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


Be Prepared
Sep 6, 2013 - 8:58am

Part-time nation...

These numbers are cooked... and we have been herded and cajoled into believing them. The facts clearly point to a hard line shift of the workforce from full to part-time work. The quality of the jobs available and the hours open to work them is on a downward trend. The government has seen fit to ignore the ever increasing number of people that fall off their charts as their unemployment benefits run out and they are no longer seen as people looking for work... so they disappear off the denominator. The people reappear on the SNAP and welfare roles, but, conveniently, are no longer counted in the published "unemployment" figures utilized to bolster a rosier picture of our economy. The days these numbers come out are further reminders how far down the rabbit hole we have gone and projects just how far will are willing to descend...

Sep 6, 2013 - 9:05am


Is that a tungsten necklace Janet is wearing?

Sep 6, 2013 - 9:06am

One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest

Just catching up on last nights comments and enjoying the voyage so far.


Sep 6, 2013 - 9:08am

Most overlooked driver of PM price: ALIEN ABDUCTION

Check it out:

In the Household survey, the figures are even worse for those not in the labor force. It rose from 89.957 million in July to 90.473 million in August, a new high — and a jump of 516,000, not 312,000. That’s a half-million people who disappeared out of the labor force in a month. (link)

Clearly, this is obvious evidence that aliens are supporting Fed policy by 'disappearing' hundreds of thousands of citizens each month to keep the official unemployment rate down. So everything is peachy, unemployment is dropping, and the taper can go on as planned. Cool.

"What's up, yo? Let me teach you some sweet gang signs I learned in the Votare Nebula"

Oh, and by the way- Janet Yellen is obviously one of them. This is her trying to simulate a human "smile" and not really pulling it off. Janet, you aren't fooling anyone.

Sep 6, 2013 - 9:12am


Notice the three metallic "dangles" on the left side of the necklace are completely defying the laws of gravity and are instead being pulled upwards towards her throat? Word on the street is, their proton-powered voice simulator throat implants create a small magnetic field. NOT human. Just sayin'...

Sep 6, 2013 - 9:39am

Larry Summers, also clearly one

Here he is sending a secret mind-meld signal:

Sep 6, 2013 - 9:51am

Larry Summers

Or is he trying to secretly pick his nose?

Sep 6, 2013 - 9:51am

no more beating around the bush!

it doesn't get clearer than this.

Putin officially will assist Syria if US is to attack.

scary mode: on!

argent rampant
Sep 6, 2013 - 9:57am

XTY: A belated good morning to ya,

you shrill, condescending, contentious, pirate-talkin' Canuck!

Sep 6, 2013 - 10:09am

We could do this all day!

I'll throw Gensler into the mix- CLEARLY not human. Proof:

"Must rehydrate. Earth atmosphere uncomfortably dry."


"One time I ran from a Grackosaur on Jauron 5... it had huge pincer jaws. I wet myself."


"On my planet, when we like a girl we feebly raise our hand towards them. Like this. I never learned what happens after that."


"Our investigation into possible irregularities in the silver market is ongoing"

Sep 6, 2013 - 10:18am

I'll accept condescending and contentious

but I am still not accepting shrill. So a hearty good mornin' back at you, eh? from my lofty perch atop the poop deck (which I was tempted to use for my Lighthouse, but in general I shy away from the scatalogical).

Poop deck:

1. a raised open deck at the stern of a ship, with cabins below it

[origin: 1815; from Latin puppis, 'stern, poop', French poupe, from Old Provençal poppa.]


High ships, proud ships, towering at their poops,
Galleons flaunting their pinnacles of pride,
Battleships and merchantmen and long, lean sloops,
Flagships floating with the schooners on the tide.

And there’s a Viking Serpent that sailed the northern seas,
That knew the stride of giants, ferocious gods of brawn,
And there’s a lateened rover that billowed to the breeze,
There a ship that sailed from Tyre when the waves were tinged with fire
And the first skies of history were rosying to dawn.

[from “The Isle of Hy-Brasil”; to read the complete poem, see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 295 and Always Comes Evening, p. 39]

Posted in REH Poetry, Word of the Week |

Sep 6, 2013 - 10:21am

This is important

Pretty much says it all:

Do you remember this post from July?:

Here are the salient points:

Finally, today, we've got to talk about this:

And here's the source link to read, too:

We talk about LIES and MOPE and SPIN all the time here. Maybe you, my dear reader, think that I'm the one who is full of it. That I'm the one who lies and spins. Well, I submit to you the information above.

