The Rules of Surviving a Black Market Economy

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Author of The Ultimate Survival Gear Handbook

In almost every prepping and survival forum, you will find discussions on bartering in great lengths and details. However, the surge of a black market economy will come long before bartering becomes a thing in most SHTFs. Every prepper seems to have their ideas and pre-planned strategies for bartering when the SHTF. But I don’t see the black market discussed that much, even though it’s a lot more common and even likely in all but the most extreme SHTF scenarios.

Selco narrates many of his bartering events during the Balkans conflict and provides valuable advice on making safer transactions in fully collapsed places. Many books about everyday life during wartime, especially WW2, which was a global event with widespread repercussions, also provide real-life insights into the workings of black markets.

I haven’t been through a quasi-Mad Max SHTF like Selco, or even a serious and long-lasting one like Jose (who I’m sure can also provide great insights on these topics). But I can share a thing or two about slow-burning SHTFs, and informal economies of exchange tend to thrive in those situations too.

Black markets exist in most places, even during normal times. 

Below is Investopedia’s definition of the black market: 

A black market is any market where the exchange of goods and services takes place in order to facilitate the transaction of illegal goods or to avoid government oversight and taxes, or both. [source]

Remember, it’s always about resources. In essence, black markets function on scarcity, regulations, supply and demand imbalances in the regular market. 

Anyway, that’s how people get access to prohibited or heavily regulated goods. It can be anything from guns and ammo, unapproved medications, currency, and unfortunately, also drugs, products of criminal activity, wild or exotic animals and birds, exploited children, and other atrocities. Black markets, in general, are a lot less profitable and thus a lot smaller in countries and places with stronger, more vibrant, and exceptionally less regulated economies. Why would someone risk the black market if they can get access to something in the regular economy? 

But where there’s demand, there will be supply. 

Still, there will always be something people want that’s prohibited or regulated. Therefore, people and the market find a way. The black market is an escape valve, a way to circumvent restrictions and regulations. 

And shortages and limitations become quite common during SHTFs. Even ones in which there’s still some institutional order in place. And this concerns us as preppers and survivalists.

When people want something or need something, someone will find ways to provide. It’s possible to suppress and highly regulate a market but not to kill it. If life goes on, so does trading. 

“Market reserve”: when governments interfere with the economy and things don’t go according to plan.

Before we dive in, here is a short story to show how things are connected. During the 1980s, when computer technology started to take on the world, Brazil remained closed to international trading. 

Importing was heavily regulated and taxed, absurdly bureaucratic, and expensive. At the time, the military administration thought that keeping the market closed to make the local industry independent and developing was a good strategy.

Governments think that “market reserves” work, but control policies only hurt the people. 

It’s stupid and counterproductive. Companies stay in the Stone Age because there’s no incentive to compete. Protection and safety are illusions, and only competition and the free market can provide actual progress and wealth distribution. (Keep that in mind as these concepts are vanishing in the current insane world).

Anyway, it failed, and we fell behind in the technological revolution that brought significant advancements and wealth and modernized so many first-world nations. Only in 1991 the “market reserve” was extinct, and we started having access to PCs and other stuff.

Enter the black market economy

I tell that story because the black market for computers, electronics, and the like thrived in Brazil during this period. It supplied consumers and industries, and other businesses that felt they couldn’t stay on the sidelines and did what was needed to stay alive. 

And it wasn’t just tech stuff: the “market reserve” was applied to most other consumer goods too, from cars to food, games, clothing, almost everything. People resorted to the black market to have access to stuff that was prohibited. 

I’m not advocating the black market or celebrating its eventual advantages. I am telling a real story of how things work whenever there’s a distortion in the economy, whether caused by stupid policies, cycles, or even natural events. Because that’s how it is.

Black markets are common even during normal times. 

I have many other stories from Brazil about black markets. The informal economy is big here. Many cities here have unregulated markets that sell all kinds of unregulated and illegal products in broad daylight. For instance, stolen smartphones and counterfeit fashion items from famous brands are hot items. 

There’s a different black market in places like the favelas and outskirts of Rio de Janeiro and other cities. The violent militias that dominate these areas work as “providers” of utilities (electricity, cable TV), gas, and water to the population. It’s something more akin to the mafia, but it’s as unofficial, unregulated, and as “black” as it gets. No one can source any of that stuff from the official providers or other suppliers (who aren’t even allowed to exist, really). Or else.

There’s been a resurgence in black and bartering markets.

