Monday, April 9, 2012

Short Term Emergency Economics

            I was reading some articles and book chapters recently about a post-TEOTWAWKI economy. In case you aren’t up on the jargon that means “The End Of The World As We Know It.” Now, I know I have said that this blog is not about prepping for such extremes, but there was a lot of good information that applies. Even in a small-scale emergency, a natural disaster or a terrorist attack, there will still be the need for people to get supplies. People have to eat and drink. People need to feel safe and protected.
It is most important to be able to take care of your family’s needs, but it doesn’t hurt to look at the possibility of filling the needs of others, too, whether it is for charity or financial gain. Below is a list of my top 5 items that would be good for trading in a post-TEOTWAWKI society even if it is short term.

#1. Bullets. Yeah. Of course. You betcha. Bullets, shells, cartridges, whatever you want to call them. You should have a firearm (we’ll hit this later) and you should have bullets. Guess what? Everyone else will want them, too. In fact, fear being what it is people will likely trade food or water or whatever else they can to get them. You can get brick of over 500 22LR bullets for about $20. Why not buy a brick every month? Stockpile them some place safe and secure (like a metal ammo box) and in a year, you’ll have more rounds than you can possibly use. And who DOESN’T own a .22 caliber firearm? It is probably the most popular caliber in the world. You would be rich!
#2. Salt and other condiments. Salt is essential to our continued survival. Well, it also makes bland food more palatable and can be used to preserve foods. This means even in a short term emergency situation, you need salt. But don’t downplay the necessity of other condiments such as pepper, sugar, and even hot sauce. I bought two huge bags of little salt and pepper packets. I put them in thicker Ziploc-type bags and stored them in a dry place. Assuming people already have, grow or catch food, they will “pay” to spice it up a bit after eating bland soup for a few weeks. A warning, double-bag the pepper or you will smell it forever.
#3. Heirloom Seeds. Heirloom seeds are not genetically modified. Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t have a problem with genetically modified foods. We’ve been genetically modifying foods for thousands of years. The problem with modern genetically modified food plants is that many will not set viable seed. You need the seed to re-plant more plants next season. Heirloom seeds are available many places online or in stores in small packages or bulk containers. Depending on when a short term emergency happens, you may need to plant a garden or a larger garden than normal to supplement your stored food or sell/give away to others. Why not buy a few packets each month for less than $10?
#4. First Aid Supplies. A no-brainer. People need to stay healthy, especially if they are not eating well. Bandages, rubbing alcohol, athletic tape, sterile gloves, sterile needles and thread, aspirin and other pain killers, antibiotics, etc., may be in large demand. You can buy small kits for under $5 or a portable operating room for around $500. Or just buy a few items each month. You can use them yourself and rotate with fresh stock. Remember, prescription drugs should only be prescribed by a doctor and given out by a pharmacist. I have heard that pet stores sell medicine for pets that may work for humans in a pinch, but it would be illegal to buy it for this purpose.
#5. Bottled Water. It is certainly not PC, but definitely a great thing to have in a short term emergency. My personal philosophy is to have at least a case of bottled water for every person in the house. Store them out of the sun and where it is not likely to freeze. Most bottled water will last for years in a cellar-type setting. Why not buy a case of cheap water bottles every two weeks and stack them in the basement or a closet or somewhere suitable? Costco sells a flat of 36 for around $4. There are similar deals elsewhere. Even in a short term emergency, clean water is an absolute necessity for drinking, preparing food and cleaning yourself. Just rotate them out and use them as they get old. Why not get enough for the neighbors, too? Just please recycle the empties.
Bonus #6. Body Wipes. Let’s face it, after a few months of a serious emergency, everyone is going to stink. In the mean time, body wipes like the type used for cleaning babies backsides will be a godsend. You may not have much water, so these will work to keep you relatively clean. One wipe a day on your underarms, nether regions and your bum will keep you smelling better the next guy. Another for your face, hands and feet will keep you relatively fresh and, even more importantly, keep you healthier. You can buy large packs or small travel size, but keep them stored in a cool place in your home because they can dry out over time. Of course, you can just add water to rehydrate them, but they are never the same.

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