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Americans generally like to hear good news. They like to believe that a new president will right old wrongs, that clean energy will replace dirty oil and that fresh thinking will set the economy straight. American pundits tend to restrain their pessimism and hope for the best. But is anyone prepared for the worst?

Meet Michael Ruppert, a different kind of American. A former Lost Angeles police officer turned independent reporter, he predicted the current financial crisis in his self-published newsletter. From the Wilderness, at a time when most Wall Street and Washington analysts were still in denial. Director Chris Smith has shown an affinity for outsiders in films like American Movie and The Yes Men. In Collapse, he departs stylistically from his past documentaries by interviewing Ruppert in a format that recalls the work of Errol Morris and Spalding Gray.

Sitting in a room that looks like a bunker, Ruppert recounts his career as a radical thinker and spells out the crises he sees ahead. He draws upon the same news reports and data available to any Internet user, but he applies a unique interpretation. He is especially passionate about the issue of “peak oil,” the concern raised by scientists since the seventies that the world will eventually run out of fossil fuel.

While other experts debate this issue in measured tones, Ruppert doesn’t hold back at sounding an alarm, portraying an apocalyptic future. Listening to his rapid flow of opinions, the viewer is likely to question some of the rhetoric as paranoid or deluded, and to sway back and forth on what to make of the extremism. Smith lets viewers form their own judgments.

Collapse, 9.5 out of 10 based on 110 ratings

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  • claire

    The most life changing thing I have ever watched.
    I hope I have the chance to play this to my son when he is old enough to understand. Michael is a HERO.

    • Mel

      Agreed.

  • Greg

    The video won’t load for me.

    • Damion

      Video won’t load for me either, i get the following error.

      “We’re sorry, no embeddable videos are currently selected for this player”

    • http://www.bradleyfarless.com/ Brad F.

      Won’t load for me either. All I get is the message: “Connection Problem”. I always have that error with MegaUpload videos. Maybe it’s blocked in this country.

    • http://www.documentaryheaven.com Danny

      Seems to load perfectly for me.

  • alen

    So simple, so surgically precise, so true. My god the mankind has really surfed it’s way to over 6 billion all over on the black gold. After it’s gone, population has no where to go but down. Unless there’s some kind of miraculous switch to another energy alternative which would be a long shot. Best way to overcome this is to go local as he said and get a best piece of land you can, in a best possible location near fresh water supply, grow your own food, be independent in every way, make a seed supply for future. Also, if possible find a way to produce electricity for yourself and if you manage to attract neighbours, or just build your house near them, be in best relations to be able to share goods and survive in communities like in the old times. Share everything, be ready for anything (for example hungry, non prepared looters looking for opportunites to get food to survive, armed and dangerous).

    • Bruce

      With all due respect…

      The “best” answer is to look at the Bible and SEE that we are nearing the rapture of God’s people and entering the 7-year period of TRIBULATION that will bring, as it is described, immense struggle and strife on mankind.

      The escape is ready. The way is made. Jesus has set the course to lead us away from our hopeless state.

      REPENT and turn from our self-gratifying ways and seek God for redemption.

      LORD, begin with me I pray, in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

      • Dustin

        Get the fuck out you useless, archaic, ignorant fool.

        • josh

          hahaha i pray that none of these rediculous cults make it through the population collapse were headed for, but sadly and ironically i know my prayers wont be heard either..

  • Me

    Genuinely terrifying. I’m not 100% sold on his ideas, but perhaps that’s just me in denial.

  • Alex

    Reasonable concerns about the end of oil, but his opinions of what should be done about it can be summed up as, “Head for the hills! All is lost!”

