The Cost of Efficiency

Cost of Efficiency

Automated Out of Existence

U.S. companies have become far more efficient in the way they operate their businesses. Investments in automation have borne fruit. The S&P 500 hit an all time high this year as the longest bull market in history continues. Products and services are becoming cheaper and it’s easier for consumers to make purchases. Much of the business processes that formerly required human intervention have been replaced with technology. Customer service representatives, for better or worse, are now “chat bots,” engineers work alongside machines on the factory floor, and heavy lifting in fulfillment centers is done by robots. All this automation comes at a steep price: human jobs. Is the cost of efficiency justified?

Wage Stagnation

Market investors and company executives have benefited enormously from business automation. Stratospheric stock prices and generous compensation packages have minted many millionaires this past decade. However, those on the lower rungs of the corporate hierarchy haven’t shared in the spoils. Companies are battling to stay competitive, which is why so much is being invested into automation that, over the long run, will cut the costs of their operations. Unskilled workers, or company employees without the pedigree or experience needed to fill white collar jobs, are suffering as a result of these investments.

Many of these struggles are voiced by workers in the manufacturing and retail fields. Robots are now permanent fixtures on the assembly line. Brick and mortar retail stores are going digital. The shifting industrial landscape prevents these unskilled workers from switching jobs, as they don’t have the right skill sets to do so. Increased automation also decreases employers’ dependence on unskilled labor. Therefore, unskilled workers have poorer bargaining positions and, as a result, receive stagnant wages.

The Threat to Skilled Workers

Workers in financial services, legal, and even medical fields are finding that their skills are growing obsolete. Software is used to review large pools of data that formerly required a paralegal. Diagnoses are now made by technology programs that formerly required a doctor. Financial products are sold to investors online, rather than by a broker over the phone. As more and more jobs are automated, we will see an uptick in unemployment. Critics of this argument state that just as many, if not more, jobs will be created as automation increases. However, most of the jobs created as a result of automation won’t have the skilled workers needed to fill them.

Upskill, Beg, or Revolt?

Workers must take it upon themselves to develop the skills necessary for the jobs of the future. We cannot rely on the government to train the masses about new technology when senators don’t even understand the effect technology has on the population. Online training courses, books, and bootcamps are all worthwhile investments of time and money in better securing your future employability. A more likely alternative that many will take is government welfare. Upskilling is hard compared to filling out a welfare registration form. The easy route may prove treacherous, though, as the increased number of government dependents will shrink the pool of money to dispense. If this pool dries up, you can expect revolts.

Preparing for the Future

Worker displacement poses an enormous threat to the future of our country. It is not too late to act. Companies can invest in training prospective workers on the skills they need to fill job openings. It’s a fair price to pay for the cost of efficiency. Governments can wake up to the fact that this problem will not solve itself. We, as preppers, need to continue to train ourselves the skills necessary to stay employable. I can only hope that the masses take it upon themselves to act. Otherwise, things may very well take a dark turn.

Want to talk more about worker displacement? Leave a comment or contact me.

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Daisy Luther Prepper Interview

Daisy Luther Prepper Interview

Introducing Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther has been a godsend to the prepper community.

She manages multiple preppiDaisy Luther Prepper Interviewng websites like The Organic Prepper, Preppers Daily News, and Preppers Market and has authored The Prepper’s Canning GuideThe Prepper’s Water Survival Guide, and The Pantry Primer. She has published thousands of articles about prepping and also shares alternative news on her websites. I had the pleasure of interviewing Daisy Luther and I’m eager to share the transcript with you:

Daisy’s Story and Motivation

Bob: Many people experience hardship in their lives that draw them towards prepping. I understand that you faced your own hardship that ultimately led you to what’s become a successful and enjoyable career. Can you share your story with our readers?

Daisy: Well, after my father passed away, I was left very unhappy

with my current situation. I was living in the city, working about 60 hours a week, and utterly miserable. I had some serious financial problems, including the loss of my home and car. Then my children’s father died suddenly (we had been divorced for many years but it was still a terrible blow for our family) and I rethought everything I was doing. I took a payout to leave the company where I worked and decided it was “now or never” if I wanted to write for a living. My eldest went off to college and my youngest and I moved out to the boondocks, which is where we lived when I began my blog.

Bob: You’re a prolific producer of content consumed by the prepper community. What motivated you to start writing about your prepping practices?

