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 - 3:34pm

luckily this "girlie"

doesn't live in the States.

I will see you all tomorrow. At least that's my current assumption. But I am tired of the unpleasant attitudes, and the certainties, especially about the end of all good.

I didn't say he was required reading, but it could help to occasionally imagine that things exist outside of the US. Night night, boyie.

AlienEyesGeorge Clooney
Sep 5, 2013 - 3:31pm


Orlof is not required reading. I read it but I thought his five coming attractions were out of order.

To wit :

Stage 1: Financial collapse. Faith in “business as usual” is lost.

In progress but we still can only guess what the final straw will be or when it will happen. I don't know, you don't know and neither does Turd or Orlof.

Stage 2: Commercial collapse. Faith that “the market shall provide” is lost.

Oh the market will provide alright. Provide a swift kick in the tutu and a free haircut....even if you are bald. The market will function as is until fiat is no more. Then a new market will function without fiat. Southerners often laugh at yankees and with good cause. While a yankee makes jokes about worthless Confederate money, the fact is, Confederate money is worth far more than the greenback. Visit any large coin show and find out why Southerners think northerners are insufferably stupid and devoid of common sense.

Stage 3: Political collapse. Faith that “the government will take care of you” is lost.

Get a grip, girlie! It's already a done deal. There is no difference in the two main political parties. O'bummer and McLame are both clueless asshats and the electorate is dumber than Joe Biden who is only an EEG away from being declared legally dead in thirty-seven states. The TEA Party is our only hope and at present, that is almost no hope at all.

Stage 4: Social collapse. Faith that “your people will take care of you” is lost.

Ever heard of Detroit? How about Memphis? Newark? How about the MSM aka, Pravda? Then there's the Peoples Republic of Kalifornia which leads the country in bankrupted cities, graft and political corruption. And then, there's the national debt. I'll stop there before I hurl.

Stage 5: Cultural collapse. Faith in “the goodness of humanity” is lost.

Read number four again and add crime figures for Mexico. Why Mexico? Because more than ten percent of all Mexican citizens live in the USA, illegally and because LA is now the second largest Mexican city. Check out Mexican currency laws lately? It is now against the law to change more than $50 USD to pesos. They know we've had it and they know all about currency devaluation. They have hands on experience with it.

I could go on but I just remembered that a wink is as good as a nod to a blind horse.

Sep 5, 2013 - 3:26pm

"Bail In" spans all five stages

Santa posted this video link on his on his site a few days ago. If you have not yet watched it, it is very important that you understand the plan for how a future banking crisis will be handled.

Video unavailable
Sep 5, 2013 - 3:16pm

@Xty, Fix, Cal Lawyer re: timing of collapses . . .

I would like to think Xty is right, that it will take years for all the collapses to happen, slowly but surely. However, I tend to think Mr. Fix is more likely right. Here's why:

1. Interest rates are now on the upswing, having approached and stayed at ZIRP for several years now, after a 30 year bond bull;

2. Debts are unpayable, and even more so after they are rewritten at bigger amounts to account for past, unpaid interest;

3. China and Japan stopped buying USTs, and China is now selling;

4. Gold and silver stocks have dwindled to near nothing, relatively speaking;

5. There are now more enlistees in the Free Shit Army than nonmembers in USA, and the lines keep growing;

6. The government would not have laid-up 2 billion rounds of ammo now, if they are needed 100 years from now, or 20 years, or even 5;

7. While I haven't seen a FEMA camp personally, my sense tells me they exist. Again, these would not now be ready if things are not quite close;

8. All TBTF banks are insolvent, only held together by continuous QE and make-believe accounting as per FASB rule changes;

9. The population is too large and too poor for any kind of sustained growth, given liquid energy constraints, especially with half the population sucking at the teats of those who aren't sucking;

10. Laws have been rewritten to allow the banks to take all property when the plug gets pulled; this is shown by bankruptcy law changes ala MFingG, the more recent Cyprus Steal language being used in UK, US, Canada, etc.

11. The TBTF banks are now too big to bail out--ineffective QE is showing this to be true. Bail-ins will be used, with government seizing depositors' money, pensions, etc. to bail-in the banks, and depositors will become shareholders in said, broke banks;

12. The government's myriad ABC agencies are all in place, fully armed, and ready for action. This would not be the case if we could expect slowly ebbing normalcy.

