Monday, August 10, 2020

New book published in German: Interview on Sputnik Deutschland

Another decade, another continent, another language... another book. Collapse never sleeps.

Just in time for the Corona crisis, a new book has been published: Die Lehre vom Kollaps: Die fünf Stufen des Zusammenbruchs und wie wir sie überleben. The US-Russian author Dmitry Orlov wrote it with foresight. In the Sputnik interview, he explains why the current pandemic is not the trigger for the coming downfall of the United States. "The causes are deeper and older," said Orlov.

His analyses are often correct. No wonder: Dmitry Orlov is familiar with state collapses and the Soviet collapse in particular. Orlov experienced the collapse of the USSR up close in the early 1990s. In the second part of the Sputnik interview, he explains how the collapse of his second home, the United States, will take place.

Listen to the interview in englisch here.

Warum Kollaps der USA „unausweichlich ist“ und Russland „verschont bleibt“: Dmitry Orlov Exklusiv
Quasi pünktlich zur Corona-Krise ist ein neues Buch erschienen: „Die Lehre vom Kollaps“. Der US-russische Autor Dmitry Orlov hat es vorausschauend verfasst. Im Sputnik-Interview erklärt er, warum für ihn die aktuelle Pandemie nicht der Auslöser für den kommenden Untergang der USA ist. „Die Ursachen liegen tiefer und sind älter“, so Orlov.
„So wird der Zusammenbruch der USA ablaufen“: US-russischer Autor exklusiv 
Im zweiten Teil des Sputnik-Interviews erklärt er, wie der Kollaps der USA ablaufen wird – und mehr über sein neues Buch.

Monday, August 03, 2020

Transcript of Interview on Continuum with Keith Woods

Welcome to the show today. I am delighted to be joined by Dmitry Orlov, who is a Russian-American writer. He has written several books on collapse and technology. Delighted to be joined by you Mr. Orlov. If you’d like to introduce your work to the audience for anyone unfamiliar, that’d be great.

A: Well, first of all it’s great to be on your show. Thank you for inviting me.

I’m no longer a neophyte because I’ve been doing it for a long time, but writing about collapse is not really my profession. I had a career before that, in computer engineering, and then high-energy physics, then e-commerce, and internet security, media conversion, things like that, and eventually I just gave up on all of this corporate stuff because I realized that it wasn’t really heading in any direction I liked. And I started writing on what I thought would happen to the United States based on what I observed happening to the Soviet Union and Russia in the late 80s and early 90s, because I thought that the US would pretty much collapse.

I started doing that about a dozen years ago and strangely enough I got a pretty good reception to start with.

Now there are basically two types of people whom I encounter: the ones who just basically scream and run away – I suppose they’re the majority – and then there’s also people who’ve been following me, or people who are realizing that I’ve been making valid points all along. And so I have quite a following at this point, and I write a couple of articles a month, mostly on current affairs and analysis, and that’s been going pretty well and keeping me busy, not so much writing, but doing the research for the writing. That’s a full-time job at this point. And so that’s where I am today.

Sunday, August 02, 2020

How to vote for Satan

It has come to my attention that a significant number of people are getting worked up about the upcoming presidential election in the US. Although it may be hard to see what could possibly be so exciting about what promises to be an unusually fraudulent pseudo-contest between two oddly incoherent elderly buffoons, great masses of people are busy shouting past each other and generally carrying on as if this contest actually matters. This Bedlam-like political cacophony is creating a major mental health hazard for much of the population, which is already stressed by the unfolding economic collapse and the strenuous efforts to exploit the largely contrived coronavirus issue to cover up for it. And so, in an effort to spare you the mental anguish of obsessing over a completely meaningless contest, I want to offer you a different perspective that I hope will put your mind at ease and allow you to direct your efforts toward something more pleasant or useful, and ideally both.

I understand that I am treading on dangerous ground here, but I’ve trod it before. I lost a number of friends when Trump got elected and in place of the expected righteous indignation I indicated that Trump was most suitable as a figurehead for a country that is circling the drain. I had previously (entirely facetiously) endorsed Trump’s candidacy as a powerless ridiculous figurehead of a collapsing former superpower. During the intervening interval, Trump has performed exactly as I expected. Read my pseudo-endorsement and laugh!—or cry—but you’ll be forced to concede that I had nailed it. Although Trump didn’t take my advice and pick Kim Kardashian as his running mate, it’s not too late. Now that mentally unstable Kanye is out of the picture Trump can even divorce demure Melania and marry the more suitably flamboyant Kim (as I previously advised) making her the first ever vice president and first lady! Emperor Caligula once married his horse Incitatus and tried to appoint it to the Roman Senate, so there is a precedent for this sort of thing in the annals of decadent empires. This would make the White House reality show even more fun to watch—as Washington burns.