Daisy: Well, they say to write about what you know, and what I opted to write about was the things I was doing at that time as well as my observations about what was going on in the world. I figured I was learning stuff and other people might also like to learn the same things. One thing I always hated about prepping blogs was how “perfect” the writers always were. I vowed to write about the good, bad, and ugly – so successes AND failures – and luckily, other people were interested in what I was writing.

Bob: You’re undoubtedly busy writing books and managing your websites, but I imagine you have some free time. What are your hobbies?

Daisy: I’m not really good at just sitting around. I read a lot, and in the evenings with family, I usually work on some kind of project while we watch Netflix. Right now, it’s crocheting some Christmas gifts. We also travel as often as possible. I know that shocks a lot of people in the preparedness world, but I think it’s important not to just hunker down in your home if you enjoy doing other things. Life is meant to be lived. I focus strongly on skills and hope this is enough should something terrible happen when we’re away from our home base.

Prepping for The Event

Bob: I’d argue that every prepper has at least one potential cause of their advanced preparation. What potential “Events” keep you up at night?

Daisy: Currently, the escalation of the current unrest in our country. Neighbor turning against neighbor. It isn’t as dramatic as an EMP taking down the grid but I think it’s a lot more likely.

Bob: What would you say is the number one prepper skill that would differentiate you from other survivors in a post-apocalyptic world?

Daisy: That’s a hard question. I would have to say it’s my adaptability. That may not sound like much of a skill, but I’ve lived in a lot of different places – I’m kind of a nomad – and at each place, I have picked up potentially life-saving information. From dealing with – 48-degree temperatures in the forests of Canada to landslides and droughts in California, I’ve been fortunate to pick up knowledge about things like heating off-grid, handling natural disasters, predicting the flow of events in an emergency, water conservation, animal husbandry, and gardening.

I think there’s a lot to be said for the whole “Jack of all trades, master of none.” And what I mean by that is that it doesn’t have to be a negative. I may not be a trained physician but due to my variety of experiences, I’ve picked up bits of knowledge that could one day be lifesaving. I was never trained in how to raise a baby deer, but because I knew their physiology was similar to goats, I was able to keep a rescued fawn alive and well for several weeks until an organization could pick her up.

My knowledge of the history of collapses and disasters means that I usually have a good idea of what is likely to happen next. You can apply this across a huge variety of situations. Not everyone is a homesteader or a wilderness survival guru, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t still survive. They just might survive differently.

The Prepping Community

Bob: When I began prepping I was amazed by the size of and the engagement within the prepping community. Which preppers do you look up to, collaborate with, or stay up to date with?

Daisy: A couple of the guys who write for my website have taught me a lot. There’s Jose, a gentleman who survived the collapse of Venezuela and escaped with his family. Then there’s my good friend Selco, who survived the Balkan Wars in Bosnia.

Bob: Unfortunately, there are those who are outright hostile towards preppers. I can appreciate healthy skepticism, but I myself have experienced a share of internet abuse due to my beliefs. How do you handle the “trolls” and others who spew vitriol in the comment sections of your websites?

Daisy: I usually just let them spew. Most of the time, a reader will say something to them in my defense. I don’t want to get down on the ground with them. It’s just not worthwhile, and it’s unnecessary stress.

Sometimes they have good points, although hostilely expressed. When that’s the case, I try to turn the conversation into a positive one.

Bob: Some people stereotype preppers as “tinfoil hat crazies.” You’ve been blogging for over half a decade. Who are your readers, where are they from, and would you consider them to be practical?

Daisy: I have such a wide array of readers. Because I am neither a conservative nor a liberal, I have readers from all points on the political spectrum. I try hard to be respectful of their opinions for the most part. I have learned from this that what the mainstream focuses on is the extremes and most people are just not extremists.

I have people with a big variety of living situations – city folks, people who live in suburbia, and homesteaders out in the country. I love the variety and it adds a lot to the comments section.

Most preppers are very practical – it’s what led them to prepping.

Homeschooling

Bob: Your youngest daughter is homeschooled and has excelled academically as a result. What do you believe to be the benefits of homeschooling relative to “traditional” schooling (aside from its compatibility with prepping)?

Daisy: First things first, it really depends on the kid. My oldest daughter would have been completely miserable if she had been homeschooled. She thrived in a classroom. I think it’s very important to not make a blanket statement because it is not right for every child.

The best thing about homeschooling was the freedom it offered. We did a great deal of traveling and the cool thing about that is how it brings the lessons to life. If you are learning about how the United States was settled and then you go to Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown, that is a lesson that truly sinks in. If you are navigating through the United States using a paper atlas, you’re going to remember that geography. As well, when we had a small homestead, there were loads of lessons on the farm – anatomy on butchering day, botany while hiking – you get the idea.

Following Daisy

Bob: How can people stay in touch with you on social media?

Daisy: On Facebook, my page is The Organic Prepper, but the real way to interact is to join my group, Prep Club. (https://www.facebook.com/groups/op.prepclub/) We have great discussions there. I’m on Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram as @DaisyLuther

I know that social media isn’t for everyone, so you can also find me on my website. Definitely subscribe to my daily newsletter – there’s information in there sometimes that isn’t published elsewhere.

Bob: Thanks so much for your time. I really enjoyed our conversation.

Daisy: You’re very welcome! It was lovely talking with you!

Have any more questions, or want to see other interviews? Contact me.

Daisy Luther Prepper Interview

5 of the Most Impractical Prepper Products

Prepper Products

The Perversion of Prepping

It’s no surprise that more people are prepping for The Event these days. High profile assassinations have been carried out by de facto authoritarian regimes, geopolitical relations continue to dissolve, and looming threats like the reckless development of technology could spell the end to humanity’s claim to being the most intelligent among Earth’s inhabitants. These developments have scared the California Elites (CEs), hedge funders, and other members of the 1%. Some ridiculous prepper products and services are now on the market to address these fears.

1. Luxury Bug-Out Bags

The only thing more outrageous than spending over a thousand dollars on a handbag is spending over a thousand dollars on a luxury bug-out bagPreppi (yes, that’s really the name of the company) sells “survival gear” to the ultra rich. While not the most expensive product on the list, the bag comes with designer lotions, a monogram, and a caviar case. It could be yours for just under $5,000.

Prepper Products

Image Source: Preppi.co

Impracticality rating: 9

2. Leased Escape Boats

Manhattan is the home of the bankers, so it may not be a shock to learn about their indulgent prepping purchases. Plan B Marine leases boats docked along the perimeter of Manhattan to their wealthy customers. With a tagline like, “Every Good Chief Executive Needs a Plan B,” Plan B Marine makes it clear who their clientele is. Their boats are leased for $4,500 to $7,500 a month. I’ll save you the effort of the math: the service runs from $54,000-$90,000 annually. I could imagine that with this investment, the bankers actually want there to be a SHTF moment.

Impracticality rating: 8

3. Survival Capsule

When a company’s website doesn’t publish prices, you know their products are incredibly expensive. That happens to be the case for this two person Survival Capsule, which is marketed as protection from natural disasters. Now I’m all for protection, but a survival capsule that I can only pre-order certainly isn’t the type of protection I’m looking for. You can rest assured that the CEs will get in line to add a toy like this to their collection. However, government rescue operations may be a practical application for this product.

Impracticality rating: 7

4. Luxury Bunker Condos

You all know I’m a big fan of bunkers, but I do draw the line somewhere. The line is drawn at the Atlas Missile Silo turned Luxury Condos. A full floor unit is a cool $3,000,000. Now I understand the urge to purchase some SHTF insurance, but $3 million is absurd! The unit is 1820 square feet, has an automation system, a “simulated view” of the outdoors, biometric key locks, and more. You can rest assured that the 1 percenters making this purchase won’t need to make any post-Event sacrifices.

Prepper Products

Image Source: survivalcondo.com

Impracticality rating: 8

5. New Zealand Citizenship

Peter Thiel, a President Trump supporter, doesn’t plan on living his life in America if SHTF. He and other CEs are becoming joint US-New Zealand citizens, so they can buy up land. The isolated island, by some estimates, is the intended insurance policy for about half of the Silicon Valley billionaires. Rather than being a man of the people, Thiel and his CE associates had to invest NZ$10,000,000 (roughly US $6.75 million) in the country over three years in order to gain permanent residency. With the cost of residency already twice as the above luxury condo, this prepping purchase is definitely the most impractical.

Impracticality rating: 10

Have any additional impractical prepper purchases? Contact me to share your suggestions in the comments section. You can also head to the Bunker Basics Store to get some gear with a bit more utility.

Prepper Products