  • alen

    no, it can be summed up as:
    go local, grow local, live independently without need to survive on imported food.

    everything is imported these days and once the oil runs dry, import dies out. so either you’ll be independent and survive or you’ll have to lie/cheat/steal to get food. and since there won’t be enough for everybody because plants can’t grow overnight, there will be those unprepared who will die as a consequence of that collapse of economy (cause economy relies on oil).

    so the right way is to go back to basics, but this doesn’t mean extremist way, like running to the hills.

    you still can live in your city apartment, just modify your life a bit and get a nice clean, untreated piece of land and learn how to grow food yourself. it doesn’t take that much effort, trust me. and it’s really nice to know what you eat and to be able just to reach to satisfy your hunger, instead of going to mall.

    no panic, no extremism, no fear, just shift your way of thinking into independency. yes you’ll have to sacrifice this and that, but gains will be much greater once you succeed and you’ll love it.

  • Ash

    I like this guy, he means well, and he’s headed in the right direction, but someone with inside info on things using terms like “global warming” and “greenhouse gasses”? Also, he’d dead wrong about electricity not being an energy *source*.

    Other than that, I like it :)

    • derp

      That’s not the kind of source of energy he’s talking about. It’s not about dictionary definitions, it’s about what task is required of a man to convert one type of (potential) energy into a different type of energy that can be easily applied by man.

      We can easily apply electricity in your kitchen. We can’t just route a lightning strike into a jar and save it for later. We also can’t easily apply uranium in your kitchen. So we use uranium to boil water to make steam that forces magnets to spin around copper that generates your kitchen electricity.

      • Johnny

        We can however collect electrical energy from our atmosphere(electrostatic conversion) by using simple methods relying on the SAME principles that allow lightning to occur – charge differential.

        “Free energy” is available in abundance all around us in the natural world and it’s really not that difficult to harness in principle, certainly if one man like Nikola Tesla could figure it out the collective of minds within the entire scientific community could manage too if they really were to focus on it and put aside preconceived beliefs.

        I have always found it funny how some people dismiss the notion of something without actually fully understanding it.

        A simple wire or pole vertical in the atmosphere can harness natural electrical energy by building up a charge due to charge differential along the length of the pole/wire.

        Such simplicity and yet people who have been espousing such possibilities for decades still don’t get the credit they deserve. Eventually we’ll figure out the simplicity of harnessing electromagnetic energy directly as well, but till then there are a wealth of possibilities available just from electrostatic processes.

        We already know how to create or encourage rainfall through the use of electrical charge fields in the atmosphere, don’t be selling science short just because some people can’t grasp it and look for the people who do grasp it to explain it.

        We live in a complex electrical environment and are part of it ourselves, human curiosity is enough to ensure we will eventually figure it out.

  • Alex

    Living independently is exactly the way to cripple humanity further. We need to maintain community and communication. That’s why we have a society at all, because we collaborate. He advocates not simply a return to pre-industrial times, but to pre-ENLIGHTENMENT times.

  • alen

    nobody said anything about leaving community. This is not about it. You SHOULD live in community, but the switch that needs to be turned on in people’s minds is the self sustainability. Of course you should cooperate with thy neighbours, but you also shouldn’t sit on your ass and expect food to drop in your lap forever. Grow your own food, or at least collect seeds for future, learn how to grow organic food without need for pesticides and so on.

    The main problem of economy is it is one giant Ponzi scheme, banks loan more money than they have, so if a big crisis hits economy (like the one with serious shortage of oil), people will want their money all at the same time, or they just won’t be able to return loans and since bank functions that they use yesterdays gains to feed todays debt, that chain will break and here we have a whole another set of problems.

    There won’t be enough of trillions of dollars to fill that gap, that time.
    Since everything in our world is either made of oil or depends on it, you guess what’s gonna happen then.

    There is still enough oil for giant car companies to take their time and lure Chinese or Indian people in buying millions of new cars, but that will only make the problem worse, cause once the oil crisis hits us, it will only hit harder. And we can’t deny them what we had for decades, all our luxuries we took for granted.

    The only think I believe which could stop this collapse is the invention of revolutionary new energy source, which could replace oil in very short period of time so the collapse is bridged. That might be something which sounds like sci fi currently, zero point energy, or cold fusion, or revolutionary new super efficient solar panels, etc.

    So if surprise doesn’t happen, we have a serious fall of economy on our hands in future not that distant.

