Saturday, February 14, 2009


Dmitry Orlov gave a talk yesterday in San Francisco where he paints a picture of the future for the US that is dire. It makes a lot of sense, unfortunately.

His prediction is not of a recession, or even a depression, it is of a collapse, hence the F is for 'Former' in FUSA. When such happenings occur, as they did in the USSR, essentials come to the front, and the catchwords we've used in our politics fade into black. He says it well:
So, what is there for them to do? Forget “growth,” forget “jobs,” forget “financial stability.” What should their realistic new objectives be? Well, here they are: food, shelter, transportation, and security. Their task is to find a way to provide all of these necessities on an emergency basis, in absence of a functioning economy, with commerce at a standstill, with little or no access to imports, and to make them available to a population that is largely penniless. If successful, society will remain largely intact, and will be able to begin a slow and painful process of cultural transition, and eventually develop a new economy, a gradually de-industrializing economy, at a much lower level of resource expenditure, characterized by a quite a lot of austerity and even poverty, but in conditions that are safe, decent, and dignified. If unsuccessful, society will be gradually destroyed in a series of convulsions that will leave a defunct nation composed of many wretched little fiefdoms. Given its largely depleted resource base, a dysfunctional, collapsing infrastructure, and its history of unresolved social conflicts, the territory of the Former United States will undergo a process of steady degeneration punctuated by natural and man-made cataclysms.
There's a lot of good stuff in the talk about how the Russians got through their collapse without degenerating into anarchy, or worse. Unfortunately, the US lacks most of the assets that the Russians have, though undoubtedly it has others. The problem is that there is a huge class divide here, with the privileged class ready, willing and able to use the most drastic and violent means to preserve a dead system. A gigantic repressive apperatus has been contructed that will try to maintain the status quo at all cost. Even if half the houses are vacant, allowing the homeless to use them will never be allowed, it's immoral to do so.
(h/t Global Guerrillas)


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