The Second Community Activity- Market Day
When the SHTF, many of us will still have some supplies or we will have knacks i.e. talents that we can use as trade for other's supplies. Others can make things based upon seasonal materials or by helping people procure and create their own devices. This means someone has to organize it in order for it to happen. The easiest way to do this is to find ten people in the community that people generally like and trust and get them to work with you to spread the word.
The first ways market will evolve through necessity. In a perfect world, you'd go door to door and do a survey about skill assessment, but that will make people nervous and suspicious about your intentions. Let this happen naturally from the first few market days. Meet with those ten folks and organize what day and time will be most beneficial for security reasons. Obviously a lot of trade goods will be out, and they could be stolen. In fact, I'd expect for them to be stolen if word gets out beyond your community. Try to relax a little. In reality, your trade swap will most likely affect other communities out of self-preservation. Still it will of course be wise to organize security and pay them from donated goods from traders.
Currency will no doubt happen later. Currency in hard asset items like matches would be great and cheap and practical for everyone. Small caliber bullets too. Cans of beans too. Toilet paper too. Passing around alternative currency is not recommended for sustainable trade days due to potential counterfeiting. It might evolve, who knows. It did in Argentina when their system collapsed.
Luxury items will have low worth to most people in the beginning. Foods that are ready to eat will have very high value initially as people are unsure how to cook these days and less work will be needed for heating. Later luxury items like ethanol, tobacco, perfume, lipstick, rouge, will all be very valuable when people run out of them.
The first few market days will be unusual. Some people will still think that things will return to normal. It might, but doubtful if the SHTF. They're still transitioning in the grief process (see earlier posts) and dissuading them will be impossible. Let them come to their own conclusions and try to help people stay optimistic. All things end and transform into something new. It's up to the community to reframe it.
So... many people will mill around aimlessly. They'll trade dollars at first, but doubtful on subsequent trade days. Metal might be traded and might or might not have value in the future. Even so, the base value of say copper will have to be independently evaluated. To me construction nails will have much more value than a piece of copper for practical reasons. Anyone who collects valuables in trade will quickly get labeled a profiteer. It might seem like a reasonable strategy, but I think it's putting a bullseye on your back. I'd expect to be robbed out of built up resentment, and word will spread that so and so has valuables. See? If people lack trust and resentment grows and rumor is a currency then that rumor will spread outside of the community.
People will realize that their skills are important for trading, but until a few follow through on doing skills for canned goods or other trade items, they won't have the trust level to do that. This means some initial trade might have to be done in honest transactions between you and the ten organizers. A good way to start is to offer to teach people how to do something in exchange of a small amount of trade items out of altruism. Then this will catch fire as people realize they can do that. They'll demonstrate good faith and follow through. The ones that don't will immediately out themselves as untrustworthy.
Here's a story. I once had a martial art teacher. When I asked him about the cost of lessons he said, “The best way is charge a fortune or give them away based upon the person. If you charge a small fee people won't respect you. If you charge a fortune, people assume the lessons are valuable. If you do it for free, have the students return the favor by keeping the dojo (school) clean.” I think that's wisdom.
Perishable goods will become scarce. This is a teachable moment since everyone will be faced with it. Trade days are an opportunity for educating the community about scarcity and working together in ways that will replenish the perishable items. This means the eleven of you can start up discussions about community gardens, catching and raising rabbits, locating and gathering and preparing natural materials like cattails and tallow, etc.
An excellent trade item is entertainment. A way to do this is to have a a tiny amount of live music. The musicians work for a nominal amount of trade items. This will lead to the 4th up community activity: Community Night. More about that later.
Next up, creating a school to teach sustainable skills and educate children.
Eventually the eleven of you will see deficits in what you possess and will discuss both together and within community how to acquire what you need. This will be different based on the supplies and talents that your community possesses. Naturally the weather and season will all play into this. The level of trust and security will too.
You're not elected, strictly ad hoc so that will eventually change based upon the community anyway. Truly the people who don't want to do it, but have the skills, will be the best ones. Professional politicians stink in my opinion. Organizing is a thankless job. Very little praise returns for all of the motivating and optimism that you're sending out. It can burn you up, much like the Coal story I told earlier, so take that to heart.