Dmitry Orlov on the Best Practices for Societal Collapse

Brand and Orlov
Stewart Brand and Dmitry Orlov

Last year, I read Dmitry Orlov’s book, “Reinventing Collapse: The Soviet Example and American Prospects,” which I also passed on to my wife to read. It was an interesting read in which Orlov drew parallels between the collapse he saw while visiting friends and family during the 1990’s in the former Soviet Union and the potential for collapse here in the United States. This book was written before the current financial crisis but Orlov predicted (and predicts still) that we are in the initial stages of the same sort of collapse that Russia passed through, eventually surviving it.

Last night, Orlov spoke to a full house at the Long Now Foundation on the same overall theme as his book. While audio and video are not yet available (but will be), the full text of his talk is available if you wish to read it. It is a chilling prospect to fully reflect upon, doomer and apocalypse fetish types aside, but it is something that people really should take the time to think about. As the current financial crisis (which hadn’t clearly begun when he wrote his book) shows, we are in for some both weird and extremely tough times. I really don’t expect our government to have the flexibility or the willingness to do the things that would need to be done to stave off some sort of serious depression, if not collapse. It really is going to be on all of us to do our best to weather whatever comes and try to build a better and, possibly, wiser society from it.