Dmitry Orlov: US Social Collapse Best Practices from USSR example

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Paul D. Fernhout

Aug 9, 2010, 11:58:14 PM8/9/10
to Open Manufacturing
"Superpower Collapse Soup: Comparing the US and USSR"
"With vintage Russian black humor, Dmitry Orlov describes the social
collapse he witnessed in Russia in the 1990s and spells out its practical
lessons for the American social collapse he sees as inevitable."

Video here (from a little over a year ago) -- but only part of the talk:
"Dmitry Orlov: Social Collapse Best Practices"

Full text of the entire talk:

Suggests US collapse will be worse than USSR.

From the text: :-)
I hope that I have made it clear that I am not here in any sort of
professional capacity. I consider what I am doing a kind of community
service. So, if you don't like my talk, don't worry about me. There are
plenty of other things I can do. But I would like my insights to be of help
during these difficult and confusing times, for altruistic reasons, mostly,
although not entirely. This is because when times get really bad, as they
did when the Soviet Union collapsed, lots of people just completely lose it.
Men, especially. Successful, middle-aged men, breadwinners, bastions of
society, turn out to be especially vulnerable. And when they just completely
lose it, they become very tedious company. My hope is that some amount of
preparation, psychological and otherwise, can make them a lot less fragile,
and a bit more useful, and generally less of a burden.
Women seem much more able to cope. Perhaps it is because they have less
of their ego invested in the whole dubious enterprise, or perhaps their
sense of personal responsibility is tied to those around them and not some
nebulous grand enterprise. In any case, the women always seem far more able
to just put on their gardening gloves and go do something useful, while the
men tend to sit around groaning about the Empire, or the Republic, or
whatever it is that they lost. And when they do that, they become very
tedious company. And so, without a bit of mental preparation, the men are
all liable to end up very lonely and very drunk. So that's my little

And, an argument for open manufacturing and having tools near at hand: :-)
If you still have a job, or if you still have some savings, what do you do
with all the money? The obvious answer is, build up inventory. The money
will be worthless, but a box of bronze nails will still be a box of bronze
nails. Buy and stockpile useful stuff, especially stuff that can be used to
create various kinds of alternative systems for growing food, providing
shelter, and providing transportation. If you don�t own a patch of dirt free
and clear where you can stockpile stuff, then you can rent a storage
container, pay it a few years forward, and just sit on it until reality
kicks in again and there is something useful for you to do with it. Some of
you may be frightened by the future I just described, and rightly so. There
is nothing any of us can do to change the path we are on: it is a huge
system with tremendous inertia, and trying to change its path is like trying
to change the path of a hurricane. What we can do is prepare ourselves, and
each other, mostly by changing our expectations, our preferences, and
scaling down our needs. It may mean that you will miss out on some last,
uncertain bit of enjoyment. On the other hand, by refashioning yourself into
someone who might stand a better chance of adapting to the new
circumstances, you will be able to give to yourself, and to others, a great
deal of hope that would otherwise not exist.

He says in his talk he also wrote this:
"Post-Soviet Lessons for a Post-American Century"

Too much to read right now. :-)

Some alternatives to collapse (by me): :-)
"The need for open source sensemaking tools"
"Vitamin D, whole foods, fasting, walkability..."

But he may well be right about momentum. We'll see.

As he points out, Russian society survived, although he says it was better
prepared socially than the US to survive without functioning well-organized
infrastructure (because it was used to working with less). So, we weigh a
better stocked USA with less social cohesion and not much safety net against
a poorly stocked USSR with more social cohesion and a bigger safety net.

So much unnecessary suffering in what he outlines...

--Paul Fernhout
The biggest challenge of the 21st century is the irony of technologies of
abundance in the hands of those thinking in terms of scarcity.

Alex Rollin

Aug 10, 2010, 5:41:33 AM8/10/10
The full talk is on the same page at:

Nice to know some people are getting up in front of large groups of
people to broach these topics. I like longnow a lot.


> shelter, and providing transportation. If you don’t own a patch of dirt free

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