I am sure that some people will balk at such a light-hearted take on a choice that they see as a very serious question. Noam Chomsky, the MIT linguist and prolific lefty author and lecturer, should certainly be one of them. Back in 2016, quoth he: “If you have any moral understanding, you want to keep the greater evil out.” And he recently doubled down: “Failure to vote for [less evil] Biden in this election in a swing state amounts to voting for [more evil] Trump.” He even formulated a general ideology of Voting for the Lesser Evil (VLE) with many subtle tenets. But Chomsky doesn’t seem to be any sort of expert on the nature of evil: when asked about it in an interview, he rambled on about the variability of human nature and its political ramifications. It seems that to Chomsky “evil” is just an abstract noun denoting something very bad.

Chomsky is a Jew and Judaism lacks any developed notion of demonology. Perhaps it is this culturally conditioned blindspot in his world view that has allowed him to seriously entertain the notion of VLE. To him, choosing a lesser evil is simply a matter of choosing the proper political strategy (by which he means a proper tactic, since a proper strategy would lead to the elimination of evil rather than a half-hearted endorsement of it). Unlike Chomsky’s Judaism, both Christianity and Islam cultivate a nuanced awareness of the Satan/Shaitan—the Evil One, along with the minions he commands. It therefore makes more sense to me to regard the manifest evil of American democracy from a demonological perspective. Viewed through this lens, to choose a lesser evil is to choose evil. This makes the idea that it is possible to choose the right sort of evil through the exercise of Chomsky’s “moral understanding” look like a monstrous form of sophistry because no matter which of Satan’s minions you vote for, you are still consenting to be ruled by Satan.

What follows is a guide to American politics from the point of view of demonology and a prescription for avoiding demonic possession.

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Thursday, July 23, 2020

The Virtuous Collapse Sequence

It has been 12 years since I published my essay “The Five Stages of Collapse” in which I first proposed a taxonomy of collapse, teasing it apart into financial, commercial, political, social and cultural collapses, together with what I conceived of as a canonical collapse sequence, where each stage of collapse triggers the next. It worked well enough, in hindsight, for the USSR and, as a thought experiment, for the US, but now, in 2020, in the harsh light of actual collapse that is unfolding in many parts of the West and especially in the formerly United States, it appears that my initial assessment was based on an overly positive view of human nature, at least as far as the nature of the humans who inhabit these parts.

Viewed through rose-colored glasses, my canonical collapse sequence started with kindly, green-visored financiers sitting in pews in quiet deliberation and wisely deciding in unison that, given factors such as resource depletion, climate catastrophe, pandemic or some other combination of force majeur circumstances, further commercial or consumer credit should not be extended and budget deficits should not be financed since the probability of this new debt being successfully repaid in full would be too low. In turn, captains of industry would prudently curtail production and cut staff, focusing on producing necessities (such as spare parts) instead of frills (such as nonessential upgrades). In turn, lack of tax revenue from slowing commerce and unemployed workers, coupled with the inability to finance budget deficits, would cause the government to cut spending and limit its activities to the barest essentials in an effort to avoid, or at least to stave off, national bankruptcy.

Civil society, composed of civic organizations and charitable individuals who care for the common good, would then attempt make up for the lack of government services, redistributing scant resources in order to meet dire needs and avoid social collapse but fail to do so for lack of resources. Once civil society turns out to be too weak to fulfill this function, people would fall back on their families and friends, who, being bound together by a strong and cohesive culture of human relationships, continue to insist on maintaining essential standards of well-being. If starvation, violence and disease take enough of a tall to make it impossible to maintain generational continuity children turn feral and cease to resemble humans. But if this outcome is avoided an eventual partial recovery at a lower level of resource expansion and lower population levels remains a possibility. While financial, commercial and political collapse may be unavoidable, social and cultural collapse may not be.

Should conditions later improve, isolated extended families and family groups, having painstakingly preserved their culture and traditions, passing it on from parents to children and from grandparents to grandchildren, would come back together, reconstitute society and choose leaders who would form new polities. Commerce would make a comeback, and if conditions remain sufficiently stable and favorable, the concept of issuing debt (cautiously borrowing from the future to accelerate the pace of recovery) could eventually be mooted. And should conditions deteriorate forever, all the way to biological extinction, this civilization would leave behind majestic ruins, splendid works of art and libraries of literary and scholarly gems to inspire and amaze civilizations of the future.

