Venezuela is currently in the throes of a devastating economic collapse that was spawned by the ignorant socialist policies of the Chavez/Maduro government. Everything is falling apart there. The water system, the roads, the electrical grid, the hospital, and especially the food distribution system. Venezuelans are so desperate that they are forced to scrounge for food in dumpsters and hunt down cats and dogs. Crime is rampant as well, and the capital city of Caracas now has the highest murder rate in the world. Mobs of vigilantes are frequently seen picking up the slack of the corrupt police; that is, when they’re not busy looting grocery stores. Venezuela is practically a war zone now.
However, the worst part of this economic collapse is the rapid inflation of Venezuela’s currency. That may sound minor when compared to soaring crime rates and dumpster diving, but the diminishing status of Venezuela’s currency (the bolívar) is what enables so many of the moral and financial tragedies in that country. To one degree or another, inflation is related to every facet of Venezuela’s collapse.
In 2003 the situation was quite different. A dollar could be exchanged for 1.6 bolívars. Now the exchange rate is 172 bolívars per dollar, but that’s just the official exchange rate. That’s what you would get if you walked into a Venezuelan bank. On the black market, it would take 996 bolívars to buy a single dollar. With an inflation rate of 180% (and those are just the official numbers) Venezuela’s currency fits the definition of hyperinflation.
Considering how much damage this hyperinflation has done to the economy and the very fabric of society, it has to make you wonder. What would you do if this happened in your country? What steps could you take to survive when your money becomes worthless?
Much has already been written on the subject, and most preppers are already familiar with this sound advice: take your rapidly diminishing currency, and buy something that will at least hold its value no matter how many zeros show up on your money. The most common assets that are recommended for preserving your wealth include:
- Precious metals
- Cash held in other currencies
- Non-perishable food
- Drugs and other medical supplies
- Weapons and ammunition
However, I would say that what you need to survive hyperinflation is the same thing that is crucial to your survival in any disaster. You need to have the right skills, which for this scenario, would fall under two categories. First, you need to know how to do things that will help you get by when society at large is falling apart. The kind of skills that aren’t as essential when you live in a prosperous nation, such as:
- Growing food
- Hunting and gathering
- First Aid
- Car Repair
- Self Defense
And second, you need the kind of skills that will make you money no matter how bad things get. Just because hyperinflation tends to screw up society, doesn’t mean everything is going to completely grind to halt. People will still need basic goods and services, and they will still desperately want to live in a functional society, even if it’s just the shadow of a functional society. You’ll still be able to find a job.
However, just as hyperinflation diminishes the value of a currency, so to will many jobs pay less during and after a collapse. That’s not just because the money isn’t worth the same. With so much widespread poverty, everyone will be desperate to enter the job market, including the very young and the very old. In other words, the labor pool will have lots of supply and very little demand, so employers will have the economic leverage to pay their workers a pittance. However, some jobs will be able to retain some of their value, such as:
- Just about anything to do with the medical field
- Private security
- Mechanics, plumbers, electricians, or repairmen of any kind
- Teachers and tutors, especially if they can impart money-making skills
At the end of the day however, your skills will only get you so far depending on how long the crisis lasts. In the case of Venezuela, the situation is about as dire as it can get. Sometimes an economic collapse merely destroys any chance of prosperity for the average citizen. But in Venezuela, the economic climate hasn’t just killed prosperity. It has made it damn near impossible for anyone to survive.
So at the end of the day, the best way to survive an economic collapse is to flee the country. Everyone in your family should have their passports, and enough money to leave the country before the SHTF. In Venezuela, everyone who could leave did so a few years ago. Now most people can’t even afford to leave their city, much less the country.
Be prepared to lose most of the money you’ve spent your whole life saving, because even before the collapse occurs, the government will likely have laws in place that will prevent you from taking money out of the country. However, that may be a small price to pay in exchange for not living in hell hole where you have to eat trash to survive. Cut your losses and start a new life in a new country if you can. You’ll pat yourself on the back when your homeland collapses, because it is always better to be a poor man in a rich country, than a dead man in a poor country.