Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Twilight of the Antipodes and the Cultural Flip

Presented on May 22 at the Northern California Eco-fest. (For those with browser embed/Google login issues, here's a direct link to it.)


Jean-Pierre said...

Dimitri, have you read Baudrillard? If you haven't, I think you'd like him.

NewMatrix said...

Thanks for making the journey out here, Dmitry. Your take on the current money paradigm and it's sustainable alternative was refreshing and much appreciated. All the best to you!

Rashakor said...

This is earth-shaterring stuff, a rebuke of the last 500 years of western history and culture.
I love it, but Dimitri i need the guidance on how to present this to my friend and family.
Capitalism (Fianancial Darwinism) is now so engrained in the Western mind and still infecting other cultures that this is very difficult to convey to people that have not seen it already.

trippticket said...

Mr Orlov, thanks for the great slideshow! The last slide basically outlines what my family has been doing for the past 3 years. Our total bills for last month were about $160 (we can do better), plus some food that we aren't yet producing in our quarter acre permaculture garden. My family thinks we're nuts for not having any interest in "getting back out there and making a proper living" but we believe we are making the right moves for an inevitably different future. Thanks for the support!

TH in SoC said...

Would it be too much trouble to translate this presentation into Russian? I'd do it myself, but my foreign language skills have gotten rusty over the last several months. There are some friends I have who would find this very interesting. Thanks!

fattigmann said...

I've heard theories of how traditional societies are cyclical, like seasons, and how modern society is linear, with peaks and valleys, but always tending upward.

But never before have I heard this theory that society flips. Absolutely brilliant.

Yesterday, when an older family friend did us the service of extended daycare, an uncomfortable bridge was crossed when I offered her even a pittance of pay. It was like I had offended the gods of some ancient generational transaction. She did take the money, yet I noted the fissure between two different economic models. I'm sure we've all experienced many such juxtapositions.

My only critiques of your post: I am not convinced that 0% loans would be so beneficial. Without the slight time pressure to repay, there would probably be little sense of urgency. However, anyone who understands exponential growth knows that 3%growth is in fact enormous. Interest should perhaps be legally capped at this level.

Also, I think that greed and fear are not the only motivations for capitalist production. For example, I own a Martin guitar which is mass produced (with definite human touches throughout the process) and it is a masterpiece in terms of quality--and quantity.

Bukko Boomeranger said...

Thanks for a great slide show! I could expostulate an essay about my thoughts on what I learned from it, but who needs another long-winded blogoviator blowing type-smoke on your coattails? Let me just praise your writing style for the occasional brilliant throw-away lines like this one:

(Example: a cat, which mostly sleeps.)

which literally made me laugh out loud.

P.S. My wife didn't make it out to Grass Valley, but you're still welcome in Vancouver if you make a habit of this talking gig. There is a community of people here, connected with the Transition Towns movement but not as boring and wonky as the T.T. position statements you hate to read, who are trying to live the way you prescribe. "Stoneleigh" Foss of Automatic Earth is making the rounds internationally like a preacher sermonizing about a for-real apocalypse, not a religious fever-dream one. We had the pleasure of meeting her when she started on her "get ready for it" speaking tour in late 2009, and I'm looking forward to her next lecture here June 1.

Jeff Snyder said...

Awesome presentation, Mr. Orlov. Your skills at succinctly zeroing in on the essence of the matter and making arguments that convince are unparalleled. Any chance you will be able to post a vid of your presentation? I would love to listen and circulate it.

One question, forgive me if the answer is obvious. Why did you take the cube of t in the interest = collapse slide analysis? Is it supposed to be the three-dimensional, i.e., cubic representation of space and ergo proxy for the (consumption of the) sum total of physical resources?

DeVaul said...

I was surprised myself to see how the money system had infected my wife's homeland (Thailand). I did not assume that money played a big role there, and yet it does. This happens all over Asia now.

