Economics & Investing For Preppers

Here are the latest news items and commentary on current economics news, market trends, stocks, investing opportunities, and the precious metals markets. We also cover hedges, derivatives, and obscura. Most of these items are from the “tangibles heavy” contrarian perspective of SurvivalBlog’s Founder and Senior Editor, JWR. Today, we look at the hidden economic collapse. (See the Equities section.)

Precious Metals:

First up, there is this by Adam Hamilton, over at Seeking Alpha: Gold Investment Soaring

o  o  o

West Point Mint shut down.  This began two weeks ago, when just the gift shop and tours were closed. Now the entire mint is shut down, while demand is soaring.

o  o  o

Christopher Aaron: Gold Price Forecast: A Significant Top Is Ahead

Economy & Finance:

At Zero Hedge: Is The “Debt Chasm” Just Too Big For The Fed To Fill?

o  o  o

One of America’s largest meat producers has ominous warning about the grocery store supply

o  o  o

One of those dreaded Upright Spikes, as observed at Wolf Street: Week Two of the Collapse of the Labor Market. JWR Adds: A more recent figure released shows 16 million new jobless claims. Yikes!

o  o  o

And as long as we are talking Upright Spikes, they also published this: $1.5 Trillion Helicopter Money for Wall Street in 3 Weeks of Fed Bailouts


At Yahoo News: Bears Have Piled Into Steel Shorts Ahead of Chaotic Earnings

o  o  o

OilPrice News reports: Why U.S. Shale Will Survive The Oil Price War

o  o  o

OPEC+ Powerless As Oil Prices Near $20


One River Asset Management: Without The Fed And Treasury Bailouts, Stocks Would Be Down 50-80%. JWR’s Comment: In German, this is what is a called Der Verdischer Wirtschaftseinbruch.  (The hidden economic collapse.)  But the Plunge Protection largesse can only hide the collapse for a few months. Plan — and invest — accordingly.

o  o  o

After a rally on Tuesday, stocks fell on Wednesday. The S&P 500 closed at 2,783 a 2.2% drop. Teh S&P is now down 17.8% from its February 19 high. Here is a little tidbit from that linked article:

“After market close, the U.S. Treasury announced preliminary agreements to provide at least 10 U.S. airlines with access to billions of dollars in funds to help support the carriers as demand – and revenues – drop off.”

JWR’s Comment:  This included chart has the classic look of a “Bull Trap Rally” (aka “Sucker’s Rally”).  Continue to sell on the rally days, folks. Hang on only to those stocks that you consider depression proof.

Mortgages and Rents:

At Wolf Street: “Mortgage Forbearance” is Suddenly Hot, Hits Shadow Banks, which Clamor for Bailout from Taxpayers and the Fed

o  o  o

UBS: Nearly $1 trillion in mortgage debt could be delinquent this year as a ‘prolonged credit crunch’ looms

o  o  o

No rent was paid in April by nearly a third of American renters

o  o  o

California judiciary panel delays evictions, foreclosures until summer due to COVID-19

Tangibles Investing:

Car price collapse predicted. JWR’s Comments:  If new car prices collapse, then there will probably be a corresponding (but lesser) general Detroit Iron Price Deflation that will extend to used cars, ex-rental cars, RVs, camper vans (as I mentioned in my last E&I column), and even classic cars. Keep cash on hand to Buy At The Bottom, folks!


SurvivalBlog and its Editors are not paid investment counselors or advisers. Please see our Provisos page for our detailed disclaimers.

News Tips:

Please send your economics and investing news tips to JWR. (Either via e-mail of via our Contact form.) These are often especially relevant, because they come from folks who closely watch specific markets. If you spot any news that would be of interest to SurvivalBlog readers, then please send it in. News from local news outlets that is missed by the news wire services is especially appreciated. And it need not be only about commodities and precious metals. Thanks!


  1. I wanted to eMail this in but, access in the boonies:

    I know you read ZH regularly, but what struck me is the audacity here – the media is inserting themselves (and their supposed authority) between children and parents. I don’t say this to be hyperbolic – another balloon has just gone up in my book. The idea of getting kids to rat out their own family to “authority” is coming. This ‘suggestion’ about redirecting the discussion is less than a whisker away from telling kids to turn in your parents. Kids will make that leap/conclusion on their own… this is too much.
    Donkey Kong look out! We get closer to the Big One every day now it seems.