I could continue this list but I think you get my point. As Fix said, they are planning to deal with it all at once, after the plug is pulled. The Syrian war rattles may be telling us they feel the need to pull the plug soon. After all, they need a good cover story to make it appear it is not their fault that the people have been living the good life on borrowed time and borrowed wealth, and that it all must end--now.

Silver SpursKatie Rose
Sep 5, 2013 - 2:48pm

The Harbinger book

@ Katie Rose - I've read the book. I agree, there is 2 sides to the story, secular and spiritual. Both need preparing for, with greater emphasis on the spiritual (I think). All across the world, when things are bleak, a trust in God combined with spiritual courage accomplishes much. Prepping probably wouldn't hurt either.

Hunt brother
Sep 5, 2013 - 1:54pm

Syria war drums...

The war drums are designed to put a bid into the faltering US Treasury bond market.

Selling bonds funds government. The game is to support the bonds with a "safe haven" bid due to the threat of war.

Gold and silver will move higher next week.

The sp500 is rising this week on a sucker rally. Stock markets will be subject to large losses after the German elections in 17 days.

Sep 5, 2013 - 1:52pm
Sep 5, 2013 - 1:41pm

100 years

Perhaps we have been living in Disney land for the past 80 years. First on growth in manufacturing after WW2 and then when that went, we lived on rising debt. The real standard of living is without doubt, much much lower than we have here right now.

The NORMAL is not what we are currently used to.

As for bonds - how very odd! Looks like tapering is back on; interest rates up 2.99 and Gold plunges - no more easy money - however, shares just sit there and smile. Hmmmmm something is a bit wrong today?

Unless of course, the economy has really pulled its socks up? I very much doubt it. There again, Bernanke seems to be inflating the Bricks into the dirt.

Something up today but cannot put my finger on it. Time will tell. Taper yet not taper. Interesting.

Sep 5, 2013 - 1:21pm


I actually had a email exchange will Dmitry Orlov back when I wrote my article on the Coming Paradigm Shift in Silver where I included his 5 STAGES OF COLLAPSE. James Kunstler over at interviews Dmitry on his KUNSTLERCAST which I recommend. You get to hear about his life moving to the states and etc.

Anyhow... looks like the LOW PRICE OF SILVER has really taken its toll on the top 12 SILVER MINERS:

BREAKING: Silver Miners Lose Half A Billion Dollars
Mr. Fix
Sep 5, 2013 - 1:04pm


I did read the introduction, and it does sound quite familiar, Mrs. Fix and I haven't been on the same page for a long time. Upon being declined for what must've been dozens of jobs this summer, since she thought it would be easy to get one, she's starting to realize that what I have been telling her for the past few years is more than just hype, the economy really does suck.

Hopefully going forward, she might start refraining from her frivolous spending patterns, and blowing a hole in every budget conceivable.

Further on in the introduction, I was fascinated by the crumbling bridge analogy, and its explanation as to why predicting the timing is impossible. I would like to expand on that concept later this evening, but the short version goes like this:

To California Lawyer: like you, a few years back I had envisioned the collapse is imminent, although I did have a particular timetable in mind, from 2008 I guesstimated that things would be pretty bad by the end of 2012.

I wish I had read the crumbling bridge theory first, I was going solely on the psychology of the players involved.

I would be interested to know what changed your mind, it might be useful in changing mine, since I still believe that once this collapse begins, it will be a freefall. I agree that it is well underway as we speak, but I suspect that as soon as the free shit gang becomes informed of their plight, things will get quite nasty, quite quickly,

It also concerns me that our government is investing like there is no tomorrow in its Department of Homeland Security, trying to grab guns, and leaving us little people as defenseless as possible.

It also concerns me greatly that unlike other collapses that were regional in nature, and usually limited to within a country's borders, what is coming appears that it will be global, but while other countries such as the far east appear to be preparing to come out on top of the pile, the United States appears to be consolidating a tyrannical grip, and preparing for a police state.

I do not ascribe to the theory proposed by Xty that the coming collapse could take 100 years to unfold,

I suspect that once the population becomes aware that their money is worthless, it should only take a few minutes.

I would also like to at some point apply motivation to the crumbling bridge theory, since if we are to use that as a comparison, I would contend that the crumbling bridge has already been wired with explosives, and that the point in time of its annihilation has been predetermined.

Later on, I'll present an abundance of evidence to support that argument, but by this point, I'm sure most of you know exactly what I'm talking about.

I've got some business to attend to,

see you all tonight.

Mr. Fix.

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