Discussion Questions for
(Note: the Sacred Activism group at St. Paul's United Methodist
Church, 1615 Ogden St. in Denver, is sponsoring a discussion of
Reinventing Collapse on Sept. 11, 2008, 6:30 - 8:00 p. m. All are
welcome. These are the discussion questions I came up with.)
Reinventing Collapse. The Soviet Example and American Prospects. By
Dmitry Orlov. New Society Publishers, 2008.
1. How did you think of "collapse" before you read this
book, and did Orlov’s book cause you to look at things differently?
2. While the subject of the book is serious, Orlov often tries humor.
Did parts of the book seem funny to you? What is your favorite humorous
passage? (Bring examples.)
3. If there was an economic collapse in the United States similar to
that of the Soviet Union, what would change in your personal life? What
would not change? Think about things like food, housing, health,
church, social groups, work, income, school, crime, and so forth.
4. Orlov sees the U. S. and former U. S. S. R. as being similar in a
number of unflattering ways. He also sees the two countries as being
dissimilar, although for the most part these dissimilarities actually
work against the US being able to cope with the collapse. How valid are
these analogies? Are they a cause for concern?
5. Unlike other books describing social evils, Orlov does not use his
book as a platform to rally people to "do something about it."
Why not? Do you agree?
6. On p. 22, Orlov says that the U. S. is facing "a current
account deficit that cannot be sustained, a falling currency, and an
energy crisis, all at once," and this is a recurrent theme in the
book. What is your personal experience of wastefulness and debt in your
own life and the lives of others around you? Why is it so difficult to
get out of debt or to conserve (financial or environmental) resources?
7. What about debt and wastefulness at the national level? Why is
this so difficult to deal with? Is national debt/wastefulness similar to
individual debt/wastefulness or are they different?
8. What is a Christian response to the factors that Orlov says are
the driving forces behind collapse: technology, jails, militarism, debt,
consumption, and a national mythology of progress?
9. If there were an economic and political collapse, how would this
affect the life of the (progressive) church? How would your members
respond? Would you attract new members, and what would their concerns
September 2, 2008