Zoltan Istvan declares war on transhumanism.

I respond to this article by Zoltan Itsvan with a blanket rejection. Frankly, I am offended by Zoltan’s consistent lying.

Transhumanism—the social movement of merging people with machines & synthetic parts—is turning dangerously hard left.

‘Dangerously’?

We have inhabited a century of hard post WW2 repression originating from the US against anything reeking of socialism, communism, et.al. The US has always been a country of staunch capitalism, and it has always allowed the establishment of a neo-feudal billionaire class. This is a fact. Also a fact is that the billionaire class has always had a remarkably influence on US politics. The conjecture (or accusation) I make is that after WW2 the billionaire elites were actively terrified of an international take-over of the political spectrum towards socialism. As you may or may not know, before WW2 socialism was normal in the US. There were major socialist and communist parties and movements, and large sections of US political and union overton window had no issues labelling themselves either. Between the late 19th century and up to the new deal the biggest danger in the US for socialist, communist, social-democrat and democratic-socialist (what’s in a name) movements in US politics were originating from Pinkerton analogue billionaire funded private militia.

Here’s what a contemporary political commentator has to say about it:

Let’s look at the facts will we? In the 1950s this was the tax rate, as compared with current tax brackets.

The current percentile tax rates for the US are less than half of what they were in the WW2 and post war era, back when the US had, allegedly, the biggest economic growth ever. Around that time far right elements in US politics started actively asserting themselves, along stick&carrot lines – the high tax brackets were used, deliberately, to showcase the success of capitalism, by handing out redistributive efforts to the lower and middle classes, while at the same time McCarthyism went after those that had strong left ideologies, and destroyed them. So – when communism became part of the proverbial dustbin of history, the habit of beating up and imprisoning didn’t end much, and the PR efforts that alleged “capitalism is a pretty awesome system” where aborted. See the results before you.

Ever since then US politics has been, by any standard, rabidly far right capitalist – to the point of self harm. We can now see the results in US society and they are abysmal by any standard.

In the 1980s, when transhumanism first got started in California by libertarian-minded philosophers

So first Zoltan starts off with a lie. Transhumanism was established by people of many english speaking nationalities. I wrote strongly transhumanism centered articles when I was attending Philosophy at the RUL university in 1991, I didn’t use the name “transhumanism” yet, but it was already a very consistent ideology in my mind. I got familiar with other transhumanists and as far as I am concerned these people occupy the whole gammut of political viewpoints, from far left to far right. The original founder of the word, FM2030 wasn’t even English speaking – was was of Belgian born of Iranian descent and nowhere near right wing. In fact he assertively steered away from the right-left dualistic doctrine by establishing “upwing” politics, as alternative to the previous.

In the mind of many USians, especially those that inherited large sums of money from their parents and didn’t have to work particularly hard for all that money, the US is under constant siege from “far left” elements who want to appropriate a large amount of their money. In Libertarian thinking socialism is an ideology that “steals” what they have, no matter how they got it, and seeks to “redistribute” that money to “the undeserving”. Zoltan Istvan is no exception this rule as he actively runs for office as a Libertarian, and constantly hammers Libertarian viewpoints. Anything that detracts from his values (and property), such (as he calls it) “leftist climate change”, is rejected off hand, even if it veers in mass denial of science, fact, reality or truth. In certain insular right wing circles this kind of tonedeaf pearl clutching outrage is all fashionable these days.

Whether a social movement is embraced by the left or right can ultimately determine its course. Take environmentalism, for example, which has over a billion adherents. It’s decidedly a movement associated with leftist political tendencies. In fact, many leaders in the GOP outright deny climate change despite much scientific evidence, and our President has recently rolled back environmental regulations—all in a bid to push back against leftists gaining traction in this ever increasing hot-button political and social issue.

As you can clearly see from his own words – Zoltan supports climate change denial, and he actively supports “his president”, Donald J. Trump. Good graces indeed. That’s one way of doing PR.

Zoltan constantly affirms Transhumanism as a right wing originated, strongly Libertarian influenced ideology, by mentioning right wing or far right wing donors and ideologues, such as Peter Thiel (Who is actively funding efforts to rescind “democracy”, and return to a previous political order) or Mark Zuckerberg, who has been off recently constantly involved with attempts to actively sabotage democracy through the spread of ‘fake news’ and supression of leftist voices in the fakebook platform.

The truth is rather different. Transhumanism was actively and decisively founded through the World Transhumanist Association in the 1990s, and it’s key founder can not by any stretch of the definition be called someone of right wing persuasions. To suggest otherwise is worse than “lying by omission” – it is intentional misrepresentation of facts.

Occasionally Zoltan gets it right though

Most of the recent growth in transhumanism seems to be coming from the youth. Over a third of Americans are under the age of 35, and a large majority that are voting age identify as independent or Democrats. It’s for this reason, that transhumanism is turning left after years of being known as a libertarian-minded movement.

Yes, for many years throughout the early years of this century Transhumanism has been strongly influenced by US Libertarianism, which is contrary to historical Libertarianism a far right, and specifically property centric ideology. But yes that is changing, because the majority of transhumanists -as he states it- are now left leaning.

Transhumanism should be a dialogue, of course, and should comprise a mix of all ideologies, whether centrist, from the left wing, from the right wing or (as it happens) from blue sky or “upwing”. I myself abhor staunchness in right-left matters, and have taken from both but most of all identify as upwing.

I do not believe, at all, that a societal model based on billionaires making donations to key initiatives can maintain a functioning society. I strongly believe a state is indispensable to maintain a rule of law, provide environmental protections, establish a commercial presence in space industrialization, unlock new technological advances,  protect from hostile enemies abroad, and (as it happens) to provide a somewhat dignified existence for all of its citizens. And that’s why I am for a traditionally Libertarian idea such as a basic income, and that’s why I believe the current welfare system mess needs to be replaced with such as fast as humanly possible. And yes, such endeavours must be paid for by money exacted from the rich elites world wide. I am certain people “who made their money by receiving handsome inheritances” or “who made minor fortunes in real estate” frown upon such ideological viewpoints, as it affects their ability to travel across the planet in luxury and espouse their Libertarian, or Propertarian viewpoints.

The idea that we may experience a return to a “cold war”, where we have right minded american capitalists in favor of freedom facing off against sinister authoritarians in russia is complete and utter drivel. The cold war has ended a generation ago and to rekindle its false duality is about as productive as the effort to artificially laud the historical relevance of civil war statues. Communism failed because it wasn’t socialism, and it actively cultivated rich and completely unaccountable elites in the soviet union and china. The US was so successful in the 1950s and 60s as it actively cultivated democracy, societal transparency, progress, science, engineering, prosperity in all parts of its society, and social progress and the cultivation of a middle class. Consequently the US currently is so much of a failure as it does nothing of these things and has returned to this archaic and woefully outdated maximum of again “cultivating rich and completely unaccountable elites” … like the soviet union did.

In doing so he closes his mind that the US ranks substantially worse in literally every metric that matters, up to child mortality, with dozens of other countries. The US isn’t as successful (except for Zoltan, and his vinyards) as the insular and isolated elites of the US might have you believe. Well, it is, for them, but not for most other americans these days.

If we are to spread transhumanist values, which in my mind are largely congruent with progress-loving values, we should immediately stop alienating people of a leftist bent (Because “Venezuela”). I really like Zoltan Istvan as a PR spokesperson, even though I am not at all happy with his outlandish political stance, and I recently shook his hand at Future Flux Festival in Amsterdam. I think he’d make a great spokesperson of Transhumanism if he’d get over his irrational fears that some “leftists” are plotting to take his Vinyards from him. The future should comprize as rich and diverse a tapestry of political opinions and persuasions as possible and by actively alienating and othering socialists as some kind of foreign enemy is not productive. We have seen where that leads historically and it is nowhere near pretty.

Just read his article, and make up your own mind. I can only state I believe he’s dead wrong in this.

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extraordinary courage


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Most citizens in our western nations have become complacent and morally lazy. Our governments sustain paramilitary forces that torture, and since we allegedly elect our governments this happens in our name. We see the end of freedom, democracy and accountability before our very eyes, and the common people wallow in apathy, ignorance and disinterest. If you read this – I know we are all only human. But you must take responsibility. Organize and act now. This is happening everywhere, in the UK, NL, US, Germany, Sweden, France, everywhere.

If this cancer takes hold, they will take everything from us. Don’t let them.











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Walkabout

The idea is simple. I wear one or several HD/HDR camera’s on me. I wear either a recording device on me that registers all. When I can afford I wear a means to directly uplink what my camera registers, real-time and united by satelite connectivity. And then I switch the camera on, take enough echargable batteries to record several hours of video and I start walking. It gets interesting when I receive sponsorship – for the equipemnt, for cheap places to stay, for insurance for my equipemnt and for the trip to the destination and back home, and any modets expenses along the way. I record street scenes, much like this:

and occasionally I have lengthy conversations or interviews with interesting people. I go nowhere in particular. If possible I carry a headset or mobile device that allows me to receuive instructions from people on my website, where they bid or vote for me to go to a specific place – as long as I feel moderately safe doing so.

I will try and travel in Europe first, but wider abroad later on, and worldwide if at all possible. The goal is to record from the street, what the world looks like right now, what people think and feel and what is happening right now. It many cases the scenes will be hours of scenes where I will just walk and nothig much will happen, except shots of streets and avenues and landscapes. Sometimes I will see very sad things, sometimes I will see beautiful things and sometimes it will be a little pretentious.

I’ll refrain from comment unless people watching my stream ask me, ideally real-time.

I ealluy think these ‘world cruise’ vida are amazing, but I’d love to see a real time variant, and I’d love to make it and experience it.

It’s along shot. I do not have any investors. Poeple interested in investing in the project – my goal is to monetize (bah dirty word) it eventually, in a tasteful manner, and pay back investors properly. But if someone likes the idea they can also donate.

Send me inquiries at khannea.suntzu@gmail.com with subject matter “walkabout”. If you;’d like offer me suggestions for ideal hardware (affordable, rugged, dirtproof, easily to handle for someone somewhat atechnical, easy, portable and simply to replace – may need to have a spare set eventually) or if you’d like to sponsor me with specific hardware, feel free to make any suggestions.

