Archive for August, 2020

“Our technologies could destroy humanity”


Interview for Sputnik Germany

Part 1:

Part 2:


Audio in German:

Sputnik: Mr Orlov, today we want to discuss your newest book, “Shrinking the Technosphere” (the German version), but before we start this I would like to deepen one of your answers in our first Sputnik Germany interview.

You said that the US central bank (the Federal Reserve) created new collateral in the banking ‘repo’ crisis of 2019. I would add two more questions: How would you define ‘collateral’? And you said that the US dollar would lose massive value in the next few months; what makes you so sure of it?

A: Well, to answer the first question, perhaps I misspoke in the first interview. The Fed did not so much create collateral as redeem US Treasuries and other debt instruments as collateral because banks stopped being so willing to honor them as collateral for overnight loans between banks, and so the Fed had to step in and provide these loans, provide the liquidity for these loans to the order of hundreds of billions of dollars of new money that was put into circulation—between banks, not into the broader economy.

So what that shows is that faith in US debt (and the US dollar consists of US debt at this point), that that faith was not as rock solid as some people would like to believe.

Now as far as the second question, why the dollar is likely to lose value: if you look at the value of a currency, you have to stack it up against productive capacity that underlies it. Money is a way of paying for goods and services. There has been a drastic increase in the supply of money. Right now the US government is on track to finance half of its budget using new debt—that is, basically the budget deficit is 50 percent of the federal budget, it’s on track to be that. But we don’t see any increase in the productive capacity of the United States to go with this vast increase in the money supply. In fact, the US economy has shrunk by a large amount, and it’s absolutely uncertain whether it will recover any time soon.

So basically we have more money, we have less stuff to buy with this money, and the result of that is that the money is going to be worth less. The logic of that is extremely simple.

Q: OK. Thank you very much. Now Mr. Orlov, your newest book is entitled “Shrinking the Technosphere.” So my questions: what is the technosphere, and why should it or will it shrink? What is your approach in this? And for our audience, you yourself can be seen as a technologist, as a computer scientist. What is your take on this whole topic?

A: Well, the term ‘technosphere’ was more or less coined by Vladimir Vernadsky, and he was a big proponent of the idea of the biosphere, of the living Earth as an organism, predating Lovelock’s Gaia and all of that. And then he coined the term ‘noosphere’, which was basically the knowledge, human knowledge, of the biosphere and of the physical realm that allowed us to extend it in various ways. He was a real scientific optimist: he thought that scientific knowledge would allow us to make drastic enhancements to the way life on earth is lived by humans and everyone.

And he also said that there is something called the technosphere, and that term has been in circulation ever since, to some extent. But then it turned out that the noosphere is really fractured and uncertain. It’s uncertain whether science is being used for good or evil: the prevalence of nuclear weapons, for instance, would show that the noosphere is not such a benevolent thing.

And instead what we see is the emergence of a technosphere, which is a single, integrated, global technological realm that is beyond anyone’s capacity to control it. That is, it is an entity that can be said to have a mind of its own, or at least an agenda of its own, and it has its own methods. It uses humans as opposed to humans using it. We do not have very much agency within it. All we can do is try to constrain it within our own lives.

Right now it is in a transition period. It tries to expand continually, but that expands the use of natural resources and that can’t go on forever because the amount of natural resources available is limited. Right now the technosphere is fracturing into zones of high technological development, and zones of low technological development, with buffer zones between these emergent parts of the technosphere, and this is a very interesting, very important process to recognize because it doesn’t really come down to political strategy or economic strategy or financial strategy. Because, as I said, the technosphere has an agenda of its own, and to understand what it is doing it is important to start thinking like a machine, which is not something that we normally do. And we also have to abandon every notion of morality, because the technosphere has absolutely no sense of morality at all. It can keep us happy, if that serves its interests, or it can kill us if that serves its interests. Or something in between.

Q: So if I understand you right, the current corona crisis where people are working at home offices and doing online conferences—this is not really the technology you are talking about? You give a broader view on this whole subject?

A: Well, the corona crisis has been very useful to the technosphere in terms of allowing it to grab more control, to seize control. Because one of the compulsions that the technosphere has is to forever increase its control of us humans. It doesn’t like living things; it prefers robots and machines. It prefers humans to act like machines to the greatest extent possible, so it tries to define technical functions for everyone and have everyone follow certain protocols. And of course it tries to keep tabs on everyone so as soon as someone steps out of line an alarm bell goes off somewhere, and some technician deals with the problem. Basically, to the technosphere humans are a technical problem to solve, and the way to solve it is by replacing human functions with automated functions—artificial intelligence, robots, etc.—to the greatest extent possible, and the remaining humans (because it’s impossible to completely eliminate the humans, especially human technicians) to control them as strictly as possible. And the coronavirus, by forcing people to keep distance between each other, and by relying on electronic communications techniques as opposed to face-to-face contact, has allowed the technosphere to be maximally disruptive of human relationships, and to cause us to behave like robots to the greatest extent possible, which is a win for it.

So it seized on this opportunity presented by a not particularly lethal virus to extend its sphere of control.

Q: Mr. Orlov, you wrote in your new book: “Most people are happy with high-tech replacement products, microwave ovens, smartphones, etc. Devices have reduced elegant handwriting to an outdated insignificance.”

So, if I may ask naively, what is the problem then?

A: Well, these things work for a while: a microwave oven works for, let’s say, three or five years, and then it stops working. And then what do you do? Run out and buy another one? What if you don’t have money? What if they don’t make any more microwave ovens because the resources for making microwave ovens have run out? What if your country can no longer import microwave ovens because it’s broke and the exporting countries won’t sell microwave ovens on credit? Well, then you’re stuck because you forgot how to cook, and then you starve. That’s the problem with technology: it’s like climbing a ladder while cutting out and burning the rungs of the ladder underneath you. You can only climb up; you cannot climb down. All you can do is fall down and die. 

Q: Interesting answer; thank you very much. Another interesting part, you write: “Firstly, the question of exactly what is so efficient in these new facilities is hardly examined…” I will cut it a bit: basically what you wrote reminded me of Rudy Dutschke. He was a famous sociologist, political activist and student leader in the sixties in Western Germany. He was later shot to death. In one old German TV interview he said, basically, that considering technological progress, mankind should not have to work. In the future, technical solutions will help mankind with tasks and bring them more free time. My question is, why didn’t this work out? Why was this promise not fulfilled?

A: Because the purpose of technology is not to benefit humans, it’s to benefit the technosphere. The technosphere uses humans as moving parts, paying them as little as possible for their services in order to expand its control as quickly and dramatically as possible. So there is really no hope that we will ever gain freedom by expanding our use of technology. We can gain some measure of freedom by limiting our technological choices to essentials that we can produce and maintain ourselves to the greatest extent possible. But we cannot just go with the program and expect it to work out for us.

Q: Interesting. Why is technology destroying jobs?

A: Because humans are messy. The good thing about humans is that, left to their own devices, they make more humans; they breed. Machines don’t breed; you actually have to make them. On the other hand, you have to continue to house and feed humans even after they stop working. That’s called retirement. You can’t scrap them like you can machines. So there are pluses and minuses. Also, humans expect a work week: they can’t work 24/7. On the other hand, it’s easier to grow food than to produce electricity, to some extent, and humans can grow their own food to some extent. So there are pluses and minuses, but on the balance of it the technosphere just doesn’t like humans. It wants to replace us with robots and artificial intelligence to the greatest extent possible.

Q: OK. Mr. Orlov, you also write in your new book that technology can be a fetish and enslave people…making them dependent on, let’s say, smartphones. Is this the term fetish coined by Karl Marx, or what do you mean exactly?

A: No. I mean fetish as in a sexual fetish. People who like footwear, or stockings, or leather, things like that. It’s on that level. You see people, say in public transportation, clinging to their smartphones as if they were some kind of a talisman to ward off evil. You see people fondling their smartphones, and that’s basically a symptom of a psychological disorder, of dependence, an attachment disorder of some sort. If people have their smartphones removed from them, or even if they have to survive without wifi access for a couple of days, they’re likely to become catatonic and sit there and rock back and forth. They’ll need psychiatric treatment after that. So people are coming to realize this and internet access is being treated as a human right. Now, from the point of view of the technosphere, that’s perfect. That makes humans perfectly controllable. All you have to do to get them to stay in line is to threaten to cut off their internet access. That’s all you have to do. You don’t have to imprison them; you don’t have to whip them; you don’t have to punish them at all. All you have to do is threaten to cut off their internet access.

Q: That leads me to my next question, because in German we have a word for what you describe in your newest book. It’s called technologie gläubigkeit or wissenschaft gläubigkeit. This means the tendency to neglect the negative social consequences, or to declare technology sacrosanct. Is this what you mean?

