Dave Pollard's chronicle of civilization's collapse, creative works and essays on our culture.
A trail of crumbs, runes and exclamations along my path in search of a better way to live and make a living, and a better understanding of how the world really works.



July 5, 2013

Will the Collapse of Civilization Begin With Global Corporatist Totalitarianism?

Filed under: Preparing for Civilization's End — Dave Pollard @ 21:48
STAGE WHAT COLLAPSES SIGNS OF COLLAPSE E.G. OF CULTURE AT THIS STAGE COPING/RESILIENCE MECHANISMS
1. Financial Collapse banks, currencies, the value of savings & assets bank failures/rescues, stock/housing market collapses Iceland during 2008 crisis eliminating and repudiating debts, using community currencies, let the banks fail
2. Commercial Collapse credit availability, trade, businesses, tax revenues, industrial food & energy systems corporations become criminal, rampant corruption, regulatory mechanisms fail, trade and supply chains seize up Russia after collapse of USSR building self-sufficient communities, local self-employment and essential supplies, creating a Gift/Sharing Economy
3. Political Collapse law & order, regulatory enforcement, safety nets, power grid & other infrastructure (including health, education, water and emergency response systems and the Internet), nation states citizen unrest, surveillance society, scapegoating, rise in totalitarian governments, war and despotism Afghanistan & Pakistan creating local, direct (non-representative) democratic or egalitarian anarchistic institutions
4.-5. Social Collapse and the Disintegration of Humanity community: social institutions, trust, social cohesion, faith, cooperation; and then humanity, kindness and compassion permanent refugee cultures, disintegration of health care and waste management, endemic diseases, alienation, anomie, inurement, fighting violence with violence, hero worship, personal disintegration Ik tribe of E. Africa few or none

 

I‘ve just finished reading Dmitry Orlov’s new book The Five Stages of Collapse. It made me realize that I have probably been making two fundamental errors in my thinking about how our civilization culture will collapse, and what we should do to become more resilient in the face of that collapse (taking steps like learning new personal and collective capacities, and re-learning how to create communities). My two errors were the failure to recognize:

  1. The Need to Stop Collapse at Stage 3: I have been thinking that there is only one type of collapse, one ‘end game’, though there are many different scenarios about how it will play out. Dmitry’s book made me realize that while financial, commercial and political collapse are inevitable, social collapse is not. What’s more, if we are able to halt collapse at the end of the third (political) stage, before social collapse occurs, life after collapse could be quite bearable, and more healthy, joyful and sustainable than life in our current culture. But if we slide into social collapse, all bets are off — life for what’s left of humanity could be, well, inhuman
  2. How the Corpocracy May Aggravate Collapse: I have been going on the assumption that, during the Long Emergency that will end in the collapse of civilization culture and, if we are diligent and lucky, a much smaller but better human presence on the planet, we will have to cope with a cascading series of economic, energy and ecological crises. But now I realize that the Corpocracy — the executives of the world’s most power nation-states and the world’s most powerful corporations — have seen the writing on the wall and are already starting to work together to prevent or at least “manage” (incompetently, because complex systems cannot be “managed”) the first three stages of collapse. Not to save their citizens and customers, mind you, but rather to save themselves. The result could well be near-global corporatist totalitarianism — the ruthless (political and economic) oppression of the majority in order to hoard resources and protect the interests of a powerful, coordinated minority. And perhaps this fourth type of crisis might be the one we have to deal with first. Perhaps, in fact, it’s already upon us and it took the likes of Julian Assange, Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden to wake us up to it.

But let me take a step back and start with a brief overview of The Five Stages of Collapse. I’ve indicated the qualities of each of the five stages in the table above. While Dmitry calls the fifth stage “Cultural Collapse”, my sense is that all five stages are components of a cultural collapse (our now-global culture being ‘civilization’ culture), so I’ve taken the liberty of re-naming the fifth stage the Disintegration of Humanity stage, and grouped it with the fourth stage Social Collapse because I think they inevitably occur together in rapid succession. Dmitry says “it is probably worth everyone’s while to dig in their heels at Stage 3″, and that’s an understatement.

