MEGA DEPRESSION – THEN MEGA CIVIL WAR

Posted By: TOMCHITTUM
Date: Monday, 13 October 2008, 9:32 p.m.

US Breakup

Mega Depression First, Then Mega Civil War in the Glorious Empire

I am Thomas W. Chittum, the author of the book, Civil War Two – The Coming Breakup of America.

My book asserted that because America is a multiethnic empire it will experience a violent shattering along tribal lines just as other such empires have throughout history. I further predicted that this implosion will occur relatively soon, probably no later than the year 2020, based on ongoing demographic trends. My book was published in 1993 and it ignited a mini firestorm of controversy. To date, it is still the ONLY non-fiction book on the topic of a civil war here in America.

Did anyone write a book predicting our first civil war? I did some research on that subject and I was unable to find a single book warning Americans that they were fast approaching an abyss. That’s not to say that people were unaware of the approaching war. In fact, many people were perfectly aware that a civil war was inevitable. My guess is that not a single person wrote a book on the coming war because they thought it would be a sort of picnic with a little gunfire mixed in, and in any case it would be over in a few months. As history records the war ground the entire southern half of America into a smoking wasteland and killed or crippled almost an entire generation of American men.

Today, people are even less aware of the seriousness of the approaching calamity than our ancestors were. If you mention the possibility of a Yugoslav-style ethnic war here in America in our lifetime most people will scoff at the idea. Five years ago most people would have likewise scoffed at the prospect of a second depression. Now, most people are waking up to the horrid fact that a second depression is upon us – that their retirement cookie jars have been systematically looted.

I’m sure that most visitors to the Rumor Mill News site are perfectly aware that a devastating depression is unfolding and that the economy is in a crash and burn mode with no plausible salvation in site. In this and following rants I will attempt to make the case that this economic meltdown will hasten our descent into an internal civil war that will depopulate the entire North American continent, wiping out 50% or more of the population.

No, I’m not kidding. I’m going to say that again – most of you people reading these words right now are going to starve to death in the tribal wars that will follow close on the heels of the economic meltdown.

Before I go on I’d like to revisit my book and go over what I got right and what I got wrong. I mentioned the New World Order in my book. At the time I wasn’t aware that the New World Order was an active conspiracy of bankers and aristocrats centered in London. I thought it was a sort of lose alliance of giddy globalists, trendy tree huggers and politically correct airheads. Then along came both the internet and the 911 terrorists attacks. I took me approximately three months to wise up to the fact that 911 was an inside job. I’d always followed military events closely and that’s how I woke up to the 911 scam. For years the American military had been encircling Afghanistan with military bases and pre-positioned stockpiles of military goodies. Then along came Osama bin Subcontractor like some boogie man in a bad movie. It all seemed like a low-budget Hollywood production. That’s because it was.

So … I got on the internet and started listening to commentators like Eustace Mullins, John Coleman, Henry Makow, Charles Savoie and anybody else who didn’t depend on the establishment for their supper.

Even before 911 I knew from personal experience that nothing in this rotting empire was as it was spray painted by the establishment media. After my book was published I got my 15 minutes of fame. I was on Television. I was a guest on numerous radio shows. I was a guest speaker at a lot of political meetings. I met a lot leaders of (mostly) right-wing type extremist groups. I remember telling one rightist-type leader that my presence as a speaker at their meeting did not mean that I was endorsing his organization or its stated goals. I told him I’d gladly speak to a “roomful of Rabbis” if they would invite me.

I made it plain to everybody that I was pretty much a one-trick pony. My self-assigned task was simply explaining to people why we were headed for a Yugoslav-style civil war and in our lifetime. I wanted to explain this to every living American, and I didn’t care two cents what their own political beliefs were. I made no apologizes then for speaking to right-wing extremists and I make no apologies now. After a while I began to realize that something really strange was going on inside the so-called extremist right-wing groups.

At every meeting there were always one or two dudes who just didn’t fit in. My favorite was a investment banker and Yale graduate. What, I wondered, was a blue-blood Yale investment banker doing mixing it up with all these guys who drove pickup trucks draped with confederate flags. Mind you, I wasn’t totally naive. I knew that the FBI and/or the CIA routinely sent guys to monitor these groups. Frankly, I didn’t give a damn. As far as I was concerned the more people that listened to me the more I liked it. Nazis, rabbis, government spooks, good-ole-boys in pickup trucks – I didn’t care – the more the merrier because my warning was for everybody.

