Cassandra has moved. Ugo Bardi publishes now on a new site called "The Seneca Effect."

Monday, January 11, 2021

The Great Reset: The Western Path to Dekulakization


One of the Soviet propaganda posters promoting the collectivization of agriculture in the 1930s. On the lower right, you can see a small man opposing the line of the marching peasants, He is recognizable as a "Kulak," one of the local independent farmers who were dispossessed and partly exterminated to leave space for collectivized farms, considered more efficient. There exist several similarities between the fall of the Kulaki and the current "Great Reset" that sees the destruction of a number of economic activities, such as retail commerce, seen as inefficient in comparison to modern electronic commerce.


In the 1930s, the Soviet Union carried out the "dekulakization" (раскулачивание) of Ukraine. It was the term given to the removal of the relatively wealthy, independent farmers ("kulaki"), to be replaced by collective farms. Their properties were confiscated, many of them were relocated to remote regions, and some were exterminated. We don't know the exact numbers, but surely we are in the range of a few million people. The transition to collectivized farms may have been one of the causes of the great Ukrainian famine of the early 1930s, known as the "Holodomor," 

The reasons for the dekulakization are several. In part, they were related to the belief that large-scale, centrally planned enterprises were the most efficient way to organize production. Then, the Kulaki were seen as a potential enemy for the Soviet Government, while the region they occupied was a strategic asset in terms of food production in an age when famines were an effective war weapon

But these considerations are not enough to explain why the Kulaki were so ruthlessly destroyed in just a few years. It was, rather, just a simple power game: the Soviet Government aimed at controlling all the means of production of the state. It couldn't tolerate that an important section of the economy, food production in Ukraine, was independently managed. And so it intervened with all the might it could muster.

The most interesting part of this story is how the removal/extermination was an early example of a successful propaganda-based demonization campaign. The Kulaki were consistently portrayed as inefficient and unreliable "enemies of the people." Once it was established that an independent farmer was an enemy of the people, then any attempt to defend the Kulaki would automatically turn defenders into enemies of the people. So, the Kulaki were completely overwhelmed, unable to organize any kind of collective resistance. The best they could do was some degree of passive resistance, for instance by hiding food rather than delivering it to the Soviet authorities. Of course, propaganda exploited that to reinforce the message that they were, indeed, enemies of the people. This is the way propaganda works.

At this point, I guess you understand the point I am making: the similarity of the current situation with the dekulakization of nearly a century ago. Also this time, an entire sector of the economy (actually more than one) is being crushed to leave space for different economic entities, believed to be more efficient with providing the same services: mainly the "new economy" of the Silicon Valley companies. This shift is sometimes called "The Great Reset." An appropriate name that could also be applied to the dekulakization. 

The first victim of the Great Reset has been retail commerce. Mom and pop shops everywhere are the modern Kulaki, replaced by the onward marching militias of virtual commerce under the Amazon banner. But also franchises and shopping malls have been badly hit. It is impressive how nobody in the field dared to oppose the destruction of the source of their livelihood -- they were overwhelmed by propaganda, just like the Kulaki. 

Other victims are waiting for the axe: Universities and schools are going to be defunded, obsolete against the onrush of e-learning. Public transport has become nearly useless with the triumph of virtual work and the fear of boarding a crowded bus: it will be replaced by the smart cars and using AI software. Mass tourism and mass air travel are already relics of the past, resources that can be saved and used for other purposes. And the pervasive control of everyone is advancing: now just as at the time of the Soviet Union, those who control the message control everything. In comparison with Soviet times, the modern propaganda effort is similar. Most propaganda is based on demonizing someone and, today, those opposing the Great Reset are labeled as "deniers" (the equivalent of the "enemies of the people" of Soviet times). 

All that doesn't mean that the Great Reset was planned in advance, nor that the virus was manufactured on purpose. It simply means that the various actors in the economic arena saw how they could gain an advantage by acting in a certain way, and they did. These large organizations do not really plan in advance, they have no "brain," but -- like amoebas -- they move in the direction of the food they need. And they act on the principle that says, "never let a good crisis go wasted."

