State of the World – July 2020

It’s Complicated

I’m going to mention up front that this write up will attempt to paint a picture or map of the current state of socio-economic and human issues that will include a brief history as well as a path forward.

First of all, considering how we prefer to communicate today, I need to warn the reader that it’s complicated. It’s a multivariate problem within a multivariate problem. Therefore, don’t expect any memes to help you along the way. Ironically, that’s a big player on the map we’re drawing today.

Some Assumptions

In order for this to work the reader and I have to agree on the following assumptions.

  1. Nothing is constant
    • Everything in this world is fluid. Nothing stays the same, even our most coveted symbols take on new meaning and the necessity for bedrock institutions wanes over time.
  2. Power revolves around the most basic commodities required by every individual in order to survive in the current system in which they operate.
    • Commodities are things like food, water, and oil which are basic necessities for an individual or a community to survive. Those who control the commodities ultimately have all the power.
  3. The powerful are not always interested in directly controlling individuals or communities, only the commodity itself.
    • Often what the majority of humanity believes to be the source of power or their interface for interacting with it is just a proxy for others who are actually in control.
  4. Like bullet #1 the commodities that are most important often change and those who control it as well.
    • Once the majority of humanity determines a new commodity is an absolute necessity, many will enter the struggle to control it. Control could be absolute or divided and contentious or harmonious, but it is always temporary until a competitor arises or the priorities of commodities shift again.
  5. Most systems evolve.
    • Systems created for any particular purpose are more likely to evolve and adapt than be replaced by another.
  6. When looking at a problem at scale, we must observe in generalities.
    • The universe is a complex and diverse place beyond what most can imagine. In order to attempt to understand it to a point, some stereotypes and generalities must be used. An example is that everyone who lives in a particular region belongs to and subscribes to the ruling government of that region. This is a fairly safe generality, but we are also aware that people move and at any point of time there will be foreigners who take up residence and don’t necessarily agree with the local government, support, or participate in it’s operations. Their impact on our analysis at the point we make the assumption, is immaterial.
  7. This is a ‘Western’ perspective.
    • This analysis only considers the historical perspective of the west. Everything that happens east of modern day Europe doesn’t play a role until much later. It is, however, more and more important as time goes forward.

A Brief History at a High Level

In the beginning we lived in tribes. The world was chaotic and dark. We worked together to get through the long cold night and depended on our elders to show us the way. They understood the changing of the seasons and the movement of the herds better than anyone and this knowledge was the most coveted commodity of the time.

It can be argued that it still is today, but we’ll get there.

They passed their knowledge down to the youth orally and used stories to transmit their message. These stories were useful in not only providing a basic understanding of the world around us, but a consumable explanation of chaos so that we could live in confidence and minimize fear.

Eventually we learned agriculture and animal husbandry. We understood the basics that allowed us to settle in our preferred area and grow wealth. This wealth came in the form of food, shelter, and ultimately safety.

As we evolved, not everyone rose at the same rate or held similar priorities. Armies were required to prevent other tribes from taking advantage of those who had what they needed to survive. Why hunt and gather when you can regularly take from others?

As things evolved, human’s still had the same basic needs; food, water, shelter, ect. However, the method to acquiring those basics were changing and the gatekeepers of those methods became powerful.

By this point it was the military. The west had often evolved to a point, only to be raided and brought low by a threatening empire from the east. Rulers were the generals of their armies and in Rome, still held the senate at the point of a sword.

Eventually one military general was able to control most of the known world at that time, but his kingdom wasn’t united. Constantine the Great recognized that the majority of inner conflict was due to individuals within his empire subscribing to various religions. His attempt to unite them eventually created the Catholic Church years later which ruled through the Pope as a living god for centuries to come.

At this point in our history, security was still the most coveted commodity around. Kings provided this commodity to their people, but ultimately were chosen and blessed by the Catholic Church via the Pope. Therefore the ultimate commodity was the Church’s blessing as it not only guaranteed a better life after this one, but allowed the Kings to operate outside of their borders.

Therefore, the way for a King to provide security for his people was to receive a blessing from the Pope. This is one example of the majority of people being ruled via proxy. The people were acutely aware that they were required to swear fealty to their king and obey all orders, but well understood the difference between a blessed king and one who might be acting outside of God’s favor.

Feudalism

We’re going to take a break here for a minute to discuss what life was like during these times as it will be important to understand later.

Feudalism is a well known, historic form of government where a class of nobility owned lands and infrastructure from the King and in return provided military service when demanded. Vassals were servants of the nobility and everyone else was known as serfs. In the end, the idea of ‘rights’ did not exist, but depending on your class you had more opportunities and freedoms within the system by which humanity was organizing itself.

