desktop reg state

(adding page years after reading it.. to clean up kevin’s page a little and maybe to read again)

reading Kevin‘s:

 the desktop regulatory state:

notes/highlights (images below link to chapters via pdf)..

ch 6

p. 5: what if instead of requiring individuals to jump through certification hoops, we filled our secondary school with real-world photographers, journalists, scientists, businesswomen, and others.  – not sure who is writing this – from the innovative educator – here

or perhaps better still – fill our cities with students. ie:  move students to where experts already are/work… the city…

then we’re better utilizing time and space. and learning is from modeling.. like when we learned to walk and talk.

p. 6: instead of grades, students could meet challenges aligned to the real-world needs of their potential future careers. such challenges might be what lands a student an internship or apprenticeship opportunity. perhaps to demo mastery students earned badges that could be earned in a number of meaningful ways, chosen by students.. – Lisa again

or perhaps better still – an app.. with focus on process if learning via whimsy… not current desired skill. so a closer documentation of eudaimonia. each person following their own – daily/hourly/minutely inspired whimsy. each person expert at knowing what to do when they don’t know what to do.]

p. 6 – college admins increased 60% from 1993 to 2009, 10 times growth rate for tenured faculty – spending on admin at 198 leading us unis rose almost twice as fast as funding for research and teaching from 1993 to 2007.  – Matt Yglesias

imagine, … ed system that treated pupils as customers rather than a product, ..w/o employer access to a supply of ready-made human capital produced to order, the prereqs for employment and conditions of work might actually be a contested issue.

so unlike most analyses of ed system and proposals for ed “reform,” we are not starting from an assumption of the corporate economy and its personnel needs as a given, and then trying to figure out how the schools could better meet corporate employers’ needs to “be more competitive in the global corporate workplace,” and better train pupils for “success in their working lives.”

… if – as (David) Coleman admits – those in charge of workplace don’t give a shit about us, then explicitly defining the mission of the state school system as shaping human personalities and characters to suit the needs of employers that view them as disposable production inputs is morally equivalent to loading people on boxcars to auschwitz. it amounts to an explicit admission that students are the product, not the customers, of the ed system.

p. 7 – students themselves perceive this.. consider Marina Gorbis‘s son… self-directed learning (peninsula school) then reg hs.. .. learning went “from being a joyful, often invisible part of the fabric of his daily life to being a chore, something he did because someone else was forcing him to, something he would be judged on and for which he would be either rewarded or punished. – Marina’s – the nature of the future

almost a century before Ivan Illich, and well over a century before the network communications revolution, Nietzsche wrote (human, all-too-human):  now that self-ed and fraternal ed are becoming more general, the teacher must, in the form he now normally assumes, become almost redundant. friends anxious to learn, who want to acquire knowledge of something together, can find in our age of books a shorter and more natural way than ‘school’ and ‘teacher’ are.

Robert Pirsig, in the “church of reason” passage of zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance, describes the functioning of and ed system when it becomes a tool for self-directed learning, rather than processing human resources for institutional consumers. Phaedrus speculated on the likely career of a good cramming, resume-padding student who was exposed for the first time to an ed system in which grades and degrees had been eliminated.  –

credentialssite as prototype ness

p. 8: the student’s biggest problem was a slave mentality which had been built into him by years of carrot-and-whip grading, a mule mentality which said, “if you don’t whip me, i won’t work.”

the purpose of abolishing grades and degrees is not to punish mules or to get rid of them but to provide an environment in which that mule can turn into a free man.

goes on to describe detox. over course of time.. so if we don’t wait till after hs (like Will’s note p. 9) or after college (Mimi’s note p. 10) – detox won’t be needed. but for now.. tech can shorten detox time.. but only if it’s 100% no strings.. ness

p. 9: Paulo Freire discovered that any adult can begin to read in a matter of forty hours if the first words he deciphers are charged with political meaning.

p. 11 – contemporary ideas of p2p ed, likewise, usually envision some sort of horizontal integration… (quote .. putting heavy emphasis on post-secondary rather than primary..)

beyond horizontal even.. no? and again – missing primary – only requires more detox.

p. 12 – illich describing app function and Christopher Alexander’s pattern no 18 – describing city as school a people experiment –

p. 13: as John Robb has pointed out, a system of higher ed that fully exploited all the possibilities of new forms of organization – networked platforms and open-source materials – could make the equivalent of a college ed available for $20 a month.

unless of course you consider the enlivening of a city  ness – then there is no monthly fee… there’s an ongoing shareable commons. as the home becomes the city becomes the world. and iterating forth and back. oikos.

once central principle that’s apt to govern any liberatory, user-driven model of ed is – in Michael Staton’s phrase – the disaggregation or unbundling os services currently performed by the ed system. besides housing and all the ancillary services associated with colleges, this will mean unbundling the curriculum itself. the current credentialing system offers curricula – designed by higher ed bureaucracies in collab w/human resources bureaucracies – presented as a package deal. in order to get a credential acceptable to a corporate employer, the student is typically forced to pay for an entire curriculum of 100 plus credit hours mostly unrelated to the skill she’l actually be using..

p. 14: technology creates efficiencies by decreasing unit size while increasing utility. to falsely constrain anything to historically larger canons is to render technology impotent to do what it does best. … Clay Christensen predicts, “I bet what happens as [higher ed] becomes more modular is that accreditation occurs at the level of the course, no the uni.. – David Blake

tech’s ability/desire to let us be .. ginormously small – beyond a song even (vs an album), beyond a note, beyond horizontal.. for sure beyond a course.. the it is me ness – tech wants to facilitate whimsy/curiosity.. and that is where sustainable energy lies.

p. 14: Earning a degree will, in such a world, resemble less a series of tests and hurdles, and will come to resemble more a process of making a name for oneself in a community. the recommendation of one person by another as a peer will, in the end, become the standard of ed value, not the grade or degree. – Stephen Downes

community as credential

p. 15: Clay Shirky describes his ed: four years at yale, in an incredible intellectual community, where even big lecture classes were taught by seriously brilliant people. decades later, i can still remember my art history prof’s description of the arnolfini wedding, and the survey of modern poetry didn’t just expose me to Ezra Pound and hd, it changed how i thought about the 20th century. but you know what? those classes weren’t like jazz compositions. they didn’t create genuine intellectual community. they didn’t even create ersatz intellectual community. they were just great lectures: we showed up, we listened, we took notes, and we left, ready to discuss what we’d heard in smaller sections. and did the profs also teach our sections too? no, of course not; those were taught by grad students. heaven knows what they were being paid to teach us, but it wasn’t a big fraction of a pro’s salary. the large lecture isn’t a tool for producing intellectual joy; it’s a tool for reducing the expense of intro classes.

so – as Alan Watts asks about money.. what if we ask – what if credential/course/intro-classes were no object..

