Categories
Cryptocurrency Economics

Crypto Confidential – Adventures in the Underbelly of the Cryptocurrency World

It’s no secret that I love Bitcoin and have a deep fascination with the entire ecosystem of cryptocurrency. That love affair goes back to working with alternative currencies and barter systems in the 1990s and then extends through the 2000’s as I learned about the possibilities of using digital currencies to disempower banks, corporations, and governments.

In 2017, I jumped into the swirling maelstrom of digital money and began learning everything I could about the good, the bad, and the ugly of Bitcoin and the thousands of digital ‘altcoins’ that exist alongside it. In early 2018, I decided to get as deep into this underbelly as I could by finding a project, joining a team, and building a crypto token.

This is the narrative of that journey. I joined the ‘Lupecoin Project’ first as a supporter and then as a co-founder. Together we built a community, created a token, and shared a vision. There was good, there was bad, and there was ugly. I don’t want to mislead anyone – none of us were deep in the muck – we weren’t doing scam ICOs, ripping off supporters, or figuring out how to steal millions of dollars. We weren’t buying and selling sex workers, drugs, and murder on the famous Silk Road. In fact, we were just a bunch of pretty nice guys trying to build something we thought might make the world a better place – and failing miserably at it.

In Crypto Confidential, my goal is to teach the reader as much as I can about cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, blockchain, and the bizarre communities surrounding this cool technology. After reading this book, the reader will have a much clearer understanding of why blockchain and crypto are among the most important and revolutionary technologies today. In addition, the reader will learn about the bizarre history of Bitcoin and what Ethereum, and altcoins are. Along the way, the reader will be informed about the many scammers, scams, ripoffs, and strange personalities that live in the crypto underbelly.

Categories
Economics Politics

The Obscenity of Borders and Walls

Borders and walls are artificial constructs created primarily as control systems for the population within them, rather than, as is popularly suggested to protect said population from without. Think about it for a second.

Who makes borders? Governments.

Where do governments get their economic ability to create force and restrict freedom? From collecting taxes.

Where do taxes come from? They come from the people who live inside the borders of a territory. Borders are nothing less than a system that allows for the use or threat of force against a population in order to extract a tax from that population – which is then used to beef up (secure borders), create regulations, and extract further tax in the form of tariffs, restrictions on migration, and – in general – population control.

Your first reaction might well be that the above is ridiculous – but give it a moment. It will become clear.

But what about protecting us from terrorists? Terrorists don’t recognize borders and the ones most likely to kill you already live within twenty miles of where you live. Statistically, your chances of being killed by a terrorist are close to zero – not because of borders, but because in all reality , you are not a person or in a place that fits a terrorist target. If you are killed by a terrorist, you will likely be killed by a terrorist who shares the same nationality as you. In the unlikely event that a foreign terrorist kills you, it is most likely that they will enter your country legally and the borders will not stop them. The 911 terrorists were all allowed to cross the border legally. They were all in the U.S. legally. Stricter borders would not have stopped them.

But what about protecting our jobs? Do you work in migrant agriculture? Are you a nanny or maid? In general, migrants take the jobs that you don’t want to do. If you want to be an apple picker, no one is stopping you. There is plenty of demand. The pay is terrible and the work is hard. It’s not at all likely that a migrant is going to take your job as an investment banker, a trucker, a teacher, a cop, or a barista. If they do, they probably navigated the immigration system to come here legally and then overcame the xenophobia present in most U.S. companies to get the job, which – frankly, shows that you were probably pretty bad at your job.

But….borders protect us from invasion, right? No. There are no armies waiting to march into your country unless you live in the Middle East or the former Soviet Union. Diplomacy and guns stop armies from invasion. Borders are to control citizens.

So, if borders don’t stop terrorists, don’t protect jobs, don’t protect from invasion – what are they for? They are for drawing circles around people and saying “These people belong to me (as a country) and I reserve the right to take a percentage of all of their labor, charge them a percentage on all they spend, and charge a duty (tariff) on any goods coming into this territory (thus driving up the price and increasing the sales tax at the same time). Borders are tax control systems. That is all they are.

They are the among the most inhumane, unnatural, and offensive inventions of humankind.

Categories
Economics

I’m Starting to Feel Like Chicken Little

The Sky is Falling!

I’m starting to feel like Chicken Little here as I repeatedly point out the systemic weaknesses, the lack of fundamnetal strength, and other issues because despite the undeniable truth in my arguments – things just keep plugging along.

It seems that the world just might not fall into chaos as Donald Trump and a global cadre of dictators and despots replace the peacea nd prosperity of times past with anxiety, depression, hatred and bile. No one around me has any money to spare – no one seems happy. Maybe that’s the problem – maybe I’m operating from a cognitive bias where we need change. We need the collapse in order to have a shot at building something better. I don’t know, but the sky seems like it is still pretty well in place.

The Mueller Probe seems to not be in any rush to present evidence that Trump and his cronies committed treason or are active puppets of Russia – there doesn’t appear to be any huge war on the horizon. The equity markets keep on going up despite the debt rates, the weakness in global growth, and the perils of trade wars, technology addiction, and mass psychosis.

Infrastructure keeps crumbling as the price for infrastructure keeps going up and up and up. Real income is falling as the cost for housing keeps going up and up and up. Mental health problems and global warming problems keep going up and up and up as the cost of fixing or dealing with them goes up and up and up too. Everything is going up. The sky isn’t falling, It’s going up in smoke.

I have to ask myself if I’ve been operating on a severe cognitive bias. I want the housing market to collapse because I can’t afford to buy real estate at the prices they currently sit at. I want the stock market to collapse because I have investments in cash, gold, and other market contrarian areas. I want Trump to be impeached and imprisoned because he represents everything that I think is wrong with society. I want billionaires to be guillotined (or at least for limits and responsibilities to be put on their wealth). I want cryptocurrency to disempower the U.S. government and the status quo of banks and power brokers. I want the whole human system to collapse so that humanity can have a chance at becoming something better than we have been. If that takes global warming, worldwide depression, and mass chaos – that seems a reasonable price.

So, perhaps I have been operating from the fallacy point that I’ve so often pointed out. I’ve been starting with a premise “The world is falling apart and heading into chaos” and I’ve been looking for the evidence to support it – and finding plenty of it. I don’t like admitting this. I’m very invested in and looking forward to the dystopian future where a collapse occurs.

Unfortunately, I am starting to think that the dystopian future collapse I have hoped for has been replaced by a different dystopia that very closely resembles the world we live in now. Crumbling infrastructure, a widening gap between the global rich and the global poor, a leveling of the playing field between the rich of all nations and the poor of all nations- meaning no more third world rich – just global rich and no more first world poor – just global poor. Increased violence. Xenophobia. A technological dictatorship run by ‘social credit’ and increasingly the erosion of the ‘free’ perks that made life bearable as parks become homeless camps, malls become refugee or migrant jails, libraries lose funding, schools divide between third world public schools and first world private schools. You will either be able to afford a self driving car or pay more for a self driving service than you now pay for a car. Just get in your fucking screen.

So, please pardon me if I’m wrong about the collapse. I’m simply hoping for a better world for everyone – but increasingly, it looks like we are not headed there. We are headed towards a better world for a small elite and a much worse world for the rest of us – not a world where we have a choice or can actually make a difference, but a tightly controlled, limited mobility, slave world where you are either a treasure holder or a piece of trash.

I’m still rooting for the collapse – but maybe the sky isn’t falling at all. Maybe, the sky has already fallen and will never go back up.

Categories
Economics Future

The State of the World – March 2019

I’ve been very busy for the past month and I haven’t written anything here. Of course, that’s no surprise to anyone – we are all very busy. Very very busy. Especially in the United States and other developed countries. Personally, I think that’s by design – I believe it’s a massive control mechanism based on the model of ‘idol hands are the devil’s work’ or to put it more clearly ‘busy people don’t have the time or energy to create problems by rocking the boat’. Our busy-ness (business) is a control state’s dream come true.

I admittedly have a problem with thinking – I think too much. My brain never shuts down but just chews and chews and chews on things and carefully observes what comes out of the cud. Mind you, I’m not saying I’m a genius or above average intelligence (I don’t believe I am), I’m just saying that I have a problem with being cerebrally inclined and where most people can shut that annoying part of their human-ness down and watch a good sporting event or let some annoying event slide off of them – I don’t seem to possess that capability – although meditation definitely helps.

But back to the world. We are moving rapidly towards a massive societal change. I think of it as humanity being in lifeboats from a sinking ship on a giant river. There are only so many boats for the survivors to get on and we’ve occupied them – our boats have careened towards a massive split in the river – the current has picked up considerably – some boats have gone to the left, some have gone to the right, and some have stayed in the center – we know that there is danger ahead on all courses – but we aren’t sure what it is.

