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The Reasons Behind The Relentless Ideological Onslaught Against Free Markets

The Reasons Behind The Relentless Ideological Onslaught Against Free Markets

I sometimes think that the free market concept is treated like The Hunchback of Notre-Dame’s Quasimodo in the long novel of global economic history. It is considered ugly and undesirable by most people who judge it at a mere glance without bothering to understand it. It is a bogeyman; a scapegoat for numerous societal problems that it has nothing to do with. In reality, the only time free markets do cause trouble is when they are manipulated or misused by elitists seeking to turn them into something other than free markets. And, even when free markets display their great value and internal beauty, many still prefer other systems that are intrinsically corrupt but flashier on the surface.

There are many reasons behind this persistent attitude. However, they are not coincidental or natural. Human beings actually tend to gravitate toward free markets over and over again in history, and away from centralized government interference and dominance in economic trade. But whenever they do, they get hammered down by the-powers-that-be. In our modern era, establishment elites have chosen to be more subtle (for now) and dissuade people from free markets through disinformation and propaganda.

To break it all down to a simple observation – Whenever disaster strikes economically, free markets are blamed. Whenever something is fixed, even if that fix is a temporary band-aid on a sucking chest wound, government involvement and socialism are applauded. And so the cycle continues until free markets become a pariah with no place in our world and centralization becomes the prevailing answer to everything.

Free market trade is ever present at a local level and always has been. But, those who favor globalism are hell-bent on putting an end to any and all private unregulated commerce forever.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Which Nations Will Crumble and Which Few Will Prosper in the Next 25 Years?

Which Nations Will Crumble and Which Few Will Prosper in the Next 25 Years?

Adaptability and flexibility will be the core survival traits going forward.

What will separate the many nations that will crumble in the next 25 years and those few that will survive and even prosper while the status quo dissolves around them? As I explain in my recent book Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic, the factors that will matter are not necessarily cultural or financial; being hard-working and wealthy won’t be enough to save nations from coming apart at the seams.

Here are the factors that will matter in the next 25 years:

1. The ability to engage and survive non-linear change, which is rapid, unpredictable and systemic, as opposed to linear change which is gradual, predictable and limited in nature.

None of the current political systems are decentralized enough and adaptable enough to survive the non-linear era we’re entering. As I explained in What If Politics Can’t Fix What’s Broken?, the politics of centralized compromise and incremental, top-down adjustments are wholly inadequate to dealing with non-linear disruptions.

2. The nations that cannot jettison their parasitic elites will fall; the few that find the political will to jettison their parasitic elites will have the wherewithal to survive and possibly even prosper as the global status quo collapses around them.

The problem, as we all know, is the parasitic elites rule the centralized hierarchies of wealth and political power, and they will cling to power even as the nation they rule crumbles around them. The hubris, complacency and greed of the ruling parasitic elites is near-infinite; the idea that the political and financial structures that they dominate will not survive simply doesn’t exist in the parasitic elites, with the exception of a few outliers who are constructing remote bugout compounds with landing strips etc.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Father Of World Wide Web Launches Platform Which Aims To Radically Decentralize The Internet

“For people who want to make sure the Web serves humanity, we have to concern ourselves with what people are building on top of it,” Tim Berners-Lee told Vanity Fair last month. “I was devastated” he said while going through a litany of harmful and dangerous developments of the past three decades of the web.

That’s why “the Father of the World Wide Web” has launched a start-up that intends to end the dominance of Facebook, Google, and Amazon, while in the process letting individuals take back control of their own data.

Berners-Lee’s new online platform and company Inrupt is being described as a “personal online data store,” or pod, where everything from messages, music, contacts or other personal data will be stored in one place overseen by the user instead of an array of platforms and apps run by corporations seeking to profit off personal information. The project seeks “personal empowerment through data” and aims to “take back” the web, according to company statements.