If you look at the Signs of Collapse in the table above, it is not hard to conclude that the first three stages — Financial, Commercial, and Political Collapse — are already upon us, and we just haven’t recognized them yet. And total system collapse can take a long time — decades in fact — and occur so gradually that we can’t see the forest (collapses) for the trees (constituent and precipitating crises).

Stage 1 Financial Collapse, he writes, is an inevitable consequence of usury — the lending of money at interest — though because our savings, government services, the food industry and international trade all depend on it, elimination of usury would be “an act of economic suicide for any Western nation”. Our globalized financial house of cards has a fatal design flaw. Dmitry explains:

Usury [is] best viewed as a form of systemic, institutionalized violence, … a form of extortion: whenever you have two groups, one that has all the money and another that has none but needs it to live, the former can extort payments from the latter for temporary use of the money… [But] lending at any rate of interest above zero eventually leads to a deflationary collapse followed by a quick but painful bout of hyperinflation… A national default is inevitable if a country’s sovereign debt is very high [often, in struggling nations, due to loans incurred by corrupt leaders who squirrel the money away in personal offshore banks] but its economy is dwindling… Forcing that country to pay a “risk premium” [high interest rate] brings the day of default that much closer [and brings] about the very thing it is supposed to mitigate against.

Once usury, and its consequence of spiralling, unrepayable debt levels, triggers financial collapse, this can in turn quickly lead to Stage 2 Commercial Collapse (due to lack of credit for commerce and the dependence on infinite amounts of cheap labour, cheap oil, cheap debt and growth) and hence to Stage 3 Political Collapse (due to plunging incomes and consequent plunging tax revenues). It’s never too early to prepare for this, he says, by building viable local communities based on “exclusive circles of trust” and “spontaneous local self-governance”, and shifting their economies from the usury-based global Industrial Growth economy model to a local Gift, Tribute and Barter economy model (tributes being payments based on allegiance, religion or tradition; barter would be done using personal transferrable chits backed by personal commodities and valuables, which, as explained in the book, is more flexible and value-sustaining than direct goods-for-goods trades).

Once Stage 3 Political Collapse has occurred, he says, there is no rebuilding the house of cards, no way to re-establish the unsustainable, complex hydrocarbon- and debt-powered financial and commercial systems that underpin today’s political and economic systems, systems which are in addition now massively dysfunctional due to what Dmitry describes as “the problem of excessive scale”.

Creating viable local communities, he says, with “social cohesion, a common sense of identity and compelling mutual interests, respect and trust”, is very difficult and in many areas may be impossible. A Gift, Tribute and Barter Economy depends on this, and is inherently exclusive. It eschews Trade (exchange of goods/services/money between disinterested strangers). It also eschews Charity (“a degenerate form of gift that cannot be reciprocated; a handout designed to please the benefactor”). Gifts will initially be based substantially on what is relatively abundant in the community — community labour (as in community work bees), community facilities (shared spaces like designated community kitchens and workshops), harvested food surpluses, and outgrown and surplus reusables — to the point they replace the Industrial models of work, rents and retailing entirely.

As Charles Eisenstein has said, as long as the Industrial Growth economy exists, we will have to live with one foot in it and the other in the Gift, Tribute and Barter economy (what is now increasingly being called the “Sharing Economy”). But Dmitry says we need to make the transition as quickly as possible and not “cling” to the old economy:

Gradually at first, but faster and faster, all economic relationships need to be deproletariatized and rehumanized — by dealing with people you actually know, face-to-face; by avoiding the use of money and documents while emphasizing [oral] agreements as a way of cultivating trust and knowing who [not to trust]; and by giving preference to [small, close circles of] family, friends and neighbours while [cutting] out everyone else.

The Mafia and other “organized criminal” groups, he asserts, are forms of alternative governance that emerge when the official governance bodies become dysfunctional (paralyzed by excessive size or excessive centralization, corrupt etc.)  As Stage 3 Political Collapse worsens, we need to see such emergent groups for what they are, and evolve community-based mechanisms for security that draw on their valuable characteristics while avoiding their abusive and non-egalitarian ones. Otherwise, he predicts, we’ll be plagued by thieves, extortionists and other criminals from outside our community who do not share our goals or values and seek only to exploit the Stage 3 power vacuum.

