Archive for December, 2013

Predictions for 2014

P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }

Works fine, don\’t worry!
The calendar ticking over into the next year is a traditional occasion to draw some conclusions and make some predictions. Lots of people take this to mean that they should talk about where they think the stock market will go, or how much gold bullion will cost, or what the cost of oil will be. And although I find such matters quite tedious, this year I will indulge them and do the same.
The equation that best describes the stock market at the moment is y=mt+b, a.k.a. the first order linear equation. Meaning, some market index or other (y) must be roughly equal to some fudge factor m(called the slope) times time t plus some base offset b(called the intercept). The way I imagine that works is, a bunch of gnomes that inhabit the entrails of big finance and have access to an endless supply of newly printed dollars lean on the \”buy\” button periodically to make sure that the index increases monotonically. (Actually, the gnomes might be robots, in which case we could all go extinct and the stock market would still continue to go up.) So, my prediction is that this will continue happening until something breaks. Nobody knows when it will break, or why, because printing money and using it to prop up the price of stocks is a brilliant business plan that can continue working forever. Yes, I know that some people are pointing out that nothing goes up forever. Look at the housing bubble circa 2008, they say, or the internet stock bubble circa 2000. Bubbles always pop, they say. Naysayers! Well, what I want to say to these naysayers is this: This Time It\’s Different. This is a new and amazing breakthrough: infinite wealth creation is now achievable through infinite money printing. It\’s like the Singularity! (Remember, you heard it here first.)
As far as the price of gold, the picture is also quite clear: it will stay roughly the same, because similar gnomes have the job of hammering it down whenever it shows signs of exceeding a certain threshold. Doing so is not necessarily a money-making proposition for them, but then who needs to make money when you can just print it? Again, this is a sound business plan with bright prospects as far as the eye can see. There is just one little snag: in places where actual savings do exist, people are switching out of dollars and into physical gold, meaning that at some point the cupboard will be bare, no matter what the price, resulting in something called market failure. Since physical gold cannot be willed into existence, and is currently selling for less than it costs to mine it and refine it, this is potentially a problem. Still, my prediction is that the price of gold will remain fixed, until the fix is off, but nobody knows when that will be, not even I.
Now, the price of oil is even simpler to forecast: it will be between $100 and $150 a barrel, roughly. It may briefly dive to as low as $20 a barrel, but that won\’t last. The past few years have allowed us to empirically determine that $100/bbl is the price that\’s necessary to keep the oil flowing in the quantities required to keep the economy humming along, now that all the supergiant fields are in depletion and all the new fields are super-expensive and involve deep-sea drilling or fracking or other expensive and/or risky ventures. Now, you might think that keeping the oil flowing in the quantities required to keep the economy humming along may turn out to be problematic at some point. Never fear! All that has to happen in case of a shortfall is that a bunch more workers suddenly get laid off. Yes, this will briefly affect the unemployment rate, but only until their unemployment benefits expire. After that it will only affect the labor participation rate, which has been trending toward zero, but nobody ever looks at it, so it doesn\’t matter. When people get laid off, suddenly they are not driving to work or consuming beyond what their paltry SNAP and WIC benefits allows them to consume. This causes oil consumption to drop and the economy is in balance again. At the other extreme, $150/bbl is sufficient to put the brakes on the economy for an entirely separate set of reasons: when expenditure on oil rises above some magic percentage of GDP (empirically determined) expenditure on everything that isn\’t oil drops enough to curtail economic activity, in turn curtailing oil consumption. So, you see, the system is self-regulating, and can continue this way forever. Until it can\’t. But nobody knows when that will be, not even I.
The whole thing sort of reminds me of the electricity supply situation on my boat. The picture above is of the electric plug and socket through which up to 30A of juice at 110V flows to my boat from the electric grid on shore. Every month the meter is read, and my credit card is charged for the correct amount. This, I think, can go on forever. In the interests of full disclosure, I do need to tell you that there was a funny plastic burning smell late last night, and some strange buzzing and then snap-crackle-pop sort of thing going on, but it didn\’t last long. And after that everything was fine again. I did end up having to spend oh maybe ten minutes stripping and splicing electrical cables, but that\’s OK, I don\’t mind. So, don\’t you worry, the system is resilient and self-regulating and can go on and on. Until it can\’t. But nobody knows when that will be. Not even I.
Happy New Year!

A Sea Gypsy Christmas


[There\’s just two days left to go for the Unspell Fundraiser. If you haven\’t donated yet, please do, and future generations of children will thank you for it. Meanwhile, here is a lovely guest post by Ray Jason.]

It is Christmastime down here in the Banana Latitudes. Far to the north in the Frenzied Latitudes, the shoppers are body-slamming each other with vigor and venom. In a little Panamanian town square, I savor the sight of the Indio families in from the hills letting their children marvel at the lights and the decorations. Compared to El Norte, it is all so calm and unhurried and moderate. Surely gifts will be exchanged on the big day, but there is none of the fevered gluttony for stuff that soils the holidays in the First World.

As I leave the park to head back to AVENTURA, a faint, sweet music whispers from the little chapel across the street. I cross over and answer its call. It is a choir of children practicing Christmas carols. The beauty and innocence on their faces is enough to inspire a Leonardo to reach for his canvas and brushes. I am spellbound by the sound of these old English folk songs exquisitely rendered in Spanish. Their last song is a playful version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”

It is still joyously cascading in my head when I step back aboard my lovely sailboat. Since eggnog is not available this close to the Equator, I improvise and combine some warm milk with some Bailey’s Irish Crème. It keeps my festive joy simmering; and I settle in to ponder what “my true love might give to me.”

I chuckle at the realization that I don’t have a “true love” to bequeath me twelve days of gifts – or even two days of gifts. What woman would wish to mate with an impoverished, sea gypsy philosopher who is already becalmed in his Middle Years? But as I scan AVENTURA’S small but handsome interior, I realize that my boat has been my truest true love. Through heart-stopping dangers and heart-soaring delights, she has been my companion and my enabler. She has allowed me to embrace a tough but extraordinary “path less traveled.”

When I begin to meditate upon this more deeply, I am pleased by how swiftly I can tally up twelve days worth of blessings that my sea gypsy life confers upon me. And so I enumerate them on my little Socratic clipboard. (Yes, I often write without a computer!) Then I explore each of them more thoroughly. None of these can be purchased or wrapped or packaged – but what fine life gifts they are!

1) CONTENTMENT To be happy and healthy in the here and now of one’s daily Life, is the greatest gift that any true love could provide. And this condition is even more remarkable in our era, because it is so difficult to unshackle ourselves from the powerful Modern Discontentment Machine. The relentless juggernaut of our materialistic culture does everything in its power to convince us that we are sadly inadequate, and can only be complete if we buy more stuff.

2) IMMERSION IN NATURE My sailboat and I do not just visit Nature, we are immersed in it – both literally and symbolically. Suspend your reading for a moment, and ask yourself if you know what stage the moon will be in tonight. Or can you distinguish the call of an osprey from the sound of a laughing gull? Such things might seem inconsequential compared to the latest iPhone app, but there are many who believe that Nature Deficit Disorder leads to enormous problems in the modern world. Drop one of the few remaining hunter-gatherers into a sprawling, concrete city and observe his extreme distress. We delude ourselves by thinking that we are civilized and urbanized humans. But we are still hard-wired as hunter-gatherers and when we are almost totally separated from Nature, it causes significant psychological damage in both the individual and the society.

3) FREEDOM I know of no other way of life as independent as that of the sea gypsy. And for me it is not just geographical emancipation, it is the joy that comes from not being a part of modes of living that profoundly disturb me. I can completely liberate myself from the War Machine the Shopping Machine and the Rape of Mother Earth Machine.

4) COMMUNITY The sense of togetherness is far more pronounced in the sailing fraternity. And I am not speaking in vague, ethereal terms, but in brass tacks reality. This morning most of the sailors gathered on the VHF radio for a daily communal network where we shared information and assisted the newcomers. Two of today’s topics were the Christmas Eve potluck that is being finalized and some questions about nearby low-cost medical care. The bonds of support and harmony are much stronger here in our water world than they are in terra world.

5) SOLITUDE Although I cherish the wonderful sense of community amongst the sailors, I also relish the solitude that I can so easily find by simply hauling up my anchor and sailing a short distance away to an isolated, pristine cove. There I can reconnect with my other community – my animal friends who live in the sea and the sky. For a contemplative spirit, this seclusion is essential. Indeed, for a philosopher, tranquility is one’s friend and frenzy is one’s foe.

6) FERAL-ICITY Most of humanity is totally disconnected from the wild, untamed aspects of our animal nature. The 80 or so remaining indigenous tribes scattered around our homogenized planet, view us as domesticated animals –as cows or sheep. On the other hand they view themselves as jaguars or eagles. They do not rely on a keeper – they fend for themselves. This sea gypsy life allows me to swim naked, howl at the rising moon, spear a fish for dinner, greet the sunrise with a blast from my conch shell and generally embrace my Inner Tarzan without worrying about neighbors on the cul-du-sac.

7) SELF-RELIANCE For most people, the joy of repairing something has become a quaint relic from by-gone times – something only seen in Norman Rockwell paintings. But for the ocean sailor, it is not just a nostalgic memento, it is a life or death requirement. Smash into a floating container that has fallen off a big ship, and you will be in a race with Captain Grim Reaper. Being able to swiftly fix that hole with a patch and some underwater epoxy is a life-affirming rush if ever there was one. Relying on one’s tool kit, spare parts and skill is a wondrous experience.

8) ELEGANT SIMPLICITY The ocean-going sailboat is probably humanity’s finest combination of form and function. At sea, AVENTURA is strong, fairly fast and she has a sea-kindly motion even in maximum miserable conditions. At anchor she is a perfect little bachelor writer’s pad. Small – but spacious enough – with a bright yet warm teak and mahogany interior accented with brass lamps and bronze portholes. All of her systems are as simple as possible. The pumps and plumbing are manual and the electrical equipment uses basic on/off toggle switches. The sun and the wind provide the power. Although I am often reclusive, I am not a monk eating grubs in a spidery cave. Mine is not an ascetic existence but a pleasant one – with a fine library, good music and even a stash of classic movies. It is the physical manifestation of one of the pillars of my personal philosophy. “Enough is good, but more than enough is BAD!”

9) PAYING FORWARD As an unrepentant hippie, I still believe in the importance of trying in some tiny way to help make the world a better place. By adopting this sea gypsy life, which is so affordable and time rich, I am able to dedicate myself to what I call The Way of Ratawi. This is my acronym for “Reading and Thinking and Writing Inspirationally.” Fully aware that my little blog will probably never influence the wider world even minutely, it still feels meaningful to me – even if it is a fool’s errand.
10) ECO-FRIENDLY As a part-time Tarzan, who loves being cocooned in Nature, it is deeply comforting to me to have such a tiny carbon footprint. My water comes from the sky to the spigot with no electricity whatsoever. Almost all other electrical power for fans or lights come through my solar panels or wind generator. I use about 2 gallons of diesel fuel per MONTH! Each night AVENTURA and I can rest comfortably knowing that we are not harming Mother Earth or Mother Ocean.

11) COLLAPSE CONSCIOUS Most deep-ocean sailors embrace this mantra: “Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst!” I have also applied that motto to my carefully researched beliefs that Captain Catastrophe may be lurking just below the horizon. As I thoroughly described in the three “Sea Gypsy Tribe” essays that are easy to find here on my blog, I suspect that calamitous troubles might await us. AVENTURA continues to be a test-platform for how to survive if indeed there is a bad moon arising. I could literally sail away tomorrow and survive comfortably at sea for a few months with the food, water, supplies and tools that I have onboard as I complete this sentence.

12) FUN My hippie brothers and sisters would likely characterize most of the essays here at my blog as being “heavy.” And indeed, I do traffic in serious subjects and attempt to speak powerfully and provocatively and poetically about them. But this does not mean that my sea gypsy life is also heavy. In fact, I know very few people who are as happy as I am on a daily basis. Now that I have sailed into my Middle Years, I understand that it is important to battle the Malignant Powers; but it is also important to embrace the joy and beauty that our EarthOcean planet bequeaths us!

Christmas Carols Unspelled

Joseph and Mary
on their way to Bethlehem

/* Generated by Font Squirrel ( on November 21, 2013 */ @font-face { font-family: \’unspellregular\’; src: url(\’\’); } @font-face { font-family: \’unspellregular\’; src: url(data:application/x-font-woff;charset=utf-8;base64,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) format(\’woff\’), url(\’\’) format(\’truetype\’); font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; } h1.unspell, h2.unspell, h3.unspell, p.unspell, div.unspell, ol.unspell, ul.unspell, p.unspell, span.unspell, body.unspell { font-family: \’unspellregular\’; }

It being Christmas, here are some unspelled Christmas carols. The juxtaposition of the very familiar and the very unfamiliar seems to be a helpful one. They are also available in PDF format, complete with the magic decoder card: Download PDF.

Tek Yb RolS

Tek Yb RolS MhY PWS oF ROli,
fa la la la la, la la la la.
thS Yb sISon tq Pi JOli,
fa la la la la, la la la la.

TOn Mi nW wd KC bpVoel,
fa la la, la la la, la la la.
trOl Yi Cnzent LUl tXT kVrol,
fa la la la la, la la la la.

sI Yb PlCShN LUl PefOr bs,
fa la la la la, la la la la.
strXk Yb RArp vnT JOLn Yb KOrus,
fa la la la la, la la la la.

fOlg mI hn mEoh MEZd,
fa la la la la, la la la la.
MXl x tEl oF LUl tXT trEZd,
fa la la la la, la la la la.

fVst bMC Yi GlT LHd pVseS,
fa la la la la, la la la la.
RCl Yb nLu, Li lVTs vnT lVseS,
fa la la la la, la la la la.

sHN Mi JOLbs, ol tqKEYd,
fa la la la la, la la la la.
RITles oF Yb MHnT vnT MEYd,
fa la la la la, la la la la.

sXlent nXt

sXlent nXt, RGlh nXt
Ol hS kAm, Ol hS PrXt
rWnT Lon FDJhn mBYd vnT jXlT
RGlh Hnfbnt sg tEnTd vnT mXlT
slIp hn REFenlh pIs
slIp hn REFenlh pIs

sXlent nXt, RGlh nXt
zEpdTS kMCk Vt Yb sXt
KlOriS strIm from REFen bfAr
REFenlh RGsts shN AleluLA
krXst, Yb sCFLd hS POrn
krXst, Yb sCFLd hS POrn

sXlent nXt, RGlh nXt
sBn oF KOT, lBFS pLUr lXt
rCTibnt PImS from Yx RGlh fCs
MHY Yb TOn oF reTImiN KrCs
JISus, lOrT, vt Yx PDy
JISus, lOrT, vt Yx PDy

JOL tq Yb MDlT

JOL tq Yb MDlT, Yb lorT hS kBm!
let Dy resIF Rd kHN;
let EFrh RArt prepEd Rhm rUm,
vnT REFen vnT nCjd sHN,
vnT REFen vnT nCjd sHN,
vnT REFen, vnT REFen, vnT nCjd sHN.

JOL tq Yb MDlT, Yb sCFLd rCnS!
lEt mEn YEd sONS emplOL;
Mxl fIlTS vnT flBTS, rOks, RHlS vnT plCnS
repIt Yb sWnThN JOL,
repIt Yb sWnThN JOL,
repIt, repIt, Yb sWnThN JOL.

nG mOr let sHnS vnT sOrgS KrG,
nor yOrnS hnfEst Yb KrwnT;
Ri kBmS tq mCk RhS PlEshNS flG
fAr bS Yb kDs hS fWnT,
fAr bS Yb kDs hS fWnT,
fAr bS, fAr bS, Yb kDs hS fWnT.

Ri rUlS Yb MDlT MhY trUy vnT KrCs,
vnT mCks Yb nCznS prUF
Yb KlOriS oF RhS rXjbsnes,
vnT MBnTdS oF RhS lBF,
vnT MBnTdS oF RhS lBF,
vnT MBnTdS, MBnTdS, OF RhS lBF.

