posted on Aug, 23 2007 @ 07:32 PM
"What to trade during a depression or a societal collapse" has been a question that I have given quite a lot of thought and consideration over the
years. In fact, it is something that I have pondered for much of my life!
My mother and father were refugees during WWII. They literally were running for their lives in a European Theater of Operations that saw some of the
most intense fighting and some of the most intense personal deprivation -- the Baltic region, to be specific, Lithuania. Trapped between two armies:
German and Russian, only the battle for simple survival could match the intensity of the war that my parents and hundreds of thousands of other
refugees from the Baltics and Poland faced.
The experiences that my parents and so many others endured left deep psychological scars that affected their behaviors for the rest of their lives.
These behaviors, likewise, were passed down to my brother and me. First off, I learned to maintain a larder or cache of canned foods. It might seem
bizarre to some but I maintain quite a quantity of canned items from beans, vegetables, soups, fruit and juices all duly rotated as one item or
another is used up in the daily preparation of meals. I learned early on to take advantage of sales and coupons to purchase an extra can or two
whenever the opportunity arose. Besides saving money (as all items that I purchase never go to waste), it gives one "peace of mind" knowing that if
things went "terribly wrong" we won't go hungry.
I also learned to take advantage of freeze dried foods such as Knorr soups. Besides tasting wonderful, one can always add meats and other
items into the soup to provide a healthy and delicious "stew".
Naturally, when sales dictate, I take advantage of the opportunities to purchase canned coffee, tea, and cocoa. From what my parents
related, these items were always desirable as were jars or tins of fruit jams and jelly's. These items were prime trading commodities
as they were easily divided into smaller units and could be traded for other items of necessity.
I also tend to stockpile some rather mundane items: sewing needles, thread, patent medicines such as aspirin, tyelenol and advil.
Painkillers might come in handy in a situation where there are no doctors or hospitals. Likewise, antibiotics and first aid
supplies will be in demand. If you are diabetic or rely upon specific medications for survival, it's probably a good idea to try to establish a
stock pile or cache of these items. As morbid as it might sound, it's probably a good idea to acquire as many these medications as possible -- when
the opportunity arises --- save various meds from the deceased members of your party. They might, if not traded, still help someone else out of a bad
One thing that my folks told me was that Gold and Silver often become worthless in extreme times. If you are hungry enough, you will gladly pay for a
piece of bread with a gold coin. The thing is, a smaller item to trade might have sufficed. Having a gold coin might come in handy later. It's
important to have "change" or smaller items to use as bartar items. Watches, cheap gold rings, flash-lights, zippo lighters (with flints and
fluid), batteries and small pocket knives quickly become valuable commodities in a barter system -- especially when those items would be quite
desirable in an extreme social environment.
Another thing to keep in mind is to position oneself with the "right" commodities and the "right" situation for later -- when things begin to
normalize. What items will be considered valuable when the "smoke clears" and order begins to re-establish itself (in whatever form this might