2008 December 08 Monday
Personal Account Of Argentina 2001 Financial Collapse

When the proverbial wheels came off the Argentine economy in 2001 the poverty was so severe and the disruption so abrupt that crime soared, people begged, and people went hungry. I found one person's account of what life became like and what one ought to do to prepare if one thinks such a disruption is possible in one's own society. An interesting read.

Forget about shooting those that mean you harm from 300 yards away with your MBR. 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 donít come with a pirate flag waving over their heads.

2) Neither do they start shooting at you 200 yards away.

3) They wont 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, ďThey looked like NORMAL people, dressed better than we areĒ, honestly, I would have enough money for a nice gun. There are exceptions, but donít expect them to dress like in the movies.

4) A man with a wife and two or three kids canít set up a watch. I donít 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 in 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.

He thinks you shouldn't be too isolated. You need a group around to do mutual self defense. But at the same time he thinks urban areas become too dangerous during a period of severe economic downturn. One problem is that one doesn't just need a safe place to live. One also needs a way to work and to engage in commerce.

Read the full lengthy article for lots of details of what this guy saw. I was struck by the fact that while one can stockpile lots of stuff one can't stockpile internet access or phone access. The ability to communicate is crucial for commerce, especially if you can telecommute. A large country wouldn't be equally impacted everywhere by communications failures. He said Argentina had many electric power outages but most were not long.

There is a survivalist angle to this article. But it also provides insights into human nature. Given tough enough conditions suddenly people who you'd never expect to become criminals engage in criminal behavior. Also, the level of corruptibility of police and government officials plays a huge role in determining just how far a country will fall as a result of economic disruption. Note that not all police departments or local and state governments are equally corruptible. Some areas in the United States would probably stay pretty uncorrupt even in a severe crisis.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2008 December 08 11:30 PM  Chaotic Regions

Audacious Epigone said at December 9, 2008 8:59 AM:

I wonder about correlates with the extent and degrees of corruptibility--generally, I'd head north if I able to.

Audacious Epigone said at December 9, 2008 9:01 AM:

"if able to", that is.

Wolf-Dog said at December 10, 2008 2:08 AM:

What parts of "north" is less corrupt? Maybe Massachusetts is a good place, but even parts of Boston happen to be real war zones.

Snouck said at December 10, 2008 3:49 AM:

Thanks for the read, Randall. Another great read to prepare for post-Peak-Oil collapse is "reinventing collapse" by Dmitry Orlove. He compares the Soviet collapse after the first oil Peak in 1986 with the American prospect once Oil Peaks globally.




Kudzu Bob said at December 10, 2008 4:53 PM:

Come the collapse I'll mount a .50 calibre machine on the roof of my wind-powered Geo Metro and wear leather. Ain't no thing.

Randall Parker said at December 10, 2008 7:11 PM:


I read Orlov's Reinventing Collapse book on my trip in airplanes. I found the book interesting. If anyone reads it try to ignore the ranting against the United States and focus on what he says about Russia's collapse.

Whether we have changes coming that will shake the foundations of our society to the point that the proverbial wheels start coming off remains to be seen. When oil production starts declining how are we going to handle it?

Audacious Epigone,

Shy societies are less corrupt. So Finland is the least corrupt society on the planet. Transparency International has a lot of data comparing corruption levels around the world.

In the US I would expect the least corruption in Scandinavian areas since they'll be shyer.

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