My goals do have a political dimension. I wish to ask myself why walking, and anyone I talk to, what’s wrong with the world and if so, how we can fix it.

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The Big Banks Are Waging Warfare Against the People of the World

Michael Hudson is a highly-regarded economist. He is a Distinguished Research Professor at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, who has advised the U.S., Canadian, Mexican and Latvian governments as well as the United Nations Institute for Training and Research. He is a former Wall Street economist at Chase Manhattan Bank who also helped establish the world’s first sovereign debt fund.

Hudson says:
The European debt crisis is really financial warfare by the banks
Indeed, the banks are in warfare against the rest of society

In a separate interview, Hudson says:
* What’s going on in Greece is exactly what’s going to happen in America in a couple of weeks.
* The big banks are forcing their bad debts on government
* They are also forcing governments to sell off national assets so the banks can install a “neo-feudalism”:

As I documented last month in a post entitled “America Is Being Raped … Just Like Greece and Other Countries”, America is in fact being subjected to the same type of plundering as Greece and Ireland. Professor Hudson explained in 2008:

You have to realize that what they’re trying to do is to roll back the Enlightenment, roll back the moral philosophy and social values of classical political economy and its culmination in Progressive Era legislation, as well as the New Deal institutions. They’re not trying to make the economy more equal, and they’re not trying to share power. Their greed is (as Aristotle noted) infinite. So what you find to be a violation of traditional values is a re-assertion of pre-industrial, feudal values. The economy is being set back on the road to debt peonage. The Road to Serfdom is not government sponsorship of economic progress and rising living standards, it’s the dismantling of government, the dissolution of regulatory agencies, to create a new feudal-type elite.

I reported last year:

Foreign Policy magazine ran an article entitled “The Next Big Thing: Neomedievalism”, arguing that the power of nations is declining, and being replaced by corporations, wealthy individuals, the sovereign wealth funds of monarchs, and city-regions.

As I noted in 2009, a leading progressive economist that the true purpose of the bank rescue plans is “a massive redistribution of wealth to the bank shareholders and their top executives”. As the wholly non-partisan Australian economist Steve Keen notes:

* “This is the biggest transfer of wealth in history”, as the giant banks have handed their toxic debts from fraudulent activities to the countries and their people
* The big banks blew bubbles – using fraud – because that’s the only way they could make obscene profits (see this for for details)

Indeed, this isn’t the “Great Recession”, it’s the Great Bank Robbery. The big banks have pillaged and looted the rest of the world.

And it is not only Greece which is losing its sovereignty … the big banks have turned America into a banana republic as well. Remember, the trillions in bailouts went to banks, not Main Street … and a large percentage of the bailouts went to foreign banks (and see this). And so did most of money from the second round of quantitative easing.

Indeed, the warfare by the big banks is global.

Postscript: If this sounds like breathless class warfare against the financial sector, remember:
* Inequality largely caused the Great Depression and the current economic crisis
* The father of modern economics – Adam Smith – didn’t believe that inequality should be a taboo subject
* Warren Buffet, one of America’s most successful capitalists and defenders of capitalism, points out:
There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war ….
* Conservatives – as well as liberals – are against rampant inequality. But all Americans underestimate the amount of inequality in our country

(source with links)











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The SunTzu Dilemma

The following is a simple challenge to anyone who assumes there will be radical progress in the near future, and who believes this (probably) will be good. In other words there are some in the technoprogressive community that still, to this very day, suggest that once we have MNT, widespread robotics, nanotechnology, widespread genetic technologies etc. we will a level of abundance and increased societal stability “all will be well”.

I will make an argument. I label this the SunTzu argument, largely out of vanity, but to make it quotable. I will travel through a series of points.

Nowhere in history did a population take power from a governing elite without resorting to violence, or without the elite benefiting from sharing power.
Those in power have rarely, if ever, shared anything but a small amount of this power with people not in a position of power. Charity doesn’t make any difference – people only share only “a few percent” of their wealth with people over who they have no genetic ties. Worse – in most cases charity itself is self-serving and intended to affirm social status, ideology, neuter and humiliate the vulnerable. But even in historical examples where people loaned money to the vulnerable (with interest, take for instance the Marshall plan) or defeated, it was strictly out of strategical self-interest. My point is – those in power will have a genetic, reflexive need to consolidate this power, use their assets as they see fit, outcompete anyone else. Those with a good paycheck will not willingly part with it.

I typically describe democracy as an organized system to affirm rights to the vulnerable, and to allow the vulnerable to curtail the power of the able-bodied. In essence democracy, socialism and unionisation are not much dissimilar in objective – these are organized mechanisms intended to take excessive wealth from the affluent away and benefit those without. I affirm that this has gone wrong in the US and EU -wealth redistribution only has serve to swell bloated bureaucracies, massive management and accountability machines, and it has left a large population in all these countries utterly demoralized, humiliated and unable to defend their own interest, only able to wait till the next monthly pay check arrives.

A technologically lagging population can at some point no longer resort to armed revolution.
Right now if people would become upset with policies, or corporate malfeance, or any other societal dysfunction people would become angry, and politicians would take note. Riots change things. There is a feedback mechanism at work here and it is formulaic. A certain level of societal dissatisfaction equates to a certain level of protest. Those in power have a vested interest in declaring such protest as “extralegal”, “unreasonable”, “petty”, “spoiled”, “naive”, “socialist”, “vandalism”, “criminal”, “terrorist” or in ever less flattering terms. Leaders, who tend to have a fairly safe and stable existence, are able to ignore their own empathy, or routinely channel this empathy as the years pass into forms strategy, hypocrisy or political leverage.

This is not a strange mechanism. This is mostly inescapable, and a result of how democracy works.

The problem is that the variables in the formula are changing. There is a shift in how states are able to constrain the dissatisfaction of the human “underclasses”. In the last century the range of possible acts of protests made a difference. But technology changes this feedback mechanism. More surveillance, more non-lethal weapons, more media manipulation and shilling, more corporate security, more demagogue populism – … the relative ‘democratic’ power of those who naturally have none is reduced step by incremental step.


Current macro-economic systems offer decreasing chance at an income for an expanding portion of humans.
Technology empowers those who have unique skills, big investments, unique talents, prestige or born power. The converse of this should be clear – technology takes away that share of societal affluence and suffrage from those people that just happened to be born poor, ugly, less talented, less smart, disabled, unconnected or unknown. Some forms of technology have in fact lifted affluence for most of the 20th century. People are now very rich, compared to how affluent they were in the mid 1800s. The problem is that this is not a fair comparison. No one who lived in the 1800s is alive to appreciate all this wealth we have today. And if they were these people from the mid 1800s would fully appreciate that we had massive societal enrichment (a golden age), but slowly but surely it is now going away again, and technology is now a mechanism that makes a lot of people a lot less rich, and a small portion of people a lot richer, or even obscenely much richer.

And currently there is no infrastructure in current political systems to adjust this disharmony. I label the inability of our modern, enlightenment/multicultural, post-industrial economies to rectify the epidemic disparities as catastrophic. This will eventually turn our liberated democracies into info-feudal caste societies. This should be as clear to anyone as it should be unacceptable.


Citizens have power based on their amassed wealth, labor they can perform that is in demand, products they can consume and pay for, their democratic vote, or the threat of mass violence.
The saying goes is that money doesn’t make you happy. Having not enough makes you intensely miserable. What is worse – long-term poverty is for most people inescapable. We can argue what constitutes “poverty” but I guarantee you it is stressful, and shortens lifespan. Those who are poor have always been people less smart, less creative, less able to fight for their rights. Some resort to desperation, others find solutions in criminal activity. Others resort to petty paranoid fantasies. Very few see the bigger picture, or foment ideals for a better and more functional society.

Let me use a simplified, somewhat prejudicial metaphor – in the dark ages meso-american (aztec, mayans) underclasses had no rights, were intimidated to a maximum degree (obey or we will cut your heart out on a big pyramid) – in the Roman era the patricians knew their superiority, and the underclasses were likewise scared shitless (obey or we publicly feed you to the lions). Both societies were demonstrative state machineries intent of publicly disempowering the already power-challenged. Those who protested died in gruesome displays of contempt.

I would assert there was a stage in Roman or Aztec society where people weren’t all that ruthless. Then one day things changed and suddenly these peoples were massively and systemically prone to organized ruthlessness. There was a mechanism in early Roman or Mayan or Aztec society that favoured public spectacles of sadism and superiority complex. I think this is a form of Fascist Imperialism and it is taking the assumptions of zero sum thinkig to the worst and most dehumanizing possible extreme.

The troubling question is – how far are our western, enlightened multicultural democratic societies on the fast track towards becoming slave societies? If so, the public executions of the inferior can’t be far off. Those who are stripped of rights and still have aspirations of suffrage (or freedom, or economic equality, or justice) will in such an escalatory catastrophe be publicly eradicated.

To teach them a lesson“.


Mass media have become increasingly effective to disempower “constituents” in all existing states.
Nuff said. Current MSN have become the biggest traitors in recent history.


Empowered elites who maintain means of production as well as access to mineral resources will compete in not having to pay wages or taxes.
As a thought experiment, let’s assume that in the year 1990 we have 100% employment and of those people that have this employment their income represents 100%. If we plot these out on a chart we will find that in the last 20 years this has gotten pretty bad. I clearly vouch for the fact that all my life since 1985 my personal level of wealth (aside from the fruits of information technology, where my life pleasure has clearly increased) has steadily decreased. I had a few peaks, but the line for me, and for most people in the middle to lower classes of our society has been going down.

In effect we can safely say that we had a brief era of surreal societal growth, between 1960 and 1980, and after that this has been levelling off again. In fact – without modern media, internet, gaming and computers I’d had long since regarded my life as acutely miserable, and I am sure a large part of my readership is in agreement, or will soon realize the painful truth – despite of a number of technological panacea, the world is becoming less pleasant for most people.

This would be just too bad if we didn’t see an elite plucking fruits obscenely out of any balance. They can get away with it, because of three reasons.

1 – it is painful to protest, revolt or strike
2 – we have an incorrect idea that these rich people some way deserve what they have
3 – we assume that if we start a revolt society will collapse and we’ll all be worse off.

There is an old saying:

“No society is more than three meals away from revolution.”