    1. Who ever the CBC is they are living lives of denial. This is a prelude to the Nazi Germany Brown Shirts,happening right under our noses. People without any factual knowledge presuming to have authority to indoctrinate young people and are allowed to spread their propaganda. With all the home schooling going on this is a good time to teach the children analytical thinking. Asking the following questions can reveal the true motives. Who are these supposed authorities? What are their credentials? What are their motives. Are they self, or group motivated? How about the legality of their actions? Who is funding them? The last one is done by following the money to see who benefits from their actions? The goal here is to create young people with enquiring minds. We do not need any more sheeple in our society. While this is aimed at youth there is an ever increasing amount of adults that lack the ability to analyze information and sift out all the false info that they are being bombarded with constantly. After all if you read it on the internet it must be true.

      1. I think this was what happened in Nazi Germany. Kids were groomed at school with Youth Hitler Clubs with indoctrination which led to kids telling on their parents for comments and actions. Ultimately, the parents were rounded up and never heard from again.

  2. 1) You can also lose a lot of money by missed opportunities. If a solution to this virus is developed at some point (early vaccine, antiviral drug, widespread testing/isolation) then the stock market will soar on the news and anyone who is out will miss a large chunk of the runup.

    2) On the other hand, if that solution is NOT found then the exponential growth in virus cases and economic damage from business closures will tend to push the market down this summer. Kinda like a casino.

      1. Interesting article. However, I think the author errs on one point. If silver is 17 times a abundant as gold, then its price would be only 1/17 that of gold and its current price per that ratio would be $100, not $1000. ($1700 price of gold divided by 17 = $100 )

        I think price of gold is driven by Big Money’s desire to have a reliable STORE of VALUE given the massive printing of the world’s reserve currency, the US dollar. Silver is too bulky/heavy. To secure $100,000, for example, one would need 391 POUNDS of silver but only 3.7 pounds of gold. An issue when you are talking about storing $billions of dollars
        and paying for expensive, secure storage.

        Platinum is more scarce than gold yet is currently roughly $900 per ounce less. I think the reason is (a) Gold has thousands of years of tradition as a store of value and (b) Due to very good fakes with similar densities, it is now necessary to MELT bullion to be sure of its content (as the Germans did when they removed tons of their gold out of the Federal Reserve bank in New York). The other tests are not as sure.

        It is easy to melt gold (1948 deg F), harder to do so for Platinum ( 3215 deg F). Plus yellow gold is readily distinguishable from any other metals alloyed with it.

        I also wonder if the talk of mining asteroids and getting large amounts of platinum from them has convinced Big Money that platinum is not a reliable store in the LONG term. After all, aluminum once was more rarer –and costly — than gold.

        1. Don, the point you did not consider is the use of both metals and the respective recovery. Gold has few uses-electrical conductor mainly and is highly recoverable. Silver has over 40,000 uses and many of them are unrecoverable. So most of the gold ever mined is still in possession(would fill about 2 olympic swimming pools),while much silver(entire mountains worth) have been mined but not recovered. Do not forget the PM price fixing that has run rampant over many decades.

  3. As for the birthday spot yesterday for J. Neil Schulman, an the dead link to his movie…
    Interesting that a freedom loving entity such as Amazon would make the movie “Alongside Night” unavailable at such a time as this. I think I just heard the sound track from Twilight Zone playing in the background of my finite mind.

  4. Do you remember the last State of the Union address when President Trump listed the improvements that had been made on behalf of the United States and its citizens? He received applause from the right while the left sat on their hands and only applauded when they were given a signal by Nancy Pelosi that it was an appropriate time? Remember?

    Sadly, now that our country is in free fall it is easy to imagine the left side of the house standing, cheering and applauding the misfortune of the United States, its citizens, as well as its economy.

    Hopefully, you understand why.

    A biological war has been unleashed on the worlds economy, and almost overnight millions have become poorer. The left, the socialist/communists, need poor people to exist because without poor people they can not exist. Government to the rescue!

    1. From your post: “Sadly, now that our country is in free fall it is easy to imagine the left side of the house standing, cheering and applauding the misfortune of the United States, its citizens, as well as its economy.”

      It’s gut-wrenching, really.

      We hope and pray that these people have been revealed within the painful context of this pandemic such that there is a great awakening among the many, and that this awakening leads to a major cultural course correction.

    2. Please applaud the US military that sent a full compliment of athletes to the World Military Games in Wuhan. While there many were ill and the US won NO MEDALS(deep state maybe?)

  5. Do you remember the last State of the Union address when President Trump listed the improvements that had been made on behalf of the United States and its citizens? He received applause from the right while the left sat on their hands and only applauded when they were given a signal by Nancy Pelosi that it was an appropriate time? Remember?

