Episode 528: Bartering

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Zombie Cliche Lookout: Fair Trade

One of the first casualties of the zombie apocalypse is going to be currency. We’ve enjoyed the ability to trade dollars (or whatever you local currency happens to be) for good and services for generations, so this change is going to be difficult for a lot of people, especially at the beginning. In the initial chaos you can expect to see a lot of people wasting their time looting money and other nearly-useless items while the authorities are busy being eaten by zombies.

Eventually, people will figure things out, and commerce will devolve by centuries until we will only exchange good and services for other goods and services. Of course, a lot of people believe that precious metals will continue to be important. I’m not sure about that, but I’m certainly willing to admit that it’s a possibility. Paper notes, on the other hand, will probably be used primarily for tinder and toilet paper.

About this Episode:

I had a hard time getting this episode together. Not for any technical issues, mind you, but simply because I was so tired. I volunteered at the Tough Mudder race this weekend, and it left me absolutely exhausted. Despite that, I had a great time, and can now participate in a 2015 event for only twenty bucks. Time to get into slightly better shape so I don’t die.

Other News:

Time is running out on the Double-Down Challenge, so be sure to get those entries in, everyone!

Discussion Question: Silver and Gold

Remember above when I mentioned that a lot of people believe that precious metals will retain value in the zombie apocalypse? Well I’m curious about what you guys think. Will gold and other metals continue to be valued? How do you think this will work, and why?

24 thoughts on “Episode 528: Bartering”

  1. I feel that gold an other such metals wouldn’t be valued by all survivors, but by those that try to cling on to something from their normal world. So I fill there’d be people who’d see this as a chance to break into banks to steal money. Then they’d try and wait till the infection blew over and then they’d be rich out of this experience.

    • I absolutely agree hackerkyle.

      • I am glad to see some people agree with me on such things.

  2. Another +1 for Dave! No typos to report! 😀

    • Wow, I’m shocked. I was really dragging ass when I wrote it too.

  3. As for what they need help with, I think they need a crash course on what changes surviving in a zombie apocalypse is going to mean for their future, and why getting a broken down truck might not be the most pressing problem right this minute! 😀

    Sure, mechanics will always have a future in a zombie apocalypse, but if their truck is in a spot filled with hordes of roaming undead, the hourly rate is going to have some rather strange barter changes in it! 😀

    Besides, I think a much more pressing problem is going to be an offer of safety that they’re going to have to consider very carefully, after they’ve been informed of certain life-changing events that this zombie apocalypse has brought upon them! 😉

    • Hah, excellent point, BV. I think I might ask for more than just a bit of food.

  4. As for gold and other rare metals, they might retain some, if not most of their value. It really depends on what uses people will find need of for the metal in question. Gold has always been in great demand for electronic circuits and technological advances. Whilst a zombie apocalypse may slow down technology a lot, there will be groups which will have technology to help them survive the zombie apocalypse, and those who have this will have an advantage over those who don’t have access to it.

    People who are held in high esteem by others will still want to adorn themselves with gold as people have a natural attraction to the metal, and it is useful for fillings in dentistry, so there will be at least one practical use for it, plus it can be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. 😀

    As for other metals, I see it this way: Short term, people might forget about them temporarily. Long term, however, they’re definitely going to develop new technology and they will eventually come back to their metallurgy roots, as tool working has always been in the nature of the human race, and whilst a zombie apocalypse may slow or pause it, it will eventually be picked up again by those who survive long enough to devote time to making it useful for their new lifestyles.

    • Gold and other precious metals certainly have their uses. Beyond electronics and jewelery, they also have medical uses, especially in dentistry.

  5. I don’t think that precious metals would be valuable until after everything had calmed down a bit. It seems a little impractical to value something so useless and heavy, but thats exactly what we do today. I think that in the early stages of the outbreak paper money may keep it’s value, but not for long.

    • Oh yeah, people will definitely still find those valuable in the short term. Same with paper money.

  6. For metals, there is a practical aspect to this question. Metals are heavy and survival relies heavily on mobility… I think anyone who wants to hang on to gold or any other precious items would quickly drop them to save their strength and gain agility (or die trying to haul them).

    • That reminds me of a Twilight Zone episode where these criminals steal a bunch of gold, and then cryogenically freeze themselves until the heat blows over. When they wake up they fight until all but one is dead. The remaining thief drags all the gold through the desert until dehydrating, and when people find the body they can’t figure out why he was carrying all that useless metal.

      • Another thought I had on metal. While the value of the rare and “precious” ones might become close to nil, the value of certain types of abundant and rough metals might actually rise.
        Like in the series “Revolution”, everyone is carrying swords and bows because firearms and ammo have become scarce (I thought that was actually the best aspect of this show with some great sword fight scenes). Anyway, I know nothing about sword making but these looked pretty rough and made of scraps. You can probably forge a blade with gold but I don’t think it would be as effective as a plain iron one. So the value of iron would surpass the one of gold… but the real power would be in the hands of whoever can forge it.

        • I would think sword making would be a pretty skilled job. Regardless, you’re absolutely right that things like iron would likely be a lot more useful and in demand.

        • Gold is useless as a sword it is to soft a metal and will not hold its shape much less an edge. Not to mention it is so heavy a sword would be to heavy to lift and fight with.

  7. Fallout lovers got currency in the bag: use bottle caps, only a few don’t make too much noise, a lot can be melted to a larger sheet, a larger sheet of metal can make better armor, better armor = better fighters = more caps.

    Or if you don’t like that, then there is always duct tape & WD-40. Didn’t the doctor guy from TWD make a “bite proof jacket” out of duct tape and parts, before dying?

    • Btw: good on you for doing the Mudder, hope to see you at our troop volunteer water station for the next local Mudder, if we are both invited.

      • Where do you live again, Jon? Will you be at the Michigan Mudder?

        • Ahh, oops! I’m around Herkimer NY, they do one at HTC. A college.

    • I’ve always loved bottle caps, especially since you don’t see them as often now as you used to.

      • You do see them a lot, although most are now plastic, due to the soft drink (Soda to US, is it?) revolution and blow-molded plastic bottles replacing blow-molded glass bottles. Metal bottle caps still survive to day on certain alcoholic drinks, although a lot of companies are slowly moving towards plastic substitutes. I don’t drink alcohol but I still see a fair amount of bottle caps from alcoholic beverages littering the place so it could be a while for plastic substitutes to really take off! 😉

  8. My prediction that immediately they would be seen as important as a leftover from our current world. They would then dip as people realize they like food more than gold. Then, after some period of time, I could see them being popular again as we settle into a new world order.

    My advice to students is to barter with something useful (i.e. matches) instead of gold. Even if no one wants them, they will still be useful to you!

  9. Gold and Silver will retain there value and get more valuable. Look at history for the answer. Like cavemen during the initial phase of the zed apocalypse no one will have a use for it and many will die going To collect it. But move on to the Egyptian, Greek, Roman phase. Why did they have gold and silver? Cause it showed status because it is rare and shiny. They had no practical use for it other then making class distinctions and making coins since it could not be copied.
    Why would survivors go for it? Habit. The value of gold and silver is ingrained in us and the destruction of the world won’t change that. Are you expecting a paradise society after the zeds are dealt with or just ordinary humans screwing each other over as usual.