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  • Jeff

    It’s about time we got on to acceptance and started working on the solutions.
    Thank you everyone. Michael, wonderful to hear someone finally just spell it out.If some don’t want to listen, let them go back to the bar and they can enjoy their drink, I’ll be our growing food. (and maybe some grapes for wine, ha,ha)

  • posey

    really good advice all in one clear place.

  • MIlly

    This guy is amazing and would love him to come to my universtiy to speak!!!you should run 4 president!!!

  • Arial

    Wow, this guy is arrogant and manipulative. I don’t like all of his ideas but I do like his truths more people need to know about the world’s economy and oil situation and he does a really good job at explaining it then backing it up with actual facts. I would like this documentary alot more if they would’ve cut off most of the ending and just stuck to the facts instead of making me listen to an arrogant old man go on and on about what we should do during this “collapse” when a simple few sentances about community and agriculture would surfice.

    • Mel

      then it wouldnt be a documentary would it? hello you are on a damn documentary site. And he puts it all quite eloquently.

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  • Casey

    Wow, just wow. This documentary is amazing and I think more people should watch it. However I’ll get right to it and tell you I do think he is very pessimistic in what he says about the collapse of this civilization.

    I think I’m quite optimistic in my outlook on the current civilization we have and I do believe our way of life will be sustained after the supposed oil crash he was talking about on the bumpy peak graph(I think that is what is was called?). Although I’d like to think there would be a sudden very harsh transition away from using oil after the supply runs low and the demand and cost of it is overwhelming. A transition into what? Who knows.

    Also, I think he underestimates Humankind’s benevolent nature and ingenuity. I mean, not every human being on earth is a selfish douche bag who will run to the hills and kill everyone who looks at his stash of baked beans funny and you got to factor in the technology we are inventing, making better and producing at an insane rate.

    ‘Twas only 30-40 years ago people didn’t know what the fuck a computer was and now today it’s in everyones home along with their Ipod Nano’s and Ps3′s all hooked up to one of the best inventions Humans have every made. The internet. So we can invent all of this crap and live like kings but we have a cry when a resource runs out?

    Oh, and I’d like to ask when is this supposed collapse gonna happen? maybe I missed it in the documentary but I didn’t hear him say anything about when he thinks it is gonna happen?

    PS: Didn’t mean to rant. This is my first time watching it and I think it’s one of the documentaries you have to watch like 2-3 times to fully understand everything he is saying.

    • http://www.youtube.com/user/varmitc Varmit

      I’m pessimistic like Mike, but I think that no matter your take on the issue, you should be prepared for the reasonable pessimistic view of what the outcome of this situation may be, which is exactly what I think Mike covered in this movie. It’s simply an issue of being prepared. If I happen to be wrong, no harm because I still live well. I’m preparing rather simply by changing my lifestyle. My family already owns a house off the beaten path, I’m learning about electronics in college to be able to install and maintain the solar panels we plan to use to power our electrical needs, we are already making a large garden for our food, and my father has stock piled a conservative number of guns and ammunition so that we can hunt food for meat.

      Oh, and best estimates, from what I’ve read, say the decline in oil production could begin by 2011, which would indicate we are well into the peak at this point. For more information on the specifics of this issue, please refer to The End Of Suburbia and A Crude Awakening. Those documentaries cover the peak oil aspect of this issue well. Also, you can find good information by searching “Life After Growth” on YouTube. Richard Heinberg is a well spoken voice on this issue.

      Considering examples of how I’m preparing, “MrEnergyCzar” on YouTube has a short series of videos on his own preparations to living sustainably. They may serve as a good example of how living this lifestyle can be more economically efficient and practical, whether we pessimists turn out to be right or not. If we do, obviously it’s infinitely more beneficial to have already been living this way.

      I appreciate your consideration in reading this.

  • botface

    If we could just get rid of America everything will be fine

    • Freethinker

      That’s a shitty thing to say you jerk off. Don’t you understand? It’s not an “America” thing…it’s global. Remember what he said in the documentary, that the economies of European nations are falling faster than that of the U.S. Look at Greece and Iceland. The U.S. is still far better off than most of the world.

