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Old 04-26-2017, 05:03 PM   #61
Anthony
 
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Default Re: Post Apocalyptic Economics

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Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
1. Barter is not currency.
2. While barter reasonably workable for caravans coming to and from the town on rare occasions, it's very inconvenient on an everyday basis like "I wanna visit a baker every morning".
Welcome to societal breakdown: yes, lots of things are inconvenient. That's why we create societies and governments.
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Old 04-26-2017, 06:02 PM   #62
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Default Re: Post Apocalyptic Economics

A while back I read a few books to do with accounts of life during the great depression, vicky_molokh's comment about visiting a baker brought some of the work-arounds they used when cash was so scarce it was basically non existent. One thing that was specifically mentioned was the author providing firewood to the baker on a weekly basis and getting a daily bread in return. One week the author delivered some fairly poor firewood and had to deal with stale bread for the week that followed.

The books center around small communities in general, and having a society, even a small one provides a footing for more advanced versions of barter.

One other detail was that the small communities still used money as a nominal concept even in its absence. For example a load of firewood was sold for X shillings and while the guy selling the wood might never see a penny of the money the debt was acknowledged and may have even been traded. Of course this kind of economy falls down in larger communities and it was supplimented by barter and the rare amount of cash that came in to the community.
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Old 04-27-2017, 03:35 PM   #63
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Default Re: Post Apocalyptic Economics

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Originally Posted by jason taylor View Post
You can refuse to enforce debts that are not made in a given currency.
Sure. But if your currency isn't popular *and* your legal system isn't policing the real economy things look pretty bad for the long term future of your state. Don't be too surprised if the mob bosses who do enforce debts in the currency people are actually using end up ruling your country in a generation or so.
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Old 04-27-2017, 03:40 PM   #64
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Default Re: Post Apocalyptic Economics

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Originally Posted by Dalillama View Post
Most refined metals are too useful to make a currency. If it can be made into a saw or a knife or a plow or a spear, nobody is going to make it into a coin.
The existence of Bronze coinage in the late Bronze Age nulls your hypothesis.
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Old 04-29-2017, 06:34 PM   #65
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Default Re: Post Apocalyptic Economics

There has been a lot of focus on the doom and gloom of the post apocalypse, which is fair enough because that is the trope, but might there not be situations where the survivors, at least economically, are comparatively well off?

As an example if something suddenly wipes out the majority of humanity but leaves all the infrastructure intact you could have a situation where canned food, weapons, ammunition, medicine, clothes etc. are in abundance and readily accessible at the local shopping mall. Of course you have to be careful to avoid the zombies. What kind of economy would spring out of that situation?
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Old 04-29-2017, 08:13 PM   #66
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Default Re: Post Apocalyptic Economics

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Originally Posted by Boomerang View Post
There has been a lot of focus on the doom and gloom of the post apocalypse, which is fair enough because that is the trope, but might there not be situations where the survivors, at least economically, are comparatively well off?

As an example if something suddenly wipes out the majority of humanity but leaves all the infrastructure intact you could have a situation where canned food, weapons, ammunition, medicine, clothes etc. are in abundance and readily accessible at the local shopping mall. Of course you have to be careful to avoid the zombies. What kind of economy would spring out of that situation?
In the short term most people would still revert to barter. Communities with enough of a surviving population would simply continue to use the old currency until it started to wear out, which would be a long time when it comes to coinage. they could easily switch over to a setup where quarters are worth as much as fifty dollar bills are now.

In the long term the new founded kingdoms and republics would create their own currencies, printing or coining it as before.
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Old 04-29-2017, 11:04 PM   #67
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Default Re: Post Apocalyptic Economics

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Originally Posted by Boomerang View Post
There has been a lot of focus on the doom and gloom of the post apocalypse, which is fair enough because that is the trope, but might there not be situations where the survivors, at least economically, are comparatively well off?