A: Well, yes. It’s an article of faith that nobody is allowed to question, that technology is good; that modern technology is better than outdated technology; that more technology is better than less technology; and that every single problem you can imagine has some kind of technological solution. Or, if it doesn’t, then the task is to invent that technological solution. There is never any discussion of the fact that there is already too much technology, too much dependence on it, that we should fall back on strategies that have worked for hundreds, maybe thousands, maybe millions of years before, because these technologies definitely haven’t hurt us in the long run, whereas the technologies we are using today—because they are modern, they are untested—they could be fatal. They could be very damaging and they could be extremely harmful.

Q: You also speak indirectly about espionage and the military sector because you also mention the use of technology for surveillance purposes, for example. Are you, like Julian Assange or Edward Snowden, a critic of these surveillance technologies, or what is your view on this?

A: Well, there are plusses and minuses. If you live in a small village where everybody knows each other and everybody is willing to come to each other’s defense, you have a low crime rate and children play in the street and everybody is happy that way. If you mix people up, if you force them to live alongside strangers in large cities, there’s a lot of alienation, and because of that there is a lot of crime—just because of that, because people don’t deal with each other face to face very well in those circumstances. The solution is to introduce surveillance. It’s not as good a solution as having everybody live within tight-knit communities, but it is a solution. So, security cameras all over the place do save lives, do prevent crime from being committed in bad circumstances. It’s basically a bad solution to a bad problem.

But in terms of population control, surveillance technologies, in terms of suppressing free speech, for instance, in terms of dealing with dissidents and neutralizing them, these technologies are horrid. So, for instance, all of the censorship that is being perpetrated through social media, where just about anything that somebody doesn’t like can be labeled as hate speech, or as bullying, or as abusive, just because somebody doesn’t like it, just because it’s against somebody’s ideology. Now that is very dangerous and very bad.

Q: Next question: Who benefits from technology?

A: Well, first of all, the main beneficiary of technology is the technosphere itself. It perpetuates its own agenda of infinite growth and ever greater control. Humans benefit from technology to the extent that the technosphere finds them useful, so certainly engineers and technicians are privileged. Various other professionals are definitely privileged. Even manual laborers in jobs that cannot be automated or replaced with robots can be privileged, but once they are replaced with robots they’re pretty much completely useless, so the technosphere can deal with them by providing them with alcohol and drugs, for instance, to make sure that they die sooner, and that is the typical pattern.

Q: So Mr. Orlov, the next question, which you told me upfront would be given a broad answer. What role does technology play in economy and trade?

A: It plays a huge role, because at this point there is very little economic activity that happens without, for instance, the use of products derived from crude oil. Nothing moves without products derived from crude oil. There is really nothing green about that and never will be. And so that is a technological process. The technosphere really took off after the discovery of fossil fuels: first coal, then oil, natural gas, nuclear; and it will only continue to the extent that it can while these resources can be exploited. And now that they’re running low in most parts of the world the technosphere has to isolate itself and sequester itself in various promising zones that still have enough resources to keep it alive for the time being. So if you look at world trade, it will be between the parts of the world that the technosphere can still inhabit. And various parts of the world that the technosphere finds useless to its purposes will find themselves cut off.

Q: Mr. Orlov, what do you think of nuclear technology in general?

A: Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a nuclear technology in general. There is, for instance, nuclear technology in the United States. It has around a hundred nuclear power plants. A lot of them are still in use. A lot of them are very old. The United States at this point lacks the technology to safely dismantle them, or the funds to do so. As far as replacing these nuclear power plants, they no longer have the technical expertise to do so, and its latest attempt to build a nuclear reactor has been a fiasco.

On the other hand, if you look at Rosatom, the Russian nuclear corporation, it is well on the way to developing the closed nuclear cycle which will solve the problem of high-level nuclear waste. It will make it possible to burn up high-level nuclear waste in nuclear reactors until it becomes low-level nuclear waste that can be safely disposed of. And on the other hand it will make it possible to use uranium 238 as fuel. Right now it’s being called depleted uranium, and it’s considered useless for most purposes, except maybe making American armaments, because it’s a very heavy, dense, hard metal. But if it is used as fuel, then there are literally thousands of years of fuel available.

So the Russians are building out this technology, and not just in Russia but in other countries around the world—in Iran, in Egypt; many other countries. China is following pretty much the same program with a certain lag, but it can license Russian technology. And everybody else is pretty much left behind. So if you look at nuclear technology, it’s pretty much Russia, China, and maybe France still has some capacity left. Certainly not the United States. Germany has decided to get rid of all nuclear technology and embrace renewables, so now its electricity is six times more expensive than in Russia, making it pretty much a futile pursuit to manufacture anything in Germany. Other countries perhaps have the option—like Egypt—of buying into the Russian nuclear program, or, if they’re hostile toward Russia, as for instance Great Britain has been, they won’t have a chance to do so.

Q: Next question, Mr. Orlov. You wrote about the correlation between technology and medicine. To quote: Ukraine, to give just one example, is now Europe’s breeding ground for polio and measles, which were eradicated while Ukraine remained in the USSR. Could you elaborate on this?

A: Yes. The Soviet Union made a major investment in public health, and eradicated many infectious diseases. The legacy of that is still being used. For instance right now, the plague, bubonic plague, has come back in Mongolia and a neighboring region of the Russian Federation, in Tuva. And the vaccine that was developed by Soviet scientists is being used today to vaccinate the people and stop that epidemic. And there are similar examples. For instance, the Sputnik V vaccine for coronavirus was developed in the Soviet Union in the 80s, and has now been repurposed, basically given a different payload, to develop immunity against the coronavirus.

There are many similar examples of technology being put to good use to save human lives, and a lot of that was done as public policy as opposed to commercial, privatized medicine, which is what, for example, the Americans are trying to do, rather unsuccessfully.

Q: So the next question, and I would ask one more thing regarding the Sputnik V vaccine. You said it was already developed in the Soviet Union. It is now reshaped, or a new version, but the formula is older, from Soviet times?

A: Yes, the technique. It uses the adenovirus, a modified version of it that lacks the ability to replicate within the human body. The vaccine uses the adenovirus as the delivery vehicle. That’s most of what this technology is, and it’s proven, effective, etc.. And the payload is a little bit of the coronavirus genome that’s been chopped out specifically. It’s the bit that generates the spike protein that allows the virus to penetrate human cells. And so the adenovirus is introduced into the body, penetrates cells and releases its payload. The cells then produce the protein—at this point it doesn’t have very much to do with the coronavirus itself except for this one spike protein. That protein then reacts with the immune system and antibodies are generated, which is the end result of the whole process. And since the adenovirus lacks the ability to replicate, it just gets flushed out of the system. So the only new ingredient is the spike protein. It’s not toxic on its own; it doesn’t do anything on its own, really, except trigger an immune response, because the body doesn’t recognize it, which is what it has to do. So that’s the reason that the Russians were able to do this so quickly, and so successfully. Because it’s basically reuse of an existing technique with a slight modification.

Q: Okay. Thank you very much. Coming back to your book, you wrote that the ability to dislodge and then exploit people is a key ingredient in the technosphere’s success. Why is this?

A: Well, because if you have cohesive human societies that take care of their own members, they’re rather difficult to exploit. They tend to be picky in terms of what jobs they choose; they expect to be well compensated for their effort, and they have lots of fallbacks. For instance, if times are hard they can go back to the land, live with their relatives, with their clan, grow their own food and feel perfectly safe. And then if conditions improve they might go to the cities, look for work, etc. But if you run people off the land, if you disrupt communities, if you introduce completely incompatible strangers speaking a strange language into the community, make people afraid of each other, introduce a level of violence—for instance, take people from war zones and introduce them into communities that are used to very peaceful circumstances, you will make people so desperate that they will do just about anything just to survive because they have no fallback, they have no community support, they’re surrounded by strangers—they’re desperate, and they’ll accept anything. So that’s the technosphere’s trick for exploiting people. Disrupt and destroy communities by introducing strangers, and make that community behave not as a community but as alienated, desperate individuals.

Q: Mr. Orlov, what is your conclusion and what will the technological future look like regarding [unintelligible], AI [unintelligible], digitalizing [unintelligible] consciousness. What’s your take on this?

