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


Mr. Fix
Sep 7, 2013 - 12:27am

I find it interesting,

that those of us who have actually met and got to know a psychopath really well, has a firmer grasp of what is going on than most of the people here.

They are incredibly hard lessons to learn, and painful on many levels.

I have a question for the group:

Exactly how dangerous do you think it is that we have a psychopathic pathological liar with a nuclear arsenal that he is about to unleash?

Please tell me that I'm missing something here.

Sep 7, 2013 - 12:22am

Mr Fix, Treefrog

...sort of glad I'm not the only one...well, not really!

...good news is I've learned my lesson!

...these days if I hear a twig snap in yonder woods, I turn and run like a cheetah shot out of a howitzer in the other direction :)

Mr. Fix
Sep 7, 2013 - 12:20am

Missile shield just went up around Moscow

No, I don't have a link yet, but I'm listening to the radio, Clive Lewis on "Ground Zero", and he just explained that for the first time in 40 years, the missile-defense systems around Moscow have been raised, it would appear, that Moscow is expecting some nasty things to happen soon.

Combined with all of the other nuclear news I've read this evening, it is starting to sound like more than just a fairytale gone bad.

Sep 7, 2013 - 12:07am

zenguppy, mr fix

where it gets complicated (as it all too often does) is when one disorder combines with other conditions. sociopathy, bipolar disorder, hyper intelligence and pathological lying were mentioned. if mental disorders just came in discrete, compartmentalized packets, it would be much simpler. here in the real world, however, it's more like a well tossed salad - kinda hard to guess what's coming to the surface next.

sociopathy/bipolar/pathological lying/hyper intelligence? that's quite a combo! sometime let me tell you about a woman i knew who was avoidant personality disorder/bipolar/substance abuse/schizoid.

...or perhaps the less i say about her the better.

Sep 7, 2013 - 12:06am


Psychopaths are extremely antisocial and tend to remain as loners on the periphery, and then strike their victims out of the blue. Sociopaths however, even though they likewise are completely amoral/without "conscience," are able to emulate the way they observe others they understand the value in doing so (of staying under cover)...of blending in to the scene like a chameleon. They are the evil pretenders, that fool their prey, lure them in, and then strike . Psychopaths don't care about fooling anyone, and that's why they pretty much stay out of sight, and strike in the black of night.

I suppose both have risen " to the pinnacle of the field" as you say, in this sick world of power and greed....where lies and deception are rewarded, and honor and integrity, are setup in some dark ally, where they are gutted.

Mr. Fix
Sep 7, 2013 - 12:03am

zenguppy. The woman you just described

Sounds like a dead ringer for my mother, and coincidentally, there was someone I once dated also. Ouch.

Mr. Fix
Sep 6, 2013 - 11:44pm


If there is any justice in our universe, explanations will not be required where he is going.

Sep 6, 2013 - 11:37pm

@benque: Human behavioural variation

While we are all quite used to physical variation, hair, eye, skin colour etc., I suspect most of us would describe certain behaviours as normal or abnormal. In fact all behaviours are due to normal biological variation, although the psychologists and psychiatrists would describe certain behaviours as abnormal.

For example sexual orientation has a spectrum that is far wider than most are aware. As you know it is only in recent years that it has become accepted that homosexuality is biologically determined and not a lifestyle choice. I guess I was around 6 when I became aware of my sexuality. I visited Father Christmas and was far more interested in the two (high school, I guess) girls in their short red skirts.

Some behaviours are maladaptive (in a genetic sense reduce the likelihood of reproduction, such as homosexuality) while some are severely anti-social such as psychopathy. I like to think of the cardinal sign of a psychopath to be a complete lack of empathy. Without any remorse one can do anything to satisfy one's desires and the less intelligent psychopaths do so and get caught.

The more intelligent psychopath recognizes that others have something they lack and so study and emulate what they lack. Hence they can be very glib, gregarious and apparently caring but they only have number 1 in mind. These folks often rise to the pinnacle of the field they choose and are totally ruthless.

Xty: Who mentioned here the other day it being apparently mathematically proven that you should sacrifice yourself for two brothers or eight cousins? That was me. It was a rather glib remark made by J.B.S. Haldane who was one of the pioneers of population genetics.

Sep 6, 2013 - 11:25pm


...Would really want to have to explain the same shit over and over seventy-two times???

Sep 6, 2013 - 11:23pm


...a psychopath is a violent and an impulsive sociopath...and where a sociopath will meticulously and secretly strive to hide/cover up any visible tracks left from their deviant manipulations, a psychopath is much more of a "loose canon."

I was engaged to a sociopath/bipolar/pathological liar...who was top of her class at Berkeley, top in her law school, won a supreme court case that set a precedent, and missed 0 questions when she entered the S.F. Mensa Group. I know that her IQ was somewhere around 200, why?...because we'd play Scrabble and she'd make 5 or 6 Bingos (use all 7 letters) per game!

And yet I later learned form her parents that her kids called her "mommy dearest" growing up, and I also learned that everything she told me about her life situation, about love/caring/closeness/blah/blah was an unbelievably well constructed set up/con job. Her performance was twice as convincing as anything I've ever seen Meryl Streep do...and yes, as soon as she had the 3 Karat 25k diamond engagement ring in her greedy little clutches...poof! over...and shame/shame on me.

Big point here being, these are the so-called "best and the brightest," the amoral SOBs who are steering the once great Ship called America straight into the reef...but do they worry?...why when they have the best lifeboats money can buy!

For the rest of us, we're shark bait...

...and maybe even a moment or two of happy entertainment for the chosen few.

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