The man who created the world wide web by implementing the first ever successful communication between a Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) client and server via the internet in 1989 lamented that his creation has been abused by powerful entities for everything mass surveillance to fake news to psychological manipulation to corporations commodifying individuals’ information.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Image via Wikimedia Commons

But he’s long been at work on a new project to take the web back, described in depth by the business technology magazine Fast Company:

This week, Berners-Lee will launch, Inrupt, a startup that he has been building, in stealth mode, for the past nine months. Backed by Glasswing Ventures, its mission is to turbocharge a broader movement afoot, among developers around the world, to decentralize the web and take back power from the forces that have profited from centralizing it. In other words, it’s game on for Facebook, Google, Amazon.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Fighting Back Against Globalism Requires An Honest Movement To Decentralize

Fighting Back Against Globalism Requires An Honest Movement To Decentralize

Over a decade ago, critics of the liberty movement would often argue that it was not enough to simply point out all the problems plaguing our economy — we needed to also offer solutions. Of course, a common Alinsky tactic is to demand your opponents solve all the world’s ailments before they can earn the right to complain. “If you can’t give us a solution, then stop going on and on about the problem,” they would squawk incessantly like parrots.

I don’t agree that our right to analyze the instabilities of our financial system is predicated on our ability to fix the issue outright. In fact, that sounds rather insane. How can we fix the problem if we don’t educate the public on the problem first? However, I do think that the only people who have the drive and the knowledge to ultimately come up with a solution are those in the liberty movement. Who else is going to try? Who else is even qualified?

I have seen many ideas come and go over the years. The thing about fixing what is broken is that while you might get most people to agree on the problem, getting a majority of them to agree on a solution is a nightmare. Once enough people agree on a solution, you then have to find a way to motivate them to act on it. The masses often want desperately to help themselves, they just don’t like it when a lot of effort or sacrifice is required.

This is why we only tend to see organized activism and a push toward self-sufficiency AFTER a crisis has already struck. Most human beings require obvious incentive before they become motivated.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Is Political Decentralization the Only Hope for Western Civilization?

Is Political Decentralization the Only Hope for Western Civilization?

US Secssion Map II

A couple of recent articles have once more made the case, at least implicitly, for political decentralization as the only viable path which will begin to solve the seemingly insurmountable political, economic, and social crises which the Western world now faces.

In the last few months, over 3,000 millionaires have fled the hopelessly corrupt and bankrupt state of Illinois.  When asked, 47% of Illinoisans would like to leave the state which, over the last decade, has seen over a half million of its residents flee.  Naturally, this exodus has exacerbated the Land of Lincoln’s financial straits to catastrophic levels.*

A report published by the American Legislative Exchange Council predicted that the tax flight which is occurring in Illinois will similarly take place in the coming years in high-tax blue states such as California and New York.  The 2017 Trump tax reform will accelerate this process since under the new legislation the amount of state income tax that can be deducted on federal tax returns has been capped at $10,000 per family.  The authors of the report wrote: “. . .  high [income] earners in places with hefty income taxes – not just California and New York, but also Minnesota and New Jersey – will bear more of the true cost of their state government.”**

The not too subtle consequences of the new tax code will mean an even greater exodus of taxpayers out of blue states which will shrink state revenues even further and create job losses across the board.

While those who want to escape the crushing burden of individual state taxation and regulation, if they have the means and desire to do so, can move to more favorable climes, no such option exists (except the drastic step of expatriation) to escape federal tyranny.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Road to 2025 (Part 4) – A Very Bright Future If We Demand It

The Road to 2025 (Part 4) – A Very Bright Future If We Demand It

Whenever all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another, and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated.

– Thomas Jefferson letter to C.Hammond, 1821

The first three parts of this series focused on the obvious reality that imperial America is not just increasingly being seen as a rogue state around the world, but that it’s also become harmful and parasitic to its own people. It’s become abundantly clear that empire is not compatible with Constitutional government.

As power and resources have become increasingly centralized in Washington D.C., the American people have suffered. We’ve suffered from an increasingly rigged economic and financial system, continued security-state encroachment in the form of mass surveillance and a militarization of police, and a war industry which relentlessly funnels more and more wealth toward protecting imperial dominance overseas.

As anyone who’s read the U.S. Constitution knows, this is not the way the union was supposed to function. Indeed, the founders were obsessed with avoiding the pitfalls of European empires since they knew how that story ends. At the federal level, a separation of powers between the three branches of government: the legislative, the executive and the judicial was a key component of the Constitution. The specific purpose here was to prevent an accumulation of excessive centralized power within a specific area of government.

While this separation of powers still exists on paper, it’s been eroded to a very dangerous degree. When it comes to war, which the legislative branch is supposed to declare, Congress has chosen to abdicate its responsibility and simply allows the executive to do whatever it wants.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The energy of Bitcoin, the information economy and the (possible) decentralization of the world

The energy of Bitcoin, the information economy and the (possible) decentralization of the world

The near vertical rise and fall in price of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin in recent months has been accompanied by reporting about the energy used to run the Bitcoin network. The amount is enormous, more than enough to supply the entire country of Ireland.