– – – – –

ch 1 kevin

p. 3:

so, if things are so great for the indies, does that mean loads of people are making loads of money? not at all. but the false notion there is that any musicians were before. we haven’t moved from an age of riches in music to an age of poverty in music. we’ve moved from an age of massive debt and no creative control in music to an age of solvency and creative autonomy. it really is a win win..  bassist Steve Lawson

as the last statement suggests, it may well be that most of the revenue loss to the music industry has fallen, not on actual performer, but on the rentiers and middlemen in the record companies themselves.

p. 5: the network revolution has drastically lowered the transaction costs of organizing ed outside the conventional institutional framework. in most cases the industrial model of ed, based on transporting human raw material to centrally located “learning factory” for processing, is obsolete. forty yrs ago Ivan Illich, in Deschooling Society, proposed decentralized community learning nets that would put people i contact w/the teachers they wanted to learn from, and provide an indexed repository of learning materials. the internet has made this a reality beyond Illich’s wildest dreams. mits opencourseware project was one early step in this direction. but most unis, even if they don’t have a full database of lectures, at least have some sort of online course catalog w/bare=bones syllabi and assigned readings for many individual courses.

app as illich vision.. unbundling to infinity (past uni package deal, past course, …, to 24/7 ness, ginormous small..)  as the day. in the city.

the kinds of productivity software and social software freely available to individuals in their private lives is far better than enterprise software that corporate bureaucrats buy for a captive clientele of wage slaves – consumer software capabilities amount to a “a fully functioning, alternative it department.” corporate it departments, in contrast, “prefer to invest in a suite of tools ‘offered by a major incumbent vendor like microsoft or ibm’.” system specs are driven by management’s top–down requirements rather than by user needs.

… a small group of people at the top of the organization identify a problem, spend 12 months identifying and implementing a solution, and a huge amount of resources launching it, only then to find that employees don’t or won’t use it because they don’t buy in to the original problem. ibid. p 93

huge – sound like Ed, et al..

p. 6: as a result of all this, people are more productive away from work than they are at work. and management wonders why people would rather work at home using their own software tools than go through checkpoint charlie to use a bunch of klunky proprietary “productivity software” from the whore of redmond.

yup. 12+ yrs.. 7 hrs a day ness. suffocating ness. rework

P Hawken in natural capitalism…. principle that when load-bearing infrastructures are built to handle the load at peak demand, most of the unit cost comes from the added infrasructure that comes from the increased usage during the tiny fraction of teme when infrastructure experiences peak load.

Paul Hawken as related to Jane Jacobs and Ellen Langer diversity and 24/7 ness of use…

ref to the overdeveloped nations, of a skyscraper – Leopold Kohr.. higher up the more it costs… eventually you reach a point at which the increased space produced by adding stories is entirely eaten up by the increase support infrastructure.

the larger the scale of production, the more it must be divorced from demand, which means that the ostensible”economies” of large batch production are offset, and then more than offset, by the increasing costs of finding new ways of making people buy stuff that was produced without regard to preexisting orders.

p. 6 more generally, centralized infrastructures must be scaled to handle peak loads even when such loads only occur a small fraction of the time. and then the must amortize the extra cost, by breaking user behavior to the needs of the infrastructure.

which never happens.. and ie: cities die – Jane Jacobs

p. 7: inefficient synchronization of sequential steps in any process results in bloated overhead costs from additional storage and handling infrastructure.

inefficient sync in any process leads to bloating

classic ie: Bucky‘s: the replacement of the untold millions of tons of metal in transocieanic cables w/a few dozen one-ton satellites. the entire infrastructure consists of satellite dishes at the endpoints communicating – via free, immaterial ether – to the satellites..

likewise systems that replace the fiber optic backbone with satellite connections and

last-mile meshworks.

how about…limit of millisecond network of curiosity… in x-d horizontal

also the enormous infrastructure tied up in the civil aviation system’s central hubs and batch-and-queue processing, as opposed to small jets flying directly between endpoints.


another example is mass-production industry, which minimizes unit costs by running its enormously costly capital-intensive machinery at full capacity 24/7, and then requires organizing an society to guarantee consumption of the full output whether consumers want the shit or not – what’s called “supply-push distribution.” if consumers won’t take it all, you soak up surplus output by destroying it through a permanent war economy, sinking it into an interstate highway system, etc. – or maybe just making stuff to fall apart

mass production industry..
like Ed big.. people have to buy in to shit.. to keep it running.. if the don’t buy in.. big guys make stuff to fail
reminds me of end of school yr.. spending leftover money… on crap.. so don’t lose same funding following yr

section 3: another advantage of distributed infrastructure is that it is scalable; that is each separate part is capable of function ing on its own, regardless of whether the rest of the system is functioning. when a centralized infrastructure fails at any point, on the other hand, the whole system is incapacitated.

starfish for good ness

p8: fundamentally, half a dam is no dam at all, but 500-1000 small projects is half way to the goal. a modular approach to infrastructure in an uncertain world just makes sense. – Vinay Gupta

1/2 way in large compared to 500 out of 1000 awake and functioning…morphing…listening…

p. 9: Mike Masnick speculates on what the www – if it could even be called that  – would have looked like, had Tim Berners-Lee obtained a patent on the hyperlinked architecture of the web. and his hypothetical description reads very close to the vision of tv guide, gore and gates.
p.11: in other words, it’s stigmergic organization – what Weinberger calls “small pieces loosely joined.”

each person is a browser.. curiosity driven.. www app grabbing like links

entire risk at beginning… rather than 24/7

p. 13: Mark Elliott, whose doctoral dissertation is probably the most thorough and comprehensive treatment of stigmergy to date, contrasts stigmergic coordination with social negotiation. social negotiation is the traditional method of organizing collaborative group efforts, through agreements and compromise mediated by discussions between individuals. the exponential growth in the number of communications with the size of the group, obviously, imposes constraints o the feasible size of a collaborative group, before coordination must be achieved by hierarchy and top=down authority. stigmergy, on the other hand, permits collaboration on an unlimited scale by individuals acting independently.

