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FAILURE TO BALANCE THREATS TO FREEDOM VS. POSSESSIONS/RELATIONSHIPS IS FATAL
Reader Ed asks:
How about using a stash of (now) easily obtainable Austrian silver coins for survival ?
I have never been a believer in expecting to live the good life in chaos just because I am well stocked with silver and gold coins. And if you know what happened in recent wars and refugee situations, you should know that silver coins were not good for anything. Gold coins in small, well-known, local denominations, and perhaps diamonds or zircons were best for bribing border guards and buying food. When everyone around me is starving or rioting, it isn’t in the cards that anyone will continue to live in a nice self-sufficient solar-powered house or apartment unless they have enough to also support a small army “war lord” style. Even then, your little army will probably be annihilated by bombs or a larger force, or they will turn against you.
The fact is that if and when your government becomes very oppressive (Fascist or Communist Police State Style) or if general order breaks down because of no government (Somali or Afghani style) the game is over. The moment you go out shopping and spend some of your little silver coins, you will be noticed, strong armed, and probably tortured until you give up whatever you have. Then, when you have nothing else to give up, you will be dealt with appropriately — i.e. disposed of. Thus, in a way, it might even be more dangerous to be a “have” in a sea of “have nots,” than to just be a “have not.”
Maybe having a dumpy hovel, with hidden dehydrated food supplies, a well, and a device to filter water is a better idea. Then you can maybe avoid starvation for a while. But that is not something I would count on.
The Best Insurance? Getting yourself and your assets out of the country is an infinitely better idea in my view. If the worst doesn’t happen, you have lost nothing and can always go back after things have cooled off.
In the real world, there is usually plenty of warning. Or at least some warning. Result? Anyone who has the right paperwork (a second passport or good, long-term visas to several get-away places) can simply get away. A common car with extra Jerry cans of gas, or if appropriate, a small fishing boat or sailboat (well stocked for the journey) is better, in my opinion, than 250,000 Euros worth of gold or silver coins in your basement. The best place for liquid assets is in the places you have set up as your safe-haven. I say places because in WW2 for instance, Belgium & Denmark were neutral (before the war started), like Switzerland. Nonetheless, they were invaded. In those days, even Switzerland would not have been my first choice because it was in the path or danger and was very likely to be invaded or compromised. Where to go? In those days 1935 to 1945, my choice would have been the other end of the Earth: Maybe Central or South America, Rhodesia or South Africa, but definitely not Palestine, China, or Japan.
Today, I think that relatively good destinations for your living “Flag” would include Singapore, Monaco, Fiji, Luxembourg, Belgium, Campione, New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia, Brazil, and Vanuatu. In my second tier, I would have Thailand, Philippines, Paraguay, Uruguay, Mexico, Canada, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Guatemala, plus Canada and all of the E.U – in that order. Third tier might include the USA for non-Americans. I won’t scrape the bottom of the barrel just now, but for my consulting clients, it could be that there are pleasant and safe places I have not mentioned (or that were mentioned above) that would be the “best fit.” Even if there is only a miniscule chance of real danger to assets and life, it is necessary in my opinion to have an escape plan.
The biggest danger is having the wrong mentality. I recently watched an old BBC production about World War Two in which a Russian woman explained that when she heard the German Invaders were two days away from her village, she urged her family to go with her on horses, bicycles, or whatever they had, and go East. It was generally known that the German Strategic Plan was to conquer, annex, and resettle Russia with Germans only up to the Volga River. Beyond the Volga was a new life and safety. Many Russians (over 5 million apparently!) were able to escape the Nazis by doing this, but around 20 million perished on the wrong side of the Volga – as this woman’s relatives did. Why? They could not bear to leave relatives, friends, their little farm, their animals, their precious furniture, etc. As a result, they were barricaded in their wooden houses, and set on fire by the invaders. They burned to death unnecessarily!
If you have been reading my (Grandpa’s) PT stuff, it is essential that you discuss escape routes with your family, best friends and relatives. They may think you are crazy at first, but if they borrow and read your copy of Bye Bye Big Brother or the old PT book by Hill, they may start to realize a genuine need for a Plan B. When danger threatens, most people go into denial. If mentally prepared, you are like a soldier; you can outmaneuver the enemy. If you simply wait like a deer in the headlights of a hunter, you have no chance.
A failure to balance a threat to lives or freedom against such things as possessions and relationships was fatal to many. Even non-political neutrals, in the wrong place at the wrong time are potential victims — particularly if they are envied for having a prosperous business or more money than their neighbors. If you are in the minority as to religion, race or anything else, in times of trouble, you are at particular risk.
None of this is new to PTs. I go into more details in my book Bye Bye Big Brother and the all newPortable Trades 20-20. A portable trade – something you can do to earn money anywhere – is a life- saving skill worth more than money or a stash of coins.
Something essential like first aid or medical skill is best, but any skill, even hair-cutting and manicuring, is better than nothing.
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