Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Interview on PRN's The Lifeboat Hour with Mike Ruppert

Mike Ruppert and I discuss many things, such as:
  • That the ultimate commodity in which to invest is not gold or shotgun shells but people you can trust
  • That the combination of energy scarcity and climate upheaval spells the end of industrial agriculture, so you better start growing your own
  • That humans have evolved to work well in small groups while large ones waste energy on "social grooming activities" (a.k.a. politics)
  • That people who speak languages that are peppered with gratuitous instances of words like "my" and "your" (e.g., English) are a bit challenged when it comes to sharing or leaving nature unmolested
  • That historical nations abide but "acronym anachronisms" like USSR and USA turn out to be figments of the geopolitical imagination
  • That there is a subtle phonetic difference between the Russian words blat (unofficial access to all sorts of things through personal connections) and blyat' (which Mike has discovered to be offensive to women).


TH in SoC said...

Dmitry, feel free not to post this comment.

I just heard your interview with Mike Ruppert on the Lifeboat Hour podcast. It was a tantalizing interview, because you started to go down some really interesting paths concerning social and cultural collapse in the United States, but you kept getting cut off.

I'd like to hear more about these subjects, especially as they relate to American citizens and residents who are now trying to escape our toxic American mass culture, and recent arrivals from other countries who must face the challenge of preserving their culture while living in the midst of a larger culture that seeks to dissolve and assimilate everything else.

Would you be interested in letting me interview you? I promise as few interruptions as possible. Otherwise, would you be willing to write more about these topics?


Kyddyl said...

TH in SoC made a good point.

As an armchair sociologist I have been spending hours studying the Amish, Mennonite and Bretherans. I am native to Utah and have long observed the Mormon culture. I have been researching what factors play definative roles towards group cohesiveness in positive and sustainable ways. It has been very rewarding.

The Amish, more conservative Mennonites and Bretheran come in many different degrees in which they actually actively keep the "world" at bay. They have long sought to be "separate" and to varying degrees do not depend on public utilities, the government or on "growth".

On the other hand the Latter Day Saints, or Mormons, have a Church structural system that enchances group cohesion via their rules for who goes to which ward. They ask their members to have a one years supply of virtually everything they need, especially food. Many of these people are warm and sharing but there are some that are very exclusive towards persons who are not one of themselves.

All these groups have distinctive dress, be it visible or not visible. The group conformity and church structure is very similar despite the large differences in beliefs.

Obviously religion is a major factor in these groups and it plays a major role in focusing the members on the shared group consensus. I'm now working towards similarly cohesive groups minus the religious factor as many people do not share these groups centerpoints, which is fine. Interestingly however it's very difficult. Indeed many nations have come here to die. And you're spot on with your point that small groups can achieve cohesion while larger groups do not, at least as well. The Mormons are something of an exception there. However to get real membership numbers whith the Mormons is difficult as few are ever removed from their rolls.

Your comments on agriculture just makes my heart sing! I'm one of the "backwards" people who have had horses and have been around animals and gardening all my life. And no, we don't use artifical anythings to raise our crops. And yes, I can ride or hitch a horse just fine. The world at hoofbeats pace is very nice indeed.

What a waste of time that awful so called music was! It makes me want to start ripping out the electrical right now, but not until after I send this.

I very much enjoy your blog and look forward to anything you write. Thanks!

Patrick said...

TH, I agree with you - the interview was less than satisfactory; too chopped up and truncated. It was really just a "teaser." I would read Dmitry's books and past blog postings for a fuller exploration of his ideas.

peacegarden said...

The music was pretty bad, but Mr. Ruppert seems to be more about self-promotion than allowing Dmitry to answer fully.

I was aggravated by the time the hour ended...you did hear Mr. Ruppert say that he was singing on at least one of the songs (and possibly had written it?)

After joining his Collapsenet site for $10 a month, and not finding it to my liking, I didn't pay for the second month.

I know he is respected and almost revered by many in the PO blogosphere, but if that interview was indicative of his "style", then I guess I just won't listen anymore.