A: Well, I think a lot of it is just fluff. A lot of this fancy new technology is nothing. I think AI and neural net programming is useful for quite a few specific jobs. As far as digital versions of your elderly relatives, etc., that’s a little bit science fiction at this point. I think overall a lot of people will be forced to shrink their use of technology to some extent. Just the economic circumstances will force them to do so. On the other hand it’s a very potent technique: the internet and smartphones are very potent technique to keep people calm and to control them. So to that extent I think it will still be used, but I don’t expect there to be anything particularly outlandish in daily use by regular people. I think a lot of that will remain as propaganda, as technological, techno-utopian propaganda. There’s always plenty of that: there’s always talk of space missions to Mars and flying cars and what have you. That’s just a constant barrage, but that’s just propaganda.

Q: Thank you very much. My last question: do you have a positive scenario, or do you see a negative future scenario? Will it be like the movie The Terminator, or will technology give mankind a positive vibe, let’s say like in Startrek?

A: Well, I think it’s none of the above. We have no choice but to use technology. Cooking food, for instance, is a form of technology. Making clothes out of whatever—out of tree bark—is still technology. So we’ll always have some kind of technology. The question is, what kind of technology will it be? How much of it will be under our control, or not? I think we’ll live in a world that is increasingly agrarian. The amount of energy needed to maintain huge cities is just not going to be available in most places in the world. So the world will be increasingly local and agrarian, but I think there’ll still be some very useful gadgets. So, for instance, the fact that it’s possible to keep an entire library of material on a single SD card is a major breakthrough compared to paper carriers for books. Some of that may persist for quite a while. The problem is that such uses for technology require technology clusters that can produce and maintain it, and the question is in which parts of the world can these technology clusters be maintained. If you look, these will be places that have the entire technological chain, starting with mining and fossil fuel production, on to nuclear fuel production, on to everything needed to maintain an electric grid, everything needed to educate and train people who will produce semiconductors and write software, and all of the support for that. There are just a few places in the world where it’s possible to imagine that something like that will persist for many decades, perhaps centuries.

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Alexander Rogers: Russia as an Exporter of Stability



[Guest post, my translation.]

Again the world is divided into two poles—not capitalist and communist, but based on a new principle.

It’s been a long time since the USA has turned into a pole of instability that generates wars, invasions and government overthrows.

Meanwhile, Russia is gradually becoming a pole of stability that prevents these wars and government overthrows.

Here we have unity and conflict between opposites. If there occurs an action (destructive in the case of Americans/Democrats) there arises a reaction. Dialectics, Sir!

Consequently, since instability has been the main category of export for the USA for a long time now, Russia has started to export stability.

Continue reading… [on SubscribeStar] [on Patreon]


Why Collapse of the US is inevitable while Russia will be spared


Here is my transcript of the interview on the technosphere which I gave to Sputnik Germany.

 Sputnik: Mr. Orlov, thank you very much for this interview. Today we  want to discuss your newest book, Die Lehre vom Kollaps: Die fünf Stufen  des Zusammenbruchs und wie wir sie überleben
[Rough translation: The Lesson of Collapse: The Five Stages of Collapse and How to Survive Them] 

 It’s [newly] published in Germany by Westend Verlag and Fifty-Fifty  Verlag. But before we start, maybe some of our audience, regular  listeners and readers may not know you yet. Could you give us a brief  and short view of your life as a writer, and also, what’s your approach,  what’s your philosophy?


A: I was born in Leningrad, which is now  St Petersburg. My family moved to the United States when I was a  teenager. I earned my degrees in the United States in computer science  and in linguistics. I worked in a lot of high tech companies; I worked  in high-energy physics for a long time. 

Around 2005 or 2006 I started writing on the subject of the upcoming collapse of the United States. 

 I spent quite a lot of time in Russia during the late 1980s and 1990s  and watched first hand the collapse of the USSR. This allowed me to gain  a perspective of what the collapse of the United States would look like  when it comes, and so far everything that I have predicted has been  coming true more or less on schedule, although it is very difficult to  make predictions about timing.

And so I’ve been devoting a lot of  effort to writing essays and books, and giving interviews and talks on  this subject that’s becoming…now that the collapse of the United States  is unfolding before our eyes, there’s quite a lot more interest in my  work than before. 

Q: So later we will have a look into your book  and will also discuss the USA in detail, but before we discuss this,  the corona [virus] crisis comes [to] mind. This virus which holds  mankind hostage – I think your book was written before this crisis, but  you also mention the threat of a virus in general. I would like to know  from you, is the coronavirus a collapse-maker, a crisis-maker according  to your model, your research and your books? 

A:  Well, not at  all, actually. The collapse started before the coronavirus. The collapse  really started unfolding as early as 2008, and all of the methods used  to recover from the financial collapse of 2008 have been failures.  They  have been efforts to delay, rather than recover, or prevent, or  anything like that. None of the problems have been solved, and so in  2019 the crisis started to unfold for real, and first became visible in  the dramatic decreases in industrial production in many countries,  including Germany. And then it really showed up very seriously during  the banking crisis, in August 2019, the so-called ‘repo’ crisis, when  suddenly banks started to refuse US sovereign debt as collateral for  overnight loans, and the Federal Reserve had to basically step in and  print money to cover this massive shortage. 

And so by the time  the coronavirus surfaced, the economy in the United States and many  other countries was already in full-blown collapse. But the coronavirus  turned out to be very useful in order for politicians to mask what was  really going on, and blame it on this virus, which was really a rather  innocuous virus compared to some of the previous ones. This is not the  Spanish ‘flu; this is not the smallpox pandemic. This is not the black  plague.  This is just something basically a little bit more serious than  the common cold. And yet the economic destruction that it is being  blamed for is absolutely extraordinary.

Q: So if I understand you  right, Mr. Orlov, it’s not the coronavirus, it’s more the economic and  financial markets which make the five doom stages happen?  

A:  Well, it can proceed in various ways. I started out thinking along the  lines of the Soviet collapse, where basically the first symptoms of the  collapse were financial. The Soviet Union was basically bankrupt,  financially bankrupt, and that caused a cascaded failure from finance to  economics to politics and partial social collapse. So that is the  cascade that I thought would be most likely, but in the case of the  United States, as I have eventually realized based on how the collapse  of the United States is proceeding, in the US it starts with social and  cultural collapse, and then proceeds to political collapse, and the last  thing to remain standing is the finance system, which is a kind of  Potemkin village, if you will. It’s basically pure fluff; it’s based on  nothing but the Federal Reserve printing press at this point. 

Q: Do you live in the USA, or both in Russia and the USA?

A: Part of my collapse preparedness was to move from the USA to Russia about 3 years ago, so now I live in Russia.

 Q: [I would like to ask you] …are you a prepper? Are you prepared for a  big crisis like shortage of food or lack of money supply? Do you see  such things in Russia? I don’t think you see it but…Do you understand my  question?

A: Yes, I do.  I saw the collapse coming and so I moved to Russia where such collapse is extremely unlikely. 

Q: I would like to know whether you recommend gold or silver, and whether people should invest in these metals? 

 A: It may make sense to some people. Or not.  It really depends on  one’s situation. Overall, I think that precious metals will play a great  part in international trade once faith in fiat currencies is  sufficiently disrupted. I think that international transactions will  have to be backed by gold in some way, but I don’t know what that really  means for retail investors. It may be a way of preserving one’s money  when hyperinflation arrives in the countries where there will be  hyperinflation, of which the United States is the prime candidate. 

 Q: So now let’s look into your German book, Die Lehre vom Kollaps: Die  fünf Stufen des Zusammenbruchs und wie wir sie überleben. 

You  created a model which consists of five stages. So first the financial  stage is coming, afterwards the commercial collapse, then a political  collapse, [with] social and cultural collapse in the end. Could you  elaborate on your model for our audience? 

A: Yes.  Each of these  stages of collapse can be seen as collapses in faith in the status quo.  So financial collapse comes when various types of debt instruments turn  out to be worthless; promises made and deals struck have to be declared  void because of various force majeure circumstances. 

In terms  of commercial collapse, mostly that has to do with supply chain  disruption, where various types of manufacturing processes cannot go on  because [of] various parts not being delivered on time. We’re seeing  some of that now because of factories and production being shut down  because of the coronavirus. 

Various other types of trade  disruption are likely to exacerbate this process. And then political  collapse comes from the inability of governments to spend money because  once commercial collapse occurs they do not have access to the tax  revenues that they need to keep government going. 

Social  collapse occurs when various types of social organizations that try to  keep people alive, basically, once the government can no longer provide.  Once those start to fail people start to only look out for themselves  and their families. And then cultural collapse comes when the families  themselves crumble. Adults disperse. Each person tries to keep [him or  herself] alive, and at that point people stop resembling people. 

 Q: So Mr. Orlov, you mentioned [already] your home country, Russia, and  the collapse of the Soviet Union. In your book you write something very  interesting: in Russia the process [was] stopped on Stage III and then  it was reversed. 

