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"This guy is having a typically American techno-narcissistic frontier-utopian freakout." Man I laughed so hard when I read that. Thank you. It had to be said.
Toggle Commented Aug 24, 2012 on CrowdFunding Disruption at Global Guerrillas
This is worse than LBJ picking out bombing targets.
A significant chunk of the elite turned against the American system post-1965 Voting Rights Act. You go through the South and you can see it very clearly-- the decline of spending or interest in common infrastructure such as schools, public pools etc. Basically, when the white settler elite (the former slaveholders) realized they would have to share the commons with African Americans they decided to withdraw from the commons. But this is true throughout the United States, not just the South. It is only most obvious in the South, and since Southern politicians have succeeded in dominating the federal system, they have also been able to cripple the central government as well. Look at the huge fight over federal funding for high speed rail in California, which is embarrassing. Even Japan's right-wing one party government could see the benefits of high speed rail-- during the 1950s. Withdrawing from the commons has worked fine for the top of the income bracket. But their less well off foot soldiers didn't realize, however, is that we all live side-by side, and that systematically destroying the nation-state would also hurt them. Eventually the predator state prison complex gun would point at the white working class too-- and this has happened, they've found out that no one gives a shit about them either. You may go to church every Sunday, profess your undying belief in America, and work ass off at your construction gig, never accept welfare and look down on non-whites as shifty dope using profligate embracers of promiscuity,but ultimately the people whose economic program you supported for 30 years don't care about you and now they are going to destroy your life by privatizing what is left of the commons and leaving you to race to the bottom. On the left, people decided that the idea of the nation-state was déclassé, and that patriotism was embarrassing, and they retreated, into the self-referential intellectual masturbation of post-modernism, where everybody is right and nobody is wrong. Of course, that's nonsense. They don't actually believe that, it's just a convenient cover for people who lack the courage of their convictions. Ironically, these people often embrace the Che cult, and the cult of ''third world liberation" generally, while never realizing that what drove those movements was not some embrace of an international ideal, but of localized, nationalistic sentiment. Carefully ensconced in academia, they have cushy jobs, retirement plans and insurance benefits, and enjoy regular international travel to mostly irrelevant conferences where other people just like them deliver talks on the post-Lacanian cultural analysis of the cultural identity of transnational non-traditional shamanistic sexuality participants (aka furries), followed by cliched calls to solidarity with striking workers in Greece. You can sneer at the nation state all you want, but you exist in a bubble of academic privilege that is paid for by federal student loans and defense department grants, and the multicultural diversity that you so prize exists only because there is still, just barely, a common American identity holding it all together. If the United States ever fell apart, no one is going to protect your precious, diverse, non-traditional gender role-loving community, as the US will look more like the Balkans after the end of Communism. There is a way out of this situation, but the answers most certainly will not be found among an elite that long ago turned its back on America.
