Saturday, January 08, 2011


Survivalism theorizing and lack of Connection with Reality
Mr. Ferfal,
I love reading your blog. You speak reality when so many other 'survivalist' bloggers like to forcefeed Mad Max and The Road to anyone who sees hard times coming.
I am curious- I just read Mr. Rawles predict that the dollar will collapse within the next few years. I'm sure you can hop over there and read it for yourself if you like.
I read your writing about Argentina, and KNOW that we have some good things going for us here in the U.S. Chief among our good things is the national 2nd amendment, which supports gun ownership nationwide, and that there are many local jurisdicitions (such as Texas) where the right to self-defense is heartily endorsed.
That being said- with so many American preppers preaching doom and gloom for the nation, and you finally being able to emigrate to this country, can you illustrate some reality for what Americans are facing? I don't just mean increased crime, increased unemployment, increased hardship and cost and poverty... I get all that. How legitimate is the idea that the U.S. dollar could collapse within the next few years? And if it did, what would that actually look like?
Tin Man

It’s been years since I last read anything by Rawles. Give me a second while I go check again... No, still not interested. The posts are long, boring and worst of all, his survival recommendations are frankly of little or no use to me. Probably my fault, that S didn’t HTF the way he said it must. :-) I prefer practical (useful) and to the point information. Maybe worst of all, some of the information given is simply wrong, and that wasn’t as bad back when he started writing and everything was fine in the US, but now that people are getting a taste of what an economic crisis feels like, these mistakes will cost you. Too many people have quit their jobs and moved to the sticks, even worse, used up their savings and bought retreats, farms, and such, spent their hard earned money, only to realize that itty bitty detail rarely mentioned by him: Its much easier to live in a retreat when you already make a lot of money through your blog and books. You make serious amounts of money from home already? Knock yourself out man. Buy a farm in Mongolia if that floats your boat. But when a person quits his job, moves to the sticks, and buys a retreat only to find out that its much more expensive and far less productive than he/she was initially led to believe, that’s a different story. There’s a reason why cities are overpopulated in the 3rd world, why they were overpopulated 5000 years ago too. Not because they look (or smell) nice, but because all things considered, that’s where the jobs are, and Americans need jobs more than ever these days, specially since the future isn’t looking very good.

Lets just hope things don’t get even worse. If violence strikes the American population like it does in some 3rd world countries or places like South Africa, the fantasy of defending your “retreat” with your family and a couple buddies will crash against an immovable object called reality.
Today I had some errands to run. Came across a couple roadblocks, found a group of people, maybe 100 or so protesting, another bunch living in tens just a couple blocks away from Obelisco. As I walked around the capital district, the foul smell and people living, sleeping on the streets surprised me,  there’s more and more of them. That’s what happens after an economic collapse. I see it here but it’s the same old story when you look at the experience in other countries.

Here’s a few photos I took today with my cell phone:
Tents in 9 de Julio Avenue. These folks job? They make a living out of protesting and supporting the officalist politial party.

Protesters blocking 9 de Julio in the Heart of Buenos Aires. They wont free the road until a rise in handouts is arranged.

Anti Riot tank of the federal police, common sight in the Captial District.


After that, I came back home and spent a few hours checking some of the survival forums and youtube channels. There’s more and more talk about doing this or that, in preparation for the coming “economic collapse”. Its good that people are getting interested, but apparently every possible thing people can come up with will be invaluable after such event takes place. Yet I scratch my head while I think “What the heck..?” Where do people come up with all this? Some people talk with absolute certainty and not a hint of a doubt about subjects they clearly know little of, or in some cases nothing at all. While some are clearly in it for the Benjamins (in that case I don’t care), I really don’t want to be mean with others because I believe their intentions are good. It’s a bit na├»ve though to think that your orchard will produce more than fresh food for the family. No, you wont be bankrupting Walmart with your fresh tomatoes. While crime will be a problem, nope, raiders wont be camping on the outskirts of town, just waiting for you. Its much more efficient to steal and rob when honest, hard working people are busy earning a living, and heck no, they wont fight fair. Hostages are plentiful, just take a look at your kids.
About your question, think of it this way.
If you keep saying that this or that will collapse, sooner or later you’ll “get lucky” I guess, but I don’t take that type of prophetic claims seriously. Rawls changed his novel’s title several times to fit the in vogue scare, each time adjusting the first couple pages to fit the current year. The world was supposed to end 20 years ago.  First it was Gray Ninties, then the world ended in the year 2000 (computers where supposed to take over the world, remember?) then it was 9/11, and now again the economy. For 2012 it will probably be the Mayan calendar or something. 

