View Poll Results: Will America Collapse?

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  • No, we are too strong

    10 23.26%
  • Yes, but far in the future

    11 25.58%
  • Yes, and it will be sooner than later

    13 30.23%
  • I don't know but I slept at a Holiday Inn last night

    9 20.93%
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Thread: The Five Stages of Collapse

  1. #1
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    The Five Stages of Collapse

    The Five Stages of Collapse

    by Dmitry Orlov

    1.
    Hello, everyone! The talk you are about to hear is the result of a lengthy process on my part. My specialty is in thinking about and, unfortunately, predicting collapse. My method is based on comparison: I watched the Soviet Union collapse, and, since I am also familiar with the details of the situation in the United States, I can make comparisons between these two failed superpowers.

    I was born and grew up in Russia, and I traveled back to Russia repeatedly between the late 80s and mid-90s. This allowed me to gain a solid understanding of the dynamics of the collapse process as it unfolded there. By the mid-90s it was quite clear to me that the US was headed in the same general direction. But I couldn't yet tell how long the process would take, so I sat back and watched.

    I am an engineer, and so I naturally tended to look for physical explanations for this process, as opposed to economic, political, or cultural ones. It turns out that one could come up with a very good explanation for the Soviet collapse by following energy flows. What happened in the late 80s is that Russian oil production hit an all-time peak. This coincided with new oil provinces coming on stream in the West - the North Sea in the UK and Norway, and Prudhoe Bay in Alaska - and this suddenly made oil very cheap on the world markets. Soviet revenues plummeted, but their appetite for imported goods remained unchanged, and so they sank deeper and deeper into debt. What doomed them in the end was not even so much the level of debt, but their inability to take on further debt even faster. Once international lenders balked at making further loans, it was game over.

    What is happening to the United States now is broadly similar, with certain polarities reversed. The US is an oil importer, burning up 25% of the world's production, and importing over two-thirds of that. Back in mid-90s, when I first started trying to guess the timing of the US collapse, the arrival of the global peak in oil production was scheduled for around the turn of the century. It turned out that the estimate was off by almost a decade, but that is actually fairly accurate as far as such big predictions go. So here it is the high price of oil that is putting the brakes on further debt expansion. As higher oil prices trigger a recession, the economy starts shrinking, and a shrinking economy cannot sustain an ever-expanding level of debt. At some point the ability to finance oil imports will be lost, and that will be the tipping point, after which nothing will ever be the same.

    This is not to say that I am a believer in some sort of energy determinism. If the US were to cut its energy consumption by an order of magnitude, it would still be consuming a staggeringly huge amount, but an energy crisis would be averted. But then this country, as we are used to thinking of it, would no longer exist. Oil is what powers this economy. In turn, it is this oil-based economy that makes it possible to maintain and expand an extravagant level of debt. So, a drastic cut in oil consumption would cause a financial collapse (as opposed to the other way around). A few more stages of collapse would follow, which we will discuss next. So, you could see this outlandish appetite for imported oil as a cultural failing, but it is not one that can be undone without causing a great deal of damage. If you like, you can call it "ontological determinism": it has to be what it is, until it is no more.

    I don't mean to imply that every part of the country will suddenly undergo a spontaneous existence failure, reverting to an uninhabited wilderness. I agree with John-Michael Greer that the myth of the Apocalypse is not the least bit helpful in coming to terms with the situation. The Soviet experience is very helpful here, because it shows us not only that life goes on, but exactly how it goes on. But I am quite certain that no amount of cultural transformation will help us save various key aspects of this culture: car society, suburban living, big box stores, corporate-run government, global empire, or runaway finance.

    On the other hand, I am quite convinced that nothing short of a profound cultural transformation will allow any significant number of us to keep roofs over our heads, and food on our tables. I also believe that the sooner we start letting go of our maladaptive cultural baggage, the more of a chance we will stand. A few years ago, my attitude was to just keep watching events unfold, and keep this collapse thing as some sort of macabre hobby. But the course of events is certainly speeding up, and now my feeling is that the worst we can do is pretend that everything will be fine and simply run out the clock on our current living arrangement, with nothing to replace it once it all starts shutting down.