Ultimately, it dawned on me that these obvious government spooks weren’t there to spy on these groups – these government spooks were there because THESE GOVERNMENT SPOOKS WERE ACTUALLY RUNNING THESE RIGHTIST , planned, created and then run by government spooks. GROUPS. Most of these right-wing groups were conceivedIt’s all part of what I call peasant management.

The powers that be know full well that their policies will always generate opposition both leftist and rightist … so … they create and subsidize false flag opposition movements that they can lead around in eternal circles thus creating no real problems for the establishment. And don’t forget that it’s the same exact scam with the phony baloney leftist groups. They are mostly establishment creations. In fact, it’s a double payoff for the establishment. They create false flag rightist groups to stampede leftists into the ranks of their false flag leftist groups, and they create the false flag leftist groups to stampede rightists into their false flag rightist groups.

Our Current Mess:

Here are my guesses about the future:

The New World Order is in a hell of a jam. Both Russia and China have how shaken off communism which was imposed on them by the London Banking Cartel. Both have turned to state-directed development and growth policies and are striving to feed their people and increase their standard of living. This is the exact opposite of the global depopulation and genocide via starvation and war that the New World Order is imposing on the rest of the globe via the Club of Rome and their other psychotic think tanks and NGOs. Russia and China and some neighboring states have formed a double whammy military and economic bloc called the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

The London Banking Cartel cannot let this situation continue or it’s just a matter of time until the Russian/China economic bloc takes their place. Furthermore, it has long been the military doctrine of the London Banking Cartel that the Eurasian landmass is the key to the military control of the globe. See Halford Mackinder. From the perspective of the London Banking Cartel it’s all or nothing and here and now. The clock is ticking against the London Banking Cartel and the only solution to fulfilling both their military and economic blueprints is pedal to the metal all-out war.

It isn’t like the good old days when a handful of Zionist assassins in communist clothing could overthrow a decadent Russian government, and the tiny British fleet and army can no longer kick a decadent Chinese oligarchy around and impose imported communism. Nothing but all-out war will suffice, and that means nuke warfare.

The only card the London Banking Cartel has to play is the American nuclear arsenal. They have to get America into a nuclear shootout with both Russia and China, and the sooner the better. Now I know what some of you are thinking: But golly, don’t these guys realize that a nuclear war will leave the planet a radioactive wasteland? Now hear this: The nutcase LBC boys perceive nuclear warfare as winnable and survivable. In any case that’s the ONLY card they have left to play. It didn’t get much play in the national media, but VP Cheney has been digging his personal nuke bunker in DC deeper and deeper like a beaver on go pills. He’s getting ready for it … and so should you.

The LBC has to sell global war to the American airheads, hence the 911 terrorist attacks. Dictatorships cannot stampede the people into giving up their property and their liberty without conjuring up both foreign AND DOMESTIC ENEMIES. That’s why a civil war is in the offing. A civil war in America is not only possible – IT IS ESSENTIAL. It’s all part of the plan. Flood the Southwest with millions of Mexicans and then trash the economy so the starving and ticked off Mexicans will burn an entire geographic region right down to the ground. This should be sufficient to stampede the rest of the peasants into accepting anything the LBC pukes up and presents as a solution to the resulting mess.

To understand their logic we’ll have to take a quickie refresher course in the history of Western war. Napoleon resurrected the concept of the citizen soldier that had been doormat since the Roman Republic. He was thus able to raise massive armies of peasants who perceived themselves as citizen soldiers. Deluded as they were they nevertheless simply swept aside smaller armies of professional soldiers. The ONLY military reply his opponents could make was to raise massive armies of their own so-called citizen soldiers.

Under the new military system large populations were an absolute military necessity. The increasing mechanization of warfare didn’t change the situation at all. Massive peasant armies were still required because hordes of deluded peasants were still needed to drive the trucks and armored vehicles that delivered themselves to the slaughterhouse. There existed a rough balance between the quantity of military supplies an industrial society could churn out and the quantity of “citizen soldiers” needed to transport and then use the supplies at the front. Massive quantities of peasants were necessary for both production and subsequent usage at the front.

The pendulum didn’t begin to swing back the other way until the arrival of nukes on the scene. Massive peasant armies were no longer a necessity due to the extreme energy density of nukes. The industrial infrastructure necessary to generate a really impressive nuke arsenal was far greater than the relatively small number of professional soldiers (read airforce) necessary to deliver them.

