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  1. #706
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    https://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nat...ion-statement/

    Position Statement

    Nothing moves and nothing wants to move, or even think about moving, under the punishing heat-dome. For the moment, the sore beset nation stews in a dreadful stillness. The mysterious consensus of the BLM mob has hit the “pause” button on street tantrums, though plenty of damage has been done to businesses, personal lives, undefended monuments, and the public interest. Each day is another frightful step in the creep toward mass default as rents, mortgages, car loans, insurance premiums, electric bills, business debts, and other common obligations go unpaid. It’s like one of those eerie interludes on a battlefield when forces stop to gather their wounded and reassess their positions.

    Perhaps you, like me, are skeptical of the news reports about the surge in Covid-19 cases — or, more to the point, what it actually means. Cases may be surging, but deaths are way down. Media megaphones such as CNN and The New York Times eagerly retail maximum hysteria to provoke renewed business lock-downs, ensuring further destruction to the old service economy and, more importantly, to disparage Mr. Trump. I wonder if the virus is, in fact, close to burning itself out and the surge in cases signifies that it will soon run out of new victims. How many asymptomatic carriers are out there? We just don’t know, but by August we’ll have an idea.

    It’s certainly in the interest of the Woke Resistance and its inquisitors in the Woke media to keep the volume up on Covid-19 hysteria. It’s crucial to their strategy of forcing a vote-by-mail system that would easily invite voter fraud. It also provides a cover for keeping their mummified lead candidate, Joe Biden, moldering silently in his basement like the ghost of Hubert Humphrey, as well as an excuse to avoid a real convention in Milwaukee, which would force Mr. Biden to step up and speak before a huge, live audience. Imagine the mortification.

    Just as I’m unconvinced about the meaning of the Covid-19 surge, I don’t buy the polls that show Mr. Biden ten points up on Mr. Trump. I suspect many actual voters were not pleased by the June reign of terror unleashed by Democratic mayors and governors, and did not fail to notice exactly how all that went down. And it is well-known now, four years after the last election and its janky polling, that many voters won’t reveal their true intentions to pollsters — fearing the vilification they’d invite.

    I’ve gotten a lot of letters and comments lately condemning my failure to go all-out against Mr. Trump. So, I’ll state my current position plainly: I didn’t vote for him last time, but I would vote for him this time to keep the Democratic Party out of power. There’s a lot to not love about Mr. Trump in his persona and manner. There’s a great deal more to fear about the prospect of Democratic Party control of government. Their enmity to free speech cannot be doubted after a decade of promoting cancel culture. Their appetite for coercion is at odds with the Bill of Rights. Their bad faith and dishonesty have been on display through all the concocted melodramas of RussiaGate and its offshoots. Their economic program is a mashup of all the failed central planning regimes from the bygone 20th century and is wholly inconsistent with the new imperatives to downscale and re-localize the real productive activities of daily life in this country.

    Beyond Mr. Trump’s deformities of personal presentation, I am more in favor with the blunt outlines of his policies. I’m for strict control of the nations borders and frankly for reduced immigration. Globalism is clearly winding down and Mr. Trump’s drive to produce more of what we need here in America is in step with that reality. Mr. Trump has been careful to avoid new foreign misadventures — though the military establishment and their pals in the war industries have obstructed the president’s will to quit the old adventures still being prosecuted in places across the Middle East and West Asia. I suspect Mr. Trump might have accomplished more in the nation’s interest if he hadn’t been hounded, harried, and sabotaged by the ceaseless bad faith hostilities of his opponents since Nov 3, 2016.

    I’m not confident about Mr. Trump’s management of the nation’s financial quandaries, and especially the racking-up of epic new debt, but there’s plenty of evidence that the Democratic Party would do a lot worse in terms of spending money that doesn’t exist and destroying what’s left of the country’s productive capacity, along with what remains of the middle class. I believe anybody who has managed to stay sane through the travails of the past four years cannot fail to see that the clinically incompetent Joe Biden is an obvious stalking horse for something more sinister. I think we will learn what that is before much longer.

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  3. #707
    Senior Member Hungary
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    Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WX2B4Qy8wjw



    http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2020/0...nuum.html#more

    Transcript of Interview on Continuum with Keith Woods

    Welcome to the show today. I am delighted to be joined by Dmitry Orlov, who is a Russian-American writer. He has written several books on collapse and technology. Delighted to be joined by you Mr. Orlov. If you’d like to introduce your work to the audience for anyone unfamiliar, that’d be great.

    A: Well, first of all it’s great to be on your show. Thank you for inviting me.

    I’m no longer a neophyte because I’ve been doing it for a long time, but writing about collapse is not really my profession. I had a career before that, in computer engineering, and then high-energy physics, then e-commerce, and internet security, media conversion, things like that, and eventually I just gave up on all of this corporate stuff because I realized that it wasn’t really heading in any direction I liked. And I started writing on what I thought would happen to the United States based on what I observed happening to the Soviet Union and Russia in the late 80s and early 90s, because I thought that the US would pretty much collapse.

    I started doing that about a dozen years ago and strangely enough I got a pretty good reception to start with.

    Now there are basically two types of people whom I encounter: the ones who just basically scream and run away – I suppose they’re the majority – and then there’s also people who’ve been following me, or people who are realizing that I’ve been making valid points all along. And so I have quite a following at this point, and I write a couple of articles a month, mostly on current affairs and analysis, and that’s been going pretty well and keeping me busy, not so much writing, but doing the research for the writing. That’s a full-time job at this point. And so that’s where I am today.

    Q: Obviously, the events of the last few months in the US, I think I’ve heard the idea of collapse, or the idea of a failed state, enter more and more into people’s consciousness, but when you look at the US now and especially the racial, ethnic tensions we’ve seen during the last few months – does this look to you like a society that’s in a fairly advanced stage of collapse now, or do you think that the US empire can still keep on traveling for a few years to come yet?

    A: It’s very hard to predict what the timing of this would be. As far as race tensions in the US, this is nothing new. The worst race riot of all time happened about a hundred years ago; people are forgetting that. Entire sections of towns were completely burnt out, large numbers of people made homeless. That was a very large race riot. There were race riots after that in various places, in Chicago and Los Angeles and elsewhere. This is more or less a repetitive process. Right now lots of people are saying that ‘black lives matter.” It’s a slogan, and if you look at history – and this is not a judgment on my part; this is an observation – black lives seem to matter every 20 or 30 years.

    The blacks in the United States are political pawns. They’re basically manipulated by the Democratic establishment, and they are periodically unleashed on the public. They’re kept at boiling point by a number of policies that destroy black families, that imprison black men, that basically deprive black kids of any meaningful education. All of this makes them useful as pawns. They’re basically going to start rebelling and looting and causing mayhem whenever somebody pulls the trigger within the Democratic establishment and that’s what’s happening this year. The pawns have been deployed in order to unseat Donald Trump because the Democrats are so desperate. They’re incredibly desperate: this is their final gasp. They have a candidate who is absolutely senile, who can’t string a sentence together. And so this is a sign of desperation. I don’t think it immediately translates into the United States collapsing; I think that has to do with much longer term trends that have been in the works for generations and that are at this point unstoppable – not that they’ve ever been stoppable; I’ve never claimed that they were. But at this point most thoughtful commentators and analysts would say that these processes will simply run their course.

    Q: Would you say that the source of collapse is primarily financial?

    A: Well, I wrote about this quite a bit. I wrote a book, The Five Stages of Collapse, where I teased collapse as a process into stages: financial, commercial, political, social and cultural, showing examples of societies, doing case studies of societies that pass through or were able to arrest collapse at each one of these stages.

