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Saturday, February 7, 2009

City or country?

Bits n’ pieces -

Good piece on the Preparing for Tyranny blog about universal health coverage or single payer health care. I am in favor of a single payer system. Insurance companies are leeches standing between providers and consumers of services, sucking off resources that should be going to health care. Anyways, read his thoughtful entry. Here in the northeast we take freedom and liberty seriously.

Also, interesting article on the death/murder of 84 infants due to poisonous teething formula. Imagine losing a baby because the teething formula was poisoned.

Okay then City or Country?

There was a letter on the Rawles’ website the other day from the owner of the the blog Surviving the Day After that basically chastised people for living in urban or suburban areas. In other words if you didn’t live in the middle of nowhere than you were doomed. And if you didn’t head for the hills, leave the cities was the cry, then you’d be swept up in disaster and death.

Now seeing how this blog is Suburban Survival for the Simple I figured that I’d try to engage in some analysis. Maybe we can look at some weaknesses and strengths of both.

I figure there’s maybe a handful of things that can happen that will cause total breakdown of society. You got ya nuclear, biologic and chemical attacks. I figure this would be over a limited area. One, two, three cities? Then you got ya plagues and flu epidemics, maybe throw in the Black Plague because those naughty boys have been playing with it. Maybe fly in 5, 10 or 15 infected terrorists on different planes. I guess that could spread and cause widespread panic, maybe martial law too. Than you got your EMP attacks.

All in all though I don’t see a complete breakdown. Stores will be open, maybe with less selection, and definitely fewer stores. I think mail will still be delivered. Banks will still process payments. The police, courts and jails will all be functioning. Gas stations will be pumping gas. What we do to put food on the table may change, but life will go on. The medium of exchange we use may change, but the result will be the same. Lawyers will definitely still be billing. Carpenters building and teachers teaching. World Keep On Turning.

Work > Earn > Build/Make > Buy/Barter

Most likely outcome is a continued slow economic slide lasting for years. Maybe a decade before everything shakes out into our New Grand Economy. More people living together. More people working in agriculture and food production. More local manufacturing. Less driving and deliveries. That’s all a different post though.

Like I said though if the mushroom cloud goes up, who knows. Or if some pandemic spreads you wouldn’t want to be in population centers. You can’t live your life in fear though. Be prudent at all times, but we can’t make decisions based on fear. Otherwise, if you jump in over your head too soon you could end up like those two in Montana. They ran out of food. She froze to death. He was rescued by the sheriff. He had lots of guns, but no food!!

Rule: if a nuclear bomb goes off in your city, town or village you don’t want to be there.

Rule: if there is a pandemic you want to avoid other people.

If you already live in the city or the burbs you already have a circle of friends and maybe family. Having a support system is critical. No way would you want to leave your friends and family during a time of crisis unless that location was dangerous. In the city/burbs you have many more neighbors than you would in the country. So you know your neighbors. Hopefully they’re friends of yours. Maybe you borrow tools from each other or can look out for each others stuff. I think you’re better off staying where you know folks than running to a place full of untrusting strangers that probably won’t be too happy to see another refugee arrive to town. No matter where you are knowing your neighbors is critical. I know when I see strangers on my street I pay attention and am watching out for my neighbors’ houses, kids, cars and stuff. I saw a neighbor’s car get hit and then the driver drove away. I got the license plate and gave it to my neighbor who then called the cops.

Rule: It’s good to be where you know people.

Ditto for the neighborhood. I’ve lived in this town for the better part of 45 years. I know the streets, roads, sidewalks and deadends. I know the hills and hollows. I know the rivers and streams. I could bug out of town and know how to avoid roads. I know what rivers to float down and where the falls are.

Rule: It’s good to know the terrain and geography.

I know the parks, libraries, hospitals, schools, stores and mechanics. Better yet I know what merchants/doctors/restaurants/mechanics/stores/gas stations are good to go to and who to avoid. You wanna run somewhere strange and not know where to get stitches, the best burger and beer, find town hall and police or get ripped off by some strange mechanic/dentist/lawyer/tradesperson that you don’t know? Called the mechanic today, ‘you’ve been here before right?’ ‘yup, like 20 years.’

Rule: It’s good to know the people that you do business with.

Rule: It’s good to know where critical services are located.