Of course, the Silicon Valley Companies of our times are not the same thing as the Soviet Government of the 1930s. But there are similarities. Those companies that dominate the management of information on the Web operate very much Soviet-style: they are large, pyramidal organizations, often dominated by a charismatic leader (Zuckerberg, Gates, Bezos, etc.). In terms of size and planning style, they are not different from the People's Commissariat for Agriculture (Народный комиссариат земледелия) (Narkomzem), established in 1917, the entity that carried out the dekulakization. And they reason mainly in terms of power balance: they don't like and they don't tolerate competition. 

The difference is that the Narkomzem was part of the state, whereas the Silicon Valley companies are not. They do control large swats of the American government but, on the whole, they are best seen as feudal lords. You can call them "Web Barons."

The current situation looks not unlike when King John of England signed the Magna Carta at Runnymede in 1215, forced to do so by England's Barons. Right now, the US government seems to be overwhelmed by the Barons of the Web, not unlike King John of England was. At least, when you hear that Twitter can cancel the account of the President of the United States, then you understand who is the boss

And here we stand: we are seeing a classic situation in history: a central government being challenged by feudal lords. It is typical of when a state starts its downward path toward collapse, it is what's happening with the Western Empire. So, what's going to happen, now? Can history serve as a guide for us?

History, we know, always rhymes, but never repeats itself. In the 1930s, the Kulaki were destroyed by superior powers and that was the end of the story. Today, the situation is much more fluid. 

For one thing, there is not a single, monolithic entity involved. We have several Barons who temporarily found a common goal, but which are potentially in conflict with each other. Then, the US government is not so weak yet. It still controls (and is controlled by) the military, and that's the crucial element that may change many things. 

It is not clear what the military think of the current situation. Probably they don't have special objections about the elimination of retail commerce and other obsolete economic activities. But they also understand who is paying them: they get their money not from the Web Barons, but from the Government. And they may decide to do something to avoid going the same way as mom and pop shops. A few tanks in front of the Capitol Building would send a much clearer message to the Web Barons than that conveyed by a half-naked, horned shaman. 

If the government is backed by a credible military force, then it would be possible to reduce the power of the monopolies of the Web: Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and the others could be nationalized and/or broken down into less powerful entities. On the other hand, nothing prevents the Web Barons from building up their own military forces. Fluid situation, indeed. 

The only sure thing is that the decline of the West is ongoing. There is little that can be done about that.

After publishing this post, I discovered that the same concept had been developed by another Cassandra, on the "The Cassandra Times" blog. That post came before mine, and it has therefore the honor of being the first having noted that the modern small business owners are the equivalent of the Kulaks of Soviet times.


  1. It should be noted that while collectivization has a very bad reputation, it actually did achieve its stated goals and did solve the problems it was supposed to solve. The Russian Empire suffered from recurrent chronic famines, but after collectivization there was only one famine, and that was immediately after WWII when everything was in ruins. After that food insecurity became a distant memory (the shortages in the early 90s were mostly artificial).

    Of course much of that success is because of oil and industrialization, but the fact remains that the stated goals were accomplished.

    Also, the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s were the most peaceful and prosperous time Eastern Europe has known before or since (for the average person that is).

    It was paid for dearly in terms of human lives in the the 1930s and during WWII, but objectively things did work for the benefit of the common man, at least for some time.

    What we have now is exactly the opposite -- the Big Tech barons' end game is enslavement of everyone, and perhaps even worse.

    1. surprising that the "average person" of the Eastern Europe never realized how lucky they were... I suspect that Anonymous lives and always lived in western Europe. Seen from distance things sometimes appear brighter...

    2. Anonymous was born and raised in Eastern Europe and saw first hand how it changed post-1989. Anonymous also had older relatives who were in their 20s and 30s circa 1944-1945 and were still alive after 1989, and knows very well what their opinion was about life before during and after communism.

    3. That's the beauty of being anoymous: You can be whoever You want!

  2. Thanks for a great thoughtful post! While I disagree with a lot of what you are saying, I appreciate the historical comparisons and you gave me a lot of food for thought.

    One question. You said: " It started from a real problem, the ongoing pandemic, ".
    Isn't it more probable that this is a manufactured scare? CDC and WHO statistics show an IFR equal to (or lower than) the flu. See for exsmple, this analysis:

    Given how easy it is to scare people into submission, I have no doubt that the transnational corporations will win this struggle - just in time for the ecological/population collapse.

