Posts Tagged ‘bartering’

Roots, the base of all life

071011_2337_Survivingth6.jpgIn my last post, I touched upon new beginnings and the differences/similarities between preparedness and survivalism. Today, I want to look at some of the base concepts that fuel each stage of reaction that we take in this process we call preparedness.

Many years ago, I came to realize that while much of what we see and hear through various media outlets is just plain fruitcake talk. Nevertheless, I also realized there is indeed an aura of “conspiracy” that attaches itself to at least a small portion of this rhetoric. Moreover, upon investigation, we can see that there is indeed something going on behind closed doors, and we do have cause to fear for our futures.

Whether you believe in any one of the seemingly endless theories floating around or not, the world around us is indeed involved in what seems to be a slow speed crash and burn cycle. It has happened before, in various stages of extent, and if we are smart, we will examine these prior crashes and learn from them as we prepare for the coming times.

Let us take the last “great depression” as it has been named. In fact, there have been times when the economy has been worse for this nation, but this long standing event can teach us the most recent lessons to be learned.  Take a moment and consider who survived this era the best.

There were actually two groups of people who came out as last best survivors of that economic collapse, and these groups were millionaires, and those who had land and business interests that were of a sustainable nature. By using the term sustainable here, I am not talking about the corrupted definition that the enviro-worshipers use today, but the classic definition which simply means; able to be maintained. For instance, many of today’s businesses are wildly successful, but in the event of a collapse, can those businesses continue on in a successful manner?

For example, telemarketing call centers are good places to make a quick buck, and they can provide you with a good income, but look into their history and see how many of them enjoy a well grounded platform that they can use to continue on from should some major event bring the world to a halt. There are none that I am aware of that could continue to provide you with an income should something cause an environment to occur where they would not be able to function.

Telemarketing relies upon telephone service, but if we get hit with a large-scale and widespread EMP event, manmade or otherwise, would these companies be able to continue operations? The answer is of course, no. No telephones, no telemarketing. It is a simple concept, and yet many people fail to see the significance of this concept in real terms.

For us to rely upon one single source of income leaves us in a situation whereby we have nothing, should that source of income suddenly become interrupted. Therefore, part of our preparedness planning needs to include an ability to have a secondary source of income.  This does not mean that we need to have two jobs, but that we need to have skill sets that allow us to have alternative means of income production  that will allow us to pay our bills and put food on the table when things go belly up.

No matter what the financial condition is, some means of transfer of wealth needs to used if we are to survive, long-term.  We are used to the presence of cash for that wealth exchange, and many are foolish enough to pretend that credit can be used for that exchange. If we need a pound of flour to make a loaf of bread to feeds our hungry family, where do we get that flour? We have to buy it, or we have to
grow and process our own wheat to obtain that pound of flour.

To buy it, we need money, and if the government fails, there is no money, since money today is merely a promissory note based upon the government’s good word, and nothing more. We call that fiat currency, and many of us believe that this fiat currency may well be soon coming to an end. The alternative is to barter some tangible goods or service we have for that flour.

Herein lays the rub of survivalism, those who have, survive, those who have not merely exist, and are destined to fail. If we study the last great depression, we learn that the only people who survived with any degree of self-respect were millionaires, simply because they had enough tangible wealth whereby they were able to buy themselves survival with extremely debased currency.  And there were those who had land and businesses that provided necessary commodities that everyone else had to have, i.e. food clothing, shelter and other absolute needs for survival. Everyone else had to make do with what they had, and for far too many, this was nothing.

The bottom line here is that if your roots are not healthy and strong, neither will your tree of life be. Make sure the roots of your preparedness planning are strong, and diverse enough to withstand any potentially devastating event.

Over the last so many thousands of years, the system of commerce in this world has changed, and grown to a place where we no longer think in terms of bartering for our needs and wants, but in terms of currency for our wants and needs. When we want a bushel of corn and twenty pound of ground beef for the family reunion’s cookout, we think of what it will cost us in cash. We do not need to look around for somebody that is willing to trade for that corn and beef by accepting something we have to trade for that commodity, such as a new hoe for the farmer that grew the corn, etc. We simply give the seller whatever cash he requests for the goods, and the trade is complete.