The middle course, the human tendency towards totalitarianism and massive control and exploitation seems to be carrying the bulk of us. Totalitarianism always ends with an explosion and a huge loss of life. So, let’s just say that for those on that path, the channel narrows and pours down into a deep chasm at the bottom of which is a huge deposit of raw sodium (which explodes on contact with water). Most on that course won’t survive.

On the right is total free market capitalism – a very small number have followed this because it is scary and loud and disruptive and dangerous – there is a big waterfall at the end and it cascades down to a paradise that ends with humanity achieving all that it dreams of – but it’s almost impossible to reach because every time a stream gathers some force – it branches off towards totalitarianism – ‘protectionism’, ‘protected capitalism’, ‘controlled markets’ and more.

On the left is what I call cooperationism – this is another paradise branch of the stream with a healthy world, healthy people, and all of the ills of humanity solved through cooperation – but of course, the tendency towards totalitarianism creates things like ‘war communism’ ‘centralized control’ and other ‘we’re smarter than you and will decide what’s best for you’ systems.

So, the bad news is that humanity is heading towards a 98% chance of full totalitarianism and the explosion that follows – there is virtually no chance for our survival. The good news is that there has never been such a great chance that we can fix ourselves and our way of thinking. Do I think we will? No. Do I hope we will? Hell yes. There are many small streams which are running towards paradise scenarios.

People are finally rethinking cars and ‘reinventing the wheel’. People are looking at the planet as what it is – a giant spaceship that carries all of us through a dangerous universe. I believe that more and more people are starting to see the very real possibilities and power of working together despite cultural differences.

So where does that leave us? It leaves us in March of 2019. We are on the verge of a tyrant seizing power in the United States, the peaceful cooperation of Europe seems to be crumbling with Brexit, the world has been so degraded by our actions that we have somewhere between 20-100 years before it is uninhabitable for us, unemployment is down and servitude is up, and – finally – there are technological disruptions coming on such a massive scale that the old apple cart is going to get blown up. We don’t have a choice about changing – we will have to.

Categories
Economics Investing

Amazon Falling on Good News

The markets are looking for any excuse they can find to bring us into the long expected next recession. There is no better proof of that than yesterday’s bizarre news after Amazon’s earnings call.

Amazon outperformed expectations on every level. Every level. Amazon has been in a freefall since the end of the 3rd quarter of 2018 – for no obvious reason beyond a vague sense of dread at the veiled threats of President Donald Dump.

Here is the lowdown. Amazon has:

  • Led the way in voice devices all the way and put more Alexa devices in the world than any other company by a huge factor
  • AWS revenue grew by 45% – making them even more dominant in this increasingly important space
  • Amazon is making serious in roads into healthcare, travel, and shipping (thus reducing dependence on the USPS)
  • Amazon announced that in 2019 they will be putting more focus on investment in infrastructure, development, and hiring
  • Amazon is a world leader in AI, automation, and other technologies that are changing our world

I can go on, but I shouldn’t have to. On the challenge front, Amazon faces competition in India and China as well as regulation and economic growth issues in the same. Yesterday’s call mentioned that and mentioned the increased focus on investment – and then the shit hit the fan – Amazon briefly jumped to 1750 at the close of the market and then began a bot induced whipsaw between the 1630s and the 1730s – this was nothing more than AI bot induced fervor with hungry traders taking profits or selling in FOMO as a completely imaginary FUD took control of the stock.

The reality, is that Amazon is growing at an incomprehensible rate and expanding their reach into new sectors, new markets, and new worlds (virtual). Back in September, major investing banks were saying that any price under $2200 is too low. I still stand by that. Amazon is trading at more than 30% below value right now.

There are only three reasons Amazon could have fallen 1) irrational bot/trader interaction 2) information we don’t have access to 3) a self fulfilling recession is on its way.

Categories
Cryptocurrency Economics Future Investing Politics

Predictions for 2019

I have a number of predictions for 2019. They are worth considering in any event. First a fun one – I think that in 2019, celebrity stock and crypto traders will become the new celebrity chefs. In the past most notorious traders have either been criminals or niche market – I think this year they will go mainstream. Think in terms of Rachel Ray, Anthony Bourdain, and other chefs who made the leap to stardom from the nineties to the oughts.

Alright – moving on:

1) While it sounds hard to believe in light of the ridiculous predictions, the boom and the bust, and the bear market of 2018 – I believe that Bitcoin will end 2019 worth more than $100k per coin. Adoption is happening, regulation has not killed it, and bitcoin retains the advantage of being the most useful of all cryptocurrency – and the world financial system needs it.

2) The frangmentation of the internet into national and regional separate internets will continue. We will see distinct American, European, Chinese, Japanese, and African internets emerge – it’s my belief that the I2I communication this creates (internet to internet) is going to be where the most remarkable autonomous A.I developments take place in 2019.

3) The #metoo and #blacklivesmatter movements will grow in strength – large numbers of established white dudes will be taken down for offensive and toxic past behaviour. This will lead to a bit of a backlash and two distinct movements by white groups – one inclusive which attempts to show that not all white people are bad and one that is reactive and pushes back with negativity, hate and fear.

4) Impeachment proceedings and formal charges lie ahead of Donald Trump. To distract and rally his base he will either use Taiwan or Mexico to create a distraction.

5) Marijuana will be decriminalized in the USA – this will create massive debate about those incarcerated for marijuana offenses

6) The stock market will rally in the first two quarters of 2019 breaking previous all time highs and then crashing hard and fast in the third quarter.

7) Crypto markets will skyrocket and the price of Gold will approach $2k USD again in 2019. Both Facebook and Amazon will implement their own cryptocurrencies and start gradually accepting Bitcoin for payments.

8) Amazon share prices will soar going past $1.5 trillion USD as the full scope of Amazon’s investments in health, hospitality, and transportation become known.

9) A centrist third party will appear bridging the gap between the left leaning democrats and the fascist leaning Trumpists. They will field a viable third party candidate that appeals to broad swaths of both red and blue voters.

10) The automation of fast food, self driving cars, and other A.I. driven worker replacement strategies will accelerate in 2019 leaving record numbers of low skill workers with nothing but low paying options for employement.

Categories
Economics Future Review

AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley and the New World Order by Kai-Fu Lee – An Honest Review

If you haven’t been paying attention, there is a war going on. It’s not a cold war or a hot war – it’s something brand new. We are on the cusp of civilization changing technology reshaping our world and our species – how that reshaping takes place depends on who wins the war. Will it be Silicon Valley and the flawed ‘American Way’ or will it be China and the equally flawed (but for different reasons) ‘Chinese Way’. Or will it be something else? Dr. Kai-Fu Lee, a pioneer and luminary in the field of AI has written this very interesting book to prepare us – read on for a review. 

Essentially, for the last 500 years or so – European and American interests have been calling the shots and as Dr. Lee puts it – China now considers that to have been a mistake which will be corrected soon. He’s not just talking trash here. Dr. Lee has an amazing resume with plenty of experience and time to understand both the American and Chinese way of doing things. In this book – he contrasts the two technology ideologies from the developers to the government intervention to the use case scenarios. The result is a world approaching a crossroads with two very different futures ahead of it. 

While the average American may still think of China as the backwater where children are starving (so clean your plate), the reality is that China has awoken and is developing faster than any nation in world history. Dr. Lee says that the ‘sputnik moment’ was when the AlphaGo computer wholloped the world’s best human player repeatedly. At this point the Chinese government – an authoritarian, nationalist, socialist, and completely centralized entity in charge of nearly 1.5 billion humans put a laser focus on the development of AI and all that it will bring – and without the constraints of a capitalist nanny state that has to appear to be rights and property respecting. 

China is not constrained by property rights, patents, human rights, privacy issues, or unions – all of which prevent Silicon Valley from making the next leap. Dr. Lee compares data to electricity in this race and essentially what he posits is that China has a lot less constraints on it in regards to collecting and using data than the US does and this gives China a huge advantage. In addition, China has a population that values safety and security over liberty and privacy – which makes it much easier to implement all data seeing applications, software, and surveillance systems. 

I’ve read other reviews – and it seems that many of them think that Dr Lee is  playing favorites and painting a picture of China having an advantage because of his Taiwanese heritage and the fact that he has spent a great deal of time living in China. I don’t believe this is true, on the contrary, I think that Dr. Lee understates things due to his American bias and longstanding employment and investments in Silicon Valley. 

The Chinese are already deploying self-driving buses and paying for dinner in restaurants with the same app they buy music, message friends, find ride-shares, and rent bicycles with. We are very early in this race, but the US is already a decade behind. 

Dr. Lee’s breakdown of the factors that each country will lead in and his later breakdown of the jobs that will be affected (almost all of them) are about as good as one can hope to envision the future with. Only time will tell if his projections are accurate.  The important thing about this book, however, is the awareness it brings to the fact that we are in a race most American people aren’t even aware of – and we are losing. 

Finally, at the end of the book, Dr. Lee uses his own experience with cancer and how it changed the way he lives to suggest a more human approach to the future – unfortunately, unless the whole world is suddenly diagnosed wth Stage 4 cancer, this is not likely to resonate with people who have to struggle to pay bills, make rent, get educations, and worry about economic survival today. 

He argues that a sort of paid volunteerism is a better way to stave off the massive unemployment that is coming than an Universal Basic Income

He doesn’t seem to recognize that if thousands of senior citizens are suddenly volunteering to do jobs that require humans – that the humans who would have made a living doing those jobs now have no source of income. It seemed to be a pretty glaring blind spot to me in what was otherwise a very aware book. 

Categories
Economics Future

As the Economy Goes – So Goes the Nation….

There’s that annoying phrase you hear every four years – “As Ohio goes, so goes the nation” or sometimes it’s “New Hampshire” – I was in New Hampshire once and I’ve been to Ohio a couple of times. I met some fine people in both places – but that kind of thinking needs to go out the window. The fact that we have a system where we can even think for a moment that one state out of 50 represents what we are all thinking is total balderdash.

Not so much, with the title of this post. The Vagorithm Index is in the toilet right now – this morning it dropped as low as 275.6 – pretty close to the all time low. The V.I. contains a whole slew of economic indicators – not just from the USA but also from around the world. It also contains things like where innovation funding is being invested, how many tweets and retweets the buffoon president makes/recieves on a day to day basis, and measures of international turmoil. Mostly, however, it focuses on the US economy – although in the near future, it will need to bring equal focus to the Chinese economy.

Right now, there are massive military excercises taking place daily in the skies of Hawaii – presumably also at other U.S. bases. It’s a bit under the radar, but the U.S. is gearing up for a military conflict of some kind and it’s coming sooner rather than later. I am fully expecting a ‘Christmas Surprise’ – most likely timed to take attention away from anything catastrophic towards the Trump administration from the Meuller probe.

It will also be timed to prime the military/industrial pump of the economy – which is on the precipice right now. This economy wants to crash more than at any time I’ve witnessed since 2000 and 2008. The chickens are coming home to roost. You can’t just borrow borrow borrow borrow and hope that you’ll get lucky somehow at the casino – I mean, you can, and that’s what we’ve done, but at some point, your number is going to come up.

Worldwide right now there are a number of factors that are causing chaos. The children, grand-children, and great grand-children of native peoples who were subjugated, oppressed, enslaved, and murdered are becoming technology savvy – these are no longer people who have been fucked and left voiceless in some far corner of the world – they have voices, they have technology, and they are rightfully pissed. Same goes for women who have been  abused, assaulted, and paid unfairly for generations. Same goes for LGBTQ people and people of color living in first world nations…

Here’s the thing – their cause is righteous and there is no way to stop them. Sure, white guys like me born in the 1970s and later – we might have had nothing to do with it, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t wrongs to be righted and the first wrong has to do with white male privilege – unfortunately, like the stock markets, reactions tend to be extreme – so we are in a time (and will be for some time) when white guys will be guilty first – regardless of who you are and what you have or haven’t done. There is a presumption of guilt. It’s not fair – but life isn’t fair. The wierd part is that that presumption of guilt comes while there is still this very pronounced habit of white male privelige.

And that’s where we get the Trumps and authoritarian sympathizers coming in. These awful Republicans (at least in the US) are more or less getting elected on protecting the entrenched white male privelige. They call it lots of other things but it really comes down to protecting the interests of rich white people – which the entire system is built around – the protection of rich white people. These people would rather see everyone lose their liberty than to see thier privilege eroded. So you have that…not just in the US but also in Europe. That’s the reason for the Brexit…in Europe, the immigrants are changing the society and the average white workingman in the UK is terrified of that happening.  It’s a bit like dwarves moving into a hobbit village to them.

Then you have Russia. How many Russian-Africans or Russian-Japanese or Russian-Arabs have you met? Me personally – and I’ve traveled quite a bit – none. I’m sure there must be some, but all the Russians I’ve ever met have been whiter than an Oregon ass in winter.

Next you have China – China is winning the technology war. Silicon Valley is still ahead – but the Chinese government is pushing, spending, encouraging, and saying ‘fuck the regulations, fuck the copyrights and patents, and fuck the ethical issues” and that is why they will win. Plus they have a centralized government and a population that sees the government as being responsible for providing safety first and everything else second. The Chinese people are willing to move faster. And they will win. There is no getting around this. China wins, no matter what. In China, English is compulsory in schools, the Belt and Road program is making China the dominant investor in developing nations around the word, and the lack of American leadership is leaving it wide open for them.

Automation is going to wipe out millions of American jobs. Automation is not going to wipe out millions of Chinese jobs – it will create millions of them. There is a mindset there that the average American can’t understand…because we don’t study Mandarin and because we don’t understand how the Chinese culture, the Chinese family, or the Chinese mind works. The entitled American independence of ego mentality fails in the coming years.

So, back to the title…As the Economy Goes, So Goes the Nation. Our economy is going into the shitter. It’s been built on market manipulation, easy credit, and massive debt. Obama and Yellen understood how to sustain that and use it to recover. Trump just jumped in there and said “Let’s give everyone free money and we’ll stop collecting taxes too” – and now, we’re fucked.

What can you do?

If you can, put your money in undeveloped land. Buy Bitcoin and other top crypto assets. Invest in technology and build businesses that people will use. Stop borrowing money (unless you want to default and tip the system over all that much faster). Pay down your debt. Stop spending billions of dollars on Amazon Prime Day, Black Friday, Cybermonday, and Christmas. And learn Mandarin. Teach Mandarin to your kids. The USA is on the edge of becoming irrelevent. I’m not sure we can do anything to stop that. There’s no way to ‘Make America Great Again’ or ‘Make America Rich Again’ (Mara by the way is the great temptor of Buddhism, roughly equivalent to Satan). All we can hope to do is to make our country decent to everyone living here and to everyone who dreams of living here. Only then will it ever be anything close to great.

 

Categories
Cryptocurrency Economics Future Politics

Going Going Going Without Moving At All

I feel like the entire year of 2018, both nationally and internationally – economically and politically, can be reflected pretty well by my own working life over the same period. So, it makes sense to touch on that a little bit.

Old big eye statue

I’ve been a productivity machine these past few months. I’ve been learning new skills, prepping myself for new careers (if I want), and discovering new tools which allow me to get past stuck points of the past. My reading has been focused and constant. I’ve been using my time running or sitting in the car to listen to podcasts and educational lectures. I’ve been writing, revising, and researching. To give some idea of my progress here – in 2018, I’ve co-founded a cryptocurrency, started a podcast, launched a new blog, relaunced an old blog, become a featured blogger for a major publication, developed an app, started a new business, developed another app and taken on investment in it, and am working with a partner to co-found a third app. All of this in addition to working hard to be a caring and present father – which means that time needs to be dedicated there – and to working at a job that actually pays my bills – because despite the fact that I’m doing all that stuff listed above – none of it is earning a dime – in fact, most of it, the education, the books, the development, the hosting, the domains, the licensing, the business registrations, the research, the parenting – none of it earns money (yet) and it all costs money.

That’s what I’ve seen in the U.S. economy, the international political world (and the U.S. political scene), and in the overall progress of the human species as a whole. There are a lot of great and powerful things happening right now but none of them are paying the bills (yet) and as a result – there are a lot of short-term thinking people who are complaining about the waste of energy, resources, and capital that these things currently look like (from a short term perspective). It’s as if my wife were nagging at me for reading too much or spending too much time on things that don’t provide for us – and forced me to go get a job at McDonalds- which, to be fair – might actually end up paying more than everything I am currently doing in the long run. It might. And the money and energy going into genetic research, industrial automation, cryptocurrency, advanced materials, artificial intelligence, and other forward thinking technologies – it might be wasted.

But probably it’s not. (And I am still hopeful that my efforts will yield more than $15/hr as a fast food worker as well.)

