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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 11:58 am 
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I'm wondering about jobs and businesses after an economic collapse. I'm specifically wondering about a U.S. hyperinflation collapse similar to what happened in Argentina. If you've read Ferfal's blog or his book, then you know that civilization doesn't collapse. Life goes on. It's just a lot harder than before.

So what jobs and businesses do you think will do well in this kind of collapse? Why?

Here are my ideas:

Security businesses and professionals: Because crime will soar, and there won't be enough police. People will want to protect whatever they have. Neighborhoods will probably hire security guards to police the area.

Bicycle shops: Because people will sell their extra cars, and use bicycles much more often.

Coin shops: Because everyone will want to buy, sell, and trade gold and silver.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 12:10 pm 
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Prostitute (Of course this applies to countries where said vocation is legal.)

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 12:18 pm 
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A broad field of repairing things. When items are no longer seen as disposable as they are today, people will want to repair them/prolong the life of the item. Shoe repair, car repair, bicycle maintenance, TV's, radios, clothes mending, affordable home repairs, computers. Anything that could be more cheaply repaired than replaced.


Also, I you have the land to do it, growing, raising, and selling foods if you can sell them cheaper than the stores. All sorts of produce, eggs, herbs, etc. I've even heard of landscape companies where business dried up charging customers to set up and maintain garden plots on the customers land.

Depending on the area, one could even set up a system where you pay people a small fee to pick up all of their recyclable materials that can be sold. That's kind of a wild idea, point is if you get creative there are lots of options.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 2:40 pm 
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I had an uncle that lived in Argentina since the 1950's (Died a few years ago). Cattle ranching and a machine shop. He made it through the economic crisis in pretty good shape.

Often times, rather than take cash for his work or beef, he would trade for things he needed for his family/home/business. He would also often pay his employees with food, or help them get their vehicles or homes repaired after house, and allowed them to to personal projects at work.

They went through a few tough years, but the family made it. Luckily he spent his energy figuring out how to survive rather than throwing up his hands and giving up. There's always a way to wheel and deal if you're resourceful and determined.

The ranch and the machine shop are still operating to this day, run by his surviving family outside of Mendoza.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 2:52 pm 
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Given our economy and the basis of nearly all things here in the US, IT is a moderately safe bet.

You really can't do much of a business without Information Technology in one way shape or form. A LOT of the stuff got outsourced, which I suspect will collapse moderately quickly, possibly resulting in many lower\mid level IT jobs coming back home.

Personally, I'm a jack of all trades, master of a couple in IT. I can do hardware, networking, database work (Programming, modeling, design and a tiny bit of tuning), development (web, desktop and handheld), team lead, project planning (somewhat), documentation and training. Basically, I'm an IT department for a small\medium sized business all on my own.

I can also do my own car repairs, construction, etc. My logical skills and project planning skills transcend IT.

So, basically, I've got a LOT I can do to make sure me and mine stay fed.

One thing to think about during hyperinflation is that, if you can survive it, the debts you have no (such as a mortgage) will be worth much less of your annual income than they are today (unless you have an adjustable rate loan, in which case you're hosed)

Ice

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 3:25 pm 
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All,

I believe that the jobs still available would have to be Medical/Dental, security i.e. Law Enforcement/Private Security Firms; and jobs that keep the water/sewage/electric on.

To me it is scary to think about this type of stuff, for before two years ago I never thought about prepping, nor that our economy would end up in the shape it is today.

Ignorance is bliss - Sometimes :D

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 3:45 pm 
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You need to read James Wesley Rawls book Patriots as well as World War Z. Depending on the size of the crash will determine what jobs are left. Remember when America stops buying the world stops selling. At that point you pretty much get back to bare basics feudal economics. You either farm or you live off of farmers. (Providing security, manufacturing services like blacksmithing and shoe making and things like that.) You will also have to consider how much of the country may be left intact. Places like the People's republic of California or basicly anything north of the mason dixon line east of the mississippi...are pretty much screwed.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 5:02 pm 
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Shamrockjim wrote:
Places like the People's republic of California or basicly anything north of the mason dixon line east of the mississippi...are pretty much screwed.


Not quite sure what you're talking about here. Are you basing this on population densities? CA does have a lot of people, yes. But it is also amazingly productive agriculturally, with the farmland only a few hours' drive from the consumers. Sounds like not a bad situation at all to me.

We're talking economic collapse, a la Argentina, not TEOTWAWKI. America's farms produce (by far) enough food to feed the nation. America's own oil and energy industries produce (by far) enough energy to move the food from where it gets grown to where it gets eaten. The transportation infrastructure that provides the means is in place, and maintainable. Food prices will certainly rise, and obesity rates will certainly drop, but I can't believe that New York is going to stop being the biggest city in the country.

