This thread is dedicated to input on our What Should I Do? series. What topics would the CM.com community like to see explored here? Which CM.com members would you like to hear from?
If you are interested in contributing to this series, please PM me or send me an email at adam@PeakProsperity.com
I would like to hear from any members who have extensive experience in doing business, investing, or even living in an emerging economy. If we do in fact see the long-term balance of economic strength shift from developed world to emerging world, being savvy on business, trade, and investing in emerging economies may be key in not only having more opportunities for the future but also as a potential survival strategy in preserving some of our current wealth. As someone who has just started down this road I'm getting an appreciation of all the things I don't have a clue about but need to learn, and I bet I'm not the only one. And if there are any special insights they're willing to share about specific customs, attitudes, and cultural expectations of the country or countries they are familiar with, that would be icing on the cake (you never know what might come in useful!)
I second that motion! Would very much like to hear from someone who lived through a currency crisis (such as Argentina, Mexico, Asia) while also managing a business (and hopefully managed the business through and out of the crisis).
No personal experience but from family members who lived through the Weimar Republic hyperinflation:
Keep your profile low. Flaunting your success and wealth in the face of growing despair and poverty of the majority is not wise. Don't get greedy. Bad times will not last forever but people will remember who the greedy ones were and retribution usually isn't far behind. Be fair, generous, and compassionate to those less fortunate than you. You never know when your positions in life may reverse. If things get too rocky, have your ducks in a row to get out of Dodge (i.e. the country) on short notice.
There seems to be growing interest in learning how to financially invest in one's local community. What investment vehicles, if any, currently exist ? Can community preparedness include creating local investment fund of some type ? Or is direct business investment (e.g., a farm or CSA) the best type of local financial investment to make ? solari.com and Catherine Austin Fitts has some overview and direction (at too high of a level?) in this area.
Have any of you started your own business? This is the best way to contribute to your community. I think that some of the personal stories of those who have would be encouraging. Especially those who foresee the coming changes and are looking toward how their business will do in the futures's uncertainty. Some stories might be of failure. Either way we can all learn. The articles on the electric bicycles allude to a business. It's a brilliant idea... Like all businesses even this one might need to change if roads deterioate. Personal business investment of this type is not very portable, so starting in the right place is very important.
The idea of starting to work for others to meet their needs is how we can all find places in our future. A busines is a primary asset to the people of our communities and ourselves. Investing in other's work without being involved in the management of the work is based on the same psychology that drives both gambling and most of modern investment.
Here is my story in a nutshell.
My first business was a bicycle shop. Then, when the cost of expanding the business through credit was prohibitive, I went to work for a corporation. This lasted nine years before I decided to start over and learn a new skill set to work for others. After 7 years of work I got my dental license and 20 years later have a small but thriving business. Two of my sons have the same entreprenurial drive and own a land scaping business. Both of these businesses will need to make major changes as oil depletes and needs and/ or ways to meet them shift. Right now our family is investing in land and looking at timber management and possible other agricultural endevors with a view to the future.
Some needs don't change--people will always have teeth (for part of their life hopefully) and will want to eat. How those needs are met will change dramatically. Gold fillings anyone? Whiskey before your appointment to deal with pain and anxiety? I'm starting to think about all this. A dentist of the future may well need to distill his own ethanol to run a generator and while at it, relearn how to use a coal fired furnace to melt gold for making crowns. Hopefully the community won't arrest him for growing his own poppy plants for opium for medical use.
Cropped and raked landscaped yards may give way to consulting about growing food and assisting in urban gardening.
Eventually vinyl siding and foam insulation will give way to log construction and board and batten siding. Hopefully some good timber stands will be ready for the need.
Since the need to be local will be forced on us without oil, then an idea from one of us can be replicated many times over around the country as events unfold. The early bird gets the worm. Right now we have the energy assets to begin these endevors.
Can the forum be set up to funnel and sort these ideas in a logical way so those of us with common interests can navigate to our area of concern more simply?
How hard would it be to create a section for tracking the preparedness of members?
You have various steps to preparedness spelled out. It would be great to let members indicate how far along they are on each category. Maybe a bar chart for each category. Once a member has taken personal steps in a category they could indicate a percentage of competion for that area. This would be an honor system of course and probably grossly inaccurate, but it will ultimately provide a sense of mementum and encouragement for behavior changes we are all trying to do and have others do. Ideally, the members 'My account' area would be able to show their own level of accomplishment. The site bar chart would be a composite of all members. I would consider this a very practical tool for preparing.
I'd like to hear from people who live in areas (or who have lived in, or who have relatives who live in, such areas) with major corruption, strong organized crime, gangs, drug cartels, increasingly weaker police, lawlessness, etc. running rampant.
Examples of such places would be parts of Russia and the former Soviet republics; rural or border towns in Mexico; Cali or Medellin, Columbia; etc.
