Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Hard times have some flirting with survivalism

Hard times have some flirting with survivalism

Economic angst has Americans stockpiling 'beans, bullets and Band-Aids’

Atash Hagmahani is not waiting for the stock market to recover. The former high-tech professional turned urban survivalist has already moved his money into safer investments: Rice and beans, for starters.

“I hoard food,” says Hagmahani, 44, estimating that he has enough to last his family a year or two. “I’m not ashamed to admit it.”

“People keep asking when this (economic crisis) is going to clear up,”

The answer, he predicts, is that the country is entering what he calls a “Greater Depression.” “Maybe they jolly well better get used to the change in lifestyle.”

Hagmahani is not alone in concluding that desperate times call for serious preparations.

With foreclosure rates running rampant, financial institutions teetering and falling, prices for many goods and services climbing, and jobs being slashed, many Americans are making preparations for worse times ahead. For some, that means cutting spending and saving more. For others, it means taking a step into survivalism, once regarded solely as the province of religious End-of-Timers, sci-fi fans and extremists.

That often manifests itself as a desire to secure basic emergency resources — what survival guru Jim Wesley Rawles describes as “beans, bullets and Band-Aids.”

Getting ready for ‘TEOTWAWKI’

“There are a lot more people — a lot more eager people — who are trying to get themselves squared away logistically,” said Rawles, who lectures and writes books on preparing for and surviving “TEOTWAWKI” — The End Of The World As We Know It.

A less surprising indication of the public nervousness about the recent financial turmoil can be found in gold brokerages and coin shops around the country. Many say that demand for gold and silver has been off the charts in recent months — a clear measure of concerns about the U.S. dollar and the soundness of the economy as a whole.

“We’re seeing absolutely unprecedented demand,” said Peter Grant, gold broker and analyst at USA Gold in Denver. “We’re seeing the full gamut … from high net worth (clients) to people looking at just a couple of ounces at a time.”

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