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American Spring
[See also: “The Technorati vs. the Left Behinds”
https://medium.com/@johnrobb/tectonic-shifts-in-american-politics-55940872e94e#.w2ujxzmoo ]

"A one party system ran the United States, and the United States ran the world.

The US had checks and balances – governing required consensus, and the people were freed from kings. To protect speech, the framers left out a rule against conspiracies to monopolize the vote.

Political parties formed to monopolize the vote. The losing parties kept ganging up until only two parties remained. Resembling vast and immortal corporations, they consolidated all political power.

The parties need mass media to win elections. Media literally intermediates reality and programs voters by framing the acceptable parameters of any debate. Mass media costs mass money.

The elites, a plutocracy of the top few percent, bought the parties. So cheaply in fact, that they bought both.

The elites are merely people that went to the right schools, grew up in the right neighborhoods, and came from the right money and the right families. It’s not a formal conspiracy – rather an intricate and distributed system, organized by the invisible hand of the market, voting with dollars and newspaper ink, and controlling the country all the same.

Within some parameters, the elites argue – bombs from the air or boots on the ground? How much should we tax income?

Mostly the elites agree to keep power with elite institutions, controlling the masses who cannot be trusted. Yes to wars, yes to mass surveillance, yes to bailouts, yes to war on drugs, yes to war on terror, yes to endless copyrights, yes to monopolies and oligopolies, no to term limits, no to wealth taxes… On these and others, pick R or D, there are no choices.

The Elite Party runs the system and it basically works. The elite stay elite. Income may be taxed, but wealth compounds. The most belligerent and implacable of the masses are sent to fight in mercifully distant wars. Crime happens in other people’s neighborhoods. The prisons are full and everyone is being watched. The pie expands, slowly and un-evenly, and all is well.

One weakness – the presidency is a single office of great visibility and power, directly and democratically elected. One person, one vote. Regardless of education, ethic, breeding, knowledge, achievement. Is everyone actually, really, equally qualified to vote, the elites wonder?

The elites lock the crown behind two massive gates – it costs a billion dollars to run for president. And incalculable, favorable mass media exposure.

This works well – so well that the elites get lazy, handing off presidential power within dynasties – between fathers and sons, husbands and wives.

Statistically speaking, what are the odds that the two most qualified candidates to be president out of 300 million people are siblings? Or married?

Barack Obama interrupts an in-process coronation. Using hope, change, and emerging alternative online media, he organizes and brings new voters to the polls. But back then, it still takes television, money, newspapers, and the party apparatus. He can’t and doesn’t do it alone, and eventually joins the elite.

Today, it’s a different world. YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook let one human broadcast to billions, without permission, without censors, without delay. Social media makes mass organization and resistance possible.

The Arab Spring is just one consequence. The American Spring of 2016 is another.

Social and alternative media dominates and disintermediates mass media. Every column brings a hundred rebuttals. The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal are stood like commoners next to bloggers, begging for tweets, likes, and votes. We are all journalists and editors now.

Bernie can play this game. The MoveOn crowd organizes effortlessly using the new media.

Trump can play this game. The reality show vet generates outrage and impressions, tweeting as he goes.

Meanwhile, the Internet kills the political ad. Everyone is online – skipping, blocking, or just mis-clicking.

Bernie spends a bit on ads. Trump doesn’t bother.

It’s not just publishing – the Internet lets anyone donate little bits online. Bernie taps the crowd – over a million dollars a day from small donors! Again, Trump doesn’t bother. He just self-finances.

The mass media barrier is down. The money barrier is down.

A mob is pushing Bernie. Trump is pulling one behind him.

The elites are livid. They sneer at the masses – Uneducated. Socialist. Racist. Luddite.

Throughout history, elites and plutocrats have feared direct democracy. One-person, one-vote logically leads towards mob rule. Socialism. Tribalism. The masses are always “crazier” than the elites. The elites like the status quo, so they pull policy towards the center. It’s the masses that want real change.

YouTube killed TV and Twitter ate the news. Donald’s tweeting from his jet and Bernie’s kickstarter went viral. Software is eating politics and the elites have lost control.

Now we see “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” The neatly labeled bundles of “Democrat” and “Republican” are going to get re-assembled by the voters, one vote at a time instead of one dollar at a time.

Sanders’ voters think the rich stole their money. Trump’s voters think the illegals stole their jobs.

There is no more establishment. Like all things Internet, social media and crowd financing are unstoppable. Every large future election will have outsiders out-organizing, out-raising, and out-raging the establishment.

