Interview on Radio Voice America
Welcome back to Turning Hard Times into Good Times. I’m your host Jay Taylor. I’m really pleased to have with me once again Dmitry Orlov.
Dmitry was born and grew up in Leningrad, but has lived in the United States. He moved here in the mid-seventies. He has since gone back to Russia, where he is living now.
But Dmitry was an eyewitness to the Soviet collapse over several extended visits to his Russian homeland between the eighties and mid-nineties. He is an engineer who has contributed to fields as diverse as high-energy Physics and Internet Security, as well as a leading Peak Oil theorist. He is the author of Reinventing Collapse: The Soviet Example and American Prospects (2008) and The Five Stages of Collapse: Survivors’ Toolkit (2013).
Welcome, Dmitry, and thank you so much for joining us again.
A: Great to be on your program again, Jay.
Q: It’s really good to hear your voice. I know we had you on [the program] back in 2014. It’s been a long time—way too long, as far as I’m concerned. In that discussion we talked about the five stages of collapse that you observed in the fall of the USSR. Could you review them really quickly, and compare them to what you are seeing, what you have witnessed and observed in the United States as you lived here, and of course in your post now in Russia.
A: Yes. The five stages of collapse as I defined them were financial, commercial, political, social and cultural. I observed that the first three, in Russia. The finance collapsed because the Soviet Union basically ran out of money. Commercial collapse because industry, Soviet industry, fell apart because it was distributed among fifteen Soviet socialist republics, and when the Soviet Union fell apart all of the supply chains broke down.
Political collapse: obviously there wasn’t really a functional government at all for a period of time in the nineties. Lots of American consultants running around and privatizing things in a fashion that created a lot of incredibly corrupt, super-rich oligarchs who then fled with their money, a lot of them.
Surprisingly, social and cultural collapse didn’t really get very far until Russia started regaining its health. Some of the other Soviet socialist republics are in the throes of full-on social and cultural collapse, but Russia avoided this fate.
Now, what’s happening in the United States right now is that the financial realm has become this incredible Potemkin village. The Americans are running this completely unprecedented experiment where they basically are blowing the hugest financial bubbles that they possibly could in just about everything: obviously in finance itself, but also in medicine, in real estate, the stock market—and all of that is directly connected to the printing press. The printing press in the United States now monetizes half of the entire federal spending, and the United States every year now borrows twice the amount of money that the federal government earns in a year. So basically this thing looks like it’s gone off the rails and is heading straight into a ravine, but for now this is just being papered over with this fake printed money.
The big surprise as far as the sequence of collapse stages in the United States is concerned is that social and cultural collapse have already happened. That is, the United States, from a social and cultural perspective, are pretty much one hundred percent defunct. There’s no getting back to normal. And so once the financial realm goes and it becomes impossible to continue importing everything that the United States needs—which is just about everything at this point, as the US doesn’t really make anything any more—the other stages of collapse will swiftly follow. And as far as political collapse—well, we have to wait until the November elections to see how that’s going to turn out.
Q: Yes. There’s a lot of concern about that here, for sure, about what things might look like either way, whoever wins the election…that social collapse, and lack of seeing things together as a nation is dividing us; it’s really like nothing I’ve ever seen in my life.
Well, Dmitry, since Nixon removed gold from the dollar back in 1971, and by extension the international monetary system, that allowed the United States then to start printing money, as you pointed out. The US is unprecedented…modern monetary theory [MMT] now [I suppose] is in play. That along with the US military…Kissinger went off and signed a deal with Saudi Arabia basically guaranteeing that all the world’s oil at that time would be paid for in dollars, and when you think about all the countries around the world that have to import oil, that meant that virtually every country in the world needed to find dollars. That put a bid under the dollar and allowed the dollar to be a “strong” currency even though it had nothing backing it. But as you point out, t
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