‘Prepping’ is the time-honoured practice of survivalists making ready for the impending and inevitable Soviet Nuclear Armageddon/Y2K/the 2012 Mayan Apocalypse/World War III, and the less clearly defined TEOTWAWKI (The End of the World as We Know It) and SHTF (Shit Hits The Fan). These people, usually suburban, middle-class citizens, prepare bunkers, stockpile non-perishable foods, petrol, medicines, weapons and other necessities they feel they will need when the SHTF.
Some survivalists spend quite a lot of their income on precious metals, mostly gold and silver. They argue that, even though the value of these metals will decrease in case of TEOTWAWKI, they will still be able to use it to barter for goods and services. This charming gentleman, Richard Morgan, writing as The Great Northern Prepper, advises sagely: “ALSO PLEASE STICK TO PHYSICAL METALS! BY THIS I MEAN DONT BUY ETF’S OR OTHER 'BUYS' THAT ARE FALSE PAPER ASSETS, THOSE ARE JUST NUMBERS ON A SPREADSHEET! ONLY BUY WHAT YOU CAN HOLD IN YOUR HAND, STORE IN YOUR HOME AND HAND OVER YOURSELF!” One can understand the charm that the physical metals must have – they are real, they have weight, they shimmer, unlike numbers on a computer screen that only represent real value, check tbailey.com/construction/ for further info. For these preppers the money is the signifier to the gold and silver’s signified, not realizing that gold itself is also just another signifier, worth no more than ‘just numbers on a spreadsheet.’ Meanwhile, companies that sell gold1 are making a killing off of these paranoid souls.
Adorno said that “[the capitalist] would rather that everything end than for mankind to put an end to reification,”2 and all of this, this community, their subterranean economy, their ‘investment advice’, goes to show that while we can quite readily and gleefully imagine the End of The World (as We Know It), we have a very hard time imagining the End of Capitalism.
1 Like goldline.com, or cmi-gold-silver.com, that have specially marketed ‘Survival Coins’ (one wonders what makes them different from other coins).
2 ‘Cultural Criticism and Society’. Prisms. p. 24.