When local government meets high tech sovereigns

Sometimes I think city government is sleeping at the wheel when it comes to technology and capital flows. During its lucid moments, government will fall back on its 1960s playbook of economic development by announcing plans to bring back manufacturing jobs that pay better wages than the service sector jobs that replaced factory work and eviscerated wages. This narrative may have worked in a locality that was created to take advantage of proximity to a local natural resource where factories could then convert the resources into goods for local and other markets, but for a city like a 21st century Atlanta, that narrative is disingenuous.

Atlanta’s “natural resource” today is information. Workers who know how to find, extract, organize, and distribute information are going to be the one’s who obtain employment and the higher wages that come along with work in the information sector. This demand for an information-centric political economy, I believe, is being driven by the changing tastes of capital. Capital wants its goods and services delivered conveniently and its production customized.

Information technology allows capital to target funds directly to high-value driven information entrepreneurs that can deliver a product that was designed, manufactured, packaged in, and delivered from multiple jurisdictions. Capital has no love for mass appeal. Why deal with crowded banks, malls, car dealerships, or grocery stores when extra minutes of leisure can be carved out by the manufacturing and service delivery efficiencies provided by Tesla, Uber, Grubhub, and Insta-cart.

Along with these efficiencies in product manufacturing and delivery come smaller work forces or work forces outside of the jurisdiction of local governments. Local governments have been the front line defense of investor capital from disgruntled labor. They regulate labor union speech during strikes. Where there is violence they arrest the rowdy. However, in an information age where there are a greater number of tech shops employing smaller numbers of non-unionized information workers versus a handful of large factories employing thousands of unionized lower-skilled workers, there is less demand for the police powers of local government. Disgruntled employees at today’s tech shops simply take their information knowledge somewhere else or create their own firm.

Eventually government starts tossing and turning in its sleep. It sees its “labor clamp down” requests severely diminished. Higher incomes start translating into reduced need for government services from garbage removal to security. Higher income earning citizens may consider pooling resources to support campaigns of candidates who agree to reducing tax burdens are, too the extreme, support carving out or “leasing sovereignty” to higher income communities.

Question is, how will those with no capital react to the erection of this wall of individual sovereignty?

Capital, technology, social media, & fake connection

Capital uses technology to create a singularity in the individual. This process toward “self-actualization” is the wrong one because the journey to self has nothing to do with technology or capital.
 
The downside of using technology to create a singularity is that as part of validating its use, technology markets itself to the masses as a way of creating a collective consciousness, a fake singularity.
 
I call it fake because trying to create a oneness with multiple, diverse, un-self actualized minds is dangerous and only leads to narcissism on steroids. It is the mistake that liberals, for example, have been making for the last 130 years of political history in the United States. One need only look at social media and see the effects.
 
Meanwhile, the masses, believing they are creating some good through collective behavior are merely being used by the few that herd them up into single-minded, over-emotional mania.
 
Eventually this fake singularity collapses on itself with violent repercussions as all shifts in mass political behavior eventually does as this fake singularity is exposed for what it truly is; a distraction.
 
What are the masses being distracted from? The fact that progressives have learned how to hoard and leverage inside information, move to urban centers, monetize this inside information, and raise rents on the poor, forcing the poor to move to lower quality areas.
 
Meanwhile, rich, liberal urbanites become more “singular” meaning less diverse as they show their true value system, one that was never built on diversity, but where a diversity narrative was merely used as a Trojan Horse that allowed them to infiltrate minority communities and run out people that neither look, act, or think like them.
 
Atlanta, Manhattan, San Francisco. We see it, but cognitive dissonance allows us to ignore it. The fake singularity has no room for an organic collective.