When peasants became useless for war the bulk of them became useless. Before nukes the rule was the more peasants the better. After nukes only a smaller number of peasants were needed to produce goodies for the idle aristocrats.

Today, massive peasant armies are obsolete and are maintained chiefly on a reduced scale for theatrical purposes. They are there for peasant perception control purposes exactly as are the false flag leftist and rightist mock opposition groups I mentioned earlier. Ordinary infantry such as our current army and marine divisions are obsolete. Ordinary infantry are useful only for fighting other likewise obsolete infantry, and for suppressing uprisings of lightly armed domestic peasants … and for pure theatre.

Now that you understand this point I can get back to America via a short detour through the Middle East. The primary objective of our current insane activities in Asia is the conquest of the Asian heartland. A secondary but also necessary objective is the total destruction of our current and obsolete military machine to transform it into one more useful to insure the destruction and dismantling of the American Republic. Russia and China have both slipped the grasp of the London Banking Cartel and they dare not risk America going the same route, hence their stealth plot to carve up America like pizza into manageable mini-states.

The destruction of the American military in Iraq and Afghanistan will pave the way for its replacement by privatized military contractors formerly known as warlords. Citizen soldiers might balk at massive ethnic cleansing operations in California for example, but warlords won’t. Picture armies of Blackwater mercs composed of mostly non-Americans recruited from all points of the globe. They will gladly slaughter everything in their path including any remaining American military units who might oppose them. The LBC must first ignite a civil war in America and then ultimately ensure the that the secessionist win after their hired warlords and mercenary hordes have stomped the new mini states into malleable mush which may or may not be glued together in some sort of North American Confederation with “Ameros” for money and some multi-colored rag for a flag.

I basically think it will work. I think the coming tribal/civil war in America will be roughly proportional to the severity of the economic collapse that sets it off. Meanwhile, while you are waiting for Osama bin Subcontractor to nuke us and waiting for your starving neighbors to batter your door down, keep an eye on California. It’s the canary in the coal mine. When it croaks the rest of America will follow sooner or later.

Closing the ‘Collapse Gap’

the USSR was better prepared for collapse than the US

by Dmitry Orlov

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. I am not an expert or a scholar or an activist. I am more of an eye-witness. I watched the Soviet Union collapse, and I have tried to put my observations into a concise message. I will leave it up to you to decide just how urgent a message it is.

My talk tonight is about the lack of collapse-preparedness here in the United States. I will compare it with the situation in the Soviet Union, prior to its collapse. The rhetorical device I am going to use is the “Collapse Gap” – to go along with the Nuclear Gap, and the Space Gap, and various other superpower gaps that were fashionable during the Cold War.

Slide [2] The subject of economic collapse is generally a sad one. But I am an optimistic, cheerful sort of person, and I believe that, with a bit of preparation, such events can be taken in stride. As you can probably surmise, I am actually rather keen on observing economic collapses. Perhaps when I am really old, all collapses will start looking the same to me, but I am not at that point yet.

And this next one certainly has me intrigued. From what I’ve seen and read, it seems that there is a fair chance that the U.S. economy will collapse sometime within the foreseeable future. It also would seem that we won’t be particularly well-prepared for it. As things stand, the U.S. economy is poised to perform something like a disappearing act. And so I am eager to put my observations of the Soviet collapse to good use.

Slide [3] I anticipate that some people will react rather badly to having their country compared to the USSR. I would like to assure you that the Soviet people would have reacted similarly, had the United States collapsed first. Feelings aside, here are two 20th century superpowers, who wanted more or less the same things – things like technological progress, economic growth, full employment, and world domination – but they disagreed about the methods. And they obtained similar results – each had a good run, intimidated the whole planet, and kept the other scared. Each eventually went bankrupt.

Slide [4] The USA and the USSR were evenly matched in many categories, but let me just mention four.

The Soviet manned space program is alive and well under Russian management, and now offers first-ever space charters. The Americans have been hitching rides on the Soyuz while their remaining spaceships sit in the shop.

The arms race has not produced a clear winner, and that is excellent news, because Mutual Assured Destruction remains in effect. Russia still has more nuclear warheads than the US, and has supersonic cruise missile technology that can penetrate any missile shield, especially a nonexistent one.

