Preparing for Economic Collapse

We bring back to the forefront an article from contributor Fernando "FerFAL" Aguirre. With the many new sources of turbulence in the financial system and many new unknowns of how our predicaments will play out, we can always look to the past for guidance. The following is an account from a long time Peak Prosperity member who has lived through economic collapse. FerFAL experienced the hyperinflationary destruction of Argentina's economy in 2001 and continues to blog about his experiences and observations of its lingering aftermath. His website and his book Surviving the Economic Collapse offer windows into the probable outcomes to expect during a collapsing economy. Note: Our site's What Should I Do? Guide offers specific guidance relevant to a number of the steps FerFAL recommends below. Review, Learn, and Get Prepared.  Better a year early than a day late. 

How can I prepare for an economic collapse? is one of the most common questions I get. It usually takes me a second to start to explain how complex such a question is. It’s like asking an auto mechanic, Say, how do you build a car? or asking a computer engineer, What’s all that stuff inside my laptop?

I do have some first-hand experience in this matter, though. The economy in my country, Argentina, has gone through various crises, but none as large as when the economy collapsed in 2001 after a decade of apparent prosperity. The currency devaluated, and Argentina defaulted on its USD$132 billion debt, the largest default ever. The middle class took to the streets after bank accounts were frozen, and the president was forced to resign, escaping the presidential building in a helicopter.

What I’ll do is provide five quick foundational steps, based on what I know, for you to follow so as to be better prepared if something like what happened in my country ever happens in yours.

Steps for Greater Resiliency

Step #1: Secure a percentage of your savings in bullion.

Five years ago, even the most paranoid person claimed that you would never see “nationalized” banks in the USA. The gung-ho survivalists claimed the entire country would go up in flames and open revolts would start before something as insane as a $700+ billion bailout to save the "too big to fail" rich elite was laid on the backs of the American working class. Yet here we are.

When I try to explain this very important issue to my American friends, they tell me that banks would never steal people’s money because there are laws against that in the USA; their money is insured. We had those same laws in Argentina, but still it happened. We had a constitutional right to private property. Yet the constitution mattered little during the collapse. Go right ahead sue the government of the United States if something like that ever happens. Maybe you’ll get some of your savings back in a few years. If they feel like returning it.

What people don’t understand is that laws are written by men, not some greater power. As soon as those running the show feel an emergency decree or law is in order, existing laws are simply rewritten. They may even be ignored altogether! What do you do if something like that happens? You may complain, you may sue, but you’re not changing the cold hard fact that as of right now, that bank door is closed, that ATM has no money in it, and you still have to survive. This is something Argentines have experienced and know very well. Hundreds of thousands of us have banged the doors of our banks for years without a penny being returned. You still sued, and waited, and spent the little money you had by hiring a lawyer. You lose, they win…unless you have some of that money at hand before they decide to steal it.

Every single Argentine wishes he could go back in time, close his bank account, and put that money into gold. We would all do that if we had a time machine. Since you can't guess the future, all you can do is estimate what can happen and play the odds in your favor. In the event of a full economic collapse, if you have 20% of your savings in physical gold and silver, that’s a percentage of your savings that is spared. It's not an investment; don’t go crazy over gold and silver going up or down a few dollars. Just be content that it's not getting any lighter as it sits in your safe. If the economy collapses or even if there’s simply inflation (as there clearly will be), that percentage of your savings in precious metals is safe and will likely go up in price beyond its standard purchasing power as things get worse.

During the first stages of a severe economic crisis, you will see ATMs running out of money fast, and many stores won't be accepting credit cards. As the saying goes, “Cash is king” during those times. Your precious metal can be sold to a dealer, but you better keep that stored for now. When everyone is running around looking for an ATM with a few bucks in it, having a month's worth of expenses in cash means you won't be one of them. Why not more than a month´s worth of expenses? Because if the economy fully collapses, that paper money will lose its value within hours. It may drop 50%, 60%, or 75%, as happened in Argentina. Who knows? All you know is that as the currency loses value, the value of the precious metals you have stored goes up in proportion. Still, during those first days, a wad of cash gets you what you need.

So, Step #1 is acquiring precious metals (I generally recommend 20% of your savings but each person is a separate case) and a month’s worth of expenses in cash, kept safe at home.

Step #2: Stock up on food.

The more you have, the better. There may be periods of civil unrest like the ones we saw where stores are being looted and closed after that. There may be problems with resupply because of logistical complications. It's better if you already have 6 to 12 months worth of food in your expanded pantry. Also, keep in mind that the food you buy now will be considerably cheaper compared to post-inflation prices.

This large supply of food will bring peace of mind in case of job loss, as well. Who knows how long it will be before you find another source of income? After the 2001 collapse, some people genuinely spent YEARS looking for a job without finding any. I can’t emphasize enough the peace of mind it brings knowing you still have some time, and that you can, in fact, put food on the table the following night.

The food should be long-term storage type, requiring little or no cooking, at least for some of it. Water is also essential, so having a two-week supply is advised. The minimum amount is a gallon per person per day, and you should double that for flushing toilets and taking an elemental bath in case the water service is interrupted.

Step #3: Acquire the essentials by putting together a survival/emergency kit.

This will include your typical camping gear: a tent, sleeping bags, a stove (have enough fuel for it in case services are disrupted), first aid kit, medicines, LED flashlights, and several spare batteries. Depending on how bad civil unrest gets, there may be problems with the infrastructure. After the economy collapsed in Argentina, the power company simply couldn’t afford the repairs needed, and it hadn’t planned for something like this. Rolling blackouts became common, and having LED lights and rechargeable batteries was a blessing. You could easily spend two or three days without power during the summer. At one time, downtown Buenos Aires was left without power for five days. Imagine the complications this brings. If natural gas service is interrupted, you may need other ways of cooking. A camping stove and enough fuel will get you through it.

Step #4: Improve your personal and home security.

If you ask any Argentinean what concerns him the most, 9 out of 10 people will have the same answer: security. In second place is the economic situation. Ten years after the economic collapse, things are nothing like they used to be. Half of the middle class became poor and its standard of living has decreased considerably. We’re still a high-risk economy, and it shows. Inflation is still rampant and can be anywhere from 5% to 10% per month, usually hitting the middle class the worst. But that’s something we’ve grown used to. That’s something we can live with.

What concerns Argentineans the most is the crime problem, and the out-of-control violent crime we suffer is the major legacy of the 2001 economic collapse. Poverty sure didn’t help, nor did social segregation. But the greatest cause responsible for the crime levels we suffer is our own government. The liberal government that took control after the collapse considers criminals to be poor victims of brutal capitalism. The unofficial stance is that criminals have a right to steal, murder and rape in their view, it's how the “poor” get back at the rich and middle class who thrived during the 1990s. Of course, with a government like that, the crime problem just keeps getting worse.

During the first days after the economy collapsed, civil unrest, rioting, and looting were out of control. A state of siege and military law was declared, enforcing curfew hours after 10 pm. This lasted a few months, and for months after that, while order was recovered in the capitol district, there were still occasional revolts and looting. The sense of lawlessness extended way beyond the visible accounts depicted by the TV and general media. It's during times like these that you realize you must have means of defending yourself and your family.

My advice is to make your home as secure as possible against criminals that may take advantage of the lack of control during the worst of the rioting. After that, a better security plan for the entire family must be worked out. As things get worse, you understand that you can no longer afford to be lax about your personal and home security. Those that are quickly become vicitims. With a more secure home, you may want to consider having a weapon to defend yourself. Certainly not an easy decision, and one you must be extremely serious about. If you have the self-control and maturity to handle one, having a firearm and getting the minimum training to know how to use (it if it ever comes to that) is something you should consider doing.

Crime and insecurity will be one of the greatest threats people all across the USA will suffer, and very few will be ready for it. It won't happen one dark gloomy night after watching the latest horror movie. It will happen in the Walmart parking lot at 3 pm, with plenty of people around (people who will hurry out of the way, pretending not to see anything). You’ll be thinking about what you just bought, that you maybe should have bought Lucky Charms instead of Corn Flakes. That’s when the nice-looking person with two other buddies, all well-dressed (with neat haircuts, too), will pull a gun on you. Developing a sense of awareness will be the most important part, as well as making the rest of your family comprehend that times have changed and you can no longer be careless regarding security. 

Step #5: Embrace a different mindset.

When Argentina went through its economic collapse, people handled it differently. Maybe the most common response was denial. The “I can't believe this is happening “ attitude was pretty popular. Others complained, but you soon understood that it changed nothing: It only made you feel more miserable, more stressed, and that was something you could do without. Others just ended their misery. Suicide rates doubled after the collapse, with people sometimes jumping under the train at early rush hour in a desperate attempt to make their misery noticed by others.