    Do you think a world war will follow? After all, war was a traditional way to get rid of troublemakers.

    1. I know that post by Dr. Kendrik. In a sane world, everyone would reason like him. But I said "a real problem" and that doesn't mean it wasn't a manufactured scare. The problem was there, all right, then it was amplified by propaganda. You know how it goes when people start defining someone or something as a "problem." Then someone will think of a solution. And that may be very, very bad.

    2. About a world war..... mmm... hard to say. I would say no, but who knows?

    3. "CDC and WHO statistics show an IFR equal to (or lower than) the flu"

      This is absurd. The EMR in Mexico City will be 0.6% in the coming days, with no sign of the current wave cresting.

      There is absolutely no way one can wiggle out of that brute fact.

      The CDC gives an IFR that is at least 2X lower than the real one for the same reason that the CDC actively sabotaged containment in January and February.

      And what the IFR is is kind of irrelevant given that people get each of the four regular coronaviruses dozens of times over the course of their lives, and this virus is not going to behave any differently when it comes to natural immunity. It is, however, many times more contagious than those four.

      It might be a 1-1.5% chance of dying, but when you roll the dice 10-15 times, things look rather different in terms of probabilities.

      And that is the chance of dying, not the chance of permanent damage.

    4. The IFR is meaningless when so much is left out. How many tests pre day, week, month, how many per thousand, how many asymptomatic, with symptoms, how many positives are hospitalised?

      Also both PCR and Rapid antigen tests have been thoroughly discredited and are totally inaccurate.

      Also that 1-1.5 mortality rate is only for very old people with underlying issues. The entire rest of the population is 0.05 - 0.1.

    5. getting sick with a flu or any virus more than once are independent events, statistically speaking. So no difference at all how many times you get infected and show symptoms.

    6. Georgi Marinov, it's hard to find the truth with so much propaganda especially in US. Why do you think CDC is underreporting the IFR? All the massmedia is using scare tactics to make the problem appear bigger. Since the global corporations now control the state (through CIA, FBI etc) I would think CDC would exaggerate the problem.

      The same with WHO (which is again owned by big pharma).

      It's true that there was a big push to "sabotage containment" like you said. I remember Pelosi saying "go and hug a Chinese". But then something happened and the story flipped!

      Have people noticed similar flips in other countries? I wonder what would cause that?

    7. NomadicBeer,

      There was a flip in Serbia. At first, the authorities ridiculed the danger, and suddenly, after a few days, the same authorities declared that it's extremely dangerous disease. The flip was obviously orchestrated from the Western centers of power. There was some undisclosed agenda followed by the media pro vaccination campaign.

  3. I think that you are overationalizing, assigning purpose and planning where there isn’t any, no the finality of this, is that reason has failed, it has confused our instincts of what is good or bad, wise or foolish clouding everything in a dense cloud of ever shifting rationalizations where everything becomes nothing and nothing becomes everything.

    Nobody is in charge, it is the demons and hallucinations hatched inside their fevered minds that are in charge, their illusions of being in charge are exactly that, illusions.

    Think back to the court intriguers who murdered Stilichon and carried out a pogrom against his troops families or at later time the mediocre courtiers who plunged Europe into WWI, they were very sure of the great future that they were ushering, the reality turned out to be otherwise. Everything they ostensibly valued was destroyed and all of them ended up on the trash heap of history, the future was built by others, unknown or ignored until then, who stepped into the ruins they had left, put out the flames and built a new world with the broken pieces.

    1. I never said that there was a planning! These giant structures are very poor at planning, you are perfectly correct at saying that nobody is in charge. They are like giant amoebas which understand only where the food is and move in that direction. And, again, you are correct in saying that they are ushering disaster on everybody. That's the way these systems work: no long range planning, only short term reactions. It was the same with the dekulakization, I think. It wasn't really "planned" -- it happened. Someone started with a small pebble and then it was an avalanche.

    2. I modified the post a little to take into account your comments.

    3. Nate Hagens has has expanded on this concept of amoeba like behaviour of living systems, calls civilization a 'super-organism' and he's working hard on ideas to take away the collective suicidal implications of that behaviour.

