"Even a ragtag group that can assemble to protect your neighborhood/town is useful in a pinch."
What is my pitchfork factor?
A pitchfork factor is a measurement of how vulnerable you are during this decade plus of turmoil until things settle down again. Pitchforks can arrive in a variety of forms:
* Siezure of assets and/or imprisonment. From nationalization to a corrupted process (for the personal gain of those in local/regional government or connected to them).
* Criminal activity. From gangs to mafias to militias. All will be present and they will be larger and much more active than they are today.
* Riots. Destruction and/or looting. More random and less likely than the above.
Here are some very simple rules that can reduce your pitchfork factor:
1. Invest in your community's viability. The better the community does, the better it will protect you. There is strength in numbers. If the gulf between your personal success and that of the community's is too large or your community is too small, your factor will rise.
2. Establish a trust network. People with whom you can conduct transactions with without recourse to legal entanglements (which will be corrupted). Know who is in and outside of this group. Transactions outside of this group are very risky.
3. Invest locally in productive assets (while you still can). Productive local assets (particularly food, energy, and locally consumable products) are a source of income to both you/your family as well as the community even when things are terribly depressed. Remote investments or piles of fungible assets (in a safe or in a safe deposit box) are a liability since they attract unwanted attention and are nearly impossible to protect (unless you are willing to dispense violence at a level/scale commensurate with a mafia/cartel/militia).
4. Know someone in government that can help protect you and your community. The more powerful and/or local the better. Connections to people with titles/status in powerful organizations are useful as a means of intimidation (I've seen this in action, it works very well).
5. Stay in your native country. If you have ever been in a foreign country that is really going down the tubes, you already know that this is critical. Not being a native makes you an instant target and whatever support network you think you have can vanish in an instant (I've seen this happen and it can occur very quickly).
6. Local militias/defensive forces. Even a ragtag group that can assemble to protect your neighborhood/town is useful in a pinch (seen this many times). If you have the means, equip/train them and/or give them a place to assemble. . . (Emphasis supplied, MBV.)
NOTE: A well stocked/armed cabin is not a solution. (Emphasis supplied, MBV.) This situation will outlast you. Solely relying on being personally well armed/proficient isn't that great of an answer since it will most likely result in you and your family going down in a blaze of "glory."