Economic Collapse versus Pandemic Flu

Economic Collapse
When I read other preparedness sites, all the rage is the lousy economy. For good reason, it’s in our face via the media, it’s in our face at the grocery store, and it’s in our face at the gas pump. They say it’s a recession when your friend loses his/her job, and it’s a depression when you lose your job.

Of course, the new business norm is to resist layoffs, because they cost the business money when they have to rehire, retrain, etc. It’s not easy, cheap or a good use of management’s time to find qualified staff. Nay, the NEW norm is to cut hours, pay, institute wage freezes, and reduce vacation time. While I haven’t seen a friend lose his/her job, I know of one person working in sales that had to take a 5k annual pay cut. I know another person whose company cut 4 hours of earned time for everyone. Add to this action increased health insurance costs and additional commuting costs and it’s just another way to squeeeeeze us dry.

The question I wonder is, exactly how bad is the economic environment in historic terms, and how much worse will it get? Phil Gramm recently resigned as the co-chair of John McCain’s campaign, because he was quoted as saying America is suffering from a “mental recession” and that we’re becoming a “nation of whiners.” If he was intending to imply that this “recession” isn’t all that bad, it’s relative. Historically speaking, this recession actually isn’t that bad . . . yet. Will it get worse? Who knows?

The economic downturn permeates my thinking whenever I open my wallet, but in terms of serious SHTF threats, pandemic flu (or any highly contagious, lethal disease) still registers higher on my threat list. Things could get quite nasty with the economy, but for most people, it means a lifestyle change. It means going with less. Certainly, for many people it will also mean going without, but society-wide, I still feel pandemic flu is a larger, more scary threat.

Pandemic Flu
It’s inevitable that the globe will be hit with another pandemic flu, and how it acts and spreads this time could be QUITE different from past cases. Historically speaking, we’re past due for a good flu (cool rhyme, eh?). The world is unprepared for this. We’ll respond like we did to Katrina – LOUSY. Only this time it won’t be isolated to a geographic region, it’ll be widespread. One infected person need only walk into any major airport and – kabloom! Here we go.

A new report out by the UK government criticizing the globe’s ability to respond to such a disaster. Read:

The Government said: “While there has not been a pandemic since 1968, another one is inevitable.” Ministers said it could kill between two and 50 million people worldwide and that such an outbreak would leave up to 75,000 people dead in Britain and cause “massive” disruption.

Think the economy is bad now? Just wait for the pandemic to hit. Pandemic = pandemonium.

Their report said: “We have been warned that an influenza pandemic is overdue and that when – rather than if – it comes the effects could be devastating, particularly if the strain of the virus should be of the H5N1 variety that has been seen in south-east Asia in recent years.
“While much progress has been made in the past 10 years in improving global surveillance and response systems, much remains to be done if we are to detect new strains of the virus and counter them before they have had the chance to spread.”
Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrats’ health spokesman, likened the threat from a pandemic to the threat of international terrorism. He said: “Globally there has been massive attention to the threat from terrorism and rightly so. But the potential for loss of life from a pandemic is massive, enormous and yet we stare a disaster in the face and we see a chaotic, uncoordinated and incoherent international response to it.

Schools close, people are encouraged to work from home, truckers prefer to stay home, goods don’t get delivered, people flood hospitals, and it’s sudden TEOTWAWKI action.


past due for a good flu
pandemic = pandemonium

On that note, have a great day – lol.

– Ranger Man

BTW: Here is a good article on the global economy at the point of maximum danger.

9 comments… add one
  • kaffeeneko July 22, 2008, 9:17 am

    Research kimchi/sauerkraut + bird flu, and Sambuccol/elderberry + flu.

  • ThomasNigel July 22, 2008, 9:47 am

    Good article. Don’t forget about getting business managers to prepare their businesses as well. We need to keep Bird Flu at the forefront of every business manager’s mind. It won’t go away so better start preparing.

    Nigel Thomas
    For free references and tools go to Bird Flu Manual Online or, if you need more comprehensive tutorials and templates, consider Bird Flu D-I-Y eManual for business preparedness and survival.

  • Riverwalker July 22, 2008, 10:43 am

    Pandemic is a real possibility. They’ve already had a case of chickens infected with the “bird flu” in my area.


  • Jennersen July 22, 2008, 3:44 pm

    It is like the perfect storm is just brewing out there off the shoreline, and is waiting for the right moment to slam into the coast and wreck it all.

  • PKS July 22, 2008, 5:28 pm

    Seriously, get over the fear of a global pandemic as a real serious problem.

    That 1968 flu that you cite – in the USA, there were around 50 million infected, but only about 35,000 deaths.

    Sure, that sucks, but it’s less than the number of people killed annually in car crashes.

    There’s a good discussion by a biotech type on the site here:

    (scroll down to the counter-argument)

    But basically it comes down to that, given that any virus will have to use humans as a host, then developing really, really, really lethal genes is a trait with low evolutionary/adaptive value. What good does it do a virus to get really really good at killing the individuals it wants to live in?

