Six Kinds of Currency That Might Emerge after the Collapse
Among preppers there is a common argument between those who buy gold
and those who don't. On the one hand, gold has been used as money for
thousands of years. It wouldn't be a stretch of logic to assume that if
our current monetary system falls apart, something like gold might pick
up the slack.
But on the other hand, gold by itself can't help you
survive. "You can't eat gold" is a common saying on the other side of
the debate, and I can't disagree.
I would argue though, that it
depends on how severe the collapse is. If we're talking about an
economic collapse, I believe gold will become very valuable. After the
Greek economy contracted several years ago, gold was being sold on the
streets of Athens for more than double its spot price.
if we're facing a truly devastating event, something that may kill
millions and take decades recover from like a nuclear war or an EMP
strike, then things like gold may go on the back burner for a while.
It'll still have some value, but when survival consumes your every
thought, your priorities tend to change.
So if you want an idea of
what items may be used as currency when the grid goes down, it would be
wise to look into history to see what our ancestors used for bartering.
These people lived their entire lives with a standard of living that
was far lower than ours, and the commodities they prized were essential
to their survival. If you want to call yourself "rich" after the
collapse, here's what you can look forward to accumulating.
often gets all the praise for being so essential to our survival, while
salt gets to play second fiddle. In reality, salt is almost as
important to our well being as food and water. Nowadays salt can be had
for a few dollars, but there was a time when it was worth its weight in
gold, and was used as currency to pay Roman Soldiers.
Not only was it valued for its health benefits, but it could be used to
preserve food and cleanse wounds. Anywhere in the United States that is
far away from the ocean will probably see the price of salt skyrocket
after the collapse.
Middle Ages squirrel pelts became a common unit of exchange among the
lower classes in Russia, and the Czarist government sometimes demanded
their taxes be paid in pelts. In Finland the term for money (raha) used
to be synonymous with "squirrel skin", a throwback to when pelts were
used as legal tender. And in the colonial New England, beaver pelts
became so prized that they could be used in lieu of money.
really no mystery behind this. While clothing is relatively cheap
nowadays, before the industrial revolution a good jacket could set you
back. And in places like Canada, New England, and Northern Europe, the
clothes you wore were a matter of survival. So holding a handful of
beaver pelts might as well have been a wad of cash.
tobacco has likely been used for trade among Native Americans for
centuries before the Europeans arrived, by the 17th century it was
practically an official currency of colonial America.
In modern times it's frequently used as currency in American prisons,
and its portability and addictive nature makes tobacco a hot commodity
almost anywhere in the world. After the collapse, it would be safe to
assume that a pack of cigarettes will go a long way in any barter
One of the strangest stories in the history of currency, involves a prince from ancient China.
He was running low on funds for his army, and gave his soldiers
permission to trade their knives with the local villagers for supplies.
The knives became so popular among the people, that it soon became a
standard form of payment for the next 400 years.
It's easy to see
why. Knives fit the profile of a good currency. They are portable,
durable, and they have intrinsic value(especially for a population that
is struggling to survive). It wouldn't be surprising to see knives
become a part of everyday transactions after the collapse.
America's colonial period, it was common practice to reward slaves with
alcohol. However, even free men expected more than just pennies and
silver for their hard work. Paying laborers beer in addition to money
was considered customary.
However, if the grid goes down tomorrow
it's the hard stuff that would become highly sought after. It has a much
higher shelf life than most beers, and is far more useful. Liquor can
be easily rendered to its purest state, where it can then be used for
fuel, food preservation, and for disinfecting wounds. In addition,
alcohol is fairly portable, divisible, and durable, making it a great
stand-in for modern currency.
Herbs and Spices
like salt, pepper corns used to be far more far more valuable then they
are today, and were used as currency for centuries. No matter where you
were in the known world, having a sack full of pepper could buy
shelter, clothes, and food.
In South America, Cocoa beans were frequently used in trade, and cultivation of the plant was often suppressed
by the Spanish to keep its price high. And in China, tea leaves were
usually compressed into bricks which made them far more durable for long
distance trading with their neighbors.
However, these items
aren't as valuable in modern times, and few would argue that these
plants are essential to human survival. They are mere luxuries. If our
modern world were to fall apart though, there is one plant that will
likely become an essential part of everyday trading. That plant is
Not only has it been recognized for it's medicinal and
pain relieving properties, but its hemp fibers can be used to make rope,
clothing, paper, and fuel; and the seeds can be eaten for their
protein. In Colonial times, hemp was so important to the British
government that farmers were forced to set aside a small percentage of
their farms for growing it. The plant was so valuable that it could be
used to pay to your taxes.
So if there's one item on this list that may end up being the survival
currency of the future, then I suspect marijuana is the strongest
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