Prepper Tips for Bartering Post Collapse

 Prepper Tips for Bartering Post Collapse

This is a guest post by William P and entry for our non-fiction writing contest.

Before modern society standardized the monetary system of cash for goods, many cultures around the world heavily practiced the barter system of trade up until the industrial revolution. It was during the mid to late nineteenth century when most families switched from producers to consumers.

For those of you who have never bartered before, its concept is fairly straight forward. The barter system is a direct exchange of goods or services between two people. If you need a gunsmith to repair one of your broken firearms he would require some method of payment. In today’s society this exchange of goods for service would normally take place through a payment of government backed currency. But how would you pay for such a service if there was no government to back such currency in the near future?

If you don’t believe this could happen, you should take a quick look at the not so distant past. Following their defeat in WWI, Germany experienced an economic collapse which caused a hyperinflation of their currency (the paper mark). During such dark times it could have cost as much as a barrel full of paper money to buy everyday staples such as bread and milk.

When the current monetary system no longer works we will have to fall back on the system of bartering and trading with one another to get the supplies we need. No matter which way you believe that modern society will collapse, it is important to understand bartering. As long as there are groups of people they will always have a need for goods, and bartering is the way in which they will exchange goods with one another.

Now that I have given you a brief idea of the importance of bartering, I will now examine the best items to trade after a collapse of society. Any items could be exchanged in barter. In fact much of what we throw in the garbage today could become invaluable following a collapse of society. Here are a few categories of items which I believe will be the most valuable to trade with in bartering situations.

Necessities

1. Food and water- These are the two greatest essentials to stay alive and will always be in demand. Renewable food sources such as crops and livestock would be ideal to barter with as long as you can produce more than what you need to consume.

2. Camping, hunting and trapping supplies- Anything needed to live away from the cities and suburbs will be good for bartering with. The list of such supplies to use for barter is endless. My best tip for you is to go into a large sporting good store and look around at everything for sale. Think with the mindset of what would be needed to survive if I had nothing.

3. Medical supplies- Any medical supplies will be at a premium once they are no longer being produced. First-aid products and medications will be the most valuable to those mildly skilled in the medicine. By growing an herbal garden you can add to your own stockpile of medicine and also add valuable herbal remedies to use in barter.

Comforts

1. Hygienic supplies- Keeping clean will be extremely important in a world where a scratch or rotted tooth could lead to infection and possibly death. All hygienic supplies will become valuable. I like soap and tooth paste due to their small size. Toilet paper is another great comfort item to stock up on for bartering purposes but it takes up a lot of storage space.

2. Tobacco products and alcohol- Such vices have been apart of society for as long as there has been recorded history. Both items are also renewable if you have the knowledge/materials to grow the crops and process them into the final product. Although there are other vices, I don’t believe it is worth it to stock up on any of the illegal vices as a bartering supply due to the high risk of legal prosecution.

3. Energy- If you have the means of producing energy there will be people who require it to charge their devices. It is true that many will abandon such electrical devices once energy is no longer readily available but in this electronic age, many will probably keep small electrical devices such as MP3 players or phones as a connection to the past world. A generator would not be the best source for energy due to the fact that it requires a large stockpile of fuel. Renewable energy sources such as solar panels, wind and water turbines are best.

Alternative Currencies

1. Ammunition- Within our world today there is an uncountable number of firearms, which could easily number into the billions. However as we all well know these firearms need ammo. Once ammunition is no longer being produced in mass quantities it will become a precious commodity.

2. Salt- It is much more than just a table condiment. Prior to household refrigerators and freezers, salt was one of the main preservatives of meats. In ancient Roman times salt was so valuable that they sometimes paid their soldiers with it. This sort of payment with salt led to the phrase, “Not worth your weight in salt.” Do to its many uses salt would become quite valuable but also heavy in large quantities.

3. Gems- Most gems are extremely light weight and would be a good item to spice up any deal with.

4. Precious metals- Although I am adding metal to my list because many people include them, I feel that they are not as important for bartering as the others on the list. All precious metals are heavy to carry and would not be worth the great financial investment before hand.

In addition to these items I have discussed, here are some good tips to know when you are bartering or trading for items and services.