    Sadly, now that our country is in free fall it is easy to imagine the left side of the house standing, cheering and applauding the misfortune of the United States, its citizens, as well as its economy.

    Hopefully, you understand why.

    A biological war has been unleashed on the worlds economy, and almost overnight millions have become poorer. The left, the socialist/communists, need poor people to exist because without poor people they can not exist. Government to the rescue!

  6. We and our country are in survival mode.You know that situation that most of us talked about and prepared for.
    It is still a long way to the bottom of this collapse and a very long way to recovery.The money printing is accelerating the onset of hyper inflation.Everything that is life saving
    or life sustaining is in short supply right now and will be come more scarce soon.
    Do not buy anything that you can’t eat,drink,or shoot.Would it not be better to give your
    children food rather than an antique or collectible?
    This is a depression like no other.Our ancestors made it by being frugal

  7. Even if there were a cure for this thing tomorrow, the damage is already done. Our economy is sliding down and will keep going because the inertia of a bureaucratic commerce doesn’t just stop, and the consequences of actions taken today take 2 weeks to 2 months to really manifest in the markets. It is probable that far more people will die due to the economic collapse that is unfolding than will die from this virus, even if this pandemic persists through the rest of this year. Probably an order of magnitude more.

  8. “Do not buy anything that you can’t eat, drink our shoot.”
    I will add band aids. Dark Angel Medical (no affiliation except as a customer) has their trauma kits on sale. Might seem expensive but if I need it once it will be priceless.
    We could probably put one together for less but they put everything in a neat package.
    They are Veteran owned.

  9. “Smithfield Foods, one of the nation’s largest meat producers, has an ominous warning about America’s food supply.
    The company announced on Sunday that it was closing its Sioux Falls, South Dakota, plant after nearly 300 employees there tested positive for coronavirus, the Associated Press reported. The plant is one of the largest pork processing centers in America, and is responsible for producing 18 million servings of food per day.

    Smithfield Foods is owned by the Chinese-based WH Group. The company, which is known as Shineway Group outside of Asia, bought Smithfield Foods in 2013. WH Group is the largest pork producer in the world.”

    Look up all of Smithfield’s brands. Where I live, I can only find their brands of ham. Not just at Walmart, but at the locally-owned supermarket where I usually shop. I cannot find a Hormel ham or any other not made by Smithfield. So no ham for me until I can find an alternative to the Chinese produced hams.

  10. Re: Debt Chasm

    I am going to throw something out that will likely get me told I am an idiot because whenever I have broached the subject people have reacted by telling me it can’t possibly work. But I like thought experiments. They cost nothing and can reveal things sometimes.

    First who/what is the Fed? They are neither public nor private. They are domestic not international. It is highly debated whether they provide any positive influence to the economy. Some say yes. Some no. They issue currency that they make up out of thin air to buy securities. Predominantly treasury bonds but other securities as well. They are the lender of last resort to the banking industry. They issue them imaginary money at low rates so they can invest it at higher rates and keep some of the imaginary money for themselves which they can then use as real money.

    Why do I care about the Fed balance sheet?

    Well you might say, because the debt they hold has to be serviced and even the interest becomes prohibitive at some point and will bankrupt the government.

    I would reply why does the government not just default on the debt owed the Fed at that point?

    Well you might say, because the default would cause the world financial market to lose faith in government securities and they will become worthless and death and destruction will result.

    I would reply why do they have to lose faith if we ONLY default on Fed debt? In a sense the Fed is NOTHING and/or NOBODY. It is not a government. It is not an individual. It is not a company. Fundamentally it is strictly an organization we have designated to print imaginary money to purchase debt instruments and inject that money into the economy and cover the *sses of banksters. (Excuse me, be a lender of last resort is the correct term I believe.) If I can assure all other holders of US debt (including the banksters) that we WILL NOT default on them why do they have to lose confidence in US treasuries?

    If we default on debt held by companies, individuals or governments we will harm them. That is why you don’t want to do that. How can we harm this institution called the Fed which deals in imaginary money to begin with? A company, individual or government purchase debt with “real” money (real to them) since they cannot print it. The Fed just prints it. How can they be harmed if they don’t get it back?

    Now if we print too much money we will create inflation. We may already be there especially since asset prices are still holding up better than I would have expected at this point. Real estate is not falling and the stock market has fallen less than I would have expected. But that is a separate matter. I am strictly talking about default on the debt held by the Fed.

    Now this system is inherently unstable as are all fiat currency systems. Actually a study of all currency systems in history has shown them to eventually be unstable. The Byzantine system was probably the most stable in history. But again I am not addressing that here either.