The Jails Race once showed the Soviets with a decisive lead, thanks to their innovative GULAG program. But they gradually fell behind, and in the end the Jails Race has been won by the Americans, with the highest percentage of people in jail ever.

The Hated Evil Empire Race is also finally being won by the Americans. It’s easy now that they don’t have anyone to compete against.

Slide [5] Continuing with our list of superpower similarities, many of the problems that sunk the Soviet Union are now endangering the United States as well. Such as a huge, well-equipped, very expensive military, with no clear mission, bogged down in fighting Muslim insurgents. Such as energy shortfalls linked to peaking oil production. Such as a persistently unfavorable trade balance, resulting in runaway foreign debt. Add to that a delusional self-image, an inflexible ideology, and an unresponsive political system.

Slide [6] An economic collapse is amazing to observe, and very interesting if described accurately and in detail. A general description tends to fall short of the mark, but let me try. An economic arrangement can continue for quite some time after it becomes untenable, through sheer inertia. But at some point a tide of broken promises and invalidated assumptions sweeps it all out to sea. One such untenable arrangement rests on the notion that it is possible to perpetually borrow more and more money from abroad, to pay for more and more energy imports, while the price of these imports continues to double every few years. Free money with which to buy energy equals free energy, and free energy does not occur in nature. This must therefore be a transient condition. When the flow of energy snaps back toward equilibrium, much of the US economy will be forced to shut down.

Slide [7] I’ve described what happened to Russia in some detail in one of my articles, which is available on SurvivingPeakOil.com. I don’t see why what happens to the United States should be entirely dissimilar, at least in general terms. The specifics will be different, and we will get to them in a moment. We should certainly expect shortages of fuel, food, medicine, and countless consumer items, outages of electricity, gas, and water, breakdowns in transportation systems and other infrastructure, hyperinflation, widespread shutdowns and mass layoffs, along with a lot of despair, confusion, violence, and lawlessness. We definitely should not expect any grand rescue plans, innovative technology programs, or miracles of social cohesion.

Slide [8] When faced with such developments, some people are quick to realize what it is they have to do to survive, and start doing these things, generally without anyone’s permission. A sort of economy emerges, completely informal, and often semi-criminal. It revolves around liquidating, and recycling, the remains of the old economy. It is based on direct access to resources, and the threat of force, rather than ownership or legal authority. People who have a problem with this way of doing things, quickly find themselves out of the game.

These are the generalities. Now let’s look at some specifics.

Slide [9] One important element of collapse-preparedness is making sure that you don’t need a functioning economy to keep a roof over your head. In the Soviet Union, all housing belonged to the government, which made it available directly to the people. Since all housing was also built by the government, it was only built in places that the government could service using public transportation. After the collapse, almost everyone managed to keep their place.

In the United States, very few people own their place of residence free and clear, and even they need an income to pay real estate taxes. People without an income face homelessness. When the economy collapses, very few people will continue to have an income, so homelessness will become rampant. Add to that the car-dependent nature of most suburbs, and what you will get is mass migrations of homeless people toward city centers.

Slide [10] Soviet public transportation was more or less all there was, but there was plenty of it. There were also a few private cars, but so few that gasoline rationing and shortages were mostly inconsequential. All of this public infrastructure was designed to be almost infinitely maintainable, and continued to run even as the rest of the economy collapsed.

The population of the United States is almost entirely car-dependent, and relies on markets that control oil import, refining, and distribution. They also rely on continuous public investment in road construction and repair. The cars themselves require a steady stream of imported parts, and are not designed to last very long. When these intricately interconnected systems stop functioning, much of the population will find itself stranded.

Slide [11] Economic collapse affects public sector employment almost as much as private sector employment, eventually. Because government bureaucracies tend to be slow to act, they collapse more slowly. Also, because state-owned enterprises tend to be inefficient, and stockpile inventory, there is plenty of it left over, for the employees to take home, and use in barter. Most Soviet employment was in the public sector, and this gave people some time to think of what to do next.

Private enterprises tend to be much more efficient at many things. Such laying off their people, shutting their doors, and liquidating their assets. Since most employment in the United States is in the private sector, we should expect the transition to permanent unemployment to be quite abrupt for most people.

Slide [12] When confronting hardship, people usually fall back on their families for support. The Soviet Union experienced chronic housing shortages, which often resulted in three generations living together under one roof. This didn’t make them happy, but at least they were used to each other. The usual expectation was that they would stick it out together, come what may.