Serfs mostly had no rights. Some have argued they were no better than slaves, however generally speaking they were free to move about the land and attempt to rise through the social ranks. However, movement up the social ladder was almost impossible due to the requirements to create value for one’s self.

One particular reason why this was so difficult is because humanity became dependent upon collective agriculture and animal husbandry to survive. Mills were essentially platforms by which anyone could come and leverage it’s services as long as they paid the tax required by the King in the form of milled grain or otherwise. The same analogy could apply to housing and education in most cases.

Peasants, whether serfs or otherwise, were also often required to use the fee-based services provided by the lord’s manor. For example, many manors had grain mills that could be used by the peasants to grind their grain products into flour, but these mills also usually required fees or surrender of some part of the flour produced. In a way, these mills represent a sort of local monopoly, in which the only options available to the peasantry were to use the lord’s mill and pay its fees or to use no mill at all. The latter “option”, although notionally possible in some circumstances, would be functionally impossible because flour was one of the few easily stored calorie sources.

Zach Scott, Digital Feudalism. How the data ecosystem is becoming medieval

A Power Shift

At this point the Pope ruled the western world through his proxy kings via blessings. Eventually this song and dance began to break down as the people became more and more exposed to the inner-workings of this relationship.

Niccolo Machiavelli, who infamously wrote about the political strategy of these times, coached Italian nobles on how this relationship worked.

With the security provided by the Kings, technology began to advance. Warring technologies saw rapid improvement during this time thanks to advancements in blacksmithing and other popular trade skills. For a King and his Nobility, life on earth was becoming quite comfortable.

On top of that, the Pope of Rome was mired in almost constant scandal. The ‘Holiness’ of the Pope and it’s Church was often called into question. It didn’t help that the Vatican City was struggling to feed it’s people. This was especially highlighted during the reign of Pope Alexander the VI, demonstrating to the world that a Pope is merely human and the church itself subject to the whim of France’s modern military.

Chaos began to creep back into the western world as Italian nobility went to war, France and Spain were at each other’s throats, and central control over the Blessings of the Church began to splinter.

Ultimately skilled labor, merchants, and those who facilitated trade became the ones who avoided most of the impacts of the new chaos. Eventually they began to organize and become a ruling class of their own.

Merchant Guilds were founded initially to educate and train new tradesmen in the various crafts needed to maintain infrastructure. Blacksmiths, carpenters, scribes, all kinds of guilds came and went, but the new demand was for the knowledge and experience generated by the guilds and their craftsmen. They controlled this knowledge through approved apprenticeships and seals that verified their work. The quality generated was coveted by Kings and Kingdoms that needed stability in their own infrastructure in order to continue to operate, but ultimately the Guilds were not as loyal to any particular King as they would like.

Merchant Guilds really shook things up for the majority of people as well. All of a sudden, there was a new path for serfs to rise in the ranks of society and carve out their own wealth and freedom. Having a Guild located within your Kingdom or on your lands provided an attraction for increasing your population.

The Guilds themselves provided an additional demand for traders and their goods from all over the world as it improved their craft and allowed them to compete with other Guilds.

Traders began to move across the land and as wealth grew and the influence of older powers waned, some major events took place which cemented the new order.

Amsterdam, a city founded mostly by foreigners attempting to escape from the rule of the Kings, dependent upon their own resourcefulness and trade relations, became the target of the King of Spain (Louis XIV) and went to war in the late 1600’s.

During this time the Netherlands was quickly becoming the center of the world. The people of the Netherlands held very liberal ideals for the time and welcomed foreigners from all walks of life to their city as long as they contributed in some way, shape, or form. Advancements in shipbuilding in the area lead to the Dutch East Indies Trading Company, which is arguably the oldest and most powerful corporation the world has ever seen. The first stock market was created in order to fund and incentivize men to dedicate years of their life to a single journey upon a ship that may or may not return at all. The women at home did most of the trading in the beginning.

This system required a new form of government or a modernized version of what the Greeks attempted before. Amsterdam became, arguably, the first global world power and Democracy. The Kings eventually lost their influence over the nobility who were tired of being stuck in modern feudalism.

The end of these times were also marked by the French Revolution and the rise of the United States of America which began as a colony of both British and French Kingdoms.

The fruits of global trade and democratic relations was no longer deniable and the general public demanded it.

Trade as a Commodity & World Wars

Trade at this point was global but still very unstable and risky. Pirates and poor technology often took their toll. As individuals and communities began to depend on goods from outside of their own nation, it was still very expensive and risky to provide.