Collapse is an inevitable eventual outcome for all capitalist economies and all growth-driven socialist ones. Infinite economic expansion within a finite physical environment is a concept that is valid only to imbeciles, the insane and Nobel prize-winning economists. The collapse scenario described above is the best-case collapse scenario. Alas, it is not the scenario we presently see unfolding in the large developed country that is by far the farthest along on the collapse trajectory—the United States. And so it is time to throw away the rose-colored glasses and look at what the worst-case scenario might look like, informed by a more realistic view of the humans involved, for no natter how sympathetically we attempt to view them, they do not appear to be the sorts of paragons of virtue that would make the best case collapse scenario possible.

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Thursday, July 09, 2020

Charting the Collapse of the American Empire

Paul Craig Roberts, who was assistant secretary to the treasury in Ronald Reagan’s administration, has announced that collapse of the US is no longer avoidable. To substantiate this conclusion, he cites a couple of Russians whose opinions he respects: Andrei Raevsky (a.k.a. The Saker) and Dmitry Orlov (that would be me). I am flattered, of course, but I have never claimed that the collapse of the US was ever avoidable. “All empires collapse eventually; no exceptions!” I kept repeating. Ever since I first started writing on this subject in 2006, I never equivocated on this point. At that time, I wrote: “The collapse of the United States seems about as unlikely now as the collapse of the Soviet Union seemed in 1985. The experience of the first collapse may be instructive to those who wish to survive the second.” Does the collapse of the US seem a lot more likely to you now than it did in 2006? If so, that’s a good sign; if not, you should eat more fish. It is rich in omega-3 which will make your brain work better.

I don’t feel any particular urge urge to chime in with Roberts and announce that the US has just now reached the point of no return because in my opinion it passed this point a long ago. I also find it rather untoward that making this determination should hinge on the opinions of a couple of Russians; Americans should decide for themselves when their empire has collapsed far enough to call its collapse a collapse. Also, I don’t want to have a hand in collapsing America because it contradicts the informal Russian policy with regard to America’s collapse, which is neatly encapsulated in the lapidary phrase ВСЁ САМИ—“everything themselves”: Americans get to do their own collapsing while Russians refuse to lift a finger to help them. In line with this policy, I aim to inform collapse, not to perform collapse.

And in line with my goal of informing collapse, I wish to provide you with the tools to decide whether, and to what extent, American Empire has collapsed. My approach treats America as an empire, and assumes that it rests on the same three pillars as every other empire since empires first appeared many thousands of years ago. These three pillars do not include such incidentals as financial wealth, economic power, military might, technological superiority, a large population or vast territorial possessions. The three pillars are composed of essential mental constructs. Bereft of these key constructs an empire folds like a cheap suit. The American Empire once had these mental constructs in abundance. I want to equip you to decide for yourself whether it has them at all any more.

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Saturday, June 27, 2020

Toppling the Statue of Liberty

In recent weeks a number of public statues throughout the US (and quite a few in Europe) have been defaced and toppled. Historical figures that have been used to define America are being erased from public memory. Statues of Christopher Columbus (a.k.a. Cristobal Colón) have been toppled in Boston, Richmond and St. Paul. Statues of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington were toppled in Oregon. In New York, officials have granted approval for the removal of a statue of Teddy Roosevelt, who was a brilliant man, a most impressive figure and the most popular US president of all time. All of these historical figures are being accused of various sins, foremost among them that of being white males, and therefore by definition racist and misogynist—an accusation that is, in and of itself, purely racist and sexist.

It is contended that there exist two types of racism/sexism. The one of which white males are accused is an abomination while the one practiced by the supposed victims of white male racism/sexism is good and proper. There is clearly a double standard being applied, and the enforcement of a double standard is automatically an injustice that must be remedied. That is a principle which, if sacrificed for the sake of political expediency, inevitably leads to political collapse and civil war.

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Friday, June 19, 2020

Post-Collapse Administration

I have noticed a marked tendency to think that once the coronavirus blows over everything will go back to the way it was before—or even better, because of Elon Musk’s electric flying cars and fly-thru sex change clinics or what have you. A simple explanation for this tendency is that it is what people want to think: everyone just wants to go back to what they are used to, picking up where they left off and tickling their wild fancies any way they wish. A slightly more nuanced explanation is that the new, post-collapse reality is a mysterious, unfamiliar realm and that for many people thinking about it is too uncomfortable (if done right) or downright pointless (if it consists of cobbling together stereotypes from movies such as Mad Max and Waterworld or other such post-apocalyptic theme park attractions).