In the United States, families tend to be atomized, spread out over several states. They sometimes have trouble tolerating each other when they come together for Thanksgiving, or Christmas, even during the best of times. They might find it difficult to get along, in bad times. There is already too much loneliness in this country, and I doubt that economic collapse will cure it.

Slide [13] To keep evil at bay, Americans require money. In an economic collapse, there is usually hyperinflation, which wipes out savings. There is also rampant unemployment, which wipes out incomes. The result is a population that is largely penniless.

In the Soviet Union, very little could be obtained for money. It was treated as tokens rather than as wealth, and was shared among friends. Many things – housing and transportation among them – were either free or almost free.

Slide [14] Soviet consumer products were always an object of derision – refrigerators that kept the house warm – and the food, and so on. You’d be lucky if you got one at all, and it would be up to you to make it work once you got it home. But once you got it to work, it would become a priceless family heirloom, handed down from generation to generation, sturdy, and almost infinitely maintainable.

In the United States, you often hear that something “is not worth fixing.” This is enough to make a Russian see red. I once heard of an elderly Russian who became irate when a hardware store in Boston wouldn’t sell him replacement bedsprings: “People are throwing away perfectly good mattresses, how am I supposed to fix them?”

Economic collapse tends to shut down both local production and imports, and so it is vitally important that anything you own wears out slowly, and that you can fix it yourself if it breaks. Soviet-made stuff generally wore incredibly hard. The Chinese-made stuff you can get around here – much less so.

Slide [15] The Soviet agricultural sector was notoriously inefficient. Many people grew and gathered their own food even in relatively prosperous times. There were food warehouses in every city, stocked according to a government allocation scheme. There were very few restaurants, and most families cooked and ate at home. Shopping was rather labor-intensive, and involved carrying heavy loads. Sometimes it resembled hunting – stalking that elusive piece of meat lurking behind some store counter. So the people were well-prepared for what came next.

In the United States, most people get their food from a supermarket, which is supplied from far away using refrigerated diesel trucks. Many people don’t even bother to shop and just eat fast food. When people do cook, they rarely cook from scratch. This is all very unhealthy, and the effect on the nation’s girth, is visible, clear across the parking lot. A lot of the people, who just waddle to and from their cars, seem unprepared for what comes next. If they suddenly had to start living like the Russians, they would blow out their knees.

Slide [16] The Soviet government threw resources at immunization programs, infectious disease control, and basic care. It directly operated a system of state-owned clinics, hospitals, and sanatoriums. People with fatal ailments or chronic conditions often had reason to complain, and had to pay for private care – if they had the money.

In the United States, medicine is for profit. People seems to think nothing of this fact. There are really very few fields of endeavor to which Americans would deny the profit motive. The problem is, once the economy is removed, so is the profit, along with the services it once helped to motivate.

Slide [17] The Soviet education system was generally quite excellent. It produced an overwhelmingly literate population and many great specialists. The education was free at all levels, but higher education sometimes paid a stipend, and often provided room and board. The educational system held together quite well after the economy collapsed. The problem was that the graduates had no jobs to look forward to upon graduation. Many of them lost their way.

The higher education system in the United States is good at many things – government and industrial research, team sports, vocational training… Primary and secondary education fails to achieve in 12 years what Soviet schools generally achieved in 8. The massive scale and expense of maintaining these institutions is likely to prove too much for the post-collapse environment. Illiteracy is already a problem in the United States, and we should expect it to get a lot worse.

Slide [18] The Soviet Union did not need to import energy. The production and distribution system faltered, but never collapsed. Price controls kept the lights on even as hyperinflation raged.

The term “market failure” seems to fit the energy situation in the United States. Free markets develop some pernicious characteristics when there are shortages of key commodities. During World War II, the United States government understood this, and successfully rationed many things, from gasoline to bicycle parts. But that was a long time ago. Since then, the inviolability of free markets has become an article of faith.

Slide [19] My conclusion is that the Soviet Union was much better-prepared for economic collapse than the United States is.

I have left out two important superpower asymmetries, because they don’t have anything to do with collapse-preparedness. Some countries are simply luckier than others. But I will mention them, for the sake of completeness.

In terms of racial and ethnic composition, the United States resembles Yugoslavia more than it resembles Russia, so we shouldn’t expect it to be as peaceful as Russia was, following the collapse. Ethnically mixed societies are fragile and have a tendency to explode.

