Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Are Americans Prepared For A Soviet Style Collapse?

Last week I gave an interview to Barry at DR Escapes which is now up on Youtube. Please follow the link to listen to the interview. Barry's notes on it are pasted in below.

If the social and financial structure around you collapsed tomorrow, as it did for many people during the fall of the Soviet Union, are you prepared to survive and even prosper? In my latest interview with best selling author Dmitry Orlov we discuss lifestyle and how your lifestyle decisions may dramatically impact how your family will fare if times get tough.

Dmitry left Russia with his family in 1976 and settled in the Boston area to pursue an education in computer science and  linguistics.  Along the way Dmitry realized he was trapped in the traditional American pursuit of a career.  He was working day and night to make money to pay for the car and city condo and all the trappings of success.  He needed the car and condo and all the trappings of business to keep making money.  The same vicious cycle most Americans face every day.  Well Dmitry gave it all up for a life on a sailboat full of travel and freedom.
In our interview, I passed along some of your questions as well as my own to get Dmitry’s perspectives. As you probably know if you follow Dmitry or the ClubOrlov blog, Dmitry brings an interesting perspective to the whole lifestyle and survival dialog. In this interview, Dmitry shares his thoughts on why he believes that Russian citizens were far better prepared for a collapse than the typical American citizen.  His logic is sound and it definitely makes you question…. “what would my family  do in a collapse, faced with”:
  • No lights
  • No running water
  • No flushing toilets
  • No trash removal
  • No gas at the gas pumps
  • No government services
  • No public transportation
Strangely enough, quite inadvertently, the Russian citizens may have been far better off to handle such a collapse, and here is why…..

In this first part of our two part interview with Dmitry, we learn more about his experience growing up in privilege in Russia and follow his journey out of Russia to Boston.  Some of the topics Dmitry touches on in this part of the interview include:
  • Benefits of a travel perspective
  • Failures in Soviet central planning
  • Evolving to a barter economy
  • Role of small family farms
  • Advantage of generalists over specialists
  • Transition from a “job” to life on a boat

In the second part of this interview we pass along a few more of your questions in order to dig a little deeper into Dmitry’s opinions about the current status of America and why Dmitry is convinced that what Russia suffered in the Soviet collapse was a soft crash and what America is headed for can only be a catastrophic hard collapse.
In this part of the interview, Dmitry poses a realistic scenario and challenges us to think about how we would handle a collapse.

As I interviewed Dmitry, I couldn’t help but draw parallels with my lifestyle down here on the north coast of the Dominican Republic.  Many of the things that Dmitry pointed out about the conditions that supported the bounce back by the Russian citizens seem to apply here.
On the north coast we enjoy:
  • Abundant food grown on small family farms or taken from the sea
  • Virtually unlimited fresh water not dependent on extensive government infrastructure
  • A resilient population unaccustomed and not dependent on many of life’s high-tech luxuries
  • An economy that can easily fall back on barter in the face of a currency collapse


Andy Brown said...

The short answer to the question is, of course, no. I don't have time to listen to your interview, just yet, but clearly that's no bar to commenting here.

One of the biggest problems here at least in theory is the quaint American delusion about self-sufficiency. I have no doubt that theory will be tossed out by anyone who has an adaptable bone in their body, but still it may be traumatic.

What I saw in the former USSR, mid-90s was that the people who were surviving best were those who had some set of resources that could be bartered to secure their needs. That might be a productive dacha, a signature that kept boys out of the army, some control over the flow of nickel, a root cellar, a skill for nursing or tutoring, a physical ruthlessness, or what have you. The key was to have something that others required - though preferably something difficult or inconvenient to despoil.

Anyone hedging their bets on collapse should give that some thought.

Anonymous said...

Way to go Dmitry! am in the middle of reading your book on reinventing collapse right now and am enjoying it :).

Just wondering how it will impact the UK where I live, since we are not pegged to the dollar and are more linked to russia and the EU financially.

Also how it will impact me as a disabled person with 2 small kids :/

Unknown said...

Always great to hear from you, Dmitry.

