Big Thinkers: Orlov's Book and Current Events - Part 1

352
Thu, Sep 5, 2013 - 12:47am
The Sky is Falling! Or is it?
Dmitry Orlov’s 2013 book “The Five Stages of Collapse – Survivors’ Toolkit” is required reading. I do not say that lightly. It is a must read; do not delay. It is here:
and there are reviews posted for those inclined. I am not doing a book review. I am trying to pin down a realistic time-line, and the markers of same, in order that we all can prepare accordingly. Nothing I have read to date is as well analyzed, or presented, so for that, I am in awe. But, naturally, I have my own thoughts as to the reality that all five stages of collapse actually occur. So, this is Part I. Part II will be next Wednesday, as it all should make more sense as the Syrian situation unfolds.
From the introduction of the book through the afterward, the book is mesmerizing both in its insightful analysis, and its use of examples. It is full of humor, too. While I quarrel with the constant references to global warming–I am not a believer in that theory at all–the book is simply astonishing for its clear, yet compelling, observations. Oh, did I mention that Mr. Orlov was born in Russia, having moved to the United States as a teenager? Or that Mr. Orlov is an engineer with skills in many fields including high energy physics research, e-commerce and Internet security? Or that Mr. Orlov traveled back and forth to Russia repeatedly to observe the Soviet collapse during the late 80s and mid 90s?
All of these facts cement his credentials for me, and makes this book such a compelling read. I find it extremely important that we examine Mr. Orlov’s prism through which he views the world, because he alone seems to have the unique insight to have synthesized a world view based on personal experience as well as his education and obvious intellect. One can quarrel with his conclusions, but they are based on solid facts and experiences completely foreign to me that is for sure. Hence, I absorbed the book in rapt fascination, and I now look at the world events with a nod to the possibilities that Orlov’s predictions are accurate.
Mr. Orlov was born in Russia during the Cold War era. It is fascinating to think that he then left Russia and moved to the United States, where he then got to play video games, listen to Western pop-culture music and watch Hollywood movies. Certainly he had a taste of hard living in Russia, compared to the easy life in the United States. This had to have played a huge influence upon young Orlov.
Then, as the communist experiment began its death spasms, Mr. Orlov’s family and friends and he himself were there to witness them all to include the collapse. Personally, I remember being in an airport in Alabama at the time watching CNN showing images of the Soviet Union collapse on the video monitor. It was unbelievable, shocking–I was a former soldier, inculcated to hate the evil empire, they were the enemy dammit!; yet, my plane still showed up and left on time and I got to my destination. No one seemed to mind, or notice, and life just went on.
So, it’s not like the collapse of the fiat system in general and perhaps the USA in particular will be any life altering universe changing occurrence, although it will probably feel like that to many who are directly, initially affected. No, what Mr. Orlov writes about is a steady progression of a decaying, deteriorating, behemoth of a system, which announces its deterioration in measurable, meaningful ways. It is no mystery, nor should it be.
Anything which by definition that is unsustainable will come to an end. There is no sane person presently arguing that the current fiat system is sustainable. So, the fiat system will end, and the question then becomes what will it look like when it does start to end? Can the eventual collapse be stopped mid stream, like a magic stick save? How will we know the collapse is upon us? If the collapse is gradual, then how long will it take? What should we expect, at any given point in time, then, along the collapse continuum?
Mr. Orlov provides all the tools to reach conclusions and answers for all of these questions in detail and with examples from history. He adroitly describes an orderly process marked by five discrete stages of collapse, not all of which necessarily must occur, but which stages will occur in progressive fashion should efforts not be made to stave off the final, ruinous, back to the Stone Age collapse.
Those five stages are, in order, (1) Financial Collapse; (2) Commercial Collapse; (3) Political Collapse; (4) Social Collapse, and finally, (5) Cultural Collapse.
