Recipes for the Collapse, part I
Assuming that you have escaped from the mental commercial feedlot that we are herded into by our dumbed down public school system and the global corporatist-controlled media, you probably recognize the fact that you, your family, country, and world are at great risk. Hopefully, you began to read Mike Ruppert a few years back on his “From the Wilderness” website. Ruppert wrote, taught, and ranted for years about Peak Oil, resource wars, the manipulated stock market, the complicity of the CIA with the drug trade, global surveillance of the internet, etc. and is now burned out, sick, and hopefully recovering in
Or, maybe not. Maybe you just lost your job because it was one of those that relied on housing, and now the housing industry is tanking. Or, maybe someone in your family has gotten sick and you have no insurance that will cover the expenses and you are in soul-sucking debt. Or maybe you retired after working your butt off for most of your life. You did everything you were supposed to do, and you just thought you could live to relax for a few years before you die, but now the money has devalued through inflation, and you find that you can’t make the ends meet. Or maybe you are young, just starting out on your own, and are finding it impossible to maintain the standard of living that your parents had at your age. Or, even worse, let’s say you are a working class black, white, or Hispanic veteran just out of Iraq, unemployed, your family just got dispossessed of their home due to the sub-prime mortgage rip-off, and your neighborhood is starting to look like Baghdad all over again…
All these scenarios are painful and challenging, but believe me, things can and will get worse. The world is on the brink of Peak Everything – oil, climate change, top-soil depletion, water, natural gas – even coal and uranium are in diminishing supply. The world as we know it, with “plenty” of exploitable resources and a bright future of happy motoring, is about to end. That is what is driving “the slow crash.” The “fast crash” would be initiated by natural disasters such as earthquakes, pandemics, fires, floods, volcanoes, an asteroid hit, or a man-made nuclear war.
So, what do we do? Prepare. Prepare on many levels. I don’t have all the answers. But, Murph and I have been preparing for collapse for about five years. We have and will continue to share some ideas that are working for us. If we pool our knowledge and pull together, we just might be able to survive in a style that is more satisfying and sustainable than our miserable, cruel, toxic, ignorant leaders who have been lying, manipulating, exploiting, betraying, and killing us from our first breath to our last, have been dictating that we do.
What I propose is to lay out some general areas of concern and some recipes for coping. What I’d like you to do, is expand upon my ideas in the Comments, so that we can share the experiences we have had – things that work, things that have not worked. The preparedness scheme involves the main elements of:
1) Getting free of or avoiding debt servitude.
2) Securing sustainable housing.
3) Stocking up on food and supplies for both an acute crisis and a long-term collapse.
4) Cultivating robust health and a sustainable trade or skill.
5) Reaching out to your community to promote localized food and trade.
6) Creating new and fun things to do that don’t feed “the man” including new ways to relate to our planet and its lifeforms.
What I am realizing is that covering all these aspects of preparedness is going to take a series of posts, not just this one. So, let’s start out with avoiding or getting out from under Debt Servitude:
Debt didn’t used to be particularly associated with servitude, once share-cropping and the “company store” fell out of vogue. A person went into debt to invest in a business that manufactured some sort of product. The product was sold, the debt was re-paid, and it was all good. Or, a person saved up for a down-payment for a home, qualified for a loan, took out a fixed-rate mortgage that required about one-fourth of his paycheck, and bought a home for the family in which to live for the foreseeable future. That was, of course, back in the day when jobs were listed in the classifieds under Male and Female, the money was backed up by gold, it took only one paycheck to raise a family, and Hershey bars were a nickel.
Then the banks began issuing credit cards. As long as you paid them off each month, servitude didn’t yet enter into the equation. That’s what we need to get back to. Now, however, the programming for debt servitude begins almost at birth. Degrees are given in Marketing to people who stay up nights just thinking of ways to convince you buy things you have never needed. .. until now. “ Buy it now, and avoid the rush!”