Decentralization like anarchy is threatened by a fear of vacuum

China is increasingly its crackdown on the production of cryptocurrency including Bitcoin. Last year China prohibited the issuance of new cryptocurrency and today is taking the attack a step further by shutting down China’s mining network, a network reportedly responsible for 80% of the mining power behind the cryptocurrency production platform. It comes to me as no surprise that a severely centralized political economy would allow a value exchange system predicated on decentralization to go on about its business unchallenged. China appears to prefer nip the decentralization concept in the bud now versus following the rest of the world down the rabbit hole and the eventual violent repercussions.

What cryptocurrency investors in other tax and customs jurisdictions will eventually find out over the next decade is that decentralization or controlled anarchy is a temporary state of societal mind. Probably from the time tribes started to trade with each other and currency, property, trade rules, and contracts were put in place, anarchy has occupied the briefest periods. It takes little time before someone pretends to be Ghengis Khan and wants to “unite” the clans in the name of order and peace. The same thing, I suspect, will also happen with cryptocurrency.

I view corporations as privateers, licensed by government to ensure that government’s tax extraction system works smoothly on a day-to-day basis. Corporations create taxable activities by extracting resources, converting resources into inputs; converting inputs into final products, and selling those final products to end users. End users are employed during the resource extraction, organization, sale process and as employees are converted into payers of an income tax. Employees are also consumers and as such see the income taxes of business firms passed on to them via a sales tax. Corporations are the tax monetizers in the government tax receipts system and as such will do the State’s bidding when the State identifies a threat and calls on the corporation to help fortify it.

One corporation that will be called on to help fortify the State against cryptocurrency attempts at usurping State power will be the utilities. The utilities are the paragon of centralization and provide great game plans for any wanna be monopolist who wants to protect its turf. More important, utilities, especially in tax and customs jurisdictions where distributed generation has not taken hold, will be at the front line of the push back on cryptocurrency. Miners should not be surprised that the State cuts off their electricity. Last time I checked, digital equipment runs on electricity.

Another consideration is how the State will employ broadband providers in their crackdown. I see the State using net neutrality principles to force internet service providers to provide as much information as possible on the encrypted cryptocurrency data flowing across their networks. Net neutrality requires that internet service providers provide consumers with network management information as it pertains to the delivery of their services. I can see the Federal Communications Commission bringing its own action to force these companies to provide them with information on network activity as well.

And what is to stop the further broadening of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act by requiring that mobile and fixed wire broadband access providers participate where technically feasible in decrypting encrypted messages that contain cryptocurrency information? Congress will have to be moved by continued strategic communications geared to persuading members that the potential use of cryptocurrency by sex traffickers and drug smugglers warrants significant amendment to the Act to cover garnering information on cryptocurrency transactions.

All States are built on centralization. Whether a communist or capitalist model is only a matter of degree.

 

When Bitcoin becomes a transmitter of valuable information

Bitcoin is not for speculation. Bitcoin is about the transmission and exchange of valuable information attached to a digital currency that measures the value of the information. The volatility we are seeing in the market for Bitcoin is based on the fear of missing out on a pop in value.

I think in the near future what will eventually drive the value of Bitcoin is the underlying value of the information that the individual sovereign either possesses or can produce. It is likely that person A holding Bitcoin may look at person B who allegedly has some information, x, and determine that the person B’s information or ability to generate useful information has no value. Think of someone in London approached by someone from Somalia who wishes to trade in Somalian currency. The Londoner wouldn’t touch it.

You may argue that scenario already occurs in the real world, that trader A is not required to transact with trader B. In a centralized world, trader B would bring a discrimination grievance against trader A for refusing to trade. In a decentralized, voluntaryist cyber world, no matter how much cryptocurrency you hold, the value of your true currency, the information that you possess or can produce, will determine your digital currency’s value.

As for the speculators, the error they make is using valuation methods created in a centralized, coercive political economy to assess the value of a currency designed for a decentralized cyber society. A speculators are enjoying the upside of Bitcoin’s market appreciation, but as the currency becomes more expensive and reaches its 21 million digital currency cap, will these speculators be able to purchase any more of the currency? Or, will they be able to ride out the inflationary characteristic the coin takes on should it become a matter of two few Bitcoin chasing too many goods? Will lower income individuals who may have made their first purchases with their credit cards be able to recover the dollar value of the coin in order to pay off increasing interest rates?

