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


Sep 5, 2013 - 5:05pm

The sky is falling!...Or is it?...

It's best to check & see...look up & down...then look left & right...just to be sure!!!...

Bag Of Gold

Sep 5, 2013 - 4:58pm

XTY ref: from the bottom of the last thread

well I wasn't going to comment on this thread derailment

Submitted by Xty on September 5, 2013 - 4:46am. Hat Tip! 5

but now that Dynamo has turned it into a let's insult the wimmin for giving a shit about what people say and how they say it, I would like to point out that two wimmin in the last few pages have actually commented on the topic and haven't just garnered a bunch of hat-tips by making even stupider, all-encompassing, dump statements that take hyperbole to a new level.

How's this for hyperbole:

All Americans think everything is all about Americans.

You hate having been an empire of evil, but dare to suggest you stop striding around on the earth like you owned the place and you get super defensive.

And is every thread on main going to be just a question of who can post the most outrageous, unsubstantiated, claim?

Sorry but this is childish.

" And is every thread on main going to be just a question of who can post the most outrageous, unsubstantiated, claim?"

Perhaps you should refrain from reading comments down here in the "Ghetto" . Stick to the vault where apparently the comments are much more enriching and more to your intellect.

Normally I enjoy your comments ... this one just makes you seem... like a ...

And yet here you are in the ghetto again ...

Howard Roark
Sep 5, 2013 - 4:40pm


Well, with the 3% mark I guess the money will start rotating, right? And can´t some of it come to PM´s?

Something has to give!

The others Treasures (Germany, Italy, Spain et al) are up a lot! Germany and UK up almost 5% (to 2,2% 2,8% respectively!).

Maybe a simple but potent speech from a russian or chinese official at G20 about Syria or (better!!!) a new world currency arrangement is all that is needed. We can only wish.

Keep strong,


Sep 5, 2013 - 4:18pm


One of the major differences, I think, between my view and many regulars at TFMR is that I never thought 2008 was the end. For whatever reason I always intuitively knew the system would be propped up.

What I didn't know was how long it could last or the exact nature of it, but I did know they could and would do it.

I would suggest to people to not discount long periods of stagnation. Dictatorial regimes work, even if they work very poorly. This has its own consequences.

In the end this will not be about collapse per se, although that could happen. It will be about the erosion of trust. It is inescapable but can happen in many ways. Could be a collapse, could be more like India where the government is known to be utterly corrupt and its smiled and nodded at and nobody expects anyone to actually really comply. There is more than tradition behind India's gold buying. Indians have a thousand year tradition of getting on with their lives despite despotic and corrupts princes(indigenous) and imperial officials (of various nations depending on time period).

Personally I am giving it a 1/3,1/3, 1/3 between collapse, civil war and stagnant dictatorial empire(rather than the hegmonic setup we have now).

The erosion of trust can be despondent and paranoic (collapse), it could become xenophobic and aggressive (empire), or just angry and blaming each other (civil war).

In my view one of the more important things to do over the next 2-ish years is to give a canny evaluation of the character and flavor of the break down in trust because this will determine the scenario and therefore which perparations are most useful.

Sep 5, 2013 - 4:08pm

unpleasant attitudes


That reminded me of a Democrat public servant that called the Viet Nam war, "the recent unpleasantness".

Personally, I DO live in the US and I don't believe in "negative waves" or "bad vibrations".

Good luck with your alternate reality thing.

For some reason you remind me of Faye Dunaway. Oh yeah. It's the "boyie" she used in "Bonnie & Clyde".

Sep 5, 2013 - 4:07pm


What do you use to monitor the markets, I hate to admit I use yahoo finance and they are not timely? I need a change and if we cross the 3 mark, me thinks it will trigger moar selling of benny bucks.

thanks in advance

Hey thanks for reading my mind, got the link to market watch.

Sep 5, 2013 - 4:03pm

Egyptian Assassination Attempt

Egypt minister warns of terrorism wave after assassination attempt


Thu Sep 5, 2013 1:46pm EDT

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's interior minister survived an assassination attempt unscathed on Thursday when a car bomb blew up next to his convoy and gunmen strafed his vehicle, prompting him to warn that a wave of terrorism by opponents of the military-installed government was just beginning.

The minister, Mohamed Ibrahim, has been involved in overseeing a violent crackdown on supporters of Mohamed Mursi, the elected Islamist president who was overthrown on July 3 by the army following mass protests against his rule.