Toggle Commented Mar 16, 2012 on When Elites Depart at Global Guerrillas
In the legal system, all property is virtual. Let's take the example of a plot of land. That is "real property", you have a title to it which gives you certain rights-- to destroy it, to build a house, to dig for oil, etc. Interestingly, some titles will include things like the mineral rights (water, coal, oil, etc), but some won't. I can almost guarantee you if you own plot of land within an incorporated area, that you won't have the water rights. Check out your title-- in most of the Western US the original "title holder" if you go back far enough is the USG, although sometimes it's Spanish....whole other story. The point is that for the purposes of _the legal system_ a property interest in real estate and a property interest in a musical track are the same. Where they differ, in my view, is this-- what happens when someone infringes on your property right. For the real property, if someone decides to infringe on it, they make it so you lose some use of it. For example, if someone squats on your land, you lose the use of it in that space. The example of a car is more instructive-- if someone takes the car, you don't have a car anymore. If you own the rights to a song, and someone else copies it, you don't lose the use of the song. That's the difference. Now someone is going to come along and say "but , you lose the marginal amount you would have gotten if they'd bought the song." Okay. Now we're in the realm of speculating what will happen in the future-- in court, this is where both sides bring in consulting economists to prognosticate. In my opinion, any time that happens you've automatically moved into a realm where chances are high that the nonsense level goes to maximum. As a way around this, the media oligarchs have introduced statutory damages-- a set legal fine for each infraction. Otherwise they'd have the burden of proving their loss each time, which is probably impossible, if not extremely expensive. Consulting economists aren't cheap. What the media oligarchs have done is shift the costs of enforcement almost completely onto the common carriers (Youtube) and onto the individuals who may be "infringing." It's a simple power grab, and one you see across our legal system, as jury trials become harder and harder to get. Another example is mandatory arbitration-- which is just a bullshit cost that gets pushed onto small time plaintiffs, to gum up the system. Big businesses backed by scumbag insurance companies aren't going to settle during arbitration, it's just another barrier to getting into court, because scumbags want to avoid juries whenever possible. Juries are known to do things like take offense at scumbag behavior and levy actually painful cash awards to plaintiffs. And we can't have that. I don't have a problem with compensating individuals for their work. I do have a problem with these out of control long term monopoly grants, and that is exactly what we have now.
And David Brin on Miller's OWS rant: http://davidbrin.wordpress.com/2011/11/13/move-over-frank-miller-or-why-the-occupy-wall-street-kids-are-better-than-spartans/
Toggle Commented Nov 14, 2011 on LINKS: November 14, 2011 at Global Guerrillas
A profile on Graeber: http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/david-graeber-the-antileader-of-occupy-wall-street-10262011.html I have a hard time believing that an area the size of a nation state, or even a city state could be run according to the principles Graeber espouses, and I question whether "self-organization" and no central government could administer infrastructure such as water distribution, sewage and telecom. Nor am I convinced that such a social arrangement could do things like develop and manufacture pharmaceuticals such as antibiotics, insulin etc. However, I think there is ample data that consensus based, anarchist direct democracy principles could function in small enterprises -- cooperative grocery stores, bike shops, machine shops, etc. From what I gather in speaking with anarchists at various Occupy encampments, their theory is that running the encampments is a practical experiment/exercise in anarchist principles. Graeber's article appears to confirm that this was the plan at the start. Currently OWS has raised a couple of hundred thousand in donations, a lot of it in cash. And the park is running as a self governed entity *to some degree*. However asking for food and money donations is a far cry from a self-sustaining enterprise. Whether OWS on the ground in NYC can bootstrap (or wants to bootstrap) to a "resilient community" status remains to be seen . But at present they have the material resources to do it-- the question is what they can do with their wet-ware. We'll know soon enough.
It's funny, if you knew anything about the core group that started Occupy in NYC, you'd know they aren't looking for "big government." It was David Graeber and some other anarchists-- who probably want _even less government than you do_. As in, none. You may have more in common with OWS than you think.
This is essentially what is happening with at least one of the Occupations, in Oakland, California.
Toggle Commented Oct 20, 2011 on BEYOND FARMERS MARKETS... at Global Guerrillas
Keep on fighting that Cold War, while the rest of us build the future.
Ridiculous. USG does not have significant debt obligations in gold or non-dollar denominated assets. We're not Weimar.
There is at least one Korean MMO that sells licenses so that you can run your own private server. Name escapes me at the moment, but I know that some user groups/online friend networks have bought licenses and run their own servers. They lack the juridical personality, i.e. business organization to lever up, but it's only a matter of time.
