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 6, 2013 - 7:01pm

Xty To answer your question:

When I make a statement such as the American government, and through that we can imply the bankers that own them, carefully construct each decision to have the worst possible outcome for the United States, these are obviously not incorporated into anything that would resemble a public statement.

Publicly, it's all about the children, national pride, I have the village, or what ever the hell you want to call it, what we are hearing for public policy now, is incoherent babble which is intellectually vacant, and any rational person can quickly realize that they are full of crap, and must conclude that there is a hidden agenda.

The US government (owned by bankers) is guilty of treason at this point from top to bottom. But through their minions in the mainstream media, they must come up with some kind of cover story, and since there behavior is becoming increasingly outlandish, the cover stories are becoming increasingly implausible.

In another post, you ask what they could possibly profit by taking down the US economy.

First off, it's not about the money, it's about power and control. Obviously, they have trillions at their disposal, and can print as much as they need. The fact that the populace is waking up to their shenanigans, it is possible that they feel that they are losing control. Their entire agenda can only survive under a cloak of secrecy.

some of us theorize that the new world order is the intended outcome, a global dictatorship, with a common currency. That might be a possibility, others theorize that they genuinely intend to depopulate the human race, they may truly believe that there are not enough resources for everyone. Either way, these two agendas are not mutually exclusive, massive death and starvation followed by a new world order leaving the same old elite in charge, is probably the intended outcome, and with enough chaos in the meantime, the populace will lose sight of who the real criminals are.

I know it's just a theory, but it seems to be playing out.

This is one of the reasons why I do not believe that gold and silver will be allowed to appreciate in the hands of us little people, until after the system implodes, and the Evil Empire is defeated,

I'm looking forward to California lawyers next post where he intends to reveal a viable strategy for taking back control, as far as I can tell, massively educating the populace would be the first step, but that is an extraordinarily difficult challenge since most of what people believe is false, and the truth is dismissed as “bat shit crazy”.

And then I have another “pet theory" which simply states that Barack Obama is conducting a jihad against the great Satan, and is neither seeking power or wealth, he just wants the 72 virgins when he's done.

Have you looked at Michelle lately? It's as good a theory as any.

Sep 6, 2013 - 6:59pm

Collapse can take many forms

I have no real quarrel with Orlov's characterization of collapse, but I offer this:

The upheaval caused by a collapsing system is directly related to how far that system strays from human nature and norms to begin with. I suggest those norms are:

(1) personal freedom

(2) market economies

(3) local, legitimate law and order.

The collapse of communism was traumatic because communism, at its core, is an attempt to re-program/re-write human norms. Freedoms were eliminated, the economy centrally planned, and law and order nationalized. Destruction of each norm was dependent on the other. When they proved unsustainable after a few generations, the return to the real world was traumatic (and incoomplete).

There is no question we've taken some large steps away from these norms ourselves in the past several years, even decades. The majority of Americans have now come to expect their privacy to be invaded, and to follow rules established by our government on things ranging from the right to own firearms to the right to wield a twenty ounce Diet Coke. Our financial system has morphed from one defined by real economic activity to one primarily driven by government-established interest rates, asset purchases, bailouts, and a wide array of programs designed to help "Middle Class Americans." The autonomy of states, let alone localities, has been eroding in favor of federal highway funds, block grants, social security, medicare, and thousands of other methods used to centralize economic, social and authoritative control.

However, this is still America.

At our core, we are still a country built upon freedom, a market economy, and law and order. Imperfect, yes. Moving in the wrong direction? Yes. But we are no Soviet Bloc. So we should expect our world to turn upside down when our system does collapse. At least not until the following things happen:

(1) Local governments and local elections are discarded.

(2) Local law enforcement is replaced with national/regional law enforcement.

Notice I didn't say anything about markets - that's because, consistent with Orlov's concepts, at least as explained by CA Lawyer, we should already be concerned. It is difficult to envision capitalism and the market economy being perverted much further than the existing system while still maintaining enough confidence among enough investors to operate. Once that confidence goes, it's all over. And it will happen fast. And the impact will be worldwide.

The best type of collapse we can hope for, if one is coming, is an economic collapse before further significant damage is done to our political infrastructure. We still know how to hold elections, we still know how to maintain local law and order. As long as this infrastructure is in place we can make it through in one piece.

Sep 6, 2013 - 6:43pm

Brain gas

I was rereading Gen. Smedley Butler's "War is a Racket" when it dawned on me the reasons nerve/sarin gas or any type of deadly gas was outlawed by the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993. 1. It kills 2. and probably more importantly there's no money in it. It doesn't destroy buildings (so no reconstruction financing), can't finance ammunition sales, tanks, air craft, ships, etc. It just kills the living.

I would hope that 1. above was the main reason for the implementation of the law but the times we live in today, I'm not so sure.

Great thread! Thanks CAL

Sep 6, 2013 - 5:54pm

How The Beast Is Fed

1913, The Federal Reserve AND the IRS was created, both are illegal under the Constitution. The Federal Reserve is a privately owned Corporation. The IRS is the COLLECTION arm/agency of the Federal Reserve. Both work in concert to cause inflation/deflation and cull/rob/steal what does NOT belong to them. This is why there a booms and bust, why the military industrial complex survives and how you paying for your own enslavement and demise.

