by Megan Stewart, Survival Sullivan:
If you have been waiting for a public announcement or news headline to let you know that an economic collapse has begun, you are in for the surprise of your life. If history in other countries and in Detroit, Michigan is any indication, there won’t be an announcement. An economic collapse tends to sneak up on a city, region, or country gradually over time. In some cases, the arrival of an economic collapse is so gradual that most people living in it aren’t even aware of it at first.
Things just get gradually worse, often so gradually that people and families adjust as best they can until one day they actually realize that it’s not just their home or their neighborhood that has been hit so hard financially, it’s everyone. By that time, it’s often too late to take preventative action.
In March of 2011, Detroit’s population was reported as having fallen to 713,777, the lowest it had been in a century and a full 25% drop from 2000. In December 2011, the state announced its intention to formally review Detroit’s finances. In May of 2013, almost two years later, the city is deemed “clearly insolvent” and in July of 2013, the state representative filed a Chapter 9 bankruptcy petition for Motor City. Detroit became one of the biggest cities to file bankruptcy in history.
So we have only to look at what happened in Detroit, Michigan post-bankruptcy, to get an indication of what might soon be widespread across the United States and what is already widespread in countries like Brazil and Venezuela.
Increased and Widespread Hunger
Grocery stores and other businesses will fail one by one or be shut down from the riots and looting. In Detroit, the economic collapse left less than 5 national grocery stores for over 700,000 people. Imagine the lines even if food was still being shipped in on trucks. Small independent corner stores and family owned stores become the most convenient place to shop. These are stores with already high prices who make most of their profit from beer, wine, lottery, and cigarettes.
Now imagine that shipping schedules have been affected by the economic crisis, this would mean longer lines with less certainty that any food would even be available once you got into the store to shop. People in Venezuelaare actually dealing with government-run grocery stores and are limited to two days per week they can shop. They still face long lines and total uncertainty of what, if any food, will be left once it’s their “turn” to shop.
One of the ways for you to prepare for an economic collapse and increase the likelihood that your family will be well-fed regardless of what is available in the grocery stores is to grow your own food. For further protection, consider planning and planting a hidden survival garden rather than a traditional garden that would be obvious to neighbors and looters. In addition, you can learn how to identify, harvest, and consume wild edible plants to supplement your food supply.
Sporadic Public Services
Public services, including the school system experience frequent strikes that shut them down for days at a time. Power issues and outages become more frequent and roadways become filled with potholes and other signs of disrepair as preventative measures are shoved aside. The water from the tap, that you pay for monthly, begins to smell funny, so you start filtering it before using it. Garbage collection service is sporadic and you begin to see increased trash along the streets and sidewalks.
Your cell phone is certainly not something you can rely on since you can’t predict when the signal will be available. Although you pay for high-speed internet, actually getting that service on a daily basis is a matter of sheer luck. Increased littering in the streets and lack of regular garbage collection services becomes an issue because the litter now clogs storm drains every time it rains.
In order to prepare for the sporadic and possible shutdown of public utility services, you can research alternative methods for getting what you need. Consider solar or wind power energy, digging a well or installing a rainwater catchment system. Invest in a composting toilet in the event that public septic systems are overloaded or malfunctioning.
This is another one of those things that just tends to sneak up gradually. Initially, protests warrant our attention because it’s new and different and out of the ordinary. But as the protests become more and more frequent, people stop caring why the protests are happening. You learn to avoid areas where protests are likely to occur. You start taking an alternate route to work or entering your office building through a back door.
Violence and vandalism begin to accompany the protests and roadblocks become part of your everyday routine. Like rush-hour traffic r, you plan enough time to get to work based on the knowledge that the road may be blocked due to a car or building being set on fire the night before. More people will be armed when in public, tempers will be short, there will be increased knife fights and shootings. This will put a huge strain on emergency services personnel such as police, fire, and EMS.
Streets, yards, and even homes are flooding more often now. In addition to the litter, the metal storm drains and even copper pipes from abandoned homes are being stolen for cash. Before long you start to notice that the historic plaques are missing from city monuments, statues come up missing, even doorknobs, anything metal that can be scrapped is fair game for looters and thieves.
One way to prepare for the next wave of riots is to move out of the city to a more rural location. If you can’t do that right now, then it will help to be intimately familiar with your city roads and other transportation routes. Make sure that you have several planned routes to/from work or your child’s school and any nearby grocery stores. In addition to planning alternative routes for daily travel, you should plan and practice several different bug out routes in case you need to leave your home quickly. Consider not only roads but also railroad tracks, subway tunnels, sewer tunnels, and power line easement roads as possible alternative routes.
Daily travel is fraught with angry mobs and requires using alternative routes which result in everything just taking longer. Travel by bus, subway, and airline are unpredictable due to increased strikes. Roads go unrepaired as a result of striking workers or budget constraints. Increased bottlenecks on the roads lead to more frequent carjacking and muggings as thieves learn where people will be forced to stop.
More people are forced to travel by bus, subway, or train due to skyrocketing gas prices, thus public transportation services are overwhelmed. There are increased train accidents, bus and subway breakdowns due to lack of investment, corruption, and politics getting in the way of doing things correctly. Strikes, protests, and roadblocks make everything worse. Soon the only way to get anything done involves “paying a little extra” or suffering long and uncertain delays.
Plan for long delays in transportation by not only keeping your car gas tank full of gas at all times but also by stockpiling as much gas as you can safely store. Keep your car well-maintained, keep spare parts and engine fluids stockpiled, and perform preventative repairs. You can also consider an alternate form of transportation such as a motorcycle, foldable bicycle, or even a motorized scooter or boat if your situation warrants it.
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