People with the money to finance these operations and net new ones took huge risks and if they failed, often more than just their life was on the line.

In response people began to study economics. Adam Smith wrote ‘The Wealth of Nations’ and people began to focus on trade itself and the ability to finance it as a commodity. Financial ‘instruments’ were created to leverage what they had and mitigate risk. Central banks were created to attempt to control it, and stock markets went global.

Those who understood economics and controlled the flow of trade became the most powerful individuals and organizations the world had ever seen.

The Industrial Revolution

Eventually technology began to catch up with the economists and trade began to speed up.

At this point the world was still ruled by the financial organizations that governed it’s lifeblood (money), but via the proxy government. In order to facilitate this relationship clear lines were drawn as to the roles of corporations compared to governments. These definitions are still defended today however it only serves the majority who must work within the system and doesn’t necessarily apply to the corporations that fund it.

Permit me to issue and control the money of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws!

Mayer Amschel Rothschild

This disparity began to unravel when certain populations or countries became discounted by those who funded the system. Also, initially the definition of the role of government provided corporations the freedom to ignore their impacts on what are known today as Stakeholders (Employees, communities, environment, NOT Shareholders).

The economic system the majority of the west subscribed to (Capitalism) was studied by prominent individuals like Karl Marx and discovered to be potentially painful to the majority of people within it. At this point, general opinion over the role of government and corporations began to shift and other popular ideas began to take shape around the globe (Socialism, Communism).

On top of that the ability to trade became more and more dependent upon the industries created with our newfound technologies (Railroads, Ships with steam engines, Radio, ect).

The orderly world began to devolve again as the ability to conduct trade was determined by Industry and certain nations were better situated to solve their economic problems than others. In addition to the rift in economic theory, the problems created by financial institutions alienated a large populations of people who were living in worse conditions than ever before.

Germany was uniquely positioned at this time as arguably the center of trade. Being the largest, most central country in Europe, they indirectly controlled most of Europe’s trade and therefore a large portion of the world’s. They quickly took advantage of this by creating incredibly effective railroad systems that connected all their major and minor borders.

Leveraging the philosophical differences between capitalism, socialism, and communism, Germany jumped at the opportunity to dictate global trade with the greatest Industry the world has ever seen. They went to war.

Again, at this time, although they acted mostly independently, governments were essentially controlled by their ability to trade and therefore their corporations and financial institutions. When the world wars began, everyone was impacted. Trade was minimized, individuals received rations and governments battled for the favorable opinions of their people to push on in terrible factories for the victory of their Nation and ideology.

In the end multinational corporations had to play both sides to survive. Trade feeds, clothes, and provides shelter for the majority so it must go on. In fact, governments were so dependent on corporations that an entire defense industry and market was created. It’s arguable that some conflict after this time is related to corporations propping up their own supply and demand.

The Rise of International Institutions

After two world wars and over 100 million deaths the leaders of the remaining countries came together and decided an ulterior agent was needed to maintain peace in a world of global trade among differing ideologies.

The United Nations, World Trade Organization, and International Court of Justice eventually came to exist as global governments that would rule over those countries that subscribed to the charters put forth. These charters were written by the nations that won the previous war and it is argued that they intentionally left-out nations that weren’t necessarily viewed favorably by Democracies and Capitalists. Russia is one of those nations and the result of this plunged the world into what is known as the “Cold War”.

The most coveted commodity on the planet was still trade via industry, but after recognizing the role they played and ultimate indifference to the destiny of any particular nation, the new International Institutions established directly, in their own charters that corporations are not allowed representation.

This was a setback to those (mostly corporations) who would seek to control trade via industry. Now, their proxy governments could dictate how they conducted trade globally without the interests of the corporations at heart. This essentially democratized trade internationally and corporations were forced to adhere to the laws as they were dictated to them.

What is Trade?

Let’s take another minute and break this down because it’s important to understand the multivariate issue that is trade in order to understand what happens next.

Trade is essentially the flow of goods and services between individuals, corporations, communities, and governments.

In order to conduct trade you need investment. That is where the financial institutions and corporations that control investment come in.

In order to receive investment, a financial institution or corporation need to believe in your success. This can be achieved a number of different ways, but in reality there must be some form of Supply and Demand in this economic system.

Now, as much as we’d like to believe supply and demand to be naturally created things in a perfect economic model, it rarely is. Supply can be artificially limited or inflated which can have an artificial impact on Demand as well. Demand can be created where it never existed before through marketing. A lot of advancements in technology solve problems most people never knew they had. In order to create demand in this situation, individuals need to be enlightened to the problem before a Demand for the solution or Supply exists.