p. 14: ?? critics of “digital communism” like Jaron Lanier and Mark Helprin, who condemn network culture for submerging”individual authorial voice” in the “collective,” couldn’t be more clueless if they tried.

hmmm – seems they are speaking closer to same language – or is that it.. so close you can see the difference?

stigmergy synthesizes the highest realizations of both individualism and collectivism, and represent each of them in its most completely actualized form, without qualifying or impairing either in any way. Michel Bauwens uses the term “cooperative individualism”..

networked individualism..

every individual is free to formulate any innovation she sees fit, without any need for permission from the collective. every individual or voluntary association of individuals is free to adopt the innovation, or not , as they see fit.

spaces of permission with nothing to prove .. and bravery to change mind..

each innovation is modular (meaning the project “can be broken down into smaller components.. that can be independently produced before they are assembled into a whole” – Benkler), and may be adopted into any number of larger projects where it is found useful.

the smaller the unit of governance, and the closer it was to the individual, the closer it approached the ideal of unanimous consent to all acts of govt

small is ginormous, limits, and Benjamin Barber ness

the increased role of each individual in influencing the outcome of policy. but this ideal can only be fully attained when…

the unit of governance is the individual.

p. 15: so majority rule was he lesser evil, a way to approximate as closely as possible to the spirit of unanimous consent when an entire group of people had to be bound by a single decision (vote). stigmergy removes the need for any individual to be bound by the group will.

as describe by Heather Marsh: with stigmergy, an initial idea is freely given, and the project is driven by the idea, not by a personality or group of personalities… individual needs permission (competitive) or consensus (cooperative) to propose an idea or initiate a project. there is no need to discuss or vote on the idea, if an idea is exciting or necessary it will attract interest.

..the interest attracted will be from people actively involved in the system and willing to put effort into carrying the project further, not empty votes from people with little interest or involvement.

swarms – and ant network and 99 and 1 and murmuration and free to fly and (stigmergy ness) – self-organizing

p. 16: in short, as Michel Bauwens describes it, “peer production is based on the elimination of permission-asking and a shift to the self-selection of tasks”

p. 17: in a distributed network, every node has the power to transmit, and any two noes can communicate directly with each other without passing through a central node or obtaining the approval of whoever controls that node. a network is “plurarchical,” in de Ugarte’s terminology, rather than democratic. instead of the individual members simply selecting who controls the central noes, “someone makes a proposal and everyone who wishes to join in can do so. ….. in a distributed network, on the other hand, decision-making power is non-rivalrous. each individual’s decision affects only hersefl, and does not impede the ability of others to do likewise. “even if the maority not only disagreed with a proposal, but also acted against it, it wouldn’t be able to prevent the proposal from being carried out.

Hardt and Negri describe the form of organization the call the “multitude” – as opposed to the monolithic “people,” the atomized, undifferentiated “masses,” and the homogeneneous “working class” – in terms that sound very much like stigmergy:

the people has traditionally been a unitary conception. the population, of course, is characterized by all kinds of differences, but the people reduces that diversity to a unity and makes of the population a single identity: “the people” is one.

the multitude, in contrast, is many. the multitude is composed of innumerable internal differences that can never be reduced to a unity or a single identity – … the multitude is a multiplicity of all these singular differences.

the masses are also contrasted with the people because they too cannot be reduced to a unity or an identity. the masses certainly are composed of all types and sorts, but really one should not say that different social subjects make up the masses. the essence of the masses is indifference: all differences are submerged and drowned in the masses. all the colors of the population fade to gray..

in the multitude, social differences remain different…. thus the challenge posed by the convept of multitude is for a social multiplicity to manage to communicate and act in common while remaining internally different.

prejudice quote

p. 18: indeed, in their (Hardt & Negri) description of the swarming activity of the multitude, they appeal explicitly to the behavior of stigmergically organized termite colonies.

Hardt and Negir also attribute an internal tendency toward democracy to the multitude, in terms much like what David Graeber calls “horizontalism.”

beyond horizontal no? an x-d multi perspective/dimensional horizontal.. flat – but from all dimensions..

the advantages of stigmergic organization go beyond resilience. Jean Russell coin the term “thrivability” to describe systems that are more than merely resilient. … rather than simply withstanding or recovering quickly from difficulties, the thrivable organization is characterized by an “unfolding pattern of life giving rise to life”; it will “develop vigorously,” “prosper” and “flourish.” it is “anti-fragile”: that is it gets better, generates and transformed when disturbed.

starfish ness

p. 19: the reason is that it’s organized on a modular basis, and each discrete module of work is carried out by someone who volunteered to do it because it’s something the care about (often passionately) and they were empowered to do it without waiting for anyone else’s permission. so each task in a stigmergic organization is carried out by those most interested in it.

the thing you can’t not do. authentic energy ness

to the extent that progress depends on the sholders of giants effect – people building on each other’s contributions – a stigmergic organization that facilitates collaboration, and does so without enforcing any barriers (like patents and copyrights) to making use of others’ ideas or creations, is the ideal embodiment of Russell’s idea of thrivability as promoting “growth on growth.

stigmergy is ideal for facilitating division of labor, with those best suited to a task selecting it for themselves.

we get to trust – and no need for credentials..  as we know them. credential comes from eudaimonia – form you picking – every day.

it makes far more sense for each person to do what she is best at, and let others make use of her contributions in whatever way is relevant to their own talents.

if you have a large assembly of people who are forced to agree on every movement, including the mechanism for what constitutes such agreement, then you rarely achieve anything at all.

app to listen w/0 agenda.. an- echoic chamber ness – and need for simple basic mechanism (be you) device (chip) to be editable via personal fabrication.. if a person so chooses…

one ness

therefore, as you bid a swarm it is imperative that everybody is empowered to act in the swarm just through what they believe will further its goals – but no one is allowed to empower themselves to restrict others, neither on their own nor through superior numbers.

none of us if one of us, what do i have to do for you to be free, overseeing no-strings ness – could/would be taken care of here..

then  goes into why swarm should not be leaderless… but i’m not sure..

in beginning of qr..can we restrict others’ means to oppress, raise an eyebrow, attach strings..?
till enough are closer to Krishnamurti to parents
ie so we don’t keep getting in way

ah.. next para..

the rule covers them… because that would be limiting

p. 20 – but i also believe in competition between many overlapping swarms, so that activists can float in and out of organizations that best match the change they want to see in the world.

don’t get this – don’t see competition as helping – too close to day care ness. like defiling so that then we’ll need detox..

p. 20 – talking about simple message. 99 and 1 ness.

so rather than translate for all (because it will always be – not finished) make it so simple – universal language ish – then like Kevin (and Yaacov) say – people redefine it every day..

