Friday, December 30, 2011

Top Five Currencies in the Zombie Apocalypse

Top Five Items that will Serve as Currency in the Zombie Apocalypse

When the world is overrun by the undead and civilization as we know it collapses money is going to be worth about as far as you can throw it.

But I bet if you drop this from high enough it'll kill a zombie.

So how will people interact?  Obviously barter and trade will return and replace fait currency but how do we set the value?  If I need something from a random survivor is it only worth what I’m willing to part with?  Because I have plenty of pocket lint and candy wrappers.

While a set value for any given item is unlikely these are five of what will become the most valuable and therefore most traded items/currencies of the apocalypse.

1: Food

“Man I’m starving, how long has it been since I ate?  Let’s see, I had half a squirrel about a week ago, does that count?  Oh hey, there’s a caravan.  Hey do you guys have some food?  Yeah?  Great!  Wait, what?  Well, no…no I don’t have anything to trade.  Wait, where are you going?  No!  No come back!”

Everyone needs to eat.  And with the farming, production and distribution industries shut down, there won’t be much food left after the rioting and theft ends.  Sure you could break into abandoned houses and see what they have stored away, but you’re not likely to find much food for yourself that way.

You're much more likely to find yourself as food.

Sources of food will soon go back to what we can hunt, gather or cultivate.  And with the amount of effort that goes into each of those, not to mention needing it for ourselves, it will take a lot for us to be willing to trade it away.

2:  Water

“Wow that tree bark was really filling.  Man I’m thirsty though.  Oh look, a stream, I’ll just have a quick drink.  Mmmm that was refreshing.  Huh, looks like there’s a zombie floating down stream…Uh oh.”

Not just water but clean water will be a highly sought resource.  Those clothes you need to was can be cleaned in really any old river or even pond.  But that wound you want to care for or those crops you’re planning to grow?  All of that will need a reliable source of clean water.

The majority of settlements in our history based themselves there because there was a source of water, and the zombie survivors will do the same.  But with settlement will come the need for defense from not only the undead but also raids from other humans who want the clear clean water.

This bring us to…

3:  Ammo

Ammunition will be one of the first things bought, looted and stockpiled when the world ends.  It will also be used up incredibly quickly.  Not everyone will be able to kill a zombie with one bullet.  In fact most of us won’t and will fire wildly in the hope that we stop the one zombie we see while the others sneak up behind us for the meal.

But the good news is that bullets are actually really easy to make.  It doesn’t even require anything beyond a manual ammo press and the ability to mix gun powder.  Shell casings for most guns can be recovered after being fired, or replacements can be made for those as well.

Being able to manufacture ammo means that you will be everyone’s best friend, you make them bullets and they give you food.  Or they protect your water hole.  Or they’ll go on supply runs for you because even with the ability to make bullets you still need something.

4:  Raw Materials

And I do mean raw.  See that sheet metal?  Use it for a wall around your new town.  Those nails?  Melt them down and turn them into something useful, like more bullets. 

Although I prefer some things to not be raw.

Everything from chemicals at a pharmacy to a tree you can chop down in the forest will prove useful.  Wood will serve for fuel or construction, metal for defense or offense.  It’s all in how you use the resources around you.  Of course you also need more than just the basic knowledge.

5:  Manpower

While all the other resources can be traded amongst any willing traveler, this one is only going to show in a community, settled or not.  Is there a guy who’s only skill is killing things?  Fine, let him shoot the zombies and we’ll make sure he stays fed.  How about a medic in our new farming village?  Great, no sense wasting him in the fields when there’s wounds to treat.

Everyone has, or can learn, skills.  The real trick is knowing what skills you have a knack for and finding ways to put them to use.  Any post-apocalypse community that has a chance of surviving will allow its members to do things this way.