America is going from a republic of elites to a direct democracy. Look to your left, and look to your right. Wake up – the people are here."
americanspring  arabspring  politics  2016  culture  economics  us  democracy  media  donaldtrump  twitter  youtube  television  tv  moveon  barackobama  elites  elitism  inequality  oligopoly  plutocracy  johnrobb  classism 
march 2016 by robertogreco
France Declares War on Islam - Global Guerrillas
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"It is a war against terrorism, against jihadism, against radical Islam, against everything that is aimed at breaking fraternity, freedom, solidarity... There needs to be a firm message about the values of the republic and of secularism." — French Prime Minister Manuel Valls


Based on this statement alone, it looks like France is about to fall into a Red Queen's Trap. In this case, an all consuming struggle between an increasingly hollow nation-state and a large and growing population of people unwilling to assimilate. For example: here's a government list and atlas of the 751 "sensitive neighborhoods" like the one below that won't assimilate.

If this is a trap, here's what it is going to look like.

Since most nation-states aren't able to offer opportunity anymore (they are hollowing out due to globalization), this assimilation will be accelerated by rules, regulations, and force. In turn, these communities will resist this and seek support from outside (IS, etc.) for resisting, which will lead to more violence. More violence will lead to more government maladaptation -- largely due to the inherent weaknesses of a 21st Century hollow state -- and so on until great damage is done to everyone involved.

So, the big question is: Is France in a trap or not?

Let's dive in. Here are the interesting elements.

The attack wasn't a generic attack on a population center. It was very specific. It was an attack on French secularism, accomplished by passing judgement on the people who promote it. For example, the jihadis asked for specific people at the magazine by name when they arrived.

It was also interesting to me that the reaction to the attack was largely one of solidarity. People around the world showed support for the victims so much so that the #JeSuisCharlie (I am Charlie hashtag) has become the most popular hashtag in history. Here's a map of where it has been used (almost exclusively in the globalized "west"). Further, this solidarity movement is being used to generate massive rallies in Paris and around the world.

Based on this, there are two ways this could go.

If this solidarity is seen as merely support for an end to violence (which I believe it is), the entire thing will be largely forgotten in a week.

However, if it is seen as support for a new push to assimilate Islamic communities and promote secularist values, the Red Queen's trap is sprung.

The statement at the top of the page by the French Prime Minister -- this is a war -- is an indication that France may be in a trap.

PS: The US fell into a Red Queen's trap in 2001 that cost us thousands of lives, trillions of dollars, two lost wars, and most of our basic rights."
johnrobb  2015  #JeSuisCharlieHebdo  #JeSuisCharlie  charliehebdo  freedom  freespeech  france  religion  freedomofspeech  racism  islamophobia  manuelvalls  redqueens'strap  assimilation  globalization  history  economics  nationstates  war  us  2001  hollowstates 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Let's face it. Americans suck at Bureaucracy. | HomeFree AmericaHomeFree America
"We Americans don’t like the idea of making rules to solve every possible problem. If there are too many rules, it chafes our spirit.

We’d rather use our own judgement to make our own decisions and allow others to do the same. Rules in that context are minimal safeguards against egregious behavior, instead of a way to protect against every possible bad decision people may make.

We simply don’t want all of our decisions handed to us, because in most cases, we can do a better job than the bureaucrat or politician that made them. We do this also because we know that when rules replace individual decision making, people end up without the judgement necessary to make good decisions on their own. They become malformed adults, unable to act unless someone tells them what to do or authorizes them to do it.

We don’t like using rules to solve all of our problems because they lock in the present, when we are focused on the future. We don’t like rules because they stop change when we are on a path of constant improvement. We don’t like rules because they assume a pessimism about the future we don’t share.

Of course, attitudes regarding rules are different in other places. There are lots of other countries that actually excel at rulemaking and bureaucracy. The Germans, for example, make rules for their rules. The Chinese invented the bureaucracy that makes and enforces rules. In fact, these countries are so good at making and enforcing rules, they routinely use it to gain economic advantage in the global marketplace.

So, if that’s the case, why are we running most of our economy based on the false assumption that we actually like bureaucratic rules? Why are we investing so much of our time and effort building and paying for the HUGE government and corporate bureaucracies we suck at?

Inertia. Most of the bureaucracy we see today in America is a legacy of the wars of the 20th Century. Bureaucracies got big during the 20th Century because they are so amazingly good at mobilizing a country’s economy for massive destruction of total war they destroyed all of their competition. As a result of this efficacy in waging total war, our bureaucracy grew almost non-stop across the entire 20th century.

