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Reinventing Collapse: The Soviet Example and American Prospects [Paperback]

by Dmitry Orlov
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)


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Book Description

June 1, 2008 0865716064 978-0865716063

The title of this book is Reinventing Collapse, and I have to say that's exactly what this book manages to do. It's a short book, so you could reqad it in just a few hours, but it is packed with information and "make you think" moments. Orlov's unique perpsective on American life engages the reader and opens your eyes to what life in America is like to an outsider.
Without a doubt the most useful aspect of this book are the details of what the situation was like in Russia after their political collapse. This book is a tutorial on how the reader might modify thier life in the future if (or when) America collapses.
Reviewed by Matt Mayer - Groovy Green

In the waning days of the American empire, we find ourselves mired in political crisis, with our foreign policy coming under sharp criticism and our economy in steep decline. These trends mirror the experience of the Soviet Union in the early 1980s. Reinventing Collapse examines the circumstances of the demise of the Soviet superpower and offers clear insights into how we might prepare for coming events.

Rather than focusing on doom and gloom, Reinventing Collapse suggests that there is room for optimism if we focus our efforts on personal and cultural transformation. With characteristic dry humor, Dmitry Orlov identifies three progressive stages of response to the looming crisis:

  • Mitigation—alleviating the impact of the coming upheaval
  • Adaptation—adjusting to the reality of changed conditions
  • Opportunity—flourishing after the collapse

He argues that by examining maladaptive parts of our common cultural baggage, we can survive, thrive, and discover more meaningful and fulfilling lives, in spite of steadily deteriorating circumstances.

This challenging yet inspiring work is a must-read for anyone concerned about energy, geopolitics, international relations, and life in a post-Peak Oil world.

Dmitry Orlov was born in Leningrad and immigrated to the United States at the age of twelve. He was an eyewitness to the Soviet collapse over several extended visits to his Russian homeland between the late eighties and mid-nineties. He is an engineer and a leading Peak Oil theorist whose writing is featured on such sites as www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net and www.powerswitch.org.uk.



Editorial Reviews

Review


.Reinventing Collapse< examines the circumstances of the demise of the Soviet superpower and offers clear insights into how we might prepare for coming events. This challenging yet inspiring work is a must-read for anyone concerned about energy, geopolitics, international relations, and life in a post-Peak Oil world.-The A Word
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Dmitry Orlov was born in Leningrad and immigrated to the United States at the age of 12. He was an eyewitness to the Soviet collapse over several extended visits to his Russian homeland between the late eighties and mid-nineties. He is an engineer with a BS in Computer Engineering and an MA in Applied Linguistics.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: New Society Publishers (June 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865716064
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865716063
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #800,046 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
(91)
3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
214 of 225 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
As an MIT engineer (BSME MIT, 1978) and Author of When Technology Fails, I have read over a hundred books over the past two years, but Dimitri Orlov's "Reinventing Collapse" is the one that haunts me. Like many Americans, I felt quite smug when the Soviet Union collapsed. At the time, it appeared to be proof that the western world's way of running its businesses and governments was indeed superior to communism, and that the "free market" would soon deliver oppressed peoples all over the world from the clutches of the remaining totalitarian regimes.

Orlov's analysis, gained through personally experiencing the Soviet collapse, shows us that this collapse was more a factor of economic problems caused by a crash in oil revenues than by the Regan/Breshnev arms race that was credited by so many westerners for fomenting this collapse. When the oil-glut of the 1980's caused the price of oil to fall radically, the Soviet income from their inefficient state run petroleum industries crashed (it basically cost them about as much to pump and refine their oil as the export price per barrel), and the result was a cash flow crunch that could not sustain the rest of their state-run economy.

Now that oil prices have shot past the $100 a barrel mark, the tables have turned. Russia has surpassed Saudi Arabia as the world's number one oil producer, and the same oil exports that caused the Soviet regime's cash flow problem when prices were extremely low, is now making the new Russian economy cash-rich. America is seeing the devaluation of our dollar, brought on primarily due to a negative cash flow of billions of dollars a day for petroleum product imports and military ventures to protect our access to the supply of oil in foreign countries (Iraq, etc.
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91 of 96 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Preparing for Collapse May 23, 2008
Format:Paperback
Dmitry Orlov observed the collapse of the Soviet Union first hand during the early 1990s and based on his experience there believes America will be following down the same, sad path sooner rather than later. In this book, he details the many surprising ways that the current United States mirrors many aspects of Soviet life. Orlov believes that one of the main reasons that the Soviet system eventually collpased was because average people couldn't maintain their standard of living. Sound familiar? Frighteningly, Orlov found the Soviet Union to be much better prepared for collpase than America will be. At least, Russians owned their own homes and had public transportation. They weren't stuck far away in suburbia with no stores or services nearby.