In this case one could use their investment to improve their products & services, or market to the people who need them, but ultimately with enough investment, this can be created where it doesn’t exist. Therefore the corporations that trade at the highest volumes become the most powerful as they receive more and more investment and can predict where the economy is heading in terms of Supply and Demand.

This becomes a feedback loop as corporations that control some of our most basic commodities like food, water, and oil are the ones that end up investing in the rest of the world. Financial institutions depend on them for returns and insights into whats happening in the economy so they can make smart decisions with their money and the resources of a nation’s worth of savings.

This idea was cemented in 2008 when America’s largest banks were ‘bailed out’ through investment from the government and it’s central bank when their financial ‘instruments’ failed them. The common defense for this solution was that these banks were ‘too big to fail’ in a market where Capitalism was supposed to be the guiding ideology.

The Current World Order

Okay, so at this point international institutions are dictating trade to the best of their ability via a democracy of appointed officials from their own local governments, ruling by a vote without allowing corporations representation.

This is a problem for corporations, mainly finance corporations that are unable to operate or invest where they please without a previous blessing by the World Trade Organization.

It’s only natural that instead, they attempt to influence the WTO via their ability to fund their own politicians.

Enter Political Action Committees. These are organizations that support the infrastructure required to run for any office in a modern government. The rules and regulations surrounding them differ depending on the country you’re in, but nonetheless corporations use them as instruments to ensure their interests will be highly represented in their local governments and abroad. The most interesting aspect of these committees and their counterparts is that the source and amount of funding is often unknown. This leaves the public, who ultimately chooses the politician, in the dark.

However, even among financial corporations and those who control the majorities of commodities, there is competition.

In order to create a more unified front internationally the largest corporations in the world got together and established the World Economic Forum where executives from other corporations are given titles such as ‘Governor’.

Established in 1971, the mission reads;

“committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas”

WEC

Once again the most coveted commodities on the planet fall under centralized control. However, like before, there is no need to directly rule over people as government provides an effective tool.

The Rise of The East

After WWII the west continued to rule the world with it’s corporations and free trade, capable of placing a McDonalds anywhere in the world within a few months and enlisting additional countries as willing participants of our modern economy. The wealth generated by this system was impossible to deny. Even the most resistant to western ideologies gave in.

However, one nation still refuses to adopt it holistically to this day; China.

In the East, Hong Kong is the capital of Finance. When the British ended it’s rule due to colonial agreements in 1997 China promised to allow to operate and rule itself as it had up until then. The phrase was ‘One Country, Two Systems’ and one of the poorest populations on the planet finally began to benefit from free trade.

Chinese culture, however, did not change that much.

In the west, corporations are essentially independent individuals that can choose to operate almost as their own sovereigns complete with all the rights of a free individual within their country. In China, it’s well understood that corporations absolutely cannot exist outside of the government or free of it’s influence. For experts, it’s often very, very difficult to understand where the government ends and the corporation begins.

This creates a very unique situation where international trade is concerned. While western corporations govern themselves through a democratic World Economic Forum, Chinese corporations operate and act in a very communist manner.

Often corporations that wish to conduct business in China, must also conduct themselves within a communist system in order to succeed. This often puts them ideologically in dissonance with the west whose values are inherently different.

More often than not, corporations opt to establish a Chinese corporation and then feed it trade secrets and intellectual property in order to survive, essentially putting all other nations around the world in a precarious situation. Especially, when those trade secrets and intellectual property can become liabilities to national security.

However, as more and more Chinese are raised out of poverty thanks to investment from the west and a focused vision by the government, the potential for them to become the ruler of global trade and usurp the World Economic Forum is growing. The fear is that this will lead to China enforcing standards and values that are at odds with western values over the entire globe.

The World Economic Forum is reacting to this threat on many fronts as their influence is great.

The Rise of Tech Corporations

By the late 1980’s a new form of communication was created and began taking off. The Internet, or the World Wide Web, became something that everyone could imagine as a part of their daily life. People raced to invest and the result was the dot-com bubble of the late 1990’s.

People lost millions, but the genie was out of the bottle. Like the Industrial Revolution before it, the way people worked was changed forever. Computers showed up on everyone’s desk at work and home and people began dreaming of a futuristic world of hope and abundance in ways never imagined before.

As the technology began to infiltrate our lives, all forms of communication required updating in order to compete. Corporations that once ruled via artificial supply and demand were usurped by corporations that could transact faster and more transparently than before. Technology corporations showed up everywhere. Finance, Food, Transportation, and even the Military was impacted.

