to inside the tribe, it will be prestige within the tribe to make shoes for those who need them or peacock plumage shoes for the higher ranking members. Even if you aren't very good, teaching the basics to get those with more talent started will be some amount of prestige within the tribe. And prestige within the tribe will be worth as much or more than silver - maybe as much as gold. Healing herbs, gun making, moonshine producing, etc, etc. Any of these things, and many more, could help gain prestige within the tribe during and after the collapse. Dont strive to be king or mayor, just advisor or councilman at most, but just that much prestige will make certain the tribe will protect you as long as it can, just as person will protect one of their more useful tools...

    1. Hmm, yes,I should have touched on prestige, or as we Homeies know it, Street Cred. Good point.

  2. "how many people do you know that have actual precious metals?"
    I believe that food is much more important than precious metals.
    PM are really only valuable as a "Wealth Store" on a muti-generational OR "bugging out" to a different continent basis.
    Beyond one or two silver coins for anti-bacterial purposes (nail one to the bottom of the bucket you draw drinking water in = no bacteria), what good is gold to a starving person? you can't eat it. it is only useful AFTER society is rebooted, which you MAY NOT live to see if you have food, and you WILL NOT live to see if you don't.
    "You CAN use it to buy food, etc..." i pretend to hear you say. Not really, if everyone else is starving, what idiot would give up food (a chance to live) for Something "Shiney"?
    IF you have a Horde of precious metals AND your bug-out plan is to leave the country in your sailboat, AND you know a "one particular harbor", where you will be welcomed, then good. but that is not me, nor any other white trash irregular i know.
    PMs are more useful now then they will be during a collapse, since their only real value now and then is to make yourself a target.
    AFTER you arrive in a Brave New World with Society and such, THEN your PMs are valuable, again. Til then Precious metals are :
    Lead, Bronze, Brass, Steel, etc
    Or, maybe i'm missing something. if so, see you in the stewpot!

    1. No, I think you hit that one on the head.

    2. Well during the collapse, until food is to rare for anyone to have enough, silver and gold will allow you to bribe the local taxman/warlord/cop/whatever, and possibly also the local doctor or dentist should the need arise.

    3. If you want to learn a skill and make a few extra dollars while you do it, look into becoming a meat cutter (butcher) at your local store. I became friend with the butcher at my local market and he offered to teach me for free. He said that their biggest problem was getting people that actually wanted to work, not just coast, so for a genuine helper it would be worth his time. Entry-level pay won't be much but it's till more than you get sitting in front a TV.

    4. Yes, pm's are about priority 5. Some, but with extra funds or when crazy deals are available (like silver below cost of mining).

      Junk land is #1 on the pita-want list. Owning land (even a sub-standard lot with110 year old house is just a revenue source for the City/County/Metro/State) in an urban place means taxes monthly more than a dozen acres of off-grid annual tax. Being attached to a property title of taxable land gives you a share of paying on slave bonds that never get paid off or buy good things. Non-profit scientific research station on the junk land?

    5. Silver/gold has been just a RCH above mining cost for decades. The miners would actually lose money if it wasn't for financial shenanigans and the industrial metals besides PM they pull out as supplemental income. Don't wait for it to go lower if you need some ( need, not want ).

    6. 654-not a bad idea in a lot of other trades. Sometimes just earning minimum wage might be too much for a struggling small biz owner, but worth the asking.

    7. evil twin,
      the Bible tells a time is coming where the valuables are left by the roadside and the bodies of their owners are found further on.
      it is a time when there is no food or water to be gotten for neither love nor money.
      food and water are everything ,besides air, with shelter and fire following.
      silver and gold have medical uses, too, but they remain inedible.

    8. Reply to: JJ GreyDecember 28, 2016 at 2:16 PM

      A very good point, and I completely agree, with the stipulation that this is a "timing" thing.
      I'm stuck on Jews leaving Germany/E. Europe during the Ramp-Up to WWII:
      IF they left "in time" (AND had somewhere to go)they were most likely able to bribe a Nazi, and gain passage out.
      IF they waited too long, and THEN tried to bribe a Nazi, they just had their "would-be bribe" stolen, and were sent to the camps anyway.
      Once again, i'm PROBABLY MISSING SOMETHING so don't bet the way i bet, but it seems to me IF you "...bribe the local taxman/warlord/cop/whatever..." you are basically announcing that you HAVE PMs, so if you DON'T LEAVE THE AREA, you are now (at best) going to be paying lots of bribes, or (at worst) making yourself a target...
      I'm not saying don't have ANY PMs (but i can't afford them, so this is just "sour grapes"), but i don't see any value in PMs, DURING the Dark Ages. Before AND after, YES!
      But IF you think that the Dark Ages are going to last "a while" PMs have value in giving your kids/grandkids a chance to "Start Over".
      IF you don't leverage them, now...

      Whole lotta "IFs" in that post.
      Basically, i just think of Precious metals as "Wealth Storage", NOT "investments". And since i don't have enough wealth to have special "storage needs", they are not real "valuable" to me.
      In my current situation, i value $50 worth of Salt higher than $50 worth of Gold.
      IF i were leaving the country/continent, i would value PMs MUCH more than i do now, since i could store all my current "wealth" on a pocketful of coins, and thusly "travel light"...
      anyway, my two cents...