– – – –

ch 2 kevin

p. 1 – The intrusion of power into human relationships creates irrationality and systematic stupidity. As Robert Anton Wilson argued in “Thirteen Choruses for the Divine Marquis,”A civilization based on authority-and-submission is a civilization without the means of self-correction.

self-talk as data

p 2 – Robert Theobald: a person with great power gets no valid information at all.

R.A. Wilson writes: Proudhon was a great communication analyst, born 100 yrs too soon to be understood. his system of voluntary association (anarchy) is based on the simple communication principles that an authoritarian system means one-way communication, or stupidity, and a libertarian system means two-way communication or rationality.

to say that a hierarchical organization is systematically stupid is just to say that it is incapable of knowing what it knows, or making effective use of the knowledge of its members; it is less than the sum of its parts.

p. 3 – because the ceo and his chums in the c-suite don’t live under the effects of their ass-brained policy, and subordinates are afraid to tell them what a clusterf*&k they created, the ceo will happily inform the ceos at other organization of how wonderfully his new “best practice” worked out. and because these “competing”organization actually exist in an oligopoly market of cost-plus markup and administered pricing, and share the same pathological institutional cultures, they suffer no real competitive penalty for their bureaucratic irrationality.

Ed ness. parent ness via krishnamurti.. we don’t listen. and if we think we do.. the teller isn’t able to be truthful.. because of the authority ness.. and wanting to please (not get in trouble, get in, …. ) ness…

a hierarchy is a device for telling naked emperors how great their clothes look.

when you constantly operate on teh assumption that you’re going to internalize the effects of your won actions, you have an incentive to anticipate things that could go worng and when you make a decision, you continually revise it in response to subsequent experience. normal, san human beings – that is, human beings who are in contact with their environments and not insulated from them by hierarchies – are always correcting our own courses of action.

authority short-circuits this process:……. it blocks negative feedback so that the locus or organizational authority is subject to the functional equivalent of a psychotic break with reality.

when policy isn’t the result of systematic stupidity, it’s an elaborate exercise in shining it on. the primary purpose is to give management plausible deniability, the ability to say
but they knew about our written policy,” …

p. 4 – the lack of feedback means that most organizations are “successful” at achieving goals that are largely artificial – goals that are defined primarily by the interest of their governing hierarchies, rather than being defined by the ostensible customers or those engaged in directly serving customer needs.

hierarchical institutions, on the other hand, are almost uniformly successful because everyone’s scared to tell the bosses how stupid their policies are and how shitty their products are. failure is in fact a byproduct of the process by which success is achieved: most products in the corporate economy are only considered “good enough” because customers are powerless.

… no matter ow intelligent the people staffing a large institution are as individuals, hierarchy makes their intelligence unusable.

that’s the whole idea behind standardized work-rules, job descriptions, and all the rest of the weberian model of bureaucratic rationality: because someone, somewhere might use her initiative in ways that produce results that are detrimental to the interest of the organization, you need a set of rules in place that prevent anyone from doing anything at all. unlike networks, which treat the human brain as an asset, hierarchical rules systems treat it as a risk to be mitigated.

p. 5 – a corporate hierarchy interferes with the judgment of what Friedrich Hayek called “people-on-the-spot,” ..

p. 6 – no matter how insightful and resourceful they are, no matter how prudent, as human beings in dealing with actual reality, nevertheless by their very nature hierarchies insulate those at the top from the reality of what’s going on below, and force them to operate in imaginary worlds where all their intelligence becomes useless. no matter how intelligent managers are as individuals, a bureaucratic hierarchy makes their intelligence less usable.

p. 7 – the problem with authority relations in a hierarchy is that, given the conflict of interest created by the presence of power, those in authority cannot afford to allow discretion to those in direct contact with the situation. systematic stupidity results, of necessity, from a situation in which a bureaucratic hierarchy must develop some metric for assessing the skills or work quality of a labor force whose actual work they know nothing about, and whose material interests militate against remedying managements’ ignorance.

p. 8 – most of the constantly rising burden of paperwork exists to give an illusion of transparency and control to a bureaucracy that is out of touch with the actual production process. every new layer of paperwork is added to address the perceived problem that stuff sill isn’t getting done the way management wants, despite the proliferation of paperwork saying everything has being done exactly according to orders.

p. 10 – Brafman and Beckstrom

p. 18 – mention of contactcon 2011 ny – & Rushkoff

p. 19 – meshes don’t need designated routers: instead, nodes serve as routers for each other.

mesh networks are self-healing; if any node fails, another will take its place. they are anonymous: nodes can come and go as they will. they are pervasive: a mobile node rarely encounters dead spots, because other notes route around objects that hinder communication.

another benefit of meshworks is that , even ti f the central fiber-optic network is shut down and there are areal limits to the propagation of the network, the local meshwork can support community darknets based entirely on their members’ computers and mobile devices. short of blanket in an entire country with an electromagnetic pulse, there’s no way to shut down local meshworks.

the las indias coop, with which phyle theorist David de Ugarte is affiliated, uses freenet for its internal functions

p. 23 – freedom box ..

Venessa Miemis listed sixteen wireless meshwork projects aimed at circumventing state censorship

p. 29 – as the us govt becomes more belligerent in using its power in the world, many people are longing for a “second superpower” that can keep the us in check.

there is an emerging second superpower, but it is not a nation. instead, it is a new form of international player, constituted by the “will of the people” in a global social movement.

while some of the leaders have become highly visible, what is perhaps most interesting about this global movement is that it is not really directed by visible leaders, but, as we will see, by the collective, the emergent action of its millions of participants…what makes these numbers important is the new cyberspace enable interconnections among the members. this body has a beautiful mind. web connections enable a kind of near-instantaneous, mass improvisation of activist initiatives.

p. 30 – the symbol of the first superpower is the eagle – an awesome predator that rules from the skies, preying on mice and small animals. perhaps the best symbol for the second superpower would be a community of ants. ants rule from below. and while i may be awed seeing eagles in flight, when ants invade my kitchen hey command my attention

p. 31 – in the zapatista “social netwar” in mexico, Arguilla, Ronfeldt et al. expressed some concern over the possibilities of decentralized “netwar” techniques for destabilizing the existing political and economic order. they say early indications of such a movement in the global political support network for the zapatistas. loose, adhoc coalitions of affinity groups, organizing through the internet, could throw together large demonstrations at short notice, and “swarm” the govt and mainstream media with phone calls, letters, and emails far beyond their capacity to cope.

