Why Am I Fighting for the Gold Standard?

Life is good. They could not have imagined what we have now, back in the dark ages.

So I have never understood why people prep for a return to the dark ages. The only thing I can think of is that they don’t really picture what life is like. 14 hours a day of back-breaking labor to eke out a subsistence living. Subject to the risks of rain, sun, and insects.

Prepping makes no sense to me. I don’t know if I would choose to be alive after collapse. That is, even assuming I would survive the events immediately after—I expect more than 90% to die when energy and food production come to a halt.

I am fighting to preserve our civilization, and the life I love. We have so many things that we take for granted, including the Internet, medicine, cars and airplanes, music, and food from all over the world. We think nothing of putting formerly-exotic spices on food, and eating under electric lighting, while playing recorded music and watching the football game on a TV in the other room. Central heating keeps the cold at bay, or if you live in Arizona, central air conditioning banishes the heat.

Video cameras allow anyone to record themselves speaking their mind, and anyone in the world can watch.

It is for this, that I fight. Gold is just the means, honest money that will reverse the perverse incentives that are causing us to undermine our civilization by consuming its capital.

I recorded my thoughts.

12 replies
  1. Silly String says:

    What makes you believe that we will not have some form of functioning society that will maintain energy production and transport of goods on some minimal levels during a financial reset? A Dark Age existence is possible but IMO only in a situation where our electrical grid is entirely destroyed via nuclear holocaust, EMP or other incredibly destructive disaster. Losing our capital is not losing our accumulated knowledge, technology and natural resources.

    • Keith Weiner says:

      I think it because we have perversely made it *profitable* to consume capital including capital used for food and energy production.

      In other words, this is not just a paper event.

      • Brian says:

        Agreeing with Mr. String here and would add that Venezuela continues to pump a lot of oil and even export some. Returning to pre-fossil fuel, pre-industrial existence seems unlikely to me. Europe in the Dark Ages didn’t revert to pre-agriculture, hunter-gatherer subsistence. A lot of knowledge and technology was carried forward. It was maybe more a long period of stagnation and decentralization, versus purely a regression in all areas.

        • JustinC says:

          True Brian. There were even technological advances in the early Middle Ages that made farm yields even more productive in Northern Europe than they had been in the Roman era.

          The idea of people working 14 hour days for mere subsistence in the early Middle Ages is just pure myth as well.

          Similarly, those that survived childhood actually had reasonably high life expectancies during normal times.

          But it’s much more likely that a worst case kind of mad max collapse would set humanity back to the 18th, 19th or early 20th century–and only in the areas most directly effected.

          Economic collapse in an area does not necessarily mean that all discoveries become undiscovered.

  2. Fernando says:

    After 10 Yrs of being a prepper I realized exactly your thoughts. Either as a society we all come together or we all die together.
    At least you are trying to get to bridge of the Titanic to steer it away from the doom glacier.
    My greatest regards for you Keith, I hope you succeed.

  3. pchapuis says:

    Karl Marx talked at length about the overproduction of capital. Where in the end he predicted the enormous concentration and centralization of capital in the hands of a few would ultimately bring the system down. This was 200 years ago. I’m not going to get into details of how he came to this conclusion. (I’m not a communist, only a student of history). What does come to mind is the “hoarding” which you speak of. The hoards of gold they found, could they be the equivalent of hoards of cash, stocks and bonds that we now find with the upper echelon of society? Maybe you’re right if we had sound money the super rich would be more inclined to invest in infrastructure, schools, medicine, hospitals etc..How do you reverse the greed at the top of the pyramid? How do you give hope to the masses struggling week to week for a paycheck? Sound money, I don’t have any better ideas, you can count me in. Lets get the gold bonds passed in Nevada.

  4. JustinC says:

    Keith, I applaud your interest in seeking to prevent calamity rather than weather it.

    Still, I must say that the disaster scenario you paint seems a bit far fetched, and that some of the beliefs you put forward about life in the Middle Ages are quite historically inaccurate, and perhaps a bit irrelevant to the case at hand as well.

    For instance, the life expectancy of 35 for the early Middle Ages is misleading as it includes child mortality. For those that survived childhood, life expectancy was fairly high. For those who made it to 20 or 30, it was higher still. (Not to mention for those who made it to 50 or 60.)

    I’m also not aware of any contemporary scholars of the era who believe that people actually worked 14 hour days 6 days per week on substitence. Where those numbers come from I have no idea. That’s just very far from a realistic view of the era.

    Even with those considerations in place, and many more that warrant mentioning, it’s a bit irrelevant because so many of the most essential modern inventions and discoveries are not going to be uninvented or undiscovered in the unlikely case of a total societal collapse.

