Jack Spirko: The Road To Resilience

Continuing our focus on solutions, this week we're joined on the podcast by Jack Spirko. His daily podcast focuses on practical, actionable steps each of us can take to "live a better life, if times get tough or even if they don't" -- a mission nicely aligned with the one we pursue here at Peak Prosperity.

In this wide-ranging discussion, Jack and Chris discuss the need for spreading awareness of the Three Es, the professional challenges in doing so, and how individuals can go about pursuing both security and prosperity in the face of the likely disruptive changes to come:

We've had these people predicting: This is the Big One! for 25 years. These people are hucksters who just want to make money. "End of America", "The world is going to end!", "In six months the dollar is going to collapse!" -- people have been marketed these messages. Here's my concern: it's going to become Chicken Little. And when we really are at a point where you and I are going "Uh, guys...", no one's going to listen.

So as it relates to preparedness: being prepared for the grid to go down for a couple of months -- great goal. Wonderful. But I look at preparedness this way: if you and I are in a car together and we're going to drive from Miami, Florida to Portland, Maine, we're going to go to Georgia before we go to Virginia unless we're really dumb people without a map.

So when somebody asks me about preparedness, my first question is: Do you have 30 days worth of food stored up in your home? No? Then stop worrying about the grid going down. Do you have enough money to go 90 days without income and be okay? Not happy, but at least okay at the end of those 90 days? No. Then let’s not worry about total Armageddon yet. Do you have a basic blackout kit, so if your grid goes down for 24 hours you can find your stuff and be comfortable? No? Then your first steps in preparedness should be focused on getting all of these most basic things done.

The way I look at this is: an emergency that affects just you or just you and your immediate family is the most likely emergency you'll experience in your lifetime. You'll probably experience a number of them. If you widen that out to be your neighborhood, it's a little less likely that you, as an individual, will be impacted by it. And as we go to a national level disaster, your odds of having it happen to you on any given individual day – I think in this generation we're going to see it, eventually -- but on any given day the risk is relatively low. So we have to take this methodical approach. We prepare first for the disasters that only affect us and our families. Then we prepare at the neighborhood level. Then at the regional level. And by the time you get there, you're so close to being able to at least be somewhat resilient on these wide-scale disasters and so far ahead of where you would be otherwise, that it's doable now. However, if you start out with no preparedness and you start pumping money into solar panels and back-up batteries and stuff to the tune of thousands and thousands of dollars and you can’t handle being laid off for a month, then sooner or later you're going to end up hurt and you're never going to get where you're trying to go. These are the people who get in the car and end up going from Florida to Virginia back to Georgia while trying to get to Maine. Sooner or later, you're going to get lost because clearly you have no map.

This is why for developing preparedness we have to start out with a methodical list. Be prepared to be without services for a day. Now let’s get prepared for a week. Now let’s get prepared for a month. It's actually easy to do it that way. And then you add in a common sense lifestyle. I know you garden and you plant fruit trees and stuff like that -- and you talk about a home being a liability to a degree due to taxes etc -- but if you take a home with a certain size piece of land and you turn that land into a producer, you create an asset. These are the steps you should take first in your pursuit of preparedness, because most people don’t have the time, the budget or the resources to get prepared for the apocalypse by Wednesday.

And another thing: some people think that if a collapse comes, it will be easier in some ways. I think some people actually have romantic fantasies about collapse -- I'll just have my gun and I’ll be able to defend what's mine and no one will be able to take it from me. I won’t worry about paying my debts off because everybody's going to be broke anyways. They can’t repossess my stuff -- that's not how collapses work. Look at Argentina. The government gets stronger. The government gets bigger. The Powers That Be want more. And they’ll take it, too. Which is why it's so important to take a phased approach towards developing resilience.

Click the play button below to listen to Chris' interview with Jack Spirko (81m:34s)

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://peakprosperity.com/jack-spirko-the-road-to-resilience/

Take Jack up on his offer and come to PV3!

I object!  Because that is my nature. Not much point agreeing with everything. 

  1. I have big ears. What is Jack implying? Where is my safe space? 
  2. You knew this was coming.  Space aliens bring free energy. Was Jack primed?  Jack is digging himself into a hole there. He can see the phenomenon in others,  but can he see it in himself?  Declarative statements won't cut the mustard, Jack.. If you want to say anything about alt.energy then you need to do your homework first.  Here, Let these people feed you.

Don't like it? I have others. List all your objections to free energy and if they are all answered then any sane person will agree that it is true, not so, Jack?

Foxes have their dens. Birds have their nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.  Therefore I say unto you, make yourselves a warm bed to sleep in
Do not do those things you hate

Jesus Christ,  Gospel of St. Thomas. 

Speaking of which,  I took my boat out yesterday to begin my voyage to my property. I was as sick as a dog. To such an extent that I was no longer in control of the boat.  Hated every second. This requires a huge rethink. The yacht is a central pillar to my plan. 
When your sun drenched desserts and evergreen valleys  Turn to broken down slums and trash can alleys. Bob Dylan
Man makes one plan, God makes another.