We have clearly seen when society unravels and people had enough – rising food prices in the arabic world, large spurred on by a perfect storm of mismanagement and hubris, and people had enough. And this is moving north – food riots are likely this year or the next in Great Britain and large parts of the US. Our global systems are not functioning, and there is a simple explanation.

The rich have been increasingly able to shirk paying a fair share in taxes. We can make all the elaborate explanations, invoking credit swaps and oil and mortgages and consumer idiocy and outsourcing and sell-out politicians but the simple explanation is the buying power of you and me has been going down for the last decades. And the trend looks omnious.

And at the same time the only ones free to find alternatives will pay taxes elsewhere.


In a robustly automated society a monetary system of no consequence of those who have access to means of production.

Going from the mechanisms I describe above, what is the use to give people with power anything of value to people with no power? This is obvious and the main reason why the third world is still in many parts undeveloped and miserable after decades of growth anywhere else. Why give a damn> They are powerless. Let them rot. Mind you I would be the first to argue for a Marshall plan for most of the third world, but those in power would not agree.

We have come on a point in history with constraints everywhere.

I cannot emphasize this enough – why would those who have the power acknowledge the rights (or even the money) of those without power? Markets are irrelevant when we reach a certain point of power consolidation – at some point Iran will need all its oil for domestic use, and even if we bit a thousand dollars per barrel they will say “Nah”. This point has been reached for numerous minerals when it comes to China. We can all go around this is nationalization of natural resources – or we can whine it goes against globalization. Fact is those who have the power may see no reason to give a damn for the beggars at the door.

Once they do money means nothing, and that is precisely what we are saying. I am saying money is a worthless claim in a world where most people will see the inate value of their labour become less appreciated, to the point the vast majority of people will be left in an extremely confusing state where no amount of money will buy them a humane and acceptable life, and where no amount of democratic activism, protest or revolt will improve their situation.

I think such an uncanny situation in history can happen quite soon, 2020 earliest.


Corporations who havce access to minerals, energy and means of production can ‘secede’ from consumer markets.

Secession is a process where a minority of a bigger whole sees more benefits to an existence away from a collective. In the US there has been talk of state secession. In Europe there has been talk of a North European “Neuro“, or “New Euro”. (Que dystopian Gibson references, que references to necromancy animating the corpse of a transnational dream) This should not be regarded as anything new or orginal – a certain segment of society has been doing it for ages.

I go further and state that we have a massive global catastrophe for democracy. This has been pretty obvious after the movie “The Corporation” and it is getting worse.

Why would any pervasive, transnational entity or group of people who share unbridled access to resources be interested in local states, populations, governments, governments, taxes? We are seeing a world where all places, apart from a few tax havens, become fly over countries. We are seeing a segment of society secede, and we can now anticipate a moment in near history where this becomes irreversible.

In effect the brief period after WW2 was a momentary blip in human history where an uncommon amount of people had shared power and wealth. This was a unique period in human history – it may have been an unstable state, and we may witness the world revert to a global default feudal situation. It will be back to the Status Quo we have known for thousands of years.


Corporate states versus plebeian states.
There is an insidious competition going on between (a) countries that have low taxes, human rights, legal protections, worker rights (etc) and (b) countries that have strong laws, high taxes, humane welfare state infrastructures and acknowledge democratic principles. China, Singapore and India would be examples where the first is the order of the day. These are draconian, autocratic societies where at many levels of society “social darwinism” is more or less the norm. An example of a society that is racing fast towards ideal (a) is the US, but the butchers that advocate such a state of draconian nihilism can even be found in my own country. In my book this category of people know well what they are doing and they serve the interests of very small and mostly seceded elites. They may do so because they are morally corrupt. They may do so because they anticipate a big reward after their political career. They may do so because they truly believe in zero sum values, and think that we may have to sacrifice the comforts of some people to keep society functional.

If I am right these politicians are involved in the biggest betrayal of recent human history. They are collaborators to the end of democracy.


The end game of automation based corporate secession implies a collapse of democracy and the emergence of total corporate feudalism.

This is an escalatory process. We are moving into a world where we may lose whatever personal or legal empowerment we have received. Many may dull this statement as ‘overdramatization’. I don’t think it is. I am concerned we are facing a technologically bootstrapped era where democracy is no longer needed. In a world where we have machines doing most work, and various forms of Artificial Intelligence can outcompete nearly every single human who would own these machines? If the majority of current humans in democratic countries have to compete with automation based labour, what innate value do “workers” have? How low will wages deteriorate when we have 20%, 25%, 30%, 35% unemployment? How resentful will those who work be towards those who don’t (or can’t) ? These people can try and obfuscate technology driven unemployment for now, but when it is too late what means would we have to rectify any widespread imbalance? The end game of corporate secession implies an evolutionary funnel that will end in the vast majority of humanity living under third world conditions. The rich will live in very garish enclaves.


10 billion humans will be able to claim an increasingly limited share of available global energy diets.
What makes someone powerful happy? Obtain more power. Those who are in power right now have no reason to change the current flow of history. They (or their children) will still be rich and powerful in a world devoid of natural resources, oil, a pleasant environment, security, good food. In fact, if you look at it cynically, those rich will feel more empowered and validated to be obscenely rich, the more the world goes to hell.

There is no argument, other than an appeal to their basic human decency, that they would willingly change the current direction of transnational state evolution. How could they even agree to relinquish power? The only way humans in a state of absolute power relinquished their power was when the states they represented completely collapsed into barbarism.

Powerful humans have a miserable track record. And with technological trends moving towards some kind of end point, somewhere in the middle of this century, this state of affairs is playing games with the lives of the majority of humans on this planet. In a world close to a “Singularity” this may get a lot of people killed.

It is 2011 now. Let’s assume some kind of Singularity happens in 2046. – that’s as many years as there were between 1911 and 1946. A lot of misery can happen in the half century.

My main criticism with those advocating a technological Singularity, or advocating transhumanist solutions to current world problems close their eyes for the evidence that these same technologies, paired with widespread societal disparities, is turning out to be quite literally, an existential threat.

Update
* Free Culture
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Consequences of Economic Collapse

Many of our readers are preparing for what can only be described as the unknown – a whole host of things can go wrong. We know that the economic outlook in America and the world is bleak. The only answer from politicians and economic masterminds who sit behind the curtain is to borrow and spend more of the taxpayers’ money. The US dollar will inevitably weaken, and likely crash, over the course of the next half decade. Manufacturing in America will continue to decline for some time. Millions more jobs will be lost. The consequences are already apparent to anyone who is paying attention: a fed up citizenry, rising property crime, organized mobs of looters and thieves, record level food stamp participants, and a government that is clamping down on everything from small business to personal liberties, to name a few.

We have postulated numerous theories of how a collapse of our fragile system could occur including scenarios man made and natural – from large scale solar storms and earth shattering earthquakes, to rapid currency meltdown and a third world war. All of these scenarios are possible, with some more or less likely than others. In the article below, Reginald outlines some of the key elements we will witness in a depressionary-style economic collapse that happens over several years as opposed to an overnight collapse. Civilizations past have all experienced their own form of collapse, most of them falling off the planet over many years and decades. We view this type of breakdown as one of the most likely – a system that falls apart slowly, with progressing violence and volatility. We will see it get worse, day after day, month after month, year after year, until we no longer recognize the America of our youth. Like the other scenarios mentioned, the best way to prepare is to stock up now – that includes preserving as much wealth as possible now, storing food for when prices reach unmanageable levels, and learning trade skills that can be used in an economy where barter becomes a leading mechanism of exchange.

Consequences of Economic Collapse
by Reginald Kaigler
For the last three years, I’ve been warning my viewers on Youtube about the inevitable collapse of the U.S. Empire. I’ve discussed how the U.S. government is so far into debt that it can’t even pay off the interest on it’s debts. Like all dying empires, the U.S. has over-expanded in Asia with unnecessary wars of greed, spent more than it can ever pay back, degraded into extreme corruption and devolved into a systemic ponzi model.

The state governments have massive amounts of pensions that are underfunded, many cities can’t even provide basic services (such as education, fire protection and law enforcement) and the national economy has lost its manufacturing prowess. Essentially, America has transported into a ponzi economy where everyone uses credit cards to buy cheap junk that is made in third world countries. So you see why I believe that this is fundamentally unsustainable. This economic model of largess spending will collapse, which begs the question:

So what the social consequences of an economic collapse?

I live in the most dangerous city in America: Flint, Michigan. It is a former automotive powerhouse that has been economically devastated by the exodus of General Motors and the overall trend of de-industrialization. Flint is one of the poorest cities in America. I consider it to be a less black, but smaller version of the second most dangerous city in America: Detroit, Michigan. Both cities have experienced a major decline in its auto-industry, the massive white flight, epic crime waves, a collapse of its tax base, drastic population decline and a breakdown of basic services. Recently, Detroit, announced that it was closing half of its schools and cramming 60 students in a high school class.

When the money and resources disappear, human behavior changes. The dynamic shifts. Most people go into survival mode and every decision centers around oneself. Many people stop thinking about community and start viewing neighbors as competitors. A general sense of anger and apathy seeps through the community and transform the way residents interact with each other and the system that they perceive as their enemy. I can’t tell what will definitely happen, but I can use my experience to give you an educated guess.

1. Shock

Most Americans were shocked when they heard about the sinking of the Titanic. The normalcy bias makes it almost impossible to imagine the system collapse. People assume that just because the lights are on today that they will be on tomorrow. When the baby boomers see that their life savings are gone, many will choose to end their lives. Other will walk around in a daze. Many uppity 40-somethings who have been conditioned to believe that their life is only worth what they make, will kill themselves and their families.

2. Backlash Against the Government.

If the dollar collapses, the food stamps benefits will not be able to keep up with rising food cost. The underclass (poor) and working class will feel abandoned. After watching Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and other Wall Street entities collect their tax dollars through a series of bailouts, the poorer Americans will violently attack a system that they perceive as screwing them over for the “big guys.” That “Too Big To Fail” mantra won’t go over so well when people are struggling to feed their kids, pay rent with a social security check that is losing its value. I expect riots and turn overs of federal and state government buildings.