1. Always keep on a poker face. Don’t let the person you are bartering with know how badly you need an item. Once the person knows how badly you need something, the price will automatically go up because they know you will pay whatever it takes to get what you need.

2. Start by asking what items they are looking for. Once you have an idea of what they are looking for it will make the bartering process easier. Don’t give up if you don’t have what they are looking for, they may still be interested in what you have to trade. However, not having what they want would put you in a weaker bargaining position.

3. Don’t show all of your bartering items at once. You can always add more to the bartering table but, it isn’t as easy to remove an item once it has been added.

4. Start off by showing your items of lesser value and work your way up. This could save you more of your items for future bartering and reduce the chance that your bartering partner would attack you for your most valuable goods. If they don’t know what valuables are in your possession, than they are less likely to risk harming you in order to take them.

5. Take caution with who you intend to barter with. Remember to always stay alert with your guard up, the people you will deal with may try to cheat or steal from you with force.

6. I do not recommend trading weapons of any kind to people who you do not trust. If you do not know who you are bartering with, they could use the weapon against you to take everything you have.

Finally I would recommend that each person develops a specific skill set which you can barter with. It doesn’t matter what the skill is as long as it will still be relevant after the collapse of society. Having a hardback collection of trade/skill books would also be a good idea. With these books you would be able to self teach many relevant skills to barter with.

As a footnote a good post-apocalyptic movie that shows an excellent depiction of bartering is The Book of Eli. Specifically the scenes when Eli barters with the town trader and for water in the saloon.

Prizes for this round in our non fiction writing contest include…

This contest will end on September 9 2013

Comments

  1. Mystery Guest says:

    Good tips especially not letting them know what you actually have to barter.

  2. axelsteve says:

    It is important to stock up on barter items now while you can. In fact I would have barter goods as part of preps when procuring preps.

  3. I agree with both posts, good article. Like “the axe”, I also include barter goods in my preps as well. Being the collector of fine southern whiskey, some might say that I have a small liquor store put away. (For medical purposes only of course)

  4. hvaczach says:

    Great article, Knowledge is the greatest of all bartering items. Having dabbled in the making of spirits and various other “hobbies” the idea being if you have a skill people desire, like being able to produce liqour, you are able to be in a position where people bring you the raw material’s you make what you make and keep a portion for your trouble. Thus giving you more bartering power. knowledge is the only thing that can’t be taken from you short of someone killling you, and it costs you nothing to keep. And it allows you to barter with that skill time and time again.

  5. Donna in MN says:

    When I went to historical fur trade events as a sutler, I learned to barter for goods as it was common place. Being a US distributor of Witney and Hudson Bay blankets, the reproduction of these historical blankets showed by the point marks (Bars on the side) how many beaver hides it took to pay for the blanket. Sometimes the barter was well organized as what paid for what when cash wasn’t available. It may come to that again.

    Most of the time I came out ahead in barters. One time I traded a nice flintlock rifle for a 4 point blanket I was selling for $95 at the time. I sold the rifle for $185. Someone was cold that night and didn’t have the cash, and I believe we were the only traders at the camp. It was what he offered for barter and he wouldn’t tell me how much he paid for the gun he traded, so he went back to his camp happy. Sometimes you trade for something you don’t need but can trade/sell it again to get what you need. I needed the cash………

    Nice article and I have played the poker face before. I had walked away without what I wanted from sutlers and they didn’t call me back making another offer. Sometimes people put too much value for what others are willing to trade. Most of them didn’t know the skills and I didn’t see them at events anymore..One thing I did do to keep them coming back …if they traded for something that was valuable, I threw in an item for free to go with it. That always worked.

  6. Exile1981 says:

    Speaking about salt for barter – Make sure you have non-iodized and iodized salt. Iodized salt is good for most cooking and canning, but if you make cheese you have to use the non-iodized or it will go skunky and not set correctly and taste off. I learned that from experience. I understand from a friend that if your salting meats for long term storage you shouldn’t use the iodized kind either for that.

    • Salty Rooikat says:

      Thanks! I did not know that.