G kBm ol Li fCyfql

G kBm ol Li fCyfql
JOLfql vnT trxBmfbnt,
g kBm Li, g kBm Li tq PEyleRem.
kBm vnT PeRGlT Rhm,
POrn Yb kHN oF CnJelS;
g kBm, let bs bTOr Rhm,
g kBm, let bs bTOr Rhm,
g kBm, let bs bTOr Rhm,
koXst Yb lOrT.

g shN, kMXdS oF CnJelS,
sHN hn eKSbltCzn,
sHN ol Yvt RHd hn REFen KOTS RGlh MDT.
KHF tq Wd fAYd KlOrh hn Yb RXest;
g kBm, let bs bTOr Rhm,
g kBm, let bs bTOr Rhm,
g kBm, let bs bTOr Rhm,
krXst Yb lOrT.

ol RCl! lOrT, Mi KrIt Yi,
Porn Yhs RVph mOrnhN,
g JISus! for EFdmor Pi Yx nCm bTOrT.
MDT oF Tb fAYd, nW hn flEz bpHdhN;
g kBm, let bs bTOr Rhm,
g kBm, let bs bTOr Rhm,
g kBm, let bs bTOr Rhm,
krXst Yb lOrT.

g RGlh nXt

g RGlh nXt! Yb stAoS ar PrXtlh zXnhN,
ht hS Yb nXt oF Tb THd sCFLdS PDy.
lON lC Yb MDlT hn sHn vnT Eror pXnhN.
thl RI bpHdT vnT Yb spHrht fElt hts MDy.
b yrHl oF RGp Yb MHrh MDlT reJOLseS,
for LOnTd PrCks A nLu vnT KlOribs mOrn.
fOl on Lor nHS! g, RHd Yi CnJel FOLseS!
g nXt ThFXn, Yb nXt Men krXst MoS POrn;
g RGlh nXt, g RGlh nXt, g nXt ThFXn!
g RGlh nXt, g RGlh nXt, g nXt ThFXn!

lET Px Yb lXt oF fCy serInlh PImhN,
MhY KlGhN RArts Px RhS krCTl Mi stVnT.
Gd Tb MDlT A stAr hS sMItlh KlImhN,
nW kbm Yb MXSmen from wt Yi Orient lVnT.
Yb kHN oF kHNS lC Ybs lGlh mCnJd;
hn Ol wd trXlS POrn tq PI wd frEnTS.
Ri nGS wd nIT, wd MIknes hS ng strCnJd,
PeRGlT Lor kHN! PefOr Rhm lGlh PenT!
PeRGlT Lor kHN! PefOr Rhm lGlh PenT!

trQlh Ri tOt bs tq lbF Mbn bnBYd,
RhS lO hS lBF vnT RhS KOspel hS pIs.
jCnS Ri zvl PrCk, for Yb slEF hS wd PrBYd.
vnT hn RhS nCm ol oprEznS zvl sIs.
sMIt RhmS oF JOL hn KrCtfql kOrus rCS Mi,
MhY ol wd RArts Mi prCS RhS RGlh nCm.
krXst hS Yb lOrT! Yen EFd, EFd prCS Mi,
RhS pWd vnT KlOrh EFd mOr prgklCm!
RhS pWd vnT KlOrh EFd mOr prgklCm!

RArk Yb REoblT CnJelS sHN

RArk Yb RErblT CnJelS sHN
\”KlOrh tq Yb nLUPorn KHN!
pIs on Dy vnT mDsh mXlT
KOT vnT sHndS rekonsXlT\”
JOLfql, ol Li nCznS rXS
JOLn Yb trXumf oF Yb skXS
MhY Yb vnJElik RGst prgklCm:
\”krXst hS POrn hn PEylehem\”
RArk! Yb RErblT CnJelS sHN
\”KlOrh tq Yb nLUPorn KHN!
krXst Px RXest hEFn bTOrT
krXst Yi eFdlVsthN lorT!
lEt hn tXm PeRGlT Rhm kBm
OfsprhN oF A FDJhnS MUm
FClT hn flEz Yb KOTReT sI
RCl Yb hnKAonbr TIiti
plIST vS mVn MhY mVn tq TMEl
JISus, wr emVnLuel
RArk! Yb RErblT CnJelS sHN
\”KlOrh tq Tb nLUPorn KhN!\”
RCl Yb REFn-POrn prHns oF pIs!
RCl Tb sBn oF rXjbsnes!
lXt vnT lXf tq Ol Ri prHNS
rhSn MhY RIlhN hn RhS MHNS
mXlT Ri lCS RhS KlOrh PX
POrn Yvt mVn ng mOr mC TX
POrn tq oCS Yb sBnS oF Dy
POrn tq KHF Yem sEkonT PDy
RArk Yb RErblT CnJelS sHN
\”KlOrh tq Yb nLUPorn KHN!

What do you need to know…

…to read English? Just this. It fits in your wallet. (Print version available here.)

Once Project Unspell is up and running, all English text will be available in unspelled form, as an accessibility requirement—similar to wheelchair ramps for the handicapped and Braille lettering on elevators for the vision-impaired—except that the constituency it will serve is somewhere between 50 and 100 million in the US alone. (Depending on which English-speaking country you live in, between one-quarter and one-half of the students never conquer English spelling and end up functionally illiterate.) But since Unspell is easy to learn and is designed to relieve both eyestrain and brain fatigue, other people may come to prefer it as well.

