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

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.

About the Author


I Run Bartertown
Sep 5, 2013 - 8:21pm

Ron Paul, F2B, and Mr. Fix

"Perhaps you should refrain from reading comments down here in the "Ghetto""

Seriously. All that talk, both before and after the change, about how joyous it would be to be rid of the rabble. Yet the same names complain about the same content here on Skid Row... again and again and again. Well, presumably only TF and CL have censorship powers on this particular thread, so at least it might remain somewhat intact.

Must be lonely at the top...or something.


Mr. Fix, I need to know. Why, for the love of all that is holy, do you continue to be civil to that snarky, condescending skirt?

A lifetime of admiring and respecting women is challenged every time I read that angry, shrill nastiness. And yet you unfailingly go beyond civil and are pleasant in the face of 100% pure disdain that xty pours on you. I guess it's noble in a certain way, but hand out a dose of equality once in a while. With regard to characters like that one, chivalry may as well be dead. Save it for a lady.


And, that kindly looking Ron Paul turns out to be a naziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews. I know because the SPLC told me.

Also "Among the other scheduled speakers at the event are many Catholic clergymen, lawyers, doctors, and authors,"

All of them must be hateful.

Sep 5, 2013 - 8:21pm

@Green Lantern...

No, no, no... :-))) As I said, there were more articles. I just gave you one link, a "pointer" . So, here is another one, about those phone calls, in English, used by Reuters --

German spy agency sees Assad role in chemical attack, cites phone call

Thursday, 05 September 2013

BERLIN: A Hezbollah official has said Syrian President Bashar Al Assad ordered a poison gas attack last month and that it considered the move a mistake which showed he was losing his grip, according to German intelligence.

Participants at a confidential meeting of German lawmakers on Monday said the head of the BND foreign intelligence agency told them it had intercepted a phone call believed to be between a high-ranking member of the Lebanese Shia militant group and the Iranian Embassy in Damascus.

“The BND referred to a phone call they had heard between a Hezbollah official and the Iranian embassy in which he spoke about Assad having ordered the attack,” one of the participants said.

In the phone call, the Hezbollah official says Assad’s order for the attack was a mistake and that he was losing his nerve, the participants reported the BND briefing as saying. Both Iran and Hezbollah support Assad.

A BND spokesman declined to comment on Monday’s briefing, saying German intelligence speaks only to the government and to parliamentary committees on highly sensitive matters.

A Hezbollah spokesman was not available for comment. The US goverment says about 1,400 people, hundreds of them children, died near Damascus on August 21 in what it says was a sarin gas attack by the Syrian government.

France’s military and foreign intelligence services submitted to French lawmakers on Monday a report suggesting that forces loyal to Assad in the country’s two-year-old civil war, had carried out the attack.

One participant at the Berlin meeting said German lawmakers of all parties were sceptical about a military intervention in Syria and had quizzed the BND over faulty intelligence on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq used to justify the US-led invasion of 2003. No such weapons were found.

In 2011 Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported Iraqi defector Rafid Ahmed Alwan Al Janabi, codenamed “curveball”, had made up claims told to German intelligence officials that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction to help topple his government. The information from Janabi formed the basis of a 2003 speech by former US secretary of state Colin Powell before the United Nations Security Council.

Some German lawmakers also expressed concern that German intelligence on Syria could be used by the United States to justify military intervention without a UN mandate. Berlin has ruled out participation in a military intervention in Syria, which would be deeply unpopular at home.

Last month a German naval reconnaissance vessel, the Oker, sailed from Sardinia to the eastern Mediterranean. German media reported that the boat is fitted with technology to eavesdrop on activities in Syria.



Now, while in English they talk about -- they BELIEVE, the original German info and my contacts in German media tell me, that they used the term -- they KNOW, however, left politicians think that -- this can't be used as a 100% proof. Semantics.

Sep 5, 2013 - 8:32pm

Bond Market

Just a few weeks/months ago, many in our sector thought a 3% yield on the 10 year was a collapse for many markets, yet tonight we sit here with a 3% yield and all is well. Now, people are saying that a 3.5% yield is the magic number, but I assure you that when 3.5% is hit, if it even happens, it won't be a big deal at all.

Did anyone notice that the dollar was up strong today, and PM's were killed? It seems like most are not too worried that the bond yields are moving higher.

Maybe, if yields were to spike to 5-6% next year, then we have some issues, but this 2-4% yields is meaningless.

argent rampant
Sep 5, 2013 - 8:32pm

OMG, people...

Just google "gas attack was accidental" and see what you think of what you see. Reports dated 7 days, 5 days, 2 days ago that the rebels admit they accidentally set off the gas munitions. Then listen to MP Galloway's speech in the British House of Commons.

As I've said before, there are no good guys in the Syrian civil war, but I really doubt that Assad did this. And if you and I have this info, doncha think the CIA might also know it? We (the US) know it wasn't Assad, IMHO.

Green Lantern
Sep 5, 2013 - 8:37pm


Doesn't matter how many articles are saying the same thing. They are reporting the information given to them by the intelligence agencies.

Anyway, what is your analysis of those articles? Are you using them to suggest that the US version is correct and your confidence is with German intelligence agencies? The one you posted above is using a reported phone call as evidence.

Time for some anti-war tunes.

Where Have All the Flowers Gone - Kingston Trio

Although I prefer my version a little more funkified EWF style. Doesn't much sound like a war protest song anymore.

Earth Wind & Fire - Where Have All The Flowers Gone (1981) live
Sep 5, 2013 - 8:39pm

obama's saber-rattling on Syria is not really his fault. . .

Obama is led by the nose, as has every prez since Kennedy was offed for F-ing with the CIA and the Fed.

Any president who strays from the script provided him by the international banking cabal is writing his own ticket to Arkancide. The bankers have enough power and money to have anyone, I mean ANYONE silenced for all time.

Obama is smart enough to understand this reality. Congress people are not immune from Arkancision, either, of course. I can't imagine the fear they must feel wondering what might happen if they record the "wrong" vote on critical legislation.

MN senator Paul Wellstone took one too many plane trips . . . but drowning in a hot tub might have been in his future had he avoided the plane trip . . .

Sep 5, 2013 - 8:43pm


If that phone call took place, then there can't be any doubt that the NSA has a recording of it. Let's hear it! If there is such clear evidence, let's have it already. Kind of like the second killing of Bin Laden mentioned above in Ancientmoney's post by PCR. All that controversy could have been put to rest if we just saw the body. Why so much more respect for Bin Laden than Sadam Hussein? We saw his body. Is it because Bin Laden invaded us instead of the other way around? Oh wait....Shit...

Mr. Fix
Sep 5, 2013 - 8:49pm

I Run Bartertown:

I think you will find an adequate explanation in your “inbox”.

Sep 5, 2013 - 8:54pm

Visual of where we are

A friend sent me this graph ( I believe he created it, but am unsure) anyway I enjoyed it, I hope Turdites do as well


P.S. I think I am in the blue zone, but the red zone is so damn tempting

Mr. Fix
Sep 5, 2013 - 8:57pm


Thank you for all of the supporting evidence that you provided for me earlier this morning, I just read it, and you saved me a lot of time trying to research that myself, if nothing else, you have more than established that our current circumstances do not fit the typical collapse scenario outlined in the book, there's just a bit more going on here, and it is worthy of discussion.

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