3. Violence in Communities

Gerald Celente said it best, “When people lose everything and have nothing to lose, they lose it.” Do you really think that people are going to be content when the power company cuts off their lights. The poor will demand extreme tax increases of the rich and upper middle class, while the criminal class will exploit a weakening police presence. I expect to see a dramatic increase in murder, forcible rape, burglaries, assaults and robbery.

4. Class Warfare

The working class and poor will not only blame the government and Wall Street, but the rich. The shrinking middle class will become a target of class warfare. The upper class will try to play the middle class against the working class and poor.

5. Police Crack Down

Did you hear about that Iraqi War vet who was shot 60 times by a SWAT team in Tuscon, Arizona in an apparent drug raid? The only problem is that they didn’t find any drugs. SWAT first claimed that he shot at them, but his gun was on SAFE. So they are now saying that he pointed his gun at them. Afterward, the SWAT team refused to let the paramedics into the house for over an hour. I assume he was already dead, but why did they behave in this matter. Jose Guerena, 26, was only the one of many police victims. So I fully expect the police to get very aggressive after the politicians put pressure on them.

6. Backlash Against Police

There will be a call for “law and order”, but the police will go too far. They will kill too many innocent people and the heightened state of anger in the black (and poor communities) will lead to an epic backlash. Criminals will target cops and their families, while the angry masses remain silent. Recently, a Miami cop was caught waving a gun in the face of a law abiding citizen after his buddies shot a suspect to death in his car. The idiot cop pointed his gun at the citizen (holding the camera) and his family. It was the type of thug behavior that is becoming increasingly common from the law enforcement community. Now ask yourself, do you honestly think that the police are going to alleviate the tension by sending an angry community over the edge? Think about it, you’ve lost your job, your house, your wife’s respect and now these cops who have been disrespecting you all of your life are pointing a gun at you.
Super criminals: No, I’m not talking about Superman’s Doomsday, but when you have millions of highly educated young people facing a bleak future with few economic opportunities, you end up with a new class of criminals. Traditionally, most criminals have been pretty stupid, but when you have people with degrees in chemistry, physics, accounting and engineering, you’re going to end up with smarter criminals.

7. Depression and transformation of Culture

Some men will turn to drinking. It’s no accident that Flint gets a lot of domestic violence calls. Some men will turn to drinking. It’s no accident that Flint gets a lot of domestic violence calls. Alcoholism, drug use and domestic violence will likely soar. I also expect the declining marriage rate to drop at an even faster pace.
Disclosure: I don’t believe that a man should get married. There’s nothing that marriage offers that he can’t already get. Plus, the divorce and family courts will screw him over in a big way.
Nevertheless, many women will not be interested in marrying a poor or working class man. And frankly, more men will fall into this category. Moreover, less men will want to get married because they will feel that they have little to offer.

8. Black Market and Bartering

As the dollar dies, people will not only look to bypass the Federal Reserve, but skip the bureaucracy and taxes of government. People will use Swiss Francs, gold, silver and local currencies to by cost effective items on the black market.

9. Federal Government Becomes Irrelevant

Simply put, it makes no sense for people in fiscally sound states such as Utah, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas and Vermont to continue paying for a federal government that feeds resources to unconstitutional wars and falling states such as California. Sooner or later, many people will question why we need a union. So I expect a block of states to attempt to break away from the union. This could lead to a civil war or a revolution. But the last possibility maybe the most disturbing.

10. Rise of Fascism

The Patriot Act and Military Commissions Act were just the beginning. Now, the Supreme Court has declared that the police can enter your home without a warrant as long as they believe that you’re destroying evidence. So what’s stopping the police from lying? So much for the fourth amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizures. We already have corporatism with the government bailouts of Wall Street, all we need now is extreme nationalism, militarism (the ever expanding war on terror) and an enemy. I think the TSA has been it very clear who they consider to be the enemy. Not only do they have the power to examine you through a full body scanner, but if you refuse, they can molest you and your family via pat down.

Author: Reginald Kaigler
Date: June 20th, 2011
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Like a Rolling Stone

So you want me “politically correct” ? I can do that to.

Once upon a time you paid for oil so fine
You sold the arabs some subprime, didn’t you?
People’d call, say, “Beware dollar, you’re bound to fall”
You thought they were all kiddin’ you
You used to laugh about
Everybody that was hangin’ out
Now you don’t talk so loud
Now you don’t seem so proud
About having to be scrounging for your next bailout steal

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be unbacked by gold
Cleaned out to the bone
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone ?

You’ve come backed by the biggest military allright, miss hasbeen money
But your privilege only made buy from slaves without shit
And nobody has ever taught you to deal when inflation hits
You said you’d never compromise
When the next crisis hits you will realize
You can’t sell China any more worthless lies
As you stare at coffin as another US soldier dies
And say you want to try another invasion spiel?

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be unbacked by gold
Cleaned out to the bone
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone ?

You never turned around to notice the protest from people in fly over towns
Even when they protested on the white house lawn for you
You never understood that it ain’t no good
You shouldn’t let private bankers maintain discipline for you
You used to send out jackals and assassins and call them diplomats
For yours your went around and all you sold was lead
Ain’t it hard when you discover that
The end will just like Weimar’s death
And the top 1% will take everything they can’t steal

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be unbacked by gold
Cleaned out to the bone
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone ?

Fat cat brokers and bankers and all the pretty people
They’re drinkin’, thinkin’ that they got it made
Trading swaps and derivatives
But if you have any gold fillings the IRS will come to claim it babe
You used to be so amused
At sand niggers in rags and the language they used
Go to them now, they call you, you can’t refuse
When you owe them all, you got nothing to lose
You are a failed empire now, ask the USSR how did it feel?

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be unbacked by gold
Cleaned out to the bone
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone ?

Here is my answer.











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50 Things Every American Should Know About The Collapse Of The Economy

Right now, we are witnessing a truly historic collapse of the economy, and yet most Americans do not understand what is going on. One of the biggest reasons why the American people do not understand what is happening to the economy is because our politicians and the mainstream media are not telling the truth.

There are millions upon millions of Americans that are sitting at home on their couches right now wondering why they lost their jobs and why nobody will hire them. Millions of others are wondering why the only jobs they can get are jobs that a high school student could do. Families all across America are wondering why it seems like their wages never go up but the price of food and the price of gas continue to skyrocket.
We are facing some very serious long-term economic problems in this country, and we need to educate the American people about why the collapse of the economy is happening.

If the American people don’t understand why they are losing their jobs, why they are losing their homes and why they are drowning in debt then they are going to keep on doing all of the same things that they have been doing. They will also keep sending the same idiot politicians back to Washington to represent us. There are some fundamental things about the economy that every American should know.

The American people need to be shocked out of their entertainment-induced stupor long enough to understand what is really going on and what needs to be done to solve our nightmarish economic problems. If we do not wake up enough Americans in time, the economic collapse that is coming could tear this nation to shreds.
The U.S. economy was once the greatest economic machine in modern world history. It was truly a wonder to behold. It worked so well that entire generations of Americans came to believe that America would enjoy boundless prosperity indefinitely.

But sadly, prosperity is not guaranteed for any nation. Over the past several decades, some very alarming long-term economic trends have developed that are absolutely destroying the economy. If dramatic changes are not made soon, a complete and total economic collapse will be unavoidable.

Unfortunately, the American people will never agree to fundamental changes to our economic and financial systems unless they are fully educated about what is causing our problems. We have turned our backs on the principles of our forefathers and the principles of those that founded this nation. We have rejected the ancient wisdom that was handed down to us.

It has been said that those that sow the wind, shall reap the whirlwind. We are about to experience the consequences of decades of really bad decisions.

Hopefully we can get the American people to wake up.

1. If we calculated unemployment and inflation the same way we did back during the Carter administration, then the Misery Index today would be higher than at any point during the presidency of Jimmy Carter, according to John Williams of Shadow Government Statistics

2. An average of about 5 million Americans were being hired every single month during 2006, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Today, an average of about 3.5 million Americans are being hired every single month

3. There are 5.5 million Americans that are currently unemployed and yet are not receiving unemployment benefits, according to the Wall Street Journal

4. All over America, state and local governments are selling off buildings just to pay the bills/

5. State and local government debt has reached an all-time high of 22 percent of U.S. GDP

6. f you can believe it, one out of every seven Americans has at least 10 credit cards

7. Credit card usage in the United States is on the increase once again. During the month of March, revolving consumer credit jumped 2.9%

8. Last year, Social Security ran a deficit for the first time since 1983, and the “Social Security deficits” in future years are projected to be absolutely horrific.

9. The U.S. government now says that the Medicare trust fund will run out five years faster than they were projecting just last year

10. The Mississippi River flooding could do $2 billion in damage to farmland alone, according to a Mississippi State University economist

11. The “tornadoes of 2011” that we just saw in the southeast United States are being called the worst natural disaster that the U.S. has seen since Hurricane Katrina

12. The economic effects of the BP oil spill just seem to go on and on and on

13. The number of “low income jobs” in the U.S. has risen steadily over the past 30 years and they now account for 41 percent of all jobs in the United States

14. All over America, hospitals that care for the poor and needy are so overwhelmed and are so broke that they are being forced to shut down

15. The U.S. dollar is in such bad shape that now even Steve Forbes is predicting that the U.S. is “likely” to go back to a gold standard within the next five years

16. An item that cost $20.00 in 1970 would cost you $115.93 today. An item that cost $20.00 in 1913 would cost you $454.36 today

17. Over the past 12 months the average price of gasoline in the United States has gone up by about 30%

18. U.S. oil companies will bring in about $200 billion in pre-tax profits this year. They will also receive about $4.4 billion in specialized tax breaks from the U.S. government

19. It is being projected that for the first time ever, the OPEC nations are going to bring in over a trillion dollars from exporting oil this year. Their biggest customer is the United States

20. There are minerals worth over a trillion dollars under the ground in Afghanistan, according to the Pentagon. Now, J.P. Morgan is starting to tap those riches with the help of the U.S. military

21. J.P. Morgan is actually the largest processor of food stamp benefits in the United States. In fact, the more Americans that go on food stamps the more money that J.P. Morgan makes

22. There are over 44 million people on food stamps, and one out of every four American children is on food stamps

23. Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid. Today, one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid

24. Only 66.8% of American men had a job last year. That was the lowest level that has ever been recorded in all of U.S. history

25. The financial system is more vulnerable today than it was back in 2008 before the financial panic. Today, the world financial system has been turned into a giant financial casino where bets are made on just about anything you can possibly imagine, and the major Wall Street banks make a ton of money from this betting system. The system is largely unregulated (the new “Wall Street reform” law has only changed this slightly) and it is totally dominated by the big international banks. The danger from derivatives is so great that Warren Buffet once called them “financial weapons of mass destruction”. It is estimated that the “derivatives bubble” is somewhere in the neighborhood of a quadrillion dollars, and once it pops there isn’t going to be enough money in the entire world to bail everyone out.

