Most people have eaten the lowly ramen noodles at some point without realizing how valuable they could be now and in the very near future for survival.
More to the point, ramen noodles have overtaken tobacco to become the most valuable commodity in some US prisons, a new study suggests.
The research said the shift was a response to a decline in the quantity and quality of food on offer.
This is much like how food offerings in school lunch cafeterias declined over a period of time to serving junk food.
“Because it is cheap, tasty, and rich in calories, ramen has become so valuable that it is used to exchange for other goods.”Michael Gibson-Light
US prison data shows spending has not kept pace with the number of inmates.
Although the research is based on anecdotal evidence from fewer than 60 inmates and staff from one male state prison, the author points to other findings indicating that the trend toward using ramen noodles for exchanges is evident in other prisons.
The shift was taking place across different groups within prisons and was not a response to bans on tobacco products within the prison system, Gibson-Light stated.
The noodles are exchanged for goods including other food items, clothing, hygiene products and even services such as laundry and bunk cleaning, Gibson-Light stated.
Others use them as bargaining chips in gambling when playing card games or participating in football pools.
They are also replacing other traditional forms of prison currency, such as stamps and envelopes, the study found.
The US spent $52.4 billion on prison services in 2012.
But expenditure has not kept up with a growing state prison population, which saw a rise of 343% between 1980 and 2013, although it has now declined slightly.
Gibson-Light stated aid staff and inmates at the prison he visited said the amount of food being provided had decreased steadily over decades and warned the shift could have serious implications.
“Prisoners are so unhappy with the quality and quantity of prison food that they receive that they have begun relying on ramen noodles – a cheap, durable food product – as a form of money in the underground economy.”Michael Gibson-Light
“The form of money is not something that changes often or easily, even in the prison underground economy; it takes a major issue or shock to initiate such a change,” he added.
He called for more research into what the reduction in food could mean for the care of prisoners. Curated from BBC.com (enhanced by Rural Money)
From the above article, the answer is clearly yes!
It is also clear to see how valuable ramen noodles have become in prison populations years ahead of the pending food crisis in the US.
In fact, ramen noodles is one of the top emergency foods among preppers and survivalists in 2020.
Due to the widespread availability of ramen and the fact that it is so easily prepared with boiled water it makes it a good survival food.
However, the ramen seasoning packet is extremely high in sodium and should only be eaten in moderation when added to this basic supply of carbohydrates.
You should add a variety of other ingredients such as leafy vegetables, eggs, scallion, etc. to make the noodles un-boring.
Ramen noodles are in my emergency food storage supplies because they rank right up there with other prepackaged, freeze-dried, dehydrated, 25-year shelf-stable foods.
It probably won’t go stale even in a time capsule!
What does it mean to barter?
Bartering is a system of exchange where participants in a transaction directly exchange goods or services for other goods or services without using a medium of exchange, such as money.
In the reset economy, ramen noodles WILL BE used as exchange goods.
There may come a time in the not so distant future when prisoners won’t be the only ones bartering their ramen.
It is not so far fetch to believe that these lowly noodles created in Japan could be worth an ounce of gold to a starving person.
I predict that more people will start bartering networks both online and off in local communities to swap various items for other things they need.
And, ramen noodles will be chief among them!
Photo by Viarami