Argentina is once again in a deep economic crisis, and the population has a long experience in the black market (and even bartering). It’s back big time there.

After the recent Zuma riots, South Africa also saw a rise in the black market due to the looting, destruction, and economic collapse it is causing (unemployment exploded to 34% of the population, and SHTF ensues). 

The black market is a staple of the Cuban economy and any other “closed” economies. It’s also growing in Lebanon and other places where the currency is collapsing. While, it’s still early, be on the lookout for the black market to flourish in the U.K. and other developed countries suffering from shortages and slowing economies.

My direct experience

As I said, though not exactly in a fully collapsed scenario, I took bartering as an exercise. I describe how I got food and goods in exchange for services in my street survival training book. I’ve also scavenged, and I still do those things occasionally as part of my urban training. 

Anyway, after some time, I started frequenting (and even trying a hand) in places where the trading is less regulated. I mean, a lot less. I went to different black markets to see how it works. It’s a very nuanced and complex thing. However, I’ll try to provide some insight for those not familiar with it. As I said many times before in my articles here at The Organic Prepper and in my books, the partial collapse of the system is the kind of SHTF I believe is the most likely to happen, at least in the short and midterms. So this is what I try my best to prepare for. 

The black market economy will come before bartering.

Whatever happens – shortages, disruptions, inflation or deflation, market crashes, currency collapses – people will still need stuff, and black markets will be the way for many. As the crisis worsens and prolongs, many formal businesses will also become a shadow economy for survival.

With all its disadvantages (I’ll list some below), it’s still a good deal safer than direct bartering in a broken-down society. That said, I still think it’s crucial to heed Selco, Jose, and others on bartering during full-on SHTF. I do, and if things come to that point, well, I’ll have to find my way around it. 

But getting more familiar with the black market is a step in that direction, especially for folks living in highly advanced, civilized nations, more used to regular and stable economies where you can easily find everything in the official market.

How black markets are supplied. 

Crime has a close relationship with black markets. It is, after all, an illegal activity. There are levels, but it’s important to keep in mind that it’s essentially an outlaw environment in general. 

Still, not all black markets revolve around a criminal activity or even violent criminal activity (though usually various illegal activities are interlinked). Anyway, to better understand this universe, here’s a glimpse of the most common ways black markets are supplied. 


Smuggling is very common and perhaps the main form of supplying illegal markets anywhere. I’ve personally seen prohibited stuff being sold even in highly civilized and orderly (and unsuspected) countries. Even those places have prohibitions and humans – who just happen to love forbidden stuff. (For example, a locally restricted caliber or firearm, a fruit or vegetable, special tobacco (like Cuban “puros”), seeds, spices or herbs regulated by some agricultural rule or something, items from some embargoed countries, whatever.)


Counterfeiting is also huge. Fake art is one of the biggest commerces globally, and it all happens in the black markets (for the most part, at least). The actual statistic exists somewhere, but I’d hazard a guess that clothing and fashion items come second (discounting drug trafficking, of course). We find counterfeit stuff in the streets of any city in any country. No exceptions. 

Scavenging and Second-Hand

In scavenging markets, we find the true meaning of “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” I’ve been there and done that because I wanted to have a glimpse (without getting involved with crime, of course). Scavenging markets in my city are smaller, usually a section of bigger black markets. They are larger and more common in underdeveloped, collapsed economies where new things are unattainable luxuries to 99% of the population.

Together with scavenging, second-hand is perhaps the least illegal form of supplying a black market. Many places even regulate second-hand. Second hand, refurbished, recovered goods become widespread during downturns.

Official manufacturers and merchandise deviation

Brands also supply black markets everywhere. They do this for many reasons (tax evasion, dumping, etc.) and through many channels (legal or illegal), representatives, etc. As I said, the black market is an escape valve. Not only the criminals take advantage of it. 

I’ll illustrate this with another real story: Late in the 90’s I worked at the construction of one of the major smartphone manufacturing plants here. When the plant was just starting to function, a group armed with semi-autos broke in with trucks and stole millions in phones, chargers, and batteries. Shortly after, these products started trickling into the market. There was a rumor it was planned and ordered by the company. There’s no way to tell if it was true or not, but what really matters is that these things do happen: merchandise deviation is huge everywhere, also for tax evasion and other illicit finalities.

Black markets aren’t regulated, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have rules. 

It’s important to understand about SHTF that there’s no such thing as a total absence of rules or power. That’s anarchy, a no-mans-land, and life’s not even possible in such regimes or environments unless we’re back to the population density of the Paleolithic. 