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  • http://docheaven Mikel

    WOW WISH I COULD EXPLAIN THIS TO MY HOME OWNERS ASSOCIATION.GROW FOOD ON YOUR PROPERTY BRING DOWN THE BLUR HAIRED LAWYER GANG.GUESS I KNOW WHERE IM GETTING MY FOOD

  • Freethinker

    Loved this documentary! As much as I try to tell my fiance and friends about these issues, it seems like they don’t want to face the facts. And if they do, they don’t take it seriously enough to do anything about it. I have a very small issue with regards to what Mr. Ruppert said about Obama, that he’s a prisoner of politics, the fed, etc…it’s my belief that he’s not a prisoner of all those things. I believe he’s part of the problem. Telling the American people that the economy is turning around when it’s evident that it’s not is proof of this. It’s a flat out lie and he’s the one telling it. If he truly cares about this country and the people in it, he would break it down and tell us the truth…the same goes with the rest of the politicians. Ron Paul has been warning us of this stuff since at least the 1980′s and look where it’s got him. The media ignores him, they call him a crackpot, they black him out during the elections, and they label him a fearmonger. You have to ask yourself why they do this. They would rather support a president who lies to us and has zero integrity instead of a man who’s been telling us the truth of all this for decades. Why? Because Obama’s the perfect little puppet who does what he’s told, just like Bush. And McCain would be doing the same….

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  • Phil Busch

    I was very delighted about this documentary. I am glad to hear someone is finally looking at the world with open eyes. I would be very happy to shake Mr. Mike Rupperts hand. This man is truly a gift to the people of the world. I myself do not believe what the corporate media is telling me. I truly admire you sir and thank you from the bottom of my heart for your insight and your knowledge about our unbelievable corrupt government. I wish more Americans would open their eyes and could really see who their politicans are and what they really stand for. It does not matter what party you belong to the jerks in Washington do not care anything about the American people. Just look at 9/11, they knew it was going to happen some of the hijackers were even trained at military base flight schools. Thank You very much for your knowledge Mr. Ruppert. A word of advice, you might want too check your mail very carefully sir when you start saying how corrupt Dick Cheney and George Bush were. It seems your mail ends up with a white powder substance in it. I truly wish Congress had the balls to open that investigation back up.

  • Schmidt

    This guy claims to be an expert on many things he only partly understands making him derive a lot of unfounded conclusions.
    For many of the things he talks about I don’t have expertise so I can’t comment but for the ones I do have expertise it’s more than obvious that his understanding is dangerously superficial.

    A classic conspiracy theory person in my view: A nice story teller but I wouldn’t take anything he says seriously.

  • http://DocHeaven Patrick

    Anyone who does not need to debate has crossed a lone as this man says at one hour and 5 minutes.

    Only extremists don’t need to debate because they have come to a point when their commitment to a belief has come to such a point thier own Ego will no longer accept they are not right.

    What about Nuclear Energy, Wave Turbines and so on …many of his arguments are two dementianal. Cuba’s economy has collapsed and is very dependent on tourists !

    • robin

      Of course his arguments are not perfect, EVERYTHING is debatable and he is only human, you have to understandt what he is trying to say, see the meaning that is hiding behind all his ideas. This man talks about a universal truth that all of us should recognize.

  • http://ssjjas.kalkj.com Mike

    The pure unabashed stupidity of people here is depressing. When the entire economic infrastructure of the world revolves around oil, the world will drastically change when the oil runs out. Oil is finite, there is no arguing that, we are past the peak and when it’s gone society simply can not sustain its current infrastructure, it’s physically impossible. He’s not a pessimist or a conspiracy theorist, this is reality, deal with it. He doesn’t need to debate it because it’s like debating gravity, there’s no point in debating the laws of physics which are known to absolute. An economic system based on infinite growth simply cannot continue to exist in a system of finite resources, there is no debate here, there is no maybe’s, there is no way around the fact that the inevitable is coming. It’s easy to deny because it’s easier than facing the truth.