    The sequence makes sense, because the finance basically has to do with promises people make to each other. These promises have to be backed up by a realistic notion of what can be achieved in terms, for instance, of debt repayment. The function of finance is to finance productive activity, and [if] finance decides that there is [to be] no financing because debts would not be repaid, then that curtails commercial activity. Factories don’t get built; products don’t get shipped, etc., which causes the physical economy of goods and services to shrink, causing tax revenues to plummet, and that hamstrings government which can no longer spend the way they are accustomed to spending. And that leads to political paralysis and collapse, and once the political realm dissolves then social institutions come under stress and often fail because at that point the government can’t provide for the people, so it’s a question of charitable groups and things like religious organizations that are not up to the task usually.

    And then the final bastion is the family. Often that fails as well because of stress. Families dissolve and culture crumbles. The final stage of cultural collapse is where people stop looking like people, stop resembling people: they become more like animals. And that’s the final stage of collapse, after which you don’t really have anything you could call humanity any more. You just basically have these semi-feral humans running around. I’ve even done one case study of a society that reached that point, where esteemed scholars, anthropologists – one anthropologist in particular – decided that such societies should be completely disbanded: the individuals have no business being together. They have to be broken apart, split apart, because at that point what culture remains is pathological.

    Now the United States, it turns out, is following this collapse sequence backwards. This is a realization that I had quite recently: [the US] started with cultural collapse.

    Basically, the process that has been unfolding in the United States since the late 50s and throughout the 60s has dismembered extended families, and then later on destroyed nuclear families as well, so that out of wedlock births are now quite dominant and the number of children, especially in black families, who grow up fatherless is staggeringly huge. That basically indicates that the culture has failed. There is no longer a real human culture; there’s just a commercial culture of consumerism. Consumers, who pay attention to prosumers and influencers and media. The only function they have is deciding what to consume until the money runs out, at which point they’re just basically cut loose – completely cut loose, cut adrift.

    Society doesn’t really have any viable functions any more. In some places the church is still dominant and plays a large role, but that is really the only strong social function that exists.

    [Regarding] government, we can see huge dysfunction in the political sphere. Basically, the entire country is splitting up into red and blue zones which are more or less at war with each other already, although it’s not a shooting war in a lot of places yet, but it could very well evolve into one.

    Commerce has devolved to a point where the United States is not self-sufficient in most manufactured products, and most of what it produces is ephemera like software and media, and maybe some pharmaceuticals that are incredibly over-priced; and a lot of agricultural products. So it’s basically like a plantation economy as far as the world is concerned. It no longer has a viable industrial sector.

    And then financially it’s basically a black hole, because what it does is it prints money. It lends it out mostly to insiders. There’s no expectation that these debts that are generated will ever be repaid, and eventually these debts are converted into weird zombie financial instruments that sit on the books of weird zombie companies that are forever kept out of bankruptcy by printing money again and lending it out. So there’s no pretense any more that finance has anything to do with actually estimating risk and deciding when to lend based on the projected ability to repay, because it’s not expected that anybody at any level will ever repay anything.

    So it’s just the printing press running loose, and the entire economy of the United States now depends on that printing press. The moment it turns out that printing one more dollar doesn’t produce any value at all but actually produces negative value to the economy it’s pretty much over, the whole game is over.

    When that will happen is very difficult to time but it’s going to be an event; it’s not going to be a process. One day people will wake up and realize that the Federal Reserve printing another hundred trillion dollars is not going to move the economy forward one inch, and it is at that point that the whole thing will be declared over.

    So that’s what I’m seeing happening now.

    Q: That’s interesting that you think the final stage has already happened because it would suggest…I mean, you’ve observed the collapse of the Soviet Union, but it seems like as bad as that was, at least there was still a family unit underneath. There was a homogenous society and so it didn’t take a lot to transition into a kind of coherent Russian state. But then if you look at the US, and the fact that there is cultural collapse, and all of these tensions among classes, among races…in a very multi-ethnic society.

    I guess the question is then, if the US is faced with that kind of collapse, is there any reason to believe that the United States as an entity would even survive that in terms of its territorial integrity. In other words, would you be looking at balkanization and the collapse of the US as a country?

    A: There’s no reason to believe that the United States will continue to exist once the states are no longer united. Given the politics of today, again, the separation into the red and blue zones which are hostile to each other on every level, it’s really hard to say that the United States are united. Again: they’re united by the Federal Reserve’s printing press. Once the US dollar fails there’s nothing to hold the states together, and there’s nothing to hold each individual state together. There’s no reason to continue having this system which basically redistributes printed money – printed basically out of nothing – and so there is no reason to think that this political entity will abide.

    Now, on the ethnic level, there are still large areas – mostly rural at this point – where the older sort of stratum of Anglo-German society holds together, and so it may be that there are large swaths of land patrolled by heavily armed locals that are still relatively safe and relatively productive. The question is will they be able to actually survive without access to the coasts and to the ports, because the United States no longer produces the spare parts it needs to keep plant and equipment running. All of that stuff is imported now, mostly from China, and so there’s no reason to expect that the United States will be able to re-industrialize under these conditions because the [country lacks the] core competencies needed to re-industrialize. The engineers no longer exist; they all went to law and finance a long time ago, and other professions that basically have to do with people swindling each other, so there’s no reason to expect that sort of a rebirth.

    As far as the cities [are concerned], it’s really unclear what function they serve. The coronavirus shutdowns have proven that cities at this point don’t serve any vital function at all. They could just be disbanded. They could be abandoned. So it’s really hard to see what new cohesive thing could emerge from this process.

    Q: Another question that’s raised then in the wake of a potential collapse of the US is that the US is a global hegemon at present. The end of this order would be the end of the order that we have had since the end of the Second World War. So the question is, what springs up in that vacuum of power? Could you envision a kind of multipolar world, lacking one hegemon, or do you think that China or Russia – or China and Russia combined – will just immediately fill that vacuum?

    A: I don’t think that Russia and China are particularly interested in that. The mode in which Russia operates is building regional organizations with its Eurasian partners. It’s not so much multilateralism as bilateralism. They’re basically one-to-one deals with various countries. They are also frameworks that take time to take hold. There’s a strong relationship with China – with Russia and China – but definitely I don’t think anybody wants to step in and do what the United States has been pretending to do, which is in effect bankrupting itself by ineffectual military spending.

    The fact that the United States has troops stationed all over the place, and the fact that it outspends everyone in dollar terms is neither here nor there: it just doesn’t mean anything because [the US] is not really capable of it any more. Look what happened when the Iranians responded to the murder of one of their generals by the Americans by just blasting rockets at a couple of military bases in Iraq: nothing. There was no response. The Americans just took it.

    That’s been the pattern that’s been established for a long time. The Americans get into harm’s way but then they don’t do anything. They haven’t had a military success pretty much forever. The entire military establishment in the US is basically a money sponge: it’s very expensive but it’s not very good. Their planes don’t fly very well and there are a lot of issues with just about every part of it. The objective is not to defend the nation, because nobody is attacking the nation. The objective is to basically absorb as much money as possible and distribute it amongst a small group of insiders.

    So if you look at defense spending parity between, say, Russia and the United States, Russia gets ten times more for each dollar spent than the United States, so the Russian military has been growing stronger and Russia has been cutting its defense spending the entire time, while the United States has been growing weaker and keeps increasing its military spending. Those trends are unmistakable. So the idea that the US is still a global hegemon based on its military prowess is, I think, entirely misguided.

    I think the only thing that keeps the United States in the news around the world at this point is the Federal Reserve printing press and the US dollar. That’s it. Nothing else.

    Q: There was another story leaked yesterday of supposed Russian interference. This time it was in the UK, where the UK Foreign Secretary said that the UK has strong reason to believe that Russia leaked documents in the run-up to the last election to try and help the Labour Party.

    I’m just curious because this Russiagate thing is just becoming a trope now. It’s used again and again for anything the establishment is opposed to in the West. Even Tulsi Gabbard was accused of being a Russian agent. It’s just thrown around now; it means nothing.