There’s no vacuum in the universe. As soon as something disappears, something else takes its place. Look at what just happened in Afghanistan. Someone always rises to the top and takes the helms.

The same applies to the black market. Some basic rules allow the shadow system to work: sellers, buyers, suppliers, and everyone else must abide by. Or else. And be sure that there will be some instance present and overseeing to make sure of that. 

These rules may vary.

These rules may vary according to the context, place, type of market, and some other factors. 

That’s why it’s hard for me to make much comment on this specific part. I know some people like to be taken by hand and babied through every detail. Those may feel disappointed, but the most I can do is provide some tips on a general approach.

The first thing I’d advise is to do your own research. My research taught me about the ways of the local black market. And I’ll be the first to admit there’s still a lot to learn. I don’t pretend to be an expert on the topic (that’s not the idea anyway).

Second, we must change our thinking, conditioned by years (or decades) of dealing in the “normal” market. But even though there are some basic rules, it’s a very different setting, with very different people. Many are criminals, most are ruthless, and there are all sorts of scams, schemes, tricks, swindles one can imagine. 

Basic rules for the black market

You don’t come back to complain: That’s not a deadly sin, but a misstep or mistake can cost dearly. Karen would have a really tough time screaming for the manager in the black market economy.

Customer service varies wildly: Everyone is there to do business. But sellers and buyers are very, very efficient at evaluating people. They’re very wary of everyone and must be aware of everything: competitors, scammers, undercover agents. That means dealers are also good at evaluating customers. Beginners and unaware buyers can get easily swindled. 

Bargaining and negotiating is OK: It’s expected even. Refer to the above, and remember there’s no fixed pricing policy. Competition exists, but dealing illegal stuff, for the most part, or goods that have no price reference (which is the case with second-hand/used or scavenged stuff). 

Keep an eye on the merchandise you’re purchasing at all times: There are so many ways of being scammed that I wouldn’t be able to cover a third of it in an article entirely devoted to it (even if I knew half of it). So this is just a general pointing towards how you should act in general when dealing in the black market. Also, be aware of everyone and everything going around you.

Other risks of the black market economy

Some risks are immediate, i.e., the dealing moment. But there are other risks involved with trading in the black market, some even to our safety Situational awareness is vital in physical markets. Special skills are also necessary when dealing with the virtual black market, where it’s perhaps even easier to get scammed. 

Live transactions revolve around cash. However, there are exceptions. Virtual black markets exist too, and the virtual universe is vast. I won’t go there because it may seem that I’m providing guidance on how to deal in the black markets. I’m just trying to show how it works with a perspective in prepping and survival.

Unrecorded transactions: This is, in essence, what defines the black market. Some purchases will provide a receipt, or proof of purchase, depending on the market, the vendor, and other things. The shadier and “blacker” the market, the less those things are to be expected (of course). Either way, none of that is in any way “official,” and attempts to claim anything (replacements, warranties, refunds, etc.) will not only not happen but may ensue retaliation. 

Don’t be a fool and naïve: If any black market transaction is brought to the formal justice, you will be charged by the system yourself – and most likely not get anything resolved in the way of your complaint. That may seem obvious but judging from some stuff I’ve seen, it’s not. If the situation gets to this point and you’re in the black market, know who you’re dealing with and act accordingly. 

Final considerations.

There’s a lot more that I could write about black markets. Either way, none of this is to be taken as a promotion of the informal economy in any way. It’s just one of those things that exist and will exist regardless. We’re imperfect humans living in a flawed system, plain and simple. We must be aware and perhaps do our best to learn about it if things go the undesired way in our corner of the land. 

What do you know about the black market? Is there an underground economy in your area? Have you considered this in your preparedness plans? Share your thoughts in the comments.

About Fabian

Fabian Ommar is a 50-year-old middle-class worker living in São Paulo, Brazil. Far from being the super-tactical or highly trained military survivor type, he is the average joe who since his youth has been involved with self-reliance and outdoor activities and the practical side of balancing life between a big city and rural/wilderness settings. Since the 2008 world economic crisis, he has been training and helping others in his area to become better prepared for the “constant, slow-burning SHTF” of living in a 3rd world country.

Fabian’s ebook, Street Survivalism: A Practical Training Guide To Life In The City, is a practical training method for common city dwellers based on the lifestyle of the homeless (real-life survivors) to be more psychologically, mentally, and physically prepared to deal with the harsh reality of the streets during normal or difficult times. 