It was Dmitry’s chapter on Stage 3 Political Collapse that got me asking the question that is the title of this post. He writes:

The ultimate purpose of the nation-state is to maintain a political [and economic] system that can effect a perfect melding of industry, militarism and commerce; industry supports militarism by supplying it with weapons, militarism supports commerce by conquering new resources and markets, and commerce supports militarism by funding military spending.

It’s hard to read the litany of news of massive government surveillance, political and business corruption, violations of constitutional and international laws and human rights, trumped-up excuses for international “wars”, the use of torture, the cynical support of despots, the interment of whistle-blowers, the bailout and non-punishment of corporate criminals, the set-up and vilification of dissidents, and new laws and rulings that place the rights and privileges of corporations above those of citizens, and not get an uneasy sense that our political and economic leaders (rulers?) are fully aware of the state of Financial, Commercial and Political Collapse and its inevitable worsening, and are working furiously in their own interests, and against ours, to protect themselves from the effects of collapse while throwing us to the lions.

Corporatist Totalitarianism is the creation of a state that disenfranchises the majority and funnels all decision-making, wealth, power and security to an integrated Corporatist few. They do this ostensibly on the basis that this few know better than the masses how to deal with crises, but in fact they know there just isn’t enough of anything left to go around any more. So, like alphas in an overcrowded rat cage, they deem it appropriate to lie, mislead and deny, and to hoard everything they can steal for themselves and let the rest suffer and starve.

A Salon.com reporter recently quoted a Turkish professor of saying about Obama: “He talks like the head of the American Civil Liberties Union, but he acts like Dick Cheney.” Use of killer drones, force-feeding uncharged decade-long prisoners at Guantanamo, xenophobic border hysteria, lawless Grand Juries indefinitely incarcerating innocent people, the ruthless prosecution of Edward Snowden — these are the actions of right-wing extremism, and frighteningly comparable to the actions of leaders of nation-states just before democracy was replaced by brutal totalitarianism in the past around the world.

What exactly is “Global Corporatist Totalitarianism”? I would argue that it has these attributes:

  • the collusion among ‘leaders’ of governments of affluent nations and large global corporations to establish “we know better than you” policies that subordinate the interests of the public to those of the ruling group, and the concentration of wealth and power in that group
  • the suspension of all rights and freedoms in the interest of being able to maintain order no matter how bad things may get
  • the abandonment by the public of belief in the viability of participative representative democracy, due to constant and egregious abuses of the process by all political parties (once all parties are either controlled or eliminated by the ruling group)
  • the control and use of the media to misinform, oppress and terrify citizens to cow them into submission to the ruling group’s authority
  • a total surveillance state including the suppression of all dissent (of speech and action) under the guise of fighting “terrorism”
  • financial and military support of, and collusion with, despotic leaders in struggling nations, sufficient to allow continued theft and desolation of their land and resources, the wage enslavement of their citizens, their exploitation as consumers of the ruling group’s corporations’ products and its governments’ weapons, and the usurious “lending” of unrepayable and crushing debts to these nations, the proceeds of which are personally appropriated and offshored by the despots as the price of complicity with these atrocities
  • the dismantling of all regulations, taxes and organized labour groups that inhibit the unrestricted accumulation of wealth by the ruling group
  • the denigration of government as an appropriate agency for any purpose other than “security”, military and commercial imperialism, and fear-and-denial propaganda

If you’ve read The Shock Doctrine, you’ll recognize the growing presence of all of these attributes in our current political and economic systems.

How, while we’re working furiously to prepare ourselves for economic, energy and ecological collapse, do we begin to factor in the need to also prepare ourselves for what is essentially a corporatist coup, nation-state by nation-state, that deprives us of our rights to organize, to free speech, to freedom of association, and to dissent?

My hope was always that as the first three Stages of collapse played out, government would be mostly a passive and inept player, a victim rather than an actor. But if the ruling group installs worldwide the kinds of corporatist totalitarian regimes I describe above, I fear they may strenuously act to suppress or prevent many or all of the coping/resilience mechanisms we hope to employ (shown in the right-hand column of the table above) to reduce the suffering of collapse and start to transition to a much more modest post-civilization society. Specifically, they will work to obfuscate what is really happening in the world, thwart attempts to create self-sufficient local communities (free of the ruling group’s authority), and prevent us from creating a sustainable sharing economy, growing and gifting healthy, organic local food, living off-grid, living in “non-standard” housing, looking after our own health and education, and weaning ourselves off “employment”, money and socially- and ecologically-destructive goods. What we see as taking responsibility for our own well-being in the face of cascading crises, the ruling group will inevitably see as threatening all the levers of control of wealth and power they rely on keeping.