Looking at the demographics of the group, they'll mostly be dead in 20 years. http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/17390/210904
Toggle Commented Sep 29, 2010 on LINKS: 28 SEPTEMBER 2010 at Global Guerrillas
John, the states cannot run ongoing deficits because they are not currency issuers. That is not the case for the federal government, where the only limits are inflation, and actual resource constraints. There are political constraints in place, but not actual fiscal constraints. The federal government does not have to issue debt, or tax, to spend money. The federal government can, and should, run deficits. See http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=10384. If the federal government does not create money, demand for funds falls to the private sector. But, all the private banking sector can create is credit-- i.e. every dollar created in a deposit account is linked to a debt. Only the federal government can create money, i.e. unit of exchange, not linked to debt creation. It is pretty clear that forcing the government to run a budget surplus will pull money out of the economy. This is because if the government is running a surplus, the amount of money available in the rest of the economy goes down. Demand for the unit of exchange then, will be filled by credit. This is great for the FIRE sector, whom you have accurately described as global guerrillas. This is not so great for average Americans.
Toggle Commented Jun 22, 2010 on JOURNAL: Hollow US States at Global Guerrillas
Here is some publicity about the incident command center: http://blogs.chron.com/newswatchenergy/archives/2010/05/inside_the_bp_i.html
Toggle Commented May 30, 2010 on JOURNAL: No More Katrinas? at Global Guerrillas
All this time listening to dancehall, and I had no idea about the political implications. I guess all political leaders must have their troubadours.
Edwardo, Please refrain from threatening me in the comments. Why do policy makers want the US to keep selling bonds as "financing?" Who knows. Ignorance? Self-dealing?
Toggle Commented May 9, 2010 on QUOTE: On the EU Crisis at Global Guerrillas
But the U.S., as a fiat currency issuer, does not have to sell bonds to raise funds for spending. Not at all. See chartalism, etc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chartalism
Toggle Commented May 9, 2010 on QUOTE: On the EU Crisis at Global Guerrillas
John, How much have you looked at modern monetary theory? Would seem to be necessary for a in-game currency.
If you want to create an alt currency you need a tax authority to do it. Now where could you do that online?
Toggle Commented Mar 2, 2010 on JOURNAL: E-Currency Systems at Global Guerrillas
Jess, 150 is about the size of an infantry company.
The concept of building an MMO based tribe to accelerate resilience is an interesting one. I thought about this several years ago, but lacked the technical chops to make it happen. I contribute my thoughts on this issue because John's effort is probably the best shot at making these things real. I'm going to focus on the organizational/sociological issues and not on technology, since I am sure that John has a better handle on that than I do. I've thought about two sets of issues with respect to the MMO. The issues are the internal organization, and then the relationship to the outside world. Internally, there are a couple of issues: 1. Drawbacks of tribal/fictive kinship relationships 2. Getting buy-in to tribal/fictive kinship relationships by typical western consumerist people. 3. Managing the medium of exchange 4. Governing the internal world Dealing with the world outside the so-called "magic circle" of game play also presents a few issues: 1. Juridical personality (if any) 2. Real money trading 3. Potential advantages of a real world presence I realize this post is long enough as it is, so I will focus only on 1) and 2) under the internal issues. John, if you'd like, I can address the other issues in later comments. Internally: There has been a lot of discussion on the blog about the power of kinship and fictive kinship relations. As someone who has grown up in a kinship society , and regularly navigates a couple of fictive kinship based organizations, these are not without drawbacks. For one thing, the level of invasiveness can be high, since everyone is in your business. Also, grudge holding and the running mental balance sheet are always present. The running mental balance sheet is the thing that people in kinship/fictive kinship organizations use to know where they stand in relationship to others. Fictional example: someone lends money to my father to get a boil on his back lanced by a doctor. My father doesn't even want the money but the guy forces the issue. Turns out the doctor prevented my father from dying from a staph infection. Therefore, my father owes a debt to the guy who forced him to take the money. Not only that, it happened before I was born, so my father tells me that I owe this guy my very existence, and that I have an obligation to this guy's family. The guy who lent money to my father is now