You can follow Fabian on Instagram @stoicsurvivor

Fabian Ommar

Fabian Ommar

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  • Wow great article! These are good skills to have, although acquiring them is another matter entirely. I’ve heard that there’s already a black market for fake COVID passports here in the States. There’s been a market for fake IDs since long before I was born and of course, counterfeiting currency. Where there’s a need or a desire, human nature will always find a way.

  • I am in the middle of the learning curve. Being a vendor in farmers market you will learn to barter with other vendors. i think I could handle shtf situation regarding food, while knowing people who can provide various foodstuff.

    Beside farmers you should get to know electricians, doctors, car mechanists, hunters, fushermen and other people with vital skills.. or learn the skills yourself.

  • I’ve deal with real black markets in Africa, mainly in Angola during their civil war over a 7+ year period of time. You are leaving out a few details. Black markets can be very dangerous to go to, especially if you have something someone else is looking for. If you visit a black market, do it in a stealth fashion and do not bring anything with you of value. For example, you drive there in your vehicle and it’s a make & model of a car with parts that someone else is looking for and willing to pay for like a windshield or tire/wheels etc… Too many times I’ve seen people lose property while trying to purchase something else. Welders are going to be in demand when it comes down to this. Many will have cages welded over their windshields, windows etc…Tire locks are a good idea but will not guarantee anything. Much to consider.

    • @Lachesis Atropos,

      I left out more than a few details. I said this much in the article, it´s indeed a complex and vast topic. I tried to offer an overview.

      The idea was just bring to attention something that´s not much discussed or present in prepping and survivalism forusm. The black market exist everywhere and should become much bigger even before we come to an actual bartering economy, because that´s what usually happens as the economy goes down.

      Though admitedly all kinds of economy (formal and informal) exist in parallel at any time. It´s just a matter of which type is predominant during a certain period and due to specific conditions.

  • Good info Mr. Fabian. Saw an article the other day that your President of Brazil told people to ” Go guy a rifle”. I guess you might be looking at a full ” Mad Max” SHTF ?

    Sure we have Black Markets here in the U.S. they’re called ” drug deals”.

    • Thank Seminole Wind.

      I guess that the best parallel I can draw is US prior to the 2020 elections. Ours is due next year. So if you want to have an idea, it’s pretty much the same scenario. I’m just not sure our institutions and society are as strong to withstand a divided election like US did. We’ll see.

      Our president is pro-guns. He’s also anti-lockdowns, anti-mandates and pro-economy. He’s also blunt and trying to fight the political swamp and the leftist ideologies.

      I don’t want to sound like I’m a supporter because he also does and talks a lot of crap. But he’s getting a lot of undeserved flack from MSM and some sectors of society mostly because he shut the money spigots that irrigated these sectors in past governments. So now they’re fighting him. It’s disgusting.

      But just like in US and really everywhere, there’s a lot of divisiveness here. Still I don’t see a full-scale Mad Max SHTF here, but I expect things to deteriorate further and faster.

      There’s the possibility of some institutional disruption next year, yes. It wouldn’t be a civil war, but some infighting of some kind with violence, protests, etc. But crime is already growing and this will get worse I’m sure. Crime precedes SHTF in any economic downturn.

      Anyway, the 7th of September (next Tuesday) is our Independence Day here, and both sides scheduled huge manifestations (pro and against government). It’s stupid but will work as a crystal ball. Whatever happens will be an indication of the way things will go IMHO.

      Stay well.

  • There is a ” black market economy” almost every where except if you live alone in an extremely remote location.

    The most common “Black market” is the drug market. Often the drug dealers take all kind of things and services in “trade” for drugs. Many items are moved through the gangs pipeline to be sold on the internet, on the street, in yard sales or through crooked pawn shops. Some things like weapons, are kept or sold to other criminals.
    As governments restrict other consumer items or services, sometimes other people get involved in black marketing operations. But most of the time it is tied to a criminal organization that is supplying them with the goods or supporting the services.

    So be very careful who you deal with and how you deal with them. Never flash lots of cash, or wear
    expensive jewelry to a meeting. Don’t make yourself a target for robbery.
    Even if you know who you are dealing with, there may be others lurking nearby looking to score some stuff to trade with.
    Be careful out there.

  • Not sure I would call it a black market, more like a informal economy.
    Instead of paying cash it is more trading or barter for things. Material/food in exchange for labor.
    No one gives it much thought either.
    Sometimes easier than dealing in cash.