Those who wish to think that what’s happening is just a hiccough caused by a not particularly deadly virus and that this will all blow over soon enough are sure to be disappointed. Taking the US as an example, the crisis clearly started before the virus hit, as evidenced by the steady and quite noticeable slowing of the physical economy since 2018, evidenced by such boring statistics as the lack of sales of new long-haul trucks. But that was before all hell broke loose.

Since February 2020 the US lost 46 million full-time jobs, which is over a third of the overall workforce. Bloomberg forecasts that these jobs will come back no sooner than in six years—and only if in the meantime there is steady economic growth. But then the Congressional Budget Office predicts a GDP decrease of 5.6% and 10 years for it to recover (assuming that the worst is already over) so steady economic growth seems like a bit of a pipe dream. In fact, the Federal Reserve is predicting a second quarter GDP decrease of 52.8%, and so the CBO prediction is only plausible to believers in a V-shaped recovery that doesn’t seem to be happening. I, on the other hand, believe that this recession/depression/collapse has been brought to you by the letter L and the number 0.

A more reasonable expectation is that with the economy already shrunk by half another 20% of full-time jobs will need to be lost in the coming months in a wave of bankruptcies that have so far been held back by various emergency measures such as temporary unemployment benefits, moratoria on evictions and foreclosures, delays in student loan repayment, three-month tax holidays, etc. To keep the financial house of cards from pancaking the US federal debt had to go from $21 trillion to $28 trillion in a rather short period of time, and how much longer this can go on is anyone’s guess, but there seems to be consensus that it can’t go on forever. Meanwhile, data from May 2020 indicates that 26% of Americans could not feed themselves independently, and as this number continues to go up it will become increasingly impossible to ignore the fact that the cupboard is indeed bare and that the once wealthiest nation in the world is now a nation of beggars.

Once a solid majority of the population becomes destitute, what will become of the world’s greatest superpower, the indispensable nation, that shining beacon of freedom and democracy and embodiment of the can-do spirit with liberty and justice for all? On the ground, there are sure to be lots of dumpsters on fire, lots of shops looted, boarded up and out of business, various sections of downtowns becoming police no-go zones (if police are still to be found anywhere) presided over by heavily armed thugs. After all the statues of white imperialist exploiters and oppressors of yore are toppled and all the white people forced to kneel before some very nice people who hail from the ghetto, there is sure to come a moment (at least for those who at that point are still capable of some semblance of rational thought) to ask an obvious question: What, if anything, comes next?

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Sunday, June 14, 2020

Repent&Pay™ Considered Harmful

The entire world watches in dismay as the whites in the US genuflect in supplication before the putative descendants of African slaves, accepting their collective guilt and their collective punishment.

Throughout history, tribute has been considered a more civilized, less violent and more reliable end efficient alternative to occupation, rapine and plunder. Vanquished races were often quite happy to pay their conquerers an annual share of their wealth for the sake of being left unmolested and perhaps even protected from other invaders, and being allowed to keep some semblance of their former dignity intact. Relationships based on tribute sometimes improved over time. A famous example is the Golden Horde, which ruled Russia for a few centuries. It started with rapine and plunder, proceeded to relations based on tribute and eventually developed into a relatively copacetic arrangement based on mutual recognition and respect, where Genghis Khan’s descendants ruling from the capital of the Golden Horde on the Volga near the Caspian Sea issued writs (called “yaklyk”) which legitimized the rule of Russian princes over their various domains, including the Great Prince, which with Ivan the Terrible became the Czar and with Peter the Great the Emperor. Mongol rule protected Russia from the predations of the Catholics and, consequently, spared it the agonies of the Reformation, allowing it to develop into a separate Christian Orthodox civilization which abides to this day.

Tribute still plays a major role in today’s world, but it is uncertain for how much longer. Countries which use the US dollar in international and sometimes also in domestic trade implicitly acquiesce to the authority of the United States. They know full well that should they transgress against their masters in Washington their access to the US dollar will be cut off and their economies will languish. The US dollar remains for now as a relict of former neocolonial times (while just about everybody is ready to conclude that the US empire is in an advanced state of decay and is rapidly nearing its end). Meanwhile, a related but diametrically opposed phenomenon has been on the ascent: the demand for the payment of reparations based on the admission of collective guilt based on a system I will call Repent&Pay™.