    9. DH-while I put PM's in the "only as much as you need to pay property tax" category, and I agree food and ammo is a much higher priority, they aren't completely worthless. Instead of being, All or NOTHING, think prioritizing.

    10. Reply to AnonymousDecember 29, 2016 at 11:00 AM

      Actually I knew a Jew that escaped because the mother was able to bribe the Nazi guard when the train broke down. Then they were able to hide among the populace until the Russians came, and were then able to bribe a guard again to get across the border into western Germany as the iron curtain went up. So bribery does work - but as you said it works when you are 'taking to your heels' immediately.
      Portability, fungability, acceptability, make PMs worthwhile.
      But I agree they are lower on the list than most other preps.
      A $20 value of silver coin in a bug out bag could be just what you need.
      A pile of $200,000 of gold coins instead of other preps? A giant gamble and likely to *miss* being what you need.

  3. My business idea: non-electric, perfect angle, factory edge (up to mirror polished edge) knife sharpening. Thoughts?
    Peace out

    1. As we discussed with the Lansky diamond attachment and the Rada, a $50 investment ( of course, duh, with back-ups a bit more ), so not a bad idea at all. Non-business, prestige job would be using it to keep your squad mates in sharp knives-with their gratitude and perhaps extra share of the loot.

  4. Heads up fellow Minions & Peasant Preppers. Lord "Manly Mane of Hair" Bison preaches you can't time the apocalypse. Maybe put money on it being before Obama steps down?

    Netanyahu just declassified 200k documents related to child trafficking in the 50's. Just as Obama and Kerry BTFO Isreal. "From now on, Netanyahu said, “with one touch of the keyboard,” everyone will have access to the documents and can trace what happened to the children.

    1. Of course it involves clinton(s). but, on the other hand, it also involves the prosecutor, so "no charges will be filed"...
      Kinda like Clinton Inc (R) saying they had proof that Donald fu(3d an under-age girl. the reason they know this is that they supplied the under-aged girl. and the camera to tape it.
      because, back in the day, it was a good idea to have leverage against a billionaire businessman (just in case). and back then, hookers were a dime a dozen.
      I'm sure everything has changed, and such things "no longer go on", but i think it was popular "back then"...

    2. I missed hookers being a dime a dozen? Dammit! The cheapest I ever saw was Korea, at about 2% gross wages for a half hour.

  5. Oh, and I'm going to stray from popular opinion here and say that you should have tons (literally, if you can afford it) of gold on hand. No, you should not make it a priority over food or anything else that you need to stay alive, and it should be near the bottom of your list. But historically, it's never been worthless, and trade will resume, and then you will need it. You can only do so much with barter.

    1. Granted, but you must have the excess wealth to begin with. Any rich preppers reading this?

    2. Looks like I failed at getting my point across James, which was that you will want to have as many PM's in place as possible prior to a collapse, after all other preps are in place of course. If you plan on surviving for any length of time, PM's are the only currency that are going to survive a societal meltdown. Unless you believe that barter for any and all things is possible, but I don't have much faith in that myself.

  6. F***!

    Jim! What happened? Did the next generation of preppies just graduate from pre-school?

    In these last two posts I have read some of the STUPIDEST ideas and opinions!

    More and more it looks like your site is attracting the PC crowd and the Laura Ingalls clones.

    It also seems that your brain is going soft from all that sex and the warm house and jammies you sleep in now.

    In the first article you contradicted yourself with in three sentences of each other.

    Think before engaging motor mouth and typing.

    Two examples:

    ALL the cows, pigs, goats etc. got EATEN by starving people. NO LEATHER = No leather workers.

    Your tribal B.S. ideas reek of communism. It does not work! Little house PC B.S!

    SURVIVAL! That is the KEY word!

    There will be NO surplus of ANYTHING except idiots (for a short time) and the stink of the dead.

    Stop and think for a week about this:

    Division of labor.

    You Know Who!

  7. “Laura Ingalls clones”

    The real life version was an obnoxious feminist, that 19th century mangina Almanzo should have told to fuck off, and married Nellie Oleson instead. But being a mangina, he didn't do that :D

    I actually kind of like You know who's comments. Such brutal honesty is hard to come by at times.

    1. Is it brutal honesty or is it troll bait knee jerk reactionism? I don't want Yes Men, but one needs to be a bit more rational pointing out my mistakes, not emotional. Example: tribalism. How is this communism other than it doesn't rely on capitalism? No surplus energy equals no money equals some other form of social organization.

    2. Well, I always figured that he was pretty much just trolling, but sometimes his comments can be a refreshing change. I often feel the part of the yes man when I comment, but in fairness to myself, I do happen to agree with most of what you write.

    3. I actually like being called to task. A slight bit of emotional butt-hurtedness now is much better than being seen by the world as a moronic douchebag later. I just wish it was a teachable moments rather than senseless ranting.