    • Informal economy is just the normal economy but without fiscal register to avoid tributes and such. It’s not necessarily something prohibited or illegal, which more characterizes the black market.

      For instance, an immigrant working for a big hotel chain without being registered, or “unofficially”. Or anyone selling gods and services totally or partially of the books, receipts or registers.

      It’s estimated that 17% of the Brazilian GDP is “informal economy”. That does not include the black market (drugs, illegal weapons, smuggled and counterfeit products and others) which are not just “off the books” but also illegal or prohibited.

      • Sorry Fabian, I was not clear.

        What we have now, in my community, is what I call informal economy, i.e. we trade and barter now.
        Nothing illegal. Hay, firewood, trade something for labor etc.

        • No worries 1StMarineJarHead, I was trying to make the distinction between black market and informal economy. It’s great what you have there, judging from what you say. We have something similar where my parents live here in a small rural town, though we don’t produce much in excess right now, it’s not really a farm.

  • Karen/Ken would have a really tough time screaming for the manager in the black market economy – not an action limited to females.

    Black markets and bartering have been around since the beginning of time. Caveat emptor and be safe.

  • Raw whole milk, butter, anything dairy really in my state is highly regulated. I can give it away, which I do (first taste is always free!). If I sell it,which I don’t.. I can lose much more than my time spent producing it. Also, I’ve got some very jealous and untrustworthy neighbors that are rats. So I’m careful who I give products away to.

    • -Jim,
      How would those neighbors act/behave in a SHTF or post-SHTF?
      If it is SHTF, there is no regulation. I would expect someone like you to still adhere to cleanliness standards as would I with raising, and processing hogs.

      • Marine,

        Who’s to say how someone under duress would conduct themselves? I’d like to think fellow farmers would act with a little solidarity, but I’m dubious. A lot of old hillbilly-old English weirdness still persists in these hills and hollers.

        As far as cleanliness, absolutely. I would be potentially compounding an already bad situation with more problems by not sterilizing my milking and processing equipment. Besides, my plan is to be a mini-mart and feed people in return for security, same way my great grandparents did from ‘29-‘39.

        That way I can sell brandy on the side.

        • -Jim,
          Good point about how people would behave under duress.

          I guess I was thinking more along the lines of how people’s POV on others, or to say, their reputation would play out in a SHTF situation.
          If you are known as a fair guy, who looks for a good deal but not to screw someone out in a deal, how much more is that worth from a community stand point?
          Granted, there are world class jerks out there, here and now. But if you have to trade with your neighbors, no other choice, how does that factor in?

          Mini-mart! I like the way you think!
          In our parts, I was thinking more like a daily farmers market set up at the crossroads.

          For us, black berry wine, and hard apple cider season is about here.

          • No tellin’. IME folks in general love to gossip and liberally salt in opinions of others in the best of times. I’d suspect that tendency of human nature will be multiplied greatly in an actual SHTF situation. Only way I see to deal with that in my area is to steer into the skid.

            A black market IMO opens me up to vulnerability I’d not go into unless I could control the situation. Then again, if you’re seeking out that market you’re already in a micro-SHTF just going to the meet, so best of luck. I have no experience, and yield right-of-way to Fabian and others.

            I like my market..gray!

  • “Got money?” Said the guys on the corner in Warsaw and Katovice in the Soviet ‘70s. Officially the exchange rate was X zloty to the dollar, but on the street you’d get twice that. No matter how many machine gun toting gov’t agents were patrolling the streets the black market in cash exchange ran without hinderence. I’d expect a post vax passport market in goods, services and money to spring up immediately and would quickly spread to encompass half the population locked out of the NWO economy by cabal edict. Arbitrage between two competing economies will create a whole new class of entrepreneurs that have access to both sides of the machine.

    • That’s because the machine gun toting police state were in on the take. Along with most of the government bureaucrats. Otherwise they’d simply change the currency and make everything else obsolete and worthless as legal tender, or ban everybody from possession of cash.
      During the Viet Nam War they had their local country currency in piasters worth pennies on the dollar, and the American military and foreign contractors used MPCs (military payment certificates) Which also was used by everybody else because it had equal USD value. But only in Nam. Every once in a while they suddenly changed it to a different color to control civilian hoarding and other exchange rate scams by the civilian population and foreign businesses operating in the country.
      Today that wouldn’t work due to all the currency transperency and banking tracking. Hell, ALL ATMs now even have cameras and are getting set up with facial recognition.

