Capitalism versus humans

Here is a story:

A guy looked at my Corvette the other day and said:

“I wonder how many people could have been fed for the money that sports car cost.”

I replied:

“I am not sure, it fed a lot of families in Bowling Green, Kentucky who built it, it fed the people who make the tires, it fed the people who made the components that went into it, it fed the people in the copper mine who mined the copper for the wires, it fed people in Decatur IL. at Caterpillar who make the trucks that haul the copper ore. It fed the trucking people who hauled it from the plant to the dealer and fed the people working at the dealership and their families. BUT,… I have to admit, I guess I really don’t know how many people it fed.”

That is the difference between capitalism and welfare mentality. When you buy something, you put money in people’s pockets, and give them dignity for their skills.

When you give someone something for nothing, you rob them of their dignity and self worth.

Capitalism is freely giving your money in exchange for something of value.

Socialism is taking your money against your will and shoving something down your throat that you never asked for.

I’ve decided I can’t be politically correct anymore. (I never was, actually)

A story from Tom Nicholson on Facebook.

300k shares, 500k likes, 55k comments.

This story is a “nugget of wisdom” that has effectively hardened the same crappy, wrong, stupid convictions and weak, superficial ideas which are plaguing our collective politics for centuries.

The story is right but it’s not correct. It is right because, well, it is the old adage of teaching someone how to fish instead of giving them fish.

However, it is not correct because:

socialism doesn’t ask why do you spend your money the way you do

but rather

socialism asks what part of your money is 100% yours

People of the world, get this once and for all:

capitalism is an economic model, socialism is a political model, socialism is capitalist and capitalism works with socialism.

No one smart enough and leftist enough literally cares at all about your Corvette or your Jet or your four beach houses or your gold plated smart watches. They’re your well spent, hard earned cash, transformed into comfort.

Therefore the question is:

are you giving back?

And to that question there are two opposing answers: the antisocial answer and the social answer.

The antisocial answer (or sociopathic) is that everything is owned in its entirety. This answer justifies meticulous interpretation and cunning use of the law to give back as little as mathematically possible. Hide your money, the welfare queens are out to get them.

The social answer is that most of acquired wealth is owed to the society that its owner belongs to. The degree of debt varies from welfare states to social security states. This answer justifies flattening discrepancies between people by taxing success. No man is an island is the law and no one, independent of the person, is considered to be able to succeed on their own.

None of the answers are completely right nor completely correct. There are people who, given specific privilege and birth circumstances, make it on their own. No self made man ever makes it on their own. Only those born rich have this potential specifically because they pay their way. The poor who ascend socially have more debt to society than the born rich who stay rich. The born rich who become even richer are also more in debt to society than those rich people whose success simply keeps them in their bracket.

We must understand that capitalism is an economic model that favours capital owners over value producers, and socialism is a political model that favours the society over the individual. They are very compatible.

Capitalism does not discuss so much welfare and taxation. The azimuth of capitalism is to not have stale capital. And most of the neoliberal champions, who are the real opposition to socialism, use this argument of capitalism as being the true and tested force of progress, while denying the core of the capitalist model by hiding money in Panama and fencing wealth in all imaginable ways: hoarded wealth is stale capital. They don’t give back to society neither by consumption, nor by taxation.

Most hard core capitalists are risk adverse. They are also tax adverse. They also wand small government. These three factors combined are the death of human potential in societies.

Wealth gets hoarded and siloed. The silo begets inequality, Inequality requires power to be preserved. The hoarding begets scarcity. Scarcity becomes the means of preserving the power.

Dead easy.

Dead easy way to die as a civilisation.

The goal of every society should be the same as the larger goal of life itself: resilience. However, because of the desperation involved in hoarding and siloing, there is a specific set of propaganda items designed to discourage divergent opinion and action and which invented a haze of goals, the misdirection of humanity.

Free things are for the poor

Propaganda item number one, and basically the biggest enemy of the basic income movement, claims that only the really poor should be given free things. The main argument is that free things kill competition and business opportunity by dismantling markets.

