A continuation of thoughts from World War III
The European empires brought their system of states and state governance to every part of the world they occupied. The trade economy then removed resource governance and distribution from states to multinational corporations. Collapse of state power and relevance has naturally followed the loss of the ability to manage and distribute resources, especially in those states where the the multinational occupation is headquartered outside their borders. State borders now exist largely as a means of corralling, cataloguing and controlling the people in them, the last asset under state control. This control is slipping even as people become more and more a commodity, and those in power are justly terrified of state control slipping further. As people in collapsing states struggle to remember what self-governance was and fall repeatedly into the libertarian dystopia of rule by trade mafia, the world’s powerful are quietly establishing a new structure of stateless elite circles to uphold them.
From resources to labour to The Meritocracy
It has been a long time since actual resources were required in order to make a fortune in the resource industry.The progression of dissociating wealth from product, and further distancing resource rich countries from wealth, has been ongoing. Also for some time, knowledge based industries have been replacing resource based industries at the top tiers of power. The 2014 Forbes list of the 400 richest billionaires in the US is unsurprisingly infested with tech entrepreneurs. This ongoing myiasis of the upper strata has been hailed as a new era of capitalism with a new industrious breed of maggots removing the decay and rot and bringing us into a brave new world of stateless crypto currency and hyphenated ideologies promising liberty and equality for the fraternity. The knowledge based industries produce what are marketed as self-made billionaires, elevated as a natural result of their own youthful ingenuity, natural ability and service to society.
The most interesting feature of this new wave (we are told) is their new way of working, the holistic care of their employees, their intolerance of bureaucracy, love of autonomy, self actualization, peer networks (peer everything, really) and most of all, their ability to create ingenious apps from nothing more than their own autonomous brain cells. Their funding is freely given to them from sources such as angel investors and Kickstarter campaigns, the media is voluntarily worshipful and immigration laws around the world recognize them as a special class of citizen. It is small wonder that the greatly increased life expectancy they enjoy is accepted as a righteous perquisite for the long awaited Übermenschen.
The US holds 30% of the world’s wealth, Forbes tells us. The US most certainly does not hold 30% of the world’s resources. Even less does it contribute 30% of the world’s labour. If the means of production are simply brain cells, it doesn’t hold 30% of those either. All of the listed technology fortunes are from the US. Forbes tells us this is due to “how they foster innovation” and reassures us that these tech entrepreneurs are indeed that marvellous creature, the ‘self-made billionaire’. The only justification Adam Smith and ilk could use to rationalize this outsized wealth would be that the exchange value of the products from the minds of this exceptional group were of such great benefit to so many. Bill Gates has a net worth of $76 billion, the same as 156 million people from the bottom. This could only have occurred in a free market (we are told) because the services Bill has provided, all by himself from his own ingenuity, have been of the same worth as the combined labour of 156 million other humans.
In order to be of any use to humanity, a mobile phone app needs a mobile phone. A mobile phone needs coltan for its tantalum capacitors. The Democratic Republic of Congo holds 64% of the coltan reserves in the world and obtaining this coltan, along with other minerals, has destroyed the environment and social structure and cost the lives of many people in the eastern DRC. This mineral has fed an inestimable number of militias and produced child soldiers, child labour and human rights disasters including war.
A mobile phone uses gold as a conductor. Children in Burkina Faso mine for gold in hand dug mines, sometimes no more than two feet wide, which sometimes collapse and kill them. If your phone vibrates, you need tungsten and for that you need wolframite. In the DRC, children mining wolframite are “as young as twelve years old…under the watch of the 85th brigade, forced to spend up to 72 hours in narrow tunnels, some of which do not exceed 70cm in diameter.” A mobile phone needs cassiterite to produce the tin used for its solder. Erosion, deadly floods and pollution from mining the commons in Indonesia destroy food security and homes for many to profit a tiny minority.
Once all of these people have had their lives, environments and social structure destroyed for the raw materials, it’s time to build the mobile phone. Perhaps it will be built by Samsung which leaks hydrofluoric acid, lead and organic solvents on its employees and neighbours and refuses to disclose what chemicals they are exposing people to. Or perhaps it will be built by people working up to 17-18 hours a day with no days off for over 10 weeks to profit Apple.
If it was acknowledged that every app was a global collaborative project, who would give billions to Pierre Omidyar and Mark Zuckerberg for their contribution? Their billions are of necessity spent creating a tiered society to protect themselves. IT professionals who justify the classist society they uphold bill it as a meritocracy, as though the work of Bill Gates or Pierre Omidyar is of more merit than a child down a mine shaft in Burkina Faso. Those with the indulgence of time, peace, health, education and a nurturing environment not only get the easiest, most rewarding jobs, their contribution in these least challenging jobs provides the greatest compensation and the only recognition.