  • SWAP MEETS AND BARTERING HAVE ALREADY BEEN OUTLAWED BY YOUR HERO”S IN THE US GOVERNMENT,very soon the HERO’S OF AMERICA WILL BE COMING TO SAVE YOU FROM YOUR SELF ,by killing everyone at the swap meets.and really its less then you deserve, but americans love to learn things the hard way,and NOTHING says that better then lots of dead children,YOUR HERO’S love to kill children,ITS what devils do..but right now you aren’t listening to GOD,so you have a lot of suffering to do,enjoy your last days on this earth..

    • Funny, the next county over just had it annual swap meet, one of the biggest in the state.

      Who are these HERO’s you speak of?

      And are there Army bio-lab grown attack dogs engineered to hunt children?

      I listen to God every day, when I am out walking the dogs in the fields or moving the livestock. If someone is not listen to God, it is not me.

      • “I listen to God every day”

        my experience has been that if you start listening for voices, you start hearing them.

    • Sounds like someone needs a whole lot of Jesus and some better education about what is actually going on in America. Yes there are dangerous, deadly people in power. But they didn’t get there because of the people at the swap meets or the type who frequent this website.
      Still legal to swap and barter in my state.

    • Arizona, I’m curious. Do you have a job? Neighbors? Folks you go to church with? Do you regularly interact with others?

      If so, is this how you converse with them? I’m genuinely wondering if this is just your internet persona or if you just randomly inform people they’re headed for eternal damnation.

      I don’t mean this disrespectfully. I really want to know if maybe you are just the dude behind me in line at Starbucks or at the desk of my local DMV.

  • The way I see it, when the economy starts going downhill and there is a black market on common stuff, it’s going to look a lot more like the informal economy than like the black market now, because when everybody is doing it, it’s going to take off some of the nasty edges. But certainly, now is a good time to practice bargaining in the informal economy, because that skill is sure going to come handy for any future black markets.

  • Back in the 70’s, I lived in Italy for several years. There has always been, and probably will be, an extensive black market in Italy. Anything from smokes and fuel to more expensive/personal items. The new regime decided they wanted to stop the black market runners, so, they started an extensive assault on the runners. They used every means available to make it difficult for the runners to operate. Finally, the black market runners decided they’d had enough and stopped almost all of their activities. Within three months Italy’s economy started to crash. Needless to say, the authorities decided it was best to leave the runners alone. And the economy came back to normal.
    Can this happen in the U.S.? I guess it depends on how far we crash.

  • I would guess that yard sales are black market. I drive down the street and see people set up in parking lots, often foreign people, and I think ‘this is the economy of the future’. Guess we should all have experience in something like this.

  • When you say that the informal economy will be cash-based, does that mean that unless the SHTF big time, having a reserve of cash (e.g., US dollars) will be as important as a cache of items to trade? I always hear have gold and silver at the ready, but how would transactions be conducted using payment in gold nuggets or silver jewelry? As of now, the black market – mostly drug dealers – still take cash. I don’t know what would happen if you showed up to the local corner with a gold coin.

    • @Dave.

      I personally consider having a stash of cash one of the most important “prepping items”. I keep some USD and local currency for emergencies because banks and ATMs go dead in the case of an economic freeze (it happens more often than people think).

      Whether a man-made or natural disaster, of any kind, cash is the first thing people run to. Sometimes even before water or food, depending on the nature and severity of the disaster.

      In these moments very few know how to get these or any other essential items, other than going out to buy. That’s what people do all the time so we’re conditioned. So even being a prepper and having some stuff stockpiled for an emergency, we still need cash and money may be necessary for some time.

      As for gold and silver, I also keep some but more as insurance against currency collapse (as in hyperinflation). It doesn’t have much use beyond that, or wealth preservation. Jewelry, silverware, even cheap jewelry (gold and silver plated rings, necklaces, etc.) can be more useful in real life SHTF or semi-collapse scenarios. Also cryptos, if we’re not talking about an EMP or a Mad Max end of the world.

      Stay well.

      • Thanks Fabian! That’s my understanding too.

        I’ve also been thinking about other items that might substitute for money and decided on Viagra. It’s small, easy to identify, not as legally dangerous as a big bottle of oxys, and will always be in demand (especially if testosterone levels continue dropping) [just kidding, but not really]

      • Hey Fabien, sorry to seem to be raining on your prepper parade, but to quote an old social philosopher with reality common sense “It ain’t that people don’t know so much, it’s just that so much of what people ‘know’…just ain’t So!” -Mark Twain.