There was a new commodity on the block, and that commodity was data. With data corporations could know more about themselves, their competition, economic trends and investment opportunities faster than ever before. They could outpace their competition with enough data and the right analysis. They could make smarter decisions and more accurate risk analysis. Corporations could target their market better and had more power to influence buyers based on the results of their analysis.

Ultimately corporations could make smarter trades and investments and like the feedback loop from before, invested more and more into technology companies above all others.

Unfortunately for corporations, the skills required to leverage the latest technology were in low supply. At the time, a great understanding of mathematics and engineering were required and the western world was more infatuated with liberal arts over the sciences.

In order to keep up with demand, Tech Companies began employing individuals from the East, leveraging mostly China and India as their source of labor. Often providing Visas to those workers to move west. We’ll come back to this.

For some reason the text stops here. I don’t remember where this was going, but didn’t want to lose the effort.

@mpoletiek

Social Media, Platforms, Government, and the New Frontier

The Beginning

In the beginning the Internet was full of promise. With the advent of the Internet, Humanity began connecting and communicating in ways that were never available before. Individuals from across the globe with various backgrounds and casts, were able to meet each other, share ideas, and get exposed to things that inspired us to reach for the stars. 

Innovation exploded. Open Source projects that allowed practically anonymous contributions from millions around the world and accepted based on quality, escalated our technology to levels only dreamed about in science fiction novels. 

A new frontier was discovered and every generation that followed jumped head first into the future. 

The Challenge

Over time, it became apparent that the greatest value this new technology provided was communication and the ability to share ideas and content. Developers built platforms that enabled them to communicate quickly and efficiently in order to make changes to their source code as fast as possible. However, the rest of the world was still operating outside of these systems and needed to communicate more subjectively.

There was no formula yet for how the average person would communicate with the rest of the world, and many platforms were created to solve this problem. MySpace started out as a place for musicians to share their music. VampireFreaks began as a place for alternative culture to connect and share interests specific to them. Forums for everything from body-building, to photography popped up on the internet. Still, it took a while for a platform to be created that could be a place for people from the entire spectrum of personalities and interests to be created. Even in its beginning, Facebook targeted university students. 

Eventually Twitter allowed people to connect with each other using keywords known as hashtags. This became the first place where individuals could show up en-mass and self-organize and communicate about what was important to them. The end result was a demonstration of it’s power and the world witnessed its catalytic powers during the Arab Spring.

Following Twitter, Facebook allowed the use of hashtags as well, and create user-groups that could promote and speak for themselves. 

This newfound technology, now known as Social Media, became so popular that it is now the primary method of human communication for everything from news, to business, to keeping in touch with family and friends. 

The Problem

To deliver this technology to the people all over the world, these technologies needed corporate sponsorship. 

Companies were created that could satisfy humanities demand for the instant, global social network that would catapult social issues and injustices into the forefront of business, politics, and local & federal governments globally.

These companies still operated within a traditional economy and were required to generate a profit. Even the most benevolent of organizations can’t operate with their books in the red forever. 

To corporations the caveat was that the market was already used to the experimental nature of internet engineers, and the Open Source philosophy. Even though users never stopped to think why they could access these platforms for free, while every other service in the traditional economy had charged a minimum, they never questioned what they were signing up for. Corporations couldn’t begin to ask for payment for using their platforms, and instead asked for ownership of the data users generated on their platforms. 

Often these demands were buried in long, complicated, and cryptic legal Terms of Service & Privacy Policies. The details are the subject of a complex, evolving debate in current times. However, to the general public it’s assumed that essentially every piece of information created on these platforms, unless explicitly stated, are property of the platform owner and they can do with it whatever they please.

This gave the corporations owning these platforms a business model. They could now essentially sell either the data itself, or access and insights into what the data says about their users. With ownership of the data, platforms began adjusting strategies to compete for users by providing them the most personalized and addicting experience possible.

Users were no longer aware of how their data was being used as they became more and more intimate with their choice of platforms.

The insights gleaned from hundreds of millions of individuals and their intimate lives were powerful. Demand for these insights grew exponentially outside the realm of the basic goods & services economy. Over time other stakeholders became interested in the power of these insights. Governments and stock markets readily paid for access to individuals in their most intimate moments.

The individual was powerless and had absolutely no rights to say how their data was used once it was created on the platform. This created a situation where a digital form of feudalism became the norm. Serfs (the lowest class of a feudal society) had no way of operating outside these platforms and had no rights to the value they generated. That value (information) was now the most coveted commodity on the planet.