There is great benefit to society as a whole in these changes, as we know what we need to be able to “purchase” these good beforehand. We can save up for the impending purchase, or put it on a credit card and pay for the food later. Today, cash is what makes the world go round. Nobody wants to barter something that you made in your woodshop for a gallon of milk sitting in the cooler at the back of the store. If you do not believe me, try it sometime.

However, cash will not always be king, and even now some of the luster of this medium we call currency is waning. People are using plastic more and more. At some point, the frequency of use of actual cash we decline to the point whereby governments will no longer want to print paper currency and stamp coinage. It will become too costly for the return they receive on that currency.

Already we see the trend towards this new reality of commerce often called the “cashless society.” Debit cards, automated deposits, EFTs and other means of electronically moving funds from one person to another are becoming commonplace. In fact, most large employers now all but require you to receive your paycheck as a direct deposit into your bank account. The government (mostly) now issues welfare funds by way of electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards. No actual cash changes hands unless you take the trouble to go to a bank or an ATM to withdraw your electronic credits as cash.

Scripture tells us that in the end times the beast will have a system in place that prohibits anyone from buying and selling unless the possess the mark of the beast (Rev. 13:17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. KJV) I believe that this new system of trade will result in the Beast’s victory over the world’s economic system.

Therefore, it is to our advantage to learn how to survive in an era where we have two choices to make. Choice one is to give in to the system of cashless transactions, thus lending your support, however unwillingly it may be. The second choice is to learn how to work around the system and deal with the ages old system of bartering for commodities directly. Of course, working around the governments prescribed method of acceptable operations is fraught with danger, but at some point in time, we have to either make a stand for what is right, or be a lemming and comfortably follow the crowd off the edge of a cliff.

One of the problems with bartering is determining the acceptable value of the two commodities to be bartered. Under normal circumstances, and we will use coffee as an example here, a bag of coffee costs X number of dollars, priced at so much per pound. Most of the time, coffee is available in either a fine ground state for drip coffeemakers, or as a whole bean, roasted for your convenience. The best way to obtain and store coffee beans is in the green state, so that you can roast it at your convenience.

The problem is going to be in placing a value on that coffee you have to barter in comparison to the item or service that you intend to trade that coffee for. It is best all around that you begin now to think of your belongings, especially excess items you may have standing in reserve for the strict purpose of bartering. Naturally, the other party will also be giving the same careful consideration to whatever he has to trade to you for your coffee. The trick is to make adjustments fast enough that an equitable trade can be made, so that both parties can be satisfied. Good luck with that.

I wish I could give you a simple formula to determine value, but there isn’t any. Value of any commodity or service is something that changes without warning, and rarely stays constant for very long. Prices rise and fall based upon a myriad of reasons, with the biggest being that of supply and demand. Too much of any commodity, with a low demand for it lowers the price. Not enough of a commodity in relation to a high demand increases the price.

We will soon be entering a period of time where any financial planning we can do now will make things much easier for the long haul for us. Start stocking up on commodities that can be stored long term, and when push comes to shove, you will be able to get those hard to find items by bartering these same goods that you have saved today for use in the future. Things like tobacco, coffee, salt and sugar, candles, matches, fuel oils such as paraffin and kerosene, etc. all of these things will only increase in value as the availability declines.

Austerity is coming, no matter who gets elected in the fall, the only question will be how soon will it enter the picture, and how hard will the powers that be try to hide the fact that today’s federalist lawmakers are bankrupting this nation, driving to a position of servitude to the world’s wealthiest progressive leaders. They will do all they can to enslave you, and they will accomplish this most easily through your increasing use of credit, and your adherence to the cashless payment systems of the world.

One of the “Oh Boy!” things we have to look forward to as preppers and survivalists is the coming cashless future we will all inevitably be forced to endure. In some aspects this can be a good thing, but in reality it means that we will no longer have individual sovereignty over our own finances. We won’t be able to spend as we wish without somebody else keeping track of our spending habits.

Current statistics indicate that approximately 60% of monetary transactions in 2010 were made by plastic of one sort or another, with cash and checks, or paper transactions dropping to just 40% of all transactions. The lure of the convenience plastic provides makes using it too easy. Whether you use a debit or a credit card, it is still an electronic transaction, or a paperless deal. Why will the loss of paper, both cash and check variety be such a blow to our society? In simple terms it means we will have given our freedom to choose over to a nameless computerized system of wealth redistribution. We will no longer be the proud owner of a pile of money, but merely the manager of our own bank account that uses electronic credits to transfer a payment to somebody instead of paying them with our money.