Nowadays, with President Vladimir Putin, trade  is booming and in 2020 Russia is practically free of debt. Could you  comment [on this]?

A: Yes. The Soviet empire was never really an  empire [in the strict sense] because empires generally profit from their  colonial possessions. Instead, Russia had dependents that it lavished  with all sorts of things: built factories for them; created medical  systems; built schools, hospitals, universities, railroads,  hydroelectric dams, you name it. At [Russia’s] own expense. This really  deprived Russia of a great deal and made the Russian people much poorer  than they otherwise would be. And strangely enough, after the Soviet  Union collapsed all of these dependents were basically told to go their  separate ways. If you look at how they’re doing now, socially,  economically, politically, they’re doing much worse than they did under  the Soviet Union. Some very dramatically so. So, for instance, Soviet  Georgia was very rich, and now Georgia is one of the poorest countries  that you can mention.  The Ukraine was once the industrial powerhouse of  the Soviet Union. Now it has zero industry left and its population is  collapsing. 

On the other hand, the Russian people have generally  benefitted from being deprived of these dependents, not having to take  care of them any more. And so as a result of that the Russians  themselves have become much richer and more prosperous. 

Q: Let’s  look at your second home country, the USA.  You write in your book that  in certain parts of the US, [for example] Flint, Michigan, or  Baltimore, Maryland, you can already see the collapse happening.  Can  you explain this?

A: Yes. These cities are largely destroyed.  They have huge homeless populations; they have massive problems with  drug addiction. The level of illiteracy is around fifty percent –  [that’s] adults who cannot read or write, or use arithmetic. The living  conditions are absolutely deplorable. There’s a huge problem with  heating during the winter, so a lot of people, especially older people,  freeze to death, and the services that are available are worse than what  you’d have in many very poor countries around the world. 

So the  United States has pockets of [relative] prosperity still, but then it  has very large pockets of absolute poverty, destitution and  hopelessness. 

Q: You mentioned already the [Fed? Unintelligible  at 13:12] in your book. These credit loans which have….the interest rate  is very low…like zero? You have these, then you have a financial market  under pressure, and you have also the social riots in the US. Do you  see a collapse in the US coming in the next few months? Maybe because  [also] of the political, social and financial situation?

A: I  don’t think that the United States is on a path to any sort of recovery  at this point. I think that all of the problems that are surfacing in  the United States now will get worse over time. I think the overall  trajectory of the United States is towards political dissolution because  politically the country is so hostile, so hostile in terms of just the  human environment. People no longer know how to get along with each  other. And so I think that political dissolution of the United States  is, over time, becoming more and more an inevitability. 

I don’t  know exactly when this will happen. The most fragile part of it is the  entire financial realm which is currently being completely kept up in  the air by the printing press, by printing trillions of dollars. The  level of printing is on the level of the Weimar Republic in Germany, [or  of] Zimbabwe. 

Recently it has turned out that commercial leases  are in arrears because companies cannot pay for the space that they’ve  leased, and the solution seems to be to print half a trillion dollars.  And that seems to be the answer to every question in the United States  right now. Unemployment? Print a trillion dollars.  Homelessness? Print a  trillion dollars, etcetera. And before too long it turns out that the  amount of money that’s awash in the economy is much greater than the  amount of product that can be purchased by it. And in parallel with  that, countries are abandoning the US dollar in international trade. So,  for instance, China, over the past year, has reduced its dependence on  the US dollar for international trade by twenty percent. So now the US  dollar is just over fifty percent of China’s global trade, but it is  trending down really fast. At this rate, it’ll be down to zero in two  years. 

What does that mean? China is the industrial powerhouse  of the entire planet at this point. When it stops using the US dollar  that is a very major shift. 

Q: Yes, it’s true.  Mr. Orlov, you  made a prediction in your book which [already] came true. You write that  it seems that 2020 will be the year when very low oil prices will take  down the whole oil fracking industry in the US together also with  Canadian companies. Now the oil price was very low – down to zero,  almost – and the fracking industry cannot survive. What role does the  oil fracking industry play in this scheme? 

A: Well, basically  the entire fracking industry in the US was more a financial swindle than  about energy. The quality of the oil is such that it is mostly useful  for making gasoline which is not in short supply. But it’s not very  useful for making diesel or aviation fuel, or bunker fuel for ships. 

 So that, plus the fact that the United States decided to become very  hostile with Venezuela, which provided it with heavy oil, has forced it  to buy increasing amounts of oil from Russia, even while the fracking  boom was running. Now it [the US] is becoming completely  import-dependent once again for oil, and this is a process that will run  out in a couple of years at most because of the decline rates on  fracked wells being what they are: seventy percent per year or so. 

 So basically the short reprieve from peak oil that the United States  gained for itself by spending a lot of retirement funds and other  sources of savings that it had was basically a delaying tactic and it  didn’t work. 

Q: In your book you also mention the…shall I  say…political system of anarchy; you write about anarchy, and you also  quote the famous anarchy activist Kropotkin. What can you say about  this? 

A: Well, I’m not a big fan of political anarchists. I’m  more in line with what Peter Kropotkin wrote and researched, which is  that hierarchically organized systems have their limitations – which is  what we observe throughout nature in living systems and in societies  composed of animals, which is basically anarchic as opposed to  hierarchical forms of organization. 

I’ve seen for myself in  various start-up companies where I’ve worked, and in various other  organizations, that hierarchy is not very efficient at all. It may be  good for militaries, but it’s not even that good for industrial  production necessarily.  A top-down organization is not really the best  approach. And so anarchy – as interpreted as lack of hierarchical  organization – is actually very useful especially in uncertain,  disrupted circumstances where nobody really knows what’s going on.  Figuring out what works is an emergent property of the entire  interacting population, not the work of one centralized authority. 

 Q: So Mr. Orolv, last question.  Could you give us a short look into  the future?  You write in your book about life after the nation-state,  and you write about the end of the welfare state. So what do you see in  the future for mankind. How will the world’s political order look [be  ordered]? 

A: The easiest way to that is to say that  there is no one world already, and there won’t be. There is no  humankind: there will be several distinct civilizations. 

The  world will fall apart into various groups; some of them will remain  functioning in terms of industrial capacity, standard of living,  etcetera, while others will descend into what was once called third  world status, and will fall through. So basically, what you see in the  United States, as far as Baltimore or Flint, is the future of more and  more of the country. Whereas certain countries, especially those with  plentiful natural resources and good, modern, up to date productive  capacity, they may have islands of prosperity that will remain. But  there will no longer be any talk of [lead the world? Unintelligible  phrase at 21:42], or how to manage global affairs or any of that.  

 Basically, the functioning states will co-operate to the extent that  they want to, using bilateral relations, and various international  organizations will probably see their budgets cut again and again and  again until they don’t really play very much of a role.

Europe’s Last Dictator in a Tight Spot


One of my hobbies is charting the progress, or the regress, of the color revolution syndicate. I have predicted some time ago that Western-instigated and Western-orchestrated regime change is going to become less and less effective over time, and to some extent this has turned out to be the case, although not entirely. On the one hand, color revolutions have become less of a threat to healthy political systems, evolving from something that could be turned on and off by remote control (from Washington) to something like opportunistic infection afflicting morbid regimes.

A good example of a color revolution as a fatal ailment is what happened in the Ukraine in 2014; it is now a partially dismantled failed state remote-controlled by the US State Dept. and the CIA. It would be bankrupt if it were not for periodic IMF interventions; when they stop, as they had in Lebanon, the currency will collapse along with what remains of the economy, the government would be forced to resign and the territory would lapse into chaos. For the time being, it is being kept alive to provide NATO with an additional training ground, to facilitate asset stripping and also to maintain it as a minor irritant against Russia.

A good example of an opportunistic infection is what is now happening in Beirut following the massive fireworks and ammonium nitrate explosion at the port which destroyed the port and devastated half the city. It was a one-two punch; first a government default, then the IMF’s refusal to help, and then the coup de grace: a massive explosion. To deal with this humanitarian disaster several nations sent in emergency teams. But instead of helping rescue people from the rubble and working assiduously to shore up damaged buildings and restore services, people swarmed into the streets to throw rocks at the police, demanding that the entire government resign—which it did. That’s great; now they don’t have a government either! Was that helpful? Yes, if you are one of the outside forces that wishes to make use of Lebanon to destabilize the region. No, if you are a Lebanese civilian trying to survive.

An example of an opportunistic infection that failed to take hold because the state organism was too healthy is the spectacularly failed color revolution in Venezuela. Where is Juan Guaidó (a.k.a. “Random Guy D’oh”) now? In spite of Washington’s assiduous efforts to apply every trick in the color revolution book, president Nicolás Maduro remains in power.

