Where will things go after SHTF?

Discussion in 'General Preparedness Discussion' started by Tirediron, Jul 31, 2010.

  1. Tirediron

    Tirediron RockyMountainCanadian

    I don't want to be down on society but if a large scale infrastructure wreckage happens it will take a really long time to even come close to a comfortable state for most people. Every thing is so inter woven that one big failure may cause a cascade effect. And if terrorists ever do attack ,say a bunch of fuel refineries things will sputter to a halt and it takes time and supplies to fix things like that , because they were built one at a time. Too much reliance on technology is scarry , tech is nice but you better be able to live with out it. Go to a local library and look at books about farm machinery at the turn of the 19th century .things were pretty crude . :scratch
  2. carlnet

    carlnet carl.net

    Without going into a longer discussion on risk assessment and why most long term, large scale SHTF situations are very unlikely it is still an interesting exercise to consider your question. Let’s assume there is a large scale SHTF situation that sends North America back to early 1900’s levels. Census figures are a great work of fiction even today so depending who you talk to we have about 300 million people in the US (not counting illegal’s) and Canada has about 35 million. In 1900 there were about 76 million people in the US and 5 million in Canada. So from 1900 to today NA has gone from 81 million to 335 million.

    Just a quick side note China is approximately the same size from a landmass standpoint as the US and in 1900 had 400 million people and today has 1.3 billion. So even though I am going to make some general comparisons using the 1900’s as my basis the truth is even if everything went to hell in a hand bag we could easily support our current population at 1900 technology levels with a rather major change in government and lifestyle expectations…

    If you look at the average home in the 1900’s it was not much different than today. It was occupied by a family, who ate meals together, one or both spouses worked either for pay or directly for the family, and children were raised to some level of education higher than savage. Many homes had iceboxes in larger cities, all had either gas, wood, oil or coal heating, and people who lived in the South sweated a lot. (Grin) Entertainment revolved around books, local plays , church, the radio or people just talking to each other. Sure we have exceptional lives today but if you talk to people who were born in the early 1900’s most of them describe it as a pretty good time to live.

    The biggest issue we have is our current population density. So the real question is if we want to have a reasonable standard of living at 1900’s technologies levels can we do it with a population that is 4 times the size of the one we had in 1900? I brought up China because they may be a good example of what the average standard of living would look like if we were sent back to 1900’s technology levels today. And that is not a pretty picture as most of us would be living in hovels and forced labor would be the norm. Personally I would prefer the 1900’s NA model over the 1900’s Chinese model but we need to figure out what to do with all our excess population who have no skills, terrible work ethic, and have no clue how great they currently have it.

    Lots more to write but this should get the conversation going in a rather interesting direction…

    Last edited: Jul 31, 2010

  3. UncleJoe

    UncleJoe Well-Known Member

    I must respectfully disagree.
    In 1900 nearly 60% of the U.S. population lived on farms or in a rural setting (Don't know the stats for Canada). They grew their own food, raised animals and lived a somewhat self sufficient life. Today we have 2% on farms feeding the other 98% who for the most part have no idea where their food comes from or what went in to making it. In a major SHTF situation, where the food stops flowing, I truly believe cities would turn chaotic within a week and slide into anarchy inside a month if no supplies became available.

    No. Today's average home bears little resemblance to the homes of the early 1900's. JMHO :)
  4. Tirediron

    Tirediron RockyMountainCanadian

    I have to agree with Unclejoe ,100 years ago everybody who could had a garden, We live in a rural ranching area and hardly anybody has a garden nobody butchers their own animals them selves. A lot of people hire there hay cut and baled, self reliant skills don't seem to exist. hardly anybody has wood heat even though there is lots of dead fall around . this is a rural area what happens in cities . Stores have only 1 1/2 to 2 days of stock , pop one big EMP high enough over Kansas and most of NA is without food in 2 days if not before. Here if it hit in winter 98 percent of the people in cities would freeze before they starved :scratch
  5. nj_m715

    nj_m715 www.veggear.blogspot.com

    You guys took the words out of my mouth. Food doesn't come from a farm and meat doesn't come from a ranch. Today food comes from a box and meat comes from the freezer. Nobody knows how to make bread. Chicken broth only comes from a can you don't get it by boiling a chicken.
    Most of our farm land around the cities has been turned into houses, so the food comes from further away. It has to be moved somehow. Maybe on horse back? Go watch the video in the bug-in thread. A simple broken pipe caused riots at the store. If they wanted bottled water that bad they could have jumped in the car and drove a couple exits up the highway to the next town. What happens when the cars don't run and the next town is also out of water?

    Forget about something big, little things are big problem. The shelves are bare around here if they call for a couple inches of snow. The black out in the Northeast left people stuck in elevators for ever. You can't buy food when you can't swipe your magic card. You can't fill your car if there's no power to the gas station. People die in the city from the heat even when we have power. All those highrises will become ovens in short order.
  6. pdx210

    pdx210 Well-Known Member

    I agree with uncle Joe too!

    Imagine New York City if oil & electricity disappeared In weeks or months. Assuming you have food to ship in (remember growing/raising food is heavily oil dependant today too lets not dwell on that ) How are you going to get food in and waste out? The answer would be horses, mules, oxen, boat and man power but how many people have the skills to work these let alone that fact that not enough exist and it would take decade or more to bring that level of capacity on line. Most people simply don’t have 19th century technology skills

    As far as the average home in the 1900’s not much different than today.. they look similar but they are much different.
    -Wood burning cook stoves in the kitchen the ice box was invented in 1748 but where are you going to get and transport the ice blocks to cool it ?
    How many newer homes have a root cellars? No electricity, indoor plumbing, central heat, A/C, refrigerators, freezers, phone, TV, internet, radio, electric light, dishwashing, laundry washing machines. When all of this is gone you have a very, very large problem …hygiene and disease
  7. horseman09

    horseman09 Well-Known Member

    Well, carlnet, there is only one thing you said on your post above that I would agree with, and that is: "Lots more to write but this should get the conversation going in a rather interesting direction…" :)
  8. UncleJoe

    UncleJoe Well-Known Member

    And that's an area I've been working on for a couple years now. We're building a supply of heirloom seeds. We can get water from the well by hand and I have a small collection of man-powered plows, cultivators and planters for working the ground. Right now they are just nicely painted lawn ornaments but if the need should ever arise, they can be put into service immediately. I've also been reading up on how to build an icehouse, again, just in case. I even have the location picked out.

    Here's a site with a mountain of information on living in a 19th century environment.
  9. carlnet

    carlnet carl.net

    What is your basis?

    When there are highly divergent ideas it is always a good idea to look at the basis for the ideas. Is there a difference in experience, education, knowledge, or perception? Could there be regional differences or age based differences? If you look at most survival sites where SHTF scenarios are discussed a common theme runs throughout with most basing the discussion on societal breakdown and large scale anarchy. These negative assumptions about the future are sometimes brought to the forefront when weapons or defense is discussed but quite often are taken as a given in most discussions.

    My post made as its base assumption that people would actually work together after a small amount of societal breakdown moving the whole towards a common good. Historically this has been the model in North America and I am not yet sure we are so far away from it that we could not return. Possibly my being brought up in both the Midwest and deep south where helping your neighbor is the norm colors my view. It could also be that after assessing most plans to either site tight or bug out it became obvious that if the SHTF you would be very likely to lose your stash and your life. So on the other hand possibly it is just wishful thinking on my part that people will work together to reform society into a form that provides the levels of leisure and pampering that is available at the then available technology level.

