Network Strategy

No society ever thrived because it had a large and growing class of parasites living off those who produce.” – Thomas Sowell

networksRobert Metcalfe, co-inventor of Ethernet and founder of internet equipment company 3Com developed the concept of the network effect around 1980. What became known as ‘Metcalfe’s Law’ stipulates that value of the network is proportional to the square of the number of nodes, or: n(n-1)/2 Thus, the more participants in the network, the higher value it is to all the other members. Unfortunately this assumes all members are contributors. When a parasite enters the system, it can destroy the network by consuming resources and spreading like a virus. As in manufacturing, identifying quality issues before introducing them into the assembly line is orders of magnitude less expensive than later, because a completed system that is found defective ruins the entire product, like a weak link in a chain. Thus, networks must be resilient to breakdown by having some redundancy, separation of key components, and strict quality control to avoid parasites – akin to a strict immigration policy.

swiss_townGeographic: a series of self-sufficient towns and villages, connected by communication and trade but NOT dependent upon it would balance the risks and rewards of an efficient yet fragile hyper-integrated system. In addition to growing its own food in local gardens, with advances in low-cost CNC machining and 3D printing, each community would have the ability to make much of its own equipment and manufactured goods. The TOTAL quantity of goods available to consume would be less than today, but the DISTRIBUTION of wealth would be much more equal, giving people the sense they have some worth compared to today’s prince and pauper economy. The opportunities to be a local shoesmith, carpenter, and baker would return, giving more people the chance at being a big fish in a small pond. Trade still exists for essentials such as scarce raw materials, but protective tariffs would ensure funding of government while encouraging thrift and local industry.

Transportation: to ensure mobility in an uncertain world..

Automotive Maintenance
– fix your oil, change your tires, replace battery
– 4×4 needs to be engaged to keep the actuators in the transfer case from corroding; most manufacturers recommend once a month for 10 miles; in harsher climates (moist or dry and dusty) operators recommend weekly)
– periodically run vehicle without stereo; listen for loose timing belt, rattles

routesBackup Means:
– bicycle, motorcycle, stay in good shape in case of walking – escape routes / rendezvous points, keep secret, practice and memorize them
– if stranded: smoke signal, SOS in rocks, SOS in Morse Code is: . . . – – – . . .
– Lewis & Clark boat could go over any terrain, mountain; simple, portability is key in uncertain terrain; but, assumed they could source pine sap on site; critical error, couldn’t find any, boat leaked; lesson: TEST
– know how to navigate by stars, sun, landmark, compass and map
– bring saws, axes, rope to clear road blocks – have / know how to ride a horse

If Traversing Ice / Snow
– snowshoes, slide feet without lifting one, distribute your weight, listen – chains, 4WD, low tire pressure, differential lockers for vehicles
– Russian march for circulation to hands, feet (fully extend arms, legs)

parallaxSurvival Navigation
– Day – cast shadow with stick, mark and wait 5 minutes, make 1 foot line through: In Northern Hemisphere, start is West, end is East, in Southern, start is East, end is West
– Night – use the Big Dipper, find the North Star, Southern Cross in Southern Hemisphere; moon also moves like the sun (east-west in North, west-east in Southern Hemisphere)
– Parallax Measurement: Using geometric proportions to estimate distance: the distance between your eyes is approximately 1/10 the distance from your torso to your hand along your arm; to estimate distance to objects, hold arm straight out, hold up thumb, close one eye, notice location of edge of your thumb, then switch eyes, estimating distance between the objects of the thumb’s edge (for example, if you estimate a tree next to the first thumb edge to be 40 feet, and the thumb appeared to move 2 tree lengths), take the distance and multiply by 10 to estimate the distance from yourself to the objects (in this example, 40 feet x 2 x 10 = 800 feet).

teslaElectric Cars
– not a money saver UNLESS driving more than 150k miles in 10 years
– cost savings come from lower price per mile (NOT free, even at Tesla), and lower maintenance, but only if driving more that 15k miles / year
– environmentally, the CO2 emissions to create an electric vehicle are higher than for ICE (Internal Combustion Engine), this drops off with usage, but only if the electricity to the vehicle is generated with clean energy
– current electric rates are about 1/3 the cost per mile compared to gasoline, but these are coming from non-renewable sources (coal, nuclear, etc.). IF the energy was coming from renewable sources, the cost would be approximately 3 times HIGHER than currently
– most drivers do not travel more than 30 miles per day, so range limitations are not a major problem, but for long-haul truckers, electric vehicles at 300 miles cannot compete with 800 miles to the diesel tank, making short haul routes like garbage trucks good places for electric
– over time, the lower cost of solar and improvements and battery energy density hold promise for the substitution of ICE vehicles, but while oil supplies remain, ICE should remain majority of the vehicle fleet until 2050+

self_drivingAutonomous Cars
– avoid cars with computers in them; in a crisis won’t be able to whip up your own motherboard; EMP could fry all modern cars; new ones like autonomous cars will have kill switches whether they tell you or not (DARPA and hackers demonstrated a remote shutdown of a Jeep)
– Uber/taxi driver jobs at risk: “‘GM is expected to make billions from its autonomous cars soon after they launch,’ thanks to cutting all of the costs of a human driver. Last year, GM told investors it might make ‘several hundred thousands of dollars’ on each self- driving car over the life of the vehicle. The average for all GM vehicles today is $30,000, which includes the cost of the vehicle. At the moment, it’s said that it takes more than $3 per mile for a ride-hailing vehicle to cover one mile in San Francisco. By 2025, cost should be less than $1.”

