Friday, January 20, 2006

Dmitry Orlov: Surviving the Soviet Collapse

This Russian author, an observer during the collapse of the Soviet Union, has written a series of three essays describing the differences between the two major superpowers and in particular, how a collapse might unfold here in the Empire. In comparing the two, he writes: "the Soviet Union and the United States are each either the winner or the first runner-up in the following categories: the space race, the arms race, the jails race, the hated evil empire race, the squandering of natural resources race, and the bankruptcy race." Part One is here.

Reading Orlov is a distinctly refreshing experience, largely because of his unhindered view of the US. He begins Part Two with an apt description of American racism, astutely noting that "glazed over with a layer of political correctness, at least in polite society, [racism] comes out again when observing whom most such Anglo-Saxon people actually choose to marry, or date." If part of your chosen task is to "take the red pill" and begin to strip off the layers of fantasy and ideological muffling which surrounds the citizens of the Empire, Orlov will help. Part Two is here.

Part Three concludes with several suggestions for surviving a collapse, some of which may be counterintuitive and surprising. A particular concern is how utterly dependent citizens are for the barest necessities: "suppose you live in a big city, in an apartment or a condo. You depend on municipal services for survival. A week without electricity, or heat, or water, or gas, or garbage removal spells extreme discomfort. Any two of these is a calamity. Any three is a disaster. Food comes from the supermarket, with help from the cash machine or credit card slot at the checkout station. Clean clothes come from the laundromat, which requires electricity, water, and natural gas. Once all the businesses have shut down and your apartment is cold, dark, and smells like garbage (because it isn't being collected) and like excrement (because the toilet doesn't flush), perhaps it is time to go camping and explore the great outdoors." Orlov sniffs around a most interesting idea: that societies and regions that are the most cheap energy dependent today will be the hardest hit in a collapse. Ask yourself which countries those might be. Try Orlov; he's a blast of fresh air...

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