Along similar lines: I'd say that anything geared towards moving people and/or goods from where they are to where they need to be will be in very good shape. Truck drivers. Railroad workers and engineers. Diesel mechanics. Oil workers. Machine shops of any form or scale. Etc. The energy, agricultural, and transportation industries (not to be confused with the auto industry) will be the least affected segments of the economy, by necessity.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 5:42 pm 
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True but California is also a state crippled by it's own debt and complete dependence on energy from OUTSIDE the state. No Energy = no production. You do recall the Brown Outs from a couple of years ago or how about how Arizona provides most of the power for L.A.? When the bad economic times hit you can expect a lot of people holding debt to start calling it in. Getting paid back from that state is going to be like trying to squeez blood from the proverbial stone.


"We're talking economic collapse, a la Argentina, not TEOTWAWKI."

Ummm. Agentina was a second world country...they were not the economy that drives the rest of the world as WE are. Like I said befor..when we can't buy the rest of the world can't sell.

"America's farms produce (by far) enough food to feed the nation. America's own oil and energy industries produce (by far) enough energy to move the food."

We CAN produce that Kind of power currently but we DON'T. We are nearly totally at the mercy of the middle east, canada and mexico for our oil. If the Dollar is devalued to junk status who's going to sell to us? China, Russia, and the middle east have already made statements to the effect of getting rid of the dollar as the world's reserve currency. If we aren't producing that power NOW then we definately won't be able to for a LONG time after a dollar collapse because the money we would use to pay for exploiting those resources will not be there.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 5:50 pm 
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As someone north of the mason dixon line I'm going to have to point out that a lot of southern states are in a helluvah lot worse situation than Ohio. I'd also like to point out that we buy a lot of our oil overseas because it's cheaper. We CAN survive off of what we have but we wouldn't be having three or four cars per family and every house would have a kitchen garden to alleviate high food prices.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 6:58 pm 
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Shamrockjim wrote:
We CAN produce that Kind of power currently but we DON'T. We are nearly totally at the mercy of the middle east, canada and mexico for our oil.


I think you're hugely underestimating the capability of the American people, and of the American energy industry.

An economic collapse might mean the end of foreign oil, and the resulting increase in energy prices. But the United States is the world's third-largest producer of oil. As Rev points out, a lot more of us will end up riding bikes and carpooling, and a lot fewer families are going to have four cars, but don't tell me that cities are going to starve because food can't get to the cities from the fields. As for the food itself, the US is also the world's third-largest agricultural bloc.

The point of my post is that even with the dollar rendered worthless beyond the borders of the United States, and notwithstanding global economic upheaval when Americans have to spend money on wheat from Kansas instead of TVs from China, the United States has enough intrinsic resources to survive economic meltdown. Even in California. (Don't get me started on the CA energy crisis; I was there. I'll limit my commentary here to the point that even that was a problem with energy management, not energy production.)

I concede the debt issue (especially in CA), but don't agree that it's going to result in mass starvation in major cities. Debt exists on paper. If a debt-bomb goes off, it will not be the end of a functioning economy here, any more than it was in Argentina. The workforce is still here. The infrastructure is still here. The energy is still here. The farms and the factories are still here. Economic breakdown doesn't make all that go away, it just temporarily cripples the flow of labor into product into commerce.

An economic crash will mean a lot of necking down, a lot of unemployement, and probably a good deal of general chaos. But we produce enough calories to feed the nation, and produce enough energy to get the calories from the fields to the people. Notwithstanding any credit crisis, people are still going to get fed.

And then we will rebuild.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 9:09 pm 
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FelixArchon wrote:
Shamrockjim wrote:
We CAN produce that Kind of power currently but we DON'T. We are nearly totally at the mercy of the middle east, canada and mexico for our oil.

\\





And then we will rebuild.



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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 9:42 pm 
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FelixArchon wrote:
Shamrockjim wrote:
Places like the People's republic of California or basicly anything north of the mason dixon line east of the mississippi...are pretty much screwed.


Not quite sure what you're talking about here. Are you basing this on population densities? CA does have a lot of people, yes. But it is also amazingly productive agriculturally, with the farmland only a few hours' drive from the consumers. Sounds like not a bad situation at all to me.

We're talking economic collapse, a la Argentina, not TEOTWAWKI. America's farms produce (by far) enough food to feed the nation. America's own oil and energy industries produce (by far) enough energy to move the food from where it gets grown to where it gets eaten. The transportation infrastructure that provides the means is in place, and maintainable. Food prices will certainly rise, and obesity rates will certainly drop, but I can't believe that New York is going to stop being the biggest city in the country.

Along similar lines: I'd say that anything geared towards moving people and/or goods from where they are to where they need to be will be in very good shape. Truck drivers. Railroad workers and engineers. Diesel mechanics. Oil workers. Machine shops of any form or scale. Etc. The energy, agricultural, and transportation industries (not to be confused with the auto industry) will be the least affected segments of the economy, by necessity.