The Response

While the economy and supply chains were going digital, innovation was now being funded by large corporations and financial institutions. The most desired commodity on the planet shifted from food and energy, to information and the users that create it. 

The new market demanded for individuals to contribute globally, by generating information as value instead of goods and services. Ultimately, this created a social and economic rift between the resourceful and the general public who’s only method of sustenance was a traditional economy. 

Job creation slowed as automation creeped into every part of the human supply chain. Investments shifted from traditional businesses to technology first businesses. Very few new jobs replaced the old ones. Platforms that were supposed to distribute global audiences, instead funneled them to a few particular platforms where content was created and shared. 

Diversity slowly gave way to algorithms that suggested what the majority of people would consume, instead of letting the individual explore on their own. These algorithms were created using the data generated by the users they fed suggestions to. The end result was a feedback loop that resembled an exponential echo chamber. 

The individuals who felt the most pain and suffering were the ones prevented from interacting in this new world. Instead their rhetoric devolved into extremist ideals that were nurtured by organizations that depended on the sensationalism to further their own agendas. 

The rise of populism began prior to 2016, but was cemented with social shifts in governments around the world.

Out of fear, the individuals and corporations that controlled the platforms began to censor their users. This reaction resulted in ostracizing half or more of humanity against itself. Both sides refused to allow any healing to be accomplished on unselfish terms. 

The ideals of democracy, free speech, and other civil liberties gave way to the desire to absolutely destroy anything that didn’t resemble one’s self, experienced and expressed within that exponential echo chamber.

Ideas like Privacy, which were once discussed as a common knowledge, have become all but synonymous with heresy. Fundamental truths about nature and how the world works are targets for identifying one’s enemy and providing all the excuse needed to continue to enforce global ostracization. 

Without access to the platforms needed to continue to progress as a species, essential organs of the larger body are completely incapable of functioning.

With the platforms controlled by a central authority, it’s impossible to make the right decision for the whole. 

The greatest gift of communication humanity has ever been given, has become the source of it’s most critical illness. A new balance must be discovered if it is to survive. 

The Solution

Even though the political and societal issues of the day are daunting and infect everything an individual does, the communities that began this innovative wildfire still exist today and continue to produce valuable, quality products that augment and improve upon the solutions in production. 

Today, technologies exist that allow platforms humanity depend on to be decentralized. Democracies can be re-established in the digital landscape, with new borders that enable users to be heard louder and clearer than ever before. 

We don’t need to submit indefinitely to the kings of the current platforms. We can build our own, or shift the architectures of the current to allow for individuals to own their data and take back their rights. Also, users can dictate how, where, and when their data is used on the platform. 

A decentralized platform can serve the people better than any centralized one ever could. Resources to produce and provide the platform can easily be generated by the users simply using it. 

These new decentralized platforms could not only become self-governing, member-owned organizations, but complete digital sovereignties that can serve the larger body of humanity by informing and acting on the behalf of its members. 

The Dream

To start, the first member-owned, decentralized platforms will provide its users with everything they need to communicate as normal. This will include the privacy, security, and stability of their corporate, centralized counterparts. 

These platforms will evolve over time to provide the fundamental framework for others to create their own platforms and groups to connect and establish identities that align with the desires of the whole. 

They will govern themselves, and exist as long as they are relevant. Empowered individuals will come and go as they please, generating value where they see fit, to satisfy their own demands and therefore the demands of others. 

These platforms will become the modern form of human organization and governance, superseding states and corporations in the long run.