    4. Planning is very different than being in charge!
      There is always planning but I doubt it's very successful.
      What happens usually is opportunism - "don't let a good crisis go to waste". For example see the behaviour of politicians and media in US at the beginning of 2020. They first tried to minimize the problem and then they switched overnight to fearmongering.

      I expect "The Great Reset" to be a catastrophic failure. I also expect the same giant corporations that tried to implement it will take advantage of the new crises to advance their agenda (whatever that is).

    5. NomadicBeer, that's exactly the point I am making!

    6. Ian, yes, I know the work by Nate Hagens and that's why I mentioned amoebas!

  4. A quick duckduck go search re Russian deaths due to collectivization shows the range of estimates from 8 million to 40 million. That, of course, made food insecurity less insecure since there were many fewer people to feed.Thus for the common man who didn't die, there was more. This is the kind of success I want to avoid being anywhere near. Of course killing a lot of people leaves more wealth (and food) for witness the aftermath of the Black Death

    1. More food and wealth in general being available to the survivors of a collapse of previous economic arrangements will probably be influenced by maintenance of transportation technology's and roads,railroads,canals and docks by a navigable river or sea coast. To what extent this happens in the medium term future is not fully clear and will vary by different country and region. As for Russia it certainly has an advantage of easily the worlds longest network of navigable waterways so this may be a large factor for Russia to create relative prosperity for its people well into the 21st Century.

    2. christine - What you describe is exactly what we will get unless we the people step up and have an active roll in managing collapse.

  5. Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, living there was not that horribly bad - the 5 million barrel of oil consumed daily then, have been diverted to Exports - after our civlisation has decide to turn off the synthetic experiment of what was once called "the Soviet Union"

    Actually, in the 1980s, you were likely to find every 3rd passenger on Moscow Underground holding and reading a book.

    That's has been a great deal of an indication that the society was reasonably fed, cultured, adapting, ambitious and sustained.

    Similarily, what's called today "The Great Rest", on the other hand, is another indication on the escalating competition between Control and the Commons it controls.

    Today, for instance, the News is that because Twitter has banned the US president, a new similar platform, Parler, is now found and activated...

    Control becomes hugely energy-intensive by the hour, but there is no enough remaining fossil fuels to run the parasitic, fossil fuels-written Social Contract.

    Simplification of the social contract will be imminent, sooner or later.

    Otherwise, Control must shrink its footprint, engaging humans in a close proximity to its centre with endless controlling platform, like Twitter et al, but leaving the rest of the masses alone.

    New age dawns - by Physics

  6. There is another option these new barons will fall by themselves because of the reduction of energy. Tech world will fall soon from my point of view, even if these companies are the las tones to fall because they are investing in to have it's own technology, google, amazon already are creating it's own processorss soy the avoid the problems of a falling processors market, but even in this situation these companies needs the whole internet working for them, and also they moved there, they control it's own internet inter-continental wires.... but even in this case things will be complicated for them, and the armies even without energy can work with food. Bests Felix Moreno.

  7. Peak oil. No growth. Debt goes bad. Dollar will collapse. Release virus and blame collapse on virus. Petrodollar gone. Deficit spending gone. No jobs, high inflation. Savings and pensions wiped-out. Capitalism is gone. Now what? Survivalism, communism, technocracy? You will have no property and be happy. Technological systems thrive in managing the stunted lives of useless eaters and also manage things like free speech and elections.

    The American Communist Party strives to match the glorious power and control of the Chinese Communist Party. Your life becomes managed and optimized like an Amazon shipping route. The Kulaki deplorables resist but they are demonized and defeated. A new old religion emerges and everyone worships Ra, the sun god. The sunspots are watched closely. Everyone prays for the arrival of the messiah known as X50 that will set them free one day. It's arrival can come none too soon.

  8. Here, in England, our kulaks will probably be small businesses and small, independent local shops. Shame really.

    However, a small schadenfreude comfort for us plebs, no elite in history has ever survived the collapse of the civilization that they ruled. New civilization, new elite. But, typically, after a few hundred years of dark ages.

  9. Good article on this



Ugo Bardi is a member of the Club of Rome, faculty member of the University of Florence, and the author of "Extracted" (Chelsea Green 2014), "The Seneca Effect" (Springer 2017), and Before the Collapse (Springer 2019)