    If you take the standard SHTF scenario, which by definition is a negative viewpoint, it is not surprising to see the negative assumptions made in its aftermath. And then develop a timeline using a more positive view it might look something like this:
    1. Pre SHTF – Indicators that the issue is approaching that in general are ignored or not put together in time to stop the occurrence. AKA general bliss and ignorance with some planning by a small percentage of the population.
    2. SHTF – The big one (disease, mechanical/electrical breakdown of intentional/accidental/natural origin, gross destruction either man made or of natural origin, etc.)
    3. Post SHTF stage 1 – Confusion, denial and anarchy of less than one year. This phase includes the standard response to upsets to human routine. Some percentage of the population (sheeple) will be unable to cope and will either be collected and helped or just die. Another percentage of the population (more sheeple) will deny anything is happening and either be helped or die. Another percentage will return to their normal state which is anarchy robbing and raping those who cannot resist or do not get out of their way. There are two more groups, the hider/hoarders and the planner/action people. The hider/hoarders will hole up and hope no one notices and may do reasonably well. Of course there are any number of low tech ways to smoke these people out no matter how well armed they are so hiding is their only real protection from the anarchy group. The planner/action people will start bringing together groups of people who have not devolved into anarchy and building the structures and bonds that reestablish society.
    4. Post SHTF stage 2 – Cleanup lasting 1 to 5 years depending on the SHTF scenario. The cleanup phase is where the planner/action people clean up the mess using the mass of sheeple as their workforce. People will be organized and the work of rebuilding will begin. The anarchists will be exterminated or re absorbed into society. The goods hoarded by the hider/hoarders will be collected and used to support the broader societal base. People who resist this phase will be helped to comply through force.
    5. Post SHTF stage 3 – The new society. In this phase societal norms will be reestablished based on the technology available. Things will begin to flourish and grow though some areas will continue to need help as they will devolve.

    The big question in this time line is what is the time required to move through the phases would really be? Are people truly so devoid of positive traits that they will be unable to pull together and solve the issues that we would face? Or would history repeat itself and under the stress we could return to hard work and the ingenuity that has made NA so strong? I personally chose to believe in a positive outcome and so my preparations count on people working together to reform a workable society in rapid order.
  10. SurvivalNut

    SurvivalNut Retired Army

    Nice breakdown.........but the hider/hoarders have an inalienable right to have what they have earned. Hiders/Hoarders possessions are not the business of others, as much as my income is not my neighbors income.

    The NEW SOCIETY and the collectivization of goods and services and the forcable relocation of people at the hands of a newly established stinks about as much as a NWO or "social justice".

    The dividing line between a Republic and a Totalitarian "Democracy" is way too thin. The recovery in this scenario will not be so easy or perfect the first time.

    I see a longer period of local independently self sufficient regions slowly realigning and reestablishing order over many years, irregardless of the ability of the Federal Government to do little more than tax, spend, bribe or protect their own.
  11. nj_m715

    nj_m715 www.veggear.blogspot.com

    Are people truly so devoid of positive traits that they will be
    unable to pull together and solve the issues that we would face?

    It looked the people from the quite little town in NewEngland (where I'm sure they help their neighbors out when needed and everybody knows each other) were ready and willing to pound the snot out of an old lady at the grocery store to get the last jug of water.
    http://inflation.us/videos.html It's now the second video down labeled empty store shelves

    Look at how well the locals from the quite little town of NewOreans banded together to help each other riot and loot the town.

    I'm all for the positive hopefulness stuff, but when people stomp each other for furby toys at christmas time You can only wonder what they will do when their lives are on the line.

    I think people have shown their true colors time and time again. I don't feel the need to speculate how people will react. Sure strangers might stop and help at a car crash, but when their rear end is on the line it's different.There might be some banding together, especially in rural areas, but those groups will be competing for resources I can picture it happening like Lights Out. Have your barbed wire ready.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2010
  12. Tirediron

    Tirediron RockyMountainCanadian

    Sheeple and the holier than thou FEMA and their ilk have no right to prepper's prepps and would likely get holes in them trying to collect . If the organizers and parisites can't get it right (after all managment class caused the current mess by their need for control) why would they be able to do anything after SHTF add to the fact that any reasonably awake prepper knows how deep intitlement runs in the Sheeple and that they need to be mostly invisible. Trying to resque the nay sayers is counter productive. Let nature take it's course. :scratch
  13. carlnet

    carlnet carl.net

    Thinking on a broader scale...