    • Encourager says:

      Exile 1981 ~ thanks for the reminder. I knew that about cheese salt and curing meats but totally forgot. I have a goodly supply of sea salt and Celtic sea salt – no iodine. The Celtic sea salt is ground very fine. That would be good for cheese making.

      • Encourager & Exile 1981;
        Is that the sea salt from Italy?? I found some really fine salt from Italy in the 99cent store no iodine in there. Picked up just because it was salt.

  7. JP in MT says:

    We also have “stuff” that is cheap now, valuable later. I call them “Trade Goods” but the same thing. Depending on how things go down hill, I don’t plan on needing/using them for 6 mo. to a year. Things will have to calm down so people can gather without fear.

  8. TXGAL@HEART says:

    An idea for prepping for Bartering is to buy salt, baking soda, cocoa, baking powder. I purchase these items in bulk and then vacuum seal them in very small amount. I will measure out 8 oz. of Salt and seal it. Label with content and amount. Baking Soda is also 8 oz. With Cocoa I checked a couple of recipe books as to how much it takes to make brownies or chocolate cake or even hot cocoa. I use a measuring cup for that measurement. Baking powder is about a quarter to half cup. Vacuuming Baking powder will keep it much longer that left in a can. (I also have the ingredients for making new Baking Powder sealed also)

    I plan of vacuuming sealing other kitchen needs. I have a small tote for each item. Inventory is on kept both on a list inside of the lid and in my Barter Inventory book.

    • Sw't Tater says:

      How much longer does this prolong the life of baking powder? I have put mine if freezer…to extend it, ..how much past it’s date.?

      • Sw’t Tater,
        The most important thing for keeping baking powder is cool and dry; however, no matter what you do to baking powder, it will eventually become inactive. For long term it is better to store the components and make your own. What you need to keep on hand is baking soda (1 part), tartaric acid aka. cream of tartar (2 parts), and optionally corn starch (1 part). In this recipe, “part” can be tsp, tblsp, cup, etc. to make the amount you need. The corn starch helps keep the mixture stable by absorbing water and keeping the mixture dry if you’re not using it right away.
        The basic chemistry is mixing an alkalai (baking soda) with an acid (cream of tartar) in a liquid (the mixture you’re making for cake, etc), which produces water, salt and CO2 gas. The gas provides the leavening for the recipe.
        Commercial baking powder can also use sodium aluminum sulfate as the acid, but many folks do not like the added aluminum when it can be avoided.

    • Hello. You said you have the ingredients to make new baking powder. Would you share that information?

      • TR,
        Done!! Before you even asked, LOL

        • Thank you. This was the first time I have ever typed on this site. I have been reading and learning from all of you for over a year now. I credit a lot of what I have learned from this site.

          • Encourager says:

            Well then, welcome to posting and welcome to the Wolf Pack. Once you start posting, you are automatically park of the Pack!

  9. Seeds are a good bartering item too. Just about anything that isn’t found or produced naturally where you live.

  10. JeffintheWest says:

    This is an excellent article, though I’d suggest just about anything will make a good bartering item if the SHTF situation goes on long enough. I could see a return of itinerant traders and tinkers again if we’re forced back far enough on the technological scale. Mind you, that wouldn’t happen right away. The first six months to two years will be spent killing off the undesirables (that is, those too stupid to recognize that the world doesn’t owe them a living) before things will stabilize enough to permit trade to grow again.

  11. livinglife says:

    Good article.
    Spices are also good trading material.
    Skills (sewing, 1st aid, mechanical, farming, barber, etc) cannot be under estimated.
    Some items have a shelf life, keep that in mind when stocking. Properly stored ammo is good for 50 years. I’ve shot plenty of surplus from the Korean war era.
    Another thought I would not trade at my place but a neutral area, only bring what you are willing to lose in the event of being robbed.

    • TXGAL@HEART says:

      Thanks for the Spice for Bartering. I have a lot vacuum sealed in Mason Jars for my group, but guess I will now add those to my prep shopping list.

      What amount would you recommend. 1 to 2 Tablespoons each and maybe 1/2 cup for Cinnamon?