The silicon valley culture does not stop at silicon valley. Silicon Valley has a global culture. Google works to extend the life expectancy of its employees while Samsung and Apple poison theirs and mining militias murder theirs. On the job health benefits include unlimited free healthy food and exercise at Google and dismissal and refusal of medical coverage after you contract leukemia from exposure to their toxic radiation at Samsung and Apple. Contracts specify ease of immigration to the world’s richest countries for software engineers and closed borders, death, torture and imprisonment to refugees of those countries destroyed by the violence and pollution of the resource mining. Software engineers have perks including global travel and domestic servants, Apple factory employees who kill themselves are denied life insurance for their families. Those destined to be software engineers have elite universities, mentoring programs and angel investors, those destined to mine the resources are frequently used up and already dead by the same age.
Every software app is a collaborative product. It includes the coders, the instructors, the hardware and software manufacturers, those that mine the resources and those that work in the factories. It includes the banks and venture capitalists who funnel all of the world’s money into the newest crop of boy billionaires from the same demographics as the old, the lawyers who justify the unjustifiable, the media who divert your gaze to the chosen ones and the governments who employ vast militaries to maintain what they call a natural order. It includes borders, racism, nationalism, relentless propaganda and lies. It includes complicity from the entire world.
The IT industry is a dictatorship. The billionaires at the top crush the peasants at the bottom, starve them, lock them into bordered ghettos and deny them the most basic human rights. They use their own technology to spy on them and force them into mines to produce the military instruments of their own deaths. The dictators feign benevolence in the form of Pierre Omidyar’s disastrous microloans to the world’s most impoverished and Bill Gates’s initiatives to eliminate food sovereignty in Africa. When it comes to those below them in the food chain, these billionaires celebrated for their love of autonomy and creative freedom become paternalistic tyrants.
Any attempt at revolution is co-opted by the chokehold this fraternity has on all forms of media and public platforms. The world is inundated with propaganda marketing ‘revolution’ as an all-caucasian boy band traveling the world selling their own technology as world changing. The only change brought by this group is the demographic at the top is ever more caucasian and male and their work has knowingly built the global panopticon needed to catalogue and manage an entire world population as corporate product.
The IT industry is a model for all knowledge based industries. With the globalization of the new empire there will be more and more closed global epistemic communities of elite knowledge and elite privilege, similar to academia but far larger and with a much greater divide from those below them. China’s new supercollider complex may very well be an early example. These epistemic communities will become a new form of nation, a new stratification not based on simply class or ethnicity but adhering to both as well. Rights once conferred by citizenship, based on the communal ownership of resources and participation in a trade economy, will no longer be available as states no longer own their own resources.
The stateless ponzi schemes of wealth and power are the building blocks which will uphold the coming global feudal structure.
The medium is the message
In a world where some lives are valued exponentially more than others, it is those most visible who are valued the most highly. More than any words, what matters in the media is who the media chooses to show. The news is their own celebrity, journalists win oscars, oscar winners do journalism, and both are chosen as the experts giving political advice over the heads of those affected. Their news is themselves and their solutions are also themselves in a world where Mia Farrow is playing Obama and Obama is playing Obama too.
No one is asking why is Obama speaking? Why is he in charge? Why does he matter at all? Exceptional lives are a necessary principle for the corporate future and maintaining the gates between the passive public and the people dying has never been more essential. If there were no sparkly personalities for the people to look at they would have to think about events which may even lead to them considering the ideas which led to the events. Without Bad Guys the public may instead judge bad actions which might lead to them judging all terrorism the same and finding no evil which is lesser.
The corporate media feeds an endless stream of binary news, Good Guys and Bad Guys, guilty and innocent, justifying action – reaction responses always on the same pendulum of violence. Beheadings by the centralized mafia are promoted as ‘the lesser evil’ as compared to beheadings by the decentralized mafia. Killing violence is as effective as cutting a hole out of a blanket but no alternatives to men with guns are ever shown. Destroying lives is the important business of government, saving lives is left to charity and obscurity.