Babies listen to advertisements while nursing at their mother’s breast. The children’s programming is simply a vehicle for marketing toys, clothing, food, activities, and whatnots – all to build an identity based on what they own. The more the better. These little material mutants are then taught to query their anxious parents about their investment portfolios, diversification of assets, retirement plans and insurance coverage. Being a parent anymore has all the thrill of Mao’s Long March. You have to pay for child care or get prosecuted for neglect. You have to purchase kid paraphernalia like backpacks, car seats, soccer lessons, birthdays at Chucky Cheese, class trips to
This would be bad enough by itself, but along the way, both parents are always in great danger of losing their jobs because the company is “cutting costs,” or moving to the
All the better. Big Pharma is waiting for you, Buddy. They’ve got it all planned. Hike up the costs of everything from doctors visits to surgeries, chronic illnesses, long-term care, medical tests, chemotherapy, absolutely no end to the procedures designed to leave us in chronic ill health and debt. This, of course, makes it very difficult to tell an employer to stick it where the sun don’t shine and quit your crappy job, because then you’ll lose your insurance. And, once it’s lost, you can’t get it back if you have a pre-existing condition, or are too fat by then. That’s the servitude part. And, don’t make waves, join a union, smoke pot, demonstrate in the streets, or in any way question the authority of the corporate overlords, or your job (and your health care) will be terminated, Butthead.
Meanwhile, your kids have somehow grown up and are going to college. From the time he or she graduated from high school, they were targeted by the banks. Deluged by credit card offers, mandated to pay exorbitant college tuitions and books and housing fees, the student trying to get ahead starts out $30 to $60 thousand dollars (in some schools double that) in the hole by the time they get out of there. Even more if they go to graduate school. Miss a payment on anything and the interest rates on all your cards go up to heights that only the mafia used to charge. Usury used to be illegal. Now it’s normal. The Mafia offspring grew up to become bankers, lawyers, insurance executives, and judges.
Why? Because debt itself now drives the economy. Just as the Service Economy requires servants, Debt requires debtors. That’s you and me, Marge. We serve the economy at the pleasure of the banks. Those loans formerly taken to bankroll manufacturing businesses now provide “liquidity” for financial “vehicles” because we don’t make anything here anymore. Our mortgage and credit card debts are bundled, and sold, then re-bundled and re-sold as “derivatives”. At each sale, fees are tacked on and extracted. Loans are made to enact the sales. Banks only have to carry a small percentage of reserve money to cover the loans. The dollars keep increasing because the Federal Reserve (a bank, neither “federal” nor holding our “reserves”) keeps printing more as the bankers need it, and charging us interest on it! This all adds up to Debt, Beavis! “Structured finance.” Huge, minimally taxable end of the year bonuses for the morally vacuous hedgefund managing ballsacks and financial pocket pool pundits to spend on private jets, second mansions, and off shore accounts. They’ve been drinking
“Resistance is Futile” is the message from Wall Street.
Well, “Fuck that!” is what I say.
Resist! Resist! Resist! Resist the temptations of marketing malfeasance. Stop buying stuff on credit that you don’t have money to pay for all at once. Do not pay any interest payments to the frigging banks. Stop defining yourself or others by what you own.
But, wait. Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. Escaping from debt servitude requires a radical change in consciousness as well as lifestyle. You need to have the universe on your side. You need to become powerful. The way to do that is to be in integrity. Do not lie or bend the truth, even on your resume or tax forms. Do not say you’ll be someplace, then not show up and not call. Pay your bills on time, or call your creditors and make arrangements to pay them late. If things are going to turn around in your life, people need to be able to trust you and respect you. Your word becomes powerful. You know that you are worthy. Therefore, your self-image is no longer dependent on what you own or the envy of others. That’s for openers.