      • JeffintheWest says:

        Remember that if transportation really breaks down, you won’t see any more spices, ever — at least until someone figures out how to go and get some more. Spices only grow naturally in certain places — like the east Indies and Sri Lanka and part of India and China. There are doubtless some in S. American and the southeastern parts of the United States now, but if anyone neglects them for a while, you won’t be seeing them again until someone sails to southeast Asia to get more! One thing to consider, if you have a suitable greenhouse, is maybe planting a peppercorn bush or something to help with at least some of the demand!

        I’d be pretty frugal with the spices for trade — in the Middle Ages, they were literally worth their weight in gold. I’d plan on no more than 1T packages of anything and that would include cinnamon!

      • Sw't Tater says:

        Cinnamon comes in 1.3 oz/( cost 75c-1$) containers at the dollar stores..any spice that is not easily grown.nutmeg, ginger cream of tartar,..onion powder and garlic powder on hand will give a quick barter item, even if you grow them…so will home canned garlic sauce… we don’t have bay leaves, laurel, that i know of in our area., so I stock plenty, enough for several years.
        Vinegar and regular lids and rings, wide mouth rings and lids..Coffee, tea, bullion, tang,kool-aid, hard candy.Instant pudding mixes and jello mix.cake mixes, all flavors..banana, pineapple.. in pint jars, with directions and number of servings on label.(These can be added to cakes for additional flavor and moisture.we don’t put icing on these.)

  12. Winomega says:

    Buying salt is next on my to-do list. It’s cheap now and will be useful later.

    When you eat a lot of pre-prepared foods, you don’t realize how it’s possible to crave salt.

  13. I agree with the author, no weapons or ammo on the block. Right now hygienic supplies are cheap, real cheap. I’d stock up on female products, soap, and the like. You’d be surprised if the little lady wants to feel “clean” and refreshed, what the old man will be willing to trade. Don’t wait till it’s too late to stock up.

    • Sw't Tater says:

      cheap make-up and skin care/wound care supplies.
      Cotton cloths(use for bandages, use for sweat rags, to moisten with water when working in sun..cleaning..all kinds of places
      ….lipsticks in small tubes,eyeshadow..powder type, moisturizers, and supplies and recipes to make soaps and lotions.from scratch..
      Other items that have many uses,…
      … oils,coconut, canola,vegetable, shortening..
      … Borax, soda,peroxide powder,
      … drawing salve,epsom salts.
      …..milk of magnesia,or magnesium tablets or generic rolaids

    • shtfscenario,
      You might also be surprised what a roll of TP could be worth, LOL.

      • Oh I agree. (12) pk for $8.00 now. $32 plus a (6) pk of beans after SHTF. Not a whole lot of folks opting for newspaper or pine cones to do their biz I’m sure. Costco or Sam’s has plenty for sale on a regular basis plus don’t forget the gal size of anti-bacterial gel (that can be divided into many, many individual containers). Guys can stink for weeks and not bat an eye but the ladies will want an element of civilization (being fresh) no matter where they’ll be.

  14. One of the things to keep in mind for barter is to think out of the box, and potentially recycle things that are currently trash. In the 1800’s, settlers heading out west would collect any unbroken glass jars or bottles that they found along the way. Whisky and beer bottles could often be traded to a saloon or general store for real goods, since glassblowing is an art that wasn’t common in the west.
    Locally we have a restaurant, that goes through 5-6 gallons of cooking oil per week, and we collect the 2 ½ – 3 gallon empty containers. They are food grade plastic, square (and stackable), have a nice screw on lid, and a build in handle. Not sure exactly what we’ll use them for at the moment; but, they are free, potentially useful, and we have plenty of storage, so for the moment, we are collecting them for future use.

    • OP;
      It means you do not have to purchase gamma lids for your buckets. Depending on the opening size of the lid you could retrieve foods you use every day.
      They would be great buckets for bartering items, you would know what is inside, but not visible to others.

      • Becky,
        I use gamma lids, but not for anything long term. In fact, I don’t use too many 5 gallon buckets for food storage, opting for #10 cans instead. We have friends who are LDS members who convinced us of this option, some years ago. By the time you buy the buckets, lids, Mylar bags, and O2 absorbers, the cost of cans isn’t much more, and you can open an amount you could use in a short time, without having to reseal the Mylar bags. Additionally, if something spoils, it’s a single can and not an entire bucket.
        As far as the oil containers are concerned, the opening is perhaps 1 ½ or 2 inches, and is meant for pouring liquid oil; so, storage of things like grains would be possible, but no Mylar bags could be used.

