Very interesting article. This guy seems to be right up our alley in terms of his worldview.
Maybe we should contact him?
Very interesting article. This guy seems to be right up our alley in terms of his worldview.
Maybe we should contact him?
@Marin That’s the most important thing I’ve read in years, I hope everyone here reads this article (link in above post) because it is very much part of why MaidSafe exists and should help us make the most of MaidSafe and create the kind of change we can all see is needed in the world.
Definitely a must-read.
It reads a bit like political propaganda. Is the goal really to conquer the 1%? Are the 1% trying to conquer the 99%? Do we even really want to use war terms like “conquer”?
I’ve read his book and it’s an interesting read. But I don’t think revolution is sometime to idealize. Maybe if you mean something like the industrial revolution, but if you mean a violent overthrow then that would not be good for anyone except perhaps the CIA and similar agencies which are into that stuff.
“My motto, a play on the CIA motto that is disgraced every day, is ‘the truth at any cost lowers all other costs’”,
How do we determine the truth? Especially in a world populated by intelligence agencies which don’t really care about the truth? Propaganda is the truth that different intelligence agencies want us to believe but how do we determine the actual truth? Is it even possible?
Really good read, there is a video by him as well that looks interesting, (will watch later).
Robert Steele overlaps with David Irvine’s ideas in the QA section of this video from May 2014
LibTech NYC: Robert David Steele - The Open Source Everything Manifesto]1
I am certainly easy to find and would be glad to engage in back and forth.
The Daily Bell (libertarian rag) has been the best about follow up, 38 questions asked and answered at
By all means, anything you want that I can provide, including a skype session or in person if you cover my expenses, I’m there. I will be in NYC 18-20 July for Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE) at Hotel Pennsylvania, I do my SPY IMPROV: Ask Me Anything there every two years (I was honored by them as the opening keynote speaker at their first event in 1994).
So, I am “on tap” for anything you want to do in the way of back and forth.
Great news, the more people we can interact with and support as well as those who will support this community the better. There is something happening here and it feels kinda great. We seem to share very similar outlooks so please do keep in touch and in the loop. Your thoughts will be hugely beneficial.
David Steele is part of the wider complexity and innovation field I was in before joining the Maidsafe effort. He’s well known to colleagues of mine and my research institute.
A lot of what he says is considered fairly tame in that field - it’s actually almost the consensus view, albeit Steele is a bit to the left politically within that field. What no one talks about in that field - well, possibly apart from me - is that that field was well resourced and funded up until shale gas appeared in volume, at which point all the funding got pulled. The reason why is because the 1% of the 1% who fund this sort of long term risk hedging have decided that shale gas will keep the masses placated for another 20 years so. For the record, I agree with that assessment, and my colleagues in the field get quite morose when I raise the point, after all doctoral funding is but a trickle nowadays, and research has dwindled very significantly.
Anyway, I have other skills than complex systems which actually earn money now the funding has gone, so I left for greener pastures i.e. here.
Don’t get me wrong, that revolution and collapse is coming when the fossil fuels run out, and I expect the Maidsafe platform to be rather useful at that time. And to be honest, the scenario planning of what happens when it tips is seriously scary stuff because all your mass produced stuff simply stops very abruptly, and the single biggest killer of people is believe it or not is dehydration and related diseases (mostly cholera), then starvation followed quite a way behind by violence which will be at its worst in the urban centres. In that picture of things whether the internet works or not or whether people will be spying on you will be a moot point because you’ll have other far bigger worries like marauders coming to take your stuff.
Hey David - I was just writing about you. For your reference, I am attached to the Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation in Canada, which was until recently headed up by Thomas Homer-Dixon who is a great friend and colleague, and is currently led by Dawn Parker. You may also know or know of Steve Qulley, he’s definitely of a very similar viewpoint to your own
I think while we may survive the energy crisis/collapse now the issue that I can see is that our economic policies aren’t sustainable. We have automation which is going to take over the majority of jobs that people do and the cost of living isn’t decreasing fast enough. Technological unemployment which many still think is a myth will become quite real in the next 5 years and there is no policy for it.
SAFE Network will probably be part of the solution but only if we make it be part of the solution. Open source, equity crowd funding, decentralized applications/DACs, are all part of the solution. Business as usual is not sustainable.
This is a common viewpoint. It’s more interesting than simple displacement of people by automation though. If you look at what economists call “the participation rate” which is the total percentage of the population involved in money earning activities, it’s been trending down in all western nations for some years now as more baby boomer retire and more young people wisely delay buying into the very bad economic deal on the table for them, which is why there is such high and rising youth unemployment. Where things get much more interesting is that the exact same thing happened as the Roman Empire went into decline - fewer and fewer people earned their keep over time, and instead were sustained by those in power for various political and power reasons. Similarly, why Egypt and many of the Middle Eastern countries recently collapsed is also due to the consequences of repeatedly buying sections of population off instead of creating use for them.
Basically, it’s always easier to kick the can down the road and buy off trouble. So that’s what those in charge do. Increment that over time and before you know it a third of the population aren’t doing anything useful, and the merry go round stops turning.
Those in charge of the US are well aware of this phenomenon of course, and that’s why there has been such a concerted push since the 1970s to keep the US looking more like a developing country with huge wealth inequalities with very weak social supports. The idea is to maintain US preeminence by always remaining a developing country. And maybe that might work if there wasn’t such an enormous disguised and renamed welfare state in the US, though if that were also removed I would doubt anyone would want much to live or work there any more than Westerners would wish to emigrate to Nigeria for its economic opportunities (which are legion BTW, and many in Africa do emigrate there due to how much money one can make, but equally there is almost zero state support for you if you are unlucky in life and most Westerners would prefer few opportunities and security instead).
There is also the effect of private pension funding which has stopped working and has had huge consequences on how the workplace hires. Basically Bretton Woods set up a formula where a portion of wages was forcibly reinvested into the same companies via pension funds which was a way of renaming profits to avoid tax. That works and inflates your stockmarket bubble so long as more is paid in than removed. Once more people retire than pay in, you get Japan where their stagflation began at around the same time people began to retire in number. Much of the recent necessity to print money to inflate stockmarkets via quantitative easing is really about reducing the size of private pension funds i.e. transferring value away from old people to elsewhere in society. Sucks for those who “saved” all that money though because it’s being intentionally inflated away - that is what quantitative easing means. Equally, the money never really existed anyway, it was a chimera. The only real old age provision comes either out of work or out of taxes as welfare as it always has done, and the long term picture on that - ignoring fossil fuels running out - truly is appalling.
The fixes to all this are all easy in the technical sense, but politically impossible without severe social dislocation. Fossil fuels running out would have been a good excuse for imposing autocracy, but those in power tend to greatly dislike having to get their hands dirty, despite what movies and books would have you believe. The vast majority like to tell themselves they do good for humanity, and that is hard to do when you’re squashing dissent. Makes it hard to sleep well at night you know
What about abiogec petroleaum genesis. I’ve wondered if the confirmation of vulcanism being driven by radio active decay may have confirmed that hypothesis. The upshot would be relatively unlimited carbon energy coming from decay elements like Thorium. Not needing to conserve, the challenge would be to clean up carbon. First with with natural gas and then cleaned up hydrogren processing. In essence carbon becomes a potentially workable nuclear- stepped down dispersed waste etc. Issue is cleaning it up and getting ownership out of private hands.
I think the required investment in infrastructure needed to provide a viable replacement for the present fossil fuels would in itself collapse the system. Also, you couldn’t gain enough consensus in the population to set aside enough resources to make it happen. Much of what collapsed those Middle Eastern countries was the reduction of the subsidy of fossil fuels for example.
There are no shortage of viable replacements for fossil fuels, it’s just we should have started investing heavily in them in the 1970s around Peak Oil in the US when there was plenty of fossil fuels left. Jimmy Carter of course tried to do just that, but he was stopped and no political leadership has tried that again.