    • Mel

      Oh theres no denyng it lol. cant blame em for trying to.

  • http://trentPa64.insanejournal.com/data/rss/ Sang Pages

    genuinely have to mention you come up with various fantastic facts and will probably put up a handful of choices to add after a day or two.

  • Mel

    Amazing stuff. This guy is on point.

  • Jon

    This guy may very well save my life one day.
    I’m currently 15, and I’m living in Alaska, I’m honestly scared of what I will do when energy eventually does run out, because of where I live, and I honestly wish I was born in an earlier generation.
    I hope the human race survives this tragedy when it hits…
    I’m encouraging, almost forcing my friends and family to watch this, and gather their own opinions on it.
    Thankyou Michael.

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    Elloo, Thank you for posting this. We’re always looking for great articles to share with family and friends, and this post is certainly worth sharing!

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  • Robert Green

    Whats with this Mega Video thing? The video won’t play at all. Sometimes if you’re willing to bale out of the site completely and go back to your video A NUMBER OF TIMES eventually it will play. This was such a terrific site! Now it feels like it’s been taken over by Mega Video and now we the viewer get nothing.

  • http://web.ics.purdue.edu/~hksa/forum/phpBB2/profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=hhdu28w Ernest Byler

    I am on the 1st day of a auto detox diet plan. I haven’t had a activity to eat all day and I’m STARVING!! I cannot accede how individuals say that they did not feel ardent bold this. I’m aswell a bit bloodless and all-a-quiver and like I said, this is abandoned the anterior day. I’m not a abounding abandoned or huge eater either. I’m not complete how broadcast I wil last. At the ability of the day I am appetite myself which can’t be an able thing. I’ll try to stick at it though, I’m just avaricious that the blackout and weakness is traveling to carelessness or I will not acquire the adeptness to administer on my plan on Monday.

    • Bruce

      I had a dog once….

  • Irishman

    I am from Ireland, I dont need to research all these facts to realise that we as a race are up shit creek…..with out a paddle. there will be a fall out probably 75% of the population of the earth will die due to over population, famine, hunger, disease and lack of resources. Drastic action has to be taken to control birth rates or we all wll be doomed. The only hope I have now is that mankind can delay it so i dont see it happen but considering im 25 it looks unlikely. The working class people of this planet need to over throw the elitists and respread the wealth evenly. America owes Thrillions, europe owes thrillions but to who??? and why can we just cancel the debt and start over again with a new fair banking system policy. thats what 99.9% of the planets people would like but there is the rest that .1%that control and profit from this situation that wont allow us to do it. they keep the rest of the world busy chasing a few measley bucks while they cream off the top. It sickens me. But its best not to get to worked up over all this as it can ruin whats best in life family and friends…. The best advice I can give to any one is to make sure you enjoy what time we have left in this golden era of human civilization before it goes kaput

  • AJ Wieler

    Ok – here it comes: why does everyone want to survive this catastrophy? The Powers That Be setting about to rid the earth of 85% of humanity seems like a damn fine idea to me! We want world peace yet blame everybody and every country for all the things that are wrong, yet the entire world is separated and can’t even agree on the most basic elements like accepting other’s opinions, religions, choices, and all we seem to do the majority of the time is accuse, attack, defend, argue, and perpetuate the whole divide and conquere mentality. Simply put; we say we want world peace but we can’t get even along with our families, divorce rates have skyrocketed, it’s turned into a complete and total dog-eat-dog world and even if we could rid ourselves of the controllers, we small minded, ego centered brainwashed “the world owes me” consumers wouldn’t even be able to figure out a way to work collectively to create a better world once they were eliminated. *sigh* I still remain hopeful, and thought the documentary was incredible.

  • http://bdelectrical.com Jeff

    With all the different scenarios predicting either a collapse of the the economy or of our society the trigger that scares me the most is a coordinated attack on our electrical power grid. A few years ago it took only 1 over loaded circuit to shut down power from Toledo to Maine. What would happen happen if multiple power generating stations were destroyed or suffered significant damage, all at one time, requiring long term repair? For those systems without backup generators making even a phone call would be difficult or next to impossible. How would machines operate, pumps run, shipping/receiving of goods, hospitals function, food distribution etc., etc.
    Add to that any secondary type of terrorism and this country would be in full scale panic.