You are aware that California is mostly a DESERT. That they get most of their water from states OTHER than California (going as far east as say, Colorado?) Same with their power. I remember them screaming at Texas a few years back for actually charging them a premium for the power they couldn't generate themselves due to the fact they hadn't built a new power plant in decades.

Ohio is part of the grain belt BTW. We've got corn EVERYWHERE. Lots of cows too.

You get outside of a handful of cities, there ain't nothing here BUT farmland.

One other thing, sometimes your hobbies can provide income streams if the wheels come off the economy. We've done leatherworking to help out some SCA friends and still have all of our tools. Gardening is a given. Blacksmithing isn't super useful unless things REALLY fall apart, but being able to fix a car is always useful. There are plenty of salvage yards around. Also, if you can build something, you should also be able to take it apart with it still being in usable form, so salvaging is also an option.

Blacksmithing was one of the safest professions during the Great Depression. Lots of horses, you could also forge and file most auto parts. Today, IT is the new blacksmithing. You CANNOT run a business without IT support in some way, shape or form. Mind you, we've already gone through one hell of a winnowing process, and most of us who are left are upper level, and we'll do whatever we have to keep our jobs.

Ice

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 10:11 pm 
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Louisiana has relatively small population and a large amount of farmland as a percentage of land. We also produce a lot of the oil and natural gas needed by other parts of the US. Also despite what you may have heard about the BP spill we still have a lot of seafood. We also produce enough power to satisfy much of the local demand for power.

Then there is the Mississippi River which also provides opportunities.

Thus I suspect there are likely to be jobs in LA,even after a meltdown, albeit with dirty and tough work environments.

I suspect that these jobs will be plentiful here:
Fishermen
Oil field worker
farm hand
petroleum engineer
chemical engineer
plant laborer

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 10:28 pm 
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 11:02 pm 
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Rev wrote:
As someone north of the mason dixon line I'm going to have to point out that a lot of southern states are in a helluvah lot worse situation than Ohio. I'd also like to point out that we buy a lot of our oil overseas because it's cheaper. We CAN survive off of what we have but we wouldn't be having three or four cars per family and every house would have a kitchen garden to alleviate high food prices.



We, in Ohio, also have plenty of WATER. That little commodity may be in pretty short
supply over broad swatches of the west.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 11:09 pm 
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We still have semi productive coal fields don’t we? If I remember right we have all we need for ourselves so we could probably stay up and running during a collapse. Probably take a huge hit to our "standard of living" though.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 1:26 am 
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Rev wrote:
..... Probably take a huge hit to our "standard of living" though.


Ya, that's really the key. An economic collapse is going to be a HUGE hit to our standard of living, but we're not gona have mass starvation and general collapse of the government.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 8:55 am 
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UrbanConquest wrote:
IceWing wrote:
[ You CANNOT run a business without IT support in some way, shape or form. Mind you, we've already gone through one hell of a winnowing process, and most of us who are left are upper level, and we'll do whatever we have to keep our jobs.

Ice


Untill 20 years ago most business ran without IT or computers. They are a luxury that the new generation can't do without, some of us still run our business with pen and paper because it still works when the power goes out and I've never had a page in a ledger corrupt and refuse to open :P


I'm not sure if I'd consider being able to do a days worth of work in 15 seconds a luxury. I'd call it FAR more effective\productive. And yes, 20 years ago, you might have been right (although, that was 1990, so I'd say you had SOME IT presence in most businesses). But, this is now 2010. The people who were just starting in a business 20 years ago are now in their 40s, assuming that they still work there, which I find doubtful given average turnover rates in this day and age.

Let's just think about a random smattering of industries, heck, ones included in this list.

Auto Mechanic. How many mechanics do you think could align tires by hand today? Do basic diagnostics without a code reader or a laptop? Parts\inventory control. Which part to use on which model car? Where do you think all that information is stored?

Power generation\distribution: Almost entirely computer controlled.

Banking industry: Computers

Industrial transportation (truckers, trains, planes, etc): FAA uses a computer system that is in desperate need of overhaul, and has for years. Trucking companies keep their stuff running because it's all on computers, including the trucks being hooked up to GPS units so the offices know where the goods are at any given time. Rail network (AND the trains themselves) are computerized.

Agriculture: I actually wrote the software which was used by one of the largest angus cattle ranches in Kentucky. Trust me, farms are already high tech in a LOT of ways. Hell, the combines have GPS, real time yield per square acre at harvest, AC in the cabs, AUTOPILOT etc. The new combines\harvesters I saw at the Kentucky Farm equipment show six years ago looked like those ground tanks from Terminator. You know, the BIG ones.