American Collapse, Recovery or Whatever


[Guest post by Candace Makeda Moore. Admitting to the reality of collapse would, for many people, mean biting the hand that feeds them, even as that hand feeds them less and less, making them wonder if the hand itself might be edible… which it is.]

P { margin-bottom: 0.“Don’t call me a whore!” a friend wrote me angrily. She was correcting me, explaining that her current work was not true prostitution because it only involved massage and hand jobs. I hadn’t paid attention to precise nomenclature as I was trying to convince her to quit. My point was that by working as a prosti…prostassage therapist she might severely limit her future employment possibilities. She was furious that I had lumped her in with women who walk the streets.

Nomenclature means a lot to our pride. People take offense if they are told they are living in a collapsed culture. Collapsed implies over. Collapsed implies hopeless. Collapsed implies that we have failed. But at some point we have to look at people like my angry friend and admit that we arefailing—on many, many levels. My friend was once a middle-class woman with a college degree and a profession. She raised children on her own after her husband died. And as she tried to push forward, her career started moving backwards. And then somehow, eventually, it came to a point where she was willing to do work of questionable legality to pay her bills and keep a roof over her head. The horror that awaited her if she were to became homeless was arguably much worse than the controlled environment of the massage parlor, even taking into account the occasional police raids.
Our culture is such that half of Americans probably think “If the money is good, so what?” There is no thought given to the proper way to live and to relate to people. There is no thought given to what such work does to the soul of this woman. The American thinking process jumps to the bottom line of the financial transaction, and declares victory if cash has changed hands. The woman is “richer” so for them she is better off. These same people see the American economy as rebounding. People are spending. Some people are getting rich. What’s the problem?
When everything is calculated in a purely financial light, we start to lose any sense of decency or community. I saw the end result of this process when I recently visited Philadelphia to look at properties. There are houses there under $10,000. While checking out the neighborhoods where these properties are, I made an astounding observation. Almost every block in these neighborhoods has at least one abandoned home. These homes are impossible to miss because of the state of disrepair they were in: porches or parts of roofs are literally collapsed. As if there could be any question as to their status, the city posts large warning signs when boarding them up. The visually offensive chartreuse or neon orange signs warn that “trespassers” could end up spending two years in jail. I wondered which the city had more of—abandoned houses or homeless families. Sadly, I actually saw an occasional homeless person wander through the area. I was tempted to go purchase them some tools and hardhats, and organize a take-over of abandoned buildings by the homeless. 
I got in contact a friend who is well-connected in Philadelphia politics. I pressed him with the obvious question: shouldn’t the city be teaching the homeless how to fix up these abandoned eyesores that litter the urban landscape? His answer was a resounding “No.” Apparently the city has to protect the rights of property owners, who are hoping to turn a profit on these places. I wondered what kind of financial alchemy could possibly turn a profit on ugly houses in depressed neighborhoods that are in need of serious labor. It must have something to do with “quantitative easing.”
At one point during my Philadelphia adventure I walked toward an old abandoned factory which, in a better city, would have been turned into hipster lofts, and I saw a bookstore. I was overjoyed. The bookstore seemed like a beacon of light in this dark ghetto—right until I got close enough to read what was painted in huge letters on its wall. “We ship to prisons! Ask inside.” I didn’t. I already knew these clever people were doing very brisk business. In the early 2000s I would occasionally volunteer for Books Through Bars, an organization that sent donated books to the incarcerated. Back then jailed people seemed somehow more distant. As the end of the decade approached and I returned to America after living abroad, the prison system seemed much closer. I lived with my mother temporarily, and I would ride the bus to work. Every day, on the bus, I heard men loudly discussing their parole officers on their cellphones. What I might have overheard whispered in hushed voices in my childhood was now a subject the transit riding public could hear about loud and clear, whether they wanted to or not. Nor did the women seem any more reticent, as they discussed what they were planning to do with their food stamps and benefit money. Even if I wore earplugs I would not have been able to avoid hearing these people, or smelling the drugs they occasionally lit in the back of the bus. 
All life seemed to revolve around the trifecta of prisons, handouts and drugs. Every few days a van would park directly in front of our house before visiting “friends” across the street. “What are they doing?” asked my mother angrily. “Dealing drugs,” I would explain flatly. Based on their shiny new van, the dealers were certainly doing better than I was. I was waiting to be credentialed as a doctor, and worried about being unable to afford my bus rides to work. They were making so much money they could eat endless restaurant-cooked meals in their van and leave the trash on my mother’s front lawn. “I don’t know why the police don’t do something about the fact… they are littering, LITTERING!!” my mother would start screaming indignantly. “The police are in on the action,” I informed her. 
On a recent trip home I noticed that the drug delivery van has left the neighborhood. I wondered whether it was a sign of the times getting better or worse. Are they getting better prices somewhere else? Have drugs finally become an item for the middle class? Had the neighborhood demographics tipped it toward prescription drug abuse? Sadly, one of the least probable possibilities is that the police had actually done their job.
When looking at a country as large and complex as the USA, one can make any number of contradictory assertions and still be factually correct. The economy doing extremely well, and the economy is going to hell. One need look no farther than the banking industry to figure that out: the banks are bankrupt and require bail-outs; the banks are doing well and making healthy profits. American banks are in every way typical of American corporations: they are corrupt, reliant on the government to subsidize and support them, and produce mind-boggling riches for those that run them. At the bottom of the bank hierarchy are the tellers. The polite, well dressed tellers wear conservative new clothes and jewelry. They exude the kind of stability and class that reflects well on the banks. Yet about a third of them earn little enough to qualify for public assistance. They have joined the ranks of retail workers, restaurant workers, hotel workers and other service industry personnel who must rely on the welfare system in order to work. I suspect they will be joined by more and more recent college graduates who can not actually earn a positive sum after subtracting their student loan payments.
But rest assured that from each and every payment or delinquency notice or collection activity someone somewhere is making a profit. In this economy every action is monetized, even our very socializing. As you randomly clicked around the Internet to find this article, you generated income for tech companies. At some point, as every last penny was pushed or pulled out of your pocket, you began shifting from consumer to producer: you became a prosumer… and the machine that is American capitalism milked more profit still from your existence. Your eyeballs and clicks generated income based on some strange calculations by marketers. American-style capitalism now has you in debt and producing for it even as you consume, but that is now a middle class privilege, and no one is forcing people to make these choices. 
At the bottom of the food chain are the forced producers. Those people are so broke that they have become superfluous to the normative economy. They seem to be channeled in one way or another into the prison system, where they become the ultimate producers. Their very bodies create profits for prison corporations simply by existing in prisons, while their arguably forced labor is compelled at pennies on the dollar to produce cheap consumer goods. The American economy seems to be succeeding at monetizing everything while producing fewer and fewer goods or services of any real value to anyone but a few rich people profiting off the entire system.
America’s political economy has changed incrementally enough that many people have not noticed what is really happening. It’s over for most of us. You can call it collapse, or you can call it restructuring. You can even call it a recovery. But you can not call it sustainable, or pleasant. The overall trajectory is toward decline, decay, destitution… 
I’m sure some dyed-in-the-wool patriots will be angered or confused by this article. They may live in a safe, posh area of a city or a suburb, and see none of the decay I observed. Or perhaps, based on some vague ideas they heard at the university, they can guess that this different America is a place into which I have been redlined by my ethnicity. They can\’t yet see that the fact that they can, for the time being, shield themselves so completely from this other America is a symptom of our problem—which is going to become their problem. There is little sense of a larger American community where people care for their fellow citizens.
But then no one seems particularly concerned with the plight of the doomed, and perhaps no one ever was. So what is the fundamental shift that is happening—one that we could call “collapse”? Well personally, if I look at myself as a black American, I’m not really in a culture of depression or collapse. It\’s just more of the same, and in some ways things have never looked better. Arguably the issue that really has some people upset is the increasing equality—albeit an equality of suffering. Now that middle class success is no longer achievable for many young middle class white people, who are being called “the lost generation,” everyone can suddenly see what the rest of us have been complaining about for decades. This collapse is the collapse of dreams, hopes and expectations, not an obvious one like the collapse of the currency or the government. And if you have no hopes or dreams, and your expectations are sufficiently low, then you might not even be aware of it.
A really painful and obvious collapse isn’t in anyone’s interest, not even the people suffering under the unjust rule of America\’s empire. The USA admits to a military presence in a staggering number of countries, and many middle class young people in all of these countries sit around in cafés cursing American imperialism. In reality, while the end of America might mean fewer drone strikes and assaults on the sovereignty of other nations, it might also mean misery and death for the emerging global middle class—the very class that supports the young global intellectuals who whine about the injustice of this arrangement. For the time being, what is really in everyone’s interest, here and abroad, is to keep playing along. Collapse? What collapse? We all have to keep pretending everything is fine, or things will get even worse quickly—for us. But if things are continuing to get worse for us in any case…

