11 March 2009

Interview with Orlov ~ Reinventing Collapse

For those of us who have already gone through all of the emotional stages of reconciling ourselves to the prospect of social and economic upheaval, it might be helpful to have a more precise terminology that goes beyond such emotionally charged phrases. Defining a taxonomy of collapses might prove to be more than just an intellectual exercise: based on our abilities and circumstances, some of us may be able to specifically plan for a certain stage of collapse as a temporary, or even permanent, stopping point. Even if society at the current stage of socioeconomic complexity will no longer be possible, and even if, as Tainter points in his "Collapse of Complex Societies," there are circumstances in which collapse happens to be the correct adaptive response, it need not automatically cause a population crash, with the survivors disbanding into solitary, feral humans dispersed in the wilderness and subsisting miserably. Collapse can be conceived of as an orderly, organized retreat rather than a rout.

Dmitry Orlov says that the US should be looking to its old enemy - the Soviet Union for lessons on how to deal with the global financial crisis. He says the coming upheaval presents a plethora of opportunities for reinvention - if it's handled right.

This interview was recorded last night (US) and aired some hours later in Australia. Audio is available for download here. The host, Philip Adams, was well primed for the occasion and asked thoughtful questions. A good, short introduction to the subject. Philips did suggest opening one's veins at the end but he also suggested opening a bottle of wine as an alternative.


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