Not to mention the competing currencies that will eventually knock off Bitcoin from its perch. As technology improves such that “information rich” individuals create their own cryptocurrency, individual sovereignty will be complete. Just like western nations trade with each other based primarily on similar values and culture, the information rich will do the same. As the value of their currency increases so to will the demand from vendors who will likely prefer hold in reserve the currency of the information rich versus the “information poor.”

I believe that the information poor or “information losers” who were lucky to get a few pieces of a coin in the early days will not be able to participate on either side of a cyber trade in the future. Their focus should be on building their information gathering tools versus pursuing a quick fix, get rich path.

Cyber space will remain decentralized by the silos created by the information rich will prove daunting for the information poor.

A person living in the internet shouldn’t have to pay taxes

Nyota Uhura is on a quest to digitize herself. She creates digital product on her laptop, transmits her finished product to her clients via the internet, and gets paid primarily in cryptocurrency. Every now and then she accepts fiat currency issued by a nation-state in part because as a mini-sovereign she likes to have a reserve currency for emergency use or in case a hole-in-the-wall restaurant on a south Florida beach doesn’t accept BitCoin.

She probably spends too much time socializing in cyberspace. Facebook and Instagram keep her in touch with her brothers and sisters in Congo or her cousins in Brooklyn. As a busy creative she sends out for food via Uber Eats and uses Uber or Lyft to get around.

She is not naive about the public safety protection that Atlanta markets to its residents. She has a home security service that she communicates with via broadband. She uses her laptop as a surveillance camera courtesy of her broadband access provider. She keeps a shotgun and feels confident in her self-defense skills. If she were a pilot, she would avoid Atlanta’s biggest amenity, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and opt for the smaller Charlie Brown airfield.

Why then, she asks, should she even pay taxes?

Her friends rebuttal is that she should contribute to the public services that she uses to get around; that she should pay for use of the streets and use of the police protection. On a national level, she should support Medicare and the national defense, and social security because these programs help provide security for her future.

And she should be ashamed of herself for not showing the ultimate allegiance to her government by avoiding the use of America’s fiat currency. Her failure to use it, they argue, only negatively impacts the nation’s economy by devaluing the dollar through shrunken demand.

Nyota expected the canned rebuttal from her friends and family. She responds, however, with a rebuttal they are not prepared for, one based on value. Being coerced by a false sense of duty and obligation to pay for sub-par protection services makes no sense to her. She hasn’t bought in on the police’s public relations campaign that they are there to protect the public and would like her taxes reduced by whatever the city assesses as her contribution. She has no enemies in Russia, North Korea, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, or Iran other than the enemies created by U.S. policy. Since she didn’t create these enemies, she would also like her taxes reduced by the amount of her contribution to these services.

Nyota pays a sales tax when she eats a cheat meal at McDonald’s. She also contributes to the transportation tax when she pays her Uber driver for a lift to the grocery store. She literally works in another jurisdiction, cyberspace, and because of this, Nyota believes she should not have to pay a federal income tax, especially to a government that provides low value protection services.

A strong legal and political argument will have to be crafted and promoted to bring about these changes, but at least Nyota is thinking about exit.

Why I have no problem with nationalism

Nationalism represents the freedom for a particular ethnic or cultural group to be and promote who and what they are. Americans, particular those on the left, play revisionist history when calling out so called white nationalists for expressing their need for separation. This country’s history is rife with “white nationalism” where Europeans cleared out indigenous occupants they found on the land and appropriated its natural resources in order to fuel Euro America’s expansion to the Pacific and beyond.

I sense Euro Americans have either an intellectual aversion to white nationalism or an indifference. I believe it is more indifference because given their dominant cultural status in the United States, it is a waste of time pondering on the alleged wrongs their ancestors carried out against indigenous tribes as well as against African tribes that they traded for and brought to the United States.