And now we have a somewhat similar example in Belarus, but there the outcome is likely to be different because president Alexander Lukashenko, dubbed Europe’s last dictator, did everything possible to blow himself up.

Continue reading… [on SubscribeStar] [on Patreon]

New book published in German: Interview on Sputnik Deutschland


Another decade, another continent, another language… another book. Collapse never sleeps.

Just in time for the Corona crisis, a new book has been published: Die Lehre vom Kollaps: Die fünf Stufen des Zusammenbruchs und wie wir sie überleben. The US-Russian author Dmitry Orlov wrote it with foresight. In the Sputnik interview, he explains why the current pandemic is not the trigger for the coming downfall of the United States. \”The causes are deeper and older,\” said Orlov.

His analyses are often correct. No wonder: Dmitry Orlov is familiar with state collapses and the Soviet collapse in particular. Orlov experienced the collapse of the USSR up close in the early 1990s. In the second part of the Sputnik interview, he explains how the collapse of his second home, the United States, will take place.

Listen to the interview in englisch here.

Warum Kollaps der USA „unausweichlich ist“ und Russland „verschont bleibt“: Dmitry Orlov Exklusiv

Quasi pünktlich zur Corona-Krise ist ein neues Buch erschienen: „Die Lehre vom Kollaps“. Der US-russische Autor Dmitry Orlov hat es vorausschauend verfasst. Im Sputnik-Interview erklärt er, warum für ihn die aktuelle Pandemie nicht der Auslöser für den kommenden Untergang der USA ist. „Die Ursachen liegen tiefer und sind älter“, so Orlov.

„So wird der Zusammenbruch der USA ablaufen“: US-russischer Autor exklusiv 

Im zweiten Teil des Sputnik-Interviews erklärt er, wie der Kollaps der USA ablaufen wird – und mehr über sein neues Buch.

Transcript of Interview on Continuum with Keith Woods


Welcome to the show today. I am delighted to be joined by Dmitry Orlov, who is a Russian-American writer. He has written several books on collapse and technology. Delighted to be joined by you Mr. Orlov. If you’d like to introduce your work to the audience for anyone unfamiliar, that’d be great.

A: Well, first of all it’s great to be on your show. Thank you for inviting me.

I’m no longer a neophyte because I’ve been doing it for a long time, but writing about collapse is not really my profession. I had a career before that, in computer engineering, and then high-energy physics, then e-commerce, and internet security, media conversion, things like that, and eventually I just gave up on all of this corporate stuff because I realized that it wasn’t really heading in any direction I liked. And I started writing on what I thought would happen to the United States based on what I observed happening to the Soviet Union and Russia in the late 80s and early 90s, because I thought that the US would pretty much collapse.

I started doing that about a dozen years ago and strangely enough I got a pretty good reception to start with.

Now there are basically two types of people whom I encounter: the ones who just basically scream and run away – I suppose they’re the majority – and then there’s also people who’ve been following me, or people who are realizing that I’ve been making valid points all along. And so I have quite a following at this point, and I write a couple of articles a month, mostly on current affairs and analysis, and that’s been going pretty well and keeping me busy, not so much writing, but doing the research for the writing. That’s a full-time job at this point. And so that’s where I am today.

Q: Obviously, the events of the last few months in the US, I think I’ve heard the idea of collapse, or the idea of a failed state, enter more and more into people’s consciousness, but when you look at the US now and especially the racial, ethnic tensions we’ve seen during the last few months – does this look to you like a society that’s in a fairly advanced stage of collapse now, or do you think that the US empire can still keep on traveling for a few years to come yet?

A: It’s very hard to predict what the timing of this would be. As far as race tensions in the US, this is nothing new. The worst race riot of all time happened about a hundred years ago; people are forgetting that. Entire sections of towns were completely burnt out, large numbers of people made homeless. That was a very large race riot. There were race riots after that in various places, in Chicago and Los Angeles and elsewhere. This is more or less a repetitive process. Right now lots of people are saying that ‘black lives matter.” It’s a slogan, and if you look at history – and this is not a judgment on my part; this is an observation – black lives seem to matter every 20 or 30 years.

The blacks in the United States are political pawns. They’re basically manipulated by the Democratic establishment, and they are periodically unleashed on the public. They’re kept at boiling point by a number of policies that destroy black families, that imprison black men, that basically deprive black kids of any meaningful education. All of this makes them useful as pawns. They’re basically going to start rebelling and looting and causing mayhem whenever somebody pulls the trigger within the Democratic establishment and that’s what’s happening this year. The pawns have been deployed in order to unseat Donald Trump because the Democrats are so desperate. They’re incredibly desperate: this is their final gasp. They have a candidate who is absolutely senile, who can’t string a sentence together. And so this is a sign of desperation. I don’t think it immediately translates into the United States collapsing; I think that has to do with much longer term trends that have been in the works for generations and that are at this point unstoppable – not that they’ve ever been stoppable; I’ve never claimed that they were. But at this point most thoughtful commentators and analysts would say that these processes will simply run their course.

Q: Would you say that the source of collapse is primarily financial?

A: Well, I wrote about this quite a bit. I wrote a book, The Five Stages of Collapse, where I teased collapse as a process into stages: financial, commercial, political, social and cultural, showing examples of societies, doing case studies of societies that pass through or were able to arrest collapse at each one of these stages.

The sequence makes sense, because the finance basically has to do with promises people make to each other. These promises have to be backed up by a realistic notion of what can be achieved in terms, for instance, of debt repayment. The function of finance is to finance productive activity, and [if] finance decides that there is [to be] no financing because debts would not be repaid, then that curtails commercial activity. Factories don’t get built; products don’t get shipped, etc., which causes the physical economy of goods and services to shrink, causing tax revenues to plummet, and that hamstrings government which can no longer spend the way they are accustomed to spending. And that leads to political paralysis and collapse, and once the political realm dissolves then social institutions come under stress and often fail because at that point the government can’t provide for the people, so it’s a question of charitable groups and things like religious organizations that are not up to the task usually.

And then the final bastion is the family. Often that fails as well because of stress. Families dissolve and culture crumbles. The final stage of cultural collapse is where people stop looking like people, stop resembling people: they become more like animals. And that’s the final stage of collapse, after which you don’t really have anything you could call humanity any more. You just basically have these semi-feral humans running around. I’ve even done one case study of a society that reached that point, where esteemed scholars, anthropologists – one anthropologist in particular – decided that such societies should be completely disbanded: the individuals have no business being together. They have to be broken apart, split apart, because at that point what culture remains is pathological.

Now the United States, it turns out, is following this collapse sequence backwards. This is a realization that I had quite recently: [the US] started with cultural collapse.

Basically, the process that has been unfolding in the United States since the late 50s and throughout the 60s has dismembered extended families, and then later on destroyed nuclear families as well, so that out of wedlock births are now quite dominant and the number of children, especially in black families, who grow up fatherless is staggeringly huge. That basically indicates that the culture has failed. There is no longer a real human culture; there’s just a commercial culture of consumerism. Consumers, who pay attention to prosumers and influencers and media. The only function they have is deciding what to consume until the money runs out, at which point they’re just basically cut loose – completely cut loose, cut adrift.

Society doesn’t really have any viable functions any more. In some places the church is still dominant and plays a large role, but that is really the only strong social function that exists.

[Regarding] government, we can see huge dysfunction in the political sphere. Basically, the entire country is splitting up into red and blue zones which are more or less at war with each other already, although it’s not a shooting war in a lot of places yet, but it could very well evolve into one.

Commerce has devolved to a point where the United States is not self-sufficient in most manufactured products, and most of what it produces is ephemera like software and media, and maybe some pharmaceuticals that are incredibly over-priced; and a lot of agricultural products. So it’s basically like a plantation economy as far as the world is concerned. It no longer has a viable industrial sector.

And then financially it’s basically a black hole, because what it does is it prints money. It lends it out mostly to insiders. There’s no expectation that these debts that are generated will ever be repaid, and eventually these debts are converted into weird zombie financial instruments that sit on the books of weird zombie companies that are forever kept out of bankruptcy by printing money again and lending it out. So there’s no pretense any more that finance has anything to do with actually estimating risk and deciding when to lend based on the projected ability to repay, because it’s not expected that anybody at any level will ever repay anything.

So it’s just the printing press running loose, and the entire economy of the United States now depends on that printing press. The moment it turns out that printing one more dollar doesn’t produce any value at all but actually produces negative value to the economy it’s pretty much over, the whole game is over.

When that will happen is very difficult to time but it’s going to be an event; it’s not going to be a process. One day people will wake up and realize that the Federal Reserve printing another hundred trillion dollars is not going to move the economy forward one inch, and it is at that point that the whole thing will be declared over.

So that’s what I’m seeing happening now.

Q: That’s interesting that you think the final stage has already happened because it would suggest…I mean, you’ve observed the collapse of the Soviet Union, but it seems like as bad as that was, at least there was still a family unit underneath. There was a homogenous society and so it didn’t take a lot to transition into a kind of coherent Russian state. But then if you look at the US, and the fact that there is cultural collapse, and all of these tensions among classes, among races…in a very multi-ethnic society.

I guess the question is then, if the US is faced with that kind of collapse, is there any reason to believe that the United States as an entity would even survive that in terms of its territorial integrity. In other words, would you be looking at balkanization and the collapse of the US as a country?

A: There’s no reason to believe that the United States will continue to exist once the states are no longer united. Given the politics of today, again, the separation into the red and blue zones which are hostile to each other on every level, it’s really hard to say that the United States are united. Again: they’re united by the Federal Reserve’s printing press. Once the US dollar fails there’s nothing to hold the states together, and there’s nothing to hold each individual state together. There’s no reason to continue having this system which basically redistributes printed money – printed basically out of nothing – and so there is no reason to think that this political entity will abide.

Now, on the ethnic level, there are still large areas – mostly rural at this point – where the older sort of stratum of Anglo-German society holds together, and so it may be that there are large swaths of land patrolled by heavily armed locals that are still relatively safe and relatively productive. The question is will they be able to actually survive without access to the coasts and to the ports, because the United States no longer produces the spare parts it needs to keep plant and equipment running. All of that stuff is imported now, mostly from China, and so there’s no reason to expect that the United States will be able to re-industrialize under these conditions because the [country lacks the] core competencies needed to re-industrialize. The engineers no longer exist; they all went to law and finance a long time ago, and other professions that basically have to do with people swindling each other, so there’s no reason to expect that sort of a rebirth.

As far as the cities [are concerned], it’s really unclear what function they serve. The coronavirus shutdowns have proven that cities at this point don’t serve any vital function at all. They could just be disbanded. They could be abandoned. So it’s really hard to see what new cohesive thing could emerge from this process.

Q: Another question that’s raised then in the wake of a potential collapse of the US is that the US is a global hegemon at present. The end of this order would be the end of the order that we have had since the end of the Second World War. So the question is, what springs up in that vacuum of power? Could you envision a kind of multipolar world, lacking one hegemon, or do you think that China or Russia – or China and Russia combined – will just immediately fill that vacuum?

A: I don’t think that Russia and China are particularly interested in that. The mode in which Russia operates is building regional organizations with its Eurasian partners. It’s not so much multilateralism as bilateralism. They’re basically one-to-one deals with various countries. They are also frameworks that take time to take hold. There’s a strong relationship with China – with Russia and China – but definitely I don’t think anybody wants to step in and do what the United States has been pretending to do, which is in effect bankrupting itself by ineffectual military spending.

The fact that the United States has troops stationed all over the place, and the fact that it outspends everyone in dollar terms is neither here nor there: it just doesn’t mean anything because [the US] is not really capable of it any more. Look what happened when the Iranians responded to the murder of one of their generals by the Americans by just blasting rockets at a couple of military bases in Iraq: nothing. There was no response. The Americans just took it.

That’s been the pattern that’s been established for a long time. The Americans get into harm’s way but then they don’t do anything. They haven’t had a military success pretty much forever. The entire military establishment in the US is basically a money sponge: it’s very expensive but it’s not very good. Their planes don’t fly very well and there are a lot of issues with just about every part of it. The objective is not to defend the nation, because nobody is attacking the nation. The objective is to basically absorb as much money as possible and distribute it amongst a small group of insiders.

So if you look at defense spending parity between, say, Russia and the United States, Russia gets ten times more for each dollar spent than the United States, so the Russian military has been growing stronger and Russia has been cutting its defense spending the entire time, while the United States has been growing weaker and keeps increasing its military spending. Those trends are unmistakable. So the idea that the US is still a global hegemon based on its military prowess is, I think, entirely misguided.

I think the only thing that keeps the United States in the news around the world at this point is the Federal Reserve printing press and the US dollar. That’s it. Nothing else.

Q: There was another story leaked yesterday of supposed Russian interference. This time it was in the UK, where the UK Foreign Secretary said that the UK has strong reason to believe that Russia leaked documents in the run-up to the last election to try and help the Labour Party.

I’m just curious because this Russiagate thing is just becoming a trope now. It’s used again and again for anything the establishment is opposed to in the West. Even Tulsi Gabbard was accused of being a Russian agent. It’s just thrown around now; it means nothing.

But I’m curious as to what the perception is [inside] Russia, of all the hostility that’s suddenly directed towards them from the West, and more generally, the perception by Russians of the liberal West and many of the problems that we’re facing in the West now.

A: Well, on the one hand the news coverage in Russia that one sees, the news coverage of the West, of what’s going on in the UK and in the United States, is very moderate. It’s factual; it’s moderate; it’s not tendentious as far as my appraisal of it [is concerned]. But it’s ghastly. I mean, Russians look at this and think Oh my god, why did we ever think that these people were worth paying attention to? Why did we ever think that they matter?

So there’s that understanding. As far as accusations randomly lobbed in the general direction of Russia for this and that, most people in Russia now know what “highly likely” means in English. People throw that around. The word “fake” has penetrated the Russian language, specifically in reference to most things coming from the West. “Fake news” is thrown around a lot. In general, it’s basically Comedy Hour material at this point. There’s nothing serious about it. It’s even difficult to continue the conversation about it because people are just so sick of it. “Oh yeah…fake news…highly likely…blah blah blah. Whatever.”

Below that, if you scratch the surface, the Russians are convinced that truth is on their side, and truth makes them invincible. They’re absolutely convinced of that. The other side is just lying, so it doesn’t matter what they say. We know they’re lying. They’re liars. And if they’re not lying, then the question becomes, when did they stop lying and why? What caused that conversion on the road to Damascus, that epiphany? Because we didn’t notice one.

Q: It’s quite interesting. You’ve also written a book called Shrinking The Technosphere which builds on a lot of ideas of Jacques Ellul, a similar analysis of technology as this sort of demiurge, or force of control. I think the way you describe it is as an ‘emergent force.’ I’m kind of curious: I’ve seen that Russia itself is investing a lot of resources into crypto-technology and into being prepared for the world’s moving towards crypto from fiat currency. I’m just curious as to how much you think that could change paradigms in terms of talking about a more multipolar world, a more decentralized system with more anonymity, [making it ] more difficult for central governments to trace financial transactions and control people by financial means? Just how significant do you think the innovations in crypto will be?

A: Crypto is just basically a bit of software. Bitcoin is phenomenally idiotic because it’s a horrendous waste of energy. It is just the stupidest invention in the world based on its energy requirements. The anonymity it grants is mostly used for all kinds of parasitism and swindles and theft of various kinds, extortion schemes. There’s nothing good about that, but you know, Blockchain is just an algorithm that has applications – some rather good applications – in some areas. In some areas such as finance, perhaps not.

Now as far as what is going on in Russia [is concerned] a lot of effort is being expended in streamlining electronic (internet) systems, to eliminate bureaucracy. Traditionally, Russia has been very paper-heavy, lots and lots of pieces of paper with stamps and signatures needed for every last thing. That’s being done away with in a great hurry. So now it’s possible to carry out any kind of project with just a cell phone or an iPad or something like that. Everything is shifting to a model where it’s all done via websites and internet servers, so that’s a very positive development.

Russia just changed its tax policy such that it has perhaps the most forgiving tax regime for IT companies anywhere in the world, and given the fact that it already has a lot of the best talent in IT, it is probably going to become a major hub for international software development. It’ll probably take a way some of the thunder from places like Ireland that have been in the lead in this category. And so that’s a positive development for Russia.

Q: Just as that ties into your work on collapse, the reliance that we have on technological systems for so much now, does that add to, or is it a compounding factor in how devastating the collapse of a modern society would be now? If these technological systems start to go down, would it have a compound effect in terms of collapse?

A: Well, yes. The elimination of fallback strategies is generally a very dangerous thing. So if you look at Russia, for instance, and Russia’s decision to go all-in on these modernized infrastructure systems, it starts with base technologies such as oil, gas, coal and nuclear, which generate the energy. The mining and manufacturing processes that provide for self-sufficiency in all of the critical pieces of infrastructure either directly or through trusted partners such as China. And it goes from there. They built up an electric grid which is self-sufficient and which uses parts manufactured within Russia. They’re starting to move in the direction of providing their own operating systems. There is one that is an Android replacement, Linux-based, that’s been in the works. They may share that project, or may be in the process of sharing that project with China because of all the madness surrounding Huawei sanctions. So that’s built from the ground up.

