Monday, February 22, 2010

The Collapse of Civilizations and Societies: Part one

From the beginning of human existence societies and civilizations have risen and come to an end. Today we can find evidence of previous advanced civilizations and their engineering feats in Rome, the Pyramids in Egypt, and the statues of the Easter Islands and in the Pyramids of the Mayans. The world that we live in today is the most complex of all human civilizations that have ever existed. Globalizations mean that we can travel around the world with jet aircraft in a matter of hours and communicate with people around the world in matter of seconds with electronic communications. Products are made in one country and shipped around the world to be sold in various markets. The world is today partly governed by International Institutions like the United Nations (UN), The World Bank and The International Monetary Fund (IMF). Regional organizations like the European Union (EU) have also become more and more important. It’s hard to imagine that our civilization could come to an end like the civilizations before us.

This series of posts will try to give a picture of the research and theories that covers this subject. What can be learned from historical events and the societies of the past? Why do civilizations collapse? When have they collapsed? One of the most recent examples of a collapse is the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Collapse of the Soviet Union changed the nature of the international system from bi-polar with two super powers during the Cold War to a uni-polar system with one remaining superpower. After the collapse many people lost their jobs, lost their savings, crime increased drastically and the access of many consumer products was reduced.

The first theory that will be presented is the theory of Super Power Collapse by Dmitry Orlov. Orlov is a Russian/American writer that has written about the collapse of Soviet Union and he’s theory about why superpowers collapse. Orlovs theory is that four factors in combination lead to this collapse.

• The first factor is the severe shortage of crude oil
• The second factor is severe and worsening trade deficit
• The third factor is a increasing military budget
• The forth factor is an increasing foreign debt. Its Orlovs theory that these factors will lead to the end of the United States as a super power. Orlov has written about this theory in the book “Reinventing Collapse: The Soviet example and American prospect”.

Orlov similar to Michael Ruppert focuses on the importance of oil and fossil fuels for the contemporary societies. Oil is important for a number of sectors like transports, electricity, food production for fertilizers, mechanized machinery, pesticides, energy for irrigation, packing of food in plastics and transports of the food. Orlov does not only present the reason for a collapse but does also present lessons that can be learned from the Soviet collapse and how ordinary people continued their lives when the political system that surrounded them collapsed. Orlov have also held lectures that can be seen for free online. One of the lectures is “Social Collapse Best Practices” from 2009 and can be seen at . Orlov writes and presents he’s message mixed with black humor and sharp analysis. I recommend both the book and the lecture for those that are interested in the subject.

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