Now, make money while the sun shines, and reduce your expenditures so you can pay off your debts. The window of opportunity that Murph and I took advantage of (thanks to Michael Ruppert’s sound advice) is pretty much closed for the time being. We re-financed the home that I was buying in Tahoe, put the money into making it more marketable, and sold it at a profit before the rate adjusted and while the real estate market was sending prices sky-high. Then, we went to
How did I buy the original house in the first place? We got the news that my late husband was dying the week before we signed the final papers on the house. He had no life insurance. We had no savings. I was bringing home about $700 every two weeks – and the house payment was $1,250 a month. How could we buy the house? We took in boarders, rented rooms. Housemates can really help to cut costs whether one is buying or renting. It also provides ample opportunities to cultivate social skills and cheap entertainment. (I apologize for re-telling this story, to the ones who already know it.)
There are many, many tips on how to cut costs.
* Buy bread flour when it is on sale and bake your own bread. That cuts the costs to about half, depending on how fancy you get. A bread machine is a godsend. Often, you can buy one at a Goodwill Store. Be creative with recipes, it’s fun.
* Don’t buy anything in a box. Make cakes, pasta dishes, rice dishes, casseroles, from natural items. It’s cheaper and you won’t be poisoning yourself with additives. Buy ingredients at a discount Grocery Outlet or Costco or the equivalent (not Walmart, the pigs).
* Buy bulk teas and use a metal tea strainer that lasts forever. Celestial Seasonings, Bert’s Bees, Ben & Jerry’s, and other formerly cool alternative food companies have mostly been bought out by the mainstream corporations, and they overcharge.
* Do your own nails, color your own hair.
* Cut your own hair or your husband’s hair. I started doing this in
*Stop drinking soda pop and diet drinks. Bad for health, waste of money, and uses up oil (plastic) and hurts the environment.
* Pack lunches. Don’t eat fast food – same reasons as above.
* Give spouses and friends massages – for free!
* Shop the thrift stores first for household items, clothing, gifts.
* Make homemade goodies for presents. Cheaper and more personal than retail.
* Get an espresso machine at a Thrift Store. You can make your own and it won’t cost $3.00 a pop for a late’.
* Get rid of your cell phone. Good God! They tether you to your job, hound you wherever you go, are obnoxious to others, dangerous when driving, cost like hell, and may give you brain cancer.
* Stop paying for cable or satellite TV. Get an antenna and put up with shitty reception, or just do without one. You don’t really want to watch that corporate programming and bullshit anyway. You can order movies and documentaries and your favorite HBO shows on Netflix a lot cheaper.
* Send the money you save from the cell phone and the satellite, and donate it to good sites on the Internet. Donating helps you to cultivate a sense of plenty and helps the people who support your well-being.
* Grow your own salads, vegetables, fruits, herbs, and whatever you can, depending on the growing conditions. Even apartment patios can grow an amazing amount if you put your mind to it. Can your jams and jellies. Smoke your own jerky – yum!
* Save on the cost of books and movies by going to the library.
* Eat out only on special occasions. Make good healthy meals at home and invite friends regularly for potlucks. Saves money, and is fun.
* Drive as little and efficiently as you can. Use a bicycle when feasible, or a moped or a motorcycle. Saves gas and money.
Well, you get the idea. And, more tips will be forthcoming on the Comments. The idea is to live frugally so that you can use your liberated money to pay off your bills and set yourself free. The money you save should partially be converted to gold or silver coins. Watch the Kitco.com charts for dips in the price. This is to stave off inflation, which is gonna get ever more brutal. (Disclaimer: This is not financial advise. It’s just the story of what we did.)
Remember – Your REAL VOTE is your money! You strengthen and encourage all that you put your money towards. Resist the corporate agenda that is impoverishing and poisoning you and the world by withholding your money. Fight back at the banks that want you to be a 21st Century serf! Do not pay them interest. Buy nothing on a revolving account. Watch the fallacious financial freaks fall into the dirt, for once. They have it coming.
OK, that’s it on getting out of debt. My next post will be on securing sustainable housing. One step at a time, folks, we will work to get our dreams fulfilled and deal with the challenges ahead.