@ned14 I thought under the Carter admin oil profit for US companies was halted and that this lasted well into the Regan years. I ve wondered if the government found complicity in oil embargo that was unacceptable in a way the copper sell off prior to WWII wasnt. But the implication above is that some in policy now think there is no shortage of it and would seek to keep price stability and prevent deprivitization. I think governments are always looking to do what Russia did with Yukos as they dont care for oil speculation and dont see the value of private ownership of oil beyond a finder’s fee- i.e., it creates a competitor to state power that is arbitrary vice a check on state power.
What people often forget about when complaining about corporate profits is where those profits go, which for blue chips are usually into dividends which then go into the pockets of the middle classes and their private pension funds where in the UK and especially the US there is special low tax treatment for such earnings. Who gets screwed by higher prices in the long term big picture is anyone without enough surplus income to have investments. It certainly isn’t the average middle class family, despite their complaining.
There is also the whole recent phenomenon of the professional classes handing themselves the profits instead of paying it out as dividends - this has most noticeably affected (some) banking employees, but executive level and skilled professional employees throughout the US especially have been particularly keen to do this since Reagan and Clinton removed safeguards on doing this. The fact institutional investors (pension funds, sovereign wealth funds) keep letting the professional classes get away with this is a mystery, so now a bottom level Google engineer expects to earn $160k or more and no one seems to find fault with that. I hate to say so, but Ivan Illich predicted this one on the button (when the threat of communism faded, the professional classes would bring down society through their greed).
@ned14 Yes, definitely as the book predicted, the systems charms look to be short term.
The dividend idea never seemed all that good either. Rather than spreading ownership even under its best prospects its like a credit card society can’t pay off. With mutual funds stacked on top of each other and each being able to only own a small percentage of each firm they end up betting the entire index. They are default indexes. Despite index philosophy the attitude of investors would be akin to throwing money into the street and expecting to come back and find it not only still there but more of it. And when it goes wrong they want to socialize the cost with austerity nonsense. Its a theft mentality. They did not want to pay attention to what they throw money at (could be cable or Exxon) and they want to hold society hostage when their Ponzi scheme doesn’t work out. Their states are the same they will whine that the dark net is for laundering while state itself engages in it claiming that the revenue would otherwise go elsewhere.
Capital’s contribution was always in question. Was it their blood and sweat or their innovation and what precisely was their contribution. This applies even in the rare case of founders. And aside from the rare case of the socially useful founder, did the other silver spooner cases really risk anything as they are always going on about. Especially if these beautiful risk takers were at best in any reasonable approximation of society simply stewards? And now with automation, and since the policy realization of it in the late 60s and 70s the rent seeking has gone back to its traditional state of over drive. The attitude is not that the automation is our collective inheritance but that some survival of the fittest fools have won some sort of lottery that entitles them to everything and everyone else to begging. The rise of the super manager is an example of capital trying to look useful. But its typically a liquidator Romney type complaining that Tesla is a loser while trying to push for more war in the Mid East.
In Russia there wasn’t much denial about the attitude. The mentality reached such a fever pitch that slave breeding was thought to be a spiritual pursuit such that a ‘master’ could suggest to a slave: what’s a matter dog, that’s the best dog food money can buy, eat! The markets of capitalism under ordinary circumstances are simply animal pen enclosures. They require catastrophic upheavals and heavy management to look humane over short stretches.
Best to always look at thing from a variety of angles I reckon.
David Harrison at Trade with Dave has an interesting take on Mr Steele and an interesting take on Bitcoin “There is no forgiveness in the Blockchain” or as Daniel Larimer of Bitshares put’s it:
*Identity and reputation will be the new currency. Laws and contracts will be laid down in code and, if broken, reparations will be sought mathematically rather than through law enforcement agencies, courts and prisons.
Those who cannot make good will be victim to “coordinated shunning” by the rest of the network – the whole of society. They will not be able to interact financially or in any other system running on the blockchain.
They will be in an “economic prison”. This will extend beyond being unable to make money transfers, because the blockchain will be in control of voting, commerce and communications. Being banished from this system would make life all but impossible*
Parallels? : And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name
*Let me start off by saying that as far as I know there is no such thing as “ex-CIA” and an individual who claims to be spending their time “contemplating the closing two years of the Obama-Biden administration” rather than the origins of belly button lint is suspect.