    But I’m curious as to what the perception is [inside] Russia, of all the hostility that’s suddenly directed towards them from the West, and more generally, the perception by Russians of the liberal West and many of the problems that we’re facing in the West now.

    A: Well, on the one hand the news coverage in Russia that one sees, the news coverage of the West, of what’s going on in the UK and in the United States, is very moderate. It’s factual; it’s moderate; it’s not tendentious as far as my appraisal of it [is concerned]. But it’s ghastly. I mean, Russians look at this and think Oh my god, why did we ever think that these people were worth paying attention to? Why did we ever think that they matter?

    So there’s that understanding. As far as accusations randomly lobbed in the general direction of Russia for this and that, most people in Russia now know what “highly likely” means in English. People throw that around. The word “fake” has penetrated the Russian language, specifically in reference to most things coming from the West. “Fake news” is thrown around a lot. In general, it’s basically Comedy Hour material at this point. There’s nothing serious about it. It’s even difficult to continue the conversation about it because people are just so sick of it. “Oh yeah…fake news…highly likely…blah blah blah. Whatever.”

    Below that, if you scratch the surface, the Russians are convinced that truth is on their side, and truth makes them invincible. They’re absolutely convinced of that. The other side is just lying, so it doesn’t matter what they say. We know they’re lying. They’re liars. And if they’re not lying, then the question becomes, when did they stop lying and why? What caused that conversion on the road to Damascus, that epiphany? Because we didn’t notice one.

    Q: It’s quite interesting. You’ve also written a book called Shrinking The Technosphere which builds on a lot of ideas of Jacques Ellul, a similar analysis of technology as this sort of demiurge, or force of control. I think the way you describe it is as an ‘emergent force.’ I’m kind of curious: I’ve seen that Russia itself is investing a lot of resources into crypto-technology and into being prepared for the world’s moving towards crypto from fiat currency. I’m just curious as to how much you think that could change paradigms in terms of talking about a more multipolar world, a more decentralized system with more anonymity, [making it ] more difficult for central governments to trace financial transactions and control people by financial means? Just how significant do you think the innovations in crypto will be?

    A: Crypto is just basically a bit of software. Bitcoin is phenomenally idiotic because it’s a horrendous waste of energy. It is just the stupidest invention in the world based on its energy requirements. The anonymity it grants is mostly used for all kinds of parasitism and swindles and theft of various kinds, extortion schemes. There’s nothing good about that, but you know, Blockchain is just an algorithm that has applications – some rather good applications - in some areas. In some areas such as finance, perhaps not.

    Now as far as what is going on in Russia [is concerned] a lot of effort is being expended in streamlining electronic (internet) systems, to eliminate bureaucracy. Traditionally, Russia has been very paper-heavy, lots and lots of pieces of paper with stamps and signatures needed for every last thing. That’s being done away with in a great hurry. So now it’s possible to carry out any kind of project with just a cell phone or an iPad or something like that. Everything is shifting to a model where it’s all done via websites and internet servers, so that’s a very positive development.

    Russia just changed its tax policy such that it has perhaps the most forgiving tax regime for IT companies anywhere in the world, and given the fact that it already has a lot of the best talent in IT, it is probably going to become a major hub for international software development. It’ll probably take a way some of the thunder from places like Ireland that have been in the lead in this category. And so that’s a positive development for Russia.

    Q: Just as that ties into your work on collapse, the reliance that we have on technological systems for so much now, does that add to, or is it a compounding factor in how devastating the collapse of a modern society would be now? If these technological systems start to go down, would it have a compound effect in terms of collapse?

    A: Well, yes. The elimination of fallback strategies is generally a very dangerous thing. So if you look at Russia, for instance, and Russia’s decision to go all-in on these modernized infrastructure systems, it starts with base technologies such as oil, gas, coal and nuclear, which generate the energy. The mining and manufacturing processes that provide for self-sufficiency in all of the critical pieces of infrastructure either directly or through trusted partners such as China. And it goes from there. They built up an electric grid which is self-sufficient and which uses parts manufactured within Russia. They’re starting to move in the direction of providing their own operating systems. There is one that is an Android replacement, Linux-based, that’s been in the works. They may share that project, or may be in the process of sharing that project with China because of all the madness surrounding Huawei sanctions. So that’s built from the ground up.

    Now if you look at the United States, the United States produced a lot of relatively low-grade, useless light oil through fracking, but that has fallen apart. Nobody is financing all of that any more and it’s an overall waste of money and resources. There aren’t really any fallbacks.

    And then there’s the environmentalist lobby which is eliminating pipelines and shutting down financing for energy projects unless they’re quote-unquote ‘green’ projects that use wind and solar. The problem with wind and solar is that the energy production from them is ragged; it’s unpredictable; it has nothing to do with demand. It has to do with the supply of wind and sunlight, and there’s no storage mechanism for storing large amounts of electricity that is anywhere near affordable, or that can be built up within the required timeframe.

    So green technologies are an evolutionary dead end, at least at that scale, and so there is no plan. So for now everybody is running around depending on the internet being available all the time, but the foundation of it is the electric grid which hasn’t been upgraded in a long time in the United States. It depends on a large number of nuclear power plants, about 100 of which are quickly aging out. The competence, or the desire, to build new ones is missing, and the United States lacks the capacity, or the ability, to enrich uranium. They’ve delegated that to the Europeans, to the French, and to Russia. So twenty five percent of the light bulbs that are lit up in the United States historically has been thanks to MOX fuel, nuclear fuel, shipped to the United States from Russia. So if you look at all those dependencies and what that means, well, yes: that’s incredibly precarious. That sort of technology dependence is really bad for a nation that could at best, moving forward, be a heavily armed agrarian nation of little agrarian fiefdoms. So that’s not a positive, moving forward.

    Q: You have written on peak oil. There was obviously…making the news recently was the Michael Moore documentary Planet of the Humans that put this issue into people’s consciousness, about the lack of effectiveness of green technologies that we’ve put all our faith in, and you’ve spoken to that. But the question is, what is the alternative, then, if we’re reaching peak oil and our energy requirements can’t be met, will it just be necessary for scaling-back of our consumption? You mentioned nuclear power. Is nuclear power a potential solution in the long run, or have we missed the boat on that one?

    A: The only two countries that have the capacity to develop nuclear at anything like the speed needed are Russia and China.

    The only country that actually has a shot at making nuclear energy generation safe in the long run is Russia because it’s pretty far along working on the closed nuclear cycle which will not produce high-level nuclear waste. It’ll burn all of it up. Everybody else has given up on that strategy. Russia is the only one, and so the others will at best have to wait their turn because the way Russia deals with nuclear installations around the world is [that] it basically builds the nuclear power plant. It trains locals to operate it. It signs contracts for all of the nuclear fuel for the entire life of the nuclear power plant or installation, which at this point could be over 100 years because they’ve learned to recycle nuclear installations.

    Not every country in the world, certainly not anywhere in Europe or the United States, is willing to go along with that deal. Other countries such as Turkey, for instance, or Iran, or Egypt, are more than happy to enter into such a long-term agreement, but basically what that means is there is an umbilical cord from your country to Russia forever. So countries that cultivate an adversarial stance towards Russia do not stand a chance of getting such a contract signed, at least for the foreseeable future.

    Q: That’s quite interesting. Would you say that in the coming century…when you think about some of these things, for example the collapse of the US as a hegemon and the kind of regionalism that Russia is cultivating, are we looking at the end of globalization as a process, the end of globalism in this century?

