Thursday, June 22, 2006

Comparing the Collapse of the Soviet and American Empires

I commend to you, the internet, this brilliant presentation by Dmitri Orlov: Closing the Collapse Gap. The whole presentation is really funny in a "we are all completely fucked" sort of way. His premise is that the American empire will soon suffer the kind of economic collapse that killed the old Soviet Union. We suffer a lot of the same problems including crazed military spending, government deficits, trade deficits and "delusions of grandeur [that] prevent honest political discussion." On the other hand, the Russians had a lot of social structures that allowed them to weather the collapse, including closeknit multigenerational families living under one roof, instead of diffuse families isolated in suburbs. Another amusing pair of bullet points on the families slide. Russian families: "Accostomed to hardship"; American families: "Feelings of entitlement."

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