    The worst flu that we have good data (still not really very good though) on is the spanish flu of 1918-1920. Even for that one, only about 1 in 10 people exposed ended up dying.

    And keep in mind, that as this one was gearing up, there was a big war drive going on, so the authorities did basically the _opposite_ of what they should’ve done – instead of closing schools, public places, etc, they kept them open for recruiting drives. And the virus had an ideal place to ‘evolve’, the wounded soldiers, with reduced immune systems, living in close quarters, who were casualties back from the front in WWII. So it’s probably safe to say that the 1918 flu was generate by a host of conditions that we’re not likely to see again.

    You wanna worry about something likely? Look take a look at ferfal’s blog on surviving a currency collapse in Argentina. Peak oil and climate change (whether human caused or not, doesn’t make much difference, it still threatens food production if the midwest becomes a desert) are a far more likely, and potentially bigger problem.

  • Rushman July 22, 2008, 7:37 pm

    Good point PKS. I would have to agree the economy is already headed towards that wonderful mid 1970’s economy. That may only be the beginning they may bring back Disco. The would be TEOTWAWKI! That music sucked!!!! And think what’s next the dreaded 80’s. I’ll be damned before I’ll wear Parachute Pants again!!!! No No not you MJ please just leave the children alone!!!!!! Whoahooo! bad flash back. Maybe the flu would be better………..just kidding. Either way folks is there is a whole lot a stupid out there maybe SHTF will help clean out the shallow end LOL!

  • Angry Mike July 24, 2008, 11:34 am

    A pandemic is a scary proposition in todays world. I have also worked as a Lab Technician researching diseases and have worked with some of the worst including Hanta and Aids Virus. In this research I have also worked with very dangerous chemical and nuclear compounds.

    I will make my point quickly. The standard dust mask that many people are fond of has little no protection at all against any of the above. A dust maks it nothing more than a form fitting piece of paper. There are respirator masks that look like a dust mask but actually will protect you to some degree.

    These respirator masks typically have a rating of N95 or N100. Some have ventilators in them so you can breathe easier. In a pandemic situation and assuming it is airborne its is probably not a good idea to have vents just for the simple fact that you could spread the disease without knowing it.

    You can expect retail prices around $2.50-$3.00 each mask. 3M is a major manufacturer of them and in my opinion makes the most comfortable ones. Do your home work on them and purchase the one you feel is best for you needs and environment.

    On to food storage. In my business I sell MRE’s, food rations and water rations. These are great options as are Mountain Home foods and similar products. The problem with all of these are cost. They all have their place and have excellent shelf life. Most of them are only intended for short term use. The US Government recommends to only eat them for a maximum of 21 days.

    I am not helping my business by writing this paragraph, but I didnt open my business to rob people of their hard earned cash or mislead anyone. I have a cost effective, healthy solution for long term food stores. Rice and Beans.

    Humans the world over survive on little more than this everyday and have for centuries. Food grade 5 gallon buckets with Gamma seal lids are available for less than $20.00 for each set (pail & lid). A 40 pound bag of rice at todays very high prices will set you back $15.00 or so. Beans and Split Peas are all around $1.00 per pound. A 3 to 1 ratio (maybe less) of beans and rice will make a substantial amount of food. You can also add Oats for breakfast which is also around $1.00 per pound or less.

    I did a web search on the shelf life of red beans and rice and came across a government site that stated red kidney beans have a shelf life of around 24 months. Sorry I did not write down the site. Most of the others have a similar shelf life (18-24 months) and that was storing them in a cool dry place, in a container that probably was not what a Gamma seal bucket would offer.

    With a Gamma seal lid all air, light and moisture is kept away from your food stored in the 5 gallon bucket. I believe this may extend the shelf life of your foods. You can also rotate your food as part of your regular diet, maintaining fresh food at all times.

    While rice, beans and oats all require water they do not require cooking. They need only to be reconstituted. I dont know the formulas because if its not a grill I cant cook it but I believe its 3 cups of water for 1 cup of rice. Cooking is the fastest way but if left over night in the water it will reconstitute in to about 2 pounds of rice.

    I recommend storing each item seperatley just in case of a weaval infestation or other problem. If you add the occasional fish or small game, a family of 4 or 5 could survive for many months on very little stored food, for very little money spent. Certainly more food for less money than anything commercialy produced. Again, not helping business, just helping people.

    Ok, this wasnt so short. :-)

  • tweell July 24, 2008, 2:57 pm

    H5N1 has a high mortality rate. It will eventually mutate and become transferrable between humans, the lethality may drop but it isn’t always that way. Most flu kill via secondary effects, the flu weakens the person to the point where another disease kills them. H5N1, like the Spanish flu of 1918, is a primary killer, it doesn’t need another disease to do the dirty work. There are many more people in the world than there were 90 years ago, and air travel means that diseases get spread very quickly. The US would not get hit as hard as most other countries, turd-world would be SOL.

  • Angry Mike July 24, 2008, 8:32 pm

    I forgot to give credit to my friend M40 for the rice and beans. I found the idea on his site and researched the rest myself. Check him out at Good, no BS survival tips there.


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