Credits will be still valued in dollar amounts, but we won’t have any dollars to use. And that’s where we will get burned in the future.

Many of us are storing up gold and silver in both coins and bullion as a hedge against the future collapse of the U.S. dollar even though that collapse has already begun. But in the future, where all transactions will be required to be conducted electronically, how do you expect to use this commodity to pay your bills? You won’t be able to drive up to a gas station and fill your car up with $15.00 a gallon gas and expect to pay the attendant with a gold coin. He won’t be able to accept it, at least not legally.

You may think I’m kidding and that there will always be money, and you’re right, there will always be money, just not the type we’re accustomed to using. As the ease and convenience of plastic catches on, more and more people use their cards, and as more and more people use plastic, the cost of processing these transactions continues to decline, in turn making plastic more desirable by retailers and others collecting payments for services or products.

Already we see a growing number of businesses refusing to accept cash for transactions, such as many cab companies and restaurants. Try buying something online with a bundle of cash or a check. And yes, checks are accepted for some online transactions, but that is only because those checks are processed as electronic transactions. Many stores will give you your check back with your receipt for the same reason. Social Security recipients get paid through either a government issued EBM or direct deposit into their bank account. Welfare recipients and the unemployed receive their benefits through EBM cards as well. Checks are becoming less and less necessary with the increase of electronic payment technology.

Cash is becoming risky to carry with the rise in violent crimes. As it becomes scarce, people that do still carry large sums of cash become walking targets, and the same goes for businesses. The huge sums of cash traded by the drug cartels lead government officials to agree that getting rid of cash would be of great benefit in fighting crime. It only makes sense to see the trend towards cashless that we are seeing today.

What this means for us, meaning preppers and survivalists, is that we need to be able to sail through life without the need to accumulate cash for our transactions, and that will cause no end of problems down the road. The government wants your money, and they will collect it in one way or another as taxes and fees. But if you don’t have a bank account, how will you pay your taxes?

That’s a question you’ll have to answer in the future. But for now, be aware of the fact that things will be radically different in the future, and unfortunately, most people prepare today for the future under the false assumption that things will carry on as usual, no matter what happens. This will not be the case. We are approaching the crossroads even today, and the decisions we make while developing our preparedness plans cannot be undone after the fact. That’s why careful research and consideration of the facts are so important as you do develop your long range plans.

Plan now to accommodate a future where barter will be the main source of transactional business in the future between like minded people. Cash is always good to have on hand, but it won’t always be useful. You can by a brick of 22LR’s for a few dollars today, but what about when there are no more 22LR’s on the market? If a man has one spare brick, but no food, how much gold will it take to get that brick from him? Suppose you had a 2 ½ pound can of coffee? Wouldn’t that make the deal sweeter than a few silver rounds?

Think of some things with a long shelf life that will become hard to get in the coming times. How much work can you get done around the homestead in exchange for a case of instant coffee? Have you ever thought of stocking up on simple hand tools such as saws, knives or axes to use as barter goods for other things you may need?

And then there are many useful skills that have become forgotten in today’s hurry up world of technology that you could use as a barter tool as well. After all, how many glaziers do you know?

The point here is that things are changing. The world is becoming a different place right before our very eyes. The things people told me would never happen when I was a kid have become reality, and that reality makes me very nervous for our future. Learn today to be prepared for those coming times when all will be different. Learn the fine art of barter, and learn how to weave that skill seamlessly into your lifestyle. The day when you may need those skills may not be so very far away as we want it to be.

As the economy continues to decline and we start to realize what lays ahead for us, a discussion keeps cropping up over what kind of investment should we make for the coming times. We know that we will have to buy some sort of supplies or other needs, but will we be able to simply pull out that little piece of plastic, or will hard currency be required? To be sure, only time will tell, but based on history and comparing it to what I see today, I have a couple of predictions to make regarding the question.

Before we get going down the road to buy a loaf of bread, let me clarify money, and its relationship to emergency preparedness planning. First of all, there are several different ways to look at the issue of hard money. One of them is as an investment instrument. People can trade and deal in currencies just like any other stock, and buy when a value is low, then sell when the value is high and make a profit from the sale of those holdings. It’s not a sure fire way to make an income, but if you are savvy in the ways of the market, the potential is there to make a proverbial killing in the markets.