Will the dollar collapse? No idea man. It sure is weak and it could, but that doesn’t mean it will any time soon. Do you think the world ends if the dollar collapses? No it wont. There will just be a lot more poor Americans, that’s all. In the long run if it doesn’t get back on its feet, t may be replaced from its leading role by another superpower but the world will not end a la Mad Max. America as you knew it will no longer exist though, and people would remember for generations its past glory. Again, these things have happened before, empires fall.

I understand your question and comprehend what you are going through. Man, I understand that more than you can imagine. We LIVE with that uncertainty every day here. That’s one of the things that kills people in Argentina. Let me give you just a couple examples. There’s little or no cash left in most ATMs in Buenos Aires. Same thing with gasoline. There’s just not enough gas and lines (if you find a station with gas) go for blocks. Will this situation be solved in 72hs as they promise? How bad will it be afterwards? We just don’t know, and not knowing is what drives you nuts. What will our economy look next month? In a serious country you can make a reasonably safe forecast, but not in Argentina. We lost that after 2001. We just don’t know what the president will do, what capitalists and investors will do, and the consequences it will have in the country’s economy. We live day by day and its about impossible to make long term plans. The average Joe in Argentina goes to work every day not knowing if road blockers, buses or train strikes will let him get back home that night. You are experiencing a bit of that right now, like sour aftertaste in your mouth. The dollar will collapse in the newt few years. What a daring statement, such precision. Kind of loses its awesomeness if you repeat that two decades in a row. 

In my opinion, I think that this year we’ll see the dollar losing more of its value, not collapsing or bluntly devaluating. If they follow the Argentine example which so many economists seem to believe it’s the best option (sons of B&!%*! Should try living here for a while as middle class instead of experiencing Argentina from their Hyatt hotel suits) what you’ll see is more inflation. Little by little inflation will undermine the American middle class and the dollar not officially collapsing. That game can be played for decades, but hopefully with a new administration the destruction of the American middle class will be stopped before its too late. Lucky for you, the American middle class is still strong. And it goes back to what this blog is about: The process already started, some people will be ready for it, some don’t even know its happening. The water level is rising and you must keep yourself at the top (or middle) of the social pyramid on all fronts. Security, economic wise, the things I talk about here. Some folks will be caught with their pants down by crime, others wont. Some will end up losing their homes, becoming poor, but others will manage to keep their standards of living, adjusting their budget where it can be worked on without significant consequences, creating additional income. Others will detect the new market niches and make money thanks to the crisis.

Trying to answer your question as best as I can, the concern of the dollar collapsing is legitimate given the current situation, but I don’t think it will collapse, at least not in any obvious way. As I said before, somewhat similar and less dramatic results can be achieved with a… lets call it “crappier” dollar.
And if it did, what would that actually look like?”
It will look like something you’re not used to experiencing. You mentioned unemployment, poverty and you said that you get all that, but that’s what I’ve been blogging about over two years almost on daily basis. Its such a complex matter I could keep writing daily aobut it for another two years and still have things to tell.

If the dollar collapses you are looking at the world ending as you know it like we did here. Forget the everything you know about everything. The American lifestyle as you know it will end. You guys have an entire country that is built around the assumption that transportation will always be dirt cheap. You barely use public transportation. What will happen? Well, if you can make a living and can’t afford gas or a vehicle, there will be mass exodus into the cities, not the other way around like survival gurus claim.
Cities will of course suffer high crime rates but people wont have much of an option. That’s where the little job to be found is. People will lose their farms like it already happened throughout history in different countries (including USA) and thousands of small towns will be killed by the deep recession that follows the collapse of the dollar combined with folks moving over to bigger cities desperately looking for work.
As the cities and suburbs become dangerous, overpopulated places where the mass of the country, mostly poor live, heavily guarded communities will be built in the outskirts, close enough to commute. Some of the nicer suburbs may be walled and turned into such a place if they are close enough. As the country in general deteriorates, it will be reflected in health and education as well. The O-Public health will be a joke, and only those that can afford expensive private health care (it will become a luxury)  will be covered for real. Of course his will be denied until the end of times like it always happens.
Many of the megastores I saw in Texas, there’s no way those could stay open if the dollar collapses. Some of the malls I saw in Fort Worth were already pretty deserted, wouldn’t want to see what happens to them if the dollar goes down. Lots of these stores that are having a hard time now will inevitably go bankrupt. You’ll be seeing lots of large, empty buildings, ruins of a glorious past.
Basically that’s what it would look like, a 3rd world version of USA. Lots of similarities with what happens here or other countries and of course some differences which you’ll have to analyze to see the provable outcome.

     Hope that answers your question, take care!


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