Yet, the truth is free sustainable things should be the goal of any state for its people, because free things are giving humans back their time. With that new found time there is the greater chance, statistically speaking, to push human potential into action at a faster speed than the crawling drag of today.

Succumbing to work and chores, so that one can pay for the chance at existing, is a big factor holding us back as a species.

Welfare is for the lazy

Propaganda item number two is just evil. Basically the real goal of welfare is to allow humans to do what they do best: fail. Simply put, the rich have way more slack when they take on fail prone activities, while the poor mostly need to resume to safe scripts prescribed by the rich.

Welfare is a cushion to land on when you follow your dreams. Even if we had welfare queens, which we don’t, it doesn’t matter because most people do not settle with the bare minimum, otherwise there’d be no great migration to fill the Earth with our genome.

Sharing is for the weak

The deification of ownership and the glorifying of property are the two tricks played on the masses in the bloody transition from middle age political systems to modern age political institutions.

Property: a haze of security protecting the average human’s trinkets equally ferocious as the privileged’s fortunes.

There is a fake great equaliser at work here. For example, there are many who praised the markets shaped by technology as a bridge between wealth groups. For example both rich kids and average, middle class, kids have iPhones. But, alas, it’s a thought trap so easy to fall into. In class terms what matters is the personal value of the iPhone, not the mere possession of it.

The real difference in class is always in regard to common value, what is generally disposable and easy to obtain. The joy of richness is in the abundance of generally available items, much more than in the select luxury items. Luxury is not a member of class definition.

Luxury is an intra-class differentiator and hence there is luxury among the poor, just as it is luxury among the ultra rich.

Equality is a moniker for mediocrity

There can be only one. Corporate tigers, young wolves and alpha dogs are running this joint. Leadership this, leadership that. We started on this doubtful “everybody is born equal” idea, and have been half assed about it ever since. What hoarders care for is differentiation, and they are now selling this hard to everyone else as a way to justify their egotistic selves.

Equality is not a given, it is an ideal. Equality is not a right, it is a privilege. We need to fight to obtain equality and then fight to preserve it.

Great societies are built on top of the faulty human nature in order to bring it above itself.

If it’s man made it serves the man

Just like with computer security, or any security at all in fact, if you seal any outside access you won’t be able to get out yourself. So, because all security has to primordially be practical, it advertises its own vulnerabilities.

A news algorithm is not the solution to media manipulation. I see the optimism and the direction in Tim O'Reilly’s proposal here, but the fact of the matter is that people make the algorithm and people will use it. Not A.I., not angels or other divine or selfless beings.

I wish there was this kind of system where we couldn’t tweak it to serve or momentary needs and simple pleasures, which is what God was supposed to be, but a system that oversees the happening of our greater good, however, for me, is a dangerous illusion on which to ride into the future.

Software is very tweak-able and above all it is owned. Algorithms are patented and above all they’re working with functions which have parameters. Software and algorithms don’t exist in some high sphere where fake news or malevolent mindset manipulation doesn’t have access.

I am so surprised of the backlash against Facebook, as if it is Facebook’s responsibility to ensure equal and impartial access to information. Sure, the consumers should be mad that they’re getting fake crap in their feeds, society should be mad that the evil seems to triumph when there is hardly any consequence for a click, but not at Facebook!

Now this big internet company, one of the few left who don’t go after the offline business of being the “media” company, but one who is content into making its honeypot smell better for the offline money of actual real “media” companies, is bound to take business advice from the civil society. That makes no sense.

Engagement is gold for Facebook. People dig it. There is a constant depopulation threat on Facebook ever since I signed up. No one left. There is a reason for that. There have been dozens of second guesses from the industry, attempts at stealing the crown, but for some reason people stuck around. When they stop optimising for engagement they need something else to fill in the role of a huge user hook. Who has that?

We seem to be constantly eager to replace some filtering with more filtering. So the human curators are not good. Let’s use math. Oh, the math is weak, let’s use more math. Oh the more math is boring, let’s add some people too.