What you need to do is become more positive, more active. Be someone who, while accepting those things you can’t change, does something about the things you can. Get involved now. Do what I just recommended right now; it will bring you peace of mind. Remember to stay positive and put every problem into perspective. Complain less. You’ll have enough to complain about when inflation gets worse. Soon you'll understand that material things can be replaced, and you become more grateful for what you have instead of worrying about what you don’t.

It's essential to keep a positive attitude. Being someone who gets easily depressed will be the end of you as the economy worsens. Problems much worse that what you are used to will be a daily occurrence. You’ll just have to roll with it and learn to cope with the new world you live in. Reinforce your relationships with people. Fight stress by finding a hobby you enjoy, hopefully one that has a practical side as well. After the collapse, lots of people started their own businesses when they realized there were no jobs to be found. It would be better if you get started now, just in case you ever need it in order to earn a living.

These are my recommendations. I know many people could have used such advice back when our economy collapsed.

Some common questions regarding hyperinflation

How quickly does it happen?

These events occur fast, but there are warning signs: lack of investment, higher interest rates, unemployment. When banks start coming up with excuses so as to not give you your money right away when closing an account, that’s usually not a good sign.

As for inflation and hyperinflation, they happen right in front of your eyes. It actually happened to me that the price of an item I picked in a store almost doubled in price by the time I reached the cash register. The employee just placed the sticker with the new price over the old one (no time to remove them) Employees rushed around changing prices several times a day, all day long, during the ongoing crisis. It was fun to peel back the stack of stickers with the different prices and see how they had gone up in a matter of hours. Rioting happens fast, too. Once the banks close, rioting is just minutes away.

What happens to your savings/investments?

I didn’t have much but managed to close my account just a day before the banks closed their doors. My parents are accountants and saw the signs mentioned earlier. When we went to the bank, a nice lady told us they didn’t have USD$1,000 in the bank. Our jaws just dropped. That same day we went to the main branch and closed the account my sister and I had. The next day all banks closed and the accounts were frozen.

As for real estate, that was a pretty safe investment. Eventually rents went up to compensate for the devaluation. Of course, you were much better off with your money in bricks and mortar than in a bank account.

How does the populace react?

Violently, as you’d expect when your life savings are stolen from you.

What is the government saying/doing?

Laws were changed to make everything nice and legal. The excuses then-president Fernando De La Rua came up with in his speeches during the crisis just made everything worse.

Just days before the bank holidays, they promised none of that would happen. Same thing before the devaluation. They swore on their mothers' names that they wouldn’t do such a thing then did it the following day. Politicians tend to do such things, and they are all similar worldwide.

What happens to the capital markets?

The stock market dropped like a rock, then shut down. What surprised us the most was how everything was simply frozen in expectation. No one wanted to spend a single cent, not even to buy half gallon of paint for a work site, because you just didn’t know what would happen in a matter of hours, let alone next week. The biggest investors had sold and left the country months before everything went down. Another sign to look for.

Does violence and crime become an immediate concern?

Yes, it does. While stores were the more common targets, houses were looted, too. The best thing to do was stay home, have a defendable position, and be armed. I had looters not 20 yards away from my home. What do you do if they rush your home? Can you just open fire on them? What will they do when/if you do? All these things flash into your mind.

A significant amount of people behave themselves because they believe there’s a punishment if they do otherwise. Once that fear is removed, because the authorities have clearly lost control, you see the worst of people’s nature. It's not a pleasant thought, but it's better to be ready.

Take care.

~ Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

To all visitors:
All the signs are in place, the stage is set, and the clock is running.  You pay for insurance every day for far less probable events.  Awareness without action results in deep regret.  We are too far down the road to turn this around through political action or letters to the editor.  Get your family ready whether they like it or not. 

Thank you Fernando.

This is terrific.  I knew FerFAL would be good, but he exceeded my expectations.  I consider him the best source available for this type of information.


I have been reading your book and most of the articles on your site.  Thanks for taking the time to make an article for this site.You are right that your version of the “grey area” collapse is much more shocking to most of us than the “zombie shooting gallery TEOTWAWKI” scenario.
I, for one, am not looking foward to a situation where the danger from crime has risen 500% but the authorities still pretend that they are in control and will be coming to second guess and probably arrest you after an event has occurred.
If things are just going down hill and you still have to go to work, who will guard your house while you are gone.  I am surprised more break-ins do not happen now with so many people off to work every day with a very predictable schedule.
Thanks again Fernando.

