Monday, June 4, 2012

10 Things That We Can Learn About Shortages And Preparation From The Economic Collapse In Greece

Michael Snyder, Contributor
Activist Post

When the economy of a nation collapses, almost everything changes. Unfortunately, most people have never been through anything like that, so it can be difficult to know how to prepare. For those that are busy preparing for the coming global financial collapse, there is a lot to be learned from the economic depression that is happening right now in Greece.

Essentially, what Greece is experiencing is a low-level economic collapse. Unemployment is absolutely rampant and poverty is rapidly spreading, but the good news for Greece is that the global financial system is still operating somewhat normally and they are getting some financial assistance from the outside. Things in Greece could be a whole lot worse, and they will probably get a whole lot worse before it is all said and done. But already things have gotten bad enough in Greece that it gives us an idea of what a full-blown economic collapse in the 21st century may look like.

There are reports of food and medicine shortages in Greece, crime and suicides are on the rise, and people have been rapidly pulling their money out of the banks. Hopefully this article will give you some ideas that you can use as you prepare for the economic chaos that will soon be unfolding all over the globe.

The following are 10 things that we can learn about shortages and preparation from the economic collapse in Greece....

#1 Food Shortages Can Actually Happen

Most people assume that they will always be able to run out to their local supermarket or to Wal-Mart and get all of the supplies they need.

Unfortunately, that is a false assumption. The truth is that our food distribution system is extremely vulnerable.

In Greece, many people are starting to totally run out of food. Even some government institutions (such as prisons) are now reporting food shortages. The following was originally from a Greek news source....
The financing for many prisons has decreased to a minimum for some months now, resulting in hundreds of detainees being malnourished and surviving on the charity of local communities. 
The latest example is the prison in Corinth where after the supply stoppage from the nearby military camp, the prisoners are at the mercy of God because, as reported by prison staff, not even one grain of rice has been left in their warehouses. When a few days earlier the commander of the camp announced to the prison management the transportation stoppage, citing lack of food supplies even for the soldiers, he shut down the last source of supply for 84 prisoners. The response of some Corinth citizens was immediate as they took it upon themselves to support the prisoners, since all protests to the Justice ministry were fruitless.
#2 Medicine Is One Of The First Things That Becomes Scarce During An Economic Collapse

If you are dependent on medicine in order to survive, you might want to figure out how you are going to get by if your supply of medicine is totally cut off someday.

In Greece, medicine shortages have become a massive problem. The following is from a recent Bloomberg article....
Mina Mavrou, who runs a pharmacy in a middle-class Athens suburb, spends hours each day pleading with drugmakers, wholesalers and colleagues to hunt down medicines for clients. 
Life-saving drugs such as Sanofi (SAN)’s blood-thinner Clexane and GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK)’s asthma inhaler Flixotide often appear as lines of crimson data on pharmacists’ computer screens, meaning the products aren’t in stock or that pharmacists can’t order as many units as they need. 
'When we see red, we want to cry,' Mavrou said. 'The situation is worsening day by day.' 
The 12,000 pharmacies that dot almost every street corner in Greek cities are the damaged capillaries of a complex system for getting treatment to patients. The Panhellenic Association of Pharmacists reports shortages of almost half the country’s 500 most-used medicines. Even when drugs are available, pharmacists often must foot the bill up front, or patients simply do without.
#3 When An Economy Collapses, So Might The Power Grid

Try this some time - turn off all power to your home for 24 hours and try to live normally.

Sadly, most people simply do not understand just how dependent we are on the power grid. Without power, all of our lives would change dramatically.

In Greece, authorities are warning of an impending "collapse" of the power grid. If it goes down for an extended period of time in Greece, the consequences would be catastrophic....
Greece’s power regulator RAE told Reuters on Friday it was calling an emergency meeting next week to avert a collapse of the debt-stricken country’s electricity and natural gas system. 
'RAE is taking crisis initiatives throughout next week to avert the collapse of the natural gas and electricity system,' the regulator’s chief Nikos Vasilakos told Reuters. 
RAE took the decision after receiving a letter from Greece’s natural gas company DEPA, which threatened to cut supplies to electricity producers if they failed to settle their arrears with the company.
#4 During An Economic Collapse You Cannot Even Take Water For Granted

If the power grid goes down, you will soon no longer have clean water coming out of your faucets. That is one of the reasons why it is absolutely imperative that the power grid stay operable in Greece.