Many other cryptocurrencies operate under less energy-intensive designs. But the more than 1,000 other digital coins beyond Bitcoin certainly use a considerable amount of energy though there is no overall estimate I’m aware of. (For the technically minded, here is a discussion of two popular methods associated with validating transactions, one of which is considerably less energy-intensive.)

We’d like to think that the information economy of which these newfangled currencies are part bears lightly on the broader environment. But as I pointed out in my piece “The Unbearable Lightness of Information,” much of what happens in the information economy is simply focused on extracting more resources more quickly to create more goods and services for more customers. The physical economy isn’t disappearing. It is merely being exploited more completely using digital information.

And beyond this, “Every person who works in the so-called information sector of the economy must be housed, clothed, schooled, provided transportation, provisioned with household goods, given opportunities for entertainment and recreation, [and] supplied with a wide array of public services.”

Having said all this, I find one aspect of the blockchain technology behind the explosion in digital currencies to be promising. This technology offers a possible path for decentralizing banking and finance and myriad other Internet-related services we’ve come to rely on from big corporations.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

I Don’t Want Your Leaders

I Don’t Want Your Leaders

In 2017, I wrote a lot about how dangerously centralized our political system in the U.S. has become, and how we need to decentralize governance in order to restore power, liberty and policy experimentation to the local level. This notion that a sprawling and culturally diverse nation of 325 million individuals should constantly battle to the death over the ring of political power in Washington D.C. so as to impose their view on the other half of the country which completely disagrees is patently ludicrous. States, and even metro areas themselves, should be making most of the important decisions that impact their citizens’ lives on a day to day basis.

This isn’t complicated. People who live in Boulder, Colorado such as myself have a very distinct worldview on most things from the average resident of let’s say Houston, Texas. This isn’t to say one is superior to the other, we’re just talking generally different mindsets and cultures. The residents of these distinct places should be able to express themselves via policy in a way that most fits the desires and values reflective of these particular regions. While this does happen to some degree, all U.S. citizens are still beholden to the whims of centralized political power in Washington D.C. to a very unhealthy and dysfunctional degree.

One of the worst side effects of centralized power in Washington D.C. is most Americans waste all their political energy speculating on, or rooting for, who will be elected the next supreme ruler (President) every four years. This is such a gigantic waste of time and energy, but one reason it happens is because the U.S. has an imperial Presidency these days. The executive simply acts in a manner that the founders had never intended, and the other branches of government (legislative and judiciary) permit it.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Renaissance Italy Presents a Strong Case for Decentralization

Renaissance Italy Presents a Strong Case for Decentralization

Common wisdom tells us that without a clear leader and monopoly on force, chaos reigns until a new order is established.
My political theory is rooted in a single axiom that I came to independently: governments are mafia. I actually came to this conclusion in the reverse order when I was disillusioned to find that despite a great PR campaign, the southern Italian mafia was nothing more than another government.

I remember thinking that in Sicily the competition for security services created a comfortable and entertaining environment, with private security doing most of the necessary security work. The Polizia Municipale often working for the mob, and Carabinieri following them around trying to catch a dirty cop. On another trip to Italy, I spent about a month in Tuscany and I started to toy with the idea that competition in force and hierarchy, in general, was preferable.

It is not by any accident that the renaissance began in a city governed by merchants-turned-bankers.

The Medici Family

There is something honest and refreshing about the role that the Medici family played in Tuscany. They were merchants in the textile trade who turned a dime into a dollar and ended up establishing the largest bank in Europe. With influence from the guild of the Arte della Lana they were able to gain positions on the guild appointed Signoria(appointed by the gonfaloniere who was appointed by the guilds) that ruled the Republic of Florence, and eventually consolidate power in the city.

Despite the centralized influence of the Vatican, there was a true independence to the city-states and by that virtue true diversity. A one hour drive south through Greve in Chianti brings you to the former Republic of Siena, which never fell to the House of Medici until Spain offered the territory as payment of debts to the Medici Bank after an 18-month siege in 1555.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

In a Stateless World, Can You Grow Veggies In Your Front Yard?