[quote=Rector]You pay for insurance every day for far less probable events.  Awareness without action results in deep regret.  We are too far down the road to turn this around through political action or letters to the editor.  Get your family ready whether they like it or not.
You pay for insurance every day for far less probable events.” Paradigm shift. Wow! I had never thought about it this way before. So true. I spend over a thousand dollars each year for auto insurance. I spend a few hundred each year for renter’s insurance, etc. We do pay for insurance every day for far less probable events. And yet I think of it as money well spent, because I know of people who have gotten into more serious accidents, people who have lost their homes. I think next time someone starts questioning me, I’ll ask them how much they pay for home or auto insurance, and whether they’ve had to use it in the past several years, and whether they think the money is well spent anyway.
Well in Argentina, they lost their economy! And we’ve have real examples of what has happened in other countries. The writing is on the wall for America as well!
Pyramid ShiftOn a related topic: To those of you who may not have read it, I want to quote a very relevant passage from another essay that “FerFAL” wrote a few years ago, emphasis mine:

The essay/thoughtstream by “FerFAL”: is published in various places throughout the web, so it is easily found. Below is one of the locations where it has been posted with permission:
BookI highly recommend “FerFAL’s” book, “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving The Economic Collapse”. While self-published, and English is not his first language, the material is very engaging, easy to read, and goes into much more detail.
Web Sites“FerFAL” has many blog posts and YouTube videos as well:Older, but still active blog: web site:

Thanks everyone for the comments and nice words.
These are times to be cautious yet realistic. Some common sense preparedness will go a long way.

As Rector well said, you pay for insurance for things that are far less likely than losing your source of income during an unstable economy. Even getting mugged or suffering a home invasion is becoming more and more common.

Yet so many people think that stocking up on food or having precious metals is a waste of money.

Sometimes people say they are down on their luck and can’t afford to stock up food. Its specially those people that can’t afford not to!



Look at this link on Argentina’s Gold Reserves.
Looks like the Gold left the country a little ahead of the problems also. Looks to me like Gold is always pretty valuable in a man made world.

Argentina SOLD ALL ITS GOLD RESERVES at the bottom of the market in December 1997 - and reportedly bought U.S. T-Bonds at their high.

As a Brazilian, reading this fine article was like reading a memoir.  Brazil followed a similar path for over 20 years. 
Although inflation had been a common plague in the 20th century in Brazil, in the 70’s it reared its head to not put it down again until the mid 90’s.  However, before getting there, the 80’s were particularly rocky as inflation reached triple digits.

In order to control inflation, but never addressing the root, many economic shocks were inflicted in the population.  Since the root was public deficit and its financing by printing money, inflation was actually the goal in order to wipe it out.

At first, major currency devaluations were pursued in the attempt to blatantly inflate the public debt out of existence.  Instead, the newly minted money was regarded as a new opportunity to increase the size of the state, increasing the public deficit even more.  This cycle went on for a few years with the obvious effect of raising the inflation levels year after year.

It didn’t take long for people to lose any notion of prices, since the most common sound in grocery stores was of the labeling machines (I can only imagine how more convenient bar-codes are in an inflationary environment).  Therefore, seeking a “stable” monetary reference, the informal unit of accounting became the dollar and its exchange rate was mentioned on the radio throughout the day, which people used to do quick mental calculations when shopping to compare prices among vendors.

I remember that the price of gold was always mentioned at the end of the day when the newscasts would assess the damage by inflation on that day.  However, it was quite difficult to buy gold, since one had to go through dealers which operated in the mercantile exchange and the minimum quantity was rather large, excluding but the very wealthy to protect their savings.

As a consequence, even though no other currency could be used as legal tender, the dollar became the de facto currency for major transactions between private people, like paying in for an used car or even real estate.  As a matter of fact, assets became the only way to store one’s wealth, leading to an even higher inflation in them, when it was quite common that an used car would be sold for a profit even a couple of years later.

As inflation kept on going up, the government resorted to heterodox economic shocks, or economic experiments on a whole population of fancy economic theories by scholars with titles from Ivy League universities or prestigious European universities.  These scholars, whose academic credentials placed them among the very wealthy, having never hold a job in the real world and much less balanced a checkbook to budget their groceries expenses, had the bad habit of accepting nominations to become economy ministers.