However, with the end of the cold war, the need for bureaucracy as a means of waging war faded too. In fact, in today’s world fewer people dying from war than across all of history. We simply aren’t required, out of a need for self-preservation, to have a big bureaucracy in standby mode for the destruction of the world.

This means that bureaucracy is once again, an economic choice: does it help a country become more prosperous or not?

In the case of the United States, that answer should be pretty clear. We aren’t better off with an overarching focus on bureaucracy and the excessive rule-making that goes with it. We aren’t better off with 20 million people in college chasing a credential instead of an education. We aren’t better off with entire segments of the economy, as is the case with healthcare and education, protected from improvement by bureaucratic rules that lock in what we have today.

We should just admit that we suck at bureaucracy and the rules that go with it and try something better.

How? We need an economic focus that plays to what Americans are better at doing than everyone else: creating the future.

Sincerely,
John Robb

PS: The extreme carnage of WW1 came as a complete surprise to the Europeans because their new bureaucracies were so unexpectedly good at waging total war."
2014  johnrobb  bureaucracy  us  germany  rules  rulemaking  judgement  politics  policy  china  inertia  economics  war  change  adaptability  credentials  credentialism 
may 2014 by robertogreco
JOURNAL: Central Planning and The Fall of the US Empire - Global Guerrillas
"…extreme concentration of wealth at the center of our market economy has led to a form of central planning. The concentration of wealth is now in so few hands and is so extreme in degree, that the combined liquid financial power of all of those not in this small group is inconsequential to determining the direction of the economy. As a result, we now have the equivalent of centralized planning in global marketplaces. A few thousand extremely wealthy people making decisions on the allocation of our collective wealth…

The result of central planning in the US has finally hit the wall. The list of problems is endless…misallocations range from the dangerous $600 trillion derivatives market to the destruction of US middle class (by exporting jobs & substitution of income with debt).

The end result is that our economic & political system has become very fragile. All it will take is is one extremely bad decision and the cascade of failure that follows will catch everyone off guard."

[UPDATE: Conversation here too: https://plus.google.com/107033731246200681024/posts/D6SwChze4Vd ]
johnrobb  us  collapse  incomegap  disparity  wealth  2011  centralplanning  government  corruption  decisionmaking  policy  politics  economics  class  markets  fragility  finance  globalization 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Miiu.org: The Resilient Community Wiki
"MiiU is a collection of all the objects, products, and places that make personal, family, and community resilience possible."

[A John Robb production, I think.]
community  johnrobb  resilience  collapse  resilientcommunity  objects  products  reference  howto  diy  collapsonomics 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Global Guerrillas: RC JOURNAL: The Inevitable Failure of Suburbia?
"I start with the view that a suburban town is a community and not just type of architecture. People/families live their lives in these towns. So, as a community, it's ability to survive/thrive is a function of its adaptability. If the future is going to be as tough as we think it is, then the question of suburbia really becomes: are suburban communities adaptable enough to thrive in the future (as in: becoming resilient communities). Given the advantages of the suburban landscape (land, surface area, security, etc.) has over rural/urban in many revival scenarios (post crunch), the only existential threat to these communities appears to be the from the global financial system -- aka a foreclosure tsunami that decimates communities faster than they can reconfigure/change. I think that problem is solvable."
suburbia  suburbs  johnrobb  future  adaptation  adaptability  resilience  change  communities  community 
november 2009 by robertogreco
Global Guerrillas: HOLLOW STATES vs. FAILED STATES
"So, if the question is whether Mexico, Pakistan, Nigeria, etc are in danger of becoming hollow states, the answer is yes. In fact, I suggest that they are already there. Are we headed in the same direction?"
johnrobb  mexico  government  politics  us  pakistan  nigeria  failedstates  hollowstates  terrorism  crisis  2009 
march 2009 by robertogreco
Global Guerrillas: INDUSTRIAL EDUCATION?
"Since nearly all of the value of an education has been extracted by the producer, to the detriment of the customer, this situation has all the earmarks of a bubble. A bubble that will soon burst as median incomes are adjusted downwards to global norms over the next decade". lectures + application + collaboration. "When will the floodgates open? The shift towards online education as the norm and in-person as the exception will arrive, however, the path is unclear. It is currently blocked by guilds/unions, inertia, credentialism, and romantic notions."
change  reform  education  learning  online  elearning  colleges  universities  futurism  future  business  trends  economics  opensource  mit  johnrobb  crisis  unschooling  deschooling  homeschool  lcproject  gamechanging  money  tuition  inflation  price  cost  bubbles  2009  credentials  teaching  students 
january 2009 by robertogreco

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