26. Between December 2000 and December 2010, the United States ran a total trade deficit of 6.1 trillion dollars with the rest of the world, and the U.S. has had a negative trade balance every single year since 1976

27. The United States has lost an average of 50,000 manufacturing jobs per month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, and the U.S. trade deficit with China is now 27 times larger than it was back in 1990

28. In 2010, the number one U.S. export to China was “scrap and trash”.

29. In the city of Detroit today, there are over 33,000 abandoned houses, 70 schools are being permanently closed down, the mayor wants to bulldoze one-fourth of the city and you can literally buy a house for one dollar in the worst areas

30. During the first three months of this year, less new homes were sold in the U.S. than in any three month period ever recorded

31. New home sales in the United States are now down 80% from the peak in July 2005

32. U.S. home prices have now fallen a whopping 33% from where they were at during the peak of the housing bubble

33. The average CEO made 343 times more money than the average American did last year, according to a new report from the AFL-CIO

34. The European debt crisis could cause a global financial collapse like the one that we saw in 2008 at any time

35. The 50 U.S. state governments are collectively 3.2 trillion dollars short of what they need to meet their pension obligations

36. A different study has shown that individual Americans are $6.6 trillion short of what they need to retire comfortably

37. The cost of college tuition in the United States has gone up by over 900 percent since 1978

38. Health care costs accounted for just 9.5% of all personal consumption back in 1980, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Today they account for approximately 16.3%

39. One study found that approximately 41 percent of working age Americans either have medical bill problems or are currently paying off medical debt

40. The combined debt of the major GSEs (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Sallie Mae) has increased from 3.2 trillion in 2008 to 6.4 trillion in 2011. Thanks to our politicians, U.S. taxpayers are standing behind that debt

41. The U.S. government is over 14 trillion dollars in debt and the budget deficit for this year is projected to be about 1.5 trillion dollars

42. The U.S. government spent over 413 billion dollars on interest on the national debt during fiscal 2010, and it is being projected that the U.S. government will be shelling out 900 billion dollars just in interest on the national debt by the year 2019

43. Standard & Poor’s has altered its outlook on U.S. government debt from “stable” to “negative” and is warning that the U.S. could soon lose its AAA rating

44. In 1980, government transfer payments accounted for just 11.7% of all income. Today, government transfer payments account for 18.4% of all income

45. U.S. households are now receiving more income from the U.S. government than they are paying to the government in taxes

46. 59 percent of all Americans now receive money from the federal government in one form or another

47. 41 percent of Americans believed that the economy was “getting better” at this time last year, according to Gallup. Today, that number is at just 27 percent

48. The wealthiest 1% of all Americans now own more than a third of all the wealth in the United States

49. The poorest 50% of all Americans collectively own just 2.5% of all the wealth in the United States

50. The percentage of millionaires in Congress is more than 50 times higher than the percentage of millionaires in the general population

51. And, there’s still inequality in America

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IMPORT Tax Now

I call on the EU to collect these taxes:

1 – the difference between wage costs in product that is imported versus wage costs of an equivalent product manufactured locally is unfair competition. I say tax it – and then send half that money back to the workers of China. So if a bike imported from China costs 25 euro in labor costs to manufacture, and an equivalent bike would cost 225 euro to produce locally, I say tax the bike for 200 euro, and send 100 euro back to the workers China.

What would be the argument against this? We’d give the workers of China free money!

2 – collect tax on non-renewable resources used to produce an imported good, any imported good, and use ALL that tax strictly reinvest (and not use it for anything else) in renewable energy, resources and infrastructures, locally. Simple – if a fish is fished near Norway, and that fish is shipped to China, refrigerated all the way, and then sent back to Norway – and the cost to do in wasting energy resources, the tax the cost in resource waste 1:1 and use that revenue only to develop the absolutely best renewable infrastructures, assets, recycling systems, energy sources we need.

What alternative do we have? Go on like this? Or better “there will be a technological solution down the road!”

Give me a break.











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Post Democratic Sentiments

No coincidence – I am holding a “white rabbit” brainstorm with a very strong slant suggesting a fundamental crisis of western Democracy – this thursday the club of Amsterdam is holding a meeting where the theme is more or less “Democracy is Dead”. The problem is that this can be argued in both (incompatible) directions, while I will paraphrase as tendentiously as I can –

(a) Democracy is dead because the electorate is composed by and large of a mix of self-centered idiots who can’t tie their own shoe-laces without a government to change their diapers – and these inbred morons constantly vote for unmitigated demagogic imbeciles whose only interested is to further their own pork or secret agendas. It doesn’t matter of it’s a Chavez or a ahmeni…ahmnidin.. the guy who runs Iran .. or a berlusconi, or a Palin. It’s all mediocre politicians who promise radical and unreasonable stuff to idiots to get elected.

respectively;

(b) Democracy is dead because the common person is unable to compete on an equal footing with corporations, special interests, lobbyists, the intelligence community, the media bombardment or just the sheer overwhelming complexity of everyday life. It is these damn elites that are to blame and they are deconstructing our freedoms from under out two feet. It doesn’t matter if it is a Facebook selling out to the Russian Mob, or Big Oil, or

Phrased in the above manner it should be clear there is considerable overlap between the two, despite the angry rhetoric of “producerists” on the one side (who I will have really pissed off if they read me correctly) and the liberals (socialists? lazy middle class intellectuals?) on the other. I am intensely curious to see if these two angles will be highlighted next Thursday, and I’ll try to be there. Felix invited me, and it’ll great fun.

I’ll argue for radical UpWing, like always. I am most certainly radically opposed to ‘Downwingers“, if can introduce such a slur. I think the single most biggest threat to this planet right now is people who will claim that it is more or less ‘business as usual’. “Conservatives” to to speak. It isn’t just the fiscal part about conservatism – it is the sheer culture of denial I hold in utter contempt. Yes, the “Denialist” word. We’ll see more of that very soon, just wait.

These neurological failures are leading the world by the nose ring towards an open grave. If Democracy is dying it is surely in large part the death of imagination, dreams and aspirations. And that precisely, is why I despise the country I have live in.

It’s a heavily sedated mausoleum of broken dreams.











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18 Signs The Collapse Of Society Is Accelerating

As the U.S. economy collapses, the thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted is going to begin to disappear. In fact, there are already an increasing number of signs that the collapse of society is accelerating. In cities such as Chicago, roving packs of young people are “mob robbing” local businesses, randomly assaulting tourists and shoppers and are even pulling people out of vehicles. This isn’t just happening in the “bad areas” anymore. Over the past couple of months this type of crime has been common in some of the wealthiest areas of Chicago. In fact, many Chicago residents are now referring to “the Magnificent Mile” as “the Mug Mile”. But it isn’t just in Chicago that this is happening. During this past Memorial Day weekend, cities all over the United States experienced a stunning wave of mass violence. We are supposed to be an “example” for the rest of the world, but as our economic wealth crumbles we are witnessing the collapse of society all around us. So what is going to happen when the economy gets even worse?

The United States used to be a fairly civilized society. But now very few people seem to care how they treat others. That is even the case with our own government. As you will see below, the government is now sending SWAT teams in and dragging people out of their homes over unpaid student loans.

So if the government is going to be so brutal, what kind of message does that send to our young people? Today our young people are facing a future that looks incredibly bleak. It is hard to have faith in the “system” when the “system” simply does not work any longer. What are you supposed to say to a young person when you know very well that there are no jobs and that there is very little hope? Most Americans don’t understand what is causing the collapse of the economy, but most of them do have a sinking feeling that something has seriously gone wrong. For the last few years the American people have waited patiently for our politicians to “fix things”, but they have not gotten the job done. Instead, our economic situation is still declining. So now frustration is starting to boil over, and it is only going to get worse. The following are 18 signs that the collapse of society is accelerating….

1

In a brand new article, Janet Tavakoli has vividly described the wave of shocking violence that is currently sweeping the city of Chicago. What she says is happening to Chicago right now is beyond alarming…. This year, all hell has broken loose in downtown Chicago. Years of under-hiring have resulted in a police force that is unprepared for wildings and gang violence. Moreover, concealed carry in Chicago is illegal, unless one follows the Constitution. Tourists and residents have been attacked by mobs of youths on buses, on beaches, on bicycle paths, near the shops of the Magnificent Mile, and outside their homes. Mobs of shoplifters plagued “Mug Mile” stores. Terror has descended on many of the wealthiest areas of Chicago. Some are even calling on Chicago residents to completely avoid areas like the Magnificent Mile during the weekends until more police are brought in. Mobs of young people are “swarming” retail stores, assaulting shoppers and pedestrians and even pulling people out of their cars. The following is one eyewitness account of the “wildings” in Chicago that Tavakoli included in her recent article…. At about 11pm last Friday night, June 3rd, I heard shouting, screaming, horns blaring and tires screeching from my apartment…When I looked out my window to the street below I saw a crowd of about 20 young people…directly across the street from the entrance to my building. They were leaning on parked cars and clogging the street. They were screaming at people walking and driving by. I watched them stop vehicles, including taxi cabs, and pull people from the vehicles…It was a frightening scene and I was sure someone was going to be hurt.

2

If you don’t pay your student loans you may find yourself getting dragged out of your home by a SWAT team. You doubt this? The following is how an article in The Daily Mail recently described one recent SWAT team raid in California that was apparently ordered by the Department of Education…. A father was dragged from his home and handcuffed in front of his children by a SWAT team looking for his estranged wife – to collect her unpaid student loans. A stunned Kenneth Wright had his front door kicked in by the raiding party at 6 am yesterday before being dragged onto his front porch, handcuffed and led to a police car with his three children. He says he was then detained for six hours while officers looked for his wife – who no longer lives at the house.

