Monday, April 13, 2009

The Economy: Dmitry Orlov

"Dmitry Orlov, author of 'Reinventing Collapse; The Soviet Example and American Prospects' (New Society Publishers, 2008), watched the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s and predicted a similar crisis would later occur in America . Buckminster Fuller had also predicted the collapse of the Soviet Union and America in 1981— the twilight of the world's power structures— in his book, The Critical Path (St. Martin's Press, 1981). Both nations crippled by excessive debt brought on by excessive military spending (what Bucky called killingry ) were fading behemoths whose passing would make way for a better world.

Orlov writes: Having given a lot of thought to both the differences and the similarities between the two superpowers - the one that has collapsed already, and the one that is collapsing as I write this - I feel ready to attempt a bold conjecture, and define five stages of collapse, to serve as mental milestones as we gauge our own collapse-preparedness and see what can be done to improve it…

Stage 1: Financial collapse. Faith in "business as usual" is lost. The future is no longer assumed to resemble the past in any way that allows risk to be assessed and financial assets to be guaranteed. Financial institutions become insolvent; savings are wiped out, and access to capital is lost.Stage 1 in Orlov's scenario is well underway. The vast majority of investment and commercial banks are now insolvent, propped up and still in business only because of recently granted government guarantees designed to prevent workers from realizing their life savings are in imminent danger. In Orlov's Stage 1, savings and access to capital are lost. In modern economies, capital, i.e. credit-based paper, has been substituted for real money, gold and silver. Credit-based paper money is no more real money than an image or belief in god is GOD. Savings, in mature credit-based economies as the US and UK are now virtually non-existent.

Capital is but thinly disguised credit and credit is now rapidly disappearing, a condition that will be fatal for those addicted to its continuing presence, e.g. corporations, governments and workers, especially in the US , UK , Europe , etc. New loan activity has fallen 91 % year to year. The consequences will be unprecedented and extraordinary. In 2009, the economic train wreck now in motion will occur. It will not be a one time event. It will be a successive series of protracted crisis in conjunction with continuing breakdowns in access to credit, goods and services, an escalating and cascading series of previously unimaginable events.

In today's monetarily debased markets, credit has become essential for all commercial activity. This dream of bankers is the nightmare of producers and savers. Credit becomes compounding debt which becomes bankers' profits also resulting in increasing defaults and bankruptcies. Modern economics is not rocket science. It's an abomination on the economic body of mankind.

Stage 2: Commercial collapse. Faith that "the market shall provide" is lost. Money is devalued and/or becomes scarce, commodities are hoarded, import and retail chains break down, and widespread shortages of survival necessities become the norm. Stage 2 in Orlov's scenario will follow in the wake of Stage 1. Stage 2 is closer today than it was yesterday. The end game predicted by some will now become the reality for all. The predicted events have no basis in recent memory for those who will be affected. The three hundred year old world founded on credit-based paper money is ending. The world's central banks which substituted paper for gold are finding themselves unable to solve the problems their fiat money has created. The consequences are far greater than people can imagine—a limitation that will not prevent them from happening."

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