the mexican govt was blindsided by the global reaction.

p. 32 – social swarming is especially on the rise among activists that oppose global trade and investment policies. …on july 18, 1999 – a day that came to be known as j18  furious anti capitalist demonstrations took place in london, as tens of thousands of activist converged on the city, while other activist mounted parallel demos in other countries. j18 was largely organized over the internet, with no central direction or leadership. most recently,w j18 as a partial blueprint, several tens of thousands of activists, most of them americans but many also from canada and europe, swarmed into seattle to shut down a major meeting of the world trade organization wto on opening day, nov 20, 1999 – in an operation known to militant activists and anarchists as n30, whose planning began right after j18. the vigor of these three movements and effectiveness of the activists’ obstructionism came as a surprise to the authorities.

the persistence of this “seattle swarming” model in the april 16, 2000, demos (known as a16) against the international monetary fund and the world bank in washington dc, suggests that it has proven effective enough to continue to be used.

p. 37 – repeat and addition of Heather Marsh from p. 15 – the interest attracted will be from people actively involved in the system and willing to put effort into carrying the project further, not empty votes from people with little interest or involvement.  …. stigmergy also puts individuals in control over their own work, they do not need group permission to tell them what system to work on or what part to contribute…. the person with the initial idea may or may not carry the task further. evangelizing the idea is voluntary, by a group that is excited by the idea; they may or may not be the ones to carry it out.

…it is unnecessary to seek start up funding and supporters; if an idea is good it will receive the support required. (in practice, that is not true yet, a few people have the free time to put into volunteer projects because most are tied to compulsory work under the existing financial system.)

not sure if () are Heather or Kevin – but either way this is hugely spot on.. why – a people experiment – seems so fitting/important – freeing people up to luxury/volunteer time

p. 40 – intelligence is a cognitive feedback system that allows us to adjust appropriately to changing conditions….. learning from experience – the most fundamental role of intelligence

if our society is not responding well to the issues it faces, we can be sure there are faulty circuits in the cognitive systems that constitute our collective intelligence.

like c(l)ogged up circuits via policy/bureaucracy

do the change agents who seek to correct society’s failings attend only to specific cases or issues – or to healing and upgrading the systems and cultures that constitute their society’s collective cognitive capacity – it’s collective intelligence and wisdom?

how well does our society’s collective intelligence feedback system – the many ways we collectively learn (or not) from experience – recognize and deal with the feedback systems that generate climate change? what factors help us do this – and which ones hinder us? this is what we need to attend to.

because ultimately, climate change is not the issue. ultimately, the issue is our collective ability to observe, think, feel, decide, act, and reflect on our actions and their results. if we can do that well, we can deal well with every issue we face because – thanks to our own cognitive feedback powers – it doesn’t matter where we start. we’ll be able to improve and correct our course as we proceed, collectively, int a better future.  – Tom Altee

for this reason, John Robb argues, a hierarchical military establishment like the us is unlikely to surpass the agility of a networked effort like al qaeda iraq.

p. 39 – open, networked associations, on the other hand, are agile precisely because in an organization where individual possess no authority over each other there are no barriers to accurate feedback.

the invisible college – a number of natural philosophers grouped around Robert Boyle in 1645..

p. 40 – John Robb: “open source insurgencies don’t run on detailed instructional manual that describe tactics and techniques.” rather, they just run on “plausible premises.” you just put out the plausible premise – ie: the suggestion based on your gut intuition, based on current technical possibilities. that something can be done…

mc bateson – vulnerability in context

1 – good bye cycle; 2. hello stigmergy; 3. alive. awake. swimming in the vulnerability of context. – iterating detox

[stream of consciousness]

p. 43 – but perhaps the most important advantage of networks is the way hierarchies respond to attack. hierarchies typically respond to network attacks by adopting policies that hasten their own destruction. Brafman and Beckstrom: when attacked, a decentralized organization tends to become even more open and decentralized. on the other hand, when attacked, centralized organizations tend to become even more centralized.

al qaeda has adopted an explicit strategy of “open-source warfare,” using relatively low-cost and low-risk attacks, whos main damage will come not from the attacks but from the us govt’s reaction to them.

ie: operation hemorrhage cost al qaeda 4200 while its supposedly foiled plot… cost america and other western countries billions on security measures.

p. 44 – and in fact al qaeda’s deliberate strategy is pretty much to goad the us into doing something stupid – usually a safe gamble. security analyst Bruce Schneier coined the term “post-traumatic stupidity syndrome” to describe the way organizations overreact to events after the fact.

..every single failed attack results in an enormously costly and reactive knee-jerk tsa policy – resulting in increased inefficiencies and slowdowns and ever more unpleasant conditions for travelers..

p. 45 – if you make it costly to go through official channels, people will find ways to do things outside of officiean channels. most of what they do will be harmless. however, some of it won’t be. by driving the activity underground you guarantee the following:

  1. harmful activities will not be spotted except through change or when there’s an incident. and we all know what bureaucracies do when there’s an incident
  2. there will be no chance to work with people on making their activities safe, because they won’t come to you in advance. the only change you’ll have to talk to them is when they get caught by change (at which point they’ll be more focused on doing a better job of keeping secrets) or when there’s an incident (at which point their main concern will be deflection of blame)
  3. the institutional culture will develop an even great disdain for rules and even (in many cases) for safety. given the realities of how these things work out so frequently, disdain for rules and even safety (in most cases) is largely a healthy thing. however, to the extent that a bureaucrat actually values these things, that bureaucrat should try to make it so that doing things through official channels is cheaper than skipping official channels. that’s your only hope of getting people to actually respect these things. well, there’s also fear but fear isn’t respect. it’s mindless, panicked compliance, and it can fade over time, or motivate people to find even better evasive tactics.

another thought on when there’s an incident: besides all of the usual problems with incentives and info in large institutions, it occurs to me that size guarantees that the people responsible for safety, compliance, and related matters will be separated from the people on the ground doing whatever it is that the organization is allegedly there to do. consequently, the person who enforces a ridiculous rule, or who makes you sit through a useless presentation full of statements that are at best insulting and at worst factually wrong, will not be having lunch with you.

esp via #2 – Ed ness – and stu voice or teacher voice – or anybody voice – movements – it’s not really their gut voice.. it’s mostly their – figuring out better way to game system.. or to blame someone voice.. [spinach or rock ness because we made people pay for the day care after hours – so we’re not noticing what krishnamurti notices about parents even]

detox matters.

the faster we can iterate detox.. the faster we can get alive people… practicing eudaimonia .. knowing what to do when they don’t know what to do.. and doing/being it… for good.

 p. 46 – what did the student learn? (fridge taken out of office of chem lab) the student learned that if you get caught people will do stupid things.