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    I appreciate, cause I found exactly what I was looking for. You have ended my four day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye.

  • Bruce

    So…which/what is the “rediculous cult” that you are talking about? Please clarify.

  • Dr. Adequate

    Oh geez people. I can only assume the average age of people commenting on this video is around 15-18. With all these “doom and gloom, were all gonna DIE” Mockumentaries on the internet today, it’s no wonder most people just whine and groan about how “people suck, I hate the world, everyone is stupid”. I notice that most people that love these kind of end of the world documentaries always want everyone ELSE to change their lifestyles, but not them of course. HA! Hypocrites.

    Overpopulation? Seriously? Maybe it seems that way if you live in the city, cities will always be crowded, but human beings make up less than .00001% of all mass on this planet. In fact, everyone on the planet could actually fit inside of the state of Texas and still have plenty of room to move around. Overpopulation will almost never be a problem, unless you live to be a billion years old, but by that time the Sun will have gone Red Giant and dried the planet out.

    Peak oil? This has been debated for as long as people have been using oil. It’s still really skeptical theory. If we were to listen to most people predicting peak oil, this supposed oil crash would have happened 50 times already. You know who really manipulates oil prices and projected reserves? NYMEX and commodity traders on Wall Street. And not those nickel and dime traders, I’m talking about those giant multi-billion investment banks and wealth funds that trade hundreds of millions in oil every day. Besides, the U.S. gets it’s oil from Canada and Mexico, and has several trillion barrels under the mountains and plains of the middle of the country. This is irrefutable fact and anyone that denies that simply hasn’t done their research. The real question is why can’t oil companies drill for this oil when there is more than enough to sustain America alone for over 30 years?

    Grow your own food! Really? So now you want everyone to have a small victory garden at home? Can you really grow enough tomatoes and squash to feed yourself all year round? Do you realize the ignorance of that? Theres no possible way that an average family of 4 can grow enough food to feed themselves all year round unless they owned at least an acre of land, tended to it everyday, and already had a stockpile of food to live off of until harvest. The ignorance of these kinds of statements astounds me, and only proves that most people are completely ignorant when it comes to things such as this. Fact is that NO ONE can grow enough vegetables to live off of all year round without mass commercial farming. People are truly stupid.

    I know we all love a good “doom and gloom” movie that claims to know what the be all end all is supposed to be, but you people that are taking this too seriously really need your heads checked. There isn’t going to be an end of the world scenario, no 2012 apocalypse, no resource wars, no stupid fossil fuel crisis, none of this makes any sense to debate. People like you have been claiming the end of the world for as long as I have been alive. Keep crying wolf to yourself if it makes you feel better, but no one has to listen to it or take you seriously.

    Most of you simply come off as ignorant high-school kids that are in their brooding, emotional, “no one understands me” phase, where you hate the world because you are starting to discover that you aren’t the center of it like you thought you were when you were much younger. Too bad. Life and the world are complicated, strange, wonderous, and sometimes downright cruel and unfair experiences. If you want to change things, you’re going to have to change your attitude. If you want to make a contribution, you’re going to have to stop seeing everyone else and stupid, selfish, and annoying. If you want to make things better you have to learn to see everyone else as what they are – your equal and peer.

    Only people that have this attitude make positive change for the world because they see us all as one, in the same situation, on the same planet. Stop whining about how “everyone else is so stupid” because there’s a 99.99% chance that you’re just as stupid as they are. Six billion people on this planet, and you think you’re special? HA! Maybe it’s you that needs to “wake up”.

  • D Hartman

    new independant report came out on this topic;

    http://assets.panda.org/downloads/101223_energy_report_final_print_2.pdf

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  • redeyeguy

    heh. Wonder why this video is “unavailable on Youtube?