Spirko is an AGW denier. I have a series of emails from him, laden with expletives, on the topic. Happy to forward these to Chris if he is interested…

For me Jack Spirko was a bit of an acquired taste but over the years I have found myself won over, depending on the subject matter. He certainly is quite the polymath and generous with what he does.
Thanks for this highly entertaining and informative interview though it is a shame, Chris, that you hardly let Jack get a word in edgewisewink

"And the oil companies can’t just produce less"

Why is this?

And I saw her roll her eyes. Okay. Done. I’m done.

I think that is where people get frustrated and they have a lot of angst—"It is so important that I convinced them of this." No. I’ve done the honorable thing. I have information. I believe that it can help you. I have given you the information and now I’m done. And I actually think that is more effective in convincing people than continuing to push. No one wants to be convinced against their will.

Yup.  Gotta get this through my thick skull!  Loved this part of the discussion for it's clarity.  If they are not listening, I'm not talking.  Now if I can just do that without a chip on my shoulder. 

Rich interview.  I really enjoyed it.



This struck me as one of the best interviews I've heard, perhaps because Jack Shapiro was fresh to this site and very down-to-earth.  I felt like I was listening to a conversation (not necessarily an "interview") between two smart engaging guys who've followed different (but not dissimilar) paths. 
I enjoy almost all of the interviews on this PP site.  I appreciate the the conversations with learned academics who can analyze the data and teach me something new.  Shapiro was clear and direct in a refreshing way.  Very well done! 

I usually listen to Jack Spirko on www.thesurvivalpodcast.com .
I find it interesting to hear him on the other end of the interview.  Chris was on TSP a week or so ago and they had a great conversation there as well.

Both times it was tough to tell who was the interviewer and who was the interviewee.

Either way, great ideas from both guys.  

Thanks for the feedback all.  Yes, it's always nice to be in conversation with someone who is on the same path, intelligent, and clearly a great talker.
I had an 'arc' scripted out but I fully expected it to get chucked and it was…  :)


As a multi-year subscriber to both Peak Prosperity, first, then The Survival Podcast and as a contributing/Founding Member in Jack's creation of PermaEthos - which, by my definition, is a not-for profit revolving fund to makeover existing farms into better than sustainable and even better than organic permaculture farms - I must say this and the interview of Jack interviewing Chris on TSP were both outstanding!
Having said that, I must add that there are ppoints from both, not in these Chris & Jack interviews, where I disagree, at least somewhat, with both.  However , to disregard the central messages of preparedness in at at least as Jack's tag line says "… if times get tough or even if they don't" from both, is not to do so is at one'own peril!

Both have the character to admit they have been mistaken when they are, but as one who studies (and acts on such) multiple diciplines - economics, the environment , energy, geopolitics, history, anthropology, history, human psychology and more as part of my life's mission, both Chris and Jack are more on track than countless other "experts" in their fields.

While as Jack says he may , in his words, "piss some people off" on certain things, as he does me occasionally in a very few areas,  I feel he has more things correct than the few things I totally disagree with.  For what it is worth, while I feel Jack belabors certain subjects ( I, admittedly do so as well, here for example, to make my point) talks on about them even when he is interviewing somebody as opposed to, for instance Diego Footer does not when Diego is interviewing somebody.  My chief picky point about Chris is that he has so many podcasts about the economy, while true, I am afraid will come across as a "broken record" and turn people off.  With Chris, I would recommend having more solutions-based interviews, which he indeed does have in financial areas as well as some other areas such as in health, true happiness, spirituality and specific areas as growing your own food, such as having more outstanding interviews which Chris has had with the likes of Joel Salatin, but could also have more with the likes of Geoff Lawton, Ben Falk or Mark Shepard, who has demonstrated that agriculture can be both "ecologically sustainable and economically profitable."

Indeed, to the last point, Chris has indeed made the link in interviews with the likes of investment advisor Jim Rogers, who recommends to his clients investing in farmland since many other tangible assets such as other traditional income producing ones like rental properties are beginning to become overly inventoried and loosing positive cash flow.  Where in contrast, perennial based multi-cropped permaculture based farms, profitably run will never run out of a positive revenue stream because people will always need food, which is why I have been working to document the hard numbers so investors in other equities and even other tangible assets can reinvest in re-made existing farms or even raw land properly developed into farms that can provide immediate revenue streams; tax advantages, even, if you can believe, receive government multi-year subsidies for doing what a smart developer would do anyway, earthworks projects such as creating water-capturing swales and keyline  earth changes; of course long term capital gains, on an an asset that will, if managed and run properly, will  never depreciate - only appreciate in value .  Investors need to know this in these uncertain times.  Then with qualified guidance and development such as through truly qualified farm developers like Ben Faulk's Whole Systemsd Design, LLC. or Mark Shepard's Restoration Agriculture, LLC. investors, as individuals, or even a group of investors  can invest in a tangible asset they can even visit, see, touch, feel, eat well from, and even retreat to (if the investment is structured accordingly), literally seeing their investment grow.  Forgive me for going on , but I am very passionate about this.