Matt Yglesias – out of the six billion people on the planet only a numerically insignificant fraction are actually dangerous terrorists. even if you want to restrict your view to one billion muslims, the math is the same. consequently, tips, leads and the like are overwhelmingly going to be pointing to innocent people.

p. 49 – Assange’s stated goal is to destroy or degrade the effectiveness of hierarchies, not through direct damage from attack, but by their own responses to attack. he starts by describing as”conspiratiorial”authoritarian institutions which encounter resistance to their goals, and therefore find it necessary to conceal their operations to some extent.

this means that “the more opaque it becomes to itself (as a defense against the outside gaze), the less able it will be to “think” as a system, to communicate with itself.

the leak.. is only the catalyst for the desired counter-overreaction; wikileaks wants to provoke the conspiracy into turning off its own brain in response to the threat.

p. 50 – a real-life example is how the us govt’s “info security” fetish hampered the efforts of the prosecution in the Chelsea Manning case. email filters tasked w”preventing anything relating to wikileaks from appearing on a govt computer has tripped up military prosecutors, causing them to miss important emails from the judge and defense involved in the case.

reminds me of  when Karen Cator (as the time head ed tech person for govt) – was unable to go on a google hangout from her office..

so public embarrassment resulting from the cable leaks is not the end, but the means to the end. the end is not embarrassment, but the authoritarian state’s reaction to such embarrassment:

… Assange is not trying to produce a journalistic scandal which will then provoke red-faced govt reforms or something, precisely because no one is all that scandalized by such things any more. instead he is trying to strangle the links that make the conspiracy possible, to expose the necessary porousness of the american state’s conspiratorial network in hopes that the security state will then try to shrink its computational network in response, thereby making itself dumber and slower and smaller.

in effect, a degrading of synaptic connections within the hierarchical organization, is analogous to the effect of alzheimer’s disease on the human brain.

no longer able to prevent info from reaching the public, the govt instead attempted to prevent it from reaching itself. [from Jesse Walker’s, why a govt that collects everyone’s private data won’t let its employees access public info]

the nsa responded by tightening up internally.

american leaders say they will avoid future Mannings and Snowdens by segmenting access to info so that individual analysts cannot avail themselves of so much, and by giving fewer security clearances, esp to employees of contractors such as booz allen hamilton, where Snowden worked. this will not work. segmentation of access runs counter to the whole point of the latest intelligence strategy, which is fusion of data from disparate sources….intelligence agencies are collecting so much info that they have to hir vast numbers of new employees, many of whom cannot be adequately vetted. since 9/11 the nsa’s workforce has grown by a third, to 33,000.and the number of private companies it relies on for contractors has tripled to close to 500.

so much like Ed. fractal situations are everywhere – and are such great teachers/insight – because they represent what matters via your experience/translation. you just need to zoom dance with them enough to see/hear it.

p. 52 as Vinay Gupta argues, there’s a close parallel between what networked efforts like wikileaks want to do to large hierarchical institutions and what George Kennan envisioned the us doing to the ussr…

sounding like 2 loop

hierarchies are entering a very brutal period of natural selection, in which some will be supplanted from outside by networks, and some (those which survive) will become more network-like under outside pressure. the hierarchies which survive will be those which, faced with pressure from systems disruption, adapt (in Eric Raymond’s phrase) by decentralizing their functions and hardening their local components. hierarchies will face pressure to become less authoritarian internally, as they find themselves competing with networks for the loyalty of their workers. the power of the exit will reinforce the power of voice.

mockingjay \ catching fire \ divergent  ness..

p. 53

… it makes sense for “hybrids” to emerge during phase transitions. such hybrids combine actors from an era’s “dominant mode” of organization with actors representing an era’s emerging mode, in ways that benefit all partners to the hybrid, but that may also help subvert the old order and generate the new one. for the looming phase transition, this crucial interim role with be played by “netarchical capitalists” – eg, google ?  – who are willing to work with p2p commoners. thus, in this view, phase transitions depend not so much on struggles between elites and masses, as on innovative alliances between break-away segments from the old system and adaptive segments from the emergent one..  – Donald Ronfeldt summarizing Michel Bauwen’s view of phase transitions to p2p society

so some large-scale infrastructures of the present corporate economy may take on a progressively network-like character, until they eventually so closely resemble networks as to make no real difference.

the state, like any authoritarian hierarchy, requires standing rules that restrict the freedom of subordinates to pursue the institutions’ real purpose, because ti can’t trust those subordinates.

yeah. that.

p. 54 – the state’s legitimizing rhetoric, we know, conceals a real exploitative function. nevertheless, despite the overall functional role of the state, it needs standard operating procedures to enforce predictable behavior on it subordinates.


and once subordinates are following those rules, the state can’t send out dg-whistles telling functionaries what “real” double-super-secret rules they’re “really” supposed to follow, or to supplement the countless volumes of rulebooks designed to impose predictability on subordinates with a secret memo saying “ignore the rulebooks.” so, while enough functionaries may ignore the rules to keep the system functioning after a fashion, others pursue the letter of policy in ways that impair the “real” mission of the state.

as Marvin van Crevald argued, when the strong fight the weak they become weak – in large part because the public can’t stomach the knowledge of what goes into their sausage.

so very Ed.

p. 55 – despite blanket coverage of wikileaks and Julian Assange, there has been little discussion of the fact that Assange is merely one leaders within a large and complicated social movement. ….the social movement, which has been termed the “free culture movement” , has a thirty year history.