The problem here is that if the ultimate meltdown does occur, will you be able to cash in on your investments, and use those funds to obtain needed supplies and equipment? In reality, I don’t believe so. You will most likely not be able to recoup on any of your investments, and in fact, you will not be able to get back the cash you initially invested, either. Why is that, you wonder? Because if in fact the ultimate melt down does occur, there will be no financial infrastructure available to process your request. There will be no bank to give you any of your money back to you. That’s if the ultimate meltdown occurs, that is. There are varying levels of collapse that will affect your investments to varying degrees. For that reason, I would suggest that you only deal in these sorts of investments if you can afford to lose everything you’ve invested into the game.

For purposes of emergency preparedness planning, we need to look at money a little differently. We need to look at money as it was initially developed. Money, in its basic precept is a tool for barter, and nothing more. If you need to hire a handyman to rake your yard, you trade a bit of cash in trade for his time. The handyman takes that cash and trades it for groceries or gas for his truck at the C-store. The store owner uses that cash to pay his employees and buy new gas and groceries. And the cycle continues on and on, dollar bills trading from hand to hand until you go to the bank and cash your paycheck so you can give that cash to others in exchange for what you need.

However, should this cycle become interrupted, how much value will that cash you hold have to those who possess what you desire? The so called leaders of this country are determined to implement what is called ‘smart grid’ technology in this country. That smart grid can very easily, according to some, be disrupted. Should this occur our entire financial infrastructure would come to a standstill. Banks would be unable to open. ATM would cease to function, and retailers would not be able to process credit card payments.

Your only option at this point would be cash. However, as a society we have become so entrenched in the security and convenience that little plastic card has that few of us carry much cash today. Some people I know carry just enough cash to get a couple of snacks and that’s it. Next time you are visiting a fast food joint, watch the number of people that pay for their meal with plastic. It’s amazing how many people do that. I’ve even seen people pay for a cup of coffee with a card. Granted, most of these transactions are via a debit charge rather than a credit charge, but it’s still an electronic transfer of funds. Paper checks are processed the same way today in larger chains as well. The money is taken from your account immediately rather than days later as the check goes through its processing routine.

Stores and gas stations may stay open in the event of a catastrophe, depending upon the severity and type, but if they cannot process credit and debit transactions, the only option is cash. Some may take paper checks, but that possibility is iffy at best. For the long term, you need to be prepared to live without that little piece of plastic. To do that, you’ll need to figure out an amount of ready cash you think you may need for a short duration when the infrastructure may be down. And remember that more than likely; we will see a sharp increase in the price of goods as those goods availability dwindles in the markets. Plan on at least three times what you would spend for goods today as an inflation buffer.

And then, as retailers find that their own credit lines are gone, and they cannot get any more products for their shelves, cash will become less and less meaningful. At some point we will find ourselves living in Bartertown, of which I have written on before. You’ll either need to have some product, or a skill that can be traded to get what you need.

Buffers against that time will only be what your preparedness plans have provided for you. For the most part, food will be a standard trade good, so try to have sufficient stocks of food with which to trade with. And just as a suggestion, you may want to use that as an opportunity to unload some of the shorter term foods that are either coming to their use by date or have gone past it. Desperate people won’t bother with dates, and if the food is safe, there’s nothing wrong with using it to barter.

Skills will eventually become barter tools, provided you have a marketable skill in the coming times. That being the case, I would suggest you learn how to do something that you don’t do now. Working for twenty bucks an hour in a call center may be good money, but if there is no infrastructure, as would be the case in a nationwide EMP attack, then there is no job, and no income. What will you do to provide for your family?

Remember that cash will be the only way of conducting business when the collapse finally begins, so make sure you’ve plenty on hand. But don’t flaunt it. Hide it and hide it well. There are dozens of ways of hiding what you’ve got, but I won’t describe them here as it would make for easy pickings by those with criminal intent. Pay attention to my writing and you’ll be able to pick out the clues as to what you should do.

The revolution has just begun, and it will be years before it comes to an end. We’ll have lots of distress in the meantime, and by developing your plans now, you’ll have an easier time of it later.

