For the first few weeks, people will essentially all be hunters and gatherers. Most of the gathering will be scavenging supplies from former retail outlets, offices, hones, and abandoned buildings. People will be focused entirely on survival.
However, once everything worth looting has been taken, people will settle into the new reality. For a little while, everyone is essentially going to end up a trader at a bazaar. You have nineteen pair of women’s shoes, someone else has fifty pounds of sugar, and some well prepared hunter has a freshly killed and fully dressed deer.
For the short run, food will entirely replace currency. You’ll measure something’s worth in how many meals it will provide. If you’re looking at a sturdy pair of shoes, they’ll still be compared to enough meat to feed twelve people for a day.
However, people are great at specialization. Hunters may end up at the top of the pack, but people will still need safe drinking water, cooked food, and clean clothes. If you don’t have any specialized survival skills, you can still make it in the new economy. Here are a dozen new entry level positions for postcrisis survivors.