If everyone else were jumping off the edge of the Grand Canyon expecting to fly, would you do it too? The answer seems obvious (we hope), but our modern economy is actually built on the assumption that everyone will follow each other off the cliff of mindless consumerism without giving it a second thought. Getting people to buy things they don’t really need, and to rely on other people to do things for them that they are actually capable of doing themselves is how the modern economy operates. People know how to construct and send text messages, emails, and tweets; but ask them to make or grow or produce something real, and most Americans would be completely helpless.
For almost all of human history, people have lived quite differently. Self-sufficiency and self-reliance have been the cornerstones of human societal development, as everyone must do their share and contribute in order for a nation or community to stand and endure. In twenty-first-century America, we have moved far away from our tradition as a country of independent shopkeepers, small farmers, and skilled craftsmen, and as the Industrial Revolution has given way to the Digital Revolution, people have become even more enfeebled and more divorced from their historical and cultural roots.
The Costs of Consumption
Whenever you buy food at the grocery store, or clothes at the department store, or manufactured goods of any kinds, the prices you pay are far removed from the actual value of those items. Everyone who participates in the consumer society has debts – the credit card payments, the car payments, the mortgage installments, etc. But it never occurs to most people that those who are selling goods and services have their own debts that they must repay, too, and that these debts are being passed along to consumers in the form of higher prices. The insidious nature of a society that allows privately-owned banks to control its money supply is that debt always grows, relentlessly and exponentially, and this expansion of indebtedness is the primary driver of inflation in the real world.
Whereas food used to be grown locally, now very little of what people buy in grocery stores will have been produced by local farmers. The era of cheap oil allowed food to be shipped from place to place cheaply enough to make such a system financially sustainable, but now that cheap oil is just a memory, suddenly this ridiculous way of managing our food supply is no longer so efficient and inexpensive. Whether consumers realize it or not, they are paying significantly more to cover the transportation costs of food than used to be the case. All goods that come from elsewhere have transportation costs included in their final price, and this will make just about everything more and more expensive as oil supplies gradually decline and the price of petroleum continues to increase.
Processing foods removes vital nutrients, as everyone should be well aware by now; but it also adds to the cost of food, as it takes a lot of work to convert vegetables, grains, fruits, and meats from their original form into something that can be preserved, packaged, and sold in the modern grocery mega-store. Foods that people buy in these stores now are not so much grown or raised as they are manufactured, which means from the perspective of insane clown economics (the current status quo), they are “value-added” products. In other words, you will be expected to pay more for having the privilege to consume junk foods that will poison and slowly kill you. With other types of goods, you will also be paying extra costs to cover the expenses associated with factory-style production, such as assembly-line labor, management costs, and machine maintenance and repair.
One of the primary motivations for moving toward an off-the-grid lifestyle is the chance to reconnect with what made America great in the past, to live traditionally and independently while rediscovering our abilities to grow and produce things for ourselves. Growing and raising your own food eliminates all of the middlemen whose dubious services add so much additional cost to what is purchased by consumers. When you take control of your own food supply, what you eat will be entirely under your control throughout its natural life cycle, which means that it will not be stripped of its real food value through processing, and no pesticides, herbicides, or antibiotics will be used on your plants and animals unless you want them to be. Labor and investments will still be required, of course; but you will be rewarded for your modest outputs of time and money with good and nutritious food that will save you a lot of money in the short run, and down the line by helping you avoid diet-related illness and chronic disease.
Making your own clothes, building your own shelter or outbuildings, and learning woodworking or metalworking will not only give you more control over your own life, but these kinds of activities will also allow you to experience the sheer joy that comes from indulging your creative side. The life of a producer is marked by a heartfelt sense of satisfaction and self-reliance, as this existence gives people the chance to develop to their full potential, while also filling their daily lives with meaningful and stimulating mental and physical activity. The life of a producer is life as it was meant to be lived, and you will become a much happier and healthy person if you stop relying on others to do everything for you – in other words, if you stop living the life of a passive consumer.
Preparing for Collapse
In any honest assessment of the state of modern society, it quickly becomes clear that the patient is not just ill, but suffering from a fatal condition. Eventually, there is going to be a collapse, and those who survive in the aftermath will be those who can take care of themselves and their families without needing outside assistance. Self-sufficiency has always been the better way, but soon, it will be the only way that you can possibly survive.
No matter how tough things get, if you know how to provide for yourself and your loved ones, you will be able to make it through the storm. Now, more than ever, being a producer rather than a consumer is a matter of life and death.
©2011 Off the Grid News