    A: Well, I think so. I think what we’re seeing is the last dying echo of Western colonialism – because that’s really the model that’s been driving the whole thing. It’s the last dying gasp of the plantation economy, where you have old money hiring completely block-headed, interchangeable MBAs to manage projects around the world. It doesn’t matter where in the world they are. Paying military types to basically keep tabs on the local politicians to make sure that they don’t get too uppity and try to grab too much power for themselves. And that’s going to die. It’s been dying for a long time: it’s been dying back. This last surge of globalization which shipped factories from the West to other places in the world which had cheap energy and labor and low regulatory costs – that has run its course.

    And so I think what the future holds is different countries going in different directions. Some developing and others un-developing, and some remaining pretty much as they are. I don’t expect any of this to very dramatically affect what’s happening in rural Cambodia or Laos, for instance, but other countries – Canada, for instance – might be very dramatically affected. It depends on where in the world they are, but there’s no globe: it only looks that way from outer space, from Earth orbit. But from the ground, on the ground, it doesn’t look like a globe; it looks like a patch of ground that is visible from you, encompassed by the horizon, which is about 15 nautical miles.

    Q: For someone listening to this, [someone who] shares your pessimism in terms of where the West is going, I guess the question is what should someone that acknowledges that reality be doing in terms of is there a way to prepare best for what’s coming? Is there a best way to wean yourself off the elements of the system that will probably suffer the worst fate?

    A: Well, people get by pretty well provided they can make themselves useful to each other. Not within some scheme where you go on some job board and look for an employer because those [jobs] will be pretty thin on the ground, I expect. But what you can do yourself for your immediate neighbors, for people you can make contact with. And a lot of those skills are pretty basic.

    So in the more promising places in the world - promising from the point of view of surviving what’s coming – people cultivate these habits, so for instance there’s no conceivable reason that in Russia right now I should be growing potatoes…except I am, and so are most other people. It’s one of those things that you never want to stop being able to do, like there’s no question that you will abandon your ability to grow potatoes even though I could drive to the supermarket and buy all the potatoes I could ever want, and more, for not very much money. It’s not about that. Similarly, people know how to build log cabins; people know how to put stoves together out of brick. You know, there’s a myriad things like that that people know how to do. They will keep old cars running because they can be repaired using hand tools without hooking them up to a computer. There are lots and lots of adaptations like that that people around the world cultivate in order to prepare for hard times because they know from their experience that the hard times are coming. They know that. It’s not a question of whether, it’s a question of when. Nobody knows when, and so the time to practice is now.

    Now there are people in the West who think that the gravy train they’ve been on will go on forever, and that’s not a fact, that’s not true. So there are a lot of humble occupations that people could start learning for, in order to make themselves useful when the time comes.

    Q: What tends to happen…people’s beliefs in a time of collapse… I remember reading John Michael Greer predicting that the Baby Boomers in the US would start suicide cults at the late stage of collapse, and definitely some of the movements we’re seeing in the West today – BLM [for instance] – seem to resemble religious cults in their orientation. But I’m curious: for a society that’s really bought into the religion of progress and faith and optimism, what starts to happen when things turn sour? Will we see a new religiousness, and if so, what would that look like?

    A: In some places there will be a new religiousness. Different populations are more or less susceptible to entering into cults. There was a lot of penetration of various cults into Russia around the time of the Soviet collapse in the 90s, and there was quite a period of time when the authorities had to rush around and put out these fires, and eliminate some of the nastier cults. Some of them are still around. It’s a nasty problem to have to deal with. And so, yes, hopelessness breeds that sort of wishful thinking, and people who show up and sell you some sort of a dream, no matter how preposterous, fill that vacuum of hope. So we can expect plenty of that.

    Q: But Russia itself seems to have rebounded very well, and quite rapidly, after the collapse of the Soviet Union. It’s quite something to see the level of religiousness, and how quickly it turned from an atheist society to really one of the only traditional Christian societies in the world.

    Do you think in terms, again, of just looking at the West’s trajectory, it is inevitable that there would be a return to traditional society? In other words, when you lose the power of the centralized state is it a necessary process that the more organic orders like religiosity and ethnic communities spring up in that vacuum?

    A: I wouldn’t exaggerate that because there are things that only work in Russia. Russian things tend to only work in Russia; Chinese things tend to only work in China, and it’s useless to try to copy them because, for instance, the incredible wealth of Orthodox Christian tradition that Russia never lost is what provided for this revival. It’s not something that was done from scratch. It basically had to do with a living tradition that was never extinguished, coming into its own again, and therefore it happened more or less automatically, and perhaps even effortlessly. I wouldn’t say that anything like that couldn’t possibly happen in any of the Catholic countries or any of the Protestant countries; it’s just not something organic to those countries.

    Q: Just another question related to what comes after all of this, what comes after progress. In terms of population growth we’re on a fairly steep curve. I think the projection for the end of the century is something like 11 billion. Without peak oil, and without the huge surplus of energy we’ve been given - I think 97 percent of agriculture production in the US is from fossil fuels – would we be expecting a sharp decrease in that? I mean, presumably if there was a collapse of industrial civilization there’s a huge surplus population of young people growing in Africa; I think Nigeria’s population is scheduled to outpace the US by the middle of this century. Would we potentially be looking at near-devastating effects in terms of famine, in terms of population die-offs?

    A: Well, I think there’ll be die-offs. I think for long periods of time in various parts of the world the death rate will exceed the birth rate, which is all it takes. That’s another exponential that societies tend to follow: they expand exponentially, then they contract exponentially.

    In terms of looking at over-population overall, how is Nigeria relevant to Russia or Canada? Is it [relevant] at all? Are Russia and Canada overpopulated? Are they in any danger of being overpopulated? As far as hunger [is concerned], is there enough land, if tilled by hand, to feed let’s say ten times the Russian population? Well, yes. Where I’m sitting right now, I have my field; the neighbors have their fields, and around that we have tall grass that nobody even cuts for hay because there isn’t really the need. It’s fallow. So if this village where I am were to expand by a factor of 10, we would still have a lot of fallow land. And that’s not even touching the forest, which is huge. So I don’t think Russia has an overpopulation problem. Russia has an under-population problem.

    You could make the point that, well…Russia’s okay, but then what about Bangladesh? Bangladesh has the same population as the entire Russian Federation and it is smaller than one of the smaller Russian regions, of which there are something over seventy. So what about Bangladesh? The answer is, well, Bangladesh isn’t Russia, is it, so what’s the topic of conversation? It’s pointless to talk about global population, absolutely pointless, because again, you’re considering a fictional entity called ‘the globe’, whereas where you’re sitting can observe a tiny fraction of it and you will never meet any of those people. You will probably never travel outside of a few countries that are safe to visit. So it’s pointless to talk about.

    Q: Right. And in terms of discourse I guess this is where the global element comes into it, especially in recent years. A lot of people talk about it and often tie this into collapse, a global sort of ecological collapse tied into global warming that will eventually reach a precipice and potentially destroy the Anthropocene. Obviously you don’t take those kinds of projections very seriously, do you?

    A: Well, those projections are based on models that… the more I’ve looked into it, the more I became convinced that it’s all just – not to put too fine a point on it – bullshit. It’s political bullshit. There’s no real credible science behind any of it. It’s all just an effort to eke out some kind of economic advantage.

    Q: That’s quite interesting. Is that a popular belief in Russia, or is it quite a dissident belief there as well?

    A: Well, in Russia there isn’t any mechanism for making everybody believe some outlandish thing like there is in the West. People tend to listen to you and say yeah, you sound like you know what you’re talking about, but do you? And so they look at weather trends and listen to a lot of scientists. Russian scientists are also an unruly bunch. There isn’t this kind of Western groupthink where either you believe in global warming and cataclysmic climate change or you are shit out of luck and you’ve just been fired. There isn’t that.

