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    A Clear Picture of What to Expect

    The five stages of collapse
    by JHK

    Tuesday, May 28, 2013, 12:14 AM

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Executive Summary

  • Dmitry Orlov's recent work shows how sovereign collapse progresses along a well understood trajectory
  • Understanding the elements & ramifications of each stage is critical to positioning oneself safely in advance
  • The five stages: financial, commercial, political, social & cultural
  • The U.S. looks certain to follow this progression at least partway in our lifetimes, likely sooner than later. The decisions you make and actions you take now will have outsized repercussions for your future.

If you have not yet read Part I: America the Vulnerable, available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

Orlov’s Reinventing Collapse: The Soviet Experience and American Prospects was a tour de force of political writing with true literary panache. It announced the arrival on the scene of a major thinker in a period of history that didn’t care much about thinkers (unless they could invent cell-phone apps). After that first book, he published some books of assorted essays, and now he's out with another major statement titled The Five Stages of Collapse: Survivors' Toolkit (New Society Publishers).  

This new book assumes that global industrial civilization is on a collapse trajectory, and Orlov doesn’t waste any ink on arguments trying to prove that. Rather, he lays out in detail exactly how the process of civilizational collapse may actually happen. For many readers and observers, the prospect is often conceived in narratives of Hollywood-style apocalyptic melodrama with some kind of sudden chaos driving the story. Orlov avoids that tripe and instead presents a clear declension of proceedings that unfold naturally and comprehensibly in a certain order like the progressive organ failure that doctors encounter in the intensive care unit. 

Orlov calls his method “a taxonomy of collapse.” The point of the book, he writes, is “(n)ot whether collapse will occur, but rather what it looks like, what to expect, and how we should behave should we wish to survive.”

The Five Stages of Collapse

As he conceives it, the five stages would tend to play out in sequence based on the breaching of particular boundaries of consensual faith and trust that groups of human beings vest in the institutions and systems they depend on for daily life. These boundaries run from the least personal (e.g. trust in banks and governments) to the most personal (faith in your local community, neighbors, and kin)…

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