No organization immediately claimed responsibility for the first attempt to kill an Egyptian minister since the 1990s, but it appeared to bear the hallmarks of an Islamist attack.

"It is likely that it was a suicide explosion as a result of a high explosive device," an Interior Ministry statement said.

Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood - accused by the government of terrorism and inciting violence - condemned it.

But the sophisticated attack, possibly involving a suicide bomber with a massive bomb, as well as a follow-up attack with firearms, showed the risk that Egypt's crisis could spawn a wave of Islamist attacks like those of the 1980s and 1990s.

Staged in broad daylight, it was by far the most audacious act of militancy since Mursi's overthrow, although radicals have also stepped up an insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula.

Video footage emerged on Thursday showing two militants firing rocket-propelled grenades at a container ship as it passed through the Suez Canal in the eastern Sinai on Saturday.

Online calls from Islamists for an even more violent response have intensified since August 14, when the security forces killed hundreds of Mursi's supporters while breaking up their protest camps in Cairo.

"What happened today is not the end but the beginning," Ibrahim said.

The Interior Ministry said the blast damage indicated that a 50-kg (110-pound) bomb had been used.


Footage taken by a bystander and posted on YouTube showed a vehicle ablaze as shots rang out for three minutes. A distant, unidentified voice could also be heard defiantly shouting the Islamic rallying cry "Allahu Akbar! (God is Greatest!)"

A government video showed bullet holes all along the side of a white car identified as Ibrahim's, and security sources said police had killed two attackers.

A Reuters reporter saw blood and flesh scattered on the ground amid the charred wreckage of several cars.

The head of Cairo security, Osama Al-Saghir, said the ambush began seconds after Ibrahim left his house in the capital's Nasr City on his way to work. A car driving ahead of the convoy exploded and the minister's armored vehicle also came under heavy gunfire, Saghir told the newspaper Al-Ahram....(more)


Sep 5, 2013 - 4:02pm
Sep 5, 2013 - 3:42pm


5 September 2013 International monetary system reform remains focus of G20

The G20 initiatives to reform the international monetary system and financial regulation have been presented at a briefing at the G20 International Media Centre.

Andrei Bokarev, Director of the Department of International Financial Relations at the Russian Ministry of Finance, spoke about the main results of the work on reforming the international financial architecture over the G20 Russia's Presidency.

One of the key issues he addressed was Russia's proposal to begin a discussion on debt sustainability and government borrowing and public debt management. "We set ourselves the goal of achieving results in specific areas," Bokarev said. "One of them was revising the Guidelines for Public Debt Management once issued by the IMF and the World Bank. A major effect of our work was the agreement reached at the Finance Ministers' level to launch the procedure for revising these guidelines. The first proposals on the new edition will be presented in October at the G20 Finance Ministers' Meeting, while the final version of the document should be approved in February-March 2014."

Supporting the development of local currency bond markets is another important area.

One of the major milestones in this process came about during the Russian Presidency: action plans have been adopted and recommendations have been drafted for the development of the domestic bond markets, mainly in emerging countries, to stimulate additional investment in their economies.

Working out responsible borrowing practices is another significant issue: specific proposals, rules and recommendations need to be drafted, mainly for low-income countries to implement policies to attract loans.

Speaking of reforming the key international financial institutions - primarily the International Monetary Fund - Bokarev stated regretfully that this year the group had failed to achieve the expected results in this area due to a number of objective reasons. The IMF reform planned in compliance with the G20 Leaders' decisions taken in Seoul in 2010 has not been completed. This, in turn, hampers the preparation and approval of a new IMF quota formula, which would help factor in the interests and roles of emerging markets and increase their quotas....(more)

Sep 5, 2013 - 3:36pm

re The Harbinger

I read that book and the "coincidences" in it are chilling. But it is also important to note that the reason Jonathan Cahn was guided to put it out was that it was meant as a warning...and there was still time to turn things around. I don't necessarily agree with end-times stuff but I do agree that we as a country need to find our "spirit" again. A return to "heart." Doesn't need to be in the form of any particular religion, just a return to heart/love/spirit/whatever you want to call it. If that happens, then the "hedge of protection" can return and America restored. I think it's quite positive that most Americans are against the strike in Syria...that is a start.

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