Sunday, December 7, 2008

Preparedness, Survivalism, and the Cascading Domino Theory

What we usually talk about here is preparedness with a touch of survivalism. Preparedness means you have taken the steps to be able to take care of the basics for your family (food, shelter, transportation, safety, etc) for a period of a few days to a few weeks depending on the disaster that strikes your area.

Survivalism takes preparedness a couple of steps further. In addition to doing the preparedness stuff (stashing food, cash, and supplies) you learn and practice the skills that you would need to create your own shelter, grow your own food, fix your own car, and perform a multitude of other tasks that could sustain you and your family for a few weeks to a year or longer should TSHTF in a more serious manner.

When you reach the point of needing to be a survivalist, then we really have a problem. In most parts of our society, it isn't very feasible to strike out on your own and live a life of subsistence for very long. Although in many rural areas, this would be a slightly more realistic scenario, the majority of our communities, our states, our nation, and in fact the world, are so intertwined that once things start to fall you have a disaster of exponential proportions on your hands (the cascading domino theory). Actually we, all of us, have a disaster of exponential proportions on our hands.

The first domino was given a swift kick about eight months ago. The situation had been building for some time--consumers buying to the point of complete over-extendedness, stupid housing loans that made absolutely no sense (the people in the know conveniently looked the other way since they were making so much money), government bail outs (bail outs don't much work for a number of reasons) and now you have consumers with no money and/or no will to spend, and without consumers you have very little economy. Which leads to the bottom line of this story...

When you have a multi-faceted breakdown of society, it starts with one domino falling (consumers unable to buy) followed by the next (restaurants, car dealerships, etc not being able to sell their wares), followed by the next (manufacturers not having any orders from vendors) followed by the next (layoffs), followed by the next (extreme reliance on government programs that will not have the funds to support such programs for long because there are less and less tax dollars coming in), followed by the next (homelessness, hunger, etc) followed by the next (desperation, violence) and then pretty much your society has gone to Hell in a hand basket.

Remember how Barack Obama was all smiles and positivity when he was running for office? Now that reality has set in (and he is receiving daily briefings by the top economists in the country) he isn't smiling so much any more. As well he shouldn' entire country of people is looking towards him to save them. Talk about pressure.

The CNI response to most problems is to watch where the crowd is going and swiftly move the opposite way. So here are some humble suggestions to help rescue our country and our way of life:
  • Don't rely on the government unless absolutely necessary (you are ill, you are a widow with a half dozen kids, etc).
  • Build relationships in your family, neighborhood, and community. These are the people you are going to be relying on in the toughest of times.
  • Look for any way possible to save, not spend money--bartering, doing things for yourself, forgoing purchases that you can't afford.
  • Stimulate your local economy. While saving money just makes sense, in order to create an economy, there needs to be some spending and buying. Instead of purchasing something from China, shop and buy local whenever possible. Then the vendor will have money to spend to order from a manufacturer, who will have money to hire staff, etc.
  • Get creative if you lose your job. Future jobs may look different. Instead of a 9-5 with pension, benefits, and 20 minute breaks every four hours, you may have three part time jobs including selling firewood, hustling your services as a contract accountant a couple of days a week, and working a seasonal job in your home town until the economy picks up enough to need a full time accountant. Better yet, repackage your skills into a new type of career. If you were an accountant, check into the possibility of teaching accounting at a local college, setting up a kiosk in the busiest part of town during tax season for quick tax prep services, etc.
  • Change your attitude. Life can look crappy or like a wondrous adventure depending on your attitude.
  • Keep preparing if only on a limited basis. Even during the height of the Depression, grandma had her "pin money". She couldn't save as she had before the crash but she could certainly save a tiny bit out of every dollar made.
  • Volunteer in your community. Not only does this strengthen the fabric of your community, it provides much needed services that may have dropped by the wayside due to lack of funding.
  • If you have it, don't flaunt it. In very poor countries, you only flaunt your wealth if you have a death wish or a cadre of body guards. Why people think that they should separate the well-to-do from their wealth instead of earning it themselves is beyond me but that's what happens if you have and others have not.
  • This too shall pass. Life can look pretty lousy for a period of time but things always turn around eventually. Vietnam was a Hell hole a few decades ago now it is over run with tourists. After the Wall Street Crash and Depression in 1929 people were flinging themselves out of windows yet a couple of decades later things were going well.

With creativity, personal relationships, hard work, and a good attitude, this current disaster will be a great story that you can tell your grand kids.


  1. Keep up the good work!

    Great post.

  2. Excellent post.

    It's so hard to keep a level head when you read so much doom and gloom, digging to the real stories of what's going on.