In a Survival Environment…What is Wealth?

One of the characteristics of a survival, or distressed, environment is the de-evolution of society. Depending upon the severity of the event, primitive conditions can take hold very quickly, and very large groups of people may find themselves interacting with one another on bases not seen for over 100+ plus years in the United States, and this includes within the realm of commerce; there was a time when transactions that involved trading one good or service for another was considered standard, and in a survival environment, that way of doing business will most certainly make a comeback.

Think about the paper money used throughout the world today. How many people have ever stopped and really wondered about the true value of, say, a U.S. $1 bill? Since the beginning of the current global economic crisis, the Federal Reserve has created over $3 trillion of money…but what, really is that money? Honestly, it’s just printed paper. It has value essentially because we are told it does…but does it really? Does it have intrinsic value?

Intrinsic value is value that exists in and of something. Gold has intrinsic value. Real property that you own (and I mean own outright) has intrinsic value. Even your time and professional expertise has intrinsic value, which is why it is something that could be used in bartering before paper money existed. That is, it is not represented value. Does a personal check you write have intrinsic value? No…it is merely a piece of paper that is supposed to represent value, and paper currency suffers from the same problem.

Speaking of that, what about the money you own? In what configuration does it exist? In dollars? If you have $50,000 in the bank, you can take that money and buy $50,000 worth of something, but if that something is an obvious tangible, like a nice automobile that has been built and fabricated from a variety of materials and on the basis of many hours of workmanship and skill, how good of a deal is that for the entity selling you the car? Well, as long as all of society believes that the $50,000, as represented by pieces of paper, truly translates to an equivalent worth in goods and services, then both sides are all set.

That said…what happens if we all collectively come to the conclusion that paper money is really just paper?

In a true survival environment, only those things you own that have intrinsic value will represent real money: precious metals, other natural resources, real property, your other possessions, and your abilities as a worker in some form or fashion. Think about that now as you consider which resources to accumulate, before real trouble strikes. Putting all of your full faith and credit into those legal tenders backed by the full faith and credit of a modern day government could prove to be a horrible mistake.    

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