People around the world no longer have elders and communities and are conditioned to await the arrival of a Great Man. It is no longer enough to have figureheads of states only, a stateless world requires roving Goodwill Ambassadors, playing with global problems like Marie Antoinette played in her peasant village. Personal experience is reduced to the voices of journalists or Thought Leaders and The Risks They Face. Wikipedia can be read for weeks without ever encountering a reference that is not to a caucasian man. Freedom of speech for all is forgotten in favour of freedom of the corporate press, co-opted messages are a celebrity prop and revolution is reduced to a seat on a panel.
Charity funding is directed to foundations grooming the new Thought-Leaders-in-training from all the right demographics. People donate to send amateur journalists from acceptable demographics to tell the story of those perfectly able to tell it themselves, ensuring no context, history and meaning in the result. Those with power act as gatekeepers instead of bridges, owning the stories of others instead of amplifying them. NGOs preserve their elite club status in their requirements for job applicants, effectively eliminating anyone who may be from the groups represented by demanding PhDs and elite experience. The Thought Leaders act as the new traveling evangelicals, preaching soundbite morality and selfie-solutions over considered participation and interaction.
Welcome to the new Children’s Crusade
Corporate propaganda since colonization in all parts of the world has depicted care and connectedness to the environment as ‘aboriginal’ sentiments, implying bizarrely that some inhabitants of earth are not aboriginal and even more bizarrely that care for one’s own home and life essentials is cultural. This served the dual purpose of both ghettoizing environmental concerns as minority issues and inhibiting those labeled non-aboriginal from speaking about concerns that were decreed the cultural property of others. This common ghettoization and marginalization tactic was also used with women, with destruction of families and homes first depicted as ‘feminist’ issues and then feminism redirected to uphold a corporate ideal instead.
The corporate media and politicians has for years directed all eyes to a steady feed of men with guns as both the problems and the solutions. Anyone not killing people, if shown at all, was presented as a prop, the ‘women and children’ that the Bad Guys were killing and the Good Guys would protect. The relentless messaging presented the trade economy mafia as the only reality and the only possible reality, supporting militaries as the only Good Guys over the obvious Good Guys in refugee camps and those caring for them. A public statement against men with guns killing people is always met with the response that the speaker must support other men with guns killing people, the only recognized alternative. Anything outside the debate on who should be killing whom is marginalized as a ‘minority issue’, not something that serious security analysts discuss. War is supplied freely by governments, the people are left to pay for the care of its victims.
Directing the public gaze to a selected minority effectively dictates the perception of reality and possible solutions. A blazing celebrity spotlight keeps those in the shadows from being seen and international celebrities prevent local voices from being heard. The celebrity stage also depicts international platforms as being more important than local ones. Activists leave their homes to be heard by US committees or talk circuit panels instead of staying and letting others build transparent bridges between local groups and curious outsiders. To appear on international panels you must be acceptable to those at the top of the celebrity ponzi scheme and their corporate owners so a homogenous message is ensured.
Those at the top of the celebrity ponzi scheme have no time for anything other than their own celebrity. If they are on a talk panel circuit they are not working on the ground, even if they once did. If they had an innovative or radical idea it would only have a tiny audience. They can only be at the peak of celebrity popularity if they are saying nothing complex or challenging to the audience’s existing world view. Popularity is not only not the same as influence, they are mutually exclusive. Popularity is only attained by riding ideas already at peak acceptance. At the very best, the celebrity ponzi schemes are a distraction, siphoning both money and public attention that should be focused elsewhere if we are to attain self-governance. At worst, they are a tool of the new system of global governance, dramatically influencing policy and global reactions with opinions based on no knowledge and easily manipulated by corporate messaging. In either case they are louder and more powerful than expertise or local voices and usurp the authority of both.
Your worst enemy is not the person in opposition to you. It is the person occupying the spot you would be fighting from and doing nothing.
The new nations and city states
What we are seeing is the logical, predictable, natural progression of the ponzi scheme of power that has been building since the world decided to allow itself to be run by trade.
The Islamic State is a caricature of governments around the world and shows well just how little difference there is between decentralized mafia beheading people and the Saudi centralized mafia beheading people, or for that matter, the US global mafia murdering people accused of no crime along with everyone standing near them. If the people have no say in the law and no choice in its policing, the street executions by police in Nigeria and the US or the mass trials in Egypt, China, and the US look no different from those performed by groups the old states call terrorists. As cyber-currency and social media showed the true nature of the algorithms behind wealth and celebrity with the controls removed, the stateless militias currently terrorizing the world show the principles of our trade economy governance in its purest form. At every level, the resource mafia follows the same principles and from Bitcoin to Twitter to the Islamic State we see how rapidly these principles when decentralized will recreate oligarchy. The ponzi schemes of power, celebrity and wealth resulting from every egalitarian structure are accelerated as the regulating structures are dismantled and the underlying principles remain.