    Further, such a collapse would be unlikely to be either global or instantaneous. (That isn’t how collapses have occurred throughout history at least. Rome decayed and was depopulated over a longer period than the US has even been a nation, and many of its best and brightest simply went elsewhere long before it was a shell of its former self.)

    Even in a far-out mad max scenario (which seems a bit unlikely), modern people would be much more likely to return to an 18th or 19th or even early 20th century standard of living than a 10th century one. So many modern amenities can be made with basic tools and a little knowledge.

    In any event, a more likely scenario is that wealth and prosperity simply flow to the parts of the world where people are building, instead of consuming, their capital.

    That said, you’re right to want to avoid any backward progression for humanity, even in a matter of years or decades in certain regards. I’d only suggest that this dip into fearmongering weakens the credibility of your otherwise excellent case.

    Thanks for considering the perspective and keep up the good work.

  5. Brian Dash says:

    What I find interesting is the parallel between marginal productivity of debt (mpod) and energy return on energy invested (eroei).

    Eroei has been falling, just as mpod has, in the modern era. As eroei falls, it becomes less “profitable” (in terms of energy inputs) to extract/produce usable energy. Eventually, many energy sources require more energy to extract a fuel than the fuel itself provides.

    A scenario based on the reduction of eroei would be one that plausibly would take us back to a pre-coal or early coal-based economy. Maybe not dark ages, but close enough, when compared to the lifestyles we are able to live today.

  6. Theosebes says:

    I’d like to share a couple of observations. They fall in line with the historical truth that nothing is ever as good or as bad as the future appears to be. It’s always something “in between”. The next reality is that should there be a colossal collapse, the time frame for it is much shorter that most people would think. I always get ticked off at all the “post-apocalypse” movies that show life years after “the event”. Nothing has gotten fixed, and people mope about in despair. That simply does not happen. It is the very nature of humans to build, especially after disasters.

    Whether it is plague, climactic or civil unrest, it is usually over in about six weeks. Why six weeks you may ask? Because that is the event horizon for people to starve so much they are no longer able to function. So give or take two weeks, whatever befalls us is pretty much over. After that, as sure as inflation follows deflation, the survivors begin to rebuild.

    As far as “prepping” goes, I feel that the concept has been given a bad rap, and I’m certain it is not all by mistake. Modern television ridicules it, and there are those who use it as an income vehicle. None of them ask the real questions, such as whether you’d actually shoot someone at your door just because they are hungry. Americans are about the most compassionate lot I have ever seen. It didn’t happen in the Depression, it isn’t going to happen with any regularity if/when things “collapse”.

    True “prepping” is a mind set. The Amish, the Mormons, the Mennonites live, walk and breathe it, just as do many in the self-reliant community. It’s more about living in harmony with your environment than it is about hoarding up in a bunker. If you are pal-ing around with the bunker types, distance yourself from them as much as possible. Them folks is plumb crazy.

    That said, have water, food and defensive weapons. Have real money. Be debt free. Know how to do something, or several somethings, that generate real wealth. Know how to fix small engines, work on electronics, quilt, or sew, how to cook raw foods, and can, or salt. Know how to pickle. People with real life skills will always be welcome additions to any community. Doctors, dentists, nurses, respiratory therapists, nurse practitioners will always fit in. Here is my sole admonition to anyone thinking of prepping. Start yesterday. It’s not a hobby, it’s a lifestyle.

    All that said, Kieth is right, (as usual). Let’s not even get to the point where all that prepping needs to be put in play. Some of it will always make sense. “Being prepared” was good for the Boy Scouts, it’s good enough for us all. But in the matters of avoidable calamities, let’s be proactive about not going there in the first place.

    No one on the planet who follows the macro-economic news needs to be told that the currencies of the world, including but not limited to the yuan, the Dollar, the Loonie, the Kiwi, the Aussie buck, the euro and all of the others are in this insane race to devalue so as to make their products cheaper abroad. Likewise we do not need to fret too long on the fact that you cannot quadruple the amount of debt via fiat in 10 years and there not be repercussions that may approach the cataclysmic.

    But that’s a far cry from throwing your hands up in the air, rending your sack cloths, gnash your teeth and wail, moaning as you weep heartfelt bitter tears in despair. Not everybody has to suffer equal effect of any such disaster, especially those who are proactive now about creating alternatives to the foreseeable catastrophe.

    At the heart of this salvation lies having a sound currency. The federal government is, by the friendliest definition possible, insane. So it is incumbent on We, The People to effect our own salvation at the state level. Kieth has been working at that with several states. The question I posit for you is, what are you doing about it in your state? Do something. It’s not too late, as there aren’t enough deck chairs, and the mother of all iceberg looms just below the waters. I would suggest sending Keith an email asking him how you can help in your state. Oh, and ah… hurry every chance. Doomsday waits for no man.

    Theo Goodfellow

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