10 Post-Apocalyptic Currencies More ValuableThan Gold 10.
Candles Currencies need portability (you can carrythem with you), scalability (different values to facilitate trading in varying quantitiesor goods), durability (so they can actually change hands) and, once society is throwninto chaos and all sense of order, infrastructure, and governance is reduced from Space Age efficiencyto primal tribalism, utility.
That is, we won’t be wasting time with portraits ofdead royalty or shiny rocks.
Money will be something that everyone needs.
So when our ability to generate heat and lightwith the flip of a switch gets undermined, the demand for candles is going to go up andstay up, making them a solid option for conducting trade.
Candles-as-currency will run from yourbasic wax-and-string candle to the more sophisticated oil-burning lantern.
Given humanity’s innatefear of the dark, you can bet that candle-makers will be more popular among the bedraggledsurvivors of society’s collapse than prospectors and bankers.
Candle-making has long been a favorite hobbyof survivalists and DIY off-the-grid preppers for good reason; taking care of the basicsin a survival situation means candles—not gold—are the go-to commodity.
Shoes When all other currencies collapse, you canbet quality shoes will hold their value.
Shoes have a bit more robust utility even than candles,as they perform not just a variety of basic functions, but can carry some amount of status,too.
Nothing says “I survived The Big One” better than wearing your valuables aroundlike it is still Ancient Rome.
Conspicuous consumption may be tempered by volatile economicforces, but the deep-seated drive to buy status symbols tends to be strongest among the worst-off.
Paradoxically, that could well mean that survivors of a global disaster would have an appetitefor shoes that make a statement.
And of course, no pilgrimage to the rumoredSafe Place that somehow made it through the storm unharmed could make it far without someresilient footwear.
Whether escaping, working, or curb-stomping the infected hordes one skullat a time, shoes are a guaranteed must-have commodity after the apocalypse, and can quicklyconvert to food in your belly or a blanket on your shoulders.
Children Listen: nobody is condoning slavery here.
But it isn’t exactly without precedent; ever heard of a bride price? Basically, babieshave a price and expected value, and losing a baby-maker, i.
a female family member,carries an opportunity cost that grooms and their families are expected to offset—andthis is a pre-apocalyptic practice.
Even without throwing death and destruction into the mix,everyone from China to Japan to England (circa Children of Men) can attest, youth is a finiteresource for which there are no substitutes.
This makes children precious, tradable, andperfectly viable as a currency substitute.
Also consider that, after a worldwide meltdownof current, high-tech systems of production and transportation, people will be stuck notjust on a Paleo diet, but caveman-ing it up through a whole lifestyle of pre-industrialDIY extremes that all mean labor is the most valuable “thing” in the land.
If overnightthe world went from growing fears of robots taking our jobs to Wall Street bankers hunkeringdown behind a plow to avoid starvation, you can bet that no amount of money can substitutefor having a few more hands in the field or a few more able-bodied workers pounding onanvils and sewing up cloth.
For better or worse (realistically, probablyworse, but that never stopped a money-making scheme before), children will represent astore of potentially lifelong wealth that makes them tradable commodities.
Books The whole reason the printing press was sorevolutionary was because it made knowledge available to the masses, and it required almostno infrastructure.
Compare that to the integrated systems of electricity generation; serverfarms (with their own requisite need for adequate climate controlling infrastructure); mobiledevices with hardware and integrated support for various access platforms; coders and programmers;and the host of raw and processed materials needed to make digital data storage viable.
Any number of things could disrupt the infrastructurenecessary to make magnetic data storage go kaput, and suddenly those old, archaic paperwarehouses known as “libraries” will be veritable treasure troves of invaluable information.
If you believe the end is nigh, don’t fillall the shelf space in your fallout shelter with canned food; stock a bookcase or two,and just see if you don’t find your encyclopedic knowledge of such arcane subjects as “firstaid” and “growing food” makes you uncommonly popular—and wealthy.
Alcohol Depending on the quantity, alcohol-nutrientcontent ratios, purity, and other such variables, this one stands to serve a whole bevy of economicpurposes.
There is no question that people will work for booze; heck, if it was goodenough for the pyramids, it is good enough for the post-modern apocalypse.
Alcohol, it turns out, has been a popularalternative currency just about as long as people have known how to make it.
And, justas with the best sorts of luxury commodities, alcohol can be crafted into a whole spectrumof different varieties of wide-ranging strengths, quality, and exclusivity.
When something isfunctional at a basic level, yet can be refined enough to convey status and wealth, you knowyou are on the right track to replace gold as a currency.