        Gold is NOT, and never was, a hedge or ‘insurance’ against inflation, or any other type Unlike Fine art or antique violins or collectible firearms, all of which have an additional value of providing some sort of useful or pleasurful means, Gold and Silver were simply an historical universally accepted form of ‘money’. And they were a ‘legal’ currency way back in the day until the physical ‘handling’ of the coins was replaced by paper for ‘convenience’ in an ever growing transactional financial juggernaut.

        Back in cowboy days a 20 dollar gold eagle could last for a months worth of basic necessities with two-bits left over for a one for the road ‘shot of rotgut’ at the local saloon before you left town back to the homestead. To prevent printing fiat money the U. S. Guv backed the paper currency ‘dollars’ with physical gold in secure reserve payable to the bearer of the paper money if so desired.

        Nixon ‘nixed’ that currency stability with removing the gold standard in 71 to open the doors of the big casino of fiat money printing. Other countries followed suit to keep their economies from collapsing when the gold ran out…er, or rather was stolen by corrupted governments. And the rest is fraudulent financial Fiat manipulation at the cost of high inflation and higher debt which is a disaster begging to commence.

        Gold should NOT be a consideration in much except maybe some bling if you are so predisposed.

        As far as even an investment, it is not at all what it’s cracked up to be. My vintage motorcycles and other valuables especially real estate have done better than gold over time. Gold is just another form of ‘commodity’ that usually is a bit slower to react in price fluctuations than others in the markets.

        Point is, forget about gold or silver unless you already have a nice off grid secluded BOL all set up with enough of everything you need and nothing that you don’t where you don’t have to ‘buy’ anything for at least a couple years.

        Otherwise in a bad SHTF situation, you’ll wish you spent your money on ammo instead or at least lipstick to put on your butt when that mob of predators come up to your compound so you can kiss your ass goodbye when they realize you’re out of rounds.

        I ask people so what are you going to buy with your gold that you have in case of emergency inflation or other financial downfalls?
        “Well we are going to buy what we need, you dumb ass,”
        “Why don’t you just buy what need now, instead of wasting your time with gold? Then you’ll have everything you need already? And you won’t have to risk the fact that the G might make gold illegal like they did in the past so it wouldn’t even be ‘worth its weight’ anymore and you sure wouldn’t be able to buy the last jar of crunchy peanut butter in your area with all the gold you had on you then, would you?

        And in about two years if the current ruling powers are not replaced they will ultimately achieve their Tyrannical mission of disarming the populate to further their ultimate totalitarian agenda.

        They will do this by banning Cash and replacing it with a form of government ‘bit coin’ similar to current Bit Coin block chain technology. www,

        Of course they’ll wave their magic government wand just like they did the other day in Illinois to ban all so-called assault weapons and Hi-cap magazines, only this time a G-coin system controls–like it does in the CCP or NK– knows and controls every single thing you buy. And can restrict all purchases of firearms and accessories and ammo, from your digital account thereby effectively disarming the entire country with a few keystrokes on the government’s A.I. computers.

        Again, I apologize for not offending everybody so please be patient and I’ll get to you as soon as I can.

        But as an Epistemologist, it’s just that sometimes those who think they know everything irritates those of us who do.

  • One horrifically disgusting likelihood not discussed here yet is the globalist rush to force nations to replace all cash with CBDC (central bank issued digital cash) money. Some 90% of central banks around the world are working towards this. It means in the US any sense of privacy guarantee from the US Constitution’s 4th Amendment will be utterly dead and gone. It means that governments and central banks can dictate what you are allowed to buy or sell. It means that local governments that collect property taxes and federal governments that collect income taxes will insist on receiving digital money from you — or you will lose your property and possible go to prison.

    Another doomed example would be Social Security money recipients. No implant? No digital monthly “check”.

    Yes, you might be able to do some black market transactions via precious metals pieces, or perhaps a UK-based charge card backed by gold bullion in a Swiss vault (until Mastercard knuckles under to US government prohibitions), but no utility company will be allowed to accept anything other than digital money from you to keep your household powered up. And most people are not willing, able, or knowledgeable enough to live without electricity like the Amish — many of whom survive by doing business with outsiders who do rely on electric power.