China Pushes Back Against English Language


There is a movement afoot in China to strip English language of its status by dropping the English language requirement from the Gaokao (China\’s national higher education entrance examination). Typical reaction:

How many Chinese have been hurt by the English education? It should have been abolished long ago. English is a language and should be studied as such. But Chinese students force themselves to remember the English vocabularies as imprinted signs for exam purposes…

The problem, as far as I understand it, is not with spoken English, which is actually quite simple and quite useful for communicating with people around the world. The problem is with English being taught as a written language, forcing Chinese students to memorize thousands of arbitrary sequences of Latin characters of which written English is composed. By a standard measure of phoneme-grapheme correspondence, English spelling is less than 1% phonetic, compared to 99% for Spanish and Italian, 95% for Russian and 90% for German.

Perhaps the Beijing Municipal Education Commission and China\’s Intelligence Research Academy would enjoy taking a look at Project Unspell. Why make students attempt to decipher spelled English when they can achieve the same results by learning 39 new characters and using a piece of software?

Project Unspell in the News


Spreading the word…

Blessed are the Idiots

P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }

John Holcroft

P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }

One of the pleasures of running a popular blog is in reading the many interesting emails my readers send me, out of the blue, asking questions, suggesting new topics, sharing their ideas, correcting my typos, and sometimes even sending in something that I can publish. And one of the least pleasant aspects of running a popular blog is in reading emails sent in by idiots. The world is full of idiots. While most of them seem to be of the quiet, unobtrusive kind, who might quietly sit in a corner eating a pot of glue, there are also quite a few belligerent, vicious, willfully ignorant idiots who spontaneously go on attack and start defecating in my in-box. Usually I ignore them.

