Hesitated to answer but this is the reality:
1. WW II in occupied areas; no food in cities, flour and meat was traded for gold and diamonds. In a word, jewelry. Peasants who had food were not interested in silver.
2. Behind iron curtain, countries occupied by Soviet Union: hard currency and jeans, leather etc. exchanged for silver and gold, then risking custom officials searching for anything forbidden to export; endless list. University professor of cardiology in Poland worked for $ 30 a month. Heavy gauge German silver sugar bowl 13 loth bought for $ 60.
3. Unfortunately, gold is very expensive now. Vreneli 20 Swiss francs was over DM 200 in eighties, then fell to DM 100 in 90`, now Euro 250. Meaning, wait for a couple of decades for gold to fall, buy and stack gold coins. Unfortunately, life is too short.
Yes, I agree that in the situations you described, silver would not get you very much. In those catastrophic times, the only things that matter are food, water, shelter, medicine, protection, etc. In times of famine, people wouldn't trade their last loaf of bread for its weight in gold.
What I was referring to are somewhat less desperate times, namely in times of things like hyperinflation. So similar to current situations in Turkey, Lebanon, Venezuela, etc. I've heard people have started using gold again to barter for things in Venezuela. I think at the end of the day, silver and gold have been used as money for 5,000 years; whereas fiat currency has only been a science experiment for a much shorter time. But regardless of whether it's previous metals or fiat money, governments have no qualms about debasing either.
The US government - and governments around the world - have been printing money (or creating 0's and 1's in a computer) like crazy. It's amazing that the US dollar has still retained its reserve currency status. But older governments like the Roman Empire and the Chinese Song Dynasty did the same thing and ended up collapsing. The Roman Emperors debased the Denarius by making them increasingly smaller and with cheaper metals, to fund wars with the barbarians. The Song Dynasty invented paper money, but ended up debasing it so much that it eventually became worthless. You have plenty of examples in history that speak to this.
To quote Peter Schiff, we're in the late stage in the current debt cycle. Honestly, I think it's wise for anyone to protect them and their families with some precious metals, just in case stuff hits the fan. All the billionaires do it; I think the Rothschilds have like 1-2% of their net worth in gold. Americans unfortunately own very little gold or silver in comparison; whereas countries like India and China are all about gold.
Anyway, sorry for the rant, but these are certainly interesting times we live in.