Planet Earth is in a bit of a dark spot right now. There are really two camps. Those who want things the way they’ve always been – and those who want things to be very very different. The hard work being put in, is yielding results. However, there are those who don’t want to see things change. They are the know-nothings or more accurately the don’t-want-to-know-nothings who deny climate change, poo-poo on concepts like Universal Basic Income and they don’t want to see anything like equality between people who have been separated by oceans of hate, racism, and mysogeny. They are in a position that is likely to lose power – so they don’t want to see anything actually change. Yes, I’m talking about old white men but more broadly I’m talking about the military, industrial, economic, government power structure and the elaborate control systems that it has constructed world-wide. Old Asian men, old African men, old Arab men, old Indian men, and also the women who are entrenched in benefitting from that system too. There’s a reason all those old white women voted for Trump, Brexit, and right wing racists…it’s called power and privelige.

A few days ago, the societal index measure I built – the ‘vagorithm’ dropped below the level that I have suppossed would be reached only by a massive collapse on the scale of a government. That level was 287.5 – we dropped below that and then an additional 18 or so points. I watched with breath held as Russia seized Ukranian war ships and protestors took to the streets in France…and then…something shifted and as I write it is a bit above 300 – still not an ideal range – but much better than collapse. It appears to have some tendency to rise – which makes me hopeful for the future.

I would like to think that the Vagorithm Index is going to go up above it’s all time high of 900+ in 2019. It would be nice to have all that going going going actually lead to somewhere we want to be…on both a personal and a professional level.

Categories
Economics Politics

An Inflection Point for the Direction of the United States of America

I’ve introduced my Vagorithm Index previously, but it’s a good time to take a bit of a deeper dive into what it is looking at. Rather than focusing on a breadbasket of currencies, stocks, bonds, or economic indicators – the Vagorithm Index is built to indicate overall mental and cultural trends with regards to advances in technological adoption, societal inclusion, social justice, and distributed economic benefits. So, in a nutshell – when the Vagorithm Index moves higher – it means that we (humans as a whole) are progressing towards a sort of Star Trek Federation ideal where you can have your favorite food assembled in a kitchen gadget, where the color of your skin or other physical features don’t matter, and where life is valued over individual wealth. When the Vagorithm Index goes down, it means that we (humans as a whole) are moving backwards towards a more feudal state where dictators of nation states, entitled nobility, and the 1% get to do whatever they want to the rest of us.

This is what the Vagorithm Index looks like for the past couple of weeks:

But don’t worry…we are already far below the all time high of 908.13 (Nov 6, 2015) and still a little bit above the all time low of 318.84 (August 14, 2017). What does this mean? Well, it means that despite the crowing of the left over the ‘blue wave’ last week, that what progress was actually made is being sabotaged. Now, here is the thing – the left doesn’t actually want to live in a futuristic utopia…they want to live in a very similar economic world to the right – the difference is that the left acknowledges scientific evidence about climate change, the obvious roles of racism and sexism in power politics, and doesn’t tend to be as buffoonish when it comes to things like religion and sexuality.  This is what gives the V.I. a boost when Dems win – the problem this time is that there is an entire camp within the democratic party who are every bit as dangerous as the Trump-know-nothings who are currently in charge – yes Hillary Clinton would have been a better option to Donald Trump, but she would still have driven the index lower if she continued to follow the neocon pathway laid out by her husband, the Bush’s, and Reagan.

It might seem strange to group Clintons, Bush’s, and Reagan together but they are one and the same. Trump is a completely different category. Obama was a completely different category though he followed much of the neocon playbook when it came to war, defense, and international relations – where he was different was on his domestic policies, his views towards science and technology, and his attitude towards religion and sexuality.  So essentially, we have four parties in the USA.

Trumpism – essentially fascism and strong man politics based on fear, xenophobia, and racism

Neo-Conservatism – The politics of the Reagan, Bush I, Bush II, and the Clintons with a focus on corporate control of the military industrial government complex

Obamaism – Neocon Foreign Policy with Liberal Domestic Policy

Democratic Socialism – This is the domestic policies of Obama combined with a liberal foreign policy which has never been tried – this could be incredibly dangerous if it becomes evangelical in nature meaning if the Demsos want to export their world view.

Unfortunately, all of these are flawed because they all start from the basis of nationalism and the priority of one nation over all others. There is no viable political party in the USA which views the interests of all people with equality. Right now, there is a massive battle going on between the Neocons and the Demsos for control of the Democratic Party. It does not seem that there is anyone capable of the balancing act which Obama performed for eight years.

We are at an inflection point with a great unknown ahead of us. The unknown lies with the Democratic Socialists – they could lead us to a place of greatness or – if they are rash and can’t figure out how to navigate the ship of state in a safe manner – they could lead us to catastrophe. The next 60 days will be key in figuring out which of those things will take place.