Written by Dmitry Orlov
In the face of political impotence, resource depletion, and catastrophic climate change, many of us have become reconciled to an uncertain future. However, popular perception of how this future might actually unfold varies wildly from "a severe and prolonged recession," to James Howard Kunstler's "long emergency," to the complete breakdown of civilization. In The Five Stages of Collapse, Dmitry Orlov posits a taxonomy of collapse, offering a surprisingly optimistic perspective on surviving the sweeping changes of the day with health and sanity intact.
Arguing that it is during periods of disruption and extreme uncertainty that broad cultural change becomes possible, Orlov steers the reader through the challenges of financial, commercial, and political collapse. He suggests that if the first three stages are met with the appropriate responses, further breakdown may be arrested before the extremes of social and cultural collapse are reached.
Drawing on a detailed examination of post-collapse societies, including the Somali people of Africa, the Pashtuns of Afghanistan, the Roma of Central and Eastern Europe, and even the Russian mafia, The Five Stages of Collapse describes successful adaptations in areas such as finance, self-governance, and social and cultural organization. These fascinating case studies provide a unique perspective on the characteristics that determine highly resilient communities. Shot through with Orlov's trademark dark humor, this is an invaluable toolkit for creating workable post-collapse solutions.
Dmitry Orlov was born in Leningrad, Russia, and immigrated to the United States. He is the author of Reinventing Collapse and maintains the phenomenally popular blog Club Orlov.
Review, Charlie Smith, Straight.com July 1, 2013
Five Stages of Collapse is a highly entertaining and enlightening examination of the entrails of what happens when societies are driven into the abyss by greedy, hard-hearted elites and corrupt and incompetent politicians.
And if Orlov turns out to be correct, this book just might end up saving your life by revealing steps you can take to prepare for the worst.
Review, Carolyn Baker, Speaking Truth to Power April 7,2013
I am a huge fan of Dmitry’s work, and I must concur with Richard Heinberg who says, “Even if I believed collapse were impossible I’d still read everything Dmitry Orlov writes: he’s that entertaining.” Incisive articulation of reality tempered with irrepressible humor and sarcasm define his writing style and not only compel us to stay with what some describe as a “dark Russian perspective,” but reveal a man who has found a way to live with what is so and navigate it with buoyant humanity.
The Five Stages of Collapse is nothing less than a definitive textbook for a hypothetical course entitled “The Collapse Of Industrial Civilization 101” or perhaps a bible of sorts for an imaginary “Institute of Collapse Studies.” While to my knowledge no such courses or organizations presently exist, this book would be an essential aspect of any such entity’s credibility.
Review, Michael C. Ruppert, April 18, 2013
The writing of this book was a rotten job, but it was absolutely necessary. If someone had to do it, I am very glad that it was Dmitry Orlov. Without his wit, alacrity and experience, the task of beating the horse of the Cartesian approach to understanding our dying world to death would have resulted in something unbearably maddening, dry and uninspiring. In this book he sneaks some LOLROF side-splitters in when you least expect them. One gathers from Orlov’s painstaking efforts, the futility of looking to outdated constructs and philosophies for understanding and relief from a crisis that demands complete innovation and inspiration.
Reading closely, one sees Orlov carefully planting seeds of reconciliation with our planet and each other throughout—as a fundamental baseline. He arrives at places outside the box of the current meme by using methodologies and analyses that are sacramental within the meme. That’s an achievement. Perhaps in his next book he will stand on that ground more forcefully and tell us what he sees. We don’t need to understand collapse right now as much as we need to survive it. And that is where Dmitry Orlov rises through the rubble and gives us magnificent gems like this: “At the rock bottom of human survival, there is no individual and there is no state; there is only the family, or, if there isn’t, there is something that’s not quite human—or there is nothing at all."
Profound insight combined with wry humor is such an incendiary weapon I am tempted to call The Five Stages of Collapse an "Orlov Cocktail." His delivery of hard truths laced with irony saturates us in seldom reported but extremely relevant facts about the world. He is one of the best writers on the scene today, working at the top of his game. There is more to enjoy in this book with every page you turn, and in very uncertain times, Orlov's advice is, at its core, kind-spirited and extraordinarily helpful.
---Albert Bates, author, The Biochar Solution
Even if I believed collapse were impossible I’d still read everything Dmitry Orlov writes: he’s that entertaining. Unfortunately, however, collapse of some sort or other, of some degree or another, is almost guaranteed. Orlov does us all a great service by teasing apart the kinds and degrees of collapse so that we can prepare for what is likely and “dig in our heels” to prevent what is unsurvivable.
---Richard Heinberg, Senior Fellow, Post Carbon Institute, Author, The End of Growth
From the Back Cover
A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Financial, Commercial,Political, Social and Cultural Collapse
…one of the best writers on the scene today, working at the top of his game. There is more to enjoy in this book with every page you turn, and in very uncertain times, Orlov’s advice is, at its core, kind-spirited and extraordinarily helpful. Albert Bates, author, The Biochar Solution
When thinking about political paralysis, looming resource shortages and a rapidly changing climate, many of us can do no better than imagine a future that is just less of the same. But it is during such periods of profound disruption that sweeping cultural change becomes inevitable. In The Five Stages of Collapse, Dmitry Orlov posits a taxonomy of collapse, suggesting that if the first three stages (financial, commercial and political) are met with the appropriate personal and social transformations, then the worst consequences of social and cultural collapse can be avoided.
Drawing on a detailed examination of both pre- and post-collapse societies, The Five Stages of Collapse provides a unique perspective on the typical characteristics of highly resilient communities. Both successful and unsuccessful adaptations are explored in the areas of finance, commerce, self-governance, social organization and culture. Case studies provide a wealth of specifics for each stage of collapse, focusing on the Icelanders, the Russian Mafia, the Pashtuns of Central Asia, the Roma of nowhere in particular and the Ik of East Africa.
The Five Stages of Collapse provides a wealth of practical information and a long list of to-do items for those who wish to survive each stage with their health, sanity, friendships, family relationships and sense of humor intact. Shot through with Orlov’s trademark dark humor, this is an invaluable toolkit for crafting workable post-collapse solutions at the scale of the family and the community.
…Orlov does us all a great service by teasing apart the kinds and degrees of collapse so that we can prepare for what is likely and “dig in our heels” to prevent what is unsurvivable. Richard Heinberg, Senior Fellow, Post Carbon Institute, author, The End of Growth
Dmitry Orlov was born in Leningrad and immigrated to the United States in the 1970’s. He is the author of Reinventing Collapse, Hold Your Applause! and Absolutely Positive, and publishes weekly at the phenomenally popular blog ClubOrlov.com.
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