Now if you look at the United States, the United States produced a lot of relatively low-grade, useless light oil through fracking, but that has fallen apart. Nobody is financing all of that any more and it’s an overall waste of money and resources. There aren’t really any fallbacks.

And then there’s the environmentalist lobby which is eliminating pipelines and shutting down financing for energy projects unless they’re quote-unquote ‘green’ projects that use wind and solar. The problem with wind and solar is that the energy production from them is ragged; it’s unpredictable; it has nothing to do with demand. It has to do with the supply of wind and sunlight, and there’s no storage mechanism for storing large amounts of electricity that is anywhere near affordable, or that can be built up within the required timeframe.

So green technologies are an evolutionary dead end, at least at that scale, and so there is no plan. So for now everybody is running around depending on the internet being available all the time, but the foundation of it is the electric grid which hasn’t been upgraded in a long time in the United States. It depends on a large number of nuclear power plants, about 100 of which are quickly aging out. The competence, or the desire, to build new ones is missing, and the United States lacks the capacity, or the ability, to enrich uranium. They’ve delegated that to the Europeans, to the French, and to Russia. So twenty five percent of the light bulbs that are lit up in the United States historically has been thanks to MOX fuel, nuclear fuel, shipped to the United States from Russia. So if you look at all those dependencies and what that means, well, yes: that’s incredibly precarious. That sort of technology dependence is really bad for a nation that could at best, moving forward, be a heavily armed agrarian nation of little agrarian fiefdoms. So that’s not a positive, moving forward.

Q: You have written on peak oil. There was obviously…making the news recently was the Michael Moore documentary Planet of the Humans that put this issue into people’s consciousness, about the lack of effectiveness of green technologies that we’ve put all our faith in, and you’ve spoken to that. But the question is, what is the alternative, then, if we’re reaching peak oil and our energy requirements can’t be met, will it just be necessary for scaling-back of our consumption? You mentioned nuclear power. Is nuclear power a potential solution in the long run, or have we missed the boat on that one?

A: The only two countries that have the capacity to develop nuclear at anything like the speed needed are Russia and China.

The only country that actually has a shot at making nuclear energy generation safe in the long run is Russia because it’s pretty far along working on the closed nuclear cycle which will not produce high-level nuclear waste. It’ll burn all of it up. Everybody else has given up on that strategy. Russia is the only one, and so the others will at best have to wait their turn because the way Russia deals with nuclear installations around the world is [that] it basically builds the nuclear power plant. It trains locals to operate it. It signs contracts for all of the nuclear fuel for the entire life of the nuclear power plant or installation, which at this point could be over 100 years because they’ve learned to recycle nuclear installations.

Not every country in the world, certainly not anywhere in Europe or the United States, is willing to go along with that deal. Other countries such as Turkey, for instance, or Iran, or Egypt, are more than happy to enter into such a long-term agreement, but basically what that means is there is an umbilical cord from your country to Russia forever. So countries that cultivate an adversarial stance towards Russia do not stand a chance of getting such a contract signed, at least for the foreseeable future.

Q: That’s quite interesting. Would you say that in the coming century…when you think about some of these things, for example the collapse of the US as a hegemon and the kind of regionalism that Russia is cultivating, are we looking at the end of globalization as a process, the end of globalism in this century?

A: Well, I think so. I think what we’re seeing is the last dying echo of Western colonialism – because that’s really the model that’s been driving the whole thing. It’s the last dying gasp of the plantation economy, where you have old money hiring completely block-headed, interchangeable MBAs to manage projects around the world. It doesn’t matter where in the world they are. Paying military types to basically keep tabs on the local politicians to make sure that they don’t get too uppity and try to grab too much power for themselves. And that’s going to die. It’s been dying for a long time: it’s been dying back. This last surge of globalization which shipped factories from the West to other places in the world which had cheap energy and labor and low regulatory costs – that has run its course.

And so I think what the future holds is different countries going in different directions. Some developing and others un-developing, and some remaining pretty much as they are. I don’t expect any of this to very dramatically affect what’s happening in rural Cambodia or Laos, for instance, but other countries – Canada, for instance – might be very dramatically affected. It depends on where in the world they are, but there’s no globe: it only looks that way from outer space, from Earth orbit. But from the ground, on the ground, it doesn’t look like a globe; it looks like a patch of ground that is visible from you, encompassed by the horizon, which is about 15 nautical miles.

Q: For someone listening to this, [someone who] shares your pessimism in terms of where the West is going, I guess the question is what should someone that acknowledges that reality be doing in terms of is there a way to prepare best for what’s coming? Is there a best way to wean yourself off the elements of the system that will probably suffer the worst fate?

A: Well, people get by pretty well provided they can make themselves useful to each other. Not within some scheme where you go on some job board and look for an employer because those [jobs] will be pretty thin on the ground, I expect. But what you can do yourself for your immediate neighbors, for people you can make contact with. And a lot of those skills are pretty basic.

So in the more promising places in the world – promising from the point of view of surviving what’s coming – people cultivate these habits, so for instance there’s no conceivable reason that in Russia right now I should be growing potatoes…except I am, and so are most other people. It’s one of those things that you never want to stop being able to do, like there’s no question that you will abandon your ability to grow potatoes even though I could drive to the supermarket and buy all the potatoes I could ever want, and more, for not very much money. It’s not about that. Similarly, people know how to build log cabins; people know how to put stoves together out of brick. You know, there’s a myriad things like that that people know how to do. They will keep old cars running because they can be repaired using hand tools without hooking them up to a computer. There are lots and lots of adaptations like that that people around the world cultivate in order to prepare for hard times because they know from their experience that the hard times are coming. They know that. It’s not a question of whether, it’s a question of when. Nobody knows when, and so the time to practice is now.

Now there are people in the West who think that the gravy train they’ve been on will go on forever, and that’s not a fact, that’s not true. So there are a lot of humble occupations that people could start learning for, in order to make themselves useful when the time comes.

Q: What tends to happen…people’s beliefs in a time of collapse… I remember reading John Michael Greer predicting that the Baby Boomers in the US would start suicide cults at the late stage of collapse, and definitely some of the movements we’re seeing in the West today – BLM [for instance] – seem to resemble religious cults in their orientation. But I’m curious: for a society that’s really bought into the religion of progress and faith and optimism, what starts to happen when things turn sour? Will we see a new religiousness, and if so, what would that look like?

A: In some places there will be a new religiousness. Different populations are more or less susceptible to entering into cults. There was a lot of penetration of various cults into Russia around the time of the Soviet collapse in the 90s, and there was quite a period of time when the authorities had to rush around and put out these fires, and eliminate some of the nastier cults. Some of them are still around. It’s a nasty problem to have to deal with. And so, yes, hopelessness breeds that sort of wishful thinking, and people who show up and sell you some sort of a dream, no matter how preposterous, fill that vacuum of hope. So we can expect plenty of that.

Q: But Russia itself seems to have rebounded very well, and quite rapidly, after the collapse of the Soviet Union. It’s quite something to see the level of religiousness, and how quickly it turned from an atheist society to really one of the only traditional Christian societies in the world.

Do you think in terms, again, of just looking at the West’s trajectory, it is inevitable that there would be a return to traditional society? In other words, when you lose the power of the centralized state is it a necessary process that the more organic orders like religiosity and ethnic communities spring up in that vacuum?

A: I wouldn’t exaggerate that because there are things that only work in Russia. Russian things tend to only work in Russia; Chinese things tend to only work in China, and it’s useless to try to copy them because, for instance, the incredible wealth of Orthodox Christian tradition that Russia never lost is what provided for this revival. It’s not something that was done from scratch. It basically had to do with a living tradition that was never extinguished, coming into its own again, and therefore it happened more or less automatically, and perhaps even effortlessly. I wouldn’t say that anything like that couldn’t possibly happen in any of the Catholic countries or any of the Protestant countries; it’s just not something organic to those countries.

Q: Just another question related to what comes after all of this, what comes after progress. In terms of population growth we’re on a fairly steep curve. I think the projection for the end of the century is something like 11 billion. Without peak oil, and without the huge surplus of energy we’ve been given – I think 97 percent of agriculture production in the US is from fossil fuels – would we be expecting a sharp decrease in that? I mean, presumably if there was a collapse of industrial civilization there’s a huge surplus population of young people growing in Africa; I think Nigeria’s population is scheduled to outpace the US by the middle of this century. Would we potentially be looking at near-devastating effects in terms of famine, in terms of population die-offs?