Let’s ask some purely rhetorical and completely ridiculous questions. Where the Mongols guilty of invading Russia, and, if so, should Mongolia admit its historical guilt and Repent&Pay™ for the hundreds of years of oppression its ancestors visited on Russia? But wait, they weren’t the only ones to invade Russia. Poland needs to repent and pay for their invasion of Moscow which ended in 1612. And the French are guilty of invading Russia just 200 years later, in 1812. There were other foreign interventionists, including the US, during Russia’s civil war following the revolution of 2017. Finally, there was the German invasion of 1941-1945; shouldn’t the Germans (and their collaborators in other nations) Repent&Pay™ for it too? But wait, we are only getting started…

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Monday, June 08, 2020

Dances with Guns

Those who consider the protests and looting that have been occurring in the US, and in US-aligned countries over the past week or so have been frustrated in their effort to come up with a convincing rationale for them. The quest for justice spurred on by a particularly picturesque heart attack death of a certain violent criminal and drug dealer after being choked out by a policeman is certainly one, but it doesn’t motivate the subsequent violence or the looting. The theory that the Democrats and the Deep State are fomenting unrest in order to prevent Trump from winning a second term is a nice one, but what’s missing is any cogent explanation of why an economically devastated country would be more likely to vote for senile old Biden than for an amusingly random yet implacably forthright Trump, who called for the restoration of law and order by any means necessary including the introduction of Iraqi occupation-style military patrols but was thwarted by liberal Democratic governors, congressmen and even the Pentagon. By the time the election rolls around, many people would perhaps be ready to concede that the restoration of law and order by any means necessary is just the thing to vote for.

As with the coronavirus hysteria, where virtually every developed and semi-developed nation imposed arbitrary travel restrictions, ruinous business shutdowns and various futile quarantines and safety-themed public masquerades in response to a new respiratory virus that is less lethal than some recent seasonal influenzas and is selective in killing only those very old or very sick, who would soon die in any case, the reasons for taking these actions were in each instance quite different from those that were publicly stated. Specifically, the rationale that shutdowns and lockdowns would save lives is hollow given the number of lives lost because of ruined livelihoods, the various pathologies caused or exacerbated by the lockdowns and the social isolation and loss of access to regular medical care as hospitals scrambled to battle the new phantom menace.

More defensible rationales can be offered for the steps taken by various countries. As I had explained here, China, then Russia took this crisis as an opportunity to mobilize against a US bioterror attack (all those biowarfare labs the Pentagon has built all over the planet couldn’t be for nothing at all) thereby making such an attack less likely to be effective against their own populations and more likely to boomerang on the Americans themselves. In the US, the extreme, economically destructive measures could be rationalized as partisan attempts to dethrone Trump by making him appear indecisive and feckless in the face of a dire threat. Other indecisive and feckless national leaders could be said to have meekly followed the advice of the World Health Organization, which is mostly owned by the vaccine mogul Bill Gates, formerly of Microsoft, who was very interested in locking down the entire planet and making everyone buy an expensive and unnecessary vaccine—against a virus that happens to be a reasonably safe and effective inoculant against itself. This plan doesn’t appear to be working. A few days ago, as I watched the evening news on Russia’s Channel 1, I was startled to see a 10-second clip of Bill Gates, spliced in à propos of nothing, in which he appeared to be podcasting from his lair aboard Starship Microclusterfuck while blasting off toward Andromeda, during which he glowered and croaked out the news that of course his new (nonexistent) coronavirus vaccine would have to be made available to everyone.

But what is the single explanation for all of these different responses? I believe that the coronavirus hysteria was a crisis response unleashed by the technosphere, which I define as a global emergent machine-like intelligence composed of unwitting human moving parts that mindlessly pursues an abstract teleology of total control. In this instance it is being forced to confront the immanent demise of the fracking industry in the US, the consequent looming global energy shortage and the definitive end of global economic growth which is, in turn, required in order for global capitalism to function. In response, it attempted to salvage what it could of the global economy by splitting it up into separate technological zones, some of which could then be cut off from energy flows and allowed to wither. In desperation, it latched onto the coronavirus scare as a means to lock down national borders, disrupt supply chains and to force nations and groups of nations to self-isolate from each other and within themselves.

And what is the single explanation for the protests, riots and looting currently happening all across the US? I believe I can offer one here as well. Most surprisingly, it is, of all things, a matter of theatrical genre.

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