Yesterday I went into some of the factors leading up to the next economic crash. Today I'd like to kick around some ideas about strategies for surviving the upsets. We don't know the exact timing or exactly how things will manifest. However, collapse has some factors in common.
Collapse is rarely caused by just one factor. Usually it's a number of problems that come together at the same time. For example, a country could have an unpopular war, civil unrest, and a food shortage, then a plague breaks out causing everything to unravel. I don't expect things to unravel for us that way, but it will be a number of cascading factors.
There is definitely going to be an economic component. Stock market crash, bank failures, major loan defaults, any number of speculative bubbles could burst. Lots of people will lose their income. Since many people live paycheck to paycheck, the effects will be immediate and hard felt. A quick response of beefing up the social safety net and putting foreclosures on hold could help. That ain't gonna happen. Panicky investors will try to squeeze every last penny out of the debtors as quickly as possible.
Expect a lot of people to lose their property. They may pass draconian laws against people who can't pay their bills. Already some states allow suspension of drivers and professional licenses. How foolish is that? Take someone who already is struggling and then make it impossible for them to work. It's not about logic. It's about punishing people for being poor.
So what's a person to do? Take care of the basics first. You want to have stored food and water. Your normal preparations to be self reliant during disasters should be squared away. That should get you over the initial panic. The last thing you want is to be part of the mob fighting for the last bag of potato chips.
After that it gets tricky. Do you invest time and energy on gardens and livestock? That depends. How confident are you that you'll be able to keep your land? Can a bank call in your loan and take it? Will your neighbors descend on your garden like a swarm of locusts?
You don't want to be caught up in the first round of whatever happens. Should massive foreclosures occur, the first round of people will have it the worse. In a real bad downturn, there will be strategies to retain your property. They can't foreclose on absolutely everybody as there will be blood in the streets. Either some reasonable accommodations will be made, or people will just stop paying their bills and the banks will go under.
Actually, nonpayment can be a good resistance tool. For example, student loans already have a high number of people not making payments. If they all stopped, it would collapse the system.
Be aware of restrictions on travel. You may have a plan to bug out, only to find roadblocks set up on your escape route. One way to limit civil unrest is to shut down travel, so that could happen. Also, they could quarantine an area to prevent disease spread. That could be either a real disease problem or an excuse. Find out what is what. Do you hunker down or do you have alternative travel plans?
There are any number of ways to resist as governments become more and more totalitarian. People stop paying taxes, loans, and find clever ways to ridicule the powers that be. It might be wise to dodge the draft.
What draft? For the war, of course. Failing governments often look to wars as a way to unite the country. Don't fall for it. A government that requires a war to stay in power deserves to collapse.
Whatever you do, remember that physical violence is a bad choice. If governments know one thing, it's how to dispense violence. Don't mess with the pros.
You are going to need a tribe -friends and family that you can count on. After the Soviet Union fell about the only way to get anything needed was to “know a guy.” It was all about relationships. The money was no good so barter had to suffice. Sometimes the barter deals got quite convoluted involving many different parties trading a variety of goods and services.
The most important skill will be adaptability. Keep your eyes open to change and adjust accordingly. Doing what you always did in the past will not work. Also, recognize that the collapse will probably not happen in the way you thought it might. Observe the situation and deal with what is real, not with what you wish would be real.