Please wake up....please wake up.....please wake up

Sullivan vs USA

Sullivan V USA

Webmaster's Commentary:

Today, we are hearing that the Infernal Revenue Service has been targeting political dissidents to a far greater degree than was previously exposed. Going beyond merely delaying tax-exempt status for Tea-Party, Occupy, and conservatives in general, donors to GOP candidates like Mitt Romney have been hit with disproportionate numbers of audits.

All America is now aware that the IRS is acting illegally. After all, such political targeting was an article of impeachment against Richard Nixon. So the time has come to take the discussion to the next level. Is the IRS, clearly acting illegally, itself legal? and the answer is "no", it is not. The Constitution forbids direct non-apportioned taxation of the people. An earlier version of the Income Tax was struck down by the United States Supreme Court on those grounds.

The Federal Reserve (itself a clearly unconstitutional usurpation of the money-creation authority vested in Congress by the Constitution) and the IRS claim that the passage of the 16th Amendment allows an income tax, but there are several problems with that claim. First and foremost, the 16th Amendment failed ratification! The necessary 3/4 of the states did not ratify the Amendment. Requests for proof that this Amendment was actually ratified are ignored. The IRS considers their enforcement actions the only legal reply they are required to make. And judges in tax courts (who are funded from tax revenues) inevitably refuse to examine the issue and simply declare from the bench that the Amendment was ratified, a power and authority not granted to judges under the Constitution.

There is one notable exception to this judicial legerdemain, and that is judge James C. Fox, who stated quite clearly in the court record for Sullivan Vs United States that the 16th Amendment, on examination, failed ratification. Sadly, however, that was not a tax case, and the judge mentioned the non-ratification of the 16th Amendment as justification for the enforcement of laws that may not have legally been passed, but were presumed valid through long use (i.e. we got away with it this long, so why should we change it now).

Yet another problem with the 16th Amendment is the United states Supreme Court, which ruled in Stanton vs Baltic Mining that the 16th Amendment, even if ratified, did not actually grant any new tax authority to the US Government. For one thing the original Constitutional prohibition against a direct non-apportioned tax is still in effect because it was not explicitly repealed by the hastily-contrived 16th Amendment.

So here we are, with the IRS clearly breaking the law, acting illegally, for all America to see, which is why this is a great time for activists to take the public discussion to the next level and ask if the IRS itself, and its master, the Federal Reserve, are actually legal under the Constitution.


Sep 6, 2013 - 5:52pm

US Piss Beer

We export piss beer to other countries. Many people here like it too (b*wiper, c*rs, etc.).

But we keep the good stuff here, quiet and local. Too many craft brews to count, small batches, never to see foreign shores.

Sep 6, 2013 - 5:05pm
Sep 6, 2013 - 4:47pm


Thanks for your comments....I don't see any "win" in it either but there seems to be more going on behind the scene's then meets the eye.

I think in a tit for tat battle with assets in place that Russia can't or wouldn't escalate it further then what they already stand to lose with assets in the region.

If Russia were to start firing missiles from Russia towards US ships or Saudi or Israeli bases then we're talking a whole different ball game and outcome. I don't think they'd go that far over Syria...but you never know.

If the reports of a new gas attack are true it seems a pre-emptive US counter-strike wouldn't be out of the picture. They could claim they have info and locations of Syrian cannon locations and start hitting them. They'll use any pretext at this point if it makes it easier.

Winning might be defined simply as who has bigger and more bullets that they're willing (and seemingly prepared) to fire. If SA is willing to underwrite a war as reported (and also promise to keep oil cheap and flowing) it might prove irresistible to the industrial/military forces at work.

History changing events seem probable while the gears of some core problems grind away between the US, Russia, SA, Iran and smaller regional kingdoms. My original question was what might that future look like based on who wins or who outlasted the others?

It remains to be seen whose willing to lose the most.

ThorusGeorge Clooney
Sep 6, 2013 - 4:26pm

Xty - you're right

I misunderstood your question.

My bad.

My own leanings are more toward the not-attributing-to-malice-that-which-can-be-attributed-to-stupidity side of things. But we'll see how it turns out.



Sep 6, 2013 - 4:19pm

Thorus - perhaps you misunderstood the nature of my question

I was questioning Mr Fix's logic, where in one post he said the US government were carefully calculating every move, wanting war so they could destroy something, and in the next said there was no rational thought at the highest levels, and it was the bankers at the Fed wanting war, so they could destroy the economy, having already brought about the surrendering of every Western nation's sovereignty. I think that is a fair summary - and it is not consistent. Your suggestions, of foreign bankers, etc., has far more logic. I am of the opinion that it was not a design at all, and they wish the party could continue for ever. Now, seeing the coming disaster, those with the most inside information will position themselves to come out ahead, and we will think they planned it all along. It is an ongoing argument about motive and intended vs unintended consequences. I am in the unintended camp, most of the time.

argent rampant
Sep 6, 2013 - 4:16pm


Not knowing the entire theater picture (disposition of Russian air and naval assets, etc.) my initial response is - IF we get into a full blown shooting war, it is hard for me to see us coming out on the loosing end - militarily. I think there has been way too much talk on this board about sinking US aircraft carriers, etc. We might get bloodied, but we would win a military conflict in the Med.

What the post event fallout would be... HTFDIK?

That said, I do not think there is going to be a war. I can't see the Russians being that stupid, and I hope the same can be said for our government.

I think Obama is hoping Congress does not approve of his request so he can use that as his excuse to back away and save some face.

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