Not to mention if your stated goal is to “level the playing field against the various forces of disinformation” lost emails and citizen drone strikes then why exactly would you direct your correspondence to THE primary source of disinformation?
Our Ex-spy is promoting “a common view of the threats, challenges and change agents in our world” (he calls it the Open Source Agency) while the target of his plea is contemplating the commencement of the U.S. naval easy button of nuclear powered submarines being lent over to Joe’s “new world order”
There are dozens of articles here on the blog that focus on the distinction between an “open house” and a “free house” from a George Soros vs. Thomas Jefferson reflexivity vs. tree of liberty point-of-view, so consider yourself warned when it comes to attempting to fill the catastrophic “Gap Between Those With Money & Those With Knowledge” by downloading “free” open source solutions while hoping to avoid fertilizing with the blood of tyrants and patriots.
Maybe Steele should be contemplating the distinction between the Middle Eastern ISIS and the East Hampton meaning of “is is” from the more classic Clintonian perspective on the Wealth of Networks and ex-presidential family members.*
A reasonable analysis and viewpoint. I should add that we are where we are at because a deliberate choice was taken by the ruling elites of Anglo Saxon nations to intentionally alienate the population from themselves i.e. to take Marx’s warnings, and intentionally make that happen. This was done as a reaction to the potential of mutually assured atomic destruction if people were not discouraged from collective action under charismatic leadership, so the highly successful outcome was for people to be encouraged to distrust all sorts of leadership, and to tend towards alienation from anyone outside the family unit.
Now, the Continental European leadership did not take this same strategy and made that known to the leadership of the Anglo Saxon nations - which is why the Anglo Saxon nations have a collective spying treaty, and the Continental Europeans are pointedly not allowed into it. The reason they disagreed was because they felt it would be rather like shooting oneself in the foot. Instead they bought compliance using a welfare state which pays you more the more you earn (Anglo Saxon countries have welfare systems which pay out the poorer you are), and that bought the middle classes into line for obvious reasons. That obviously meant higher taxes originally, and that suffocated innovation.
Unfortunately, the Anglo Saxon nations have since ended up with hidden welfare systems just as expensive as the Continental Europeans, but without the superior outcomes. And debt levels have ballooned because of leaders elected in Anglo Saxon countries who kept cutting taxes too low and making it easier for people to get into debt, so if you add up all debt including consumer and corporate debt, Continental Europeans suddenly look very sustainable and fiscally prudent. Not many economic opportunities may exist, but it’s all very pleasant being wrapped in wool. And they don’t distrust or hate their leadership or indeed one another to anything like the degree of Anglo Saxon countries.
That said, would I live in Continental Europe? I have done, for some years, and it was great. But something worries me about raising my children there, and I have yet to put my finger on it, so I have followed my gut without really knowing why.
Actually, I do know at least partially why. Continental Europeans may not distrust one another as Americans do, but they sure do hate immigrants. And I really mean hate. They just don’t say so publicly, whereas the much milder hatred of immigrants in the British population is very vocal and well known and widely discussed. No, in Europe I’ve seen nice normal middle class people start spitting with fury about some race or other once they get a drink or two into them. It’s European through and through of course, and we’ve always been that way since at least the Romans, but I worry about the modern repression of it. Maybe I’m just an old English Liberal at heart or something …
Yes. The spread of 23andme type perspectives might help with that a bit but its even more troubling that there is something else.
“I should add that we are where we are at because a deliberate choice was taken by the ruling elites of Anglo Saxon nations to intentionally alienate the population from themselves i.e. to take Marx’s warnings, and intentionally make that happen. This was done as a reaction to the potential of mutually assured atomic destruction if people were not discouraged from collective action under charismatic leadership, so the highly successful outcome was for people to be encouraged to distrust all sorts of leadership, and to tend towards alienation from anyone outside the family unit”
In the US people used to pride themselves that all their mail wasn’t subject to being opened and inspected like in the USSR and China. Recently revelations on the NSA show its more than the case in the US now than it was elsewhere.