My Uncle the Landlord

I have an uncle. His name is Sam.

Sam owned an amazing apartment building on a highly productive piece of property.

Thirty years ago the most wealthy residents convinced Sam that they could take better care of the property than he could if only he would reduce their rents by 50 to 110 percent.

Sam, in exchange for the rent reductions, agreed to hand over a lot of responsibility assuming it would be a win-win situation for everybody involved.

Today…

The roof is leaking.

The ground floor apartments are flooded.

The plumbing is so bad that some residents are poisoned by their tap water and some can light their tap water on fire.

The floors in the hallways are crumbling and often cause harm to the people moving along them. There are even large holes in places.

The security systems have all mostly failed or are inadequate so there are dozens of people living in apartments that aren’t on the lease and strangers seem to come and go as they please.

The building’s wiring is old, under-maintained and can barely support the load that the increased number of residents put on it. There are power outages often.

The productive property around the building that used to provide much of what the residents needed has been paved over for parking or taken over completely by the enterprises of the wealthy.

People live in the stair wells.

Screens are torn.

Carpets are stained.

Walls have angry holes in them.

The wealthy residents only spent the money to maintain their own apartments which are even more exquisite now than they were thirty years ago.

Sam has done what he could (sometimes some really shady shit) to keep things going but is struggling so much that he has to apply for low interest credit cards just to pay the interest on the building’s second mortgage.

Now, after having failed to follow through on their promises, the wealthy residents blame my uncle Sam for all of the problems. They spend a not-so-insignificant portion of their gigantic incomes convincing the not-so-intelligent portion of the residents that the lies about Sam are truth.

Some are even suggesting that the only way out of the mess is if Sam is fired completely so that the enterprises of the wealthy residents (the free market) can take on all of the responsibility.

What would you do if you were my uncle Sam?

Introduction To Nopotu

We begin from the stance that the atheists and skeptics are right. This is all based on the premise that everything that exists and occurs is a naturally occurring part of the universe. Nothing is supernatural. Nothing that exists or occurs breaks any law of nature. If it seems to do so then we simply haven’t understood the nature of that phenomenon yet.

Nothing can escape that description. See a rock? It is a naturally occurring part of the universe; also known as Nopotu*. That tree? Also Nopotu. Streams and lakes? Obviously Nopotu. Dogs, cats, cattle, mushrooms and fish? Must be Nopotu.

Are people Nopotu? It would be irrational to believe otherwise.

Even artificial sweetener is a naturally occurring part of the universe. Bricks, pistols and iPhones too.

Governments, ecologies and economies are all Nopotu.

But how about anger? How about hate? What about love or fear or anxiety? Technically all Nopotu.

Consciousness itself must be Nopotu as well along with the entity that experiences it; the self.

Anything in the universe, including the whole universe its self, is Nopotu.

This is the line of thinking that led Carl Sagan to write about the fact that we are conscious star dust.

But we’re more than that. The, “I,” reading this is also Nopotu. Since you’re reading this, Nopotu is aware that it is Nopotu. Beyond that, your understanding of these facts means that Nopotu is aware of its own self-awareness.

Nopotu is self aware.

*”Known where as that?” you might ask? “Known here as that,” is how I would respond.

Reason: An Ephemeral Luxury

Reason holds little social power or influence on its own. It becomes powerful amidst prosperity where well rested people with full bellies can use evidence and logic to settle disputes or invent the next best thing.

When civilization begins to crumble so too does the power of a well-reasoned argument.

Civilization is the only thing that grants the pen more power than the sword. When the dark age comes (and it always comes) the power increasingly lies with those skilled with a blade.

Crashing Down

Coal production in Britain peaked in 1913. World War I began the very next year. This is also when the Reserve Currency status of the British Pound Sterling began to fade as the world began to prefer the US Dollar. This is also around the time that the Federal Reserve was created and the US went mostly off the gold standard.

Coal production in Britain decreased rapidly again in the late 1920s after coal miners went on strikes due to long hours and brutal work conditions. Only a few years later the world was sliding towards economic depression and another world war.

In 1971 US oil production came to a peak and began to decline. The following decade saw two energy crises and extreme economic stagflation. This is also the time when the US went off the gold standard completely.

In 1985 US oil production saw another small peak. The Savings & Loan crisis soon followed.

In 1987 oil production in the Soviet Union peaked and began to decline. By 1991, after political and economic collapse, the country became the Former Soviet Union.

In 1998 Argentine oil production peaked and began to decline. In 1999 the country experienced a violent economic and political collapse.

In 1999 UK North Sea oil production peaked and began a sharp decline. This was followed closely by the popping of the tech bubble, 9/11, a massive war for resources (oil) in Iraq and lots of money printing.

In 2005 global conventional crude oil production peaked (led by Mexico) and began to plateau. Since then we’ve seen a great recession, more resource wars, food price inflation, food riots, the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, The Bundy Ranch, the rise of Daesh (ISIS) and unprecedented amounts of money printing. At the height of the money printing The Federal Reserved printed more US Dollars in a period of 45 days than existed in 1980.

In 2015 US oil and natural gas production peaked and began to decline. If you’ve been following along here you can hazard a pretty good guess at what is coming our way in very short order.

Some say that our industrial civilization would fail to function without oil and other fossil fuels. That is true as far as it goes but leaves out one vital piece of information. Not only are fossil fuels required but they must be available in increasing amounts for our economic, political systems to remain healthy. When the available amount of fossil fuel stops going up (a plateau) or worse yet begins going down (a decline) the systems that support us begin to fail.

Some say that renewable sources of power can replace the role of fossil fuels in our industrial civilization. They couldn’t be further from the truth. The world consumes 54,400 TWh worth of oil every year. A typical wind turbine produces 0.006 TWh every year. Even if we tripled the output of the average turbine we’d still have to create so many wind farms that we’d run out of viable steel, lithium and copper long before the task were complete.

The industrial and high tech parts of our civilization are in decline. We must learn how to have civilization without all of the wondrous things that cheap oil and automation can provide. The economy is running out of fuel. Where will you be when it all comes crashing down?