Entrance to the new elite will no longer be granted by state citizenship alone. The so-called nation states will be replaced by real nations aligned by wealth, celebrity and power. Those privileged will be the officially sanctioned epistemic communities and those Great Men speaking for the masses, the NGOs, journalists, Thought Leaders, politicians and everyone else who can use the effort or need of others for their own self aggrandizement.
This new borderless elite are now multinationals in themselves and enjoy multinational privileges while the ever-growing stateless masses of refugees have lost even the rights of being the property of a state. The new castle walls and state borders are purely economic. Like the aristocracy of old, the elite will once again be confined to cities and neighbourhoods, protected by their ability to afford militia guards, to inflate housing prices and to be ruthless with the homeless. China already has economic city states which leave the rural poor in a bleak world of not just poverty but also no marriage partners and no parents, where they are trapped not only economically but by refusal of documentation and permission to leave. The population of the Philippines has acted for years as domestic servants to states they are not permitted to have citizenship or rights in. Cities and neighbourhoods like Vancouver, Hong Kong and silicon valley have established economic borders as do gated communities everywhere. The new elite fantasize about seasteading and other solutions to isolate themselves from the masses as the old elite still occupy exclusive retreats such as Mustique.
Anyone without citizenship in these privileged nations will be in the new ‘third world’, locked out by a middle class of militias. A largely labour free economy and population explosion has made Nietzche’s ‘superfluous ones’ truly superfluous. The collapse of states and their economies have left large populations in a stateless wilderness where survival is the overwhelming priority and they are stripped of all commons property and dependent on charity. Those outside the privileged nations are considered enemy nations and as such, espionage, competition and war is considered justified against them and charity towards them is voluntary.
We already live in a world where children scrape minerals from dirt and carry back breaking loads under the eyes of men with guns, children and babies huddle starving in camps with no sewage or water, the oceans are filled with the outcast floating endlessly and pushed from shore whenever they attempt to land and a global elite deeply do not care, protected as they are from the superfluous ones by a military shooting other people’s children for money to feed their own. The new elite is sold as a meritocracy. An unapologetic eugenics program will decide who is most worthy to survive the coming disasters but in reality it will not be based on contribution or value to humanity.
For those who wished to turn back time to a decentralized libertarian or peer economy, this is the world you hoped for. This is what those principles will result in every single time, as we have now spent thousands of years proving beyond any shadow of doubt. This is why every revolution has just continued the progression down the same path.
This is the trade economy.
A phoenix is possible
The collapse of states is healthy and necessary as is the establishment of stateless epistemic communities. From this collapse it will be possible to build a new structure. If corporations and global empire prevails, this new structure will contain both stateless and governmental ponzi schemes of wealth, celebrity and power which are privileged and multinational and a huge unprivileged caste at the bottom of every state which will have no rights to commons property or social support and for whom survival will be a severe struggle. Between the two will be placed a military caste who will be coerced to serve by access to the basics for life.
Every oligarchy is built with the principles of a hierarchical ponzi scheme. The principles of hierarchy are counter-intuitively found in the slogan Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, which was used to erase Autonomy, Diversity, Society. To create a world without oligarchy we need to go back to a time before trade economy instilled rule by mafia and the ponzi schemes of power, celebrity and wealth.
The coming nations of epistemic communities need to be both permeable and transparent and the power of acceptance or rejection must always be with the user group, not the epistemic community. Epistemic communities must never govern. Their knowledge must be transmitted to the entire interested user group through knowledge bridges and feedback and acceptance or rejection must be transmitted back in an interactive loop.
Great Men must have their authority removed whenever they appear. Knowledge to aid in decision making must emanate by transparent knowledge bridges from either epistemic communities or local governance, not from celebrities and gatekeepers. To dismantle oligarchy, stop creating oligarchs.
It is impossible to have a trade economy without rule by mafia. To reinstate societies, the economy must be built on social approval combined with inalienable individual rights, voluntary association and clear social contracts. Autonomy means governance by the entire user group, including management of the resources of the user group. Ownership and control outside of or not including all of the entire user group is enemy occupation and theft. Every life must be accepted as having equivalent merit and equality must not be permitted to trample equivalence.
All ponzi schemes are upheld by a centripetal force caused by those orbiting the circles of power, celebrity and wealth and trying to get in. When the ponzi scheme reaches its point of maximum growth, the force disperses and the ponzi scheme collapses. Be ready with something better.