There are two basic types of people: those who prefer to live alone and free of someone looking over their shoulder and limiting their freedom, and those who live within a community.
No matter what, a rugged individualist, unless they are incredibly talented with skills, cannot live alone. People recognize this and marry or live together and eventually children are born. A family, whatever it's composition, will have individual needs and skills. Pioneer families divided up responsibilities into group and individual chores, and these were based on the need to get things done, the complexity of the task, and the “knack” or gifts that the Source gave that person.
No one can provide security for themselves 24/7. All of us get sick and need medical attention. All of us get old and need care. Almost all of us need companionship, at least on occasion. There are four basic desires in humans. They're called the four F's: feeding, fighting, fleeing, and sexual intercourse. Excusing my coarse joke, all people need companionship, either friendship or making love, and so while they may feel like a loner, they'll press down that “lone wolf” nature, and at least temporarily have community.
There's also a deep desire to learn, improve oneself, and to a certain degree transmit or educate others. Obviously I have that last one. Living in community allows mentoring and learning. All of us have some knack, and that means a potential to learn from someone else.
Since some of us have certain “knacks” then we can trade those as barter items by making things or by providing a service. With altruism, you “pay it forward” by either gifting your knack to someone with no concern about return, or you help them out of vested self-interest since they have known skills of some level of complexity and they can help you later.
Reality check versus community building
Now when a community doesn't exist in reality, but only occurring by proximity, then the community can come together by an exchange of knacks as trade items or services. While a healthy developed community will exist out of self-preservation, knack trading, or shared group activities like gardening/animal husbandry/making candles, etc, a beginning community can't hope to transition smoothly without some binder to allow people to pay it forward.
That binder can be shared values, implicit trust, altruism, core beliefs, or clear demonstrative skills. If you don't possess knacks or talents, then you're relying on low level group chore needs much as a family relies upon children to do certain responsibilities. Other than that, a community will band together based upon threat since it evokes a fear response. If sustained, and the community is afraid, then specialists will arise based upon a constant threat.
What this means as members of a potential community, either leaders or followers, that you need to foster the process by touching upon all of those parameters in order to facilitate cohesion. Otherwise most communities will fail or at least it will a very bumpy ride. No matter what, it will be a dynamic process of negotiation based upon participation of knack trading, the need for companionship, and self-preservation.
Many people are wired to be lazy. We've been specialists for a long time, doing a very odd knack with little trade potential. That means that many people will slowly adjust to becoming generalists, or even participating since they'd rather do as little as possible, and rely upon other people to help them. That behavior will doom communities from achieving a stable state of cohesion. Y'all's team ain't comin' together inna pinch.
Expect this to happen. A community will happen gradually in fits and starts based upon reality. That means that any shared resources will inevitably be restricted by a lack of participation or by refusing to supply those not participation. Not working in early colonies meant not eating.
People do not just come together without leadership and people willing to accept command. The best transfer of power happens from respect and passion and even love. That happens from discipline and order and resulting stability and plenty. Relative prosperity happens at the apex in healthy communities.
The community will evolve into many different ways based upon shared beliefs or power transfer. That means you may or may not like the community around you. In severe cases this might mean bugging out. I hope not.
(Yum! Fresh duck and goose all cooked in a crockpot just arrived for dinner! See community works!)
If you're a leader this means that you're going to have to motivate all people based upon those qualities mentioned above. It also means a radical paradigm shift. It will be no less stunning than any other historical phenomena like the Industrial Revolution. I think that's what will happen with a severe economic collapse.
If you're a follower i.e. 99.9% of us, then you'll have to demonstrate a knack and a willingness to participate in group activities to survive. Lone wolfs can usually make it, but only by trading knacks or their ability to provide a trade good of great value. They're tolerated by their power, which is usually greater by necessity, or by the great value of their knack. About the maximum a tribe can sustain is 500 and that's based upon details I've shared earlier in any agrarian society.
Most likely many smaller communities will in effect occur as local leaders collaborate over their immediate area and work for self-preservation. That could mean a hippie collaborative produces something in trade and works with an evangelical group who works with a bootlegger group who works with a reloading group of hunters and on and on. That kind of community may be ideal as that means the normal gathering of like-minded people will self-segregate into core beliefs. That makes tolerance far easier. Otherwise it's very difficult to develop cohesion from disparate groups with tiny pieces of power and trying to assert control over pooled resources. Humans ultimately can't live together that have different core beliefs under stressful circumstances. Not realistically.
If people are lazy, and expecting someone to bail them out, they're in for a rude awakening. If a crisis is occurring simultaneously, there isn't a way for another group to help them. Even in isolated crisis, help usually doesn't get established for at least two weeks.
This means that now is the time to consider what knacks you have. Being able to communicate that persuasively will mean an increasing rate of success when the SHTF.
Otherwise you could amass some trade goods that would allow you and your family some chance. Eventually unless you can make more, it won't work. In the short run, any of the items on this list will give you a temporary respite based upon how many of them you can feasibly and safely trade.
[link to www.thepowerhour.com