One of the great things about being a Baby Boomer is that we’ve seen a lot of history – at least a half century worth. Most of us have read a fair bit as well. We see too many similarities in current events happening in our country with things that have happened in the past.
And it worries us. So prepping becomes a part of our lifestyle.
Skills and assets are key to any preparedness plan. The more you have of both, the better the chances you’ll maintain your independence if things go sideways.
So, what do YOU do to determine the skills you need to thrive?
If it’s a hobby skill, you might want to learn how to do something more efficiently, or in an entirely different way. Many years ago, this is what I did with my brewing hobby – I went from simply mixing up a batch of prepared malt syrup to extracting the sugars from whole grain (mashing).
At work, you might want to acquire additional skills which will make you more valuable to your employer. You might see an area of the business that is having difficulties, and learn the skills to help make that area work more smoothly.
How do you do this for emergency preparedness skills? It should be a two-pronged approach: Life Sustaining skills and High Demand skills.
The first step – and perhaps the most difficult – is to predict our future! Are we going to have a crash-and-burn collapse and end up in a Mad Max or Book Of Eli society? Will we end up in an Argentina-like economy? Or will we get through this “extended rough-patch“, and pretty much return to normal?
Your answer to that question will dictate your priorities.
Personally, I think we’re headed towards an Argentina-like collapse. Our dollar will be further debased, there will be shortages in most commodities, crime will increase and more and more industries will be nationalized – resulting in greater inefficiencies in getting most things done.
Just like the Great Depression and the Argentinian depression, individual citizens have no impact on whether an economic collapse occurs or not. It is out of our hands. All we can do as individuals is to work NOW to lessen the impact if it does happen.
In the Great Depression, what was in short supply?
Food, certainly. The ability to obtain a steady supply of food was significantly impacted. Our government actually paid farmers to reduce their planted acreage and slaughter animals to help increase prices.
Tangible wealth – currency, stocks and bonds all evaporated. Those with precious metals and real property got through the difficult times more easily (even though much gold was seized by the government).
Jobs – the ability to provide your talents in exchange for cash payment. People without the skills in demand were reduced to having to live in food lines, or literally selling pencils and apples on the street corner.
In Argentina, crime is an ongoing problem as well. If this was the case during the Great Depression, is was not widely reported. If we go down the same path as Argentina, I think we’ll have the same crime problems but on a much more significant scale.
Back before the Great Depression, we didn’t have half of our population dependent on the government for their survival. People knew how to make ends meet for their family.
Now, we have a huge portion of our population that has no idea how to care for themselves. If our “safety net” is torn, all hell will break loose. They WILL come for your stuff. Knowing how to provide for your personal safety and to protect the assets you possess will be paramount.
World War II was a direct result of economic difficulties. Germans felt they had been wronged by having to pay reparations as a result of WWI, and Hitler was able to ride that wave of anger into power. We all know how that ended. But it’s important to understand that a terrible economy and stifling debt were the precursors to war. Hmmmm. Sound familiar?
Thrown into the equation are external forces influencing our decisions. Iraq has been taken over by some crazed Islamic sect. Russia and Ukraine are at each other’s throats. China is strutting around the South Pacific like they own the joint. And Europe, well, they’re just being European. Someone else will come in and clean up their mess…. as usual.
What every-day functions do most Americans have no idea how to do? We don’t know how to repair anything! If it breaks, we buy a new one. That will change. Repair skills will be in huge demand. Small engines, small appliances, electronic devices, computers, knife and tool sharpening, tool making, welding, making/repairing clothes, roofing a house, building a wall, etc.
Buying broken down appliances/electronic devices then repairing them and selling them for well below new prices might be a profitable venture.
Each geographic region of the US will be a bit different. Here in the SF Bay Area, there is little need for someone that can clear snow (since it doesn’t snow here), but a lot of need for learning how to shoot (since most folks are gun adverse and government dependent).
Growing and foraging/hunting your own food, and knowing how to preserve it will be huge. It could also become a money-making proposition. Or it can be used to reduce your cost of food by doing a bartered preservation-for-a-portion-of-the-product deal. Smoking, dehydrating, canning, pickling, curing. Learn how to do these things with as few store-bought supplies as necessary. For instance, make jam without buying pectin.
Along these lines, learn how to make alcohol. Even if you’re a teetotaler. In trying times, people need to “feel the heat” once in a while! Beer, wine, mead, cider, etc. Learn to ferment grains and fruits that are indigenous to your area. I have two projects on my To Do list in this regard: Malt my own grain (malt is needed to convert starches into fermentable sugars) and to do an Open Fermentation where wild, open-air yeast do the fermentation for me.
Alcohol can also be turned into vinegar. Learn how to do this, and you have a skill and a commodity.
If you own a home, I would start putting some money into solar energy systems. Both photovoltaic and hot water systems. At this point in time, the government is still dumping big bucks into subsidizing these things, and you might as well get your piece of the pie while there’s still some pie left.
Learn how to shoot. Plain and simple, it is the only way you will be able to protect yourself through any sort of large scale civil disturbance or rioting. It gives you the ability to extend your defensive perimeter.
Remember the Korean businessmen in LA during the Rodney King riots.
Martial arts, pepper spray/stun guns and other options require you to be (literally) an arm’s length away from your attacker. If there’s more than one of them, you’re toast.
Be proficient in handguns, shotguns, carbines and long rifles. Each has a purpose. Practice, practice, practice.
Be sure you have plenty of ammunition, cleaning supplies and spare parts for each type of firearm you own. Have the repair manuals and the tools to make your own repairs. Learning how to re-load your own ammo might not be too bad of a skill to have…
Finally, look at your health. Get off or reduce your dependence on medications. Obviously, don’t go cold-turkey and kill yourself, but talk with your doc and try and reduce your dependence if possible. Lose some weight, get your teeth fixed, exercise regularly, improve your lifestyle.
Remember: Prepping is a pro-active response. You will not be a victim. You will not be fooled. You will not lose your independence.