There is a major difference between the great depression and today. When the depression of the late 1920’s began, the average person was already relatively self sufficient. Our society operated in small neighborhood groups with various merchants supplying each other in “community”. People knew each other and dealt with each other. When economic crisis arose, community still existed. There were still local merchants and local skills, all hurting but all attempting to move ahead … community faced the challenge.
Today, we are woefully unprepared for such a collapse. Each individual is dependent not on each other but on the master machine. There is no local grocer, just a massive chain, there are no local merchants, just huge conglomerates… all of these will be empty without employees as the first sign of trouble. Secondly we are absolutely dependent today on infrastructure. A massive economic shutdown could quickly bring down our beloved “internet” and communications systems, followed by the shutdown of the power grids themselves leaving us in literally in the dark. Virtually no one is prepared for this eventuality, even for the very short term. In the 1920’s society could go on by neighbors moving about the streets that they knew, at least one could walk to the bread line. Today, most are separated by vast distance from any relief, if any were to be found. Without gasoline or electricity or communication fear will set in at an alarming pace, desperation will lead to anarchy and violence will pervade any attempt at recovery should such be forthcoming at all.
As to preparation, one must be ready to do two things … share and survive. If you already exist on a large, self-sufficient area then you must be prepared to defend it and to share it. Defending is to maintain control from those who would displace you, not to protect “what is mine”. Sharing is to realize that “what is mine” no longer exists, if we reach this level, it is that thinking that got us there. Sharing is the realization that only community can survive, to become isolationist will simply allow the paranoia and eventual insanity to set in that much faster.
One must be prepared to assume simple tasks such as gathering food, fishing, hunting, having a way to produce clean, potable water. This could be much more difficult than one may consider. Most landowners drawing from a deep well do not maintain on property the means to convert that well to manual pump, and the hardware store down the road may not be of much help. Urban dwellers may find their normal municipal water supply dry and surface water contaminated, and that stock of bottled water running out very, very fast.
We view the eventuality of our existence every time a major hurricane hits an area. Not what happens a week later when help arrives, but during that first 48 hours before outside help arrives. There are those that are prepared for that few days but far more who are simply in panic and desperation within hours. Now extend that circumstance to where outside help is not coming at all, because all are in the same boat. As those hours drag to days and weeks the situation will deteriorate rapidly. Such a scenario could be triggered by an economic meltdown severing the infrastructure, or by a properly executed attack severing the infrastructure triggering an economic meltdown. The balance is fragile.
There are those who think that with enough “firepower”, they are “safe”- that their world will continue as normal, but they are wrong. Should a trigger begin the collapse, the house of cards will most likely collapse completely with no “normal” left to continue… rather a new way of life will emerge.
Preparation is attitude. The question becomes… should that time come… where do you want to be in the new order. There will be leaders and there will be followers. The very fact that you have thought about it in advance should answer the question for you.