Letter: Hoarding Silver, Gold and Diamonds

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Hugh,

I remember when I was young and would sit for hours listening to the depression stories that the old people would tell. One thing that stuck in my mind was that the only time that precious metals or stones were worth much was during times of plenty when you could buy products with them. I watched my grandfather open his safe from time to time, and he would show me the gold and diamonds he had in it from years ago. Seems that when urban dwellers who were rich ran out of food, they would come to trade and paid extravagantly for it. He knew eventually the economy would come back on track, and he kept taking whatever precious stones and metals he could for the food he raised and ended up a rich man. He also had a very high-end grand piano in the parlor that no one knew how to play. LOL

My point is that having precious metals or stones and relying on them will only ensure that after you survive a long-term major catastrophic event that you will probably be poor, and the guy with the food will end up rich. No, the “hordes” of city dwellers didn’t over run the hinterlands in those days. I talked to many people who went through the depression, and they said they were too beat down to fight or steal. Ten percent of the population or more died of famine or famine-related disease. Prepare for war. Pray for peace. God bless. – Mark

HJL responds: JWR and I have long taught that you can’t eat PMs. If your basics are not covered, you shouldn’t be storing them, as your efforts should be moving towards feeding and caring for your family. Once you attain a comfort level (whatever your goal was, whether three months, six months, one year, or a deep larder), then you can worry about PMs. PMs, with few exceptions, are not intended to give you the option of having barter or trading tools during times of shortages. They are designed to hold and maintain the value of wealth through the hard times and later. Coming out on the other side of hard times, when valuables trade is re-established, is when PMs are most useful, as your grandfather was wise enough to know.

During the depression, the cities were seen as the locations with the greatest resources so people flocked to the urban centers, abandoning the rural and migrant lifestyles. Now that the greater population is urban, the rural areas will be seen as where the resources are, especially if the supply trucks stop rolling or there is no power.

One other thought– hoarding is when there is a shortage and you are grabbing and storing all you can to the detriment of everyone else. Prepping is when you are storing up in times of plenty, to be used when there is a shortage. The man who chose to visit Disneyland or take a vacation while you spent your resources on preparing for the hard times would like to call your prepping “hoarding”, but that is only because he wants to enjoy the fruits of his labor in times of plenty and the fruits of your labor in times of shortage.

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