Survivalism and the Market
Writing in The Wall Street Journal, former Reason editor in chief Virginia Postrel explains how survivalism can undermine support for markets and "encourage misleading conclusions about reality." As she writes:
The survivalist instinct mostly plays to a perverse fantasy. It's both comforting and thrillingly seductive to imagine that you're completely independent, that you don't need anyone or anything beyond your home, that you can master any challenge. In the survivalist imagination, a future disaster becomes a high-stakes opportunity to demonstrate competence and superiority….
In focusing on extreme situations, [survivalism] forgets about the capacities built up during less-stressful times. Self-sufficiency limits knowledge and productive skills to whatever a single individual or locality can comprehend. Specialization and trade allow the system to expand those capabilities almost without limit. What looks like ignorance permits the growth of knowledge.
Carried to their logical conclusions, survivalist arguments would sever the very connections that make modern societies like Japan prosperous and resilient.