Communication:

survival_radioRadios
– HAM radios range from 100-watt base stations to hand-held UV-5Rs
– FRS/GMRS handhelds are affordable, up to 20-mile line of sight range
– CB is popular with truckers, scanners pick up (un-encrypted) EMS
– satellite phone: remote area flying, sailing
– radio fidelity: farther -> longer antennae, more wattage; better -> higher, night time
Establishing Trust: asked why he could work with Reagan, Gorbachev stated he seemed ‘authentic’ -> be genuine, not deceitful
Mental clarity comes from minimizing distractions; cut the internet, clean your room, etc., “put phone in airplane mode” -Roosh
Encryption: dead drops, one-time PAD, asymmetric public-private keys
Compartmentalize: tempting to exhibit achievements in secret life, but only do so when person is trustworthy and the reward outweighs the risk

Organization:

– “Rambo is going to get fed to the lions; that’s the first thing you learn in
the military; 4 average guys can defeat Rambo.” -Musonius Rufus
– leaders lead from the front, but the enemy targets leaders -> use caution
– motivations: most care about their stomach, their libido, their pocketbook – if you form a healthy, strong community that knows how to defend itself,
Mexican Cartel members will think twice about visiting your neighborhood – trust no organization that gives you no marketable skills and tries to
punish you for asking well-intentioned questions, suggestions, trying to leave like Scientology -> at least the Amish encourage disinterested to leave
– way to form friendships is to barter; if you have a skill, like photography, hairstyling, etc, can trade for farmed goods, or vice-versa; save money, make friends; great for a spouse to do to become friends with other families

Trade:

– Lewis and Clark survived a winter by trading their blacksmithing services
to the Mandan Indian tribes in exchange for food -> have a skill
– things with most value in a crisis: “beans, bullets, and band aids” – small denominations of precious metals such as silver eagle coins – supply/demand: prices are low if good is plentiful, high if scarce


This is the fifth in a series of excerpts from the book Exit Strategy – Navigating the Decline of the American Empire from the Myth of the 20th Century crew

5 Comments Add yours

  1. I read a paper a long time ago ‘Metcalfe’s Law is Wrong.’ They posited that the appropriate equation is
    n log(n) . I like it because it actually relates to real life and can easily describe how some networks can easily handle a lot of new people, whereas small networks can easily get overwhelmed. Here is a link to the abstract: https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/1653003

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  2. One of the most valuable books any man who is interested in post-collapsarian success can possess is a Boy Scout Handbook. It won’t give you everything, but even the editions from the 80s and 90s give you basic survival skills, knot tying, knife sharpening, and the building blocks you can combine with some deductive reasoning to turn into real handyman skills and eventually survival. The best edition is by and far Scouting for Boys, the original book from 1908, but the editions up to the 1950s and 1960s are also solid. If you were a Scout, see if your parents still have your handbook. If you weren’t, you can get copies pretty cheaply on eBay and other bookstores (don’t go to the BSA, they always overcharge and you’ll just be feeding money into globohomo.)

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  3. eoin1933 says:

    Things I’ve found useful

    You Tube:
    Dave Canterbury (survival)
    Wrangler star (Homesteading)
    Hickok45 (guns)
    NuttinFancy
    Self sufficient me (gardening)
    Off Grid with Doug and Stacey ( name says it all)
    Living Traditions Homestead
    Deep South Homestead
    Hollis and Nancy (gardening)

    Books:
    Readers digest fix anything
    Foxfire books, Elliot Wigginton
    Gardening when it counts, Steve Soloman
    The Nourishing Homestead , Ben Hewitt
    The Nourishing Traditions recipe book is invaluable
    The resilient farm and Homestead,Falk
    Back to basics , Gehring
    America’s test kitchens DIY ( can it, cure it, churn it, brew it
    Putting food by, Greene
    Better Homes and Gardens Handyman, 1957
    The Encyclopedia of Country Living , Emery

    A must for gardeners: Clyde’s Garden Planner

    Informative and entertaining:
    The Long Emergency, Kunstler
    Retrotopia, Greer
    Twilight of Abundance, Archibald

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  4. Adam Smith says:

    Excellent additions. Thanks, gentlemen.

    Like

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