(Alistair) Davidson sets aside the facile debate over whether the internet was created by the state or the market, and quote Steven Johnson that it is actually the first large-scale artifact of peer production:

so was the internet created by big govt or big capital? the answer is: neither. peer networks break from the  conventions of states and corporations in several crucial respects. they lack the traditional economic incentives of the private sector: almost all of the key technology standards are not owned by any one individual or organization, and a vast majority of contributors to open-source projects do not receive direct compensation for their work. (the harvard legal scholar Yochai Benkler has called this phenomenon “commons=based peer production.”)

p. 56 – in short, capitalism was the unintended consequence of bourgeois revolutions, whereas socialism has been the avowed purpose, or at least a crucial component, or every revolution since 1911. this difference has become so important that when we think about the transitions from capitalism to socialism, we take the short view: we look for ideological extremes, social movements, vanguard parties, self-conscious revolutionaries, radical dissenters, armed struggles, extra-legal methods, political convulsions – as if the coming of socialism requires the abolition of capitalism by cataclysm, by insurgent, militant mass movements dedicated to that purpose… we know from reading Smith and Hegel that the development of capitalism means the articulation and expansion of civil society against the (absolutist) state.

p. 58 – David de Ugarte prefers the term “dual boot” to get a similar idea across:

the metaphor is simple: society now runs o operating system that is frail and inadequate to the demands of those who live in it. different groups ad tendencies, in parallel, are trying to develop new economic models. to the extent that they do – and it’s true that they/we are doing it though it’s not (yet) widespread – it will be established as an almost personal, or at least communitarian option: what development model do we want in our city? what model of life and work do i want to follow?

it would be, and is, a gradual sort of dual boot in which both models would coexist, the traditional one based on large scales, and the new ones based on productive economy fed by distributed networks, long=range technologies, free knowledge, and cultural change. these elements are present now, all around us, though they  are only hegemonic in concrete aspects.

the basic idea is that the development of these economic alternatives is going to parallel the development of confederal forms of work, but also of social coverage and relationships between identities. the path is, as always, to build, to create a new reality, not to wait for a political change of whatever kind to reorder everything from top to bottom to fit out taste.

p. 62 – enterprise knowledge sharing will never be as good as what networked individuals can do. individuals who own their knowledge networks will invest more in them.  – Harold Jarche

p. 63 – our answer to afghans seeking help was: i can’t come today or tomorrow, but maybe next week. i have several bosses that i need to ask for permission…

p. 65 – Tom Friedman, in an admirable moment of frankness, once said “for globalism to work, american can’t be afraid to act like the almighty superpower that it is. the hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist.. and the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for silicon valley’s technologies to flourish is called the us army, air force, navy and marine corps.

what the heck.. (friedman)

iceland is emerging as a haven for info freedom, and in so doing sets itself up as a stumbling block to washington’s attempt to impose a drm curtain on the world.

remember, it’s not necessary to repudiate copyright in principle in order to make digital copyright unenforceable. as Cory Doctorow points out, the desktop computer’s a machine for copying bits, and any business model that depends on stopping people from copying bits is doomed to failure. enforcing digital copyright is simply impossible within traditional principles of copyright law.

p. 73 – finally, the nsa story has made the american public a lot more resistant to surveillance in principle, making it more difficult for local police departments to implement policies for increase use of surveillance cameras, drones and the like.

decentralizing and hardening. Vinay Gupta coined the term “degovernancing” for the restructuring of institution or system to make them less dependent on governance.

a whole host of things the empire’s hegemony depends on – intellectual property law, us dollar’s reserve currency status, the willingness of third world states to repay debt, etc. depends on an imperial mystique based entirely on perceptions. once the empire’s mojo is called into question, the house of cards will fall pretty fast. – Heather Marsh

p. 75 – the 500 yr old capitalist system like previous historic systems, is not a monolithic unity, but a collections of mutually interacting social formations – some in ascendancy, some in decline. it follows that the supplanting of capitalism need not involve a dramatic rupture on the part of a monolithic unity of progressive forces…

what the federal utopias lack, he (Eugene Holland talking of Frederic Jameson) insists, is the capacity to portray or generate a “genuinely radical disruption” of the present the ability to produce a “radical and systemic break.” but the requirement of such a radical systemic break is necessary only when you conceive of a society or mode of production as a total system in the first place… for if society is actually composed of truly heterogeneous elements that don’t form a total system, then a radical systemic break may not be necessary (and may indeed not even be possible, almost by definition).

p. 76 – change therefore doesn’t have to happen all at once. immediate and total social transformation of the revolutionary kind is not absolutely necessary for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that capitalism is not a total system to begin with. alternatives are not only always possible, they in fact already exist.

skimmed rest of ch 2 – heavy on war/drones – hoping/believing that will be irrelevant..

– – – –

ch 3 kevin

p. 4 – even with public financing and other procedural reforms, the policymaking apparatus would act based on the logic of the overall system within which it was embedded, in response to what it perceived as its objective imperatives….. the leadership of the state, given its functional role in the larger system, inevitably fins itself confronted with the need to stabilize and reproduce the corporate capitalist system as it finds it..

to me, this (getting money out of politics) doesn’t solve the problem that when washington regulates the financial system, it’s dependent for expertise on people with ties to the financial industry. – Matthew Yglesias

p. 5 – even those whose personal integrity and idealism are beyond reproach operate based on a largely implicit set of views of what is possible and what is the obvious or natural response to a given problem. regulators and regulated share not only similar educational and career backgrounds, but similar assumptions about the only “normal” way of organizing the functions the oversee.

the ruling elites of the corporate-state nexus are what Thomas R Dye called the “very serous people,” and their mindset is characterized by what C Wright Mills, in the causes of world war three, called “crackpot realism.”

crackpot realism amounts to the approach described by Einstein: attempting to solve a problem by the same level of thinking that created it….. so rigidly focused on the next step that they become creatures of whatever the main drift the opportunist actions of innumerable men brings.

p. 6 – the crackpot realists self-image is of the grownup who understands what needs to be done to keep things functioning smoothly in “the real world,”…

people need order.. they need to be told what to think, what to do, what to beleive, or everything will fall apart. this miracle of modern civilization doesn’t just happen. it requires careful management by professionals willing to do whatever is necessary to keep things running smoothly. – Daniel Suarez  – freedom

crackpot realism is a failure of imagination: an inability to imagine alternatives outside of a limited institutional framework.