A: Well, I think there’ll be die-offs. I think for long periods of time in various parts of the world the death rate will exceed the birth rate, which is all it takes. That’s another exponential that societies tend to follow: they expand exponentially, then they contract exponentially.

In terms of looking at over-population overall, how is Nigeria relevant to Russia or Canada? Is it [relevant] at all? Are Russia and Canada overpopulated? Are they in any danger of being overpopulated? As far as hunger [is concerned], is there enough land, if tilled by hand, to feed let’s say ten times the Russian population? Well, yes. Where I’m sitting right now, I have my field; the neighbors have their fields, and around that we have tall grass that nobody even cuts for hay because there isn’t really the need. It’s fallow. So if this village where I am were to expand by a factor of 10, we would still have a lot of fallow land. And that’s not even touching the forest, which is huge. So I don’t think Russia has an overpopulation problem. Russia has an under-population problem.

You could make the point that, well…Russia’s okay, but then what about Bangladesh? Bangladesh has the same population as the entire Russian Federation and it is smaller than one of the smaller Russian regions, of which there are something over seventy. So what about Bangladesh? The answer is, well, Bangladesh isn’t Russia, is it, so what’s the topic of conversation? It’s pointless to talk about global population, absolutely pointless, because again, you’re considering a fictional entity called ‘the globe’, whereas where you’re sitting can observe a tiny fraction of it and you will never meet any of those people. You will probably never travel outside of a few countries that are safe to visit. So it’s pointless to talk about.

Q: Right. And in terms of discourse I guess this is where the global element comes into it, especially in recent years. A lot of people talk about it and often tie this into collapse, a global sort of ecological collapse tied into global warming that will eventually reach a precipice and potentially destroy the Anthropocene. Obviously you don’t take those kinds of projections very seriously, do you?

A: Well, those projections are based on models that… the more I’ve looked into it, the more I became convinced that it’s all just – not to put too fine a point on it – bullshit. It’s political bullshit. There’s no real credible science behind any of it. It’s all just an effort to eke out some kind of economic advantage.

Q: That’s quite interesting. Is that a popular belief in Russia, or is it quite a dissident belief there as well?

A: Well, in Russia there isn’t any mechanism for making everybody believe some outlandish thing like there is in the West. People tend to listen to you and say yeah, you sound like you know what you’re talking about, but do you? And so they look at weather trends and listen to a lot of scientists. Russian scientists are also an unruly bunch. There isn’t this kind of Western groupthink where either you believe in global warming and cataclysmic climate change or you are shit out of luck and you’ve just been fired. There isn’t that.

So that for instance there are Russian scientists who are puzzled by the fact that the global ocean has been warming. That’s been going on for a few decades now, and it’s been warming all the way through, starting from the bottom, great depths. And it turns out that the entire planet is warming up a little bit. There’s something similar to a nuclear reactor; it is [poorly understood], but it’s hiding deep in the molten magma of the earth’s core and it seems to have kicked up a notch. Now it probably fluctuates, goes up and down, but that may explain a bit of the warming. And then on the other hand it counteracts a tendency which is that the sun is approaching a major solar minimum, which would actually make the earth cooler. And because the ocean is warming a lot more CO2 is percolating from the ocean waters – massively more than any industrial activity could produce; just orders of magnitude higher. So that may have something to do with the greenhouse effect kicking up a little bit, but as far as cataclysms [are concerned] I think the biggest risk we run is the onset of the next ice age because we’re overdue for one. And there are plenty of scientists who believe that.

Q: It’s quite interesting. We’re coming up to an hour, so I’ll just finish with this. A lot of work has been done in terms of forecasts and political trends. I’m not familiar with the work of Peter Turchin but he predicts that the 2020s would be the most polarized decade in a century. We’ve seen things this year that might have been unimaginable just a couple of years ago. So I’m curious: from your perspective, looking ahead for the next decade, what do you think we should expect to see in the next ten years? Will this be the start of the kind of collapse you’re talking about and what can we expect to see in terms of social and political ramifications?

A: Well, I predicted that the United States would collapse in the foreseeable future. Sometime around 1996 I realized that that was going to happen [but] I kept quiet about it for quite a while and then early this century I started thinking about publishing about it, and actually started doing it now, 20 years into the new century.

This notion that the United States is going to collapse is not the least bit outlandish. A lot of people are saying the same thing. So to that extent, I am vindicated and I expect that I will be fully vindicated while I’m still alive, definitely. In fact I’m planning to move on to doing something else with my time once the United States does collapse because the subject matter will be effectively tapped out as far as I’m concerned.

Q: All right. It’s been a fascinating interview. If you’d just like to finish off by promoting your work, where people can find your website, anything like that. Please go ahead.

A: Yes, it’s the main website, off which everything branches out is And I publish for subscribers only on SubscribeStar and Patreon. I publish a couple of articles every month. [I have a] pretty large readership so I welcome people to join me.

Q: All right. That’s excellent. I recommend your books as well. They’re fantastic reading and I definitely think those kinds of topics are becoming increasingly relevant, and people are looking for relevant materials.

It was great to have you on, and again I thank you for joining me. Thank you very much. (more…)

How to vote for Satan

[На български]
It has come to my attention that a significant number of people are getting worked up about the upcoming presidential election in the US. Although it may be hard to see what could possibly be so exciting about what promises to be an unusually fraudulent pseudo-contest between two oddly incoherent elderly buffoons, great masses of people are busy shouting past each other and generally carrying on as if this contest actually matters. This Bedlam-like political cacophony is creating a major mental health hazard for much of the population, which is already stressed by the unfolding economic collapse and the strenuous efforts to exploit the largely contrived coronavirus issue to cover up for it. And so, in an effort to spare you the mental anguish of obsessing over a completely meaningless contest, I want to offer you a different perspective that I hope will put your mind at ease and allow you to direct your efforts toward something more pleasant or useful, and ideally both.

I understand that I am treading on dangerous ground here, but I’ve trod it before. I lost a number of friends when Trump got elected and in place of the expected righteous indignation I indicated that Trump was most suitable as a figurehead for a country that is circling the drain. I had previously (entirely facetiously) endorsed Trump’s candidacy as a powerless ridiculous figurehead of a collapsing former superpower. During the intervening interval, Trump has performed exactly as I expected. Read my pseudo-endorsement and laugh!—or cry—but you’ll be forced to concede that I had nailed it. Although Trump didn’t take my advice and pick Kim Kardashian as his running mate, it’s not too late. Now that mentally unstable Kanye is out of the picture Trump can even divorce demure Melania and marry the more suitably flamboyant Kim (as I previously advised) making her the first ever vice president and first lady! Emperor Caligula once married his horse Incitatus and tried to appoint it to the Roman Senate, so there is a precedent for this sort of thing in the annals of decadent empires. This would make the White House reality show even more fun to watch—as Washington burns.

I am sure that some people will balk at such a light-hearted take on a choice that they see as a very serious question. Noam Chomsky, the MIT linguist and prolific lefty author and lecturer, should certainly be one of them. Back in 2016, quoth he: “If you have any moral understanding, you want to keep the greater evil out.” And he recently doubled down: “Failure to vote for [less evil] Biden in this election in a swing state amounts to voting for [more evil] Trump.” He even formulated a general ideology of Voting for the Lesser Evil (VLE) with many subtle tenets. But Chomsky doesn’t seem to be any sort of expert on the nature of evil: when asked about it in an interview, he rambled on about the variability of human nature and its political ramifications. It seems that to Chomsky “evil” is just an abstract noun denoting something very bad.

Chomsky is a Jew and Judaism lacks any developed notion of demonology. Perhaps it is this culturally conditioned blindspot in his world view that has allowed him to seriously entertain the notion of VLE. To him, choosing a lesser evil is simply a matter of choosing the proper political strategy (by which he means a proper tactic, since a proper strategy would lead to the elimination of evil rather than a half-hearted endorsement of it). Unlike Chomsky’s Judaism, both Christianity and Islam cultivate a nuanced awareness of the Satan/Shaitan—the Evil One, along with the minions he commands. It therefore makes more sense to me to regard the manifest evil of American democracy from a demonological perspective. Viewed through this lens, to choose a lesser evil is to choose evil. This makes the idea that it is possible to choose the right sort of evil through the exercise of Chomsky’s “moral understanding” look like a monstrous form of sophistry because no matter which of Satan’s minions you vote for, you are still consenting to be ruled by Satan.

What follows is a guide to American politics from the point of view of demonology and a prescription for avoiding demonic possession.
Continue reading… [on SubscribeStar] [on Patreon]

Interview on Continuum with Keith Woods