As an example if something suddenly wipes out the majority of humanity but leaves all the infrastructure intact you could have a situation where canned food, weapons, ammunition, medicine, clothes etc. are in abundance and readily accessible at the local shopping mall. Of course you have to be careful to avoid the zombies. What kind of economy would spring out of that situation?
A pretty peculiar looking one. Frozen foods are gone along with refrigerated meats, dairy products, baked goods and fresh produce. Canned goods run to two styles, prepared meals, like Beef-a-roni, Irish stew, condensed soup, baked beans, and creamed corn and basic foods, like canned tomatoes, tuna, sliced peaches and condensed milk. While there's something to be said for prepared meals, basic foods probably command a premium because you can do more with them. Some packaged goods, like dehydrated soup, cake mixes, gelatin powders and potato flakes will probably keep for a while, as will jerky and pickles. All these goods have a shelf life, so food should start becoming scarce somewhere around the seven year mark as the food expires. Flour, sugar, yeast, baking soda, tea and coffee will keep if protected, so expect someone to start a run on sealable jars and tin canisters. Mason jars and pressure cookers ought to have been grabbed early on by someone thinking of doing their own canning.

Someone really smart may try to corner the local supplies of honey, syrup and salt. Spices are another grab me quick item.

Potatoes, grains, meat and baked goods should see a brisk trade when and where they're available.

Paper towels, facial tissue and toilet paper are going to be a real comfort while they last, but you're likely to run out of them before you run out of canned food. The same is true of household cleansers.

Another thing where demand is likely to outstrip supply is pest control equipment: mousetraps; ant traps; flypaper; traps for larger pests.

Ammunition will keep indefinitely. Smart looters probably scooped up all the ammo they could find and at least one weapon for each caliber of ammo. Weapons present a temptation for someone to go after your ammo, so once you've got a spare weapon and a supply of spare parts, any remaining serviceable weapon needs destroying.

Band-aids, bandages, dressings and over-the-counter drugs should be plentiful. Prescription drugs are probably left alone. Without a physician/pharmacist, the cure is likely to be worse than the disease, however people with chronic needs for prescription drugs should be able to stock up. Refrigerated vaccines and some short shelf-life drugs are gone as are some drugs like insulin which can't currently be synthesised and may lose their production facilities.

Clothing and shoes aren't that durable, so expect people to end up wearing ridiculously inappropriate attire if someone doesn't start producing reasonably useful textiles and clothes before everything gets used up. (How inappropriate? Maybe five or six layered evening gowns for winter wear or a farmer in high heels and a tuxedo behind the plow.)

Prescription glasses will be protected like they were gold, as will dentures. You can replace generic reading glasses, but your prescription glasses are irreplaceable unless there is a lens maker in your area, in which case they're just very expensive.

Glass is going to be fairly valuable as well, or safety glass is. Safety glass isn't something you can cut into smaller sheets (or so my local glazier says), so places that take standard sized windows (and doors) will be prime real estate. Unfortunately, that lets out a lot of older, rural homes, unless they've been renovated.
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Old 04-30-2017, 02:13 AM   #68
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Default Re: Post Apocalyptic Economics

@ Curmudgeon

Interesting analysis. I think if I was one of the survivors in that situation I would be dreading the day chocolate starts going stale.
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Old 04-30-2017, 10:13 AM   #69
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Default Re: Post Apocalyptic Economics

Within a year or two, some areas will start to grow their own food, too, and that brings up a fun issue with modern agronomy, which I've discussed, before.

A lot of the high-yield crops grown in the modern world spring from genetically engineered seeds that don't reproduce true (and may not reproduce, at all).

That said, there are areas that focus on "traditional" or "organic" farming. Those may have legacy seed lines that cannot match the yields of GMO seeds, and are more subject to blight and infestation. They also require better growing conditions.

However, they do reproduce true, and provide a basis for an ongoing agricultural economy. So, oddly enough, the areas that form the nuclei of sustainable agricultural production are the very poorest, where everybody uses legacy seeds because nobody can afford higher-yielding GMOs; or the very richest, where granola types avoid GMOs for irrational reasons, and grow their own produce with legacy seeds.
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Old 04-30-2017, 10:30 AM   #70
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Default Re: Post Apocalyptic Economics

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Originally Posted by Boomerang View Post
As an example if something suddenly wipes out the majority of humanity but leaves all the infrastructure intact you could have a situation where canned food, weapons, ammunition, medicine, clothes etc. are in abundance and readily accessible at the local shopping mall. Of course you have to be careful to avoid the zombies. What kind of economy would spring out of that situation?
Dangerous scrounging would just become another form of resource gathering, akin to logging or mining. Its existence could make an economy wealthier, but probably wouldn't preclude or overly encourage any given economic form (mines have been run by every economic type ever practiced).
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