BARTER TOWN 4*
If you have Amazon Prime, a new free movie is "A Boy And His Dog", classic post-apoc.
WHAT QUICK RECOVERY?
Very few people really devote an inordinate amount of time to thinking about the apocalypse. The guy that wrote the book on complex civilizations, he was still working at the University which takes tax money and then has the audacity to charge $35 for a small book on the subject, a book that has paid its printing cost over and over again, he had a job as a college professor. The apocalypse was a part time gig. Famous bloggers who are media darlings? A few books outdated twenty years ago were his instruction manuals and no new information is allowed to ruin that short introductory course ( I’ve talked before about Alpha Males and how they must never be wrong as it endangers their leadership-it also fossilizes their thinking ). No need for any thinking there. Novelists who specialize in the Apocalypse? Their template is the ‘80’s Post-Apocalypse pulp series that are just rehashed Men’s Adventure genre action serials. No real need to over-think the magical universe of unending MRE’s and 223 rounds ( and multi-gazillion dollar retreats ).
As a result of nobody caring enough to do their very best ( or, their very best being a sad and pathetic thing ) a problem is that we are still, to this day, operating under hideously outdated concepts first proposed during the Cold War which was both era and danger specific. Back then, everybody awaiting the fallout to settle just needed to be patient and then they would soon go about their business of being middle class Americans ( the real deal with one wage earner and almost no debt, not the sad and pathetic excuse of today’s middle class whose assets are one deteriorating underwater home ) once again. There was no civilization collapse. Fuel, food and ore merely needed to be reclaimed from fallout ( it was all rather optimistic, true, but back then optimism was actually backed with facts rather than wishful thinking. They very well COULD have pulled it off with minimal casualties, even with legions of civilians dying as they sucked in radiation along with their unfiltered Camel cigarette smoke ).
There were plenty of survivalists who actually foresaw a less than this happy scenario, who emerged in the ‘70’s. But the subconscious meme seems to have succeeded in burrowing into almost everyone’s brain. The fallout shelter norm was a few weeks to a couple of months, so when a years supply of food was urged, that WAS paranoid for the day. Several orders of magnitude more cynical than most thought. But paranoid for the time, which was prior to petroleum decline and overpopulation. A year’s supply seems to have stuck and spread its poison. If you presuppose that you only need a years emergency food, it follows that you can never have a disaster exceeding that duration. That is just common sense, but it discolors your prejudices and preconceived notions. Why, if you only need a years supply of food, there can’t be civilization collapse. There can be no way we run out of oil ( the last Rawles novel prior to his African Christian Nation Shopping List “book” had fracking oil emerge after the Blue Helmet defeat, so that middle class preppers reemerge happy and content ).
So when all your prepping activities focus on riding out a storm rather than counting on a life of storms, barter which by its very nature is a short lived solution sounds like a really super keen idea. But if you believe that civilization is indeed collapsing, if you are convinced that prior to 1492 any empire that toppled was also usually a civilization collapse ( after the New World colonization we had a 500 year hiatus from total collapse due to the surplus looted. Next stop, 500 years of a Dark Age as the surplus is long gone ), that collapse is the NORM, than barter solves no ones problems. You are getting rid of never to be duplicated again items, for short term gain ( or no gain at all if you take something like gold that can’t be efficiently used until those Dark Ages end ). Does that sound at all silly to you? All those apocalypse books you read about our super stud hero, a heroic Ninja who foolishly fights crowds for supplies but that Moron Move is never examined, how he says something to the effect that cash is soon to be worthless and so he buys commodities? What does he do next? Barters those commodities ( at the also improbable flea marker that quickly springs up ).
If you are looking ahead at five friggin centuries of no trade, no economic activity, no surplus food or fuel, do you want to give away ANYTHING from the Industrial Age? Of course you don’t! You might only use three more sewing needles in your lifetime, but what about your great grandkids? You think maybe rather than barter we should be thinking Family Heirlooms? Of course you should! Although, that said, humans are NOT wired for this kind of long term thinking ( I think the story about the Russian scientists that died rather than eating the seed was Soviet propaganda, just as the fable of the Potemkin Village efforts at painting the dead trees green was an American propaganda tool designed to smear the commies ) so of COURSE you are going to find some rationalization for spending that inheritance quickly. Or at least your children will, that being the nature of us. We exploit the low hanging fruit, run out, go kill the neighbor for his fruit and then eat all that up. I suppose the best we can hope for is that you at least THINK about the nonrenewable resource you are about to waste. If every single item is yours only, you can never stockpile enough for a ten to twenty year stash, perhaps you’ll never be tempted to barter. But having said all that, I’ll still continue as if you’ll engage in the practice anyway. Continued
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Oh I think flea/farmers markets will be with us from now till the end of the race. There is always SOMETHING that you have in abundance than another might be willing to have, possibly giving you something in trade. But bartering something you cant replace and might need is stupid times ten. We will see cabbage patch dolls, zucchinis, and eggs at flea markets as the PODA descend on us. But we will hardly ever see things like styrofoam insulation panels, large glass panes, steel roofing, etc, etc. At least, not in good condition. _UNLESS_ the die off is MASSIVE and QUICK - as in less than a single presidential term quick. That is the key behind all the happy looting and quick recovery post appoc stories. 90%+ dead literally overnight, without even enough time for the dying to mess up their own stuff, much less go shopping at walmart with their guns. Highly unlikely - Sure a global illuminati conspiracy might pull such a thing off, or an unimaginably rare celestial event, etc.ReplyDelete
But more than likely trade will be zucchinis and macrame and hand carved wood items and things that have little to no long term utility very quickly.
Don't forget, if our reptilean overlords decide to colonize the planet, we'll get a 99% die-off overnight :)Delete
As the classic rock line goes " ...what good is a used up world anyway..."Delete
Unless aliens know of something precious on this slightly rotted wet rock of a planet, that can only be found here, there is no reason for a space mastering race to colonize it.
That gamy disease ridden stuff???Delete
Easier to clone better tasting versions.
But that might explain the alien abduction and cow mutilation stuff (getting genetic samples for different cloned taste lines.....)
I think you're on to something. Except for bacon, all the better meat is on cows. The aliens have good taste. Tri-Tip, mmmmmDelete