Chris and Jack, please keep up your outstanding work




Way back when the site was Chrismartenson dot com there was a regular feature called "What Should I Do?" I know that we still have it on PP, but  - in my view - the site is set up in a way that relegates WSID to 2nd or 3rd tier status.
I'd like there to be more interviews with people who might not have their own website or books or whatever, but they've done something like homesteaded, or more specifically, they raised goats on their homestead, etc. I remember there was one WSID about making diesel out of grease, one about using a bicycle for transportation, one about aquaponics… admittedly most people won't be willing or able to follow through with the many of the projects that are discussed, but if we go back to having that kind of content, then people will be presented with new alternatives to choose from vs. the relatively unsustainable lifestyles we have now.

This is in response to the previous comment, though I'll post it as a stand-alone and not as a reply.
Like Chris and many others here, I have felt changes coming for quite some time and devoted a lot of thought and anguish to the question of WSID.  One of the ideas that came out in this interview that I really like is the idea of taking actions that will improve your life if times get tough and even if they don't.  By the same logic I've always tried to live my life and steer my career in ways that will position me to prosper in the world that's coming, while still existing, functioning, and enjoying life in the world as it is.  It's kind of a tough balance, since many forces are lined up to try to direct you towards conforming, convenient, but unsustainable modes of living.

I would like to offer further commentary about the role of small farming in a society entering transition, based on my own experiences, and also specific commentary about the work I've been doing adapting ecological wet rice agriculture to the Northeastern climate.  Wet rice is particularly pertinent to concerns that come up again and again on PP because it predictably produces a universally needed commodity (carbohydrates) and can do so on neglected, marginal agricultural land, and has the highest ERoEI of any cereal cropping system.  It can also, with good management, be cropped again and again in the same field without pathogen or pest buildup and without detriment to fertility.  In many places rice is still grown using just human and animal energy and dependably produces a calorie surplus.  I believe that small farms that dependably produce a calorie surplus are going to be essential to the common future of their host towns and regions.  While there are approaches to farming, over time I have settled on rice because it is such a close fit with my land's natural history and it also is adaptive to a shifting climate.

I think that homesteading is a fine and worthy goal, but I would love to have a chance to talk up the idea of going beyond homesteading to produce goods in surplus for local exchange.  I am going to go out on a limb here and say that for our communities to thrive, we need to think beyond our property boundaries and begin to consider what we can contribute to local commerce and society…permaculture has many virtues but there is a navel-gazing aspect to it that is a little bit at odds with what we know about how our historical rural cultures worked, with a lot of work sharing, big jobs with many hands, shared equipment, shucking and quilting bees, grange meetings, and so on.  Farming was at one point in many places a community project and a community priority.  Permaculture, for me, doesn't directly point the way back to this kind of community survival.

In 2016 I will be aiming to produce 8000 lbs of rice, 800 dozen duck eggs, and 200 meat ducks.  Not enough to feed the world and barely enough to pay the bills!  But in a world where local food will come to matter, I feel this is important, seminal work.


If you have been around the cancer ward, you know the modern drugs only grant about 6 more months of life (for $100K, what a deal!).  Is that a plan?   I have posted before about Cancer and Dr. Thomas Seyfried.  Well, here is another essential video of his https://youtu.be/SEE-oU8_NSU (be sure to switch to 720p or 1080p so you can read slides).
I like to frame arguments from axioms and in Cancer Care the Axioms Are Wrong!

The one hallmark of today wherever you look is CORRUPTION!  I think the other animals are hoping the human animal goes extinct.

Simple advice: Drink 16oz Green Vegetable Juice that is fresh or store cold pressed per day.  TJ's has an industrial cold press under high pressure Green Juice that preserves nutrients and has good cold shelf life and is relatively affordable.

  – Dan

Who remembers Linus Paulings' research with cancer patients and vitamin C? He reported that cancer patients treated with vitamin C lived four times longer than those who did not receive it. Check out Steven Hickey, Ph.D.  and Hilary Roberts, Ph.D. NIH  did experiments with mice that showed vitamin C could slow the growth of tumors. This work is not new Pauling's research was considered statistically valid.
At the moment I can only point you toward the paper, The real story of Vitamin C and Cancer by Steve Hickey and Hilary Roberts.

Could it be that the scientific and medical community shut this information down? Certainly there is little money to be gained from using Vitamin C.

Cancer feeds on on sugar so why do patients in the hospital have calorie drinks laden with sugar on their tray tables? The sick care industry is there to feed itself.


Go look at Ethan Roland's work on expanding the basic tenets of Permaculture into a more generalized view of successful sustainable enterprises  (www.regenterprise.com).  This holistic view of work opens up Permaculture principles and applies them to business. Chris and Adam's new book 'Prosper' also works with his ideas on the eight forms of capital.  I am using this more and more in my own business. Bottom line-- "If times are good' it is easy to monetize everything, but when 'even if they're not' arrives, then we won't survive without the bigger view.