In a Stateless World, Can You Grow Veggies In Your Front Yard?

garden.PNG

The Miami Herald reports that a local couple is going all the way to the state supreme court to fight a local ordinance banning front-yard vegetable gardens: 

Hermine Ricketts and her husband Tom Carroll may grow fruit trees and flowers in the front yard of their Miami Shores house…

Vegetables, however, are not allowed.

Ricketts and Carroll thought they were gardeners when they grew tomatoes, beets, scallions, spinach, kale and multiple varieties of Asian cabbage. But according to a village ordinance that restricts edible plants to backyards only, they were actually criminals.

“That’s what government does – interferes in people’s lives,” Ricketts said. “We had that garden for 17 years. We ate fresh meals every day from that garden. Since the village stepped its big foot in it, they have ruined our garden and my health.”

These sorts of stories pop up several times a year. They are often discussed at free-market oriented and libertarian sites to illustrate just the myriad of ways that the state interferes in our daily lives. Many times, they intervene to prohibit totally innocuous activities like growing a front-yard garden.

What articles like these often fail to point out of course, is that these laws didn’t appear out of nowhere. They are often passed because some voters demanded the city council or the county commission pass laws prohibiting front-yard gardens, or backyard chicken coops, or other non-violent activities deemed by some to be a nuisance to the neighborhood. These laws then persist over time because the majority of voters either agree with the laws, or don’t feel strongly enough about the matter to demand a change.

In Miami Shores, the law against front-yard gardens was likely passed because at least a few people felt that front yard gardens were not so innocuous after all.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Switzerland is Prepared for Civilizational Collapse

Switzerland is Prepared for Civilizational Collapse

More than any other country, Switzerland’s ethos is centered around preparing for civilizational collapse.

All around Switzerland, for example, one can find thousands of water fountains fed by natural springs. Zurich is famous for its 1200 fountains, some of them quite beautiful and ornate, but it’s the multiple small, simple fountains in every Swiss village that really tell the story. Elegant, yes, but if and when central water systems are destroyed these fountains are a decentralized and robust system for providing everyone with drinkable water.

The Swiss political system is also decentralized. If the central government fails, the Swiss might not even notice. The mountains and valleys also mean that Swiss towns and villages are geographically independent yet linked in a spider-web of robust connections.

Despite being at peace since 1815, Switzerland is prepared for war. Swiss males (and perhaps females in the future) are required to serve in the military (those who cannot, pay a special tax) creating a robust reservoir of trained citizens ready to serve in an emergency.

The Swiss have been tunneling the Alps for hundreds of years creating innumerable secret hideaways for people and stores.

As a further example of how ridiculously well prepared the Swiss are for any and all threats, there are things like hidden hydroelectric dams built inside of unmarked mountains so that in the event of mass bombings, they’ll still have electricity from these secret facilities. And, remember, these are the things the Swiss government has let us know about. It is thought that there are probably more fortifications and hidden goodies scattered about the country’s landscape. (ital. added, AT)

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

If You Want to Understand the Next 10 Years, Study Spain

If You Want to Understand the Next 10 Years, Study Spain

Some of you may be confused as to why a U.S. citizen living in Colorado has become so completely obsessed with what’s going on in Spain. Bear with me, there’s a method to my madness.

I believe what’s currently happening in Spain represents a crucial microcosm for what we’ll see sweep across the entire planet over the next ten years. Some of you will want to have a discussion about who’s right and who’s wrong in this particular affair, but that’s besides the point. It doesn’t matter which side you favor, what matters is that Madrid/Catalonia is an example of the forces of centralization duking it out with forces of decentralization.

Madrid represents the nation-state as we know it, with its leaders claiming Spain is forever indivisible according to the constitution. Madrid has essentially proclaimed there’s no possible avenue to independence from a centralized Spain even if various regions decide in large number they wish to be independent. This sort of attitude will be seen as unacceptable and primitive by increasingly large numbers of humans in the years ahead. Catalonia should be seen as a canary in the coal mine. The forces of decentralization are rising, but entrenched centralized institutions and the bureaucrats running them will become increasingly terrified, panicked and oppressive.