Understand this: Keith Hall was, from 2008 to 2012, the head of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the BLS. The Head Honcho. The Big Cheese. If anybody is going to know the inner working of the BLS, it's this guy. And what does he say in the article above? That's it's all bullshit. (Thus the justification for our term "BLSBS".) Hall explains as much right here:

“Right now [it’s] misleadingly low,” says Hall, who believes a truer reading of those now wanting a job but without one to be more than 10 percent.
The fly in the ointment is the BLS employment-to-population ratio, which is currently at 58.7 percent. “It’s lower than it was when the recession ended. I think that’s a remarkable statistic,” says Hall, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.
That level tells Hall the real unemployment rate is actually about 3 percentage points higher than the BLS number. If the jobless rate is unacceptable at 7.6 percent, it’d be shockingly bad if he is right and the true rate is 10.6 percent."

If the "unemployment rate" was actually reported at 10.6% instead of 7.6%, what would be the status of:

  • The treasury market and interest rates
  • The stock market
  • QE "taper"
  • Milhous' approval rating
  • Congress' approval rating

You see, it's all lies! The actual data doesn't matter, just make up a number and have CNBS report it. It's all good and the music plays a little bit longer. But the Day of Reckoning is coming. Like any other human endeavor, you can lie and cheat your way through life for a while...but eventually it catches up with you and it all comes crashing down. Will The End come next week or next month? Hell, I don't know. If I've learned anything these past four years it's that I should never underestimate the power of TPTB to extend and pretend their way to a maintenance of their power. With the politicians, bureaucrats and media in your corner, you're bound to have temporary success in avoiding reality. But this will endand, when it does, you're going to be grateful for every ounce of physical gold and silver you have in your possession. These last nine months of contrived Bullion Bank scheming will be a long-forgotten memory.

Be Prepared
Sep 6, 2013 - 10:28am

Here's Mister Heat Miser...

He's also an alien, but his domain starts with "he" and has double hockey sticks at the end....

you'll notice the similarities...

It's all Pining's fault.... he started it! :-)

Sep 6, 2013 - 10:33am
Sep 6, 2013 - 10:39am

Mr Heat Miser?

that's Jim Comisekey's mini-me that he keeps on his desk!

argent rampant
Sep 6, 2013 - 10:42am

BS, indeed, Turd.

But it's official, government sanctioned BS. Try telling John Q Public that it's a pack of lies.

argent rampant
Sep 6, 2013 - 10:43am


I take that photo is from the current G20 summit?

Sep 6, 2013 - 10:44am
Sep 6, 2013 - 10:45am


Now you've angered the sea gods and they are coming for your light house.

Kidding aside, some fantastic pictures to take us away from what the MSM calls reality

2013 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest May 17, 2013 |

The 25th annual National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest is under way, and entries will be accepted for another six weeks, until June 30, 2013. First prize winner will receive a 10-day Galapagos expedition for two. National Geographic was once more kind enough to allow me to share some of the early entries with you here, gathered from four categories: Travel Portraits, Outdoor Scenes, Sense of Place, and Spontaneous Moments. Photos and captions by the photographers. [42 photos]
Sep 6, 2013 - 10:50am
Mr. Fix
Sep 6, 2013 - 10:57am

The myth:


SEPTEMBER 6, 2013 BY THE DOC 7 COMMENTS The myth is that the Bail-in plans would recapitalize the big banks. The myth is that the ZIRP in place is stimulus to the USEconomy.
The myth is that the QE programs are stimulus to the US financial system. The myth is that the US is still a beacon of freedom.
The myth is that both Russia and China have no concept of leadership, no concept of capitalism, and are fraught with corruption, if not broken systems.
The greatest myth of all is that the USDollar is money.
The reality is that the United States is caught in the mire of profound insolvency, a lopsided economy lacking industry, a government incapable of managing its spending, and a lethal devotion to war. The United States has created some powerful enemies over the last couple decades. The Russians & Chinese are dedicated to establish a new fair monetary system, and a new fair trade settlement system. A new Gold Standard is coming, led by the East, driven through trade.
The United States will be outside looking in, no longer able to control the system.
[Read more...]
argent rampant George Clooney
Sep 6, 2013 - 11:03am


Appreciate the sharing of nautical lore, and the poetry! No time for an adequate reply now. Busy day.

argent rampant
Sep 6, 2013 - 11:09am


Seriously, he's making eye contact with the camera operator there... that's an intentional image, I think.