They tried everything between Cambridge and Chicago, from Keynes to Friedman, controlling variables of economic equations on an entire country and seeing what happened.  They tried government spending to raise the GDP, but it didn’t work; then price controls, just to make the shelves in the grocery stores empty; then freezing bank withdrawals to limit the velocity of money, just to collapse consumption and cause massive unemployment.

And all along, no law mattered.  Arbitrary taxes were slapped on items under the guise of their being consumed by the “rich”, like new cars, but quickly everyday items were taxed too, like makeup and gas.  Sometimes they weren’t called taxes, but some sort of patriotic fee, which some people decided to sue against, only to get laughable, inflated-away amounts back years later.

And flight was not an option, for until the early 80’s, a compulsory deposit of $1000 (worth months income) was required for trips abroad.  Capital controls were brutal, and capital expatriation had to be done via the central bank as a way to create an impossibly long bureaucratic delay.  I remember that even to subscribe to foreign magazines it was necessary to file several forms to justify the conversion of funny money into dollars (Brazilians were allowed to have transactions in foreign currency in credit cards only ion the 90’s).

In my experience, an economic collapse doesn’t happen suddenly.  It’s a very slow process akin to the proverbial boiling of a frog.  Inflation doesn’t happen suddenly either; it’s always surreptitious at first, but steady.  When it reaches high levels, only then does it quickly rises and may reach hyper-inflationary levels, but it took Brazil almost two decades to go from double-digit annual rates to four digits.

Rather, the economy is destroyed in slow-motion.  First, the Brazilian industries were regulated until they choked.  Then, import controls rewarded inefficient and corrupt industries.  With public deficit mounting up, the government became the only creditor, drying up capital from the financial system, since it was the only creditor able to pay loans back with freshly minted money.  At the same time, this squashed industries, unable to turn out profits equivalent to an incredible inflation rate, which, unlike banks, had to actually produce something to gain income and to keep their operations.  It goes without saying that without access to capital, industrial innovation died completely.

The need to turn huge profits quickly in a market with a quickly dwindling middle-class led industries to turn to the only entity with money to spend: the government.  Government contracts were sought after violently - literally, but more commonly with liberal application of “grease”.  The effect was that corruption became the norm in a country where it had never been tame.

And this is perhaps the worst effect of the economic collapse, ultimately by design by an irresponsible profligate government: the morals were corrupted by the need to turn a quick buck no matter the cost, bribing whoever needed to get a contract.  Virtual business gangs were formed, especially by former government officials and members of the - ruling - military, who had government contacts and intermediated the bidding process between corrupter and corrupted for a nice fee.

But not only in the business sphere, the moral corruption spread throughout the Brazilian society. Frustrated with the government and seeing how corrupt it was, impotent to change anything, the same modus operandi was adopted by the average Brazilian.  Nothing else mattered, especially life, which became quite cheap, just a black hole of ever more expensive food.  Crime gangs came up with violence never seen before.  Many became pirates on land, robbing trucks, trains and barges, no matter the merchandise and killing even those who didn’t pose a threat to them, like truckers and engineers.

The prevalent moral code was: do what thou wilt and everyone else be damned.  What used to be a quaint, peaceful country, with a harmonious living of many races and ethnicities, became a crime war zone on the streets, a corrupt business place and a treasonous personal environment.

Brazilian culture, which enjoyed high quality in literature and the arts, became a cauldron of soap operas.  The crassness became the norm and any higher cultural expression was sneered at as useless.  The former president, Luis Lula da Silva, who dropped out of middle-school, boasted for not being able to speak Portuguese correctly, making it a virtue, though most of the population was much farther ahead of him (to illustrate this, imagine if in a decade everyone spoke like rappers).

Unfortunately, America today seems to me very much like Brazil in the late 70’s.  America is following exactly the same path, but finds willing accomplices to convince the people that it will lead to a different destination.  As an immigrant, a refugee from economic and criminal insanities who found a comfortable and peaceful life to raise my family in America, my heart is torn at the dishonesty in the American politicians, an all too familiar dishonesty.

However, thanks to the Internet I have access not only to invaluable resources like this site, but I can also protect my meager savings from collapse by being able to diversify away from the dollar into assets.  Neither I nor my father had access to the same information and diversification that I can now have back in Brazil.  So, while this time it is not different, I am confident that I and my family will fare differently.

One of my biggest concerns is the violent crime and corruption that will grow out of our economic collapse.  FerFAL and Augustine have lived through it and they both highlight it.  Most people largely obey the law because of fear of being caught by the police and punished by the criminal justice system.  They also obey the law because of the strong disapproval of their family, friends and neighbors.  But the coming desperation of the common person, the corruption they see all around them (especially among the wealthy and powerful), and the obvious fact of how overwhelmed the police and courts are will cause them to feel released from these social constraints and commit crimes and engage in corruption they never would have before such a sea change in society.  A healthy society can cope with the criminal actions of the 2-5% of people who are, under normal circumstances, committed to a corrupt and/or criminal lifestyle.  No society can handle 40-60% of the people committing theft, burglary, robbery and all manner of scams, frauds and ripoffs out of desperation to survive or just plain anger and greed.  This effect which is coming our way could be greatly diluted if there were a large number of successful prosecutions and public shaming of the people who most contributed to our problems and profited from them.  But it looks like nothing like this is going to happen, and we are therefore doomed to a dog-eat-dog future until our society is burned nearly to the ground and starts to rebuild.  On the other hand, America has seen two great spiritual awakenings in our past and we can always hope for something like that again.  I’ll be hoping and praying, while making preparations for the far more likely and dismal outcome.

Thanks Augustine fo sharing that. We south Americans are unfortunately a steap ahead in events. After what happened with the economy, they are going after what’s left of the middle class and conservative values. We’re becoming this liberal socialist blur with no sense of decency.Brute illiterates are much easier to control I suppose. For example, we’re now seeing our government unnoficialy making durg abuse legal, along with a strong media campaign. The motto seems to be " Who didn’t do drugs at least once?" If a reporter says he didn’t he is quickly mocked and shunned as if not having done drugs before makes you a fool. Its like an elementray school in the bad part of town all over, but with adults with political charges.
Why on earth would our own government so outspokenly approve the use and abuse of illegal drugs?
Maybe iliterate isn’t enough any more, they want the mass to be junkies too.

I think the US will experience a deep crisis, but it wont be as bad as what we have experienced in SA. I know what I’m talking about, because I’m from Venezuela. I saw my comfort world crumble after the riots of 1989 that were a prelude to Hugo Chavez first coup attempt. After 20 years a lot of water has passed below the bridge and now Venezuela, an oil producing country that bought all argentinian debt after Kirshner went into power, has more weekly violent deaths than, Irak, Afganistan & Pakistan combined and is under military leftist rule, on the road to and oil rich Cuba. The US does not have the huge shantytowns around cities and monoproducing limited output of a third world nation. The middle class is large and they do have a lot of natural resources, structures in place and everyone owns a gun. In Venezuela only the bad guys carry weapons…That in itself should be enough to restrain social misfits and the apocalyptic future explained here… Things will be bad in the US but never like ours, because their starting baseline is different…They already suffered a depression and were able to cope…And if thats starts to happen in the US no place will be safe around the world and we might as well kiss our collective asses goodbye. right now, I’m living in Spain and even when things are real bad, normal people aren’t rioting over here like greece or the middle east. Balanced people understand that bad times are xoming again and only astrong social network will cope. As to avoid another civil war…The problem we experienced in SA were greedy corrupt politicians and lack of education that foster extreme poverty… I think the middle class in the US is better informed so I see no point in scaring people…I’m sure there will be some sort of unrest but I think people will behave and prevail in the long run…this web site is an example of preparedness of US society. I never saw anything like this in the years previous to the ascent of crazy chavez to power in 1998

Great posting from South America!! Thanks Idoc

Ferfsl, great post; thank-you!  I have learned so much from you, from your personal experiences dealing with economic collapse.  Thank-you for helping us see where we, too, may be headed!

Thanks Pinecarr, glad you liked it.If anyone has questions and such, I’ll keep checking this thread and do my best to answer them.

Thank you so much for writing this article. During the last year I have become aware of the state our global economy is in, and I have been doing my best to prepare for all that. Eventhough the situation overhere in the Netherlands seems still in controle, we very much depend on the rest of Europe and ofcourse the US.
Allthough the information Chris is providing has been a true blessing, I still had some questions about how things might turn out for real, and you gave me a glimpse by telling about your experience.

Not very appealing to look at the future like this, but better to be prepared.

So thank you!