So while we’re struggling to cope with a plethora of economic, energy and ecological crises — market and currency collapses, loss of our life’s savings, massive unemployment, deflation and hyperinflation, interest rate spikes and credit cutoffs, underwater mortgages, oil and water shortages and rationing, energy and food price spikes, blackouts and brownouts, pandemic diseases, droughts, famines, floods, fires, storms, massive influxes of refugees, collapsing bridges and other infrastructure failures, and the loss of essential services — we’re also going to be struggling against a ruling group that is using all the wealth and power at their disposal to prevent us from taking sensible, local, independent, personal and community-based steps to reduce the suffering all these crises will create. They will try with all their might to make independence from the crumbling systems they oversee, illegal, even seditious. While we’re studying up on coping and resilience, we’d better study up on how to deal with this additional challenge too.

So what about trying to halt the collapse of civilization at Stage 3, after Financial, Commercial and Political Collapse, and before we decline into Social Collapse — the collapse of the very communities we need to create to cope effectively with the first three stages?

Dmitry offers up some ideas on how to cope with Stage 4 and 5 collapse, but they seem unconvincing. He argues that even in cultures that have collapsed utterly, it is possible to rebuild faith, and he suggests looking at religions that have successfully built a following in such cultures as possible models. I’m not persuaded. If the Ik people of East Africa he describes at the end of his book are indeed examples of such cultures, it is hard to imagine a way out, or a way forward; such cultures seem mercifully to be destined for extinction.

All the more reason why we have to work, starting now, to deploy the Stage 1, 2 and 3 coping and resilience mechanisms shown in the right column of the table above. We cannot afford to fail to halt the collapse at that stage, if we don’t want to exit the stage of existence on Earth as a species quickly and ignominiously. There is a huge amount of learning and practice to do, and, if and when we give up the folly of believing that Stage 3 collapse can be averted, we have time to do it, starting small, learning from our mistakes, communicating what works and what doesn’t with other communities preparing for collapse. We have lots to learn, too, from those in struggling nations and in impoverished slums and on the streets and on reservations, whose people have been, for the most part, living with cultural collapse all their lives, mostly at Stage 3.

Whether we will do these things, and whether the ruling group will be successful in preventing us from doing so, remains to be seen. It may be a battle fought and won or lost community by community in each nation-state. I expect we’ll be surprised at what emerges, and I believe the surprise will be pleasant, a Darwinian celebration.

After us, the dragons.

23 Comments

  1. You’ve thought through this thoroughly. You’re a sorely needed leader. Lets do this.

    Comment by Lou — July 6, 2013 @ 09:46

  2. [...] Will the Collapse of Civilization Begin With Global Corporatist Totalitarianism? http://t.co/8zXlNQ5seS  [...]

    Pingback by Will the Collapse of Civilization Begin With Gl... — July 6, 2013 @ 09:48

  3. Excellent work David. Just posted on Generation Alpha and will be interested in the response there. See https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=664782056869512&set=a.368113029869751.101164.248063755208013&type=1&relevant_count=1.

    Comment by Ben Pennings — July 7, 2013 @ 00:29

  4. [...] [...]

    Pingback by Response | Clouds — July 7, 2013 @ 01:17

  5. The collapse can transition to this stage at any time after Stage 3. Most of the middle class have lost everything. What used to be well manicured middle class neighborhoods are filled with the carcasses of empty houses damaged and destroyed by vandals. The nation’s infrastructure has been seriously neglected and is in need of a major overhaul. The power grid becomes unreliable. Rolling blackouts are a daily occurrence. You can no longer buy or sell gold or own foreign currency. Inflation is out of control. Now the economy collapses. There is a rush for everything and the shelves go empty in a matter of hours. Society falls into chaos. The control of urban areas shifts when violent gangs takeover control of the streets and urban neighborhoods. The government issues restrictive measures in an attempt to control the economy. Everything is in short supply and heavily rationed. Food and gasoline is very expensive and there are very long lines to get them when they are available. Affordable quality health care is non-existent and your job is a distant memory. You will do without what you are unable to provide for yourself. You will discover what it is to live in a third world country.

    Comment by Anibal M. Boone — July 7, 2013 @ 01:32

  6. Thank you for this, David. A few weeks ago I had given up almost entirely, but recently I’ve been allowing myself to imagine that there may be parts of life that are actually *better* after the collapse. As a once-active member of the Occupy movement, it is so obvious to me that there is a hunger for the type of communities you describe, and the coordinated paramilitary response to people coming together makes perfect sense in this context. There is a segment of the world’s population that is waking up. I don’t believe that all of us will. There are sides that will be chosen and defended…the personal derision and hate I encountered as an Occupier was a harbinger of things to come. But if we are smart enough and fortunate enough to find a community and wait things out (while improving our skills and connections), we may be on the right side of history. I look around my lower middle class suburb in Connecticut and realize this will likely not be the place I end up – I don’t think it will be safe. In a very real way, we need to start making plans to come together and building the communities you describe.

    By the way, Ben – you’re doing great work with Generation Alpha. We had talked about expanding to the states – my area in particular and somehow the conversation petered out. We should stay in touch.

    David, I wish I could somehow make reading this article mandatory for my friends. Please keep up this great, important work.

    Comment by Rebecca — July 7, 2013 @ 05:16

  7. Well done Dave – and more especially, Dmitry Orlov, the writer of the book. Much thought has gone into this. We need leaders who can cut these corporates off at the knees – and as you say, that starts with taking back control of the banks. Then comes disempowerment of the corporates by making only co-operatives legal (and refusing individual rights to companies). As you say, building self-sufficient communities. Governments – and they must be free of corporate control – MUST be held accountable.

    Comment by MemKate — July 7, 2013 @ 05:33

  8. David you have dissected the dilemma facing the current civilization in a very meaningful way. I would just like to add that probably one of the catalysts to trigger this collapse will be peak oil. Richard Heinberg of the Post Carbon institute explains how this will lead to an economic slowdown(already happening) forcing the dept based financial system into collapse and subsequently the rest will follow like a string of dominoes.
    I like your positive view, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel by valuing the simplicity and collective interaction that community life will bring.
    As you’ve mentioned this going back to the “old” ways will not be for everyone. A retired neighbor was very offended by me when I explained community living and the benefits and told me he would not want to ever be part of something like that, but then he also said in the same breath that he does not see future generations dealing with problems created by the generation of today as his problem. In his words he has worked hard his whole life and deserve what he have today! Statements like this makes me loose all faith in humanity but then someone like yourself write these words and make me realize that I am not alone in my thinking and believes.

    Keep up the good work and a great thumbs up for sharing your views. I will post and share with others.

    Comment by Altus — July 7, 2013 @ 12:47

  9. Interesting, but patchy. First, Orlovs book makes good argument why alt.currencies are a dangerous waste of time (because they can and will be exploited); you support them with no reasoning i saw.

    Also, i think Orlov clearly implies (but may not state) that the only possible countermeasure to social collapse is commited and thoughtful formation of own society/resilient tribe; thats why he spends so much time considering precedent cultures like Roma, Hutterites etc. Developing these tribeS should be our focus, imho.

    Finally, a question: if the corporate State is as malign as posited, is the internet really the place to talk about it?

    Comment by Lj — July 7, 2013 @ 20:12

  10. [...] by Dave Pollard via How to Save The World [...]

    Pingback by Will the Collapse of Civilization Begin With Global Corporatist Totalitarianism? | Collapsing Into Consciousness — July 8, 2013 @ 10:55

  11. Yes, this planet and its flora and fauna are well on the way to being FUCKED

    Comment by Fazal Rahman — July 8, 2013 @ 18:19

  12. Our greatest enemy will be the corporate controlled government. As time goes on they will become ever more oppressive.

    How can we get the military on our side? We will need them to put down this corpotocracy and remake our country.

    We have to buy food, electricity and water there is no escape from that for the majority of us.
    There are many other things we can do without.

    Thanks to decades of government & religious obstruction against birth control, abortion and sex education and uncontrolled immigration, our numbers are far from sustainable.

    The government will continue to make laws that we will have to break leading to more imprisonment, how can we kill this police state? How can we get the police to stop enforcing unjust laws?

    How bad will it have to get before we have our own “Arab spring”?
    Is there any hope for a livable future and freedom?

    Comment by Sheila Chambers — July 8, 2013 @ 19:54

  13. The world in its current form isn’t worth saving. Thats why we have to (!) make the most out of the inevitable. But the biggest key is to win the information war. If people incorrectly analyze the reasons for the collapse (i.e. believe the lies the media and gov will tell at the time) then we will implement the wrong ‘solutions’.

    Mercenaries, security forces, law enforcement personnel, former military… Will by and large be the new gangsters. The question is whose side they will be on. In Angola, former military will set up a check point (i.e. stand in the middle of the road with an AK) and demand a toll be paid. This kind of thing made France incapable of internal trade in the 18th century. Too many bandits to make transporting goods a major distance worthwhile.

    Comment by Louis — July 9, 2013 @ 08:28

  14. For the love of God, stop using “the Ik” as an example of social collapse. The original story of the Ik – based on a single 1973 ethnographic study – has been seriously questioned as to its veracity.

    http://www.jstor.org/stable/1159836

    Comment by Jack — July 9, 2013 @ 10:08

  15. I think this song is the appropriate accompaniment for the post:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3v0ToMWzZQ
    “How far are we from dying…”

    Comment by jld — July 9, 2013 @ 10:41

  16. “A total surveillance state including the suppression of all dissent (of speech and action) under the guise of fighting ‘terrorism.’”

    I’m sure not going to tell you anything you don’t already know. You and I know the public is being deliberately mislead and herded to pasture of inaction. Maintenance of the status-quo or existing power structure is all our leaders are about.

    I particularly liked this:

    It’s hard to read the litany of news of massive government surveillance, political and business corruption, violations of constitutional and international laws and human rights, trumped-up excuses for international “wars”, the use of torture, the cynical support of despots, the interment of whistle-blowers, the bailout and non-punishment of corporate criminals, the set-up and vilification of dissidents, and new laws and rulings that place the rights and privileges of corporations above those of citizens, and not get an uneasy sense that our political and economic leaders (rulers?) are fully aware of the state of Financial, Commercial and Political Collapse and its inevitable worsening, and are working furiously in their own interests, and against ours, to protect themselves from the effects of collapse while throwing us to the lions.”

    Sad but true.

    K-Dog

    Comment by K-Dog — July 9, 2013 @ 14:14

  17. Some of us have worried about the oil peak / energy decline thing. Now some of us worry more about it not running out fast enough. Bad things will happen and then maybe other bad things may not. Some agonies are “preferable” or less miserable than others from a certain perspective/s. We know bees and other key species are in trouble. We will not collectively “keep up” with our web of problems during (energy) descent- eventually. Our slaves will go on strike and then we will collectively again understand the mass hallucination of money and the reality of plague and famine. The stages of collaspe will be mixed in time and space. War festers now in a vain attempt to starve off fate. You have the word -Begin in your title of this post- how can you define a beginning in this mess? There is no meaning in Histoty. And – There is no pattern in the things to come-quote- H.G Wells (Immortilisation Commission- John Grey). In Well’s Time Machine the Masters(corporations) becomes a different species! There is no such thing, as humanity, as history rhymes away- just selection. The ecosystem will be more resilient than most humans.
    Years ago you wrote about this on a review of Ronald Wright’s Scientific Romance. -A fictional post description of the stages of collaspe without a nuke holocaust. We have eaten each other before…and we will eat each other again. “In the meantime” comes to my mind a lot now. The meantime is for my kids…play…fun….connection….love. Don’t worry- about a thing- because every little thing is going to be alright…..

