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Store shelves can go empty in the US—how to survive that

Posted by John T. Reed on

I saw some news segment today where the announcer asked some experts if the store shelves in the US could go bare—they were in a store with relatively empty shelves because of coronavirus hoarding. The expert essentially said no.
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Excuse me. In a free market like we have now, runs on the store can temporarily empty the shelves. During our PG&E-induced power outages last Fall, there were runs on generators. I had already bought ours in 2016. And there were runs on batteries and rechargeable power-outage night lights. You could buy stuff on line or drive to the next town or two towns over. Or wait a week.
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But US stores COULD have empty shelves that do NOT refill. That happens when you get hyperinflation. Hyperinflation is always accompanied by what I call the Five Bad Laws: capital controls, price controls, anti-hoarding laws, financial repression laws, and rationing.
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Take one product: eggs. Due to the hyperinflation, the USD price will soar to like $100 per egg. So will the price of chicken feed. The politicians, who CAUSED the hyperinflation by deficit spending, will blame the supermarket and enact price controls that force the store to sell the egg for, say, a dollar.
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But the stores will refuse to sell a $100 item for $1, just as you would refuse to sell, say fifty Milky Way bars for a dollar. So the store shelves will empty because the products will cost the merchant more than they are allowed to sell them for. This is why anti-gouging laws HURT the public in times of sudden shortage. Allowing “gouging” will cause the product in question to flow in from afar. Like gasoline in the Hurricane Sandy area.
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This was recently in the news in Venezuela—because they had hyperinflation and the Five Bad Laws. Hyperinflation is ALWAYS accompanied by the Five Bad Laws. By the way, the empty store shelves ended recently in Venezuela. Hyperinflation always ends and it always ends overnight. What happened? Venezuela repealed its capital controls. In other words, they told everyone, “Use whatever currency you want.” The same thing ended Zimbabwe hyperinflation. The residents just start using foreign money like the USD ot the euro.
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Capital controls say that you can only use the hyperinflated currency. You cannot use gold or foreign currency or even POSSESS them within the US. You say the US government would never pass such laws? Ha!
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_Order_6102
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Suppose we got hyperinflation here in the US and the store shelves emptied because of price controls and capital controls. First, I would likely leave the country immediately. To the extent that part of my family remained behind, for various reasons, they could use various things that I as author of How to Protect Your Life Savings from Hyperinflation & Depression would have.
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We have freeze dried Mountain House food and lots of canned goods and and UHT milk and the like. We also have plenty of toilet paper, paper towels, Kleenex, computer paper as well as soap, shampoo, razors. We also have firewood, sterno, propane, batteries, portable solar panels.
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Can we buy stuff? Yes. With what? Barter items like travel size shampoo, razors, bar soap, toilet paper. What about money? We have US nickels. Their melt value will rise in hyperinflation. You would typically have them in $2 rolls. Sellers who understand would check coinflation.com to see the melt value and give me credit for the melt value. Initially, such people would be hard to convince.
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We also have junk silver which is dimes, quarters, and half dollars that were minted before 1965. They are 90% silver. Today, they are worth about 12.5 times face value. Again, you need to find a knowledgeable seller of what you want to buy to accept them. After a week or so, I expect most people would be knowledgeable about such things.
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Or I could go to an ATM at, say, my local Wells Fargo. I stick my ATM card from, say, the Bank of Montreal into the ATM. Further say there is no hyperinflation in Canada. Hyperinflation is not contagious like recessions. Now, 1 CAD = about .75 USD. But if we had hyperinflation, one Canadian dollar would be worth like $100 US. So if I stuck my Canadian ATM card into a US ATM, it would spit out huge amounts of dollars just as I would be able to get that many dollars for a paper Canadian dollar. But due to capital controls, my possessing a Canada dollar in the US would be illegal. But my possessing a Canadian ATM card that would convert to USD as I used it in the US would be legal. Of course, you would hurry and spend the USD you just got before they lost further purchasing power.
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I would likely use a foreign ATM card to leave the US, buying an Air Canada ticket at SFO and flying to Vancouver, Canada. Or I would more likely drive my car in order to have it in Canada. I could buy gas with the Canadian ATM card. It might also work in a US gas pump. Once in Canada I could help family members back in the US by various machinations and maybe enable them to join me in Canada. In Canada, my life would be normal and I would just shop as normal only using my Canadian bank accounts which are in Canada out of the jurisdiction of the US government. Canadian store shelves would be full.
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So, yes, absolutely, the US store shelves can go empty and stay that way, just like in Venezuela. And it would be a pain to my family, but nothing like as bad as it would hurt everyone else.
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https://www.johntreed.com/…/john-t-reed-s-book-on-hyperinfl…


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