my fictive kin. Since often kinship/fictive kinship societies are ruled by shame, I have to honor this or I look like an idiot in front of everyone. The drawback is that the complexity of these relationships can become so great that people are afraid to do anything for fear of incurring a debt to someone else that can never be repaid. Also, the people who mentioned Japan as some kind of society that has more freedom more than the English speaking world -- get real. I won't address this here too much, but I've lived in Japan, Korea, China and the USA. Of those societies, Japan's is easily the most constrained at the interpersonal level. Yes, some men from the USA and UK go to Japan and feel really free, but that's because they are outsiders/tourists. Life is very different for the native born Japanese. This brings me to getting buy in to the kinship/fictive kinship values among the typical wholly consumer-culture oriented denizen of a Western society. Let's call them con-cult denizens. My experience has been that the typical con-cult denizen has a difficult time conceptualizing an obligation based fictive kinship group. Indeed, this is especially endemic among web developers and programmers, who often subscribe to some variant of Randian Libertarianism. The fact of the matter is that a fictive-kinship group is often very constraining, because it is composed of a web of relationships and personal obligations. Even in a relatively non-hierarchal fictive-kinship society, there is going to be a lot of negotiation and conflict-avoidance. It is very much the opposite (in my lived experience) of the "well here are my rights to MY property." I've worked on technical projects where both types of people (con-cult and fictive kinship) were members. Since con-cult denizens are mostly motivated by increasing the amount of private property at their disposal, they often react very, very poorly to being told that that they are letting down the group. Any MMO based tribe is going to have to have a filtering system to filter out those who aren't interested in developing fictive-kinship relationships. More importantly, it should have a system to train your typical con-cult denizen to understand and value the fictive-kinship based obligation system. There's a natural human desire to be part of a group, and to seek meaning. Other commenters have noted that MMOs appeal to the desire for escapism. This is true. But what are the players trying to escape? Meaningless existence in a working world that devalues them as people, separates them from others and gives them little control over their own destiny. Those are basic, unmet human needs, and this results in the popularity of MMOs. If the notional MMO we are discussing can meet those needs, people will "escape" to it as a rational alternative to a modern working world that does not fulfill basic human needs for meaning and community. If you turn on the news lately, there's a lot of discussion about the budget deficit. What is not being examined so much, is the deficit of meaning and belonging that exists among denizens of the con-cult. There are meatspace activities that are filling this-- notably, fight sport participation, what the Japanese refer to as "kakutogi." But that is outside the bounds of this discussion and will have to wait for another, more appropriate time.
Regarding foreclosures-- credible reports indicate that the majority of the loans out there have serious violations of fraud and unfair business practice statutes. Furthermore in some cases the parties doing the foreclosing don't even have the right to be in court. Judges are starting to realize this, and are in some cases halting foreclosures. What's interesting is that in many cases the loans were securitized, so the servicers claiming a right to foreclose actually do not have the standing to be in court. In some cases the notes are not endorsed to any beneficiary. One has to ask, who really benefitted from the creation of all this negotiable paper. People should fight their foreclosures. There's a great site about fighting the foreclosure process at http://www.livinglies.wordpress.com Although some people might claim that the site is "fringe," the proprietor has had his classes approved for continuing legal education credit by the California State Bar.
Toggle Commented Dec 24, 2009 on LINKS: 22 DEC 09 at Global Guerrillas
Duncan, New myths have been emerging for 40 years. The issue is whether people want to listen. For people like Pat Buchanan and Lou Dobbs, the answer is pretty clearly "no."
Toggle Commented Nov 19, 2009 on LINKS: 19 NOV 09 at Global Guerrillas
Duncan-- Tyler Durden = protagonist of the film/novel Fight Club
You're also going to want some kind of task assignment system. In online activism you often see one person getting slammed with being the co-ordinator, and everyone uses phpBoard to co-ordinate. Suboptimal. You'll want some kind of basically project management system to let people group up and then vote up a co-ordinator, and then task people. There's more to it of course, but like MKORION, I also need to get paid =)