Ice

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 9:00 am 
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Icewing, I'm not sure I buy the IT argument -- and I'm an IT guy! Honestly, it sounds like you're trying to justify your own job. Nevertheless, you may be right. Who knows.

I thought of another one today -- Home Garden Consultant! I suspect that people will want to plant their own gardens, even in suburbia. But how many suburbians know how to plant a garden? Those who know can probably make a living by teaching those who don't.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 9:50 am 
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Skilled_Kangaroo wrote:
Icewing, I'm not sure I buy the IT argument -- and I'm an IT guy! Honestly, it sounds like you're trying to justify your own job. Nevertheless, you may be right. Who knows.

I'm still not sure which way that would go. Obviously in TEOTWAWKI IT will not be in high demand, especially if all the electronics get hosed (EMP, no power, etc). But in an economic collapse business will still go on, and technology will still be a part of it. That said, I still have my backup jobs in mind from the early 90's when my mother was sure that this computer thing would flop and I needed a fallback. :wink:

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 10:33 am 
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Rev wrote:
We still have semi productive coal fields don’t we? If I remember right we have all we need for ourselves so we could probably stay up and running during a collapse. Probably take a huge hit to our "standard of living" though.


Semi-productive? I can't tell you how many actively-producing natural gas wells there are just in my 'hood in North Texas. I see a large percentage of coal and oil burning facilities around here converting to natural gas and propane.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 10:45 am 
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Skilled_Kangaroo wrote:
Icewing, I'm not sure I buy the IT argument -- and I'm an IT guy! Honestly, it sounds like you're trying to justify your own job. Nevertheless, you may be right. Who knows.

I thought of another one today -- Home Garden Consultant! I suspect that people will want to plant their own gardens, even in suburbia. But how many suburbians know how to plant a garden? Those who know can probably make a living by teaching those who don't.


Nope, not trying to justify my job\career choice. Honestly, I have enough fallback skill sets that I could find SOMETHING. I learned long ago that when you're hungry, there's no such thing as a job that's beneath you.

Marketable skills include:
IT (listed above)
Remodeling\Construction (I've rehabbed 2 houses completely (from the studs out) , I've roofed a garage (trusses and all), masonry, some concrete work
Car repair (been doing my own repairs for 15 years)
Electrical work (don't have to be licensed in Ohio IIRC)
Plumbing work
Fishing (rod and reel)

BTW, I like your gardening consultant idea, but let me ask you this. Are you skilled with gardening when you can't go down to the store to buy pesticide\fertilizer\whatnot, either cause the store isn't there or you have no currency to buy it with? Do you know where to get the natural versions of things (certain plants for pest control, how to compost, sources of fertilizer (aka aged crap) etc? Also, how are you going to get paid? A percentage of the garden's output?

One other thing that was brought up, about IT not being marketable in the PAW. Really? If you can keep a computer up and a way to say, print information (or hand copy it worse case) you don't think that pamphlets on how to treat wounds, printouts on animal husbandry, 'when there is no doctor', etc, wouldn't be valuable? IT stands for information technology. A key part of that is information that is STORED on the systems. What about news from the outside world? Ever heard of Packet Radio or High-speed multimedia radio? What about Entertainment? Traveling minstrels used to go from town to town,offering up entertainment to the masses, for food, coin, etc. If you have power and a laptop and a projector, you don't think you could get some food from everybody who wants to see a movie, or a documentary, or something else?

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 12:33 pm 
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Rev wrote:
As someone north of the mason dixon line I'm going to have to point out that a lot of southern states are in a helluvah lot worse situation than Ohio. I'd also like to point out that we buy a lot of our oil overseas because it's cheaper. We CAN survive off of what we have but we wouldn't be having three or four cars per family and every house would have a kitchen garden to alleviate high food prices.


I am north of that line. I agree with Rev that a lot of southern states are worse. I am from West Virginia. We too can also survive off what we have. We have a lot of natural gas,coal,timber, etc. We also have the means to move it. We have a lot of railways in the state. I know I used to help build and repair them.

I know I would have no problem finding a job after the crash if it does crash. If it does crash and I hope not we will take a lot of other countries with us. Look at all the cheap electronics we buy. What woulod happen if we had to slow our buying down I mean way down.

One of the reasons the oil is cheaper is that the labor is cheaper in most of the OPEC countries. They hire people from other countries to do there work. They pay them next to nothing for the work that they do. That right there keeps cost way way down.(will not go any more in depth I will break a forum rule or two If you want to know more PM me)

Most of the time back home there are jobs people don't want to work them. They want to live on welfare and do nothing. (Thats all I will say about some not all of the people who get wefare some do need it) I know the mines are looking for drivers mechanics plant workers all the time. Some of the jobs are not easy but hey it pays the bills and keep me fed then I am working.

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