    I agree that those who have taken the time to prepare (I have 680 acres in the middle of the mark twain national forest, with a spring for fresh water, cattle, goats, horses, chickens and I have been on a program of planting fruit and nut trees for years, and next year will begin seeding mushroom spoor throughout the forest in dead logs, etc.) should have a right to what they have created and stored but I am also aware that there are plenty of others who feel that the good of the many sheeple outweighs the good of the one (the prepper). As part of my line of work I spend a reasonable amount of time creating threat risk assessments and have been working on one for some of the SHTF scenarios. This line of thinking has taught me a lot about many of the standard lines of thinking and how many of them might fail.

    For example let’s consider the person who decides to hole up where they live. Generally the level of thought and organization required to be a prepper is evident to your neighbors. Of course very few people can keep a secret so it is likely that even if you have not talked about your preparation others might have. Therefore it should be expected that some percentage of a prepers prep is a known fact. But let’s assume that human nature has been defeated, and a secret has been kept, and the SHTF scenario happens, and you are not one of the ones who are affected, and your plans are realized. Essentially you are sitting pretty with food, light, water, and a bit of entertainment. The anarchy is in full swing, you have had to cap a few looters and as expected word gets around to stay clear of your house.

    Here by the way is where it gets interesting. Let’s say that either a troop of do-gooders have organized the area or not as bad a bunch of thugs. The do-gooders are going house to house collecting supplies (for your own good) and adding them to the community stock pile where everyone eats as a large happy family. Or the thugs are looking for new meat and one of the group remembers that house everyone stays clear of as it must be full of really good stuff to have been protected so well. Either way there is a thing you know a lot about having been in the US Army called overwhelming force. Both groups, if they are stupid, can apply overwhelming force to the protected dwelling and take it by force. Obviously if they are coming against you with your ($250,000 to $400,000 worth of Army training (depends on who you ask and what you were trained in)) they are going to lose a lot more people then if they come against some of my neighbors… But on the other hand let’s say they are smart and rather than overwhelming force they apply technology and are not too concerned about damaging some of your goods. They can burn you out which could lose them a very large percentage of your goods or they could wait till dark and borrow a propane tank from one of your neighbors, open it, roll it up to your house (preferably a corner), and let it empty most of its gas. Now all we need is a small spark and boom your house is blown open, you are knocked silly if not killed, and most of your goods are still salvageable. Obviously there are lots of other great ways to get people out of their hole up houses and get to their goods…

    Back to an idea I have been thinking through and irrespective of the overall timeline, your specific means of preparation, location, and or levels of paranoia (that by the way is how the mainstream views prepers) there is one specific thing you can do to greatly increase your odds of not only keeping what is yours but ending up on top. If we agree that some form of organization will need to be applied to your local area in order for things to begin to return to normal why not be one of the people who orchestrates that order? Very simply by planning on a larger scale than just yourself or your family you can be ready with a plan that allows you to drive the local organization in the direction you would like. Every person on this board has the time (SHTF has not happened yet) to come up with a local plan that would create the type of local government they would want and then after the SHTF situation fill the leadership vacuum that will have been created.

  14. SurvivalNut

    SurvivalNut Retired Army

    I don't plan on waiting for self proclaimed do-gooders to come by having suddenly awakened in a come to Jesus moment to start to prep by "tithing" my preps for the good of all.

    And I am not a cap happy, hole in the ground survivalist either.

    My plan is the "LIGHTS OUT" school of life after. A neighborhood builds a community, communities build a nation. Bottom up. I'll be the one going around to my 10 neighbors and organizing them and spreading out from there.
  15. lotsoflead

    lotsoflead Well-Known Member

    hopefully while the Ss is HitingTF, all the bottom feeders,the drug freaks and the other unproductive people will wipe each other out and just the strong people who believe in the Constitution and the Amendments will survive.we toss out the 4-5 million laws written by lawyers for lawyers and just live the way the founding fathers laid it out. People are basically stupid though and have short memories about how they got in the fix we're in.
    bring back the mom and pop businesses,stores, family farms ect.We don't need a globel economy, if we want something that another country, keep the government out and let the people do the dealing. If someone like GM for example gets to big and can't pay their bills because the greedy people at the top milked the bank dry, tough,go out of business, no bail outs. bring back the gold standard to back our paper dollars.on and on.
  16. carlnet

    carlnet carl.net

    "hopefully while the Ss is HitingTF, all the bottom feeders,the drug freaks and the other unproductive people will wipe each other out"