If Euro Americans believed that non-Europeans were their brothers and sisters under the eyes of God, then the mass atrocities Europeans carried out against indigenous American tribes and African tribes would never have happened. The atrocities were simple to carry out because Europeans convinced themselves that because of their technology, language, religion, skin color, and view of life, that they were better thus had the authority to carry out violence against these peoples.

The United States is simply Europe extended.

But given the brief argument I provided above, why then would I support nationalism? Didn’t I just make an argument about how unacceptable it is? The answer is no, I didn’t. European campaigns to conquer and occupy the North and South American continents were examples of human nature on steroids. Africans, Asians, and Europeans have varied histories of occupation and conquest. Europeans took their model of conquest and and nation building and went global. Indigenous American and African tribes are understandably upset that they lost tens of or even hundreds of millions of lives over a almost four century period of war, rape, and slavery, but in the end, just because these tribes were not capable of warding off the onslaught doesn’t mean that Europeans owe an apology. Rather, it means that these groups need to ask themselves what was it about self preservation that they did not understand then and today how best do we go about correcting it.

Progressives will respond that to address these past wrongs either all peoples should start to live as one, to put aside ethnic differences, to be human first or pay the descendants of the victims some form of reparations.  Neither approach will work.

First, the “we are all human” approach invites subjecting disadvantaged groups to a European standard. If we are all one people, then efficiency calls for a clear standard to follow and I don’t see a group of European descendants who control America’s wealth subjecting themselves to the socio-economic-political standards of the African Diaspora.

Nor will reparations work. First, Euro Americans will push back on the idea going as far as a tax revolt, something the United States could not afford. Even if reparations were approved, what would be the formula for doling out monies? What would be the criteria? Could Barack Obama collect just based on skin color even though there is no proof that any member of his lineage was a slave?

And what would the reparations be used for? Members of the African Diaspora have a higher propensity to consumer relative to Euro Americans. While there will be a huge spike in the United States’ gross domestic product, I don’t see any leadership calling for wealth building, something the African sorely needs.

If the African Diaspora is to achieve any real viability on the North American continent, it will have to embark on a fifty year plan that includes the creation and implementation of tribal values, separate and distinct from the dominant culture. The dominant culture’s values have not served the African Diaspora in America well. Members of the African Diaspora rank at the bottom of every major socio-economic indicator.  Members of the African Diaspora will have to accumulate natural resources, build an economy around those resources, and use broadband and the internet to engage in trade not only with other Diaspora members in North America but across the pond as well.

Nationalism should not be looked at as a hate agenda. That is an argument that nation-state promoters make, and one that I will address later this week. What nationalism does is ensure your survivability and uniqueness. Those who allegedly seek a diverse world within which to live need to come to terms with this reality.

Google and Facebook: When humans are the fuel for social media farms

For several weeks, social media firms Facebook, Google, and Twitter have faced scrutiny from media and Congress over their alleged facilitation of Russian messaging during the 2016 presidential elections. Nitasha Tiku shared last month in an article for WIRED how social media companies have been catching heat from both sides of the aisle for allowing Russia-based or backed entities to buy ads on their platforms and direct subscribers to messages designed to misinform, mislead, or otherwise influence readers.

Facebook, Google, and Twitter are leaders in the “attention economy“, where social media companies buy (more like hack), package, and sell the attention they glean from their subscribers. Keeping your attention is their business, keeping it in sufficient quantities to attract advertisers who wish to market product to you. Attention, not information, is in short supply. That is the true gold nugget.

Congress, while not having yet passed any significant legislation, is still scrutinizing how social media companies manipulate consumer behavior. For example, today the U.S. House energy and commerce committee has a hearing on how companies use algorithms when making decisions on consumer behavior. This should provide some insight on where Congress wants to go next on the issue.