    So that for instance there are Russian scientists who are puzzled by the fact that the global ocean has been warming. That’s been going on for a few decades now, and it’s been warming all the way through, starting from the bottom, great depths. And it turns out that the entire planet is warming up a little bit. There’s something similar to a nuclear reactor; it is [poorly understood], but it’s hiding deep in the molten magma of the earth’s core and it seems to have kicked up a notch. Now it probably fluctuates, goes up and down, but that may explain a bit of the warming. And then on the other hand it counteracts a tendency which is that the sun is approaching a major solar minimum, which would actually make the earth cooler. And because the ocean is warming a lot more CO2 is percolating from the ocean waters – massively more than any industrial activity could produce; just orders of magnitude higher. So that may have something to do with the greenhouse effect kicking up a little bit, but as far as cataclysms [are concerned] I think the biggest risk we run is the onset of the next ice age because we’re overdue for one. And there are plenty of scientists who believe that.

    Q: It’s quite interesting. We’re coming up to an hour, so I’ll just finish with this. A lot of work has been done in terms of forecasts and political trends. I’m not familiar with the work of Peter Turchin but he predicts that the 2020s would be the most polarized decade in a century. We’ve seen things this year that might have been unimaginable just a couple of years ago. So I’m curious: from your perspective, looking ahead for the next decade, what do you think we should expect to see in the next ten years? Will this be the start of the kind of collapse you’re talking about and what can we expect to see in terms of social and political ramifications?

    A: Well, I predicted that the United States would collapse in the foreseeable future. Sometime around 1996 I realized that that was going to happen [but] I kept quiet about it for quite a while and then early this century I started thinking about publishing about it, and actually started doing it now, 20 years into the new century.

    This notion that the United States is going to collapse is not the least bit outlandish. A lot of people are saying the same thing. So to that extent, I am vindicated and I expect that I will be fully vindicated while I’m still alive, definitely. In fact I’m planning to move on to doing something else with my time once the United States does collapse because the subject matter will be effectively tapped out as far as I’m concerned.

    Q: All right. It’s been a fascinating interview. If you’d just like to finish off by promoting your work, where people can find your website, anything like that. Please go ahead.

    A: Yes, it’s the main website, off which everything branches out is ClubOrlov.blogspot.com. And I publish for subscribers only on SubscribeStar and Patreon. I publish a couple of articles every month. [I have a] pretty large readership so I welcome people to join me.

    Q: All right. That’s excellent. I recommend your books as well. They’re fantastic reading and I definitely think those kinds of topics are becoming increasingly relevant, and people are looking for relevant materials.

    It was great to have you on, and again I thank you for joining me. Thank you very much.
    Last edited by Chris, 12th August 2020 at 10:45.

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  5. #708
    Senior Member NotAPretender's Avatar
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    I'm here today as neither a Roman, friend, or a countryman to make a concession to reality as it is. I'll make it short and not so sweet:

    A number of notable scientists have speculated that we are at a tipping point of survival. And no, none of the usual suspects are in question. Whether global change, plague, nuclear holocaust, immigration, mail-in voting or whatever one's personal demons tells them it is. It is a great unknown what has rendered an apparent Universe devoid of advanced life. My simple thought, question really, is we may well have experienced this play, the occurrence of societal demise to total destruction, perhaps multiple times in the distant past. (5 is a nice round number)

    The ancient gods that produced all the great edifices found everywhere on our planet are they themselves nowhere to be found. Why? I say because they destroyed themselves in moments of desperation. Desperation wrought by the 'nobodys' that had always obsequiously deferred to their power, superiority, their godliness ... until, their exploitation became so ostentatious that it was no longer functional for civilization.

    It has for the count of time been the last resort for the damned, those that recognize that their value is used up, to pull the edifices down with them as they head for the door. I think this is happening as we speak. The gods are falling and they don't like it, they still fight but the countdown has started. All the nobody has to do is feel around themselves to sense the shaking of the foundations of civilization as they have been for these last few thousands of years. But it has been like this for countless thousands of years, as long as the human has walked this earth, it possessed the buried inclination for self-destruction.

    Will we outlast it? One can only hope that the last twenty millenia has imbued us with some level of wisdom and insight. Even more critically, foresight. I think so.
    “If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.”

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  7. #709
    Super Moderator Wind's Avatar
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    Very good thoughts and questions you present NAP.

    I am a bit pessimistic about the current situation, but also always in my heart lies the secret optimism and belief in the goodness of all human beings and as long there is life, there is hope too. Note that life doesn't end in death either, but in general we talk about life here on Earth, in this physical form and we are not only focused on our survival, but in a life worth living too. We want to thrive!

    If whatever cataclysm brings us down to our knees as a civilization again, then we certainly have brought it upon ourselves.

    Earth will always survive, but society as it is would not continue in it's current insane form which is based on greed and lust for power. There may be a lesser amount of people who will have to start all over again. Will all of this "progress" be a waste and will the people of the future remember and know the wisdoms that have been preserved until now? We hardly even remember and know the wisdoms of the ancients and we know almost nothing of their connection to spirit.

    It would seem that humanity (often I don't even want to call myself a homo sapiens) always is doomed to self-destruction because of our ignorance and arrogance. The modern man and especially the modern materialist scientist thinks that they have conquered the world and know the truth. Yet they don't even know themselves! What constitutes a man? As the Oracle of Delphi said; "Know thyself!"

    I read somewhere that the Age of Aquarius would start around 2025 and that would bring a lot of technical advancements. Yet the problem still remains, humanity lacks the wisdom to handle such things. I truly hope that we can still somehow find a peaceful way towards (r)evolution and not let the demons run amok.

    "If the infinite had not desired man to be wise, he would not have bestowed upon him the faculty of knowing."

    ~ Manly P. Hall

    "Pluto will briefly enter Aquarius in 2023, and re-enter in 2024, staying there until 2044. As you know from previous articles, this will be the “Spring” of the 21st century, when collectively we shall awaken from the “Winter” of 2000-2025, and see the growth of what this coming century is all about. It will certainly be a welcome change from the barrenness of what has been and is, and will be a period where much that is good will be redeemed from the wreckage of the destroyed failed systems we presently live within.

    During that season of 2025-2050, Pluto will reawaken the seeds of life-light that humanity is in its collective nature, and we shall see things not dreamed of in hundreds, if not thousands, of years. The collective will become aware of things that up to now have been revolutionary ideas and ideals dreamed and revealed by the trailblazers who have tuned into the Uranian and Neptunian patterns.

    As befits the qualities of Aquarius (and coincidentally, the Dwapara Yuga), new forms will show us new ways of being alive and using the miraculous electro-magnetic principles of creation to bring forth a much more effective and loving way of being Spirits in this material world. We will re-discover miracles of how the natural world works, and find solutions to everything that plagues humanity.

    The workings of these 3 planets are preparing us for an era to come, as different from our present mechanistic collective delusion as we are from the inquisitors of the 15th century. On a final note, I can definitely tell you that the long-term future of humanity is very bright, but don’t count on it looking anything like what we value or think today."

    ~ Robert Wilkinson
    Last edited by Wind, 16th August 2020 at 19:14.

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  9. #710
    Senior Member NotAPretender's Avatar
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    good stuff... Robert Wilkinson has a vision ...
    “If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.”

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  11. #711
    Super Moderator United States Dreamtimer's Avatar
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    It has for the count of time been the last resort for the damned, those that recognize that their value is used up, to pull the edifices down with them as they head for the door. I think this is happening as we speak.
    Makes me think of this book.



    We have had the ability since I was a child to prepare for energy crises, climate crises, and societal crises, and instead of dealing with them we went into denial while chasing short-term profits.

    And so we are now woefully unprepared for the various imminent disasters which could befall us. We will suffer more than necessary because of our short-sightedness.

    As Americans, we have set an example for the world. It hasn't ended up being a very good one, imo.

    I like the Wilkinson quote a lot. I will hold it in my consciousness, and my heart.