Now let’s figure that you live in the middle of nowhere. I’m not sure that the libraries will stay open. How about that fire department, cops and schools. Sure in the cities and burbs we’ll see a reduction in municipal services, but we won’t see the total disappearance of services. The trash will still get picked up, maybe not as often, but it will get picked up. How about snow plowing city v. country. Then you got your medical services. In the burbs and cities there is a large choice of providers. Chances are they all aren’t going to fold up and close. Out in the hinterlands if you only have one MD for 40 square miles then you ain’t too well diversified. You don’t want your healthcare to get Madoff’ed. The hospital here is close by and will stay open.

If the power lines go down, the telephone lines fall, the gas main break, the water pipes break which area will be fixed first? I think you know the answer.

I can also see the delivery of food and other products breaking down the farther you move away from population centers. I’m not sure if the tractor trailers are going to keep rolling quite as often anywhere. So how often is that little country store that only 10 miles up from you going to get restocked, or the tanker trucks coming. You can be certain the the majority of goods will be delivered to the more populated places more consistently. It makes good economic sense doesn’t it? That’s what I would do if I was in charge of logistics.

Rule: centers of population will get restocked more frequently, more resources will be allocated to them and municipal services may be more dependable than in rural areas

Boy if the price of gas ever goes up again… and I’d say the chance of that is a near perfect 100%, the further away that you live from where you need to go whether it’s the grocer, banker, USPS or your jay-oh-bee then the more the price of gas hurts. When the cost of transportation is high then it’s good to live in close proximity to what you need. Think where you’d rather live when gas hits $4, $5, $8 a gallon. And it will.

I can walk to a hardware store, big grocery, church, a few small convenient stores, drug store, liquor store, sporting good store, USPS and so on. I can ride my bike to just about anything you can imagine.

Rule: oil still has a world of upward potential as oil becomes more scarce driving may become a luxury for only the very rich. Driving 30, 40 or 50 miles to the store, the job or the movies will be a rare event indeed. I agree with Kunstler that the days of happy motoring are approaching an end.

If you don’t read Kunstler he is a must read.

My little town has its own bus that runs around. Many urban/sub-urban places have buses, trains and subways that you can get around on. Maybe even a cab service. In the Hinterlands? Not so much.

Then I imagine for the few jobs that do remain most of them will still be where most of the people are. Lose you job out in the wild blue yonder and it make take a while longer to find a new one than in a more populated area.

Rule: the availability of public transportation is a large consideration.

Rule: the majority of jobs will continue to be where the majority of people are

Rule: if you want to develop your own business showing folks how to tie flies, plant gardens, repair bikes, watch/teach their kids or handy man business you will have a greater chance of success with a larger available market.

If you’re familiar with Ferfal’s blog then you know he writes with a first hand experience of what the decade long economic collapse of Argentina has been like. A point he always makes is that there are home invasions in the city and in the country. The difference is that in the country no one hears your yells so the criminals have more time to do the worst things imaginable to your family and you. The city and country both have their advantages and disadvantages.

Rule: learn from the experiences of those who went before you and follow in their footsteps. Learn from their mistakes.

Rule: the actual collapse of an advanced economy like Iceland or Argentina haven’t yet digressed in a Rabid Biker Zombie shoot em up. Who knows about the future though.

Rule: due to concealability handguns seem much more useful during an economic collapse than rifles

It takes quite a few people to set up 24/7 guards and/or patrols. The more you have and the more it’s spread out the tougher it is to protect. If you own a large ranch or farm with equipment spread out over a wide area you may have a tough time protecting your crops, livestock, equipment and even metal pipes and fences from looters and thieves.

Rule: the more spread out you are the more difficult to defend

Rule: to defend a large homestead you would need a large number of people.

Rule: one or two families in a cabin in the woods can be waited out or burned out

Now ideally I think you’d have a number of places that you could bug out to if need be. I live in the suburbs, but maybe it would be good to have some land, friends or family in a more rural area. Ideally a few locations to run to in different parts of the country. Be even better if you know some people in a foreign country that you could run to if need be. That’s why I tell folks to Get Your Passport even if you don’t plan on going anywhere. Better to have it and not use it then not being able to leave as quick as possible if the gates start slamming down. You know how slow the folks at the USPS can move so get that paperwork moving along. The regulations are changing in four months so get your passport now.

Rule: wherever you live be prepared to run to a few other locations

I don’t mean to rag on country places. Having some land in the country and building a cabin is the dream of just about everyone isn’t it? Although I have access to a trailer and some land in the North Country. It’s not just to bug out too. It’s a vacation place too. I would like to buy some acreage and build my own low impact woodland home on it. Check out the link there are plans.

Here is a pic of the front and the inside of what I’d like to eventually build.


I just want to point out that one setting may not be right for everyone.

Rule: And it doesn’t matter where you live as long as you Get Outside Everyday.


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