I recent­ly heard of a man called Fer­nan­do “Fer­fal” Aguirre from Jack Spirko over at The Sur­vival Pod­cast. Fer­fal is from Argenti­na and has lived through their eco­nom­ic crash from Decem­ber 2001 until today. He wrote a booked about his expe­ri­ence called Sur­viv­ing The Eco­nom­ic Col­lapse. He also has a blog called The Mod­ern Sur­vival­ist.

I bought the book because Fer­fal is one guy who has lived through a sit­u­a­tion that I think will be repeat­ed in the Unit­ed States, soon­er rather than lat­er. Rather than spec­u­late about what it will be like after an eco­nom­ic col­lapse, Fer­fal lived it. I don’t think any oth­er book out there has been writ­ten by a per­son who has expe­ri­enced a real col­lapse. This is my impres­sion of the book.

First of all, when I picked it up, I could not put it down. I read it almost exclu­sive­ly on a Sun­day morn­ing through evening. It was full of real­i­ty based advice regard­ing what you must be pre­pared to face.

Fer­fal starts off describ­ing what hap­pens dur­ing a cur­ren­cy col­lapse. First, you start to see hid­den infla­tion in the prod­ucts you buy each and every day. The quan­ti­ties get small­er and the prices go high­er. We all know this is hap­pen­ing as the cere­al box­es con­tain less and cost more. About 18 months ago, I notice this effect in gener­ic Chee­rios when I bought a new box and placed it next to an old one. The new box was small­er, but undoubt­ed­ly cost the same or more. This is not only anec­do­tal, but sys­temic. It is hap­pen­ing in the US right now.

Sec­ond, the politi­cians will say every­thing is Ok in the bank­ing sys­tem, all the while the insid­ers will be clos­ing their bank accounts and flee­ing the coun­try. In Argenti­na, one day they woke up and the banks were closed and peo­ple could not access their mon­ey. After a few day, they could access some of their mon­ey, but only in small amounts per week. Imag­ine if you will, a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion. You have $50,000 in the bank, but your access is shut off, even if you need it to buy food and pay bills. Stores don’t accept cred­it, deb­it or checks. After the banks closed off access to cash, cash was still king, even in hyper­in­fla­tion. If you had cash, you could still buy stuff. If you did not, you could not. I am not sure that this will hap­pen in the US, but it would not sur­prise me. Per­haps there will be a bank hol­i­day to pre­vent runs, but there will be some sort of inter­rup­tion in access to your mon­ey and even your safe­ty deposit box. Are you pre­pared for that? I’m not, but I will be.

In that moment when the cri­sis hits, vis­i­ble prices go up overnight. Fer­fal tells a sto­ry of going to the equiv­a­lent of a Home Depot and see­ing the clerks run­ning around rapid­ly chang­ing prices to reflect that days high­er, inflat­ed prices. The new stick­ers would be stacked six or sev­en on top of each oth­er from the pre­vi­ous day or from that morn­ing. What did not hap­pen was Weimar Repub­lic hyper­in­fla­tion. Cer­tain­ly, it was 60% over a peri­od of months, but not 6000%.

Also seen dur­ing the col­lapse is an increase in home­less­ness and crime. He saw a grad­ual but steady increase in the quan­ti­ty and den­si­ty of home­less peo­ple, not just sin­gle peo­ple, but whole fam­i­lies. At the same time, crime got steadi­ly worse. Good neigh­bor­hoods and neigh­bors got robbed or their homes invad­ed which was pre­vi­ous­ly unheard of. Those are the signs of the col­lapse.

There were many oth­er themes through­out the book. Fer­fal is a big advo­cate of upgrad­ing your body. If you have the pos­si­bil­i­ty of get­ting Lasik to elim­i­nate the depen­dence upon glass­es or con­tacts, he rec­om­mends it. If there is any nec­es­sary den­tal work, get it done. Same thing with any oth­er med­ical prob­lems. Take care of them before the col­lapse. After the col­lapse, you may not have access to med­ical pro­fes­sion­als, and if you do, it will be extreme­ly expen­sive. This is some­thing that I def­i­nite­ly need to pur­sue (den­tal work).

Of course, every sur­vival­ist rec­om­mends get­ting in good shape. Fer­fal goes sev­er­al steps beyond this by rec­om­mend­ing rig­or­ous self defense readi­ness, from hand-to-hand com­bat to knife fight­ing and espe­cial­ly guns. He goes over­board on self defense because he has seen the crime wave that inevitably fol­lows an eco­nom­ic col­lapse. Home inva­sions, rob­beries, kid­nap­ping, mur­ders, and worse. If you are not pre­pared to defend your­self, then you are prey.

Oth­er great sec­tions of the books are build­ing peo­ple net­works, how to pre­pare finan­cial­ly, reces­sion-proof jobs, why a barter econ­o­my does not work and even the selec­tion of guard dogs. Many are good, some are prob­a­bly bet­ter suit­ed to Argenti­na. He goes heavy into gun selec­tion. I will give you a clue, he is a Glock man, through and through. If you don’t like Glocks, skip that sec­tion.

Over­all, I would say that this book was the best I have read on Mod­ern Sur­vival­ism. It brought real­ism to the sub­ject when oth­er sur­vival­ists want to envi­sion Mad Max or Patri­ots. I can­not rec­om­mend it enough. It has made me want to focus more on secu­ri­ty and finances as well as push my food stores to six months (yeah, yeah, I’ve been say­ing that for the past six months, but I’ve been busy.)

Get the book. Read it. Fig­ure out where you are weak and shore it up. Now.

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