Dmitry rocks! I loved his answers to Mr Ruppert's almost snide questions..."When someone ask you, Dmitry, what should we do?" Then the attempt to admire the answer...seemed a bit smarmy to me.



Anonymous said...

So basically we've already gone through social and cultural collapse? Times like this I wish I were taken more seriously, at least by my own family, about these things. I'm fairly sure they're aware things are falling apart but they just carry on like it isn't. I suppose that's what those two stages of collapse look like. having moved here only recently, I don't know hardly anyone in town, made worse by everyone I went to school with taking off to various places.

Utilitopia said...

Though the musical interludes were long, unlistenable, disruptive, and a bit crass, I did enjoy the interview segments.

Andrew Butt said...

I'm not sure that I would consider it an interview. It was well...I don't know how to describe it, with the self-promotion, music promotion, and show promotion acting as a continuous background din.

When Dmitry did finally speak, I found the re-shuffling of the stages of collapse interesting. I had earlier read that the stages were not linear, but since they are frequently presented as such, I didn't really connect how badly off we are on a societal and cultural level. The power and the curse of the enumerated list! It now seems self-evident that we are not at the initial stage with "financial", but in fact are approaching our last stage with "financial". Oh-oh - World Made by Hand and Witch of Hebron may be arriving sooner than I thought, and I'm not so sure that we won't miss ending up on The Road.

Unknown said...

I am trying to form my opinion about inflation and deflation. Writers I respect present a coming hyperinflation but the arguments about credit expantion and short term deflation presented in the automatic earth website make sense as far as I can understand them and I have not formed a personal opinion yet. In the interview mike says after one of your answers: ``and thats where you get to hyperinflation`` but it was not clear to me if that was your thinking to.

Have you formed your opinion about this? Is it somewhere in the blog? (I think I have readed it all but I am not sure).

What we do about this subject changes with each option, if inflation then gold if deflation then cash. But I like the third option, instead of hoarding anything get friends but that is a hard wealth to earn, specially good and usefull friends in some places.

Dmitry Orlov said...

laucau -

The difference between inflation, deflation and hyperinflation is the difference in the value of money you won't have, so the question is a bit academic. The crisis will hit suddenly, when enough people realize that the economy is shutting down and that they are about to lose access to the goods they need, imported goods especially. Then everyone starts throwing money at all sorts of useful things and stockpiling them. But then it turns out that fewer and fewer people are willing to part with something useful in exchange for mere money, and this renders the currency impotent. The term I prefer is not inflation or hyperinflation but devaluation: not cheap money or expensive money, but no money at all. Everyone seems to think that "the rich people will still have plenty of money." Sure enough, they will have... plenty of nothing.

NomadicBeer said...

I will add my voice to "TH in SoC" - I would like to hear more about the changing in the stages of collapse. I read your blog/book and it was a wow moment when you mentioned the fact that we might skip cultural collapse entirely due to our social structure. Thanks!

Christopher Minson said...

Nice interview, Dimitri. Clear and simple.

I always find your views on the US interesting - often, it takes someone who was born elsewhere to see a particular culture clearly. Everyone else is inoculated with the prevailing mythologies from birth, making it difficult to pierce through the fog. Hearing things from your vantage point is refreshing.

That said, much of the dynamic you describe is worldwide, not US-centric. For instance, although I can well believe Russians can punt back to simpler time more easily than Americans, I'm not so sure about most Europeans. Or even most urban Asians (hard to imagine a place like Seoul or Singapore simplifying to any great extent).

But that's an aside. As an American, the question becomes: what to do next?

You might be interested in what's happening in Silicon Valley, which is where I lived and worked for years. Lots of smart, wealthy, networked people in this region. Much more so than the average American, they're increasingly getting a clue on what's going on. And they're acting.

Some (those who aren't techno-fanatics) are simplifying and trying to build sustainable lives in-country, but others are taking a more radical approach; they're packing up and leaving. They're looking for sustainability but are unwilling to embed that quest within a large fossilized and militarized society that is fraying around the edges. So they are creating exit holes elsewhere. In particular, there's a movement towards New Zealand. We did this ourselves and know others who have taken the same path. It's a small, hidden trend among an isolated group, but I thought you'd be interested in it.