3

One town in Connecticut was forced to shut down a beautiful new fountain because too many people were using it as a toilet.

4

This most recent Memorial Day weekend, cities all over America literally turned into war zones. There were reports of mass violence in Miami, New York, Chicago, Charlotte, Myrtle Beach, Nashville and Boston among other places. If you want to see video of some of the violence in Miami as it was happening, you can view it here. The video is quite disturbing so please don’t let any small children view it.

5

One of the hottest books in America right now is a “children’s book” entitled “Go The F*k To Sleep”.

6

A teenage girl in Washington state recently shot her Dad with a hunting bow because he took away her cell phone.

7

In New York City, one 32-year-old man was recently charged with sexually assaulting an 85-year-old woman.

8

Democratic strategist James Carville recently made national headlines when he told talk show host Don Imus the following…. “You know, look — this is a humanitarian — you know, you’re smart enough to see this . . . People, you know, if it continues, we’re going to start to see civil unrest in this country. I hate to say that, but I think it’s imminently possible.”

9

According to one new study, the percentage of U.S. households that contain a married couple with children has fallen from 44.3% in 1960 to 20.2% today.

10

In Atlanta, two dozen teens recently violently assaulted two Delta flight attendants on a train for no apparent reason. The following is how a local Atlanta newspaper described the attacks…. Their “Clockwork Orange” style blitz was over soon after it began. The teens boarded the train, headed to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, at the Garnett station a little after midnight seemingly intent on instilling fear. They succeeded. “There was blood everywhere, people were hollering and screaming,” a witness told Channel 2 Action News. “We were intimidated. People were terrified. People were trying to run. But there was nowhere to run.”

11

Federal prosecutors in Indianapolis have announced that they have broken up one of the largest child pornography rings ever discovered. It was based in Bloomington, Indiana. Are any small towns still safe?

12

Barack Obama’s food safety chief is defending armed raids of raw milk producers (including a raid on an Amish farmer) and he says that the FDA will “keep doing our public health job”.

13

In Florida, a 45-year-old Polk County sheriff’s deputy has been charged with strapping children to a desk and spanking them with sex toys.

14

In Sioux City, Iowa a 41 year old man recently walked into the office where his boss worked and beat the living daylights out of him. The boss suffered four chipped teeth and needed surgery to repair his nose. Apparently the boss was planning to fire the man.

15

A 20-year-old woman in Oklahoma has been charged with killing the family cat and using the blood as part of a costume she planned to wear to a Lady Gaga concert.

16

McDonald’s recently held a “National Hiring Day” and about a million Americans showed up to apply for jobs at McDonald’s restaurants all around the nation. Well, in Cleveland a horrible fight broke out between some girls and it ended up with three people being run over by a car. You can view video of this incident right here. Please do not watch the video if you are sensitive to graphic violence.

17

All over the United States, vicious restaurant brawls have been erupting with alarming frequency and many of them are being posted up on YouTube for the world to see.

18

From coast to coast, “mob robbing” has become a very disturbing trend. So what is a “mob robbing”? Well, basically dozens of young people storm into a store together, grab whatever they want, and storm back out again. Recent examples of this have been caught on video in Washington D.C. and in Las Vegas. So does anyone still doubt that we are starting to see the collapse of society? Sadly, things are going to get a whole lot worse. In response to a recent article entitled “The Coming Economic Hell For American Families”, a frequent commenter on my site known as “El Pollo De Oro” left the following comment about the collapse of society that is beginning to unfold….

Yes, it’s going to be VERY violent in The Banana Republic of America. Carjacking, kidnapping, drug trafficking, armed robbery and murder for hire will be major growth industries in the BRA when millions of formerly middle class Americans, now the neo-poor/neo-peasants, become increasingly desperate. The horrifying violence in Mexico will become a fact of life on this side of the border, the brutal kidnappings of the Philippines and Papua New Guinea will plague the BRA as well. Formerly middle class Americans who find themselves living in shantytown slums won’t like their new accommodations, and many of them will turn to violent crime in the hope of improving their miserable circumstances.

The truth is that about the only thing keeping our society together has been the unprecedented affluence that we have been enjoying over the past few decades. Once that affluence is gone, the true character of the American people will come out, and we may not like what we see. That is one reason why I pound on the economic crisis this nation is facing day after day. Once our wealth is gone, there is going to be chaos in the streets of America. So what are you seeing in your area of the country? Do you see signs that the collapse of society is accelerating where you live? Please feel free to leave a comment with your opinion below….

(link)

and here is more
12 More Signs That Society Is Collapsing
June 16, 2011 “Economic Collapse Blog” — What we are now witnessing is the slow motion unraveling of America. Our economy is dying, the American people have lost faith in the government and in almost all of our other major institutions, and our society is collapsing. Most Americans don’t understand why all of this is happening, but most of them do realize that something has fundamentally changed. Earlier this year, McDonald’s held a “National Hiring Day” and a million Americans showed up to apply for jobs. Only 62,000 of them were hired. That means only 6.2% of the applicants got jobs. So what are we supposed to tell the 93.8% that didn’t get hired? Are they supposed to have any hope for the future when they can’t even get a minimum wage job at McDonald’s? When I was a teenager, I went over to McDonald’s one day, filled out an application and was instantly hired. My, how things have changed. Now we have millions upon millions of young people that are staring directly into a very bleak future. The level of frustration in this country is rising to frightening levels and large numbers of people are already showing that they will stoop to anything in order to survive.

In a recent article entitled “18 Signs The Collapse Of Society Is Accelerating” I focused primarily on the chaos that has been erupting in many of our urban areas. But the truth is that, as you will see below, there are signs that society is collapsing coming out of very rural areas as well. This phenomenon cannot just be pinned down to one area of the country or to one group of people. From coast to coast people are already starting to lose it and the economic collapse has only just begun. The cold, hard reality of the matter is that what we are experiencing right now is rip-roaring prosperity compared to what is coming down the road.

So if people will behave this wildly now, what is our society going to look like someday when there are millions of Americans that have not had anything to eat for several days? That is something to think about. History has shown us that when people are really, really hungry they will do just about anything. But right now we are not even close to that point and yet people all across America are going crazy. The following are 12 more signs that society is collapsing….

1

In my previous article, I detailed how the “mob robbery” phenomenon in Chicago is spinning wildly out of control. Well, just this morning, the brother of Billy Corgan (the front man for the Smashing Pumpkins) was mugged and had his iPod stolen by a mob of teens while he was riding a Red Line train in Chicago.
Things have gotten so bad that now even The Wall Street Journal is taking notice of the rash of “mob robberies” that have been happening in Chicago. The following is how a new article in the Journal described one of the recent attacks…. In another incident last Saturday evening, Krzysztof Wilkowski, after shopping on Michigan Avenue, was sitting on his scooter a couple of blocks away checking his phone for a restaurant when he got whacked in the face with a baseball. At first, he said, he thought it was a prank, but then he looked up and saw 15 to 20 young men approaching. “My first reaction was, ‘I’m about to get robbed, what do I do?’ ” Mr. Wilkowski recalled in an interview. The 34-year-old insurance company employee from a Chicago suburb grabbed the keys from his ignition and held tight to his phone. A few of the attackers dragged him off his scooter and pulled him onto Chicago Avenue where they punched him, hit him with his helmet and tried to grab his phone.

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Sadly, “mob robberies” are not just happening in Chicago. The following is a video of a mob robbery that took place in Stockton, California…. This next video is an Associated Press video report about how police have become extremely concerned about the “flash mobs” that have been plaguing Philadelphia lately….. This is a very, very disturbing trend. Once these videos go up on YouTube, other groups of young people “copycat” them all over the country.
The next 10 signs are from some of my readers. In response to my previous article that discussed how society is collapsing, a number of people left comments that described what is happening in their particular areas. Sometimes so many dozens of comments get left that some real gems get overlooked. The following is a sampling of what my readers have been sharing about how society is collapsing where they live….

3

Golden Child (Third Richest County In America): About a month ago I was robbed in broad daylight walking to the store on a picture perfect 75 degree sunny day at 1 PM by two high school dropout teenagers on the path in my nice suburban town which is located in third richest county in America! A few months before that I was beaten unconscious by random drunk young people on the path near my home that I woke up in the hospital getting stitches in my face. This will be one dangerous summer for places all across America.

4

Chris (Fargo, North Dakota): I live in Fargo,ND and we have been having a rash of crime lately. In the past 6 months we have had multiple gas station robberies, bank robberies, and the latest, a shooting at one of our three movie theaters.

5

Sue (Ogden, Utah): I am a teacher in Ogden, Utah and this last winter I had a second grade student tell me that if I didn’t tell him how old I was that he was going to “shoot me in the back of my head.” He was suspended from school because that is a threat of violence, but nothing changed. His parents are active gang members.

6

Heather (Columbus, Ohio): I live close enough to Columbus, OH to follow the news there. (Thankfully far enough away not to be regularly affected by it.) Every day there is a new report of a violent crime. I believe we are up to 70 or so murders on the year. 10 years ago this wasn’t the case. I could (and did) walk into the worst part of the city and be safe as long as I was vigilant. I wouldn’t try that for the world now. I used to be a bank teller there and there’d be maybe 1 robbery a month throughout the city. It’s at least one a week now, probably more than that. And it’s no longer the downtown banks that are getting robbed–it’s the suburban ones.

7

The Baroness (Atlanta): I live in Atlanta Georgia. Everyday there are signs. Today’s headlines are: Babysitter kills toddler, 2 shot outside teen party, Brick thrown from I-75 overpass and several more.

8

Gas Panic (Unknown): The first, a 21 year old pizza delivery girl who was held with a knife to her throat while making a delivery. They took all the money she had on her and even took the time to search her car! The second was a 30 year old woman who told me she was walking down the street and was solicited by a pimp telling her she could “make good money”. After she told him to get lost, he stabbed her in the back of the arm. She needed over twenty stitches and showed me the wound.

9

NS (Fairbanks, Alaska): Even in Fairbanks, Alaska, there has been similar “mob robbing” going on. Yes, it is spreading everywhere.

