Sunday, December 1, 2013
Reading List: The Five Stages of Collapse
- Orlov, Dmitry. The Five Stages of Collapse. Gabriola Island, BC, Canada: New Society Publishers, 2013. ISBN 978-0-86571-736-7.
The author was born in Leningrad and emigrated to the United
States with his family in the mid-1970s at the age of 12.
He experienced the collapse of the Soviet Union and the
subsequent events in Russia on a series of extended visits
between the late 1980s and mid 1990s. In his 2008 book
Reinventing Collapse (April 2009)
he described the Soviet collapse and assessed the probability
of a collapse of the United States, concluding such a collapse
In the present book, he steps back from the specifics of the
collapse of overextended superpowers to examine the process
of collapse as it has played out in a multitude of human
societies since the beginning of civilisation. The author
argues that collapse occurs in five stages, with each stage
creating the preconditions for the next.
- 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.
- Commercial collapse. Faith that “the market shall provide” is lost. Money is devalued and/or becomes scarce, commodities are hoarded, import and retail chains break down and widespread shortages of survival necessities become the norm.
- Political collapse. Faith that “the government will take care of you” is lost. As official attempts to mitigate widespread loss of access to commercial sources of survival necessities fail to make a difference, the political establishment loses legitimacy and relevance.
- Social collapse. Faith that “your people will take care of you” is lost, as social institutions, be they charities or other groups that rush in to fill the power vacuum, run out of resources or fail through internal conflict.
- Cultural collapse. Faith in the goodness of humanity is lost. People lose their capacity for “kindness, generosity, consideration, affection, honesty, hospitality, compassion, charity.” Families disband and compete as individuals for scarce resources, The new motto becomes “May you die today so that I can die tomorrow.”
- Financial collapse: Iceland
- Commercial collapse: The Russian Mafia
- Political collapse: The Pashtun
- Social collapse: The Roma
- Cultural collapse: The Ik
Posted at December 1, 2013 23:01