Dmitry Orlov, “Social Collapse Best Practices” (MP3 audio), Longnow Foundation, 2009/02/19

What happens to live after a society collapses?  We can learn from history in the former Soviet Union.

With vintage Russian black humor, Orlov described the social collapse he witnessed in Russia in the 1990s and spelled out its practical lessons for the American social collapse he sees as inevitable. The American economy in the 1990s described itself as “Goldilocks”—just the right size—when in fact is was “Tinkerbelle,” and one day the clapping stops. As in Russia, the US made itself vulnerable to the decline of crude oil, a trade deficit, military over-reach, and financial over-reach.

Russians were able to muddle through the collapse by finding ways to manage 1) food, 2) shelter, 3) transportation, and 4) security.

Russian agriculture had long been ruined by collectivization, so people had developed personal kitchen gardens, accessible by public transit. The state felt a time-honored obligation to provide bread, and no one starved. (Orlov noted that women in Russia handled collapse pragmatically, putting on their garden gloves, whereas middle-aged men dissolved into lonely drunks.) Americans are good at gardening and could shift easily to raising their own food, perhaps adopting the Cuban practice of gardens in parking lots and on roofs and balconies.

Dmitri Orlov: Social Collapse Best Practices – The Long Now

MP3 audio

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David Ing blogs at coevolving.com , photoblogs at daviding.com , and microblogs at http://ingbrief.wordpress.com . See .

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