10

Katherine (Unknown): I’ve also seen a huge increase in theft, vandalism, sexual assault, and violence just in the past couple of years. This is in a city that used to make the list in top places to live in the U.S. year after year.

11

Doktryn (Richmond, California): I live in Richmond California aka the city with the 2nd highest murder rate next to New Orleans, aka the city where the probability of you being killed is 5x higher. It is getting very serious out here, and luckily I don’t live in the rough part, however I go to the rough part to try to witness and preach. People are walking zombies. At any point their lives can be taken but the fact is, this is all they know. It is completely hopeless and when you wrote about “American Hellholes” I live in one. Richmond, CA is a post-industrial warzone. I work in the manufacturing industry, and I got here not long ago, but if you just drive through the city, the boarded up homes and abandoned warehouses tell the tale of how a deindustrialized city quickly turns to a battlefield.

12

IWillSurvive (Rural America): In my area we have been able to sleep well enough and always known our neighbors – up until a few months ago I did not lock my cars or my home most of the time – there was no need. That has changed, neighbors are now siphoning gas out of cars from desperation, and stealing scrap lumber, metal, livestock, produce and anything else they can get their hands on to sell or eat. Over the last year or so the police departments of some areas have started taking these seriously and actually investigated and caught a few. They are sometimes groups of people working together to amass resources to sell. We now keep a vigilant eye on our little flock of chickens and we have a colony of rabbits as well. We no longer “free range” them on our property at all – the risk of theft is too high if others know we have them. We keep any resources away from the road on the back side of our property – we also keep two German Shepherd Dogs for guarding our property. Living in the country is NOT what it used to be.

Sadly, this is just the beginning. This is just the tip of the iceberg. As the economy collapses, the chaos is going to get a lot worse. I wish that wasn’t true, but this is the world we live in now. The recent article I did about the “economic hell” that American families are going through right now got a huge response, but honestly what we are experiencing right now is not even worth comparing to how nightmarish things are going to be when our economic system fully collapses. We have been on the biggest debt binge that the world has ever seen. Our debt-fueled prosperity has enabled us to enjoy an unprecedented standard of living. But the largest debt bubble in the history of the world is going to pop, and when it does the party is going to be over. You better get ready.











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Facts about investments that governments can do nothing about

These are facts.

Digital Sky Technologies
It a russian company. It is a heavyly exposed investor in the social network Facebook, the social game Zynga and owner of the communicator ICQ. It also invests heavily in the somewhat less palatable Groupon. DST is also heavily involved with Goldman Sachs. And these people came up with Chatroulette as well.

Julian Assange characterized Facebook as the most appalling espionage infrastructure ever perpetuated on the world.

DST (Yuri Milner, a very rich man) forms the the corporate cornerstone triangle between the KGB/FSB, a fascist nationalist neoconservative state within the Russian state, and major elements of Russian Mafia syndicates. What can I add?

Right now not the EU, not the US and certainly not the Russian government have the intent, let alone the power to make any critical statements about this. It is all pretty much documented and certain. So in effect we live in an international order that knowingly and apathetically condones widespread organized criminal syndication of the business world – and near unbridled access to the private data of hundreds of millions of people.

“To fight the aforementioned accusation, Usmanov’s lawyers launched a much-derided legal campaign to keep British bloggers from even talking about the charges. There’s more in the video report “Blogs vs. Usmanov,” from British Channel 4’s cable network”

I was told that writing this blog post is actually dangerous. There are consistent rumors he had his ex girlfriend ‘offed’.

So what is left is to talk about this and instil a pervasive sense of moral outrage.

Russian Maffia Documentary

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Today’s Harvest – June 17

Oh … and something different.

Let me get this straight. The Netherlands is in the grips of a ‘simpleton rumbling majority government’, the PM is argueing for a type of austerity and established service cost cutting that will without any doubt will costs hundreds if not thousands of people their lives – and the analysis is now that Dutch society is so fast systemically depopulating we can’t even get basic jobs done? And how will we do this, and “keep society together” ?

These butchers will save 18 billion and the poor will notice most, since the poor are effectively defenceless. Classic Social-Darwinism.

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Khannea’s Monetary Axiomatic Statement

Without getting to alarmist – I foresee catastrophic economic turmoil. Monetary economies are suffering major problems. Without getting bogged down in details – I think this has been caused by several conflicting mechanisms:

(i) there is ambiguous global economic growth. This is no longer true as peak-oil and the (alleged) effects of resource depletion, global warming and environmental degradation rear their ugly heads. Economic growth is now disparate, uneven, out of equilibrium and haphazard. Too many people are losing in this game and many people are becoming angry.

(ii) citizens in fair measure benefit from whatever economic growth we have. This is no longer true as globalism, outsourcing and visceral automation sweeps the globe. Read “lights in the tunnel” and “hot, flat and crowded”. Big companies and shareholders win far out of proportion to real people. This is no empty bromide – an elite is getting far to rich, and massive teeming populations are not catching up fast enough, if you are too judge on arguments of humanism, empathy and fairness.

(iii) we can no longer trust fiat currency monetary systems – the generation of new currencies is dependent on the whims of ‘in over their head’ state monstrosities and career politicians. We can’t trust our leaders to do the right thing and quite often our leaders don’t even seem to know right from wrong.

This system has become unsustainable.

Having deliberated the conclusions of BitCoin, the implications of the economic collapse all major economic and industrial world powers are currently facing, devaluation of currency, populist/producerist sentiments, make the following statement. This should be the new economic order.

* In a world that claims to be global, with a(n allegedly) free supply & demand of goods in services there must be freedom for all to create and use all currencies, provided;
(a) Management, creation and destruction of the currency is made a transparent part of the public record;
(b) the coin is ruggedly resilient against falsification;
(c) any local collective of democratic electorate where the coin is used can claim a fair share of the coin system used to spend on public works;
(d) all humans receive enough equivalent value as a basic income in a coin of preference to guarantee them the bedrock basics human life, obtain minimum quality food, better yourself through education,

States should no longer be allowed to have a monopoly over printing coin and here is why.

In the current economic system states predate on all by having unbridled monopoly over money creation. States will unavoidable (be able to) tax (harvest) any coin, and bring full violence to bear on all its citizens. This mechanism is evolving towards disharmony, and the same arrhythmic of human history this has escalated into billowing, bloated and unsustainable bureaucracies, shilling, corruption, pork, corporate (and other) welfare entitlement culture and populist/demagogue politicians cultivating and empowering systemically stupid under-classes to further their own agenda. The general rule seems to be it ends in authoritarianism, overprinting of money, societal disparity, harmony and scape-goating – and variants of ‘kristalnacht‘ bloodshed.

In a world where effective terrorism is as cheap as a trip to a mall, or revolution is as easy as a mouseclick, this kind of escalation is no longer acceptable. Politicians who accept these risks are not professional, moral or competent at their jobs. Discontented voices can no longer be silenced, underclasses will no longer accept the unacceptable, and minorities will no longer be marginalized safely.

What we need is to make currencies compete and completely free from central control. But you want all legal tender to be accessible in a state – if it is used, a state should be able to ‘tax’ a currency. If the currency creator doesn’t like it, the currency creator (a financial institution) leaves the market.

Likewise any citizen should be able to have a decent standard of living as can be afforded by the state entity he or she is in. A state is in essence a communalization (nationalization if you will) off local resources and a declaration of monopoly on force with the intent to maximize justice as well as efficient management. In some states this is a asymmetrical – we call that “apartheid”, but that is simple – the end goal should be free traffic. A state exists solely to maximize the good of all of its citizens. A state that serves only its empowered elite needs to end.

A state would fear all of its citizens – and elites must respect its less well off citizens needs. Those that can’t cope should be able to leave. Or those that wouldn’t or couldn’t must be granted a vote to take a portion of any currency claim in that particular jurisprudence as taxes.

A monetary entity (A “bank”) wants it’s currency to be used widely – but it has to publicize data on falsification, anti-falsification methods, or increase of its legal tender, as well as acceptance. If a currency is widely accepted, that’s good – but if a local state taxes the currency too much for whatever local interest, investment or populist goal the coin would devalue or be sucked into a jurisprudence – and a bank can stop offering service in that jurisprudence. Say; a pound Sterling is used in Europe by “The bank Brittanica” but if the Eurozone taxes too many Pound sterling for its own ends, then the Bank Brittanica would be forced to get up and leave, and the currency would become informal. There would be a balance between market penetration, banking utility, and economic power. For instance there might be a non-profit or NGO called GoldBank, which publicize data on gold availability, and there might be a “KrugerandBank”, which just would happen to use a specific gold denominational currency. Of course any bank would be free to publicize money at will – but if they weren’t disclosing in full how many coins there were in the market nobody would consider for a second to part with goods or services in exchange for that currency, right? Generate a currency that is stable, credible and falsificationproof and people will use to to barter goods and services. BitCoin is evidence in that.

The flip-side is that any citizen must have a constitutional right to demand from his state a humane existence. States can then argue what a humane existence is, but I see no other alternative than the implementation of a basic income. Why I think a Basic Income is unavoidable in the next 10-20 years for most powerful, diversified democracies in the world in the world is a topic for another article. Citizens should be able to generate a decent quality of life, if not by labour then by potlatch. If too many citizens sit on their laurels in a particular state, the state suffers economically, and must take policy actions, in the form of investment (or austerity), or banks, service providers and corporations would get up and leave.

This favours the creation of large economical blocks – but we already have those. This system also favours a nice balance between what is sustainably democratically, what is sustainable governmentally (and bureaucratically), and what banks and corporations can get away with.

Right now we internationally do not have checks and balances. This would be a nice start to implement checks and balances. It would constrain out of control populists and their demogogery/producerist shpiel, out-of-control corporate power, run-away inflation and unaccountable banking systems, out of control democratic entitlements and welfare systems. Best of all our currents systems are failing and if BitCoin proves one thing it proves that the current geopolitical financial order is under severe and irreversible threat.

This is just a quick article. I will update and rewrite this article as I get more ideas on the topic.