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  13. #712
    Senior Member giovonni's Avatar
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    Thinking

    U.S. politicians/protesters should take note ...

    Belarus: Lukashenko announces constitutional changes,
    hints at new elections | DW News



    There's been a ninth night of protests in the Belarusyan capital calling for president Alexander Lukashenko to step down. That's despite signs from Lukashenko that he may be prepared to hold fresh elections under certain conditions. He announced that new elections could be held after Belarus adopts a new constitution - hours after telling a crowd of striking workers that elections would not be held "unless you kill me." His latest remarks mark a major change of tack for the besieged Lukashenko who has so far defied calls to give up power amid mass protests. But following his controversial re-election last week - and after 26 years under his rule, many Belarusyans want change now.

    Aug 18, 2020

    14:50 minutes


    Presenting an alternative to the alternative community.

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  15. #713
    Senior Member NotAPretender's Avatar
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    Those nobodys are truly courageous...
    “If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.”

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  17. #714
    Senior Member Hungary
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    Absolutely fascinating interview with Dmitry Orlov, with topics that include collapse, the technosphere, advances in Nuclear Technology by Russia and China and how Russia was able to develop a Coronavirus vaccine so quickly by repurposing existing Soviet research.

    http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2020/0...nity.html#more

    “Our technologies could destroy humanity”

    Interview for Sputnik Germany
    Part 1: https://de.sputniknews.com/interview...eit-bedrohung/

    Part 2: https://de.sputniknews.com/interview...logie-vorteil/

    Audio: https://soundcloud.com/sna-radio/our...rlov-exclusive

    Audio in German: https://soundcloud.com/sna-radio/uns...orlov-exklusiv

    Sputnik: Mr Orlov, today we want to discuss your newest book, “Shrinking the Technosphere” (the German version), but before we start this I would like to deepen one of your answers in our first Sputnik Germany interview.

    You said that the US central bank (the Federal Reserve) created new collateral in the banking ‘repo’ crisis of 2019. I would add two more questions: How would you define ‘collateral’? And you said that the US dollar would lose massive value in the next few months; what makes you so sure of it?

    A: Well, to answer the first question, perhaps I misspoke in the first interview. The Fed did not so much create collateral as redeem US Treasuries and other debt instruments as collateral because banks stopped being so willing to honor them as collateral for overnight loans between banks, and so the Fed had to step in and provide these loans, provide the liquidity for these loans to the order of hundreds of billions of dollars of new money that was put into circulation—between banks, not into the broader economy.

    So what that shows is that faith in US debt (and the US dollar consists of US debt at this point), that that faith was not as rock solid as some people would like to believe.

    Now as far as the second question, why the dollar is likely to lose value: if you look at the value of a currency, you have to stack it up against productive capacity that underlies it. Money is a way of paying for goods and services. There has been a drastic increase in the supply of money. Right now the US government is on track to finance half of its budget using new debt—that is, basically the budget deficit is 50 percent of the federal budget, it’s on track to be that. But we don’t see any increase in the productive capacity of the United States to go with this vast increase in the money supply. In fact, the US economy has shrunk by a large amount, and it’s absolutely uncertain whether it will recover any time soon.

    So basically we have more money, we have less stuff to buy with this money, and the result of that is that the money is going to be worth less. The logic of that is extremely simple.

    Q: OK. Thank you very much. Now Mr. Orlov, your newest book is entitled “Shrinking the Technosphere.” So my questions: what is the technosphere, and why should it or will it shrink? What is your approach in this? And for our audience, you yourself can be seen as a technologist, as a computer scientist. What is your take on this whole topic?

    A: Well, the term ‘technosphere’ was more or less coined by Vladimir Vernadsky, and he was a big proponent of the idea of the biosphere, of the living Earth as an organism, predating Lovelock’s Gaia and all of that. And then he coined the term ‘noosphere’, which was basically the knowledge, human knowledge, of the biosphere and of the physical realm that allowed us to extend it in various ways. He was a real scientific optimist: he thought that scientific knowledge would allow us to make drastic enhancements to the way life on earth is lived by humans and everyone.

    And he also said that there is something called the technosphere, and that term has been in circulation ever since, to some extent. But then it turned out that the noosphere is really fractured and uncertain. It’s uncertain whether science is being used for good or evil: the prevalence of nuclear weapons, for instance, would show that the noosphere is not such a benevolent thing.

    And instead what we see is the emergence of a technosphere, which is a single, integrated, global technological realm that is beyond anyone’s capacity to control it. That is, it is an entity that can be said to have a mind of its own, or at least an agenda of its own, and it has its own methods. It uses humans as opposed to humans using it. We do not have very much agency within it. All we can do is try to constrain it within our own lives.

    Right now it is in a transition period. It tries to expand continually, but that expands the use of natural resources and that can’t go on forever because the amount of natural resources available is limited. Right now the technosphere is fracturing into zones of high technological development, and zones of low technological development, with buffer zones between these emergent parts of the technosphere, and this is a very interesting, very important process to recognize because it doesn’t really come down to political strategy or economic strategy or financial strategy. Because, as I said, the technosphere has an agenda of its own, and to understand what it is doing it is important to start thinking like a machine, which is not something that we normally do. And we also have to abandon every notion of morality, because the technosphere has absolutely no sense of morality at all. It can keep us happy, if that serves its interests, or it can kill us if that serves its interests. Or something in between.

    Q: So if I understand you right, the current corona crisis where people are working at home offices and doing online conferences—this is not really the technology you are talking about? You give a broader view on this whole subject?

    A: Well, the corona crisis has been very useful to the technosphere in terms of allowing it to grab more control, to seize control. Because one of the compulsions that the technosphere has is to forever increase its control of us humans. It doesn’t like living things; it prefers robots and machines. It prefers humans to act like machines to the greatest extent possible, so it tries to define technical functions for everyone and have everyone follow certain protocols. And of course it tries to keep tabs on everyone so as soon as someone steps out of line an alarm bell goes off somewhere, and some technician deals with the problem. Basically, to the technosphere humans are a technical problem to solve, and the way to solve it is by replacing human functions with automated functions—artificial intelligence, robots, etc.—to the greatest extent possible, and the remaining humans (because it’s impossible to completely eliminate the humans, especially human technicians) to control them as strictly as possible. And the coronavirus, by forcing people to keep distance between each other, and by relying on electronic communications techniques as opposed to face-to-face contact, has allowed the technosphere to be maximally disruptive of human relationships, and to cause us to behave like robots to the greatest extent possible, which is a win for it.

    So it seized on this opportunity presented by a not particularly lethal virus to extend its sphere of control.

    Q: Mr. Orlov, you wrote in your new book: “Most people are happy with high-tech replacement products, microwave ovens, smartphones, etc. Devices have reduced elegant handwriting to an outdated insignificance.”

    So, if I may ask naively, what is the problem then?

    A: Well, these things work for a while: a microwave oven works for, let’s say, three or five years, and then it stops working. And then what do you do? Run out and buy another one? What if you don’t have money? What if they don’t make any more microwave ovens because the resources for making microwave ovens have run out? What if your country can no longer import microwave ovens because it’s broke and the exporting countries won’t sell microwave ovens on credit? Well, then you’re stuck because you forgot how to cook, and then you starve. That’s the problem with technology: it’s like climbing a ladder while cutting out and burning the rungs of the ladder underneath you. You can only climb up; you cannot climb down. All you can do is fall down and die.

    Q: Interesting answer; thank you very much. Another interesting part, you write: “Firstly, the question of exactly what is so efficient in these new facilities is hardly examined…” I will cut it a bit: basically what you wrote reminded me of Rudy Dutschke. He was a famous sociologist, political activist and student leader in the sixties in Western Germany. He was later shot to death. In one old German TV interview he said, basically, that considering technological progress, mankind should not have to work. In the future, technical solutions will help mankind with tasks and bring them more free time. My question is, why didn’t this work out? Why was this promise not fulfilled?