    Comment by Philip — July 12, 2013 @ 02:40

  18. The collapse can transition to this stage at any time after Stage 3. Most of the middle class have lost everything. What used to be well manicured middle class neighborhoods are filled with the carcasses of empty houses damaged and destroyed by vandals. The nation’s infrastructure has been seriously neglected and is in need of a major overhaul. The power grid becomes unreliable. Rolling blackouts are a daily occurrence. You can no longer buy or sell gold or own foreign currency. Inflation is out of control. Now the economy collapses. There is a rush for everything and the shelves go empty in a matter of hours. Society falls into chaos. The control of urban areas shifts when violent gangs takeover control of the streets and urban neighborhoods. The government issues restrictive measures in an attempt to control the economy. Everything is in short supply and heavily rationed. Food and gasoline is very expensive and there are very long lines to get them when they are available. Affordable quality health care is non-existent and your job is a distant memory. You will do without what you are unable to provide for yourself. You will discover what it is to live in a third world country.

    Comment by Myrna S. Russo — July 12, 2013 @ 19:57

  19. [...] Pollard: Will the Collapse of Civilization Begin With Global Corporatist Totalitarianism? – via @C4LPT – “while financial, commercial and political collapse are inevitable, [...]

    Pingback by Some big reads for Friday | Harold Jarche — July 19, 2013 @ 00:24

  20. [...]   [...]

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  21. > …they know there just isn’t enough of anything left to go around any more.

    I disagree on this point because this is the “great swindle” the corporatists have used to force us into a “survival of the fittest” game even after we’ve reached a point when there is more than enough to go around. Our use of technology, or lack thereof, does not necessarily result in a Malthusian Trap.

    Comment by Steve Scott — July 22, 2013 @ 05:33

  22. As stage 3 collapse runs its course, the power vacuum left by the now defunct federal, state and local government is filled by a variety of new power structures. Remnants of former law enforcement and military, urban gangs, ethnic mafias, religious cults and wealthy property owners all attempt to build their little empires on the ruins of the big one, fighting each other over territory and access to resources. This is the age of Big Men: charismatic leaders, rabble-rousers, ruthless Machiavellian princes and war lords. In the luckier places, they find it to their common advantage to pool their resources and amalgamate into some sort of legitimate local government, while in the rest their jostling for power leads to a spiral of conflict and open war.

    Comment by Suzette H. Hays — July 23, 2013 @ 04:12

  23. Very nice piece, David, IMHO. While I have only read Orlov’s blog, the one your review is quoted in, I find your reply powerful, accurate, and clear. The one aspect I tend to focus on is the restoration of local economies that include manufacturing and basic food production. The multinational corporations, having been founded on the exploitation of energy-intensive fossil fuels, have built a web of global supply lines based on cheap shipping. As one example, Budweiser Beer not only ships Colorado River water to Los Angeles and once it has been turned into beer (so-called), trucks it to Seattle and Vancouver; it can also then sell that beer cheaper than the local brews. And most of the money goes back into propaganda to keep people buying it. This same pattern applies on a world scale governs our supplies of actual necessities – food, clothing, building materials and hardware, cooking and cleaning tools, and even intellectual and technological information.
    As a result if and when collapse occurs, the task of restoring local production and handicrafts will be central. I sometimes read about native people in my region (Oregon in the US) making garments from cedar bark and dispair. How could we Europeans learn that forgotten craft in time to keep from freezing to death? How much storable grain could we obtain from farms within a walkable radius from us? How could we create distribution systems to collect it and get it to people who need it? And all that would have to be completed in weeks, not years.
    Interestingly enough, our local county here in Portland has, seemingly without consciousness of this set of predictions, begun a project around our local food web (Multnomah Food Initiative on the web at http://www.multnomahfood.org/resources/HealthyEating). Other communities, like us, have experienced regrowth of local and healthy food trading, farmers’ markets, home gardens and healthy school lunch programs. It’s as if there is a consciousness spreading over the land in anticipation of a future that seems inevitable but unacknowledged.
    How much a whole community can do in time remains questionable. As I participate in my neighborhood association board meetings, I am constantly reminded of the commitment to present ways of my fellow citizens. Most have families, careers, house payments, etc. – and a long drive to get anywhere – job, grocery store, shopping mall, movies, and even neighborhood association meetings. They pretty much shut out information that does not conform with the propaganda produced by the corporations. That’s understandable.
    So I think the comments about information are the most relevant for us in our local communities – understanding of what’s happening, which would avoid blame and scapegoating, and spreading the word about the need to reorganize quickly. And that’s what I am focusing on in my town.

    Comment by Jim Newcomer — August 2, 2013 @ 09:35

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