Last Saturday, we kept her friend's two daughters at our home while they went to a business party. I was dismayed to see her friend hand her some money when they came to pick them up. I told her to give it back, which she did. As far as I was concerned, our daughter got to play with her friends, so why should we be paid for that?

I grew up in the South here in the US and we had a different culture for awhile. You did not get paid for watching your neighbor's children or other such things. It was considered "courteous" and "polite" to do these things.

That all changed as people from up North moved in, but I suspect that happens everywhere. I also suspect that the hill tribes in Thailand stick to the old ways more than the city people of Bangkok, but I am just guessing really. I would like to think they do.

Also, you might add to the list of "not really gifts" the deluge of cheap, plastic crap from China that some family members will dump on you instead of taking the time to create something unique or finding out what you really need.

Dmitry Orlov said...

This presentation was filmed from 3 cameras, so I do expect a video of it to be posted at some point.

Russian translation is not forthcoming (except if some Russian makes a generous gift of such a translation, which isn't likely given the state of post-collapse Russian society).

t^3 because space is 3-dimensional.

Anonymous said...

Wrap your minds around the social ramifications of negative interest...

DeVaul said...

I know everyone wants video and ipod presentations these days, but as a Deaf person, I would like to say that Dymiti's slide shows are excellent and very informative since they include drawings and spacial aids that help drive home the point of the argument -- to both sides of the brain.

I have enjoyed every one of his slideshows, and I am not a PowerPoint fan at all. A slideshow can be dull and boring, or fascinating and enlightening, depending on how it is presented.

You cannot do this on a video or podcast, which is like listening to the radio, so remember that.

Thardiust said...

This was without a doubt an inspiring presentation compared with all of the doom and gloom stuff that's been circulating around the mass media recently. The only thing I'd say which could have been covered more in depth during the sailboat presentation is how you find and prepare food but, I'm sure that can be worked into another seminar. Besides that inquiry this was some great work since it not only debunks old ways of thinking but also leads by example.

AndoLaw said...

Thank you so much for posting this presentation, Dmitry. I'll have to flip through it a couple more times to take it all in. (Your comments on the downsides of efficiency notwithstanding, these slideshows are an extremely efficient way of conveying a lot of information/insight.)

For now, it mostly has me pondering how I might move more of my economic/subsistence activity into a gift -- or at least barter -- economy model.

Now there's a fast track to finding something genuinely useful to do or acquire in the time we have available. Simply ask: what might I offer others as a gift or barter? What do I have, or what can I do, that others might genuinely want or need?

And since such an economy must entail reciprocation it's also a fast track to discerning between a "community" and a circle of acquaintance.

Adam Heilbrun said...

I attended the event and was totally captivated by the talk. While I greatly appreciate the slide show, I am really eager to hear a recording for a fuller understanding of the issues.

Kate said...

Good stuff. It brought to mind something covered in a cultural anthropology class taken lo, these many years ago. We were studying various systems of exchange across many cultures, and the concept of reciprocity and its variations was discussed. There were two neighboring cultures used as an example of an unusual form of exchange. One of these cultures was a forest culture, the other I think lived outside the forest. There was no direct, face-to-face interaction between the members of the two cultures. When trade was desired, one group would go to a designated spot inside the forest, leave the goods they wished to trade, and depart. People from the other group would go to the spot, examine the goods, and, if the offered goods were desired, would leave what they felt was a fair exchange, and also depart. The first group who had left the goods would return, examine the goods left as a possible exchange, and, if they were an acceptable trade, would take the goods and go home. Then the second group would return for the first offered goods and take them away. If the trade were not acceptable in some way, no goods were exchanged. I believe there was some way of indicating either insufficiency or excess, or a desire for some other type of good. The point was that the system of exchange relied on good faith and trust, but happened without money or even a common language between the groups.

I think these cultures were African, or possibly Asian. I'm pretty sure they were not in the Americas. (Apologies, my mind retains ideas much better than specifics or references.)