Why Personal Resilience and Self-Reliance Are Essential For A Free Life

Think about all the various things most people depend on as they go about their days… they get up in the morning, flip the switch, and the lights come on. One turn of the faucet and the water starts running. They open the refrigerator to a cornucopia of food and beverages…

They get in their cars and make an uneventful drive to work down the highway, perhaps making a stop at the local store, whose shelves are filled to capacity. At the cash register, the money changes hands without thought of its value, and everyone goes on about his/her day without considering the complex systems that make it all possible.

Just in the normal, mundane course of life, we all depend on these systems– the money system that is run by central bankers, the highway system that is run by bureaucrats, the day-to-day system of jobs and commercial activity that is so heavily influenced by politicians.

Even more, consider the electrical grid, or the logistical network that transports our food and fuel, or the water treatment facilities, or the availability of maintenance support to fix homes and vehicles…

Are any of these systems truly fail-safe? Can we guarantee, without doubt, that the next time we flip the light switch in the morning darkness that we’ll suddenly be able to see? Japan recently learned the answer to both of those questions the brutal way.

It’s not something to obsess over, but one should definitely consider the possibility that these existing systems in place– banks, governments, utilities, etc. — are prone to failure, some more so than others.

I have argued repeatedly that our governments, politicians, and central bankers have already failed. They are desperately hoping the same old tactics will prop up a system that is now defunct, when all the while they’re lying to their constituents, claiming that everything is just fine, and that, in the words of the Treasury Department just recently, government officials know what’s best for us and how to make the best choices.

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Argentina – an example of what can happen where you live

Unfortunately, even our private utility infrastructure is prone to failure. Quite often, the likelihood of failure is tied to economic conditions, and I’d like to highlight Argentina as an example.
Once the shining beacon of prosperity in Latin America, Argentina’s years of unsustainable fiscal irresponsibility took a massive toll on the economy. Ten years ago, the government finally capitulated by defaulting on its debt, and the subsequent fallout has been a rough ride for the locals.

The Argentine government’s response might well have been ripped from the pages of Atlas Shrugged: in one instance, they fixed the price of electricity across the country to a level that was attractive to voters, but ultimately unprofitable for the utility companies.

After a few years, two things happened:

1) The electrical infrastructure in Argentina fell into a state of disrepair, as the companies had no profits to reinvest; and,

2) Due to artificially low prices, the system was being overused by residents who gave little thought to conserving electricity as a means to save money.

Naturally, the combination of these two factors led to blackouts and brownouts being a part of normal life in Argentina. Even today, years later, you cannot always assume that the light will come on when you flip the switch.

Argentina is also the sort of place where you cannot simply assume that the gas stations will have fuel that day, or that the grocery stores will have fully stocked shelves. Again, reactionary government policies have reduced the free trade of goods and services, resulting in frequent shortages.

Perhaps most pointedly, though, crime has risen rapidly in Argentina. Brazen armed robbery is unfortunately commonplace in the country, even during broad daylight in the best neighborhoods of Buenos Aires.

Given their poor salaries and the greater economic opportunity that exists in extortion and bribery, the police have become an absolute joke. They routinely fail to serve and protect citizens.

If you think it can’t happen in your home country, think again. Economic decline leads to strain in essential services and systems. People who place their trust in the old systems (systems that used to, but no longer, work) will absolutely see their lives turned upside down.

No matter what your current circumstances, I implore you to realize that the world is changing in dramatic ways: if you want to ensure that you and your loved ones will be safe, protected and even in a position to see their lives and livelihoods flourish, you need to take self-reliance to heart.

I’m an unabashed optimist; I’m not predicting some sort of epic meltdown here. I do, however, think it’s a reasonable assumption that as economic conditions deteriorate in certain countries, the basic systems we take for granted will suffer.

Overall, we shouldn’t dwell on the negative; it stifles our motivation and keeps us from enjoying and making the most out of our lives. But, we should take precautions and hedge our bets.

How to build your resilience

When it comes to surviving catastrophic systems failures, a key element will always be redundancy.

That’s why you need a backup water supply, a backup food supply, and, if possible, a backup place of shelter…and it’s also why you might want to have a backup bank account (preferably abroad, in another currency), a backup landing pad, a backup country of residency and other international elements.

The food system

  • Learn to plant and grow your own food.
  • Rip up your chemically treated lawn and turn it into a vegetable garden.
  • Plant fruit trees.
  • Look into hydroponics and even aquaponics.
  • Consider, if you have a yard and live in a location that doesn’t zone you to death, acquiring a small goat for milk and cheese. Or chickens.
  • Learn permaculture.
  • If you live somewhere urban, make friends with the farmers from your farmers’ markets. Make friends. Don’t just buy their items. Give them a service in return.
  • Buy or grow in bulk and learn to preserve: traditional forms of food preservation include drying, canning (which you can also do with meats or fish, if you use a pressure canner correctly; Eugenia Bone writes a good book on that), preserving, fermenting (as in yogurt, sauerkraut and pickles), and salting. Look at what people have done for centuries, then do that.
  • If you eat meat, find someone who will sell you the whole animal, or half of it. Learn to cook parts other than just the muscle meat and other popular cuts. Get a chest freezer and store the meat there. (Or salt it.)
  • Learn to hunt and fish

The water system

  • Start capturing rainwater in a cistern.
  • Invest in low-flow toilets.
  • Do what it takes to gain access to a well.
  • If necessary, purchase land somewhere where you have water rights and can dig your own well.

The energy system

  • Research what is most effective in your area: wind, solar and geothermal are the most promising alternative energy sources.
  • Then invest in it; make it happen. Now.
  • Do what you can to reduce your own energy consumption; once you’re off the grid, you can sell what you don’t use and invest it back into your own system.
  • The financial system

    • We talk about this all the time on our site, but start by opening a foreign bank account.
    • Invest cash into real estate abroad; it’s an asset your home government can’t take from you.
    • Consider gaining a second passport; it’s the biggest insurance you can give yourself. When things hit the fan, a second passport will give you an escape hatch.
    • If you’re an entrepreneur, consider setting up an entity abroad.
    • Think about establishing a trust; it makes it much harder for someone to seize your assets, whether because of capital controls or because your neighbor decides to sue you when their dog drowns in your swimming pool.
    • Invest in precious metals and store them overseas, far from your home government. Note that you’re not hiding anything: you MUST report this and all other assets. You’re just using a legal method of making it harder for bureaucrats to take from you what’s rightfully yours

    There are other types of systems that can collapse, and other skills and assets you’ll need, but these are a good start. Again, we discuss many of these in our free daily e-letter and in great detail over at our premium service, Sovereign Confidential.

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