In terms of religion, the Soviet Union was relatively free of apocalyptic doomsday cults. Very few people there wished for a planet-sized atomic fireball to herald the second coming of their savior. This was indeed a blessing.

Slide [20] One area in which I cannot discern any Collapse Gap is national politics. The ideologies may be different, but the blind adherence to them couldn’t be more similar.

It is certainly more fun to watch two Capitalist parties go at each other than just having the one Communist party to vote for. The things they fight over in public are generally symbolic little tokens of social policy, chosen for ease of public posturing. The Communist party offered just one bitter pill. The two Capitalist parties offer a choice of two placebos. The latest innovation is the photo finish election, where each party buys 50% of the vote, and the result is pulled out of statistical noise, like a rabbit out of a hat.

The American way of dealing with dissent and with protest is certainly more advanced: why imprison dissidents when you can just let them shout into the wind to their heart’s content?

The American approach to bookkeeping is more subtle and nuanced than the Soviet. Why make a state secret of some statistic, when you can just distort it, in obscure ways? Here’s a simple example: inflation is “controlled” by substituting hamburger for steak, in order to minimize increases to Social Security payments.

Slide [21] Many people expend a lot of energy protesting against their irresponsible, unresponsive government. It seems like a terrible waste of time, considering how ineffectual their protests are. Is it enough of a consolation for them to be able to read about their efforts in the foreign press? I think that they would feel better if they tuned out the politicians, the way the politicians tune them out. It’s as easy as turning off the television set. If they try it, they will probably observe that nothing about their lives has changed, nothing at all, except maybe their mood has improved. They might also find that they have more time and energy to devote to more important things.

Slide [22] I will now sketch out some approaches, realistic and otherwise, to closing the Collapse Gap. My little list of approaches might seem a bit glib, but keep in mind that this is a very difficult problem. In fact, it’s important to keep in mind that not all problems have solutions. I can promise you that we will not solve this problem tonight. What I will try to do is to shed some light on it from several angles.

Slide [23] Many people rail against the unresponsiveness and irresponsibility of the government. They often say things like “What is needed is…” plus the name of some big, successful government project from the glorious past – the Marshall Plan, the Manhattan Project, the Apollo program. But there is nothing in the history books about a government preparing for collapse. Gorbachev’s “Perestroika” is an example of a government trying to avert or delay collapse. It probably helped speed it along.

Slide [24] There are some things that I would like the government to take care of in preparation for collapse. I am particularly concerned about all the radioactive and toxic installations, stockpiles, and dumps. Future generations are unlikely to able to control them, especially if global warming puts them underwater. There is enough of this muck sitting around to kill off most of us. I am also worried about soldiers getting stranded overseas – abandoning one’s soldiers is among the most shameful things a country can do. Overseas military bases should be dismantled, and the troops repatriated. I’d like to see the huge prison population whittled away in a controlled manner, ahead of time, instead of in a chaotic general amnesty. Lastly, I think that this farce with debts that will never be repaid, has gone on long enough. Wiping the slate clean will give society time to readjust. So, you see, I am not asking for any miracles. Although, if any of these things do get done, I would consider it a miracle.

Slide [25] A private sector solution is not impossible; just very, very unlikely. Certain Soviet state enterprises were basically states within states. They controlled what amounted to an entire economic system, and could go on even without the larger economy. They kept to this arrangement even after they were privatized. They drove Western management consultants mad, with their endless kindergartens, retirement homes, laundries, and free clinics. These weren’t part of their core competency, you see. They needed to divest and to streamline their operations. The Western management gurus overlooked the most important thing: the core competency of these enterprises lay in their ability to survive economic collapse. Maybe the young geniuses at Google can wrap their heads around this one, but I doubt that their stockholders will.

Slide [26] It’s important to understand that the Soviet Union achieved collapse-preparedness inadvertently, and not because of the success of some crash program. Economic collapse has a way of turning economic negatives into positives. The last thing we want is a perfectly functioning, growing, prosperous economy that suddenly collapses one day, and leaves everybody in the lurch. It is not necessary for us to embrace the tenets of command economy and central planning to match the Soviet lackluster performance in this area. We have our own methods, that are working almost as well. I call them “boondoggles.” They are solutions to problems that cause more problems than they solve.