    A few people will learn how to do business on the side/sly? using non-government issued crypto currencies if they learn how to rely on non-custodial “wallet” technology to maintain secrecy from government tyrants. Already communist China has flat-out prohibited all competing crypto currencies that the central government didn’t issue or control — so their government-issued crypto will have a central government created absolute monopoly. And China has a “social credit system” to punish or reward people for their behavior. Sadly last Spring in the US, Dementia Biden issued Executive Order #14067 to kick off the process that will eventually lead to US dollars to be made worthless and replaced by digital money that will require an electronic implant into everyone to make use (and iron-fisted government control) of that digital money possible.

    Perhaps we should not be surprised that Biden is investigating the use of a China-like social credit punishment and rewards system of tyranny here.

    There are thousands of years of money history where governments were always unable to resist stealing purchasing power from their populations by either debasing physical money (as the ancient Romans did) or counterfeiting any fiat money they issued (which sadly the US government has been doing since 1913), What was originally a death penalty offense (such as in the 1792 US Coinage Act) when committed by individuals becomes an institutionally protected behavior of routine when central banks are shielded by governments from being punished by the death penalty. That should tell you how motivated central government thieves are to outlaw and punish any black market transactions those governments can not extort a piece of. Recent news in the US says that 40% of all US money in existence today has been created out of nothing just in the couple of years. That should tell you how live and hungry today’s government tyrant thieves are — as ever.


  • Well intentioned and written information article but virtually useless advice during a very serious societal meltdown in the United States. Generally there are degrees of ‘breakdown’ that we can observe and study throughout history for specific factual dynamics like the relatively peaceful ‘Great Depression’ of 1929 where people worked together to survive, to the devastating war-torn areas like Africa, Viet Nam, Ukraine and more economic variants like in the third world countries like Ethiopia, and some South American countries. And any combination thereof depending upon other influential circumstances related to world government relationships, which helps determine whether or not outside or international help will arrive and how long it will take to recover. And, of course, this is also directly dependent upon how serious and overwhelming the event becomes, and whether or not the direct availability of resources and commodity items to barter for even exist anymore in the first place for an extended period. Look at Haiti and more recently Puerto Rico.

    In today’s high mobility and logistic world supply model, many serious local disasters can be ‘handled’ by aid from neighboring participating governments. The Ukraine war is a direct example of this. If victims of the disaster can find shelter and hold out for a few days they usually will be rescued and will survive.

    The problem paradigm completely changes during an all out world shut down like a nuclear war, a catestrophic natural event, an unstoppable plague, and a complete breakdown and collapse of the economy. Or all or any combination of these.

    On the level of the worst case scenario, you won’t be bartering or trading much, if at all, anyway.

    Every breath you take will be used just to survive and stay alive from minute to minute and keep yourself sheltered, hydrated, and nourished to the best of your ability. Think: No electricity, no communications, no basic necessity commerce and supply chain. When I used to teach surival courses, we usually met at one of the student’s homes. They expected me to start ‘lecturing’ and demonstrating how to light a fire or some bullshit like that. Instead I went to their main circuit breaker and shut down all the electricity . Then I took their car keys and said your vehicles don’t work or are out of gas.
    Then I went around back and lit off pack of those small firecrackers, and came back and said, “sounds like looters and violent scavengers’ tearing up the neighborhood! Anybody know what to do next?” A couple of them actually reached for their cell phones from sheer habit which I took from them at the start of the exercise.

    I took pictures of them running around the house and staring at each other with that blank and confused look like Deers in the headlights.

    And no idea of when ‘help’ is coming…or if it is ever coming at all?

    Here are the most important primary specifics to consider:

    1. In a major modern societal breakdown and complete collapse, there will not be bartering initially. There will be violent, insane scavenging. I’ve seen it first hand in a couple of the worst places in the world and when even the best of us get life or death desperate, it is no longer a representation of civilization as we thought we knew it. It will be as if the gates of Hell opened in one mad escape.

    2. Always expect and be ready for the worst. If that becomes ‘survivable’ and the constant quest of resources normalizes into so-called black market trading, after everybody runs out of ammo and calms down, how are you going to trade if you don’t HAVE anything to barter with?

    3. And, if you do prepare and have a very well-stocked reserve that runs at least into months, then you really don’t have to expose yourself too much to rely on the down-side of desperate people integrations.

    Last point take away:

    SELF-RELIANCE AND CAREFUL PREP is all that you really need to know, and DO! Then you won’t need to concern yourself too much with ‘black market bartering’. Because when the real deal super ugly SHTF scenario begins, you’ll have far more critical things to think about than trading your supply of Jack Daniels for cigarettes or bags of “Death Wish” Coffee.

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