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New Republic: Let Them Eat Cake Or Don’t Bake At All

Flannery O’Connor once described the contradictory desires that afflict all of us with characteristic simplicity. “Free will does not mean one will,” she wrote, “but many wills conflicting in one man.” The existence of appealing alternatives, after all, is what makes free will free: What would choice be without inner debate? We’re torn between staying faithful and that alluring man or woman across the room. We can’t resist the red velvet cake despite having sworn to keep our calories down. We buy a leather jacket on impulse, even though we know we’ll need the money for other things. Everyone is aware of such inner conflicts. But how, exactly, do we choose among them? As it turns out, science has recently shed light on the way our minds reconcile these conflicts, and the result has surprising implications for the way we think about one of society’s most intractable problems: poverty.

In the 1990s, social psychologists developed a theory of “depletable” self-control. The idea was that an individual’s capacity for exerting willpower was finite — that exerting willpower in one area makes us less able to exert it in other areas. In 1998, researchers at Case Western Reserve University published some of the young movement’s first returns. Roy Baumeister, Ellen Bratslavsky, Mark Muraven, and Dianne Tice set up a simple experiment. They had food-deprived subjects sit at a table with two types of food on it: cookies and chocolates; and radishes. Some of the subjects were instructed to eat radishes and resist the sweets, and afterwards all were put to work on unsolvable geometric puzzles. Resisting the sweets, independent of mood, made participants give up more than twice as quickly on the geometric puzzles. Resisting temptation, the researchers found, seemed to have “produced a ‘psychic cost.'”

Over the intervening 13 years, these results have been corroborated in more than 100 experiments. Researchers have found that exerting self-control on an initial task impaired self-control on subsequent tasks: Consumers became more susceptible to tempting products; chronic dieters overate; people were more likely to lie for monetary gain; and so on. As Baumeister told Teaching of Psychology in 2008, “After you exert self-control in any sphere at all, like resisting dessert, you have less self-control at the next task.”

In addition, researchers have expanded the theory to cover tradeoff decisions, not just self-control decisions. That is, any decision that requires tradeoffs seems to deplete our ability to muster willpower for future decisions. Tradeoff decisions, like choosing between more money and more leisure time, require the same conflict resolution as self-control decisions (although our impulses appear to play a smaller role). In both cases, willpower can be understood as the capacity to resolve conflicts among choices as rationally as possible, and to make the best decision in light of one’s personal goals. And, in both cases, willpower seems to be a depletable resource.

This theory of depletable willpower has its detractors, and, as in most academic topics studied across disciplinary fields, one finds plenty of disputes over the details. But this model of self-control is now one of the most prominent theories of willpower in social psychology, at the core of what E. Tory Higgins of Columbia University described in 2009 as “an explosion of scientific interest” in the topic over the last decade. Some skeptics correctly emphasize the vital role of motivation, and some emphasize instead that “attention” is limited. But the core of the breakthrough is that resolving conflicts among choices is expensive at a cognitive level and can be unpleasant. It causes mental fatigue.

Nowhere is this revelation more important than in our efforts to understand poverty. Taking this model of willpower into the real world, psychologists and economists have been exploring one particular source of stress on the mind: finances. The level at which the poor have to exert financial self-control, they have suggested, is far lower than the level at which the well-off have to do so. Purchasing decisions that the wealthy can base entirely on preference, like buying dinner, require rigorous tradeoff calculations for the poor. As Princeton psychologist Eldar Shafir formulated the point in a recent talk, for the poor, “almost everything they do requires tradeoff thinking. It’s distracting, it’s depleting … and it leads to error.” The poor have to make financial tradeoff decisions, as Shafir put it, “on anything above a muffin.”

Last December, Princeton economist Dean Spears published a series of experiments that each revealed how “poverty appears to have made economic decision-making more consuming of cognitive control for poorer people than for richer people.” In one experiment, poor participants in India performed far less well on a self-control task after simply having to first decide whether to purchase body soap. As Spears found, “Choosing first was depleting only for the poorer participants.” Again, if you have enough money, deciding whether to buy the soap only requires considering whether you want it, not what you might have to give up to get it. Many of the tradeoff decisions that the poor have to make every day are onerous and depressing: whether to pay rent or buy food; to buy medicine or winter clothes; to pay for school materials or loan money to a relative. These choices are weighty, and just thinking about them seems to exact a mental cost.

In a paper in April 2010, Harvard behavioral economist Sendhil Mullainathan (for whom, full disclosure, I once worked) and MIT’s Abhijit Banerjee applied this same notion to decisions requiring self-control. If a doughnut costs twenty-five cents, they wrote, then that “$0.25 will be far more costly to someone living on $2 a day than to someone living on $30 a day. In other words, the same self-control problem is more consequential for the poor.” And so, in addition to all the structural barriers that prevent even determined poor people from escaping poverty, there may be another, deeper, and considerably more disturbing barrier: Poverty may reduce free will, making it even harder for the poor to escape their circumstances.

All of this suggests that we need to rethink our approaches to poverty reduction. Many of our current anti-poverty efforts focus on access to health, educational, agricultural, and financial services. Now, it seems, we need to start treating willpower as a scarce and important resource as well.

Some promising approaches have already been tried. Starting in 2002, economists Nava Ashraf, Dean Karlan, and Wesley Yin created and analyzed a unique type of savings account at a small rural bank on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines. The Green Bank of Caraga’s SEED accounts (Save, Earn, Enjoy Deposits) let clients place restrictions on when they could access their money. SEED clients could set either a date before which or a minimum savings amount below which they couldn’t access their own funds. Twenty-eight percent of existing bank clients who were offered the accounts enrolled in them, and, after one year, the economists found, customers saved over 300 percent more with SEED accounts than they would have without them. The accounts offered an opportunity to circumvent self-control failure, in the same way Ulysses bound himself to the mast to resist the Sirens’ call.

The developed world offers numerous such “commitment products”: certificates of deposit, pension plans, government savings bonds, and education savings accounts, to name a few. But, in the developing world, institutional supports for flagging willpower are far fewer. To make use of these new discoveries, similar products that explicitly attempt to reduce willpower costs could be developed in numerous fields, from health to education to agriculture to financial management.

This brings up a second, similar point: Comfort goods like washing machines and dishwashers free up valuable time and attention. Think of all the things the wealthy do to spend more time focusing on what’s important. They can pay bills automatically, they can hire babysitters and have food delivered, they can have their homes and clothes cleaned for them. But, in the developing world, cost-effective time savers have come much more slowly to those who most need them. Five-dollar, energy-efficient stoves can cut firewood usage, improving children’s health and halving the amount of time it takes to gather enough firewood to cook. Small solar panels systems, too, as The New York Times recently reported, can play “an epic, transformative role” in homes off the electrical grid, saving families time and money on kerosene. Broadly distributed, such simple innovations would allow the poor to avoid difficult tradeoff decisions about how they spend their time or even their money.

Third, money itself can go a long way toward altering the dynamic that leads to willpower depletion among the poor. Government transfers of money have proven successful in Mexico and Brazil, for instance. In particular, attaching conditions to these transfers — such as requiring school attendance, regular clinic visits, and savings behavior — may allow for an end-run around the kind of willpower-based poverty traps that too frequently seem to end with the poor making unwise decisions.

Finally, what about the possibility of strengthening the willpower “muscle”? Here, the research is complicated. While one line of research has found reason to think that drained willpower can be restored in the short term — by taking a walk in nature or watching a humorous video, for instance — studies on how to strengthen the willpower muscle in the long term are far less conclusive. This second line of research seems to be more promising in children than in adults. As Kathleen Vohs of the University of Minnesota, who has done extensive research on willpower, put it, “There might be something of a developmental sweet spot.” In twelve U.S. states, a program called Tools of the Mind is explicitly aimed at improving willpower functions in prekindergarten and kindergarten children. While some of the strategies would be quite difficult in much of the developing world, many are not, or could be adapted.

Of course, to argue that stressful decisions can exhaust precious mental resources is not to suggest that the decisions of the poor can’t be attributed to human agency. Still, while free will is real, it is also subject to complications. The economist Amartya Sen, in his well-known volume Development as Freedom, notes how an individual’s “freedom of agency” is “constrained by the social, political and economic opportunities” available to them. He’s right: Fewer options do reduce freedom. But now, we may need to grapple with a new possibility: that poverty doesn’t simply reduce freedom by constraining an individual’s choices, but that it may actually alter the nature of freedom by reducing an individual’s willpower.

reposted from here.











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Daddies and Mommies to save us.

There is a pervasive message in popular entertainment that there are saviours outside humanity, above the masses of humanity. These movies depict battles of Good versus Evil forces, and they depict we will all be saved, despite the attempts of Evil to destroy humanity.

The most insidious aspect of this popular entertainment is that humans, humanity – whatever we do matters less than it should. We are an ant farm.

Take this movie. Or this one. Or this one. These movies absolve ‘pityfully weak and inconsequential humans‘ of any responsibility and reduce us to bystanders on a cosmic stage.

How american. This message disgusts me, and anyone reading this – you should disagree.

I do not want to be an inconsequential ’rounding error’. I’d rather be dead than be ‘support cast’. Who makes these movies and why do they make them? What do audiences desire? What are the motives of sponsors to put out such a pervasive message – ‘your role as humans is to scurry about and help one side or the other, a little, but stand aside while those that matter do the actual work and make the actual decisions‘.

What kind of world has this become?











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White Rabbit 09 : A Morphology of Singularities

This will be a big one. I will be writing a BIG article with slideshows. Usual presentation in SL, hopefully a bit bigger than the usual event.

I may invite other speakers.

1. Force amplifiers
2. The great galactic casino…
3. Initial parameters on planetary morphology, biology, evolution, neurology, morality, politics, scientific theory and technology.
4. Anyone who says “a singularity will be fairly safe” is a liar or a fool.
5. Embedding of values or laws in things or processes is largely irreversible.
6. Fast or glacial? Explosive or staggered? Singular or revolutionary? Space or no space? Singleton or anarchon? What ‘ignitor’ ?
7. What systems in society right now plausibly reduce our chances to have a friendly singularity? Do we have a responsibility?
8. This can not have any other than have cosmological implications. Are we being watched? Abortive intervention?
9. May ‘a singularity’ be a a very hard thing to reach? How common is a ‘depleted death whimper’ ?
10. Are we spectacularly deluded?
11. Some archetypical visions of “singularity”.
12. The bigger picture – A Galactic Ecology of Singularization.

More to follow later. 🙂











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