(continued from Urban Survival Techniques - Avoiding Trouble)
Editor's Note: This urban survival technique from GT is about how it will be necessary for you to deal in the black market. The black market is actually the free market. Governments everywhere try to control free markets. That interference leads to the creation of black markets. In good times, black market activity is confined mainly to illegal products and activities such as drugs and sex. When chaos strikes, government will enact controls dealing with everything, which will create shortages of, and restrictions on, even legitimate products and services. This will lead to a massive increase in the black market. You will not be able to get many vital products and services in the legal or so-called white market; you will have to buy and sell in the black market.
Here's what GT has to say about the black market -- the free market:
The most important and the the most civilizing activity in a society is trade. Free and open trade has brought untold benefits to everybody at large. Unfortunately, governments like to interfere with free trade and so you get black markets. When the dollar finally collapses because it is worthless fiat, you are going to see an explosive boom in black markets. It is the only way you will be able to accomplish urban survival.
You may not want to participate in the Black Market. You will have no choice. Right now (~2000) Argentinian citizens are only able to survive and get the food and other stuff they need by shopping in the black market. The banks are closed. A lot of people cannot get the money they deposited to pay their bills. They barter because things are so uncertain. There is a risk markup, the sort of markup associated with black markets.
You may have already shopped in the black market. If you have ever bought illegal drugs or sex, you've shopped in the black market. Those markets are extremely violent but there is an unwritten rule. You can kill your competitor or other dealers, but the customer must be protected from the violence. I judge this from my own observations. In the business district, every day at lunch, I see yuppie businessmen buying drugs. These people want drugs and are willing to pay big bucks. They do not want the violence that comes with the drug trade. They are so wimpy they could not mentally deal with the violence. The violence is handled far away from the customer view. So no violence. What happens is you have a very quick sale -- so fast if you're not looking for it, you'll miss it. Someone drive up to somebody standing on a street corner and in less than 30 seconds, a trade has been made. Drugs for cash. This is one of the urban survival techniques that will expand in all products and services when the monetary and credit collapse creates chaos.
The black market will probably be more civil and polite than you probably imagine. Yes, the potential for violence, for being ripped off and worse is there, but I don't think it will necessarily be a major factor.
What will the black market consist of? Mostly people will be buying food, medicines, and other necessities. They will spring up automatically. Let's say the local supermarket has been cleaned out. The parking lot of that store will still be a place where people will meet and barter. The people of the neighborhood are used to going there to shop, so naturally it will turn into an open air market.
As it gets harder to buy things you need legally and openly, the black market will increase. In Italy, the black market has gotten so big, it probably would turn out to be 1/3 of the economy if you could count it accurately. Things you would expect to be handled in the white market, such as light manufacturing, gets done by hundreds of thousands of individuals working out of their garages. If you have a real good workshop, you can match the quality of any mass produced product and achieve quite an output. An example: The black market research division of the drug trade can match the best research labs in the world. The latest product is "roofies" ("rufies", Rohypnol), also known as the "date rape" drug. No legitimate drug company would want to make such a product. They have enough problems with product liability. But, you can buy it on the street easily enough.
Roofies was probably a byproduct from trying to create cheaper and more effective drugs so you could get high. The research goes on in other areas, mainly to develop a version of cocaine that can be grown in the United States. It would bring in a whole new generation of drug abusers just as crack did. The advantage of crack for the user is that it is cheap, as forms of cocaine go. There is probably research going on by the drug trade as how they can use gold and silver. This happened a while back: I was watching a cop shake down a drug dealer. The cop took his cash, jewelry, almost everything. He didn't take a gold coin, a Krugerrand, that the dealer had. The cop didn't recognize it as gold and the dealer did some fast talking. He said it was nothing more than a cheap copper good luck charm. Since most people have not had the chance to see gold in coinage form since 1933, there is a high possibility they will think of it as copper instead of gold. Anyway, the cop, to show he wasn't all bad, let the dealer keep his "Good luck" charm. Don't think that dealer didn't tell his friends about it. That means the drug trade has considered gold as a way to safeguard their money since no one recognizes it. Of course things may have changed and if you tried that today, the cops would probably take that coin along with everything else.