But this is Christmas season, and Christmas is supposed to be all about peace on earth and good will toward idiots. (It also turns out to be all about idiots storming department stores and fighting each other over discounted Chinese imports, but let\’s ignore that for the moment.) Now, it is a sad fact of life in America that idiocy is generally ignored. It is significantly under-diagnosed, and most idiots go through life not even knowing that they are idiots and that this is why they are being ignored. There are cultures, in other parts of the world, where idiots are slapped around and told to shut up any time they say or do something stupid. I am not a fan of these cultures; I am all for the humane treatment of idiots. But when idiots are led to believe that they are normal and the problem is simply ignored, it tends to get worse, and, over time, idiocy becomes the norm. It is then allowed to spread into schools and universities, the media, the executive and the legislature, the hospitals and the corporate boardrooms. And once it becomes the norm, it becomes required, until the only people who are hired and promoted are idiots. And shortly after that happens what you get is a completely idiotic country.
And so I decided to make an exception and, for once, not ignore an idiot who defecated in my in-box last week. If any of you aspire to running a popular blog, let this be a warning to you: this is not an unusual event. You will develop a thick skin rather quickly, or you will give up in disgust. This particular idiot opened with the following:
Dear Orlov,
You are so full of shit. For 7 years you have been talking about collapse and how it is all over, blah blah blah. I always knew you were a snake oil salesman just like your buddy Ruppert. So what happened? You had a kid. Now you can\’t be talking about that all the time and you have to actually find work to take care of it. Join the rest of us. Now you know why nobody has time for collapse and all the gloom and doom you were babbling about. But, you don\’t give up, eh? You came up with another scheme to milk people out of their hard earned dollars. Here is a tip, get a fucking real job and support yourself. It\’s mind boggling that people bought any of your bullshit, books and now this project. You were a joke then and you are a joke now. Stay in Russia you fucking idiot. I\’m going to make sure to call you out on all this. You are a fraud and always have been. Engineer? No, you are a con man. A moronic one at that.
Go Fuck Yourself.
I thought that this would be it. But the flood of pleasantries continued, including this one: “Last remark, I am going to bury you on every media site possible.” I googled him, and the poor fellow just has a Twitter account, with hundreds of tweets quite consistent with what you see above. His one moment in the limelight, until now, was when he tried to tell Max Keiser that people should hoard paper money, and Max actually responded by telling him that he is “cra cra.” He has two Twitter followers, who, I suspect, are his mother and his parole officer. Oh, and here is his Twitter avatar.

Says it all, doesn\’t it? This is what undiagnosed, uncontrolled, ignored idiocy looks like. So sad.

But this being Christmas season, and Christmas being all about peace on earth and good will toward idiots, I decided not to ignore him. And so here is my public response:
Dear idiot,
I\’ve been writing about collapse for seven years, and have produced a substantial body of work on the subject. It has received recognition and critical acclaim around the world. (A Chinese edition of my latest book is in the works at the moment.) I stand by everything I have written. I don\’t have anything significant to add on the subject at the moment, but, as events unfold, I will certainly comment on them. So, for instance, when the US dollar collapses, or when US troops start abandoning their bases around the world, or when Walmart goes out of business due to lack of cheap imports to sell to the broke American consumer, or whenever any of the other inevitable consequences of collapse play out, I will definitely have something to say beyond “told you so!” But the timing of collapse is notoriously unpredictable, and I am happy to bide my time and write on other topics in the meantime.
Since writing about collapse is a nonremunerative activity, I also work. My family is provided for, and I have the luxury to work on projects I consider significant and interesting. Right now I am starting a company to make Project Unspell a reality. It will keep me very busy for a few years at least. I am very glad that so many people have decided to help me by contributing money, but I am putting plenty of my own money into it too. The success of the crowd-funding campaign is mostly important for boosting investor confidence for the next phase. The goals of Project Unspell are consistent with my vision of the future. For now we have mobile computing and the Internet, making this project possible. Looking toward the future, I intend to make it possible for any English-speaking adult to sit down with any English-speaking child and, in a few lessons, make that child able to read and write. I also intend to use this time of relative stability to print a large number of unspelled books, on acid-free paper, for that child to read, by candlelight, even after the electric grid is no more. None of this is impossible, or even particularly difficult, and I am going to make it happen.

So long, and please get some professional help!

There, you see? Idiocy countered rather than ignored, peace and clarity restored. If only it was always this easy! Alas, it is not, because, you see, idiocy is a spectrum disorder. While many of the emails I received do not rise to the level of full stark raving idiocy as with the stool sample I presented above, they still contain an idiotic element or two. For instance, one fellow wrote to me to say that Project Unspell won\’t work for the same reason that introducing the metric system in the US didn\’t work. Yes, the fact that there are still three countries in the world that are holding out against the metric system is idiotic in its own right. (In case you don\’t know, they are Liberia, Burma and ’Merca.) But so is drawing an equal sign between mandating a different system of weights and measures and introducing an alternative, entirely optional writing system. Another fellow wrote to say that he doesn\’t see a problem with English spelling, because his sister taught him to read and write in only a couple of weeks. English has some 60,000 words, about 40% of which are spelled irregularly. So here we have a different kind of idiot: an idiot savant, who can memorize 1,700 vocabulary words a day, every day, for two weeks, no problem. But the rest of us do have a problem.
In fact, it could be said that all of us have a problem, because our world is awash with idiocy. Let him who is without idiocy cast the first stone. Idiocy is rampant, which is why the zombie meme is so popular. Zombies, you see, are idiots. Consider this: why do zombies want to eat brains? We accept this fact unquestioningly: zombies want to eat brains because… that\’s what zombies want to do. But why? Once you realize that zombies are idiots, the reason for this becomes clear: zombies are are working with the idiotic theory that eating the brains of non-idiots will make them smarter. Of course, real-life zombies don\’t eat brains—they eat burgers with fries and drink diet soda, and they don\’t shamble around graveyards at night either—they work jobs, go shopping, and zombify themselves by watching countless hours of television. And they are everywhere!
There are so many of them that a lot of people are expecting a zombie apocalypse to break out at any moment. Some people are even preparing for it: stocking up on shotgun shells and canned food, so that they can hole up in their fortified compound, secure the perimeter, and wait for the zombies to kill each other off and starve to death. Another plan, favored by my friends who live aboard sailboats, is to cast off at the first signs of zombie apocalypse and to lurk below the horizon or anchor in some desolate cove until the zombies kill each other off and starve to death. But I believe that it is sheer fantasy to think that the end result of zombie apocalypse is a world cleansed of zombies to which the surviving non-zombies will be able to return and build a new, zombie-free Jerusalem. For one thing, the line between zombies and non-zombies is notoriously hard to draw; you may not consider yourself particularly zombified, but I am sure that even you can point to a few zombie-like relations and acquaintances.
And so, in this season of peace on earth and good will toward zombies/idiots, let us do the only thing we can: let us bless the idiots. Let us add a line to the Beatitudes: “Blessed are the idiots, for… they shall be plentiful.” Because they surely will be.