    The one counter argument I can think of to this idea is that it could reveal the charade that is Central Banking under a totally fiat currency system. Prior to fiat currency there was some “meaning” to a Central Bank’s balance sheet because it was at least partially backed in real assets like gold. What if we discover that a Central Bank’s balance sheet is like an appendix? Something that was useful in times past but is now just a useless relic that we really don’t need? And then perhaps you carry that thought forward and it is fully revealed that our financial system is based on a complete illusion. But even there, I think those in the system already understand that it is an illusion and the rest don’t have a clue about what is going on anyway. Hard to say.

    Now this is dangerously close to Modern Monetary Theory but I am not proposing that you can print money forever with no repercussions as people like AOC propose. I am just saying a partial bankruptcy where the organization taking the loss (the Fed) is in a sense not even harmed (in any way I can determine) makes some sense to me.

    Just a thought experiment. But I am not entirely sure that at some point it won’t happen. I have often wondered how a businessman like Trump, who has went bankrupt before and continued to operate, would look at this situation. It happens amongst private parties all the time. And if we keep on racking up that balance sheet it might just happen out of necessity.

    1. JBH: Thank you for putting into an insightful comment the thoughts that many of us have
      pondered and weren’t able to express.How can the Federal Reserve not be accountable to
      anyone? It seems that everyone just shrugs and thinks that it has always been that way so
      it must be OK.
      I get it. Hopefully many more will.

  11. Time to home-can beef unless you can get it this year from your place or the neighbors. It is good protein but will be scarcer through the supply chain this year.

    Beef prices have gone up 15% locally in retail outlets.

    I just checked the Carey electric canner. We paid just over a hundred bucks two years ago, now the USD$ is devalued so far they cost $254.

    Time to store more long term gasoline.
    1. Clean out the 15-gallon soap containers with bungs from car washes.
    2. Treat your gas with PRI-G.
    3. Fill container with treated gas to the top and eliminate as much air as possible.
    4. Ensure the bungs have good rubber rings to seal, then tighten bungs airtight with wrench to ensure the desirable volatile components remain in solution.
    5. Label, with date on blue tape.
    6. Re-treat with PRI-G annually and re-seal airtight.
    7. Airtight seal makes container far safer than a 5 gallon home depot container.
    8. If you smell gas a week or any time later, you have not sealed the containers.

    1. Get an in state hunting license for $50 bucks and bag a 200 pound buck. Enough meat for the entire family for the year. Get your wife hunting – bag another buck. Get a doe permit and moose, and big horn sheep – buy two more freezers and fill up five of them for $200.

      1. Bow season doesn’t open for 6months,even early season deer are still fairly wary in areas with much pressure. A lot of time and effort us involved with a sucessful hunt. The #200 10pt buck I took for his antlers(rattle) was so tough he was mostly ground for sausage and if he ate any more acorns he wouldn’t of been good for anything,took over a year to bag him legally.

    2. Wheatley,storing gasoline is a good idea but plastic soap drums is not a good idea,especially long term(you mentioned annual treatment),all plastic by nature is permeable(both ways) which is fine for short term storage. The real answer is properly rated metal containers(jerry cans,fuel drums,storage tanks). Store safely

  12. Get to know and buy from your local butcher who butchers for the local farmers. you will get the best meat at a price better than the supermarkets, cut to your order and liking.

    minimum quantity is usually a quarter beef, which is nice for a family of 4

    1. We buy half a cow from our local butcher every fall, which keeps our family of four, plus the occasional guest, in beef for nearly a year. It’s a significant investment up front, but it pays for itself over the year. We also buy most of our other meats from them, which has helped develop a relationship with a local business, usually a good thing,

  13. Local butcher? If only…..

    We have one local butcher shop to serve the county of 70,000. Most beef is from retailer grocers. It was cheap when we slowed marketing to China, but fed beef is gonna be scarcer this year especially next winter.

    If you could buy a few of the dairy cows and keep them, you will be a very comfortable home farmer next year to produce milk, yogurt, cheese.

    Develop your local source of beef, and butcher it yourself by slaughtering on the farm and have a processing crew ready. You need a stout gambrel and you can get a cheap 1 ton 2 volt electric winch for less than a hundred bucks from Harbor Freight. I run mine off an inverter in the shop.

    Now is the time to get a plan to gear up, stock up, prepare for reduced industrial perishable food output in the coming 12 months.

    One other tip, for flour: when the shelves are empty of the 5 pound bags, go to the bulk section. My grocery had three 50 pound bags left. I bought one for $15.

Comments are closed.