Sadly, most people don't understand just how vulnerable our water system is. In a previous article, I quoted from a report that discussed how rapidly our water supply would be in jeopardy in the event of a major transportation disruption....
According to the American Water Works Association, Americans drink more than one billion glasses of tap water per day. For safety and security reasons, most water supply plants maintain a larger inventory of supplies than the typical business. However, the amount of chemical storage varies significantly and is site specific.
According to the Chlorine Institute, most water treatment facilities receive chlorine in cylinders (150 pounds and one ton cylinders) that are delivered by motor carriers. On average, trucks deliver purification chemicals to water supply plants every seven to 14 days.
Without these chemicals, water cannot be purified and made safe for drinking. Without truck deliveries of purification chemicals, water supply plants will run out of drinkable water in 14 to 28 days. Once the water supply is drained, water will be deemed safe for drinking only when boiled. Lack of clean drinking water will lead to increased gastrointestinal and other illnesses, further taxing an already weakened healthcare system.
What will you do when clean water stops coming out of your faucets?

You might want to start thinking about that.

#5 During An Economic Crisis Your Credit Cards And Debit Cards May Stop Working

Most people have become very accustomed to using either debit cards or credit cards for almost everything.

But what would happen if the financial system locked up for a period of time and you were not able to use them?

This is something that the citizens of Greece are potentially facing in the coming months, and this is something that all of us need to start thinking about.

#6 Crime, Rioting And Looting Become Commonplace During An Economic Collapse

Big corporations are already making extensive plans for how to protect their stores in the event that Greece switches from the euro to the drachma.

The following is from a recent Reuters article....
British electrical retailer Dixons has spent the last few weeks stockpiling security shutters to protect its nearly 100 stores across Greece in case of riot. 
The planning, says Dixons chief Sebastian James, may look alarmist but it's good to be prepared.
Company bosses around Europe agree. As the financial crisis in Greece worsens, companies are getting ready for everything from social unrest to a complete meltdown of the financial system.

#7 During A Financial Meltdown Many Average Citizens Will Start Bartering

During this economic depression, alternative currencies have already been popping up in Greece.

When things fall apart on a global scale, will you have things to barter for the things that you need?

#8 Suicides Spike During An Economic Collapse

When you think of the Great Depression of the 1930s, what do you think of?

Many people think of images of people jumping out of buildings.

Well, something similar has been happening in Greece. Suicide statistics in Greece have been absolutely soaring during the last couple of years.

Once prosperity disappears, many people feel as though life is not worth living anymore.

#9 Your Currency May Rapidly Lose Value During An Economic Crisis

Just remember what happened in Germany during the Weimar Republic and what has happened recently in places like Zimbabwe.

The truth is that it can happen anywhere.

Right now, Greeks are pulling their money out of the banks because they are worried that their euros will be turned into drachmas which would rapidly lose value.

If I was living in Greece I would definitely be concerned about that. The return of the drachma seems to get closer with each passing day. Just check out these screenshots.

#10 When Things Hit The Fan The Government Will Not Save You

Has the government of Greece come to the rescue of all of those that are deeply suffering right now?

Of course not. The truth is that the Greek government can barely take care of itself at the moment.

History has shown us that governments simply cannot be counted on when things hit the fan.

Just remember what happened during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

In the end, the only one that can be counted on to take care of you and your family is you.

So you better start preparing.

Unfortunately, as I wrote about the other day, time is rapidly running out for the global financial system.

Even some of the top economic officials in the world are warning that another major crisis could be on the way.

Just check out what World Bank President Robert Zoellick said the other day....
Events in Greece could trigger financial fright in Spain, Italy and across the eurozone. The summer of 2012 offers an eerie echo of 2008.
He also compared a potential exit of Greece from the eurozone to the collapse of Lehman Brothers back during the last financial crisis....
If Greece leaves the eurozone, the contagion is impossible to predict, just as Lehman had unexpected consequences.
So what are some things that the average person can do to get prepared?

Well, a recent article on entitled "The List: A to Z Survival for the Abysmal Times Ahead" contains hundreds of ideas for preparing for the chaotic economic environment that we are heading into.

Preparation is going to look different for every family. No two situations are exactly the same.

But there are some practical steps that nearly all of us can take to better position ourselves for what is coming. Now is the time to get educated and now is the time to take action.

Or you could be like all of those that laughed at Noah while he was building that big boat.

In the end, things did not work out too well for those folks.

This article first appeared here at the Economic Collapse Blog.  Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.


This article may be re-posted in full with attribution.


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Anonymous said...

U.S. preppers take heed! The only thing the government will help you with will be THEM looting YOUR supplies! They've been looting your paychecks & pissing it away for a couple of hundred years; so remember they're not going stop even in times of a crisis.

Anonymous said...

Very valid points. The article would be more beneficial if for each of the ten points a course of action was also given for those who have no idea on how to deal with these situations.

I am well aware that the courses of action are lengthy to cope with many of the 10 points, but a single sentence or two to give people a starting point would be of benefit.

Anonymous said...

I have not seen 1 article about what will happen in regard to renters? Will rents go up forcing people into homelesness. Will landlords throw people out when inflation hits & rents become double? Will landlords keep tenants in apartments even after inflation just to have some kind of income? I wish someone would research some depression facts etc on this subject...please.

Anonymous said...

IF you are a RENTER you will have more power than you think in a time of chaos.
It will cost an OWNER significant money to forcibly evict you when the world outside is struggling for basic necessities such as food & water.
And chances are many others will be the same.
People will take care of their own, not others problems.

Anonymous said...

Re: Landlords-- Some will work with you and some won't. Properties run by bureaucratic corporations will be less likely to work with tenants having trouble. Policy is dictated from on high with little or no flexibility from the actual staff implementing them. If your landlord is a human being and you have maintained a satisfactory personal/business relationship with them, that is best.

Anonymous said...

Hello from Greece . We didn't collapse yet!
Some landlords throw people out ,some of them have some kind of understanding,depends on the person. It's not easy to find tenants you see. Most people go back and live with their parents ,even if they are married and have kids. What's important in this case is that by new laws the eviction becomes more and more easy and takes less time ,a month or so.
We have to go back to our national currency with National Central Bank of course ,not private as it is now.And get rid of these traitors at the government .This is the difficult part .
Brussels EU have their plan ,they aren't so stupid,they use the crisis as an excuse to establish the united states of Europe .It will be a dictatorship towards new world order . They will fail but they will cause a lot of damage ,one more time.

Solon said...

"Hello from Greece . We didn't collapse yet!"

I'd add "again" to the end of that statement. Seems like it's been happening for at least 2,500 years. Solon called for debt forgiveness, about time for it again. Though he was no great poet, Solon points out the problem.

Some wicked men are rich, some good are poor;
We will not change our virtue for their store:
Virtue's a thing that none can take away,
But money changes owners all the day.

Money is not the problem, it is the Lovers of Money, those who will stop at nothing, absolutely nothing, in their quest for the Filthy Lucre.

Anonymous said...

The overall grain storage in the USA went from two years in the 1970's to one year in the 1980's to 70 days today. In addition to economic collapse we are woefully unprepared for another Mt. Tambora in the world..1815 eruption...Thomas Jefferson's records for 1816 show that the ice in his ice house at Monticello did not melt until October 11, 1816, which was a month longer than normal. Also, the Maryland Weather Service in 1906 studied the Summer of 1816 and concluded it was 8 degrees F below normal in Baltimore. The next coldest summer was 1836, which was 4.3 degrees below normal.
If you think that's harsh, the following "volcanic winter" brought exceptional cold and heavy snowfalls. New York City dropped to -26 which resulted in freezing of New York's Upper Bay. (Anyone know if this has happened since?).

The impacts of bitter cold period extended into Atlantic Canada and parts of Western Europe and led to the worst famine of the 19th century. It brought widespread food riots, untold personal suffering, and migration of large populations in search of food.

Anonymous said...