    Now, getting back to my own personal progress in working through these questions, in 2005 I wrote an article called "Post-Soviet Lessons for a Post-American Century". Initially, I wanted to publish it on a web site run by Dale Alan Pfeiffer, but, to my surprise, it ended up on From The Wilderness, a much more popular site run by Michael Ruppert, and, to my further astonishment, Mike even paid me for it.

    And ever since then, I've been asked the same question, repeatedly: "When? When is the collapse going to occur?" Being a little bit clever, I always decline to give a specific answer, because, you see, as soon as you get one specific prediction wrong, there goes your entire reputation. One reasonable way of thinking about the timing is to say that collapse can occur at different times for different people. You may never quite know that collapse has happened, but you will know that it has happened to you personally, or to your family, or to your town. The big picture may not come together until much later, thanks to the efforts of historians. Individually, we may never know what hit us, and, as a group, we may never agree on any one answer. Look at the collapse of the USSR: some people are still arguing over why exactly it happened.

    But sometimes the picture is clearer than we would like. In January of 2008, I published an article on "The Five Stages of Collapse," in which I defined the five stages, and then bravely stated that we are in the midst of a financial collapse. And ten months later it doesn't seem that I went too far out on a limb this time. If the US government has to lend banks over 200 billion dollars a day just to keep the whole system from imploding, then the term "crisis" probably doesn't do justice to the situation. To keep this game going, the US government has to be able to sell the debt it is taking on, and what do you think the chances are that the world at large will be snapping up trillions of dollars of new debt, knowing that it is being used to prop up a shrinking economy? And if the debt can't be sold, then it has to be monetized, by printing money. And that will trigger hyperinflation. So, let's not quibble, and let us call what's happening what it looks like: "financial collapse".

    The Five Stages of Collapse | Energy Bulletin

    This is a long article, but well worth reading.

  2. #2
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    Re: The Five Stages of Collapse

    Should America collapse...
    Welcome to the New Dark Ages.

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    Re: The Five Stages of Collapse

    America won't collapse alone it'll take everybody with them. I'd suspect that we won't have what we've been having cause we've peaked, and we'll all have much more modest lives in the future.

    Things are going to change in MHO, but how much depends on how we deal with our problems, and you never know we might get out smelling like a rose, but I'd say we'll definitely have to make sacrifies. Don't think the sacrifices will be willingly, but they'll be for sure.

    Who knows we might all be speaking Chinese in the future.
    "It's not that I'm afraid to die, I just don't want to be there when it happens." Woody Allen.

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    Re: The Five Stages of Collapse

    Clearly there is a collapse, its ongoing, its broad and unpredictable, most people havent started noticing yet because the collapse isnt far enough in development for them to notice, when they do notice then the collapse is in the end phase.

    Now we see decline in intellectualism, hyperdecline in politics and government, financial market collapse, and I think the economic collapse will soon be very broad, once the paper economy is gone there is not much left, except in this case far superior housing than soviet had, which will make the collapse less drastic, but even so change the life of everyone when they loose what they were used to.

    Typical for decline is denial and a wish to get back to where you wore before, this is clearly taking place in the US now and leading to further decline. The US is in decline, collapse may come or may not, civil war could break out between central and southern US against the rest and then full fledged civil wars that could lead to the break away of states from the federation and create multiple independent nations.

    Exciting subject really, my knowledge on it is quite limited but these are some of the things I find most interesting about what could potentially take place. Would anyone mind if the Northeast broke away? That California becomes a nation? That some dusin southern states create the confederation they always wanted and that the rest sporadically cooperate with each other to avoid this.



    edit. i didnt read the content of the link until after my post, but it seems quite clear to me that stage 4 is what is unfolding now and that the first 3 have happened and are still happening.
    Last edited by Maximus Zeebra; 12-13-08 at 11:03 AM.
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    Re: The Five Stages of Collapse

    It is clear to me that with the election of Barack Obama, the people have spoken, and what they are saying is we want the Government to take care of us. The politicians are more than happy to accomodate them. And as the sheep are sheparded, they don't realize that the shepards are wolves.