Leaving aside the mind-altering propertiesof alcohol, it may be worth bearing in mind that it makes a fine disinfectant and sedative(hey, modern anesthesia is standing on the shoulders of booze as it is), ensuring thateven teetotalers will be willing to shell out some eggs and jerky in exchange for abottle or two.
Knives Knives are useful, convenient, fashionable,and sure to be in universal demand; all the hallmarks of great post-apocalyptic money.
A lot of survivalists and zombie movie fansmight insist that guns and bullets make more sense than knives, but as the Mythbustersproved, you can’t very easily shoot down a tree with guns, much less carve up a chickenfor dinner.
If we accept for a moment that post-apocalyptic trade is actually going totake place, and that life isn’t just an endless shoot-em-up race across a charreddesert landscape, knives actually come out on top as a viable means of exchange.
In fact, ancient China—the same societythat first invented gunpowder and the ancestor of all firearms—also pioneered using knivesas currency already.
Feel free to hoard your arsenal, by all means, but if you want togo to market, you better make like the second Terminator and stick to “knives and stabbingweapons.
Seeds Mad Max: Fury Road got it right.
You can haveall the guns, bullets, flame-throwing guitars, vehicles, oil, and child-bearing women youcan lock in a mountain vault, but seeds will still be a game-changing ingredient.
The world has grown accustomed to a supplychain that takes “food” and turns it into “value-added processed snacks” that haveall but bankrupted traditional family farms, turning over the global production of ediblesto a shrinking number of massive corporations.
When the systems that make “money” morethan just scribbles on pieces of paper dissolve, so will our ability to get avocados in Calgaryyear-round.
The value of human labor will skyrocket inpart because so much of it will be needed to keep farms operating and churning out seasonally-determined,locally grown, non-refrigerated produce.
At the heart of this whole system are the littlepowerhouses of life we plant in the ground to turn into food: seeds.
Those who managedto preserve non-GMO seeds (that grow plants actually capable of producing their own, non-proprietaryseeds) will be carrying around pockets full of, well, gold.
Honey And, by extension, honey bees.
In combinationwith the aforementioned seeds, bees become an integral part of the agricultural systemthat, sadly, hasn’t thrived under pre-apocalyptic conditions.
But outside the bees themselves, honey isan incredibly versatile, functional, non-synthetic substance with myriad applications.
From anti-septicproperties and other healthcare uses to its value as a dietary supplement, honey has muchto recommend it.
Taken together, honey and honey bees playan integral part in enabling humans to survive in a world without the modern means of productionof medical care.
Portability and scalability are easily achieved, if not inherent, andthe ubiquity of need and value make it a solid option for universal trade.
Sugar In many ways, sugar was the very foundationof the New World, aka the driving force behind colonization of the Western Hemisphere.
imagery tends to dwell on tobacco fields and especially cotton plantations as the settingfor American slavery, but in reality it was sugarcane that drove the greatest demand forenslavement and forced labor.
One of humanity’s favorite drugs, sugaris equal parts natural resource and tradable commodity.
If the social order governing thesocieties of the world were blown up by forces or events unknown, there is no way that ourappetite for/addiction to sugar would disappear along right with indoor plumbing and absenteeballots.
The means of production responsible to producesugar actually make it remarkably similar to gold: the supply is limited in part bythe sheer difficulty in getting appreciable quantities of it, and in a form that makesit practical to use for trade.
Of course, while the supply of gold is finite, sugar(in theory) could continue to scale along with the redevelopment of the economy, makingit as durable as it is practical as a means of conducting trade.
This is actually one of the leading argumentsagainst using gold as a currency: the cost involved in its extraction routinely exceedsthe value of any gold extracted.
Sugar production is difficult, but it can also be done in asustainable system rather than an earth-depleting mining operation.
Salt Salt is, literally, the original currency.
Consider the word salary, and you start to get the picture of just how foundational saltis as a store of value and wealth.
The lives of humans, the fates of empires, and the seasoningof meats the world over have hinged on the production and distribution of salt for centuries.
So, the smart money says that a piddling world-ending apocalypse won’t get in the way of salt’sdomination of all life on earth.
Unlike many other items on this list, saltis not just a luxury, a status symbol, or any other sort of nice-to-have—even thoughit has, at various times, been all of those things.
Salt is used to preserve other foods,making it the next-best thing to refrigeration in a world without an electrical grid (or,you know, Freon circulation systems).
Salt trumps gold on every other measure ofwhat makes a currency viable—and in the event of The Big One, it may be your ticketto wealth, prosperity, and survival.