Karl K said...

If you want to hear uninterrupted commentary, check out this fora.tv podcast/video:


I listen to it several times a year and I always get several chuckles each time I do. A command performance!

"There will be holes in things..." Cracks me up!


ces said...

I too, did not want to be subjected to his horrid idea of music. Just not the place. I skipped over it. Makes Ruppert out to be an unfocused goof.

Phlogiston Água de Beber said...

Dmitry, I am pleased to learn I am not the only one that thinks financial wealth will rapidly devalue to nothing. It's already making pretty good progress toward that end. And not just currency, but most all forms of token wealth. Utilitarian physical assets, low-tech skills, physical endurance and trusty comrades will IMHO be the only reliable source of "wealth".

Unknown said...

I have often told people who are fearing collapse that the best thing to get is a skill. If someone wants to make use of your skill they at the very least have to keep you alive. While as Dmitry notes if they want your gold they might kill you. I expect that gold will quickly diminish in value post collapse compared to such things as food and booze. But of course as Dmitry points out friends are invaluable. Not only can friends do more together than each of us can individually good friends are a value for the pleasure of their company.

Dmitry, can you post a transcript?

DaShui said...

I used to wonder why my Chinese sentence construction is too long. Chinese does not use so much "my" and "mine" as English, also no helping verbs.
Korean, instead of using mine, likes to use our, not "my country", they say "our country".

Anonymous said...

I have read your book and almost all of your postings. I think you have a lot of great insights. I wanted to get your thoughts on something that i recently read.

Anthropologist Alan Fiske argues that there are three major types of human relationships: dominance, communality, and reciprocity. You seem to suggest that dominance is too costly a relationship for the average citizen to maintain. That leaves communality and reciprocity. Communality is much easier to maintain between closely related groups like family. Reciprocity can easily break down when the economy breaks down. Once one group can longer provide mutual benefit to another, relations will suffer. Can an ethnically heterogeneous population establish communality relationships on a large scale in the short term to prevent societal breakdown? If so, what is the precedent?

Dmitry Orlov said...

happy -

I am not a student of Fiske, and I don't know that his terminology applies to what I am about to say.

I think that domination (as in, giving vs. taking orders) will always be there, simply because there is such a gigantic disparity in natural abilities, and specifically in the ability to accumulate authority. There will always be circumstances where people will need to be told what to do, politely, perhaps, but the nature of the relationship is that one person understands something that the other doesn't, and that both tacitly understand this fact. It's a far more subtle effect than outright domination.

I think that in most cases reciprocity has to have a basis in a sort of domination, or at least on the willingness to submit to a common set of rules that define what is fair. For instance, it may be considered fair if a local who speaks the local language holds a privileged position vis à vis an outsider in a trading relationship. The rules may come from ancient custom or from political authority; in either case, it's a subset of the domination pattern, where two parties submit to a third rather than one party submitting directly to another.

In a disrupted environment where all sorts of authorities lose face and relevance direct domination is likely to become far more prevalent than indirect domination by a third party.

Communality has sinister overtones to someone who came out of the Soviet experience. Yes, families are indeed communist, although American families who make their children work for their tuition are something of a mutant strain. But it is not the sort of communism that survives the introduction of politics, so it is reserved for small groups.

But this is all just an attempt to define some terms, which may not even be relevant. I think that there is a myriad ways that people can help each other. Society (anthropologists included) restrict our options by attempting to make our relationships explicit and to define them. This, to me, is the worst form of oppression.

"Can an ethnically heterogeneous population establish communality relationships on a large scale in the short term to prevent societal breakdown?"

Probably not, but the opposite is quite likely: an ethnically heterogeneous population can establish enough communality relationships so as to destroy the society that has been preventing these relationships from forming. The remnants of old society that stand in the way are murdered or driven into exile. There are precedents for that: it's called a revolution.

Anonymous said...

Author of Affluenza says some cogent things.