I want information on how ordinary people survive, what they need to do to stay out of trouble, what they have to do to run a business (restaurant, farm, store, etc.), live safely, send their kids to school, whether they have to pay protection money, what kind of allies you need (fixers, the mayor or local police chief), etc.
Adam, I'd love to see you get Fernando "Ferfal" Aguierre on board with "Straight Talk". He's got practical urban survival experience in post-economic crisis Argentina. Thanks!
(Note: I've made this into a Forum Topic: "Surviving In An Increasingly Lawless Society" as well, since I'd like to get started right away with discussions, etc.)
I liked Mrs. Martenson's essay, but there's a lot more that goes into it when the husband isn't behind you, especially for those of us who are homemakers and have no independent income. I'd really like to see an essay from the other side of the coin.
I hear you, BandMom. Especially about the "no independent income" part.
I am sure you are already doing some of the following, but here are suggestions:
1. Deepen your pantry with an eye towards food that can be kept longer and unrefrigerated. If he isn't behind you, maybe he isn't looking too deeply into the cupboards. Most grocery store foods will keep for up to 1 or 2 years, anyway.
2. If he isn't checking your grocery receipts, use savings from coupons to buy a few prep-related items here and there, such as water purification tablets.
3. Keep every pre-1965 dime you come across in your change. (They're 90% silver, 10% copper.) Keep them in a safe place.
4. If you have room to garden, I suggest starting - just for fun for the kids, but also a great way to get nutritious foods.
5. If you ever get a power outage, or if you live in blizzard or hurricane or tornado or earthquake or wildfire country, it makes sense to have emergency supplies on hand - even if he isn't behind you otherwise.
6. If you have kids running around, it makes sense to have a fully-stocked first aid kit for cuts and bruises, fevers, coughs, etc. - again, even if he isn't behind you otherwise.
Funny you say that, several weeks ago a friend who's a stay-at-home mom confided that she too felt uneasy about the future and wanted to do more, but her husband isn't willing to make substantial efforts for any preparations. I told her the best thing is to just keep doing what she's doing with stocking up on extra groceries when possible, and see if she can find a cheap chest-freezer on craigslist to stock more frozen food when it's on sale (I know him... he's all for saving money even if he sees no crisis on the horizon). Beyond 'stocking up during sales to beat rising prices' and socking away some of the discretionary cash though, I didn't know what else she could readily do in her situation that she hasn't done already and avoid further conflict. When the next major shakeup occurs I'll be passing on the links to the Crash Course again to them and see if his faith in the status quo is shaken enough to consider watching it.
There are a number of threads that deal with somewhat similar situations where there are disagreements on whether there's a need to prepare or to allocate money and resources to preps created similar roadblocks, even if the circumstances were different (two-earner household or the like). Here's a couple that may apply or help:
One of the things I do as a *stay at home* parent is to couch all preparedness needs and actions in the realm of *insurance*.
Ie... we all have car, house, life insurance (or at least do not come up against obstacles when we do procure them) and in light of the current disturbances of natural and man made disasters that becomes a discussion point in even the most resistent BAU people....
Food security is a personal choice... I would apart from storing foods and consumables also store seeds and medications. I would also discuss that food is not getting cheaper so every item bought in the *here and now* is actually a significant savings against price rises....
another useful strategy is to DEMONSTRATE the usefulness by being able to *dip into* the stock/stored supplies in plain view as a way to save time/money when a trip to the store would be inconvenient..... even the most resistent partner... male or female will soon begin to see the wisdom in having more personal options because of the *thriftiness* of putting things by. Not running out of things is a very great motivator... and also conversations like.... *well i am glad we had X put away* because it saved me a trip into town* type comments can also bring a more positive attitude to bear.
Please think about consumables that also are NOT food..... pencils pens bandaids etc.
I also concur that getting ferfal to post here would be a bonus..... because he is on my friends list on fb i get to see all the daily stuff and have easy access to his experience. It would be advantageous to consider approaching him directly.
This is my first post here though i have been an active reader for over two years.... i mostly post at Silentcountry.com and Sustainablecountry.com... thanks for such great posts everyone. It is much appreciated.
How about a Print option at the top of the articles, next to the FB, Twitter and email options ? I sometimes print these off (on acid free paper for longevity), but its a pain (copy, paste, twiddle, maybe save to PDF, print). A print option to format it for printing would be great!
ScottHW, there is a print link. It is located at the bottom of the post. For example, if I click the print link for the most recent "What Should I Do?" post I get this: http://www.peakprosperity.com/print/66508
Hope this helps.
A resource for planning for & reacting to the unexpected (storms, natural disasters and other shocks)
Members to support one another in investing endeavors
Preparing those people on Ise Lodge (Kettering) Northants, interested in the future post fossil fuel.
A meeting place for all who are interested in building or sharing a resilient lifestyle up here in the North.
A group to form alliances for survival