The Tao of Internet Relay Chat

Found here: http://www.irc.org/history_docs/tao.html

 The Tao of Internet Relay Chat 
Something is formed by the electrons, born in the silent cable. Shaping and growing and ungrowing. It is there yet not there. It is the source of Internet Relay Chat. I do not know the name, thus I will call it the Tao of Internet Relay Chat.
If the Tao is great, then the IRC is running ceaselessly. If the IRC is great then the server is running without ever stoping. If the server is great then the client will always be the server. The luser is then pleased and there is Chat in the world.
The Tao of IRC squits far away and connects on returning.
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The genetic potential of birth, a lot to know, yet unknown.
In the begining there was nothing.
Out of nothing the Tao gave birth to tolsun.oulu.fi. tolsun gave birth to OuluBox.
OuluBox gave birth to rmsg.
rmsg was not Tao, so MUT gave birth to IRC.
No one knows when IRC came into existance, the mighty master WiZ have it to be at the end of the eight month in the year of the Dragon.
-
Each channel has its purpose, however humble. Each channel is the Yin and Yang of IRC. Each channels has it's place within the IRC.
In the beginning there was only channel 0, thus channel 0 is the soil of IRC.
Channel 1 to channel 10 then was open as the sea. Channel 11 to 999 was the trees and forests of IRC. Channels above 999 should not be mentioned, and channels below 0 were unborn and contained many secrets.
This was not the right Tao, so IRC gave birth to +channels.
+channels had the yin and yang. Mode does not.
This was not the right Tao still, so IRC gave birth to #channels.
#channels have the yin and yang.
Only channel 0 is the right path to Tao, but avoid speaking on channel 0.
-
There was a great dispute among the Broom-Walkers of the Relay. Some of them wanted neither yin nor yang. Out of this Eris came into existance. Some of the Broom-Walkers then created Eris Free-net.
This was the right Tao.
Kind Gentle and Boring Net was another wrong path to the Tao of Internet Relay Chat.
Some time later there was a quantity of some lusers who wanted to be Broom-Walkers also. The Eris Free Broom-Walkers did not agree with them, thus a new IRC was born. This IRC is called the Undernet.
But this is not the right Tao, either.
-
There will always be disputes among the Broom-Walkers of Internet Relay Chat.
This is the very nature of the IRC.
-
Lusers that do not understand the Tao is always using the yang of Mode on their channels. Lusers that do understand the Tao are always using Ignore on their channels.
How could this not be so ?
-
The wise sage luser is told about the Chat and uses it. The luser is told about the IRC and is looking for it. The flock are told about the Tao and make a fool of the IRC.
If there was no laughter, there would be no Tao.
-
The master says: "Without the Tao of Internet Relay Chat, life becomes meaningless."
The Relay of the old time was mysterious and sacred. We can neither imagine its thoughts nor path; we are left but to describe.
-
The sage luser must be aware like a frog crossing the highway.
-
The great master Wumpus once dreamed that he was an automaton. When he awoke he exclaimed: "I don't know whether I am Wumpus dreaming that I am a client, or a client dreaming that I am Wumpus!"
So was the first Automata born.
The master Nap then said: "Any automata should not speak unless spoken to. Any automata shall only whisper when spoken to."

Many lusers have fallen into the clutches of ethernal damnation. They where not following the Tao.
-
There once was a luser who went to #BotSex. Each day he saw the automatons. The luser decided that he also would have such a automata. He asked another luser for his automata. The other luser gave his automata away.
The luser was not within the Tao, so he just started the automata. The automata had only Yang inside so all the lusers files where deleted.
Some moons laither the same luser then had become a sage luser, and did create his automata from the very grounds with materials found inside the IRC. The luser was now within the Tao and his automata lived happily ever after.
-
There once was a master who wrote automatons without the help of master Phone. A novice luser, seeking to imitate him, began with the help of master Phone. When the novice luser asked the master to evaluate his automata the master replied: "What is a working automata for the master is not for the luser. You must must BE the IRC before automating."
-
Master BigCheese gave birth to master Troy; his duty clear. Master Troy gave birth to master Phone, for the Tao of Irc must be eternal and must flow as the ceaseless river of Time itself.
-
Master Phone once said about the ircII client: "public_msg is for a message from someone NOT on the channel public_other is for a message on a channel that doesn't belong to a window. public is for a message on a channel that belongs to a window!"
Out of this raised the mighty chaos.
-
The sage luser came to the master who wrote automata without the help of master Phone. The sage luser asked the master who wrote automata: "Which is easiest to make. A automata with the help of master Phone or an automata made with the help of a language ?"
The master who wrote automata then replied: "With the help of a language."
The sage luser was disapointed and exclaimed: "But, with master Phone you do not need to know anything about the soil of IRC. Is not that the easiet way ?"
"Not really" said the master who wrote automata, "when using master Phone you are closed inside a box. For sure, it is a great box for the lusers, but the master will need more power, thus a language is the only path to go. With the language the master will never have to limit himself. When using such a language the master will seek the best between the need and the availibility."
"I see", said the sage luser.
This is the essence of Tao of IRC automatas.
-
A client should be light and be used for communication. The spirit of a good client is that it should be very convinient for the luser to use, but hard for the luser who want to create automata. There should never ever be too many functions or too few functions.
There should always be a ignore.
Without ignore the client is not within the Tao of Chating.
The client should always respond the luser with messages that will not astnonish him too much. The server likewise. If the server does not, then it is the clients job to explain what the server says.
A client which fails this, will be useless and cause confusion for the lusers. The only way to correct this is to use another client or to write a new one.
-
A luser asked the masters on #IrcHelp: "My client does not work". The masters replied: "Upgrade your client". The luser then wondered why the master knew. The master then told him about the Protocol.
"Your client does not work beaucse it does not understand the server. Why should it always work ? Only a fool would expect such. But, clients are made by humans, and humans are not perfect. Only Tao is.

