Last week Charles D. left a short but challenging comment stating:
I will be interested to read what steps you believe one can take to insure personal independence in the event of an economic collapse.
Today I will attempt to specifically describe what we can and must do to ensure that we are not utterly dependent on society. As I said before, I am not advocating that people should become hermits or dissociate themselves from society – in fact I advocate the cultivation of connections within society. On the other hand, when push comes to shove I am ultimately responsible to provide the necessities of life for me and my family and it is up to me to make sure that I do not fail due to a failure by someone else.
Since feeling the challenge of accurately addressing Charles’ question I ran into a reference to the book How to Sew a Button: And Other Nifty Things Your Grandmother Knew. I think the title alone is descriptive of what I had in mind – being able to do for yourself or do without in as many things as possible. Basically, you should go through the following flowchart for everything you use and find a way to end up on the right side of the chart.
This gets down to some very basic things, like electricity and the foods you eat. If you are dependent on electricity you should be figuring out how much you need and looking for ways to produce it. For food production you need to have the skills and the resources necessary to produce a minimum supply for your needs
Thankfully you don’t have to be entirely alone. One of the things that you can do is cultivate a community of people you know who are willing to pool their skills and resources to produce their combined needs. For the most basic things you should find ways to produce, or actively contribute to the production of the things you are dependent on. For other things that you could live without but would prefer not to, it might be acceptable to be dependent on a member of your personal community to produce that particular thing, but you must be prepared to offer something of value in return for their production.