[quote=ScubaBonaire]I think the US will experience a deep crisis, but it wont be as bad as what we have experienced in SA. … As to avoid another civil war…The problem we experienced in SA were greedy corrupt politicians and lack of education that foster extreme poverty… I think the middle class in the US is better informed so I see no point in scaring people…I’m sure there will be some sort of unrest but I think people will behave and prevail in the long run…this web site is an example of preparedness of US society. I never saw anything like this in the years previous to the ascent of crazy chavez to power in 1998
Do not underestimate the greed in America (Unfortunately, I see that trait entrenched in my country India too ). As for education, the middle class here is literate but definitely not educated. Otherwise, we would not see the kind of personal debt crisis that we are seeing. The people who visit this website are either getting out of the mainstream society or are already out.  The mainstream people who do not take the time to prepare will have the same experience as the South America crises.

Thank you for offering to answer some questions. Here are a good number of questions that I have for you. I know these are a lot to ask, but it is because I love my family and dear friends so much, that I ask these questions.

(Perhaps you can give consideration to the fact that I have purchased your book via Amazon, via your link? grin)

If you cannot answer all of them, or if these are too many, then please feel free to answer the ones that you want to or can. Thank you.

What advice would you give to those who are disadvantaged:

  1. The poor. How do the poor survive in Argentina? If someone in America were very poor and with few resources (let’s say they lost their job and have used up their savings to survive and now depend on the government), would that significantly change the advice that you have given in this post? Is there any additional, specific advice or suggestion or strategy would you give regarding survival for those who are poor?

  2. The elderly. How do older, weaker people survive in Argentina? Many Americans have no retirement savings. They are (or wil become) wholly dependent on the government for Social Security payments, Medicare for health care - and we know that this system, though modest, is likely to be drastically reduced. What is it like for elderly Argentinians in such situations? What kind of survival strategies would you suggest for the elderly, including those with no adult children to take care of them?

  3. The physically disabled or those with chronic medical issues - There are people in wheelchairs, or the elderly who are weak or sick. There are also people who are otherwise able to work, but requires regular medicine or insulin (which may be expensive), or people who needs daily care. How do these people (like diabetics) in Argentina survive? What advice would you give them?

  4. Minorities - People not of the dominant race (White) or the dominant religion (Protestant Christian) in America. As you know, about 30% of Americans are minorities, and American discrimination and prejudice has its own history that is different obviously from Germany or Brazil (or Argentina). Is there major racism in Argentina? Has it increased with the economic hard times as people search for others to blame (like Germans did the Jews)? Since in some states and cities in America, the visible minorities make up less than 10% (sometimes less than 2%) of the population, what suggestions, strategies, and advice would you offer to minorities so they and their families can stay safe and prosper?

  5. Children - I know you have young children. I happen to have two twin babies born late last year. What suggestions or advice would you give to parents of young, vulnerable, innocent children? How do you raise them? And what suggestions or advice would you give to children as they grow older at each stage in life: let’s say at age 4, at age 8, at age 12, and at age 16? What stories do you tell them, and how do you keep them positive, optimistic, yet smart about the streets and the increased brutality and corruption that you have seen in Argentina in the past 10 years?

I know things will be tough in the years ahead. Just thinking about family members who are poor, elderly, weak, and a minority on top of all that, makes me very concerned.

Thank you in advance, sir.


Very good article.
My wife was on an aprenship in argentina’s capital during this bank holiday season. I just moved to nigeria from venezuela and she still wanted to complete her study in Argentina. This were interesting but very scary times.

Insecurity was indeed a major problem and food very scarse. She is a world optimist but became a realists when she saw all the violence on the streets.

As she was a student and living together with students there was also a strong atmosphese of helping each other. Defence of the neighbourhood and sharing food was the means of survival.

Community building is something we have lost during the last 30 years. Defenitely in Europe where nobody goes to church. Everybody is busy with shopping or sport on sunday. House and car to show-off.

Community building is so important. Together we stand strong against armed gangs and foney polititians.


Great piece FerFAL! Succinct, to the point, and experience-based information, very nice.
I would only have one question. What happened to the country’s exit points during the crisis? Right now, I am living in Japan, in a gamble that things might turn better here than Canada (but it looks less and less probable), which would leave me the choice of going back to Canada if things go south(er) here. My main concern is, when the SHTF in Argentina, what happened with the ports, the airports, the trains, buses, border control (although I doubt I would have any problems with Japanese immigration leaving the country), etc.? Thank you very much in advance for any info you may have!


Awesome post, Augustine.  Thanks!