If you want an introduction to Dmitry Orlov, who wrote the terrifying and yet somehow very funny Reinventing Collapse, here is a good video interview with him:
Here are some good quotes from the interview:
Regarding exponential economic growth:
"Exponential growth results from, basically, charging for the use of money-- setting an interest rate on money. And that locks you into an mathematical function which is basically debt raised to the power of time -- that's exponential growth. It outpaces every physical process."
This is because when a loan is made, the entire amount of the principal plus the interest must be returned to the creditor. Well, if everyone has to pay back more than they borrowed then where does all the additional money come from? It would be impossible if we had a fixed amount of money. The only way this is possible is because new loans are being issued all the time, thus new money is always coming into the system. If we ever stop taking out loans, the ponzi scheme collapses. And yet, the system must collapse eventually no matter what, because as Orlov says, the function involved is exponential.
Regarding the 1%:
"Their wealth is ephemeral. It only exists as numbers and letters on pieces of paper. Their wealth is denominated in future industrial production that does not exist, because of lack of resources."
Such paper wealth can evaporate in financial crises. Interestingly, so will paper debts.
He talks about a way of life that relies on communal bonds, barter, and giving to others within a contract of mutual social obligation. He adds:
"Now, commerce is really important when you want to earn coin to pay taxes because there's an empire ruining your life, but other than that you don't really need money."
I half agree with that. I think we always need some form of local currency in order to grease the wheels of bartering-- after all if you need butter and the butter guy doesn't need anything you happen to produce, your life gets more complicated. Having a local currency makes things easier. However, it is the payment of taxes that defines a national currency at a centralized level. They force us to use their currency (which they then inflate, robbing us of wealth on a daily basis) because we have no choice, we must pay our taxes in that currency.
But I particularly like his point that the ultimate black market is a market of bartering. Why use their currency at all?
There are oodles of Peak Moment episodes here. They're not usually doom and gloom, they're frequently very optimistic, focusing on square foot gardening, permaculture, etc.