Letter Re: Dollar Collapse, Deflation, Inflation, and Consumer Debt

I have a question and would like your opinion on a question that relates to your recent article, The New Century: An Era of Upright Spikes.  I have also read countless other articles and watched interviews/videos from ‘experts’ that all have the same general consensus: Our economy, as well as the globe, is either going to collapse or get significantly worse.

My question; I am curious if there is any way to tell how long we have to prepare for WTSHTF of TEOTWAWKI?  My reasoning; I want my family (currently my wife and I along with two dogs) and group members to be as prepared as possible.  While I don’t want to accrue any ‘new’ debt.  I have wondered recently would it be worth it to put preparedness items on a credit card in order to be more prepared, especially if we are weeks or months away.  I do know these things are hard to predict and most likely cannot be predicted, I am curious if there is some point in history that this may help. – D.R.K.

JWR Replies: We are far more likely to see another two or three years of a “muddle through economy” (as economist John Mauldin aptly terms it) before the inevitable dollar collapse.  In the short term, this will be deflationary (in terms of wages and many paper assets). So debt could be very dangerous if you lose your job or have any big medical bills before mass inflation arrives. My advice is to avoid any unnecessary debt, at least for now! When mass inflation arrives, you can of course gleefully chase down your creditors, and pay them off in inflated dollars. But please don’t make the mistake of diving into debt. I had a friend that did that just before Y2K, and he ended up despondent and committed suicide.