    My grandfather, born in 1911, called this the great die off. As he saw society begin to degrade from the strong work ethics that built our country into the permissive gimmie society we have now he was sure we would just melt down on our own. Based on world politics it is likely that outside pressures may accelerate our slide to the great die off faster than it would happen on its own.
  17. Tirediron

    Tirediron RockyMountainCanadian

    Couple the gimmie with the overabundance of "office" type jobs in north america and the rediculus dependance on electronics and you have a glass house surrounded by kids with rocks .:nuts:
  18. Vertigo

    Vertigo Member

    If I would have to make a prediction on how things would happen after the SHTF, it would depend mostly on the type of SHTF scenario.

    - "The Big One" (least likely): a major biological, nuclear or environmental hit on a global scale

    --> no way to predict what will happen, but mostly it will be small groups trying to survive. Forget rebuilding society at that point, merely surviving will be a though nut to crack.

    - "The Slow One": general destabalisation of society, due to political or economical unrest.

    --> First stage would be "battening down the hatches" and try to stay out of sight and out of mind, while governments try to "do good" and neighbours feel very much entitled.
    Second stage would be small communities pulling together out of necessity to protect oneself against the lawless or perhaps the remains of an oppressive government.
    Third stage would be bigger communities starting to rebuild society, first by trade, then by politics.

    As far as timelines, if I would have to make a guess, for "The Big One" it would take at least 3 or 4 generations before something similar to the situation before would become commonplace.
    For "The Slow One", the first stage would be over after 3-5 years, second stage would be over after another 10-15 years and we would be back to a 'normal' functioning society within 1 or 2 generations.

    This is all just my best guess, and I could be way off. If anyone feels this could be refined, please do so.


    I have an office job, doesn't mean I feel entitled to what others have...

    Best regards,

  19. Bigdog57

    Bigdog57 Adventurer at large

    "4. Post SHTF stage 2 – Cleanup lasting 1 to 5 years depending on the SHTF scenario. The cleanup phase is where the planner/action people clean up the mess using the mass of sheeple as their workforce. People will be organized and the work of rebuilding will begin. The anarchists will be exterminated or re absorbed into society. The goods hoarded by the hider/hoarders will be collected and used to support the broader societal base. People who resist this phase will be helped to comply through force."

    Basically, some combination of Communism, Fuedalism and Fascism. NOT a world I would care to live in. If the hordes get too tough to handle - I push The Button. No-one gets these goodies...... ;)

    I can easily see a major die-off in the first couple months, as hunger, thirst and disease, not to mention bandits, take their toll on the untrained and unready. Many will willingly go into The Camps, to work for what's left of The Government. The big cities will have their 'no go zones' populated bythe Gangs and MZBs, while The Government will control other sectors. All nearby farmland will be taken by them too. Guess who will work the land...?

    Outlying areas will go wild, with anarchy ruling the day, except for small enclaves and fortified villages. We can expect local"Barons" to pop up here, and again, most folks work for their 'liege lord'.

    Think it can't happen? - just look at the once flourishing cities and towns of Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, Rhodesia and other African countries. This is their life NOW.

    Once this goes global, it will take a good long time for some type of unified 'civilization' to form again.

    The Dark Ages are always a rough time to live in........ but we Humans go through it every few hundred years. We NEVER learn from history.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2010
  20. HozayBuck

    HozayBuck Well-Known Member


    I agree with UncleJoe as to the changes in self sufficiency , and how bad it is... Down on the Homestead in East Texas, the Lady of the Manor was informed by another home schooling mom that she was having a problem with her son because LOM's son had told her son that eggs came from a chickens butt :eek: and he was refusing to eat eggs... when I quit laughing, the next week... I said well luv, this country is in worst shape then I thought...

    There are people who cry over a hunter killing "Bambie" for meat all the while cutting their steak which had lived a wonderful life and died in full "orgasm"... they haven't a clue , bread comes from the store and what's wheat???? :dunno: