[permaculture] Article on surviving Argentina's economic collapse

Bob Waldrop bwaldrop at cox.net
Fri Mar 2 22:05:37 EST 2012

I don't believe this was written by someone who  actually lived in Argentina 
during these events.  It reads too much like something that an American 
survivalist would imagine things were like.  No Argentinian is likely to use 
terms like "Main Battle Rifle".  During the crisis people didn't huddle in 
their apartments at night, eating canned food and cleaning their weapons. 
They were out with their neighbors, doing things, taking over factories, 
issuing neighborhood currencies, etc.

This somebody's fantasy, not reality, and certainly not permaculture.

Bob Waldrop, OKC

-----Original Message----- 
From: wildedges at gmail.com
Sent: Friday, March 02, 2012 3:58 PM
To: permaculture
Subject: [permaculture] Article on surviving Argentina's economic collapse


Here is an excerpt from part 1:


Someone once asked me how did those that live in the country fare. If they
were better off than city dwellers. As always there are no simple answers.
Wish I could say country good, city bad, but I can’t, because if I have to
be completely honest, and I intend to be so, there are some issues that
have to be analyzed, especially security. Of course those that live in the
country and have some land and animals were better prepared food-wise. No
need to have several acres full of crops. A few fruit trees, some animals,
such as chickens, cows and rabbits, and a small orchard were enough to be
light years ahead of those in the cities. Chickens, eggs and rabbits would
provide the proteins, a cow or two for milk and cheese, some vegetables and
fruit plants covered the vegetable diet, some eggs or a rabbit could be
traded for flour to make bread and pasta or sugar and salt.

Of course that there are exceptions, for example, some provinces up north
have a desert climate, and it almost never rains. It is almost impossible
to live off the land, and animals require food and water you have to buy.
Those guys had it bad; no wonder the northern provinces suffer the most in
my country. Those that live in cities, well they have to manage as they
can. Since food prices went up about 200%-300%. People would cut expenses
wherever they could so they could buy food. Some ate whatever they could;
they hunted birds or ate street dogs and cats, others starved. When it
comes to food, cities suck in a crisis. It is usually the lack of food or
the impossibility to acquire it that starts the rioting and looting when

When it comes to security things get even more complicated. Forget about
shooting those that mean you harm from 300 yards away with your MBR [main
battle rifle]. Leave that notion to armchair commandos and 12 year old kids
that pretend to be grown ups on the internet.

Some facts:

1) Those that want to harm you/steal from you don’t come with a pirate flag
waving over their heads.

2) Neither do they start shooting at you 200 yards away.
3) They won’t come riding loud bikes or dressed with their orange, convict
just escaped from prison jump suits, so that you can identify them the
better. Nor do they all wear chains around their necks and leather jackets.
If I had a dollar for each time a person that got robbed told me “They
looked like NORMAL people, dressed better than we are”, honestly, I would
have enough money for a nice gun. There are exceptions, but don’t expect
them to dress like in the movies.

4) A man with a wife and two or three kids can’t set up a watch. I don’t
care if you are SEAL, SWAT or John Freaking Rambo, no 6th sense is going to
tell you that there is a guy pointing a gun at your back when you are
trying to fix the water pump that just broke, or carrying a big heavy bag
of dried beans you bought that morning.

The best alarm system anyone can have on a farm are dogs. But dogs can get
killed and poisoned. A friend of mine had all four dogs poisoned on his
farm one night, they all died. After all these years I learned that even
though the person that lives out in the country is safer when it comes to
small time robberies, that same person is more exposed to extremely violent
home robberies. Criminals know that they are isolated and their feeling of
invulnerability is boosted. When they assault a country home or farm, they
will usually stay there for hours or days torturing the owners. I heard it
all: women and children getting raped, people tied to the beds and tortured
with electricity, beatings, burned with acetylene torches. Big cities
aren’t much safer for the survivalist that decides to stay in the city. He
will have to face express kidnappings, robberies, and pretty much risking
getting shot for what’s in his pockets or even his clothes.

So, where to go? The concrete jungle is dangerous and so is living away
from it all, on your own. The solution is to stay away from the cities but
in groups, either by living in a small town-community or sub division, or
if you have friends or family that think as you do, form your own small
community. Some may think that having neighbors within “shouting” distance
means losing your privacy and freedom, but it’s a price that you have to
pay if you want to have someone to help you if you ever need it. To those
that believe that they will never need help from anyone because they will
always have their rifle at hand, checking the horizon with their scope
every five minutes and a first aid kit on their back packs at all times….
Grow up.


What ever sort of scenario you are dealing with, services are more than
likely to either suffer in quality or disappear all together. Think ahead
of time; analyze possible SHTF scenarios and which service should be
affected by it in your area. Think about the most likely scenario but also
think outside the box. What’s more likely? A tornado? But a terrorist
attack isn’t as crazy as you though it would be a few years ago, is it?

Also analyze the consequences of those services going down. If there is no
power then you need to do something about all that meat you have in the
fridge, you can dry it or can it. Think about the supplies you would need
for these tasks before you actually need them. You have a complete guide on
how to prepare the meat on you computer… how will you get it out of there
if there is no power? Print everything that you consider important.


No one can last too long without water. The urban survivalist may find that
the water is of poor quality, in which case he can make good use of a water
filter, or that there is no water available at all. When this happens, a
large city were millions live will run out of bottled water within minutes.
In my case, tap water isn’t very good. I can see black little particles and
some other stuff that looks like dead algae. Taste isn’t that bad. Not good
but I know that there are parts of the country where it is much worse. To
be honest, a high percentage of the country has no potable water at all.

If you can build a well, do so, set it as your top of the list priority as
a survivalist.
Water comes before firearms, medicines and even food. Save as much water as
you can. Use plastic bottles, refill soda bottles and place them in a cool
place, preferably inside a black garbage bag to protect it from sun light.
The water will pick some plastic taste after a few months, but water that
tastes a little like plastic is far way better than no water at all. What
ever the kind of SHTF scenario you are dealing with, water will suffer.

In my case the economical crash created problems with the water company,
that reduces the maintenance and quality in order to reduce costs and keep
their income in spite of the high prices they have to pay for supplies and
equipment, most of which comes from abroad, and after the 2001 crash, costs
3 times more. As always, the little guy gets to pay for it. Same would go
for floods or chemical or biological attacks. Water requires delicate care
and it will suffer when TSHTF in one way or another. In this case, when you
still have tap water, a quality filter is in order, as well as a pump if
you can have one. A manual pump would be ideal as well if possible.
Estimate that you need a approximately a gallon per person per day. Try to
have at least two-four weeks worth of water. More would be preferable.


I spent WAY to much time without power for my own taste. Power has always
been a problem in my country, even before the 2001 crisis. The real problem
starts when you spend more than just a few hours without light. Just after
the SHTF in 2001 half the country went without power for 3 days. Buenos
Aires was one big dark grave. People got caught on elevators, food rots;
hospitals that only had a few hours worth of fuel for their generators ran
out of power. Without power, days get to be a lot shorter. Once the sun
sets there is not much you can do. I read under candle light and flashlight
light and your head starts to hurt after a while. You can work around the
house a little bit but only as long as you don’t need power tools. Crime
also increases once the lights go out, so whenever you have to go somewhere
in a black out, carry the flashlight on one hand and a handgun on the other.

Summarizing, being in a city without light turn to be depressing after a
while. I spent my share of nights, alone, listening to the radio, eating
canned food and cleaning my guns under the light of my LED head lamp. Then
I got married, had a son, and found out that when you have loved ones
around you black outs are not as bad. The point is that family helps morale
on these situations.

A note on flashlights. Have two or three head LED lights. They are not
expensive and are worth their weight in gold. A powerful flashlight is
necessary, something like a big Maglite or better yet a SureFire,
especially when you have to check your property for intruders. But for more
mundane stuff like preparing food, going to the toilet or doing stuff
around the house, the LED headlamp is priceless. Try washing the dishes on
the dark while holding a 60 lumen flashlight on one hand and you’ll know
what I mean. LEDs also have the advantage of lasting for almost an entire
week of continuous use and the light bulb lasts forever. Rechargeable
batteries are a must or else you’ll end up broke if lights go out often.
Have a healthy amount of spare quality batteries and try to standardize as
much as you can. I have 12 Samsung NM 2500Mh AA and 8 AAA 800mh for the
headlamps. I use D cell plastic adaptors in order to use AA batteries on my
3 D cell Maglite. This turned out to work quite well, better than I
expected. I also keep about 2 or 3 packs of regular, Duracell batteries
just in case. These are supposed to expire around 2012, so I can forget
about them until I need them. Rechargeable NM batteries have the
disadvantage of loosing power after a period of time, so keep regular
batteries as well and check the rechargeable ones every once in a while.

After all these years of problems with power, what two items I would love
to have?

1) The obvious. A generator. I carried my fridge food to my parent’s house
way to many times on the past. Too bad I can’t afford one right now.

2) A battery charger that has both solar panel and a small crank. They are
not available here. I saw that they are relatively inexpensive in the USA.
Do yourself a favor and get one or two of these. Even if they don’t charge
as well as regular ones, I’m sure it will put out enough power to charge
batteries for LED lamps at least.

GAS (Propane and natural gas)
Gas has decreased in quality as well, there is little gas. Try to have an
electric oven in case you have to do without it. If both electricity and
gas go down, one of those camping stoves can work as well, if you keep a
good supply of gas cans. The ones that work with liquid fuel seem to be
better on the long run, since they can use different types of fuel. You can
only store a limited amount of compressed gas and once you ran out of it,
you are on your own if stores are closed of they sold them out. Anyway, a
city that goes without gas and light for more than two weeks is a death
trap, get out of there before it’s too late.
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