The Four Essential Steps to Rebuilding Civilization

ruined cityPreppers spend a lot of time and energy figuring out what they need to do to protect themselves and their families in a wide variety of situations. However, their preps usually have more to do with basic sustenance than they do with prosperity. This is by necessity of course, since when disaster strikes, mere survival is often the best any of us could hope for.

But if we want to really thrive after a major disaster (and in this case I mean a truly cataclysmic disaster that throws us into a new dark age), hunkering down in our homes with weapons and freeze-dried food isn’t going to cut it in the long run. At some point after the dust settles, we’re going to have to come out of our bunkers and start rebuilding the kind of civilization that we want our children to grow up in.

Which, when you think about it, is an incredibly daunting task. A civilization that could provide even a fraction of the amenities that we have now, would rely upon millions of people carrying out thousands of unique services, any of which can derail civilization to some degree if they’re not fulfilled. And when you think about it that way, it almost seems impossible. Where do you even begin?

The truth is, that while civilization depends on everyone carrying out countless (and often thankless) jobs, there are a few core pillars of civilization that are more important than anything else. If after a disaster, these tasks are taken care of, everything else will eventually fall into place. Once it’s safe enough for you and your family to start engaging with what’s left of your community, these are the problems that will need to be solved first:

Re-establishing Order

As much we preppers like to criticize the government, we all know that if there isn’t some kind of system that punishes people who murder and steal, then we don’t have a civilization. Nothing will be rebuilt if people don’t feel safe enough to leave their homes.

After any kind of collapse however, there is a brief period of time where just about anyone could come to power, including people who have no business telling the rest of us what to do. You see this all the time in developing nations, where bandits, warlords, and drug cartels are often the only form of authority for some communities. The actions taken by you and your community after the collapse, will determine whether or not you will live under criminals, or live under a system that respects your rights, protects your property, and appropriately engages with neighboring communities.

Rebuilding Communication Networks

A civilization is only as advanced as its mode of communication. If after the collapse, the only way to send a message is by written letters delivered on horseback, then your community will have all the luxuries of an 18th century village. But if you can establish some kind of electronic communication, you’ll be in pretty good shape.

Obviously, the survivors of the collapse won’t have the resources or know-how to get the internet up and running again. Instead, ham radio operators will likely be the best candidates for rebuilding global communications. Even though these radios can’t send or receive signals globally, they still have a range of dozens of miles, and sometimes hundreds of miles in perfect conditions. A network of these operators working together, could help small isolated communities relay messages across any given continent.

Opening Transportation Routes

It’s been pointed out before that once the trucks stop delivering goods, civilization will grind to a halt. One of the first orders of business for any fledgling survivors, will be reopening and repairing transportation channels, so that goods can once again reach their homes. This may require the removal of abandoned cars from crumbling roadways, or if nearby bridges have collapsed, survivors may have to construct pontoons or makeshift cable ferry’s to transport goods until the bridges are rebuilt.

Producing Trade Goods

And finally, any community that wants to thrive after the collapse will have to produce some kind of tangible good or useful service that the world around them needs. If your community can make something that other communities need, it will be on the fast track to full recovery after the collapse, because then you’ll be able trade on a wider market and attain desperately needed supplies and labor for rebuilding civilization.

It could be something as simple as producing a surplus of food, or reopening a mine that went out of commission when everything fell apart. Communities that can’t produce something that the global economy needs, will be mired in poverty for years, and may resort to unsavory practices to survive. So if you’re thinking about moving to a rural area that will be safe from the chaos of a social collapse, take a good hard look at the local economy, and make sure that community produces something tangible that the world needs.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published July 19th, 2016
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  • “Producing Trade Goods” isn’t quite complete, since any system that depends solely on barter is going to be incapable of scaling up as the recovery progresses. In addition to producing those trade goods, a system of commerce is essential. I have read many people criticizing the holding of precious metals – “You can’t eat silver or gold” – but they are missing the point. Those precious metals, when held in a recognizable form such as bullion coins, can form the basis of a system of commerce. Without it, those specializations, such as a dentist to pull a bad tooth, just aren’t going to develop.

    Excellent summary, and history has proven your list to be correct, and your list very correctly shows re-establishing order as the number one priority. Without it, none of the rest of civilization’s requirements can happen.

    Thank you for writing about one of the least-discussed, but most important aspects of preparedness. Most of us who would be reading this in the first place are probably well enough prepared to do OK. It is our descendants that I worry about and spend much time thinking about.

  • Gil G

    I suppose you could go to the poorest parts of the world to see if it would really work.

    • BigGaySteve

      “If only someone would go to sub sahara Africa with a set of books they could have a space program 50 years later” ~ A Cuckservative

  • FalconMoose

    Nice article.

  • Chris Webb

    The collapse will be the fault of the government; reestablishing it would be about the worst possible action that could be undertaken. Government is violence. I suggest learning about ways to organize society without relying on an agency with a “legal” monopoly on violence and theft. A good place to start would be by reading Murray Rothbard’s “For A New Liberty”.

    • Chris, I could have written those words a few decades ago. I was a hard-core libertarian and hung around with some rather influential radical libertarians when I was in college in the early 1970’s. I truly understand where you’re coming from. Some years of careful observation showed me the error of my ways.

      The problem with my thinking was something we all do – I assumed everyone else had pretty much the same values and the same beliefs and the same sense of justice that I had. Wrong. All it takes is about an hour of people-watching in a Walmart or a shopping mall to understand. Like just about any system of organizing a society – and that is what government really is – radical libertarianism or anarchy or whatever terminology you want to use, would work just fine in a group of like-minded, moral, and hard-working people. The problem is that the majority is anything but. A system will only work when it takes into account all of the types of people in that society.

      We NEED government to function as a society. It is a hierarchy that starts with the family where the parents have authority over the children, and it works its way up from there.

      I’m going to really step on some toes here, but the problem is democracy (yes, I know this is supposed to be a republic – that’s just another flavor of democracy). Democracy guarantees that people will be led by the those who appeal to mediocrity. What system of government has been most successful in the long term? Monarchy. That is also the model that is most likely to succeed following the collapse of what we have now.

      I am not looking for continued discussion and I certainly don’t expect you to agree with me. I’m confident that I wouldn’t have back in my radical libertarian days. I just ask that you consider what I’ve said here.

  • Steve LaFontaine

    HA! first comes hot and cold running water LOL

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