Fernando ‘FerFAL’ Aguirre’s 2005 Essay: ‘Thoughts On Urban Survival’

I first brought up Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre on Survival And Prosperity within days of launching the blog. I wrote on December 1, 2010:

Last week I mentioned that I follow a couple of blogs on a regular basis. Surviving In Argentina is one of those and is authored by an Argentine named Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre who, like Orlov, has first-hand experience of what a financial collapse looks like. In his blog, Aguirre (who has lived in the U.S.) talks about how he and his young family survived the economic crisis in Argentina and how they’re coping now. It’s a rich source of information for surviving tough times, so much so FerFAL went ahead and wrote The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse in 2009.

I have a copy of The Modern Survival Manual. I’ve found it so relevant to my circumstances (living in Chicago and now its suburbs), I’ve referred back to it on a regular basis.

FerFAL has a new survival-themed book out. From an e-mail I received from him on June 29:

Hello Everyone!

My New Book, “Bugging Out and Relocating” is now available in Amazon!!

“Bugging Out & Relocating” is the “homework” I did for leaving Argentina. Unlike many prepper books floating around these days, this is about what I actually did, picking up a couple suitcases each, leaving everything behind and moving to a country I had never set foot on before. I basically did so by doing what I explain in this book…

Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying Put is not an Option sounds real interesting. I can’t wait to read it.

Now, did any readers know that Fernando Aguirre also published a pretty lengthy essay on urban survival back in 2005? I discovered it while reading his blog. It’s long– divided into seven parts- and chock-full of information and lessons gleaned from actual experiences. Remember, Northern Ireland-based FerFAL lived through an economic collapse in modern times. Even though I read the essay some years back, there’s one part in Thoughts on Urban Survival that still blows my mind. Aguirre wrote:

It happened 4 years ago, almost a year after the December 2001 crisis. It was a social studies class and this teacher, don’t remember if it was a he or a she, was explaining the different kinds of social pyramids. God! Now I remember more! We even had a text book with those darn, cruel pyramids! The first pyramid explained the basic society. A pyramid with two horizontal lines, dividing those on top (high social class) those in the middle (middle class) and the bottom of the pyramid (the poor, proletarian). The teacher explained that the middle of the pyramid, the middle class, acted as a cushion between the rich and the poor, taking care of the social stress. The second pyramid had a big middle section, this was the pyramid that represents 1st world countries. I which the bottom is very thin and arrows show that there is a possibility to go from low to middle class, and from middle to the top of the social pyramid. Our teacher explained that this was the classic, democratic capitalist society, and that on countries such as Europeans one, socialists, the pyramid was very similar but a little more flat, meaning that here is a big middle section, middle class, and small high and low class. There is little difference between the three of them.

The third pyramid showed the communist society. Where arrows from the low and middle class tried to reach the top but they bounced off the line. A small high society and one big low society, cushioned by a minimal middle class section of pyramid. Then we turned the page and saw the darned fourth pyramid. This one had arrows from the middle class dropping to the low, poor class.

“What is this?” Some of us asked.

The teacher looked at us. “This is us”

“It’s the collapsed country, a country that turns into 3rd world country like in pyramid five where there is almost no middle class to speak, one huge low, poor class , and a very small, very rich, top class.”

“What are those arrows that go from the middle to the bottom of the pyramid?” Someone asked.

You could hear a pin drop. “That is middle class turning into poor”.

I won’t lie, no one cried, though people rubbed their faces, held their heads and their breath.

No one cried, but we all knew at that very moment that all we thought, all we took for granted, simply was not going to happen.

“You see, the income from the middle class is not enough to function as middle class any more. Some from the top class fall to middle class, but the vast majority of the middle class turns into poor” Said the teacher.

I don’t know how many people in that room suddenly understood that he/she was poor.

The teacher continued “You see, we have a middle class that suddenly turns to poor, creating a society of basically poor people, there is no more middle class to cushion tensions any more. Middle class suddenly discovers that they are overqualified for the jobs they can find and have to settle for anything they can obtain, there for unemployment sky rockets, too much to offer, too little demand. You see they prepare, study for a job they are not going to get. You kids, you are studying Architecture because you simply wish to do so. Only 3 or 4 percent of you will actually find a job related to architecture.”

We all sat there, letting it all sink in. After a few months, it all proved to be true. Even the amount of students that dropped out of college increased to at least 50%. They either so no point in studying something that would not make much of a difference in their future salaries, had no money to keep themselves in college, or simply had to drop college to work and support their families…

Any of this strike a chord with readers? I’m guessing it might.

Anyway, check out the rest of Fernando Aguirre’s Thoughts on Urban Survival on his Surviving In Argentina blog here.

Just be sure to set aside a large block of time- or several smaller ones- to read it and take it all in.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: Link added to “Resources” page)

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