Throughout this book Orlov uses scientific precision to knock down one myth after another about American life. He is very funny in mocking many of the silliest and stupidest aspects of American life. This book doesn't lay out a blueprint for how to survive the collpase, because Orlov himself makes plain that he doesn't pretend to know exatly how it will happen, but it does give some useful tips for how to prepare mentally and physically. The book is only 160 pages and I think you'll be so drawn in by it that you'll finish it in one evening just like I did. I guarantee it will be an evening well spent.
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89 of 101 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars thought-provoking, insightful, but missed a bit June 28, 2008
Format:Paperback
Dmitri Orlov has written an entertaining and thought-provoking comparison of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the post-oil end-game here in the U.S. By his own account, "entertaining and thought-provoking" were his goals for the book, and he has succeeded very admirably. I can recommend the book wholeheartedly, even as I respectfully disagree with some of his conclusions.

1. The collapse of the USSR was a political act; the USA is facing a resource-depletion-financial crisis. Now a financial collapse (K-Wave "winter," or the repudiation of all debts, public and private) certainly could lead to political collapse, but that is by no means set in stone.

The cultural and structural differences between the USSR and the USA are significant, and if Orlov had been an anthropologist his book might have drawn somewhat different distinctions. His primary thesis is that the Soviet Union was actually better prepared to weather collapse than the U.S., but I think he missed this critical difference: Russia and the other constituent states of the former USSR were resource-rich. Once they got their politcal house in order, they had immense resources to aid their financial recovery.

2. The Soviet Union was not a nation of immigrants; the U.S. is and has been since its inception. Even the Native Americans came from somewhere else, albeit a long time ago (though 12,000 years is merely a blink in geological time). Now on the surface immigration is driven by a number of things: hunger, poverty, desire for religious freedom, etc. But fundamentally it is a form of natural selection.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Run, Don't Walk To Buy This Book June 9, 2008
Format:Paperback
The old normal is that life will go on just like before. The new normal is that nothing will ever be the same Rather than attempting to undertake the Herculean task of mitigating the unmitigatable-attempting to stop the world and point it in a different direction-it seems far better to turn inward and work to transform yourself into someone who might stand a chance, given the world's assumed trajectory. Much of this transformation is psychological and involves letting go of many notions that we have been conditioned to accept unquestioningly. Some if it involves acquiring new skills and a different set of habits. Some of it is even physiological, changing one's body to prepare it for a life that has far fewer creature comforts and conveniences, while requiring far more physical labor.

These words from Pages 125 and 126 of Dmitry Orlov's Re-Inventing Collapse: The Soviet Example and American Prospects leapt out at me as perhaps the most definitive in his marvelous new book in which Dmitry illumines the collapse of the American empire, now well underway, with his insights from living through the collapse of the Soviet Union.

By way of background, I will be using his first name throughout this review because although I've only met him once, he feels like an old friend. I first heard of Dmitry several years ago when I became a subscriber to From The Wilderness where I was captivated by his article series "Post-Soviet Lessons For A Post-American Century." Later in 2007, Dmitry wrote an exclusive article for my website entitled "Collapse And Its Discontent." I was then honored and humbled by his request for an endorsement of Re-Inventing Collapse and immediately requested a review copy from his publisher, New Society.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Thinking is dangerous!
An eye opening read. Think about how economic crisis, austerity, scarcity and mutual aid may play out in the USA!
Published 25 days ago by timothy pearson
4.0 out of 5 stars not bad
There were some good comparisons here in the book. I have a degree in Homeland Security and agree with much of what he said. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Brad
2.0 out of 5 stars Trends Are True, But His Predictions and Individualism Are Wrong
I like reading books on criticism of industrial society, but this book is amateurish and made me roll my eyes over and over from wrong predictions, lack of evidence, and bizarre... Read more
Published 3 months ago by James R Newlin
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling read.
As much as I like this book I am not surprised by the negative reviews of some American readers.
It does touch a few nerves. Read more
Published 3 months ago by D. Rigolone
5.0 out of 5 stars Mechanics of collapse
I picked this book up after I had seen plenty of interviews with Orlov on RT and other places. I think his analysis of our predicament is spot on - especially the financial... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Petter Wildhagen
5.0 out of 5 stars Words of wisdom from someone who knows the score
I honestly have no idea whether this book is completely accurate in all that it describes. But the basic theme is challenging. Read more
Published 4 months ago by G. Budrikis
5.0 out of 5 stars When Lying and Corruption Become a Way of Life, Collapse is Inevitable
Great perspective from a veteran of the USSR collapse, which should be required in every high school history class. Read more
Published 5 months ago by nonamespecified
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant sardonic social commentary
Dmitry was caught between his youth growing up in the former USSR as it was collapsing and emigration to the United States during his adolescence. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Matt Hollingsworth
2.0 out of 5 stars Meh...
The first couple of chapters were alright, then Orlov started waxing poetic, and offering thoughts and 'solutions' that, at best seemed fanciful, and at work just seemed like... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Paul H. Wigton II
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended!
With so much loose talk about societal collapse, it is refreshing to read a book from an author with some experience and perspective on the subject. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Tamarleigh Lippegrenfell
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