We’ll continue our series on fun activities that you can do with friends and family to get better prepared next week, but this week there’s a timely series of events happening that caught my attention.
In the continual debate between whether you’re better off being in a populated area or an isolated rural area during a time when civil order has broken down and supply chains aren’t functioning properly, this month has been a textbook example of one of the major reasons why it can be valuable to be in or near a population center after a disaster.
In two major instances so far this month, the houses and land of the minority have been sacrificed under a wall of water to protect population centers. In reading that, you might think I think that it was wrong to sacrifice the land and homes of rural people to save the cities, but it’s not quite that simple.
Here are the two scenarios that happened so far this month.
In late April, it became evident that Cairo, Ill was going to flood. Cairo has a population of roughly 3,000 and could be saved if a levee in Missouri got blown up. Blowing up the levee would flood 130,000 acres of land and about 100 homes. Complicating the matter is the fact that the town is in Illionis, and the levee is in Missouri.
Long story short, the levee got blown up, everyone who got flooded is out of luck, but the town of Cairo was saved.
On the 14th of May, the Morganza spillway was opened along the Mississippi river, diverting water from Baton Rouge and New Orleans into farmland and rural communities. This time, it impacted 25,000 people, 11,000 structures, and 15,000 acres of farmland immediately with a worst case scenario being 3 MILLION acres of land getting flooded to save Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
As sad as this is for the people who got flooded, I understand the decision. Public servants and first responders are familiar with the idea of doing the most good for the greatest number of people. Medics are familiar with the concept from triage training. And even battlefield leaders are familiar with the concept when planning diversionary & main forces as well as strategic retreats.
This case is also complicated by the fact that the people who got flooded knew that they were downstream from levees and dams and that they were in low lying areas. In most areas like this, the price of the land reflects the increased risk of flooding and getting wiped out and people who buy there take advantage of the discounted prices while assuming that they’ll never be affected.
As I was talking with my wife about this, she brought up another parallel that has been a common topic of conversation in the US for almost 10 years now. If we had another situation in the US where a commercial airliner was taken over by terrorists, few would think twice about shooting it out of the sky. It would be horrible, but it would generally be seen as the “correct” decision. Sometimes it makes sense to sacrifice a few to save many. Of course, it makes more sense if you’re one of the many rather than one of the few.
In any case, when it comes time to decide whether to sacrifice rural areas or populated areas, populated areas usually win out. The sacrifices can come in the form of which land to flood, who gets food, water, and medicine, and who gets protection and help rebuilding.
It’s also why I predict that after a breakdown in supply chains, populated areas will get resupplied quicker and with a wider variety of goods than rural areas. People in rural areas will be able to walk out their back door to their garden or over to their neighbors for many things, but if they need something from outside of their little bubble, they’re probably out of luck.
The reason for this is simple. If a farmer or supplier has a choice of taking their goods to a small town where there are a few potential customers or to a large town where there many potential customers, most will choose to take their items to sell to the large town where the increased demand will cause competition and get the farmer or supplier higher prices for the fruits of their labor.
And if necessary, it’s likely that politicians will “kindly encourage” farmers and suppliers to send food and supplies to where the majority of likely voters are.
This is likely to be the case after a natural disaster, man-made disaster, banking disaster, or even an electromagnetic pulse. Even if you discount the role of politicians, the free market will get food and supplies to populated areas sooner than rural ones. The reason is that the method of transportation and type of currency used doesn’t change the fact that farmers and suppliers are going to want to receive the most compensation possible for the fruits of their labor.
Put another way, if you’re a farmer and have the choice of driving to 5 small towns to sell your crop at $4 per pound or driving to one city and selling your crop for $8 per pound, which would you do? You would not only get more per pound by going to where there is more demand, but there’s a chance that you’d travel fewer miles, be away from home for less time, use less gas, and be exposed to fewer chances of getting robbed.
Back to the whole levee situation and doing the greatest good for the most people, there’s another trend that’s been happening way more often than I’m comfortable with and that’s eminent domain. You probably already know, but eminent domain is when a government entity decides that you MUST sell them your property for whatever price they deem sufficient so that they can do something that will do more good for more people.
Many of our interstates and major highways are where they are because of eminent domain. I kind of like interstates and major highways. In a broad stroke scenario like this, I can agree that eminent domain is a good tool for governments to have.
But I also have friends and CLOSE relatives who have been seriously damaged by eminent domain and attorney friends who defend landowners in eminent domain cases. In one case, the state took possession of the land where a thriving business had been for decades, forced them to relocate, and then refused to pay because of a “budget shortfall”…for multiple years!
In some cases, city councils have used eminent domain to get large blocks of land for friends who are developers. If you’re on the wrong side of progress, you just get to go pound sand.
Not every government entity is interested in stealing land like this. In fact, just last week, Oklahoma Governer, Mary Fallin, signed a bill protecting landowners from windmill developers using eminent domain to take land for their windmills.
Why do I mention these situations? What do levees and eminent domain have to do with preparedness?
Because when you’re deciding whether you want to stay in a populated area or move to a rural area, you need to remember that, in a disaster, government representatives who have been given power by masses of people from urban areas can take your land, property, crops, or business if they think it’s in the best interest of the city folks, or if taking what you’ve worked for will do the most good for the greatest number of people.
Don’t get me wrong. I love rural areas and usually talk with one of my best friends about various ranches on the market a couple of times a week. In fact, my wife and I were just talking about land again last night. There is literally a laundry list of reasons why farm life is preferable to living in a city.
That being said, moving to a rural area won’t take away all of the problems associated with surviving short, medium, and long term breakdowns in civil order after a disaster. When you move from a populated area to a rural area, you simply exchange one set of challenges and problems for another set.
You’ll have people on both sides of the issue…one saying that farm life is too hard and another saying that city life is too complicated and fast paced…and they’re both right. Both populated and rural areas have benefits and drawbacks both in normal times and after disasters. You’ve just got to figure out what works best for your particular situation and go with it knowing that while there is a “best” solution for you, there’s not a “perfect” solution.
What are your thoughts on flooding small towns to save big ones? How about the fact that people in those small towns knew that this was a possibility? What about the increased use of eminent domain? The application of this mentality after a disaster? Let me know by commenting below:
And, if you want help figuring out how to create a survival plan designed to take the reality of your current situation into account (instead of an ideal situation that may not be in place by the time disaster strikes), I want to encourage you to check out the Survive In Place Urban Survival Course at http://SurviveInPlace.com as well as http://UrbanSurvivalPlayingCards.com.
Before I go this week, it needs to be said that we can’t ignore the impending financial disaster I’ve been warning you about. The dollar is in grave peril, especially in the next 60 days, and your cost of living is at risk of going through the roof as the dollar loses value.
You know I believe that gold is one of the only super-safe assets in the world right now. That’s why I was particularly interested in a recent report by a Florida geologist who says there’s a unique way you could significantly boost your gains in the gold market over the next few years (without touching options or using any risky leverage).
I’ve never seen this idea written about anywhere else. Here’s a link to the full report, free of charge: Http://www.surviveinplace.com/chinagold/
Until next week, stay safe and God bless,