  15. Portman90201 says:

    Salt. Tractor Supply Store. 50lb, block. about $8.oo… less I think. old wood rasp to shave it off the block. Stores like any other rock.. forever. If it gets dusty in storage… rinse it off and let it dry… again.. in the sun.

    Spices… take a look in any edible plant book. Weeds are flowers growing in the wrong spot… a lot of ‘new’ flavors are growing all around us. Want an endless supply of galic…. go to the supermarket and pick up a small bag of fresh cloves. pick your spot in the garden or public park or any place in the boonies. haul a small bag of garden soil to enrich the spot… split and plant the galic root end down about on thumb deep. Cover… water… go away. Next time you walk by and the ‘greens’ are say 10ish inchs high… clip some off and you will have that taste no pizza should lack. Use the greens only… USE THE GREENS ONLY… you will never run out cause it grows like grass. cut and dry… bag and barter and don’t tell anyone where you planted the stuff………….. This works for more than humble garlic.

    • JP in MT says:

      I buy salt in 25# bags for $2.50 to $3.50 a bag and store it in 2 gal frosting buckets I get from the bakery. I have a friend that also thinks the blocks are the way to go, but make sure you don’t get the ones with “added minerals” for animals.

      • JPinMT;
        The bakery you purchase the salt from, is it a major chain or a mom and pop bakery?
        We have a Tractor Supply in the area, and can pick up plain salt blocks there. Never thought about purchasing salt for human consumption through that store.

        • JP in MT says:

          Becky:

          Sorry about the delay, I just got back into “civilization”.

          I buy salt from Costco and a local store that carries a lot of their stuff. The buckets were from the backery.

          • JPinMT;
            That is ok, I remembered you were out doing a project to assist someone. Knew you were paving a parking lot in the very hot weather.
            Remember MT getting warm, but have not been up there in years(82-85). Spent 3 years in Missoula, and I remember the -70 with the wind chill…now that was COLD. Burrrrrr
            If I could have found a mink coat, gloves, boots & hat that winter in the stores I would have gone into debt …instead I looked like the Michelin man in winter clothing going to and from work. If I had fell over I would have been a whole lot of trouble. :-) My dh laughed at me every morning when I got dressed or “tired up”.

            • JeffintheWest says:

              I had to laugh — reminds me of that line from the movie “A Christmas Story” where the narrator describes his little brother in his winter clothes as looking “like a tick about to pop!”

              Nebraska was almost as bad. I came back to Omaha from a TDY one year. When I had left, it was autumn weather, maybe 50 or 60 during the day, and still above freezing (mostly) at night, and I was dressed for that weather. When I came back a week later, I had to get to my car in the outdoor parking garage and I almost turned back a little over halfway to the car (it was all of about 60 feet from the walkway door) because the wind chill was -60. The only reason I kept going was because I honestly was a few feet closer to the car than I was the door, and I wasn’t sure I could actually make it all the way back to the door!

    • @ Portsman
      I’m exploring the idea of using local herbs and common “weeds” for medicinal purposes. I’ve done research on using plantain major and comfrey for medicinal purposes, it seems to be working out well. My next project will be to grow and make stevia extract as a possible replacement for a sweetener. I found a good online resource for this project, here: http://www.commonsensehome.com/stevia-grow-your-own-sweetener/

      Anyway, I digressed. Thanks for the idea on growing garlic in the wild.

  16. hungry Rooikat says:

    I think spices are a good idea. After all, it’s not like I would not use them anyway, myself.
    Coffee, little bottle of hand sanitizer, pretty much sample sizes of anything would probably go a long way.

  17. a “salt lick” is not real salt,per se.It has a wax binder that keeps it from dissolving in the rain.While not harmful,its not pure salt..That aside,if the SHTF is a pandemic,the last thing I want to see is another person,no matter what they have to trade

  18. TN Mommy says:

    I do not recommend trading energy to anyone except family or members of your survival group. If you show up with a solar charger somewhere to barter your energy, you are going to be attacked. If you plan on taking someone’s device back home to charge it up, you are going to be stalked and your home raided. Anyone in town with solar energy will be the most powerful person around and people will want what you have so badly they will kill you for it.

    OPSEC first and foremost. Do not barter anything that makes it obvious you have prepped.

    I think the single best barter items are: tobacco, alcohol, and medical supplies/training and here is why:

    Tobacco/alcohol: stressed people will always crave their addiction in full force. Just make sure you act like you don’t have a huge stash of it at home. I prefer alcohol over tobacco because cigarettes eventually go stale.

    Medical training is #1. If you don’t have it, get it. Nobody can kill you to acquire your skillset, and if someone has a sick family member they will do anything to save them. Learn some first aid and learn how to birth a baby. This will also make it easier for you to protect your own family members and friends.

    Medical supplies are the one thing that virtually nobody has at home. Get some old Rubbermaid containers and make extra first aid kits. You can make several of them for a hundred bucks. We already have a post on this site about what should be in your kit. That way you have several back-up kits if you venture out and offer your first aid services to others, and some jerk decides to steal your kit.

  19. Santa Walt says:

    Thanks to all of you. Both the article and the comments are very helpful.

  20. If you have a salesperson in your group, they make the best barter’s.
    Bic lighters, NiCad batteries (they store forever), Small solar panels of course and solar powered lamps, perhaps even calculators. 12Volt power tools or appliances like kettles. The world will be awash in good 12V car and truck batteries when TSHTF and a small solar panel and 12V kettle would be a godsend to many.
    Don’t disregard precious metals as the author does. They probably don’t own any and that has made them bias. Even good preppers, if they watch enough TV, will have their perceptions clouded by the world’s propaganda. Silver and Gold have been used in good times and bad for thousands of years and our coming SHTF will probably not be as bad as some earlier events (Easter Island collapse) (Rome’s collapse)

    There will be plenty of wealthy people left who will be happy to take your coins and pass them up the pecking order. Also, eventually, order will be restored and a gold standard probably introduced. That has always been the case throughout all recorded history and a tin of gold coins will give your children a good head start in life.

  21. TN mommy, ” Anyone in town with solar energy will be the most powerful person around and people will want what you have so badly they will kill you for it.”

    I’m not sure how you come to this conclusion. There are after all a lot of solar panels on homes these days so they are not at all scarse. I could imagine being killed for food, but killed just because someone wants to read a novel for a few hours after dark or listen to their MP3’s?

    • JeffintheWest says:

      Or because you can freeze food, or power your well or have hot water for showers and laundry or don’t have to use animal or human labor for certain time consuming and labor intensive jobs? I think in this case people wouldn’t be killing you for something they could take, but rather killing you so they can stay where you are living right now.

      It’s best not to be too sure what people might kill you for; that kind of attitude just might get you…killed. And certainly it’s not wise to ridicule someone else’s comments here.

  22. Winomega says:

    I just thought of a new barter item… books. Used paperbacks are fairly cheap right now, can be used as insulation, and will be valued once the situation becomes stable enough for leisure time.

    • JeffintheWest says:

      And those books will just keep getting more and more “valuable” while the grid is down or if it’s a long term SHTF situation (that is years instead of weeks or months). Eventually, they will be used to teach the next generation how to read. So even some good high school text books would be good to have on hand if you think things could really go south (and by good, I mean ones that teach you something tangible instead of trying to propagandize you). Plus, a little known extra bonus point for lots of books — if you think the TEOTWAWKI will involve nuclear weapons, books combined with a solid wall (such as a basement wall, but any solid wall will do) provide excellent radiation protection — better than wood and almost as good as some kinds of metal.

  23. JeffintheWest July “It’s best not to be too sure what people might kill you for; that kind of attitude just might get you…killed. And certainly it’s not wise to ridicule someone else’s comments here”

    You are overreacting a bit Jeff. I was certainly not ridiculing TN mommy, I was asking for an explanation why she felt so extreem about the matter and offered my perception of the subject. I could be misunderstanding the situation where she lives though? Here in Australia there are more solar panels than cars on the road, every third house is covered in them and so are many non-residential buildings. even in the countyside they are everywhere.