    A: Because the purpose of technology is not to benefit humans, it’s to benefit the technosphere. The technosphere uses humans as moving parts, paying them as little as possible for their services in order to expand its control as quickly and dramatically as possible. So there is really no hope that we will ever gain freedom by expanding our use of technology. We can gain some measure of freedom by limiting our technological choices to essentials that we can produce and maintain ourselves to the greatest extent possible. But we cannot just go with the program and expect it to work out for us.

    Q: Interesting. Why is technology destroying jobs?

    A: Because humans are messy. The good thing about humans is that, left to their own devices, they make more humans; they breed. Machines don’t breed; you actually have to make them. On the other hand, you have to continue to house and feed humans even after they stop working. That’s called retirement. You can’t scrap them like you can machines. So there are pluses and minuses. Also, humans expect a work week: they can’t work 24/7. On the other hand, it’s easier to grow food than to produce electricity, to some extent, and humans can grow their own food to some extent. So there are pluses and minuses, but on the balance of it the technosphere just doesn’t like humans. It wants to replace us with robots and artificial intelligence to the greatest extent possible.

    Q: OK. Mr. Orlov, you also write in your new book that technology can be a fetish and enslave people…making them dependent on, let’s say, smartphones. Is this the term fetish coined by Karl Marx, or what do you mean exactly?

    A: No. I mean fetish as in a sexual fetish. People who like footwear, or stockings, or leather, things like that. It’s on that level. You see people, say in public transportation, clinging to their smartphones as if they were some kind of a talisman to ward off evil. You see people fondling their smartphones, and that’s basically a symptom of a psychological disorder, of dependence, an attachment disorder of some sort. If people have their smartphones removed from them, or even if they have to survive without wifi access for a couple of days, they’re likely to become catatonic and sit there and rock back and forth. They’ll need psychiatric treatment after that. So people are coming to realize this and internet access is being treated as a human right. Now, from the point of view of the technosphere, that’s perfect. That makes humans perfectly controllable. All you have to do to get them to stay in line is to threaten to cut off their internet access. That’s all you have to do. You don’t have to imprison them; you don’t have to whip them; you don’t have to punish them at all. All you have to do is threaten to cut off their internet access.

    Q: That leads me to my next question, because in German we have a word for what you describe in your newest book. It’s called technologie gläubigkeit or wissenschaft gläubigkeit. This means the tendency to neglect the negative social consequences, or to declare technology sacrosanct. Is this what you mean?

    A: Well, yes. It’s an article of faith that nobody is allowed to question, that technology is good; that modern technology is better than outdated technology; that more technology is better than less technology; and that every single problem you can imagine has some kind of technological solution. Or, if it doesn’t, then the task is to invent that technological solution. There is never any discussion of the fact that there is already too much technology, too much dependence on it, that we should fall back on strategies that have worked for hundreds, maybe thousands, maybe millions of years before, because these technologies definitely haven’t hurt us in the long run, whereas the technologies we are using today—because they are modern, they are untested—they could be fatal. They could be very damaging and they could be extremely harmful.

    Q: You also speak indirectly about espionage and the military sector because you also mention the use of technology for surveillance purposes, for example. Are you, like Julian Assange or Edward Snowden, a critic of these surveillance technologies, or what is your view on this?

    A: Well, there are plusses and minuses. If you live in a small village where everybody knows each other and everybody is willing to come to each other’s defense, you have a low crime rate and children play in the street and everybody is happy that way. If you mix people up, if you force them to live alongside strangers in large cities, there’s a lot of alienation, and because of that there is a lot of crime—just because of that, because people don’t deal with each other face to face very well in those circumstances. The solution is to introduce surveillance. It’s not as good a solution as having everybody live within tight-knit communities, but it is a solution. So, security cameras all over the place do save lives, do prevent crime from being committed in bad circumstances. It’s basically a bad solution to a bad problem.

    But in terms of population control, surveillance technologies, in terms of suppressing free speech, for instance, in terms of dealing with dissidents and neutralizing them, these technologies are horrid. So, for instance, all of the censorship that is being perpetrated through social media, where just about anything that somebody doesn’t like can be labeled as hate speech, or as bullying, or as abusive, just because somebody doesn’t like it, just because it’s against somebody’s ideology. Now that is very dangerous and very bad.

    Q: Next question: Who benefits from technology?

    A: Well, first of all, the main beneficiary of technology is the technosphere itself. It perpetuates its own agenda of infinite growth and ever greater control. Humans benefit from technology to the extent that the technosphere finds them useful, so certainly engineers and technicians are privileged. Various other professionals are definitely privileged. Even manual laborers in jobs that cannot be automated or replaced with robots can be privileged, but once they are replaced with robots they’re pretty much completely useless, so the technosphere can deal with them by providing them with alcohol and drugs, for instance, to make sure that they die sooner, and that is the typical pattern.

    Q: So Mr. Orlov, the next question, which you told me upfront would be given a broad answer. What role does technology play in economy and trade?

    A: It plays a huge role, because at this point there is very little economic activity that happens without, for instance, the use of products derived from crude oil. Nothing moves without products derived from crude oil. There is really nothing green about that and never will be. And so that is a technological process. The technosphere really took off after the discovery of fossil fuels: first coal, then oil, natural gas, nuclear; and it will only continue to the extent that it can while these resources can be exploited. And now that they’re running low in most parts of the world the technosphere has to isolate itself and sequester itself in various promising zones that still have enough resources to keep it alive for the time being. So if you look at world trade, it will be between the parts of the world that the technosphere can still inhabit. And various parts of the world that the technosphere finds useless to its purposes will find themselves cut off.

    Q: Mr. Orlov, what do you think of nuclear technology in general?

    A: Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a nuclear technology in general. There is, for instance, nuclear technology in the United States. It has around a hundred nuclear power plants. A lot of them are still in use. A lot of them are very old. The United States at this point lacks the technology to safely dismantle them, or the funds to do so. As far as replacing these nuclear power plants, they no longer have the technical expertise to do so, and its latest attempt to build a nuclear reactor has been a fiasco.

    On the other hand, if you look at Rosatom, the Russian nuclear corporation, it is well on the way to developing the closed nuclear cycle which will solve the problem of high-level nuclear waste. It will make it possible to burn up high-level nuclear waste in nuclear reactors until it becomes low-level nuclear waste that can be safely disposed of. And on the other hand it will make it possible to use uranium 238 as fuel. Right now it’s being called depleted uranium, and it’s considered useless for most purposes, except maybe making American armaments, because it’s a very heavy, dense, hard metal. But if it is used as fuel, then there are literally thousands of years of fuel available.

    So the Russians are building out this technology, and not just in Russia but in other countries around the world—in Iran, in Egypt; many other countries. China is following pretty much the same program with a certain lag, but it can license Russian technology. And everybody else is pretty much left behind. So if you look at nuclear technology, it’s pretty much Russia, China, and maybe France still has some capacity left. Certainly not the United States. Germany has decided to get rid of all nuclear technology and embrace renewables, so now its electricity is six times more expensive than in Russia, making it pretty much a futile pursuit to manufacture anything in Germany. Other countries perhaps have the option—like Egypt—of buying into the Russian nuclear program, or, if they’re hostile toward Russia, as for instance Great Britain has been, they won’t have a chance to do so.

    Q: Next question, Mr. Orlov. You wrote about the correlation between technology and medicine. To quote: Ukraine, to give just one example, is now Europe’s breeding ground for polio and measles, which were eradicated while Ukraine remained in the USSR. Could you elaborate on this?