Just look around you, and you will see boondoggles sprouting up everywhere, in every field of endeavor: we have military boondoggles like Iraq, financial boondoggles like the doomed retirement system, medical boondoggles like private health insurance, legal boondoggles like the intellectual property system. The combined weight of all these boondoggles is slowly but surely pushing us all down. If it pushes us down far enough, then economic collapse, when it arrives, will be like falling out of a ground floor window. We just have to help this process along, or at least not interfere with it. So if somebody comes to you and says “I want to make a boondoggle that runs on hydrogen” – by all means encourage him! It’s not as good as a boondoggle that burns money directly, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Slide [27] Certain types of mainstream economic behavior are not prudent on a personal level, and are also counterproductive to bridging the Collapse Gap. Any behavior that might result in continued economic growth and prosperity is counterproductive: the higher you jump, the harder you land. It is traumatic to go from having a big retirement fund to having no retirement fund because of a market crash. It is also traumatic to go from a high income to little or no income. If, on top of that, you have kept yourself incredibly busy, and suddenly have nothing to do, then you will really be in rough shape.

Economic collapse is about the worst possible time for someone to suffer a nervous breakdown, yet this is what often happens. The people who are most at risk psychologically are successful middle-aged men. When their career is suddenly over, their savings are gone, and their property worthless, much of their sense of self-worth is gone as well. They tend to drink themselves to death and commit suicide in disproportionate numbers. Since they tend to be the most experienced and capable people, this is a staggering loss to society.

If the economy, and your place within it, is really important to you, you will be really hurt when it goes away. You can cultivate an attitude of studied indifference, but it has to be more than just a conceit. You have to develop the lifestyle and the habits and the physical stamina to back it up. It takes a lot of creativity and effort to put together a fulfilling existence on the margins of society. After the collapse, these margins may turn out to be some of the best places to live.

Slide [28] I hope that I didn’t make it sound as if the Soviet collapse was a walk in the park, because it was really quite awful in many ways. The point that I do want to stress is that when this economy collapses, it is bound to be much worse. Another point I would like to stress is that collapse here is likely to be permanent. The factors that allowed Russia and the other former Soviet republics to recover are not present here.

In spite of all this, I believe that in every age and circumstance, people can sometimes find not just a means and a reason to survive, but enlightenment, fulfillment, and freedom. If we can find them even after the economy collapses, then why not start looking for them now?

Thank you.

Editorial Notes

Energy Bulletin published an excerpt from this talk yesterday (Dec 3), and Dmitry reported that his small webserver was overwhelmed with requests. Although it’s good news that his writing has such a following, PLEASE don’t access the document on his web server (Club Orlov). The same content is here, on Energy Bulletin’s heavier duty webserver.

Orlov has many penetrating insights, couched in his dark humor. Particularly striking is the strong case he makes that the peoples of the USSR were actually better prepared for a collapse because

  • they had learned to be more self-reliant
  • many crucial functions (like housing and transportation) were taken care of by the state sector which was more stable than a private sector would have been.

Orlov’s cynicism about the possibility of intelligent government action was probably justified in the case of the Soviet Union, but I think it would be a tragic mistake to abandon efforts to change the direction of the U.S. The Soviets had little chance to make democratic institutions work. We do have that chance.
-BA

UPDATE: Dmitri Orlov writes on March 4, 2007:
You wrote that “The Soviets had little chance to make democratic institutions work.” That’s not entirely true. Perestroika and Glasnost were all about democracy, and in my opinion it had the same chance of success as the hopelessly gerrymandered system that passes for democracy in the US, (although much less than any proper, modern democracy, in which the Bush regime would have been put out of power quite a while ago, after a simple parliamentary vote of no confidence and early elections). The problem is that, in a collapse scenario, democracy is the least effective system of government one can possibly think of (think Weimar, or the Russian Interim Government) – a topic I cover in Post-Soviet Lessons.

Lastly, I don’t think calling me a cynic is exactly accurate: I’ve been in the US a long time, watching the system become progressively more dysfunctional with each passing political season. It seems to me that it is not necessarily cynical to be able to spot a solid trend, but that it could be simply observant.

UPDATE (October 30, 2007):
We’ve noticed an influx of visitors to Dmitry Orlov’s article, since its mention on several websites. Dmitry writes that his new book, “Reinventing Collapse,” is due from New Society Publishers in the springtime.

 

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