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!Download Ebook Þ Reinventing Collapse: The Soviet Example and American Prospects º In the waning days of the American empire, we find ourselves mired in political crisis, with our foreign policy coming under sharp criticism and our economy in steep decline These trends mirror the experience of the Soviet Union in the early s Reinventing Collapse examines the circumstances of the demise of the Soviet superpower and offers clear insights into how we might prepare for coming eventsRather than focusing on doom and gloom, Reinventing Collapse suggests that there is room for optimism if we focus our efforts on personal and cultural transformation With characteristic dry humor, Dmitry Orlov identifies three progressive stages of response to the looming crisis Mitigation alleviating the impact of the coming upheaval Adaptation adjusting to the reality of changed conditions Opportunity flourishing after the collapse He argues that by examining maladaptive parts of our common cultural baggage, we can survive, thrive, and discover meaningful and fulfilling lives, in spite of steadily deteriorating circumstancesThis challenging yet inspiring work is a must read for anyone concerned about energy, geopolitics, international relations, and life in a post Peak Oil worldDmitry Orlov was born in Leningrad and immigrated to the United States at the age of twelve He was an eyewitness to the Soviet collapse over several extended visits to his Russian homeland between the late eighties and mid nineties He is an engineer and a leading Peak Oil theorist whose writing is featured on such sites as lifeaftertheoilcrash and powerswitch Orlov is a kind of Dave Barry of collapse pundits His snapshots of informal economies that grew in Russia during and after sovietism are useful to think about he makes fairly coherent arguments on how a collapse of our economies might not play out as in Russia However, his speculations of a post collapse America tend toward the extreme, and suggest an overnight transformation into our worst dystopian nightmares without providing any logic for assuming this.The advice in the book is also vague Orlov is a kind of Dave Barry of collapse pundits His snapshots of informal economies that grew in Russia during and after sovietism are useful to think about he makes fairly coherent arguments on how a collapse of our economies might not play out as in Russia However, his speculations of a post collapse America tend toward the extreme, and suggest an overnight transformation into our worst dystopian nightmares without providing any logic for assuming this.The advice in the book is also vague and platitudinous reduce your reliance on money, stockpile useful tools, connect with people, reduce attachment to luxuries, learn how to do stuff He does make the point that in the future you may have to learn to think on your feet, be adaptive and flexible, and possess better people skills than you do now.It s not a long read, and the sharp wit does offer levity to a grave topic It s certainly not essential reading on the topic It s easy to see his work beingeffectively transmitted as a columns or essays Dmitry Orlov has a distinctive voice I have heard it before it is an European voice, a voice that has seen big ideas and the empires founded upon them crumble into dust He reminds me of my fathers generation that left Europe after the war He reminds me especially of a Hungarian man I met at work It is world weary, cynical yet profound in its own way A perfect example is the 107 year old man that we encounter in Catch 22 ,OLD MAN IN WHOREHOUSE But I live like a sane one I was a fascist w Dmitry Orlov has a distinctive voice I have heard it before it is an European voice, a voice that has seen big ideas and the empires founded upon them crumble into dust He reminds me of my fathers generation that left Europe after the war He reminds me especially of a Hungarian man I met at work It is world weary, cynical yet profound in its own way A perfect example is the 107 year old man that we encounter in Catch 22 ,OLD MAN IN WHOREHOUSE But I live like a sane one I was a fascist when Mussolini was on top Now that he has been deposed, I am anti fascist When the Germans were here, I was fanatically pro German Now I m fanatically pro American You ll find noloyal partisan in all of Italy than myself CAPT NATELY You re a shameful opportunist What you don t understand is that it s better to die on your feet than to live on your knees OLD MAN IN WHOREHOUSE You have it backwards It s better to live on your feet than to die on your knees I know CAPT NATELY How do you know OLD MAN IN WHOREHOUSE Because I am 107 years old How old are you If you do not want to hear home truths explained anecdotally do not read this book It is a book of observation not facts and charts This is a man that observed the fall of the Soviet Union from the perspective of a Soviet citizen with an American home He is quite convinced that America is in the process of collapsing He makes useful comparisons with the USSR but they are not flattering He thinks because of the turbo charged capitalism ie neoliberalism prevalent in America people will starve rather quickly In USSR at least there was a lot of fat in industry and a willingness to turn a blind eye by managers when people came to work to steal stuff to swap with others His main advice is do not rely on the state institutions when things go belly up Keep your head down and shut up.and survive Oh yes and make useful friends because money won t save you One of the most influential books I ve ever read, VERY highly recommended to everyone I know and care about It describes what will likely unfold as the great empire of the US falls on its face, similar to how the USSR did in the late 80s, but with much less preparation in our case Shocking, disturbing, hilarious and actually heartening, in some ways I m looking forward to the low energy version of the USA.For an idea of the gist of this book, you can read a transcript of the author s presentat One of the most influential books I ve ever read, VERY highly recommended to everyone I know and care about It describes what will likely unfold as the great empire of the US falls on its face, similar to how the USSR did in the late 80s, but with much less preparation in our case Shocking, disturbing, hilarious and actually heartening, in some ways I m looking forward to the low energy version of the USA.For an idea of the gist of this book, you can read a transcript of the author s presentation at the recent Plan C Conference which I was lucky to attend Please do and prepare yourself and your family Dmitry Orlov grew up in the Soviet Union USSR , before it collapsed and was reborn as the Russian Federation In the mid 70s he moved to the US On extended visits to his Leningrad home, he directly observed the unpleasant process of a powerful empire collapsing On later visits he observed how the Russians had adjusted to living in a post empire society It s very clear to him that America is also a rotting powerful empire socially, politically, economically We spend far too much on the mi Dmitry Orlov grew up in the Soviet Union USSR , before it collapsed and was reborn as the Russian Federation In the mid 70s he moved to the US On extended visits to his Leningrad home, he directly observed the unpleasant process of a powerful empire collapsing On later visits he observed how the Russians had adjusted to living in a post empire society It s very clear to him that America is also a rotting powerful empire socially, politically, economically We spend far too much on the military, our debt levels defy the imagination, Peak Cheap Energy is behind us, and big storm clouds are moving in America is heading toward collapse, and there s nothing we can do to prevent it, but there s a lot we can do to prepare for it.In his book Reinventing Collapse, Orlov provided suggestions and warnings for Americans, based on his ringside experience at the Soviet collapse Orlov is not a dark, creepy prophet of doom, but a witty comrade who is amused by the absurdity of our indifference to the huge and obvious dangers we face All civilizations collapse it s nothing to be embarrassed about Civilizations can take decades or centuries to decompose, but economies can disintegrate suddenly, with a high human cost.In its final months, the USSR was limping and wheezing Then the price of oil fell sharply, slashing their income from oil exports The system could no longer afford to function crash Families began struggling, and the government did little to help them Factories shut down, traffic disappeared, and the air became clean and fresh There were long lines at the few open gas stations, where sales were limited to ten liters 2.5 gallons , paid for with a bottle of vodka money was worthless Middle class folks discovered rewarding new careers in dumpster diving The birth rate fell, and the death rate surged Many drank themselves into the next realm.Despite this, many homes remained heated, all lights stayed on, nobody starved to death, and the trains ran on time It turned out that an excellent place to experience a collapse was in a communist land, where the state owned everything Nobody received an eviction notice, because there were no private homes The Soviets brilliantly decided not to create a car based transportation system, because that would have been a foolish waste of precious resources Gasoline shortages were not a serious problem for a society that was largely car free Importantly, their economy did not depend on imported energy.Housing projects were always located conveniently close to the excellent mass transit system They wisely did not create a nightmare of endless sprawling suburbs Instead, Soviets lived in unglamorous, energy efficient, solidly built, high rise apartment complexes, many of which provided garden plots for the residents.The Soviet collapse lasted about ten years, and then the nation got back on its feet While Russian oil production had passed its peak, they still had significant reserves of oil and natural gas to sell, and this was their salvation It gave them another decade or two to live in the industrial lane They were able to bounce back temporarily The US will not be so bouncy The American collapse will be harsher, because we live in a market economy, and free markets have zero tolerance for providing free goods and services to the destitute The bank that owns your home will foreclose if you can t pay The tax collector will evict you if taxes aren t paid The power, phone, and water will be shut off The repo man will snatch your cars The food production system will stumble Say bye bye to law enforcement and for profit health care If the railroad system isn t modernized before the crash, the USA is likely to break apart Near the end of the Soviet empire, there was widespread contempt for the system Driven by resentment, many highly educated people deliberately shifted to menial work, and sought their pleasure in nature, books, and friends When the crash came, they didn t lose their identity, have an anxiety attack, and submerge into despair The ability to stop and smell the roses to let it all go, to refuse to harbor regrets or nurture grievances, to confine one s serious attention only to that which is immediately necessary and not to worry too much about the rest is perhaps the one most critical to post collapse survival Air, water, and food are necessary for survival Many of us have been brainwashed into believing that life is impossible without flush toilets, automobiles, cell phones, electricity, computers, and on and on These are wants, not needs Orlov recommends that we begin the process of mental preparation now, so that we can becomeflexible, and better able to roll with the punches when the storm arrives Simplify your life now, and learn how to be comfortable living without non essential luxuries and frivolous status trinkets Imagine how you will live when money becomes worthless Learn practical skills The USSR provided its citizens with a place to live, and most people stayed put They knew the people around them, which encouraged mutual support Americans are highly mobile, moving every five years We often feel like space aliens in a world of strangers It s smart to get to know your neighbors, so you can help each other When hard times come, be generous with others Keep possessions to a bare minimum, so you aren t attractive to thugs and thieves Outwardly, blend in with the herd dress like them, act like them, and think like them Create a wardrobe that s in harmony with the trendy down and out look During collapse, being an oddball of any kind will be risky Angry mobs have a big appetite for finding folks to blame and punish, and American mobs are very well armed Before the revolution of 1918, the Russian people were well fed by a system of small, low tech peasant farms The communist collectivization of agriculture was a disaster On the bright side, this inspired big interest in kitchen gardens At the time of the Soviet collapse, these gardens comprised ten percent of cropland, and they generated 90 percent of domestic food production The average garden was just one tenth of a hectare a quarter acre The US also blundered into industrial agriculture In the coming years, rising energy costs will eventually derail our highly mechanized food production system Reading this book is a sobering and mind expanding experience It gives us a vitally important subject to contemplate Readers are served an all you can eat buffet of good old fashioned common sense the best antidote there is for magical thinking, denial, and the intense never ending hallucinations of consumer fantasyland It s a valuable book for people who have krugozor a broad mental horizon that allows outside the box thinking I read the first edition, published before the crash of 2008 Following the crash, Orlov published a new and improved second edition