    A: Yes. The Soviet Union made a major investment in public health, and eradicated many infectious diseases. The legacy of that is still being used. For instance right now, the plague, bubonic plague, has come back in Mongolia and a neighboring region of the Russian Federation, in Tuva. And the vaccine that was developed by Soviet scientists is being used today to vaccinate the people and stop that epidemic. And there are similar examples. For instance, the Sputnik V vaccine for coronavirus was developed in the Soviet Union in the 80s, and has now been repurposed, basically given a different payload, to develop immunity against the coronavirus.

    There are many similar examples of technology being put to good use to save human lives, and a lot of that was done as public policy as opposed to commercial, privatized medicine, which is what, for example, the Americans are trying to do, rather unsuccessfully.

    Q: So the next question, and I would ask one more thing regarding the Sputnik V vaccine. You said it was already developed in the Soviet Union. It is now reshaped, or a new version, but the formula is older, from Soviet times?

    A: Yes, the technique. It uses the adenovirus, a modified version of it that lacks the ability to replicate within the human body. The vaccine uses the adenovirus as the delivery vehicle. That’s most of what this technology is, and it’s proven, effective, etc.. And the payload is a little bit of the coronavirus genome that’s been chopped out specifically. It’s the bit that generates the spike protein that allows the virus to penetrate human cells. And so the adenovirus is introduced into the body, penetrates cells and releases its payload. The cells then produce the protein—at this point it doesn’t have very much to do with the coronavirus itself except for this one spike protein. That protein then reacts with the immune system and antibodies are generated, which is the end result of the whole process. And since the adenovirus lacks the ability to replicate, it just gets flushed out of the system. So the only new ingredient is the spike protein. It’s not toxic on its own; it doesn’t do anything on its own, really, except trigger an immune response, because the body doesn’t recognize it, which is what it has to do. So that’s the reason that the Russians were able to do this so quickly, and so successfully. Because it’s basically reuse of an existing technique with a slight modification.

    Q: Okay. Thank you very much. Coming back to your book, you wrote that the ability to dislodge and then exploit people is a key ingredient in the technosphere’s success. Why is this?

    A: Well, because if you have cohesive human societies that take care of their own members, they’re rather difficult to exploit. They tend to be picky in terms of what jobs they choose; they expect to be well compensated for their effort, and they have lots of fallbacks. For instance, if times are hard they can go back to the land, live with their relatives, with their clan, grow their own food and feel perfectly safe. And then if conditions improve they might go to the cities, look for work, etc. But if you run people off the land, if you disrupt communities, if you introduce completely incompatible strangers speaking a strange language into the community, make people afraid of each other, introduce a level of violence—for instance, take people from war zones and introduce them into communities that are used to very peaceful circumstances, you will make people so desperate that they will do just about anything just to survive because they have no fallback, they have no community support, they’re surrounded by strangers—they’re desperate, and they’ll accept anything. So that’s the technosphere’s trick for exploiting people. Disrupt and destroy communities by introducing strangers, and make that community behave not as a community but as alienated, desperate individuals.

    Q: Mr. Orlov, what is your conclusion and what will the technological future look like regarding [unintelligible], AI [unintelligible], digitalizing [unintelligible] consciousness. What’s your take on this?

    A: Well, I think a lot of it is just fluff. A lot of this fancy new technology is nothing. I think AI and neural net programming is useful for quite a few specific jobs. As far as digital versions of your elderly relatives, etc., that’s a little bit science fiction at this point. I think overall a lot of people will be forced to shrink their use of technology to some extent. Just the economic circumstances will force them to do so. On the other hand it’s a very potent technique: the internet and smartphones are very potent technique to keep people calm and to control them. So to that extent I think it will still be used, but I don’t expect there to be anything particularly outlandish in daily use by regular people. I think a lot of that will remain as propaganda, as technological, techno-utopian propaganda. There’s always plenty of that: there’s always talk of space missions to Mars and flying cars and what have you. That’s just a constant barrage, but that’s just propaganda.

    Q: Thank you very much. My last question: do you have a positive scenario, or do you see a negative future scenario? Will it be like the movie The Terminator, or will technology give mankind a positive vibe, let’s say like in Startrek?

    A: Well, I think it’s none of the above. We have no choice but to use technology. Cooking food, for instance, is a form of technology. Making clothes out of whatever—out of tree bark—is still technology. So we’ll always have some kind of technology. The question is, what kind of technology will it be? How much of it will be under our control, or not? I think we’ll live in a world that is increasingly agrarian. The amount of energy needed to maintain huge cities is just not going to be available in most places in the world. So the world will be increasingly local and agrarian, but I think there’ll still be some very useful gadgets. So, for instance, the fact that it’s possible to keep an entire library of material on a single SD card is a major breakthrough compared to paper carriers for books. Some of that may persist for quite a while. The problem is that such uses for technology require technology clusters that can produce and maintain it, and the question is in which parts of the world can these technology clusters be maintained. If you look, these will be places that have the entire technological chain, starting with mining and fossil fuel production, on to nuclear fuel production, on to everything needed to maintain an electric grid, everything needed to educate and train people who will produce semiconductors and write software, and all of the support for that. There are just a few places in the world where it’s possible to imagine that something like that will persist for many decades, perhaps centuries.

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  19. #715
    Super Moderator United States Dreamtimer's Avatar
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    The dreaded/desired collapse is being fueled in part by much teeth-gnashing over antifa, a supposedly very dangerous organization. Which is not organized. And what's so wrong with being anti-fascist? Seems like fascism is a good thing to be against and perhaps there should be more organization of such a thing.

    The Smithsonian has taken a look at antifa over time.





    Demonstration on May Day with antifascist banners, on May 1, 1929 in New York. (Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)


    Eluard Luchell McDaniels traveled across the Atlantic in 1937 to fight fascists in the Spanish Civil War, where he became known as “El Fantastico” for his prowess with a grenade. As a platoon sergeant with the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion of the International Brigades, the 25-year-old African American from Mississippi commanded white troops and led them into battle against the forces of General Franco, men who saw him as less than human. It might seem strange for a Black man to go to such lengths for the chance to fight in a white man’s war so far from home—wasn’t there enough racism to fight in the United States?—but McDaniels was convinced that anti-fascism and anti-racism were one and the same. “I saw the invaders of Spain [were] the same people I’ve been fighting all my life," Historian Peter Carroll quotes McDaniels as saying. "I’ve seen lynching and starvation, and I know my people’s enemies.”

    McDaniels was not alone in seeing anti-fascism and anti-racism as intrinsically connected; the anti-fascists of today are heirs to almost a century of struggle against racism. While the methods of Antifa have become the object of much heated political discourse, the group’s ideologies, particularly its insistance on physical direct action to prevent violent opression, are much better understood when seen in the framework of a struggle against violent discrimination and persecution began almost a century ago.
    By James Stout

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  21. #716
    Senior Member Fred Steeves's Avatar
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    Nice to be reassured that unneeded violence is never a product of the Left, makes it pretty clear and simple that if we can just get rid of the Right, peace and prosperity will reign supreme across the kingdom.

    Perhaps Antifa could actually get its act together, to help the incorruptible and long known great humanitarian Joe Biden lead the way into a new golden age of law and order. Fingers crossed. Go team D!
    The unexamined life is not worth living.

    Socrates

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    Senior Member NotAPretender's Avatar
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    Fred nails another one!
    “If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.”

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  25. #718
    Super Moderator United States Dreamtimer's Avatar
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    I'm more interested in history repeating itself.

    I'm not sure why one side needs to be pointed to. The whole country was involved in the fight against fascism, not just one side.

    But I understand how easy it is to cop out and assume that I'm giving the nod to one side or the other.

    Facile, even.

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    Super Moderator United States Dreamtimer's Avatar
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    Here's some general advice, freely given. For whomever may need it.


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    Senior Member NotAPretender's Avatar
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    I would think that fascism transcends Red and Blue in the United States. Perhaps not? Everyday is a learning experience.
    “If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.”

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