As I’ve discussed, this isn’t coming out of nowhere. Humanity’s current established centralized institutions and nation-states have become clownishly corrupt, merely existing to protect and enrich the powerful/connected as opposed to benefiting the population at large. As such, legitimacy has been shattered and people have begun to demand a new way. Whether we see this with the rising popularity of Bitcoin, or the UK decision to leave the EU, evidence is everywhere and we’ve already passed the point of no return. This is precisely why EU leaders are rallying around Madrid. They’re scared to death and fear they might be next. They’re probably right.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Will Brazil Be the Next Hotspot for Independence Movements?

Will Brazil Be the Next Hotspot for Independence Movements?

If you’ve read my work over the past several weeks, you’ve probably noticed an increased fascination with secession/independence movements around the world. I think we’re at the very early stages of this developing trend, which will see nation-states across the world fracture for a variety of reasons. The historical significance of the political changes we’re about to live through cannot be overstated. As I wrote in last month’s piece, The Future Will Be Decentralized:

To conclude, I recognize that I’m making a huge call here. I think the way human beings organize their affairs will experience the most significant paradigm level shift we’ve seen in the Western world since the end of the European feudal system hundreds of years ago. That’s how significant I think this shift will be. There are two key things that need to happen for this to occur. The first is technological innovation, and that’s already happening. The second is increased human consciousness. As Thoreau noted, in order for us to have greater self-determination we need to be ready for it. Are we ready? I think we’re getting there.

While extremely significant, the Catalan independence movement is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to a global drive toward political decentralization. For example, just today I came across another potential secessionist hotspot in an unexpected place, Brazil.

Bloomberg reports:

Inspired by the separatist vote in Catalonia, secessionists in three wealthy southern Brazilian states are redoubling their efforts to break away from the crisis-battered nation.

Residents of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and Parana states are being called to vote in an informal plebiscite on Oct. 7 on whether they want independence. Organizers are also urging residents of the three states to sign a legislative proposal for each of their regional assemblies that would call for a formal, binding referendum. 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Future Will Be Decentralized

The Future Will Be Decentralized

I heartily accept the motto, “That government is best which governs least”; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe — “That government is best which governs not at all”; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have.

– Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience 

Some people live their existence in a great state of dread, convinced a totalitarian, centralized world government of sorts is in our future. Not only do I not think this is going to happen, but I predict the exact opposite will occur. I believe the world has already hit “peak centralization” and decentralization will be the defining trend of human existence on this planet going forward.

Naturally, this is just one man’s opinion, but I strongly believe it and will make my case in this piece. When I look around and think about the major trends of our time, they all point in the direction of decentralization, something which invariably scares the living daylights out of authoritarians worldwide.

Irrespective of what you think of Donald Trump, the fact he was elected proves the power of decentralization in the modern communications and media realm. As was well documented throughout the campaign, the mainstream media came out in clownish and historically lopsided fashion in favor of his opponent Hillary Clinton. We all remember seeing headlines like the one below and then reading stuff like the following.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has received fewer endorsements from the editorial boards of the nation’s largest newspapers than any major-party presidential candidate in history.

Among the top 100 largest newspapers in America, just two — the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville — endorsed Trump.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

It’s Time For Local Communities to Take Charge and Experiment – Decentralize or Die (Part 2)

It’s Time For Local Communities to Take Charge and Experiment – Decentralize or Die (Part 2)

And when we mark the progress already accomplished in that direction, in spite of and against the State, which tries by all means to maintain its supremacy of recent origin; when we see how voluntary societies invade everything and are only impeded in their development by the State, we are forced to recognize a powerful tendency, a latent force in modern society.

– Peter Kropotkin

Before I get started, I want to emphasize that while the ideas in this three-part series focus on the U.S. and its particular structure of governance, the basic concepts can and should be applied throughout the world. If I believe in anything at all, it’s the idea that concentrations of power, whether government or corporate, represent the greatest threat to human freedom and liberty and this must be understood and resisted by all of us. Ok, so let’s get started.

Although many crucial functions are centralized, the U.S. still provides its citizens with various ways to exercise local power and we’ve already started to see a resurgence of such efforts across the nation. Whether or not we agree with the various state proposals out there trying to shake things up, we should all encourage the efforts. We all win from local populations experimenting with different ideas. Some will fail spectacularly, while others will pave the way for more reasonable policies across the nation.

Perhaps the greatest success of localized action in my lifetime was initiated by my adopted home state of Colorado, as its residents led the way with cannabis legalization in 2012, following the passage of Amendment 64. If we had continued to wait for the feds to do something we would have ended up waiting forever.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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