    Most Americans will be caught off guard. They will have little or no food, nothing with which to barter, and no way to defend themselves. It will be the object of Liberal derision, the people of "Red State America", who will be best able to cope. They are those who own guns, who know how to hunt, who know how to can food, who know how to use a sewing machine, who have callouses on their hands, and most importantly....faith in God.

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    Re: The Five Stages of Collapse

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. President View Post
    It is clear to me that with the election of Barack Obama, the people have spoken, and what they are saying is we want the Government to take care of us. The politicians are more than happy to accomodate them. And as the sheep are sheparded, they don't realize that the shepards are wolves.

    Most Americans will be caught off guard. They will have little or no food, nothing with which to barter, and no way to defend themselves. It will be the object of Liberal derision, the people of "Red State America", who will be best able to cope. They are those who own guns, who know how to hunt, who know how to can food, who know how to use a sewing machine, who have callouses on their hands, and most importantly....faith in God.
    Ok, to me there's no real money, so everything Obama wants to do he's going to have to borrow, or tax the worker's to death. First on his agenda is the healthcare. That will be the possible last nail in our coffins, and more people will end up in coffins quicker once healthcare starts getting rationed. If things don't pick up, and I don't think they will, people will all feel they should have houses cause it's a right, so we'll all be living in one room shacks. The houses that already exist will be sold as multiple family, or persons' dwellings. It's getting harder to figure what people will come up with as rights, but I think housing will be next after the healthcare.
    "It's not that I'm afraid to die, I just don't want to be there when it happens." Woody Allen.

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    Re: The Five Stages of Collapse

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. President View Post
    It is clear to me that with the election of Barack Obama, the people have spoken, and what they are saying is we want the Government to take care of us. The politicians are more than happy to accomodate them. And as the sheep are sheparded, they don't realize that the shepards are wolves.

    Most Americans will be caught off guard. They will have little or no food, nothing with which to barter, and no way to defend themselves. It will be the object of Liberal derision, the people of "Red State America", who will be best able to cope. They are those who own guns, who know how to hunt, who know how to can food, who know how to use a sewing machine, who have callouses on their hands, and most importantly....faith in God.
    Exactly.. But the problem is, such knowledge is not available anymore. Todays people are enormously stupid in yesterdays world. All we know are useless things.
    Europe is illegally occupied by the US

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    Re: The Five Stages of Collapse

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. President View Post
    It is clear to me that with the election of Barack Obama, the people have spoken, and what they are saying is we want the Government to take care of us. The politicians are more than happy to accomodate them. And as the sheep are sheparded, they don't realize that the shepards are wolves.

    Most Americans will be caught off guard. They will have little or no food, nothing with which to barter, and no way to defend themselves. It will be the object of Liberal derision, the people of "Red State America", who will be best able to cope. They are those who own guns, who know how to hunt, who know how to can food, who know how to use a sewing machine, who have callouses on their hands, and most importantly....faith in God.
    When was the last time a yokel who could hunt walked to where deer were? Yeah. Ahahaha. You're a funny guy.
    Last edited by Hatuey; 12-13-08 at 10:39 PM.
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    Re: The Five Stages of Collapse

    Well, according to the latest predictions by end-of-the-world conspiracy nuts, mankind is marked for death come May of 2012 (according to the Mayan calendar).

    Sounds a bit like a repeat, sort of, of Y2K. I see the coming date as a great reason to have a party...whether anything apocalyptic happens or not.
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  10. #10
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    Re: The Five Stages of Collapse

    Quote Originally Posted by quatrotritikali View Post
    Well, according to the latest predictions by end-of-the-world conspiracy nuts, mankind is marked for death come May of 2012 (according to the Mayan calendar).

    Sounds a bit like a repeat, sort of, of Y2K. I see the coming date as a great reason to have a party...whether anything apocalyptic happens or not.
    Yeah....Y2K was pretty funny for everybody who knew all those 0s weren't going to do anything.
    I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality. - MLK

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