Press Release—Project Unspell

Powerful New Tool Helps People Learn to Read and Write in English Without Years of Schooling (via SBWire)

Beverly Hills, CA — (SBWIRE) — 12/09/2013 — The creators of Project Unspell, a revolutionary software program that is currently being developed to help people learn to read and write English, are pleased to announce that they have launched a fundraising campaign on Project Unspell offers an exciting new approach to circumventing the complexities of English spelling by providing a platform that allows people to learn proper pronunciation, read English text phonetically, and then easily convert it back into standard spelling.

Project Unspell will be the first spelling aid to capitalize on the Internet’s vast ocean of text, which provides a virtually unlimited resource that can be used to fully automate spelling and pronunciation. Project Unspell is designed to help people quickly and easily learn to read and write in English without having to learn to spell, improve their pronunciation without going through the laborious task of memorization, look up the definitions of unfamiliar words without having to guess how they are spelled, and spell perfectly without having to learn how to spell.

Project Unspell has the potential to change the lives of countless people worldwide, as it will allow adult illiterates as well as non-native speakers to experience a professional level of fluency and writing ability without the years of schooling such mastery typically requires. The many who stand to benefit from this technology include native English speakers whose schooling did not provide them a high level of written competency; special needs students who are unable to learn English spelling; students learning English as a second language; non-native professionals with competency in written English who lack the many years of education it takes to learn to pronounce it correctly; people who have dyslexia or impaired sight; and many others.

The $50,000 goal the group has set will provide enough capital to design and implement a functional demo by early 2014 that will demonstrate the power of this tool and hopefully garner enough investor support to launch Project Unspell on a much larger scale. The fundraising campaign not only gives people the opportunity to participate in a cool Indiegogo project; it also allows contributors to obtain all of Project Unspell’s downloads for free, request all materials the group will be publishing at cost, become an alpha tester for Unspell products, and display the contributor’s name, organization and web link on the contributors page of

Anyone who is interested in learning how to raise money is invited to visit the campaign.

Adbusters Magazine Issue #186: Countdown to Catastrophe

P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }

The culture-jammers are at it again. The latest issue, on the newsstands now (if you happen to live some place progressive and/or liberal), is titled “The Big Ideas of 2047.” Spoiler alert! Here are the big ideas of 2047:
  • Neoliberal economics is dead; growth is no longer God
  • Progress is now a spiritual rather than a materialistic question
  • Products are priced based on ecological payoff
  • Usury (lending at interest) is taboo
  • Individual rights are gone, replaced by individual responsibilities
This is the shape of the reborn, post-collapse world presented at the end of the issue.

The intervening pages detail the unfolding catastrophe: “Sea levels are expected to continue rising for the next 1000 years or more”; on some date in 2021, a page diarises: “ppm hit 600 today… [that\’s CO2, for those who haven\’t been paying atteniton] scientists predict 9 degrees… no hope left… wild parties everywhere… the weak hide away.” It\’s an optimistic vision, overall, because something good survives and even prevails, but realistic at the same time. For instance, the global environmental movement is given a quick burial in a brutal run-down of its failures past and future:
Kyoto. Failed.
IPCC. Failed
Desertification Treaty. Failed.
UN Convention of Biological Diversity. Failed
Antarctica Reserve. Failed
2019 Framework for Ocean Conservation. Failed.
Rio + 20, +30, +40. Failed.
My writings are featured rather prominently (which is why I am tooting their horn today) although my name is misspelled relentlessly. I suppose I am yet to achieve the exalted status of those whose names are always spelled correctly in print.
There are three full-page spreads of my writings, presented as pages ripped from my books and stapled into a scrapbook, even though really the paragraphs were typeset separately to look like pages from books, and if you look carefully you will notice that the crossed-out lines are actually Greeked (“Lorem ipsum…”). Designers are strange sometimes.
One page contains the definitions of the Five Stages of Collapse. Another contains excerpts from the section on Financial Collapse. The third explains why “The root cause of financial collapse is usury.” I can be found under the year 2013, following an excerpt from Margaret Atwood\’s novel Oryx and Crake(which I loved, along with The Year of the Flood):
…still, as time went on and the aquifers turned salty and the northern permafrost melted and the vast tundra bubbled with methane, and the drought in the midcontinental plains regions went on and on, and the Asian steppes turned to sand dues, and meat became harder to come by, some people started having their doubts…