There’s a lot of talk on the waves by many so called analysts regarding the end times, and the so called apocalyptic terror we will be forced to live through. I hate to be the one to burst bubbles, but a lot of the hype certain TV networks like to portray as the end times is just hype. Granted, it ain’t gonna be no picnic, but they really go overboard with some of the graphics. But in spite of it all, there will be some unpleasant changes that we will have to survive, and there will be no choice in the matter.

One of these changes will be the conversion to a cashless society, as some like to call it. Some folks say that there will always be money, and that’s true, there always will be. The Scriptures tell us there will be, so there will. The aspect, or type of currency, is the part of money that is changing. Revelation 6:6 says And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine(KJV). This tells me that there will be financial trade in the final days, and for financial trade to take place there must be money to exchange hands. Otherwise, the verse would have suggested a barter type of transaction, wouldn’t it?

But for those of you who are not convinced that there will indeed be a cashless society, you’ll need to follow along on my podcasts, which can be found here on Maine Talk Radio. A few of the recent news clips I have shared is the fact that the UK has passed a law eliminating the paper check by 2018. Many countries, including the U.S. are investigating, and some are instituting a national ID card containing RFID chips containing much personal information. Some are even including biometrics within these cards.

As an added incentive, many cards also function as a debit card as well for non cash currency transactions. Makes it easier to take public transportation and so forth. A recent NY Times article describes a restaurant in New York that now refuses to accept cash. Many stores do not accept checks as payment as well. Online commerce relies solely on credit cards for payment. Even fast food joints such as McDonalds have contactless payment terminals for your touch and go debit cards. These cards, in case you did not realize it, contain RFID chips with your account information.

So, it is clear that we are in fact headed for a cashless society, but there will still be currency to be traded. The big problem with this idea is that this currency will not be actual paper or coins, it will be credit placed in your bank account, and that credit will be based upon the value the nation’s currency has on the market. The value of the dollar, or whatever denomination of currency you use where you live, will be based upon the strength of that nation’s wealth in the world market. You will have little to no control over your own finances. If you do not have one of these cards in the future, you will not be able to do business in the conventional sense.

Even government provided welfare such as unemployment and foodstamps are provided for via a debit card today. There will be no paper checking, or draft style financial transfers in the future. There will be next to none, or none at all, hard cash available to be distributed. All transactions will be electronic.

So what kind of survival plan can we develop to live through this part of the coming times? Actually, none, in real terms. We can either do as the government says, or we can become an outcast with no way to pay for a roof over our heads, buy groceries, or obtain health care. And don’t even think of gassing up the family sedan. But that’s not such a bad alternative if enough people of a like mind can band together and form their own communities. And this plan, in and of itself will cause grave problems for the survivalists who choose this course.

The governments of the world will rely upon your tax dollars right up till the Second Coming. Have you noticed how large this government has become, and that it is growing larger and more powerful every week that goes by? You will be required to pay what they consider your fair share. Unless of course you are poverty bound and then they’ll pay all your bills. But there is a way around the problem, at least partially. For one thing, you will be required to work. No problem there, just make enough to get your income and property and sales taxes paid for.

I’ve talked before about bartering, and this is one way of getting by when things get tough. But for a barter system to really work there must be enough people involved to cover all possible needs required by a community. You’ll need to consider medical care, housing, transportation, clothing and food. And then you’ll need to give consideration as to how you intend to achieve all of these things. You can plant seeds for food, but where will the seed come from? How about fuel for the tractor? Where will the power come from to light your home? How about the books to educate the little ones?

And then there’s always the time when somebody breaks their leg or an appendix bursts. These are all things to consider, along with much more. There are two degrees of survival mindset. One degree addresses the immediate emergency, such as a hurricane or civil breakdown. And then there is the long term degree that pushes you to live apart from conventional society, either alone or in a community of like minded believers. I would suggest the latter, for obvious reasons.

The cashless future is steamrolling towards us, and in some ways is already here. There are many cases where you cannot do business without a credit card already. It will only be a matter of time before everyone becomes indoctrinated into the wisdom of possessing an RFID card because of the security it supposedly provides, and because of the convenience they provide at the checkout counter.

You’ll have to eventually decide whether or not to buy into that wisdom. When that time comes, you need to be ready to play or pay. Prepare for that time now, and you’ll be able to pay and play your own way then.