Back to the Dark Ages

Reading time: 3,983, 10 pages, 9 to 16 minutes.

Banks VS the People: the Banksters won, they’re robbing us blind and driving us back into the Dark Ages.

“The issue which has swept down the centuries…and which will have to be fought sooner or later…is the people versus the banks.” – Lord Acton

The events surrounding Cyprus over the last two weeks prove that the banksters have won. We, the people, are doomed. And, it will get even worse than I ever thought possible.

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banks rob world

It doesn’t matter which date we choose as the “beginning of the end”. Some would say the founding of the U.S. Federal Reserve in 1913 and subsequent introduction of central banks around the world.

I remember President Richard Nixon removing the U.S. from the gold standard in 1971 because of his refusal to raise taxes to fund the Vietnam War. However, I was too young and inexperienced to understand the ramifications of the ‘gold window’ closing. At the time, I thought that demonstrating against the war was more important.

Ten years years later, in 1981, I realized that rising interest rates would make future mortgage payments more onerous than I was willing to bear, so I sold my house with its attractive assumable mortgage at a tidy profit to a ‘greater fool’. I realized then how shaky our economies and financial systems had become and I began a long term plan of survival preparation. I didn’t know how long it would take for our financial house of cards to topple but, I knew it was inevitable. I didn’t know when but, I knew economies have a lot of momentum. In 1981, I assumed, correctly as it turned out, that we had a lot of time.

Twenty-six years later, in March of 2007, the implosion of numerous hedge funds made it clear I needed to follow financial news even more closely. Six months later I wrote and emailed to family, friends and colleagues the first of what one of my sisters calls my “Doom & Gloom Missives”. Three years later, in 2010, I started this blog and today after more than 180 posts, I realize “the end is near”.

Here’s an interesting barometer. I usually post once or twice a month but, events are unfolding so fast now; this is my 12th post this month.

Please forgive this lengthy introduction but I fear this might be one of the most important messages I’ve ever written and you need to understand my background to appreciate how serious this situation has become. Also, I want to establish my credentials with the many new readers of this blog which has already generated more than 30,000 hits (‘visits’) since it began.

The recent events in Cyprus prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that we have entered a frightening new era. No one but the most willfully ignorant can ignore the ramifications of what we’ve just witnessed. I fear we will descend back to the Dark Ages. I never thought I would say that but, I’m not the only one.

Martin Hutchinson of the Prudent Bear says, “A world in which neither government bonds nor banks are to be trusted takes us back about 750 years.

“In the last week, the detailed revelations from J.P. Morgan’s Senate grilling have combined with the Cyprus rescue blunder to generate one inescapable conclusion: public or private sector, European or American, there isn’t a decent, competent banker among them. Truly almost twenty years of funny money and 30-40 years of misguided deregulation have drained the financial sector of the quiet competence it used to exhibit.”

Here are a few more quotes from Martin, “the Cyprus imbroglio shows just how inept and conflicted they are in reality.”

“Legality seems to have been utterly irrelevant to those arranging the bailout. Instead, by arranging a “tax” that fell so heavily on small depositors, they blew a hole in deposit insurance schemes worldwide. Depositors in banks elsewhere in the EU, or indeed the U.S., can no longer believe that … their savings are secure.

“A world in which neither government bonds nor banks are to be trusted takes us back about 400 years… pushing our financial system back close to the Dark Ages will do nothing whatever for global economic well-being. A world without banks is a world in which all trade must be financed by merchants themselves, in which investments must be financed entirely out of equity or ad hoc loans from those with money… it is unimaginable that business as a whole can do so; the needs of fixed assets, inventory and receivables are simply too great. A world with 13th century finance is more or less a world with 13th century living standards—and for only a 13th century world population.”

Please, reread that last sentence I put in bold.

Lest you think this is only an Amerikan or European problem and you’re safe in Canada, you should know about recent Canadian legislation titled the Canada Economic Action Plan for 2013

The top of page 145 (PDF page 155) reads. “The Government proposes to implement a ‘bail-in’ regime for systemically important banks. This regime will be designed to ensure that, in the unlikely event that a systemically important bank depletes its capital, the bank can be recapitalized and returned to viability through the very rapid conversion of certain bank liabilities into regulatory capital. This will reduce risks for taxpayers. The Government will consult stakeholders on how best to implement a bail-in regime in Canada.”

In the arcane language of bankers, deposits are the bank’s “liabilities” and this new legislation allows for “very rapid conversion of certain bank liabilities into regulatory capital”. In other words, they’ve legalized bank deposit confiscation in Canada like they did in Cyprus.

Notice that the Canadian government does NOT exempt deposits from confiscation (“bail-in”). Welcome to ‘Bail-in Nation”. Even if they later DO exempt deposits, do you really believe a government? They don’t give a rat’s ass about the people they supposedly serve; when they get desperate, they only look after themselves and their bankster buddies.

Notice the propaganda, “This will reduce risks for taxpayers.” Right! It reduces risk to the taxpayers by putting depositors at risk instead. One lesson to be learned from the Cyprus ‘bail-in’; it shows that taxpayer funded bailouts are failing and coming to an end. Desperate governments are now resorting to outright theft and they’re doing it in broad daylight. The European Parliament will soon be voting on a similar ‘bail-in’ confiscation law.

It won’t solve the problem. Nothing will because nothing can. The system is broken. Governments are simply buying time so their oligarch bankster buddies can continue robbing us blind. Cypriot pig farmer Stelios Sofroniou told the New York Times “The weakest pigs in the pen don’t eat… The strong ones eat everything. This is the law of nature.”

Although technically not bankrupt, almost every bank in the world is insolvent. What’s the difference between insolvency and bankruptcy? Insolvency is a financial condition; bankruptcy is a legal process. Insolvency is the inability to meet one’s financial obligations. Bankruptcy is a legal process of liquidating and winding down a business.

Banks operate on a fractional reserve basis. They retain only a portion of depositor’s money. Strictly speaking, all banks in a fractional reserve system are insolvent because they cannot immediately pay back all their depositor’s money without calling in all loans and mortgages. They borrow short-term (from depositors) and lend long-term. They are not legally declared bankrupt because they can borrow from other banks and from central banks.

However, the amount of debt in the world greatly exceeds all the money in the world. How is this possible? Remember the derivatives I’ve been ranting about since 2007? These are artificially created financial instruments that the banksters created to package and sell to other banks and investors thus earning themselves commissions and obscene bonuses. All these now worthless derivatives exceed the global GDP by a factor between ten and twenty times. Long story short: the whole world is insolvent.

Government debts exceed their ability to service let alone to pay them back. This is why we are seeing Quantitive Easing to infinity. They have to keep printing money just to cover their interest. Nor do governments have the money to guarantee all deposits. For instance, the Economist reports, “The euro area has €8 trillion of deposits and only €4.5 trillion of annual government revenues: governments could not guarantee all the deposits even if they wanted to.”

Fractional reserve banking works so long as they can borrow from other banks to cover shortfalls. Interbank lending has stopped because no bank trusts another bank’s solvency because they’re all sitting on worthless derivatives. So, now they resort to stealing their depositors’ money.

What’s next? There aren’t enough deposits in the world to cover all the debt so next they’ll start stealing pensions. First it will be private pension plans like U.S. 401k’s and Canadian RRSP’s. They’ll use the excuse that individuals are incapable of making sound investment decisions so they’ll “nationalize” our private pension plans and transfer them into government bonds. The bond market is now the largest bubble on earth. Bubbles burst. We’ll all be left holding the bag and our private pensions will be wiped out.

What’s after that? There isn’t enough private pension money in the world to service or pay off all the debt in the world so they’ll go after company pension plans next.

And after that? They’ll cut and then eliminate social security pensions because, as I said, governments are insolvent. Government debt exceeds their ability to service let alone pay off their debt.

Another lesson learned from Cyprus – during a bank holiday when ATM withdrawals are limited, debit cards don’t work and neither do credit cards as merchants and businesses fear they won’t be paid. It became a cash-only economy. Do you have cash at home yet? Cypriot banks were to be closed for a couple days and that turned into two weeks. Cypriot banks are open now. Withdrawals are limited to €300, they cannot cash cheques and ‘capital controls’ prevents money wire transfers out of Cyprus.

The Eurozone is crumbling. Cypriot euro currency is no longer honored outside Cyprus (the “G” in the serial number identifies the source). This means that Cyprus has effectively withdrawn from the EU in all but name.

We were told that Greece, which consists of only 2% of Eurozone GDP, was going to bring down the Eurozone unless it was bailed out. Now things have deteriorated to the point where even tiny Cyprus, much smaller than Greece, threatens the Eurozone. Now they’re talking about Slovenia, another pimple ion a gnat’s ass. There are many money laundering hot spots in Europe. See chart below.

Cyprus Crumbling Propert Rights-2013-03-28-002

These are at risk along with the usual suspects: Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain.

Governments and their ass media stooges will continue lying about the economic situation. Everything is ok until it’s not. This is why governments and the ass media are in overdrive trying to convince us we have nothing to worry about. Meanwhile, the smart money is converting devaluing fiat currency into hard assets which is exactly what I’m recommending you do (oops, I can’t say that as I’m not an accredited financial advisor).

If the only problem we had was the incompetence of bankers and government leaders that Martin Hutchinson pointed out above we might have a chance simply by replacing these idiots. However, global financial collapse is inevitable given the incredible levels of private and public debt as well as ten to twenty times global GDP in worthless derivatives that underpin bank assets, bonds, pensions and other investments. Still, I used to think we could painfully recover from that and rebuild.

I was wrong. The incredible greed, avarice and corruption of the oligarchs and their paid-for politicians are the final nails in our coffin. We are being robbed blind at every turn. Interest rates kept unnaturally low for so long are destroying markets by eliminating “price discovery”, causing deadly capital misallocation and punishing savers and pensioners. The banksters’ malfeasance goes unpunished as they continue insider and high frequency trading, front running, manipulation, price fixing and endless forms of outright theft.

MF Global, LIBOR scandal and even teachers fixing test scores in Pittsburgh, Atlanta and other cities show that corruption, dishonesty and cheating is endemic at all levels of society.

The banking system, in fact ALL financial systems, ultimately rely on confidence That confidence is now destroyed. The Cyprus ‘bail-in” hastened that. The global banking system is also broken. Without banks, economies collapse. Without banks, we descend back into the Dark Ages as Martin Hutchinson outlined above.

I used to believe what Satyajit Das said several years ago; that governments realize they cannot stop the collapse, they can only hope to soften the blow. I now realize that was wishful thinking. They are NOT trying to soften the blow. Banksters bought the politician and co-opted the regulators in order to a bleed us dry and extract every penny they can from us. Jon Corzine of MF Global stole billions of dollars of his client’s money and today he’s still a free man.

There will be no soft landing; there will only be utter destitution. Millions will commit suicide. Millions more will be systematically slaughtered by government thugs. Millions will be murdered by armed marauders. Billions will eke out a bare existence like the Somalis and millions will return to the serfdom of the Dark Ages. Only a tiny fraction of a percent will live like kings guarded behind walls and living opulent lives in constant fear of the seething masses outside.

When something is going to fall, give it a push. Global fiat currencies and economies are collapsing. Governments are trying to “soften the landing” so their crony bankster oligarchs can fleece us as much as possible before the music finally stops. So, I’m giving the sucker a push by taking my money out of the banks. The sooner the damn thing collapses the more we keep in our own pockets and out of the hands of the crooks that built this crazy Ponzi scheme. Why should we reward the bastards? I’m not an accredited financial advisor so I can’t tell you what to do but I can tell you what I’m doing: taking out every penny I can.

What the ass media haven’t told you is that most of the Russian Oligarchs’ loot that was parked in Cyprus banks was gone long before the so-called bank holiday closed the banks. They had ample warning before the bank holiday. As well, Cypriot banks had subsidiary banks in the UK and Russia that stayed open during Cyprus’s bank holiday that were able to transfer accounts out of Cyprus banks. The only large amounts left in Cyprus bank accounts are Cypriot businesses and they are going to bear the full brunt of the 40% loss causing a further collapse of Cyprus’s economy. This, in turn, will reduce tax revenues, drive more businesses into the black market and further reduce tax revenues until the government collapses in a downward death spiral coming soon to an economy near you.

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Canadian Economy On Thinning Ice

That’s the title of a March 30th Economist article about “disappointing [Canadian] exports, stalled investment and fiscal austerity leave the overstretched consumer as Canada’s only hope for growth.”

For eleven consecutive years, Canadian household spending exceeded disposable income so consumers are in no shape to spend our way out of recession. The March 21st Federal budget focused on reducing the deficit but did little to encourage business investment or exports to take the place of consumers in supporting economic growth.

Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of Canada, has been warning us about household debt yet he’s kept interest rates at just 1% since September 2010 and he said it would stay there for a long time yet. Does it not sound like both the Finance Minister and Mark Carney are sucking and blowing at the same time? Can they really be that stupid or do they know but can’t admit that the house of cards is collapsing?

Canadians have been rather smug since quickly emerging from the Great Recession and most don’t know that Canadian banks were bailed out with mortgages and cash.

The graph below compares Canadian household debt with U.S. and UK.

Canada debt

You can see that U.S. and UK household debt ratios are falling but Canada’s is still climbing. This can only end in tears.

The U.S. with its shrinking economy remains Canada’s biggest export customer at 73%. Building the Keystone pipeline through the U.S. is stalled as is the oil pipeline through B.C. while the price for Canadian oil is falling on increasing U.S. supplies and natural gas prices can’t go any lower. This is jeopardizing Alberta’s economy; one of the only “have” provinces left in Canada. This too can only end in tears.

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Gold, Silver are Insurance, not Investment

People who have money can protect it from the ravages of inflation by buying gold and/or silver. This is insurance against the loss of purchasing power. Gold and silver are NOT investments. Precious metals are a store of value but if you buy them hoping to make a profit, you will probably be disappointed (with the exception of silver which I’ll discuss in a moment.) Gold will buy the same things today that it bought a century ago, two centuries ago or many millennia ago so, although it increases in “price” (it takes more devaluing money to buy) it retains its value (its purchasing power).

There is a difference between price and value. As exemplified by multi-billionaire Warren Buffett, price is what you pay; value is what you get. Recently, Mr. Buffett bought the HJ Heinz company. Some analysts say he paid too much but they don’t know the difference between price and value. Were Warren Buffet to immediately sell Heinz, he would without a doubt lose money. However, he holds companies for a long time. He is the master of “Indirect Exchange”. He pays for an asset with depreciating money and the asset then generates revenue greater than holding money (inflation depreciates its purchasing power) or holding gold (inflation increases its price at roughly the same rate as inflation).

He also recently bought Burlington Northern Railway. Inflation will increase the price of ketchup and shipping rates. So he sells a depreciating asset (paper money) and buys a real asset that adjusts for inflation while generating a profit over and above that. That’s why he’s the master of Indirect Exchange. He understands that people will always want a good quality ketchup and transportation to ship it.

If you have a great deal of wealth, copy Warren Buffet and you’ll grow your wealth. If you have a small amount of wealth, buying gold and/or silver will hedge your wealth’s purchasing power against inflation but, it won’t increase your wealth. If you have a little bit of spare cash, buy durable necessities that you will use in the future thus avoiding the ravages of inflation. As outlined in Our Incredible Shrinking Economies the real inflation rate is many times greater than the bullshit the government tells you. And, when the shit hits the fan, you can use these essentials for barter.

Silver is presently an exception. Historically, the price ratio of silver to gold has ranged between 12:1 to 20:1 and typically around 16:1. That means that 16 ounces of silver once could be exchanged for one ounce of gold. Throughout history, gold and silver were used as money. Only the wealthy had gold but most ordinary people used silver as money. Traditionally there was much more silver available than gold. Today, since gold and silver have been demonetized and because there’s more silver than gold, the silver gold ratio has jumped to 50:1.

Once fiat currencies collapse and gold and silver are used as money again, this silver gold ratio will start to fall from 50:1 closer to 16:1. I said closer. I didn’t say exactly. However, purchasing silver might be an investment as well as a store of value as the silver ratio drops from its high of 50:1. For example if you bought silver today at a 50:1 ratio and the ratio dropped to 25:1 you’d double your wealth in silver while gold would retain its value. An added benefit of silver is its use for everyday purchases when the SHTF. It will be difficult getting change buying groceries with an ounce of gold.

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Collapse VS Decline?

An astute blog commenter said he prefers to use the word decline rather than collapse because it carries less emotional weight. I might add that the word ‘collapse’ also indicates speed whereas our economies have been ‘declining’ since the U.S. officially went into recession in December 2007 which is slightly more than five years now.

Well, boys and girls, if using ‘collapse’ stirs your blood more than ‘decline’ then I’ll use it. The trouble with ‘decline’ is it sounds too sugar-coated; too likely to encourage wishful thinking and procrastination. Doing nothing is not an option unless you want to be a victim.

Back in 1984 when Time magazine actually reported some news rather than just entertainment and propaganda, they said about the Roman Empire; “Rome did not fall so much as it was series of announcements like ‘the messenger service doesn’t stop here on Saturdays anymore.” Canadians know that Saturday postal service stopped years ago and the same fate awaits the U.S.

Edward Gibbon marked 55 BCE as the peak of the Roman Empire. The final sacking of Rome occurred in 425 AD while Constantinople (today Budapest), the capital of the eastern Roman Empire, lasted until the fifteenth century; a millennia after its peak (it was founded it in the fourth century AD).

Many of the factors that contributed to the decline of Rome are contributing to our ‘decline’ such as the Roman debasement of coinage. Today it’s inflation. Another factor is corruption where today we have a similar oligarchy of banksters who own both the central banks and our corrupt politicians and who are systematically robbing us blind. If that makes the banksters pimps then our politicians are the whores (with apologies to prostitutes for comparing them to politicians).

The biggest difference between our ‘decline’ and Rome’s is speed. We are collapsing in years what took Rome centuries to decline. I don’t know how many Amerikan laws there are but in kinder, gentler Canada there are over 110,000 laws and by-laws. It might also be worth noting that toward the end of the Roman Empire, taxes and duties and the obligations of its citizens became so onerous that many willingly sold themselves into slavery as a form of escape. Rome also outlawed that practice with more laws.

The good news, such as it is; the City of Rome did not disappear and the citizens of the Roman Empire did not vanish into thin air. They learned to live under the Franks and Vandals and then as serfs in a Feudal society during the ensuing Dark Ages. In other words, life went on for the survivors and in many cases Feudalism was preferable to the desperate conditions of the late Roman Empire.

So, will we devolve into another Dark Age? In 1983 when I sold my house, I would not have thought so although I did foresee economic turmoil. In 2005, when hedge funds began imploding, I began to wonder. When the 2007 Great Recession turned into the Financial Crisis of 2008, I began to fear a descent into the Dark Ages. Today, it’s no longer just a possibility. Now, it is inevitable.

Are you prepared?

Gerold
March 30, 2013

Update: March 31 – once “they” realize a lot of money is being withdrawn and they can’t get their thieving hands on it, they’ll devise new ways to rob us. One way might be changing the currency (with some bullshit about improving it or making it harder to counterfeit, whatever). Then they’ll put a time limit on the old currency, forcing us to convert to the new currency and rob us when we convert.

Keep enough cash on hand for emergencies but if you keep a lot be prepared for the above. Once again, the only way to avoid the above is to convert devaluing currency into assets or stuff. Maybe the bastards are doing all this on purpose to get us to spend, spend, spend thus stimulating the dead corpse of this Frankenstein economy.

Hang in there, keep your wits about you and be of good cheer. It’s going to get real interesting so you need to have a positive attitude for your own survival and those around you.

Motto: Illigitimi non carborundum (don’t let the bastards grind you down)

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About gerold

I have a bit of financial experience having invested in stocks in the 1960s & 70s, commodities in the 80s & commercial real estate in the 90s (I sold in 2005.) I am appalled at our rapidly deteriorating global condition so I've written articles for family, friends & colleagues since 2007; warning them and doing my best to explain what's happening, what we can expect in the future and what you can do to prepare and mitigate the worst of the economic, social, political and nuclear fallout. As a public service in 2010 I decided to create a blog accessible to a larger number of people because I believe that knowledge not shared is wasted.
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12 Responses to Back to the Dark Ages

  1. Fred says:

    Good piece Gerold ! As Nassim Taleb states, western economies are now neither capitalistic or socialistic but some murky combination of the two. Seems something needs to be sorted !

  2. John Theobald says:

    sounds depressingly accurate

  3. Ken Jensen says:

    Hi Marlaine

    I need you to read this full article written today by a 70 year old friend of mine in Toronto. It relates to Canada and how are finance minster just passed a law were if the banks money runs out they can take it right from our bank accounts. he passed that law because the banks even here are insolvent they have no money only debt.

    Ken Jensen

    • gerold says:

      Actually, all banks globally are insolvent not just Canadian banks.

      And, I’ll have you know I’m 63 years young, working on 70 and plan to live forever; so far, so good…

    • GBV says:

      Gerold,

      You’re Toronto-based?
      Here I thought you were out in the West.

      Perhaps we’ll have to have a beer together and commiserate the end of the Western World as we know it.

      By the way, great article – nice to see so many poignant issues tied together in one place. It emphasizes what a shame it is that people have been zombified into only listening to sound bites under 10 seconds; thus most of the sheeple will never take the time to consider the wisdom you’ve presented in the article above.

      Cheers,
      -GBV

      • gerold says:

        Good to hear from you, GBV.

        Yes, it is a shame that so many sheeple indulge in willful ignorance. However, reality bites and the unprepared will get it good and hard, unfortunately. The government and their ass media flunkey’s will blame every one – speculators, hoarders, the Chinese, etc. and invoke class warfare; rich versus poor, boomers versus the young – everyone that is except those who are complicit i.e. themselves and the banksters and the handful of extremely wealthy families that control them and own us all. That’s something to keep in mind when it all goes down because we’ll all be lumped into in one category or another.
        I’ve been reading a lot of commentary from the Cyprus ‘bail-in’ fall-out so I’ll work on a follow-up article soon. Some interesting perspectives have emerged to cast more light on the sordid affair and provide some direction. Stay tuned. BTW – with precious metals getting hammered, it’s a good time to buy now that they’re on sale although there’s still a hefty premium over the “official price”.

        Although I live in Ontario, I’m based in Thunder Bay on the western side of the province on the shore of Lake Superior; the “Lakehead”. The masthead photo shows the rock formation known as the “Sleeping Giant” about 15 KM across the bay. Beyond is Lake Superior. There’s a few related pictures in the Photos category

        https://geroldblog.com/2012/01/08/assorted-pictures/

      • GBV says:

        Gerold,
        To your reply below – how are housing prices out Thunder Bay way?

        Constantly keeping my eyes peeled for affordable acreages in areas close to sound-minded communities (well, more sound-minded than Toronto anyway). The other benefit of community is that as my parents age, I think they will require access to some of the services that may only be available within communities (and even then probably only at a much higher price than today; i.e. health care).

        My hope is that a 2013-2015 housing collapse in Canada will open up the opportunities for my family to secure a homestead they so desperately need/desire. Family is pretty interested in the Bancroft area at the moment, but I’m pushing them to consider more locations across Canada before making a big decision like where they want to tie up a huge chunk of their wealth.

        Between now and said-hopeful housing collapse, just need to keep my eye on the ball and protect my family’s wealth until the time to buy up hard goods (at depressed prices) arrives… hopefully that will be sooner rather than later, or at least before any global banking/energy collapse that ushers into some sort of Mad Max style future occurs.

        Cheers,
        -GBV

        • gerold says:

          Good questions, GBV. No one can predict the future. However, I’ve closely watched our trajectory for more than six years and the declining trend has not changed. The two great unknowns are:

          1) Will it continue to be a steady but volatile decline or will we fall off the cliff at some point?
          2) How and when will it end because nothing goes on forever?

          I’m not expecting a Mad Max ending although there will be pockets – in fact there already are in places like Detroit, Flint, Newark, etc. that will only get worse. However, I am preparing for it in such a way that if we’re lucky enough to escape such a fate then I won’t have wasted much. An example is stockpiling and rotating food that will be used anyway. On the other hand, I may not have to use a water filter or water containers.

          My gut feeling is that proximity to highly populated areas is too dangerous unless you like being under the thumb of jack-booted army, police, security forces and dealing with the rise of war-lords. Accessible hinterland (hunting, fishing, woodlots, etc.) cannot provide for a large population without the civilized services we take for granted.

          As for “affordable acreages in areas close to sound-minded communities”, places like Thunder Bay and surrounding areas should definitely be on your radar. Real estate in T’ Bay is “overpriced” insofar as it will be hit with a downturn but I don’t expect as much of a downturn as Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary and some Toronto areas.

          Smaller communities close to T’ Bay are dirt cheap as they haven’t recovered from the collapse of our forestry industry. Nakina, Red Rock, Ignace, Atikokan, Upsala, Geraldton, Longlac, Beardmore, Terrace Bay and many others within an hour or two drive from Thunder Bay have some houses already under $100,000 and some in the $40,000 to $60,000 range. I doubt they’ll go down much. A few years ago some were in the $15,000 to $20,000 range. Apparently Amerikans bought some for cottages. Country estate closer to T’ Bay is priced comparatively higher because of vicinity to T’ Bay’s services and the new quarter billion dollar regional hospital. A future housing crash could bring those prices down but probably not much.

          I moved here in 1988 having visited about once a year for 11 years on business so I knew what I was getting into – friendly, helpful, down-to-earth people but on the other hand; second-rate service and a lack of urgency took a while to get used to. I grew up in Thompson, Manitoba (too small & isolated) and lived in Winnipeg (too large with an extreme climate) so T’ Bay was a Goldilocks ‘just right’. The weather within 10 to 15 K of Lake Superior is mild and moderate – as a fanatic snowboarder for 20 years; my winters here are too mild and short. However, further inland finds an additional 10 to 15 degrees C in both directions.

          Distance is also a factor from major centers, being a 7 hour drive to Winnipeg and 14 hours (non-stop) to Toronto. Distance can be an issue depending on item 2) above. Will we still be serviced when logistics and power lines break down or do the survivors go back to growing and preserving food, hunting, fishing and using wood stoves? There’s no lack of wild life and trees for wood but I’m not sure if everyone who survives a possible cull is cut out for it.

          Distance can be a blessing or a curse. Living close to many neighbors presents the usual “people problems” but also assistance, skills, cooperation and defense. Isolated country living has it’s benefits but on the other hand, home invaders out of sight and hearing of neighbors can linger longer; inflicting more torture, rape and death.

          There are many things to balance with no “right” answers.

          – Gerold

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