Seizing Crops After a Collapse of Society

   03.13.19

Seizing Crops After a Collapse of Society

From time to time there is  a theory that makes its rounds through the prepping community.  This theory says if a collapse of society were to ever happen, the local sheriff (or any high raking government official) could seize crops from farmers, then distribute those crops to the starving masses.

Believe it or not, we have an example from the 20th century of that exact event happening.  The event was the Russian Famine of 1921- 1922. Even though there were numerous causes of the 1921-1933 famine, it was in part due to the seizing of grain in Russia under the Prodrazvyorstka policy of Vladimir Lenin.

With their crops seized, and no money, farmers had to leave their farms to find food.  It is estimated around 5 million people starved to death in the famine.

To solve the problem created by Prodrazvyorstka, Lenin introduced a new policy called the “New Economic Policy.” Under the new policy, rather than seizing crops from farmers, the government bought crops from the farmers.

Using the real world example of the Russian Famine of 1921-1922, we have an idea of what could happen if the local government started seizing crops after a Doomsday event.

Think this story has a happy ending?  Think again.  After Lenin died, Stalin implemented his own policies, which included driving farmers off their land, sending them to prison camps, then putting people who are loyal to the communist party to work on the farms.

What happens when someone new is put on the job and replaces someone who has decades of experience?  Typically, production goes down.

If we look at the estimated grain production of Russia during the 1930s, we see production took a nosedive after Stalin put his policies into effect – Estimates for grain production in the USSR between 1928 and 1940 millions of tons.

Let’s use the revised grain production column:

1930 83.5 million tons.
1931 69.5 million tons.
1932 69.8 million tons.

From 1931-1940, there were only two years that exceeded grain production in 1930.

Seizing crops failed, which contributed to the Russian famine of 1921-1922.  An estimated 5-10 million starved to death.

Seizing land failed, which resulted in the Russian Famine of 1932-1933. An estimated 5-7 million people starved to death.

Depending on source death toll between the two famines vary widely.

Final Thoughts

We have three examples set by the Russians during the 20th century:

Seizing crops

Selling crops on the free market

Seizing land and replacing workers

The only example that worked, and still works, is the free market system.

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