By Dale:
This article proposes that in a crisis, you are on your own. I would suggest that this misses the one element which allows us to survive a crisis, and that is a sense of community. A beautiful example is of the locals who provide food for the hungry prisoners in Greece. Bartering is another example mentioned which shows people using alternative ways to solve problems.

In a crisis, if you are on your own, you have no hope of surviving. A crisis such as an economic collapse by definition, effects everyone and in fact, is way beyond any individual alone to deal with. Do you think hoarding cans of food will save you?

I propose that the only way to solve a crisis is to reject individual solutions and join with others to struggle for equity and justice.

The Greek tragedy should teach us that only thru collective action can we challenge the lie that
"there is not enough money" or that credit is no longer available. These are not economic realities but political decisions, and again, by definition, political action is collective, the result of many people organized and working together. When the unions fought and died for a living wage, they showed how to deal with economic collapse.

Call it what it is: class warfare. And fight back. Prepping is the deepest kind of retreat from the democratic process which alone can reinvent a political economy which works for the people.

Preppers, get a clue. You are just kidding yourselves. You are living in a fantasy world of the rugged individual ready to survive, alone, the collapse of the world. If you prepare for disaster, you also help enable it. If you fight back with others, you open up the space to create a new set of values (like equality and community) on which to base our common life.

Anonymous said...

80% of food crops in India destroyed, Mexico has been suffering their worst draught for years now, US food production will be significantly reduced due to dried water wells - and these multiplies around the world - FAMINE is a reality in the Biblical proportions. Would we turn into cannibals? If we do not change our ways and repent we will be -

Anonymous said...

i would like to be able to get guns to defend myself against cops and military in such i know they will be going aong indiscrimnately killing people under the guise of "managing looters"..i see a sittauion where cops and militray will turn townsa and suburban and rural areas into a trukey shoot-.....i want to be able to defend myself in such cases....

Anonymous said...

The concern over currency losing value and comparison to Weimar republic is not necessarily accurate. There was a specific reason the currency lost value in that case and it was an artificial one and so you could say that if an artificial situation occurs forcing the devaluation of a currency then that could occur again. More likely, anyone with hard currency would be better off than without hard currency as bartering only goes so far and instruments of exchange continue unless a Weimar situation occurs. Digital exchange goes just as you said and gold/silver is just not very practical compared to currency.

Anonymous said...

Good comment 10:55 PM.

Community and togetherness are the greatest assets of the people.........that is why they have been under attack by Fascist pigs for decades.
Survivalist fantasies are served up by Hollywood to give a false sense of hope and direction to frightened people. Community and togetherness can only be created by each one of us a small piece at a time.

Anonymous said...

Common sense indicates that no matter where you live, it is prudent to put up some supplies. A fire arm is less useful than knowing your neighbors and developing a relationship with them that is mutually supportive, ie: If they have chickens, perhaps you can grow carrots, that sort of thing. We must look out for one another. United we stand, divided we fall.

Anonymous said...

Since the beginning of human existance on Earth there has been the two tier system, where the initiates are the upper class and the beneficaries of pre-knowledge. this made them wealthier and with wealth there is power.
Today these people form the world leaders who manipulate everything from behind the scenes.
Visible world leaders are simply paid servants of the initiates.
The initiates have known about the disasterous effects expected from the appearance on Earth of the fiery supernova of the giant star Beteleguse, which scientists have been tracking across the universe towards us since the 1980s, this is the real cause of polar shift, climate change and the expected massive earthquakes predicted by most governments today.
this is the real reason why governments are not interested in fixing anything, only grabbing as much of everything they can for their own enjoyment before the Earth is re-born by the effects of the explosive shock wave approaching us.....
What can you do? the problem is nobody knows exactly what will happen so there is no way to know how to react or prepare........
Chairman Mao said money is just to buy some rubbish, knowledge and wisdom are your most valuable assets. he was right.
With the arrival of the atomic shockwave from space, the disaster will be so great that the monetary system will collapse worldwide, your paper money will be worthless in your hands. This is why so many of the rich have already stashed much of their wealth in gold and silver.

Best of luck to us all.

follow the example of our wonderful leaders and enjoy what little time there is left.

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