Without taking too much time to restate history, we all pretty much know that the financial collapse is occurring as we speak, with the first hint and outward manifestation of financial collapse occurring in 2008 and continuing ever since. Here is what Orlov says about Stage 1, the Financial Collapse: “Faith in business as usual is lost. The future is no longer assumed to resemble the past in any way that allows risk to be assessed and financial assets to be guaranteed. Financial institutions become insolvent; savings are wiped out and access to capital is lost.” [p.14].
At this point, I firmly believe that the financial collapse is ongoing just as described, and accelerating. Understand that the process of the ongoing deterioration of the system is a gradual marginal process, and that there is no definitive point in time when there is at one moment a blissful, peaceful feeling that everything is perfectly fine, and then at the next moment there is sudden chaos and anarchy with rioting in the streets and images of roving bands of thugs streaming across our televisions. Instead, the financial collapse will continue its progress marginally, inexorably, step-by-step until such time as there is a commercial collapse. This is a completely different viewpoint I had when I first came to tfmr. I initially felt that collapse was IMMINENT!! Grab the weapons, food, water and gold/silver, time to bug out!
Well, I was dead wrong. Stupidly so. But how could I have been so misguided? Was it gullibility? Madison Avenue marketing? Human nature normalcy bias?
Whatever. Only now, I see things in a different, more analytical light, thanks to Mr. Orlov’s writings. Make no mistake, though. It is crystal clear that the Financial Collapse is ongoing, right now, leading soon enough I believe, though gradually to Stage 2, Commercial Collapse.
Understand that Santa told everyone to get out of the financial system. Cyprus banks initiated the bail-in. The ground work has been laid out. It is all legal and all the details worked out. Plenty has been written about the pending stealing of funds on deposit at banks, retirement accounts, name it. Look at what is happening in Argentina. If those Argentinian bond holders are stiffed, then that supposedly valuable New York paper is not so valuable now, is it? All of this is coming to pass as predicted, and the signs are obvious to anyone who wants to look.
The fiat system is broken. Risk assessment is now based on predicting the words of the Fed bankster in charge, then front run on huge computers to shear the sheep of fractions of pennies. The worlds’ unregulated derivatives dwarf the world GDP. A small hiccup will destroy the entire scheme, overnight. We are there.
This leads us to Stage 2, the Commercial Collapse. Orlov says this: “Faith that the market shall provide is lost. Money is devalued and or becomes scarce, commodities are hoarded, import and retail chains break down in widespread shortages of survival necessities become the norm.” [p.14].
It sure does not look like this Stage yet to me, but it sure seems damn close, too. But, by looking closely, the Syrian situation is telegraphing the proximity of when this Stage will occur. Many, many commentators have weighed in about Syria, and how the whole military situation, the bombing, the invasion, the troops really point in one direction;
The US President, a laughing stock, says at one moment that Syria crossed a red line, but now tries to wiggle out from under his own words, like a hack criminal defense attorney arguing for leniency for his recidivist client. The Syrian distraction is just that, a ruse. The real reason, they say, is resources, namely, gas pipelines to feed the industrialized world in general, and to perpetuate the governing structures of some middle east countries. So does this not seem to point towards the imminent arrival of Stage 2? Soon enough we will know.
Believe what you want to believe, but the next Stage, Commercial Collapse, knowing it is upon us, preparing do deal with it and live through it, is damn important to survival of us regular folks that is for sure. It is also after this Stage that I believe that a concerted effort to become politically active and strive for limited government will have the biggest effects.
So, for now, I leave you with this Part I and invite comments, criticisms, and the like. Try to focus on Orlov’s definitions of the first two Stages.
Next week I will dig into Stages 3-5, and evaluate details as well as strategies for rising up and making a difference for Stage 3. I would not be doing all this analysis if I did not believe that there is a possibility for real reform during Stage 3. So, I am not totally a doomsday believer I once was, but things sure look grim, so don’t let up on the preparation effort that is for sure.

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benque
Sep 6, 2013 - 3:27pm

Thanks XTY

More pieces of the puzzle cake to digest.

Situational psychopathy was described in the interview I mention, as (for example) the war hero who single handedly attacks a well defended enemy position, throwing all thoughts of stealth, or defense to the wind. Posthumous or otherwise, the seemingly normal person went all "HERO", and was rewarded for those actions.

The road-rage might be sociopathy??? I just don't know, but remain very interested in understanding it all. Wish I had a more leisurely life, to afford time for proper studies of what interests me.

RaRaRasputinBollocks
Sep 6, 2013 - 3:22pm

Bollocks

Nope - there was one behind the camera :)

benque
Sep 6, 2013 - 3:21pm

Bollocks

Wasn't it you taking the picture????

Sep 6, 2013 - 3:21pm

benque re human defects, civilization

Many people think civilization might stagnate without these deviants to take the "difficult actions" necessary for advancement.

One of those economic podcasts I am forever posting had an interesting discussion about road rage, and irrational behaviour like punching someone and getting arrested, because they butted in line. The theory basically was that one was inclined to stay in social bounds and behave according to social norms because there just might be someone in the crowd crazy enough to chase you off the highway because you cut them off.

Quite similar, in that seemingly irrational individual behaviour might have a good outcome for the group. Who mentioned here the other day it being apparently mathematically proven that you should sacrifice yourself for two brothers or eight cousins?

Very interesting.

Bollocks
Sep 6, 2013 - 3:20pm

RaRaRasputin

"6 Turdites met for lunch in London Town"

There's only 5 in the pic. Or is one of them under the table already?

Be Prepared
Sep 6, 2013 - 3:05pm

@RaRa - Turdite Convention

I think your meeting could be the start of eventually holding a Turdite Convention.... wouldn't that be a hoot? My only question.... did you solve the world's problems? With all that brain power and unrestrained critical thinking, I'm sure the world will never be the same... :-) Looks like a great time was had by all! If you ever make it across the pond, I would love to be a part of your U.S. tour.

benque
Sep 6, 2013 - 3:02pm

A little more clarity

Some time ago I listened to an interview with a Psychiatrist who had written a book aimed at the general public, and describing psychopaths, and the traits they exhibit. He sounded very credible, and said that they number approx. 1% of humanity. Wish I could remember his name, and the name of his book.

Not long ago I listened to an interview with a woman who claimed to be a sociopath, and had written a book called "Confessions of a Sociopath". Very enlightening indeed! Also, very credible. I think we all have a little of the socio in us, but do not know if there is a degree of sociopathy, or someone just IS one.

I would love to see someone here give an informed view of these human defects(?).

Many people think civilization might stagnate without these deviants to take the "difficult actions" necessary for advancement.

¤
Sep 6, 2013 - 3:00pm

RaRa

Very cool and very funny!

¤
Sep 6, 2013 - 2:58pm

Has anyone considered....

...that even though the US military would in all probability sustain some significant damage in a war with Russia/Syria/Iran that in the end the US & eventual allies might win in a big albeit bloody way?

Any outcome is possible of course, but looking at it in a military asset way (nukes not included/nor used) it would seem inevitable that a region based conflict is "winnable"....whatever that word comes to define in this instance. We have too many assets and Russia (and China) know it.

What type of world will it become if a war is fought (on any level) and the US wins big or small versus losing it or bowing out weakly? One thing this war event will deal a death blow to any economic or monetary cooperation internationally between the big players or combatants.

I think the US eventually attacks and things spiral from there and stay over there. We might be very close to a bond market event if China, Russia etc stop their UST purchases and become big sellers instead. The effect would be immediate and severe.

I'm of the opinion that the major players personalities involved (Putin, Obama, Netanyahu, Assad, SA king and other ME kings, Hezbollah Nasralleh etc.) exclude the possibility of a negotiated peaceful resolution at this point.

There seems to be a real bloodlust going on that's determined to be satiated.

Try to picture the world if the US wins outright and essentially becomes unrivaled depending on how it plays out. Or picture a bruised and chastened US. The world will be a different place with a different feel to it either way.

Either way, too much is at stake on too many levels to turn back and it doesn't appear to be an option with those egos involved and the logistical preparedness already undertaken. The primary heavy casualty will be the UST/USD and it might happen sooner than later but it's also become inevitable.

hai
Sep 6, 2013 - 2:56pm

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