Economic and Social Realities Post Collapse
By Redhorse_Ronin aka Chris Watson
By now I am gaining a bit of a reputation, it seems, to judge from comments, conversations, and PMs, as somebody who doesn’t buy completely into the Rawlesian or Armageddon hype. My life’s experiences and education have led through a unique maturity, or perhaps evolutionary, process that leads me to look in the opposite direction than the herd sometimes. The human eye is designed to look at the peripheries more than the center. The center is for depth perception and immediate response, while the peripheral vision provides most of the visual stimuli that goes into planning and deciding the actions of the human body. As a result, the eye is in constant motion and seeks the extremes of our visual ranges. The same can be said of our politics and most other philosophical human endeavors. We see and seek the extremes primarily and we take the center for granted. The center is often overlooked, no pun intended. We see the trees on our left and right and fail to realize that those green and mottled grey and brown things in the center are part of the FOREST that the trees on the extremes bound. Without looking at the center, we cannot realize the depth of the forest. We may have a sense of the breadth, but the depth is overlooked. Like depth perception in sight, without it we cannot gain perspective of distance, relationships to ourselves, or a host of other conceptual conclusions. So too, are our philosophies. Without perspective and a sense of depth, we cannot conceptualize a realistic relationship between our personal philosophies to life as it exists or as it COULD or previously existed. Here endeth the philosophic waxing and this is where I bring the relevancy back to earth.
Time and again I see these fantastical suppositions of life after the ventilated excrement flies the coop and the prevailing sense that I get is that most people, at least the posters and pontificators, spin out the most unlikely scenarios that are simply me versus the big bad world escapism. Yes, before I go on, mea culpa. However, the chances of these black swan single event doomsdays and perpetual anarchy reigns are very slim and we neglect to realize, or if we do realize, we neglect to prepare for what the highly probable events and outcomes are. I have made little secret of my views on certain scenarios in the past, and I stand by them. I do not see perpetual anarchy happening. It is anathema to humanity.
With all things, equilibrium will assert itself as a new paradigm of reality is accepted. Humans adapt. That is the evolutionary hallmark of our species. Species exceptionalism, if you will. Even in the worst case scenario, a new normalcy, devoid of constant running and pitched gun battles with Mad Max styled crazed road agents in old leather jackets, Viking helmets, and football pads. Zombie hordes will not overrun your community to deprave your family and neighbors, 6 months, a year, or 3 years after the events that caused the crash. No, I am not saying that normalcy, as we now deem it will be possible. I am saying that a new normal that will allow the transition of surviving into existing and, eventually, thriving will emerge.
Let us look at community. Sure, roads may be death traps years after some events but not every mile of every road will be a freefire zone. Communities will emerge. It is a species imperative. We are social herd creatures and we are tribal. The loners amongst us are viewed with suspicion in EVERY civilization man has created in his history. With communities, government is formed. With government, stability of some form is established. With stability, commerce evolves. With commerce, security of varying forms and degrees comes. Also, with community comes self-policing.
I was motivated to pen this because of some responses to Carborendum’s always thoughtful threads. Carb sagely and, with some frequency, raises some very salient economic and political discussions that reveal the depth of his personal knowledge and intelligence. Many of the contributing posters on his threads are similar. I doff my hat to them all. Yet still, I see a recurring theme in some posters, not the ones previously mentioned, where they claim that force and the means of force are the only currency they are planning to trade in. The truism of live by the gun, die by the gun aside, this attitude is simply not practical and invites death for your family and yourself, especially as communities develop. Your bullets and surplus firearms may get you through the initial crises as you trade lead by hand or barrel to others for your survival and they will be crucial at the existence stage to maintain that status, and they will be symbolically necessary to rein in governments when you are thriving; however, when the threats diminish are you going to continue to trade bullets for beans or do you use the bullets to take the beans and become a threat yourself?
Trade and commerce WILL emerge. Bullets and guns will NOT be the currency that sustains. In an honest economy trade is only possible when both parties value what the other has. To a starving man in the desert, a glass of water and chicken dinner could be worth a million dollars because he so values the life sustaining food and drink. In commerce, your blacksmithing skills may be old hat to you but they do not provide you with grain. To a farmer, your ability to fix the plow share is worth a bushel of his grain. Hence, barter is established. Value for value. Tangibility for tangibility. So what happens when you have no skill or goods valued by the party holding what you need or want? Universal value holders become currency. Be it gold, silver, beads, or wampum, some THING will be assigned value within a population and this can be traded for goods and services. What form this currency takes is open to debate, but beyond the medium term, I can assure you that bullets are NOT to be the currency of choice.