-
The luser came to the masters of #IrcHelp, asking about the Tao of IRC within the client. The masters then said that the Tao of IRC always lies inside the client regardless of how the client connects to the server.

The master then was quiet for a long time and said. "Please leave, such questions are not within the Tao of IRC".
-
The master says: "Without the Protocol of TCP the messages will not travel. Without the client, the server is useless."
-
There once was a luser who used the ircII client. "ircII can do anything I ever need for using IRC" said the emacs client user, "I have /ON's, I have assignments, I have aliasing. Why don't you use this instead of the huge emacs client, which also has a messy screen?" The emacs client user then replied by saying that "it is better to have a scripting language that is the client instead of have a client that has a scripting language." Upon hearing this, the ircII client luser fell silent.
-
The master Wumpus said: "Time for you to leave. I did, now I'm happy." The master Gnarfer replied: "Use, but never overuse IRC, then you will also be happy within IRC"
-
A luser came unto the masters of #EU-Opers and asked, "How can I be, yet not be, a [email protected] within the IRC?" The masters of #EU-Opers replied: "To be Tao is to be ones true self. To hide ones self is not Tao, and is not IRC, you have much to learn before you shall be at rest within the Flow of Irc. Please leave"
Ove Ruben R Olsen 

The Hacker’s Manifesto

Found here: http://phrack.org/issues/7/3.html

                               ==Phrack Inc.==

                    Volume One, Issue 7, Phile 3 of 10

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
The following was written shortly after my arrest...

                       \/\The Conscience of a Hacker/\/

                                      by

                               +++The Mentor+++

                          Written on January 8, 1986
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

        Another one got caught today, it's all over the papers.  "Teenager
Arrested in Computer Crime Scandal", "Hacker Arrested after Bank Tampering"...
        Damn kids.  They're all alike.

        But did you, in your three-piece psychology and 1950's technobrain,
ever take a look behind the eyes of the hacker?  Did you ever wonder what
made him tick, what forces shaped him, what may have molded him?
        I am a hacker, enter my world...
        Mine is a world that begins with school... I'm smarter than most of
the other kids, this crap they teach us bores me...
        Damn underachiever.  They're all alike.

        I'm in junior high or high school.  I've listened to teachers explain
for the fifteenth time how to reduce a fraction.  I understand it.  "No, Ms.
Smith, I didn't show my work.  I did it in my head..."
        Damn kid.  Probably copied it.  They're all alike.

        I made a discovery today.  I found a computer.  Wait a second, this is
cool.  It does what I want it to.  If it makes a mistake, it's because I
screwed it up.  Not because it doesn't like me...
                Or feels threatened by me...
                Or thinks I'm a smart ass...
                Or doesn't like teaching and shouldn't be here...
        Damn kid.  All he does is play games.  They're all alike.

        And then it happened... a door opened to a world... rushing through
the phone line like heroin through an addict's veins, an electronic pulse is
sent out, a refuge from the day-to-day incompetencies is sought... a board is
found.
        "This is it... this is where I belong..."
        I know everyone here... even if I've never met them, never talked to
them, may never hear from them again... I know you all...
        Damn kid.  Tying up the phone line again.  They're all alike...

        You bet your ass we're all alike... we've been spoon-fed baby food at
school when we hungered for steak... the bits of meat that you did let slip
through were pre-chewed and tasteless.  We've been dominated by sadists, or
ignored by the apathetic.  The few that had something to teach found us will-
ing pupils, but those few are like drops of water in the desert.

        This is our world now... the world of the electron and the switch, the
beauty of the baud.  We make use of a service already existing without paying
for what could be dirt-cheap if it wasn't run by profiteering gluttons, and
you call us criminals.  We explore... and you call us criminals.  We seek
after knowledge... and you call us criminals.  We exist without skin color,
without nationality, without religious bias... and you call us criminals.
You build atomic bombs, you wage wars, you murder, cheat, and lie to us
and try to make us believe it's for our own good, yet we're the criminals.

        Yes, I am a criminal.  My crime is that of curiosity.  My crime is
that of judging people by what they say and think, not what they look like.
My crime is that of outsmarting you, something that you will never forgive me
for.

        I am a hacker, and this is my manifesto.  You may stop this individual,
but you can't stop us all... after all, we're all alike.

                               +++The Mentor+++
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