Mr. Fix
Sep 6, 2013 - 11:11am

How Many Treasurys Do Russia

How Many Treasurys Do Russia And China Own? Submitted by Tyler Durden on 09/06/2013 11:01 -0400

    • in

      Between the two of them, this much: $1,414 billion, or 25% of all foreign held US Treasury paper.

      Now the question is - if the military escalation begins, would one or both dump without regard for price, crush the carefully manicured rate-driven recovery, and punch the ultimate decision-maker behind the Syrian war, the Federal Reserve and the banker uberclass, where it really hurts?

      Source: TIC

Sep 6, 2013 - 11:12am


It is an innate hand gesture. That is how you say "Shhhhhhhhh" in Kenya!

argent rampant
Sep 6, 2013 - 11:23am


Oh. Okay, then...

Sep 6, 2013 - 11:41am

Significantly larger attack =

I am afraid......a significantly large false flag.....the only thing that will provide cover for WWIII. Two ships bumping in the much overcrowded Mediteranian will not suffice.... We are seeing a much higher % response against this military action on what is considered weak/inconclusive evidence. Do not be surprised by what occurs. IMO.

Sep 6, 2013 - 11:42am

THE JUDGE!! on Syria

Video unavailable
Sep 6, 2013 - 11:56am

Bond rate situation

The 10Y yield has little to do with historic rates. It has everything to do with the CURRENT STATE of the markets. Extreme overleverage, extreme margin debt, Quadrillions of dollars in interest rate sensitive derivatives etc. Combined with years of ZIRP having established floors and ceilings.

I am surprised some of you fell for vapid arguments like "interest rates have been higher in the past" silliness.

Anyway I still encourage people to consider there will be no "crashes". Just look at data out of China. Its extremely faked. The US is no longer any better or different than China no matter what the propaganda or jingoism of the day says. The Fed will eventually own so much the treasury market that they have it cornered, they can probably make it "say" whatever they like at that point.

The real "crash" will be when no one actually takes the 10Y yield seriously for determining other rates. Stop thinking conventionally. The markets are dead people. Dead. Your correlations are already failing and and are going to fail even worse as time marches on. This is because they were not causitive but just strongly correlated as the markets go through their long slow death these correlations break down as no longer operate off of anything other than bullshit.

The "crash" will not be in numbers it will be in confidence and belief. The crash will be a disconnect and disregard that anything of this crap has any meaning or causation. The Fed won't let the bond market crash and the more they don't let it, the more divorced from reality it will be and the more useless it becomes.

Mr. Fix
Sep 6, 2013 - 12:10pm


Excellent analysis.

I think the numbers are meaningless now, but they will continue to be more so, as more people wake up.


Donate Shop

Get Your Subscriber Benefits

Exclusive discount for silver purchases, and a private iTunes feed for TF Metals Report podcasts!

Key Economic Events Week of 5/20

5/20 7:00 pm ET CGP speech
5/21 10:00 ET Existing Home Sales
5/22 2:00 ET FOMC minutes
5/23 9:45 ET Markit PMIs
5/24 8:30 ET Durable Goods

Key Economic Events Week of 5/13

TWELVE Goon speeches through the week
5/14 8:30 ET Import Price Index
5/15 8:30 ET Retail Sales and Empire State Manu. Idx.
5/15 9:15 ET Cap. Ute. and Ind. Prod.
5/15 10:00 ET Business Inventories
5/16 10:00 ET Housing Starts and Philly Fed
5/17 10:00 ET Consumer Sentiment

Key Economic Events Week of 5/6

5/9 8:30 ET US Trade Deficit
5/9 8:30 ET Producer Price Index (PPI)
5/9 10:00 ET Wholesale Inventories
5/10 8:30 ET Consumer Price Index (CPI)

Recent Comments

by lakedweller2, 9 sec ago
by GoldHermit, 53 min 26 sec ago
by chudson, 1 hour 2 min ago
by Harley, 1 hour 13 min ago
by NW VIEW, 1 hour 50 min ago