This is a wonderful, long essay analyzing the collapse of the Soviet Union and using that to make predictions on what would happen to the United States if we do not find a way to prevent a future energy crisis (which he believes to be very improbable).
Dmitri Orlov believes that although the average life span collapsed by 20 years, the high suicide and alcoholism rates, plus the prevalent lawlessness, that Russia had a soft landing. The failure of communism to grow food was an incentive to force the Russian people to grow their own food. The central planning prevented American styled suburbs, which is a major reason for the American addiction to oil. Because the state owns the housing, there was not a major economically caused homelessness after the collapse.
He believes that the United States will have a much harder time. The vast majority of American do not grow the food that we eat. It is purchased at a supermarket, shipped from thousands of miles away. The trucks, the fertilizers, the pesticides, the herbicides, the tractors all rely on cheap, abundant fossil fuels. Americans live a long distance from work and shopping, driving very inefficient cars. When the financial aspect hits, there will be a huge number of homeless. Also, America has huge racial, ethnic, and economic tensions that could explode during a crisis. A large number of American have guns to make that crisis worse. Orlov believes our situation is similar to the Balkans.
Even though I have given a grim prediction, the tone of the essay has hope and humor. Americans have a sense of community, the willingness to help strangers, and an American pride to endure hard times.
I recommend taking the time to read this work: