Newbie question about money : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I'm probably asking questions that have been asked and answered a dozen times. Here goes. It seems to me that if the situation goes downhill to the point of the collapse of governments and society as we know it, wouldn't paper money be worthless as well as most coins and even in the short term, gold?

As for my personal plans, I am probably interested in preparing for a short run of cash, a delay in getting paid and probably protracted haggling over the value of retirement accounts, 401Ks and IRAs that I have no ability to liquidate. I have rolled all non-liquid accounts into government securities to alleviate concerns about a stock market crash or devaluation but since there is no possibility of getting any cash from them, (except the IRA but with significant penalties and interest deductions), these accounts are out of the picture. We are pre-paying our mortgage by 6 months and are planning to live on cash for 3 to 4 months, then to live on our reserves of stocked up items till we can get out and grow/collect food and fish/hunt.

I am thinking that commodities such as alcohol, sugar, food, fuel, weapons, ammo, medical supplies and other useful products will have ultimate barter value in a total meltdown situation as well as useful creational, skills such as gardening, sewing, building etc. It seems pointless in the long term to think of cash as useful. If the government fails, who will be interested in "legal tender" or cash? I am thinking of the failure of the conferate money as an example. At first it was accepted widely in the confederacy and even some outside entities accepted the money, then wide spread distrust (based in reality) in the ability of the confederacy to back their tender caused incredible inflation and ultimately, as some have said here, it was burned in fireplaces, was kept as a curiosity or lined bird cages as it was totally useless.

In a partial meltdown situation such as I am planning for, it is essential to have a good supply of food and other barter/survival items on hand, at least enough to last the winter and into food growing/procurement season, a moderate amount of cash and keep good paper financial records for future haggling. Have I forgotten anything? What do you think?

-- Clueless newbie (, February 14, 1999


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From the web page request "New Account Request (PD F 5182"

I've seen some interesting arguments about borrowing from your retirement accounts for short term purposes and using the proceeds for cash or gold with the intent in paying it back pronto if its a bump in the road, but I really don't know much about the ins and outs of borrowing from a IRA or other retirement plan. Anyone else?

-- Puddintame (, February 14, 1999.

Consider legal addictions like tea and freeze dried and vacuum packed instant coffee in jars. They come from afar and last for years. Other folks may offer you an abundance of food for these items.

-- Finding (, February 14, 1999.

I consider using weapons, ammo and alcohol as barter material as an invitation to trouble. Alcohol could lead to trouble by causing your customers to get drunk and do stupid things. Weapons and ammo might be used against you at a later time. And Heaven help you if there's a combination of weapons, ammo and alcohol involved in some unforeseen event.

As was mentioned earlier, coffee, instant coffee to be precise would probably make an excellent trade good. Bulk quantities of basic spices (pepper, paprika, cinnamon and such) would be prime candidates for barter. Spices have been a basis for trade for centuries.

Sugar would be a good trade item along with salt. Salt is a very valuable commodity from the past, just ask any student of Roman history. Their armies were paid in salt, hence the old saying "worth his salt". Even in America's past, battles were fought over control of salt mines.

For bartering purposes, I mean fifty pound bags of rock salt and not containers of table salt. With the end of winter coming, bags of rock salt will be going on sale and it'll be time to stock-up cheaply.


-- Wildweasel (, February 14, 1999.

Is rock salt usable for the table?

-- rick (, February 14, 1999.

"sal" = salt "salarium" = Latin for "money for salt" esp. as part of a Roman soldier's pay.

Thus, salary.

By the way, I don't know if the same supply/demand dynamic is in play that would make salt a valuable commodity. (It might be, I just don't know.)

Don't put all your spices in one shaker.

-- Puddintame (, February 14, 1999.

I want to get laid.

-- Boogie Master (, February 14, 1999.

If the currency and coins which I have withdrawn show indications of becoming worthless, then I'll spend them as fast as possible on durable goods and foods.

-- dinosaur (, February 14, 1999.

Money is interesting. The more you think about it, the less certain anything about it becomes.

I don't believe that we'll see a road-warrior collapse, but just suppose ... that means the infrastructure to print modern currency bills would be gone effectively forever. So, the existing bills are in fact the alchemist's stone of hard currency! Irreplacable, and in fact gradually dwindling with the ravages of time. Worthless?

Maybe ... and maybe not.

In the early days of currency, there was a civilisation that used cowrie shells as currency, things you could pick up off a beach in bucketfulls. How did it work? Simple: the place they were used as currency was hundreds of miles from the sea, and to go get your own supply of shells meant a large outlay in materials, a considerable risk to your life while travelling in hostile lands, and of course a horrible fate back home if anyone ever found out how you got your shells.

Later, Gold and Silver filled the role better (though still imperfectly); scarcity of these was guaranteeed by nature rather than man. The debate between believers in gold and in shells (read paper) has been going on ever since and will not be resolved any time soon.

Worthless paper currency is a function of someone printing far too much of it, which requires a functioning infrastructure and a more- than-usually dysfunctional government (or of course a military conquest by a power that decides to dishonour the conquered currency in favour of its own)

-- Nigel Arnot (, February 15, 1999.

Good post, Nigel.

-- Puddintame (, February 15, 1999.

Hi "Nube" ... Forget the above ... You can't EAT gold , silver or dirty greenbacks. As 98% of ALL seeds in US are HYBRID and won't grow worth a darn (from first crop seeds saved), put your money in NON hybrid seeds and you'll not only assure your survival , but hundreds of others who will only be too happy to trade 5 to ten times their weight in gold for those precious seeds when their food stores run out. Gardening tools will be another high priority sale item you should stock. P.S. Don't forget an ACCURATE Scale to weight that gold on ; right ?? Eagle

-- Harold Walker (, February 17, 1999.

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