Isn’t it funny how we all fought our way into information overload and now we crave the dirty pleasure of certainty and authority?

No company will save the world. No algorithm will ever be impartial.

No algorithm will ever be impartial.

No algorithm will ever be impartial.

No algorithm will ever be impartial.

Look at children. We know how to raise children. We do it and have done it for … ever. Yet, we cannot grow one that easily detaches from whatever experience we’ve inflicted or groomed into them. So even true A.I. or S.A.I. (super artificial intelligence) will be biased. We’ll need more S.A.I.’s biased in different ways to keep a balance.

You can’t save democracy by filtering fake news. Yet people will love you if you filter what hurts them and allow through what makes them feel good. In fact that’s the secret to great relationships.

The paradox of access is when you are given the keys to the universe and you use them to play fetch with your dog. Information is currently free. Has been so for about fifty years. Power is no longer knowledge. Currently, power is potential.

No amount of logic or facts or liberal news or truth would swing the voting base of a populist. They’re not receptive. No amount of authority checks and source weights would swing a hothead voter into a logical choice. They don’t listen. One needs the same kind of tools as the original problem defined: charisma, vision, promise, empty confirmation, constructed collective epiphany. That’s how you handle the frail part of democracy which is tested whenever we go through giving everyone free access to making politics: the vote.

I fail to see why taking the high ground of science, which is what young and smart folks are into now, or acting as a robot under the first law in a book by Asimov, which is what the political expression of liberals, meaning democrats, chose, why any of them are worthy of any particular admiration considering, well, the outcome …

Google can direct traffic to any sites that make their money intake faster and bigger. Facebook can percolate any item that makes their money intake faster and bigger. Uber can operate under any arrangement that makes their money intake faster and bigger. These are corporations and corporations are not people. We cannot be upset at them, nor expect some public service to magically spawn from them. Sure, social responsibility is a big deal for many big deals, but in capitalism it is completely optional.

If we, the so called good guys, need to win and want to win, we need to be better at our politics, which is the management of life empowering survival. Do we have fake news as a problem? Make more true news and promote them as fake news. Are the fake news weaponized? Weaponize true news.

This doesn’t say the end justifies the means. It says to fight the fight the others are winning, instead of picking new magical saviours, this time embedded in servers crunching truth values of blog posts.

Silicon Valley Etiquette made me sick to my stomach

Here is a very popular article:

I read it. It hurts. The author is great, don’t get me wrong, Romain Serman is doing a great job with the article. The article is good as a story. The content is the problem, the fact it describes a desirable behavior and a present reality, in a place that is supposed to build humanity’s future, is an Oscar given to a B movie, an exploitation flick getting the Golden Globe for the best script.

First, Etiquette is the worst part of any culture, it is the shit of our weak minds, the excrement of thinking, the poorest of habits, one of the worst limiting factors of any society. I personally wish all culture of the world be purged of their etiquette prescriptions. That’s what I daydream about.

For example,

I even dressed up for my very first meeting at Google, Mountain View, Ca. Really. I wore a tie.

You see, etiquette wastes our feeble precious life. We think about what we wear, even when we already thought about what to wear.

Almost every single rule in the much congratulated article is a horror born out of a societal preset, one that will, in time, mutate into a code of being, a code of living, suffocating yet more people with rules of existing in a random universe.

Even as they are so trivial, they are simply more mind waste.

Rule #1: Be On Time sounds harmless, right? Well it would be, if we stopped acting like robots who can warp their existence around every single business meeting we get, especially considering VC meetings are a lot of times moonshots and screening time. Because being “on time” means being 3–4 minutes in advance. Because being late means you are “unreliable”, “unorganized” or “disrespectful”. Because sending a message 20 minutes in advance will not save you the labeling, since with or without the message you are still late, hence labeled.

Rule #2: Same Day Email is the rule I am guilty of applying to others, because I am able to stand the guilt and pain of not paying attention to important people around me, so that I can reply to emails same day, and I expect my shitty behavior to be embraced by everyone who wants something from me. But, to consider a bad behavior as etiquette is moral rot, and moral rot in the valley that has artificial intelligence in its womb, that is not what we want.