So what makes me think that sooner or later you will be involved in the black market? After all, most gold bugs have the wisdom to prepare far in the future buy not only buying precious metals but food and the things they need. There is also going to be the reluctance to break the law.
As I said in the beginning, trade is extremely important to your well-being. No matter how much you have prepared, you cannot have thought of everything you need and so you will have to trade for it. I can see you entering the black market in one of two ways. Either a medical need or to help your neighbors. A medical need does not have to be an emergency. You might think you should add to your survival disaster kit or to your survival first aid kit. You could need something as simple as just a bottle of aspirin. It is the simple things like that you tend to forget, that you forgot to put on your preparedness checklist, but if you need it, you really need it. If the stores are closed due to looting, how do you find it? It will be out there somewhere on the black market.
The next example that could get you into the black market is you want to help your neighbor. You have prepared but they haven't. What is the best way to help them? From long experience, I learned it is best not to just give away things if you want to help somebody. You may have intended the help to be one time only. If you just give away stuff, the neighbor may expect to to helped whenever he needs it and things could get ugly. In the situation I envision, by trying to help your neighbor by giving away your stuff, you end up in front of the local commissar to explain why you not really a hoarder.
Trading with each other instead of giving charity will be better for the both of you. By trading, both of you will have to trust each other instead of it being a one-sided relationship where betrayal lurks. Neither you or your neighbor may have much to trade. The one thing you can trade however is mutual protection. You protect me from the looters, including the government, and I will protect you. It is a start. A start that build trust. The trust will be important because both of your lives, and the lives of your families, may depend on that trust. What better way to start trusting than by agreeing to protect each other?
When the economy collapses, it will take time for the black market to start up. That will be a very dangerous period. Since you have not had time to build up trust, how do you keep yourself safe? First, if you can -- wait. Wait and watch to see how the black market develops. Like all markets, it will have ways of knowing who can trust and who you can't. You will see in the beginning some people ripping other off. These people don't realize that dealing in the black market is going to be a long-term relationship. For the rip-off artist they get a very short term advantage. Sooner or later, their greed will get them killed. Or no one will deal with them and they go hungry. You don't want to be hungry in that situation. As in Africa, if you're hungry, and if there is a famine, that means death!
Since both your life and the lives of the ones you will be dealing with are on the line, your word must become an absolute bond. Most people, and I am guilty of this too, make promises but fail to keep them. These are simple things like promising to call a friend or business relationship the next day. Or being on time for an appointment. I am becoming aware of doing this and so try not to do it. If you are in a situation where your life depends on your word, not keeping small promises is a very self defeating. It is very easy to promise these small thing. If you break the promise it is a very noticeable lapse of trust. Your life depends on who trusts you, so unknowingly, you could have thrown your life away. It gives others a very good excuse not to deal with you.
Another question: How do you know who to deal with? Before entering any deal, ask yourself: "Will I regret this?" If I have any doubt I try not to enter the deal. Another deal, another bargain, will always come along later. However, the regret you feel for making the wrong deal can last a lifetime. This is good advice not only when things are crashing around you but worth following today.
Last question: What if I get ripped off? In the black market, you do not have the options of getting refunds or having the seller make good in some way. For example, if you buy a bag of dope and it turns out to be talcum power, you been ripped off. The best thing you can do is take it as a learning experience and not deal with the seller again. Otherwise, if you seek recourse or revenge you open a can of worms. You will very likely encounter the violence of the drug trade. It is not worth your life to correct things.
I can't foresee the future so my version of what it will be like to deal in the coming black markets may be accurate or may be wildly off. I just hope I gave you something to thing about.
The "Golden Trumpet"
(continue to Urban Survival Techniques - Riots Can Be a Riot!)
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