    • JeffintheWest says:

      Ah — my bad — I was assuming you were local, and frankly, you came across as fairly judgmental, so I probably did overreact. Depending on the local area here in America, solar panels may or may not be common here. To some extent, that depends on the state tax policy, the climate, and monetary costs which can vary pretty widely, but in a lot of areas they simply aren’t seen that much.

      Personally, I think that was one of the worst mistakes Obama made early on his presidency — he should have offered a tax credit for people getting solar panels (and made it a really good credit if they agreed to hook their system into the grid so they could have fed extra power back into the system) and right there he would have done far more for “green energy” than pumping millions of dollars into crony capital companies that subsequently failed, taking all that money with them. Plus he would have been using free-market economics to ensure a massive customer base FOR solar panels (and small wind systems too) which in turn would have developed entrepreneurship and innovation which would have led to lower prices for everyone. All of which would have indeed created green jobs and boosted the economy as well as the power generation capability of the grid (in two ways, one, by lowering peak demand, and two by providing extra power from millions of homes which, while contributions may have been individually small, would have provided quite a bit extra in totality). But hey, I’m not a politician, so clearly I have no idea what would be best for my country and the people….

      • JeffintheWest,
        “he would have been using free-market economics”
        Somehow I don’t think TDL knows or cares much about free market economics. It generally works when it’s tried; but, to a Marxist, fascist, or whatever “ist” you think he is, it cedes control to the people, none of whom are as smart as TDL and his ilk.

        • JeffintheWest says:

          Too true. The funny thing is, that when you get out of people’s way economically, in general they tend to do the right things. It’s when you try to force them to do things “for their own good” that the wheels generally come off.

  24. While salt was used in ancient Rome as you say, I doubt it would come in handy in a situation as is being discussed here. If we were to reach a point where people are willing to trade valuable items for salt, then it’s safe to assume that they won’t even have the luxury of storing food for later use; they will likely be immediately eating anything they can get their hands on (after a hunt, etc.). So a preservative will likely be unnecessary.

    Other than that, great ideas (both in the post and the comments).

  25. Yes, Jeff, subsidies make it easy. Here the state governments offered $10,000 of solar upfront at no cost, you paid for it out of your bills going forward. They also would lock you into a 50 cents per kW hour feedin tarrif for 15 years or so. That is where you get 50 cents for every kW you pump back into the grid and pay roughly 25 cents for every one you pull out. A very good deal but it has expired now. But solar panels are so very cheap now everyone is loading up anyway as the Australian house market has not collapsed yet and home owners are using equity for it in a lot of cases.

    Everyone here knows the world is on the brink but we have not suffered any major economic effects. A factory hand makes $18/h, supermarket workers earn $22/h You can make $50/h mowing lawns in the suburbs. It’s really quite silly the wages down here but we are a major energy exporter and our taxes are high along with the cost of everything compared to the USA.

    • JeffintheWest says:

      Well, I guess there is a difference between an intelligent policy and “hope.” When I was in the military, I remember one of our favorite sayings when someone came up with a dumb or incomplete plan was “Hope is not a principle of War.” That, and one Army staffer once noted that “there was more planning in an episode of Spongebob Squarepants” than we’d been shown in one plan…. ;-) Sadly, those things appear to be true for our government (regardless of political party) these past couple of decades too.

  26. And you’re right Jeff, I did come across as being judgemental. I apologize to everyone for that.

  27. tee ryan says:

    as part of our prepping we always buy 2 of certain items so that we can put 1 aside to barter with, i mean like i have 2 cases of coffee and 1 case to barter with. that goes with any thing that can be of use. if we don,t have to barter with it in the future then we have it to use ourselves. it,s a good investment.

  28. Harlan Hutchins says:

    You can never ever have enough toilet paper, so stock up it will be good as gold! I hope you remember to save your old t- shirts, cut up to usable tp sizes, kept and laundered to be used again and again. Better then corncobs by along shot!

    • HH;
      On the TP vs corn cobb….made me laugh. We are on the same wave length, My dh thought 2 years of tp was enough…not by a long shot.