The psychotic US Elite is in the middle of an epileptic fit. Realizing that the USD has become so toxic, it could self-ignite any moment, they have gone full retard. Throwing around kitchen knifes, setting the carpet in the hallway on fire, shooting from the window at cats and every shadow that moves. Would be rather funny if their house wouldn't be called Planet Earth. As we enter 2015, "the empire of chaos", to use Pepe Escobar's term, threatens not only Russia, but humanity at large ...

Thanks again.


k-dog said...

As all who care not to deal with reality are quick to point out America does not appear to be collapsing.

Ignoring the negative and only being aware of the positive one can easily make the choice not to see the rot, decay and emerging moral decadence of our failing and falling system.

Am I prepared to survive and prosper?

No, to survive and prosper requires the commitment of like minds working to a common goal. Where are these like minds? Some are reading this and you may be one of them. But if you are of like mind you are not in my daily life. The life I need to survive in.

Experience has shown me in my daily life it is best to keep my ideas of collapse to myself. I'm surrounded by a sea of 'positive' thinkers who ignore the pain of those the existing system casts aside and forgets about. When collapse comes as it must I doubt all those who now so easily ignore my point of view and the welfare of others will be looking to me as a wise and capable sage. I suspect they will be more interested in any food and gas I might have.

When the 'time' comes new family connections will have to be made. New families who will work together for their common good will be forged. These new families will work to keep the ones they love and live with fed clothed and healthy. Those who don't have a group first attitude will also find themselves in new families, but families with of a very different kind of like mind.

I wish them well so long as they don't group themselves together in bands of thugs out for rapine and plunder. Out for rapine and plunder like in the movie I can't mention here without this comment being deleted.

You know, that movie with Angry Maxwell in it.

Cindy Shirar said...

Very much enjoyed the podcast, Dmitry.

Working on getting passports established/renewed for the family here...

We don't have much in the way of cash resources (we should convert much of it into "barter-able" goods, anyway)...

And I’m afraid we don't have much of a well-thought-out plan (been too busy scratching for survival in the Empire of Destruction & Chaos), but our gut-urge to “let it all go” (jobs, personal ties, etc.) by packing the family van & making a hasty dash out of the country (South) seems less & less cuckoo with each passing day.

Just feel so vulnerable. “Fleeing” with a young husband and four kids… three of which are under the age of six… I’ve traveled much in my life… (although, sadly, not yet to Russia – very much want to take your advice and travel those 11 time zones)… I know if we were able to establish a toe-hold somewhere we might do all right… but… struggling with breaking out of the brainwashing, the fear and…

Sorry… I’m thought-processing in the comments here. Incoherent blurt-outs…

We’ve got to carve time out for some research and a real plan…

So many of your readers/posters seem so much more world-wise, better prepared & “together” than me and my “let’s-just-beat-feet-&-blast-South-in-the-rickety-family-van” non-plan… LOL…

Anyway, Dmitry… thank you for ClubOrlov…! It keeps some of us sane.

Ah, and before we forget…we need to order Unspeller for the kids. Something to occupy the family as we hit the road for the South.

Deepest regards,

Irving, Texas

Unknown said...

I am taken aback by this statement: "Virtually unlimited fresh water..." on the north coast of the Dominican Republic? Since when do ocean-bound islands have an abundance of fresh water? I must have missed something along the way. Otherwise all is not good on my mission to escape 1984. On the other hand I had not previously considered relocation to small islands as they probably do not want to accommodate the extreme ecological demands of the care and feeding of spoilt Murcans.

rossbcan said...

Well, how 'bout distilling all that has, is and will happen to a simple equation, proving the dynamics between predator / prey and, what must and does happen when one side prevails over the other:


Note, by the ratings, my POV (AKA: truth) is equally unpopular and in strategic denial as Dmitry's.

V. Arnold said...

Very interesting bio Dmitry and good interview.
In 1990 I sold everything and moved aboard my newly purchased 1970's vintage Dutch built sloop.
Lived aboard until I was employed overseas.
That was more than a decade ago and I knew then that I'd never return.
Best decision I ever made.