Rule #3: The Double Opt-In Intro is precisely, surgically precise I mean, the thing that keeps progress dripping instead of flowing. The valley, or any innovation hub, should try to NOT make such networking primitive primate behavior a way to access capital, information or mentoring, because the minute proper networking becomes etiquette, your meritocracy has vaporized into thin air and guilds, brotherhoods, cartels, families, frat bros and valueless “influencers” or lobbyists who “know everyone” will become the gatekeepers of your new connectocratic world.

Rule #4: The 3-Bullet Email discourages a lot of good things from happening. If you plan of making another trivial Tinder, or shopping assistant, or to do list manager, your three bullets are a waste of text. If you are a VC investor or angel, and expect to find true value by spending three minutes and forty four seconds in a pitch, you are not doing proper diligent and intelligent capital investment, you are playing your gut and hope to win a lottery. Green lumber! You sell green lumber and all you care to hear is “green lumber” and in a three bullet email you will miss what is green about the lumber.

Rule #5: Good Karma is essentially show me yours, I’ll show you mine. Or, the worse, one hand washes the other, the “I owe you” that makes for the true sell outs we never hear about: the projects that never happen, the people shunned without explanations, the quick glimpse of someone’s tacit approval or denial. When gratitude is considered etiquette it becomes a social obligation instead of an emotional state, and social obligations make the foundation of “the ends justify the means”.

Rule #6: The 15-mn Call or the 30 | 60 mn-Meeting is akin to the three bullet email, subject to the same fallacy and, behold, this is protocol. Friends, protocol is an act of performed submission. If we run things on the same underlying principles of power exchange, where your time is priceless and mine is available and abundant, we’re digging up the centuries of shit piled below our “innovation” driven progressive visions.

Rule #7: Accent Is OK, oh my God, the worst. “Accent is OK. Not speaking English is not OK.”, means precisely the bad interpretation of “culture fit”, the club, the language of the elite. When I read this, all I heard was that oh so common thing in the U.S., yelling “English please!” at a Spanish speaking folk in damn supermarkets. And, behold again, do you know why English is the shit? Here: because “Otherwise you will face discrimination at some point of your journey. Pretty quickly actually.”. So, you see, the etiquette of Silicon Valley is an instruction manual on how to please a discriminatory system or racist and exclusionary spoiled brats. What, never heard of a translator? We have a parliament in the E.U. where politicians speak their own god damn language and it works, and you tell me I can’t get some bucks to fund some crappy app unless I know English well enough for “nuance”? And that dictionary of how you’re given the shaft is an even bigger embarrassment:

“Your product is OK”. Translation: “It sucks, I won’t buy it for sure”.

This diplomatic doublespeak is as far from a self proclaimed meritocratic society as Voyager 1 got from Earth by now.

Rule #8: Data Or Die would be a great advice, but then again when it means we should all level intellectually at evaluating “ TAM | SAM | SOM, MoM | YoY growth, MRR | ARR, ACV, Rev churn | Cust churn, Cohort Analysis, LTV, CAC, DAU | WAU | MAU, GMV, Retention Rate, Burn Rate, and so on.” it becomes a flat out lie, a filter for competition, a secret code to enter monopoly markets, a way to stifle creativity and novel approaches, any of which decrease profitability but return value to society. All acronym data is the “corporate tiger” polishing the torture tools used on the unsuspecting victims: our children inheriting “the data” and struggling not to die.

Rule #9: Storytelling, I call this legitimized lying. When you are in sales mode all the freaking time you become the puppet of your hubris. We see this, we see it especially with high profile founders who start believing their own sales deck and use the power they wield to force it upon us.

When a technology industry and financial management industry meet and do this:

I want to run the hell as far as my humble two feet can carry me, the uneducated rugged fool who dared to dress up for a fucking job interview. If this is what we’re expected to do, maybe it’s best to not be seen by the king.

The king of the day, that is.