p. 7 – ‘lack of imagination,’ Gerald W Johnson has noted, ‘is not of be confused with lack of principle. on the contrary, an unimaginative man is often a man of the highest principles. the problem is that his principles conform to Cornford’s famous definition: “a principle is a rule of inaction giving valid general reason for not doing in a specific instance what to unprincipled instinct would seem to be right.”‘

reform w/in the system is usually carried out by the people running the system, based on their institutional mindsets and basic assumptions about how the world works. since the fundamental purpose of the system is good, and its basic operating assumptions are self-evident, any reform must obviously be limited to tinkering around the edges. any reform coming out of the system will be designed to optimize the functioning of the existing system, and amenable to being carried out only by the managerial caste currently in charge of the system.

hence the related concept of “extremism.” that label is a way of evaluating ideas, not in terms of their truth or falsity, but in terms of how far they deviate from the median view of the world. and the median view of he world, otherwise known as the “moderate” position, is largely determined by a cultural apparatus that consists of centralized, hierarchical institutions, and whose main purpose is to secure a cultural environment which is favorable to the continued existence and power of those centralized, hierarchical institutions. in other words,…

..the cultural reproduction apparatus

the media and schools –

is designed to produce a public which accepts the organization of society around such institutions as

the only possible way of doing things.

…any political ideology that challenges the power of large, centralized institution, or the legitimate authority of those running them, and proposes “altering or abolishing” them rather than tinkering around the edges, will be labeled “extremist.”

by definition, whatever is classified as “mainstream” or “centrist” in any system of power falls within the range of positions that are compatible with preserving that system of power. any “reform” that involves tinkering around the edges of a power structure without fundamentally changing it, and can be implemented by the same classes of people who are running the present system, will be classified as “moderate.” any proposal that involves changing the fundamental structure of power and disempowering the groups that run it will be called “radical.”

… regulated industries are of necessity the primary source of data for the regulatory state. short of creating a state-appointed shadow management of regulators who’ve been sent to b-school and constitute a parallel chain of command within the corporate bureaucracy … the regulatory state cannot avoid relying on largely unverifiable self-reporting by industry as a source of most of its statistics. and even if the state did create its own massive, parallel hierarchy of numbers-crunchers inside the corporate bureaucracies, in order to function effectively and understand the businesses they were regulating they’d have to have degrees in business admin and absorb a great deal of the culture of the regulated industries – which, presumably, would just take us back to the original problem.

p. 9 – how do we know that we – in 50 yrs or so from now – will not praise what we today call terrorism as being the birth of the ecological revolution – where people finally tok up arms against the ever-hegemonic state – a state that obviously failed to see, or ignored, the plight of its people? only by finally using the single thing the individual ‘has’ that the state ultimately cannot control – the self – could people overthrow the hegemonic structure of the state that proved itself totally unwilling to deal with the core questions that this.. article.. raises..

a new wind is however blowing; the commons. a third force, supplementing but not replacing both the public sector (based on the state_ and the private sector )based on capital_ – where peer-to-peer collaboration is at the core – is picking up speed.

funny now to see more clearly perhaps – why our desire to initially (2009 ish) call the lab – the commons.

p. 15 – Shirky writes (of his own experiences in contributing to an article on the koch snowflake):

you may have noticed that i accidentally intro’d a mistake in my edit, writing “ad infitum” when i should have written “ad infinitum.” i missed this at the time i wrote the entry, but the other users didn’t; shortly after i posted my change, someone went in and fixed the spelling. my mistake had been fixed, my improvement improved. to propose my edit, i only had to know a bit about the koch snowflake; there are many more people lie me than there are mathematicians who understand the snowflake in all its complexity. similarly, fixing my type required no knowledge of the subject at al; as a result, the number of potential readers who could fix my mistake was larger still..

social networking tech made it possible to leverage support from those with only limited motivation.

now the highly motivated people can create a context more easily in which the barely motivated people can be effective without having to become activists themselves.

p. 17 – back when the only choices were doing stuff through institutions and not doing it al all, a lot of stuff just didn’t get done at all.

the internet means you don’t have to convince anyone else that something is a good idea before trying it. – Scott Bradner

Bucky’s distributed infrastructure that’s embedded mainly at end points. in recent times – in which the endpoints themselves are routers… wireless meshwork

from digitally enable social change, by Jennifer Earl and Katrina Kimport:

we expect that the ease of participation, then, could produce quick rushes of participation when a call for participation is made. further, these rushes of participation don’t require high relative participation rates.. given that this is true, it is possible to have both flash style activism and varying levels of activity by any given potential participation. if potential participants have time on day and not the next, mobilizations can go forward as long a some people have some time each day..

future govt.. ie: how we vote. 24/7 in the moment.. cost free. then per Bucky‘s interview 1978 – we are paying attention and if we don’t like how it turns out.. we change our minds/direction instantly.

p. 18 – why not organize whenever the time seems right and not organize when it doesn’t seem so?

so just as a lean, distributed manufacturing system on the Emilia-Romagna model makes it possible to scale production to spot demand without the imperative to full capacity utilization and push distribution to amortize the high ongoing overhead from expensive mass production machinery, distributed/networked activism can scale particular actions of the needs of the moment without the need to maintain permanent, high-overhead infrastructure between actions and tailor the action to the needs of the movement infrastructure (which is exactly hat the establishment left is demanding from occupy: to remake it in their image).

community as curriculum – city as school – local, global, & internal

p. 23 – ..people are asked to identify personally with organisations who can either no longer carry historical projects worthy of major sacrifices or expressly regard their employees as nothing but expendable, short-term resources. this, i think, creates the cognitive dissonance that jistifies, perhaps even demands, the leaker to violate procedure and actively damage the organisation of which he, or she, has been at some point a well-acculturated member (this is the difference to the spy). this dissonance creates the motivational energy to move from the potential to the actual.  – Felix Stalder – leaks,whistle blowers and the networked news ecology – 2010.

p. 32 – even though wikileaks doesn’t advertise, the state department has become its biggest advertiser. – K Vaidya Nathan, beware the streisand effect 2010

more generally, hierarchical institutions are finding that the traditional means of suppressing communication, that worked as recently as twenty years ago, are useless.

p. 36 – giant corporations, of necessity, rely on official happy talk and superficial half-truths that are designed to deflect scrutiny.

the only hope for corporate power is that people stay ignorant – in a “hegemonically constructed reality” created by big business – as long as possible.

pluralistic ignorance..

p. 37 – can your glossy bullet points and “did yo knows..” stand up to relentless cross-examination in a world where we can finally talk back?

p. 40 – the state is the external constitution of the social power.

the constitution supposes, in principle, that society is a creature of the mind, destitute of spontaneity, providence, unity, needing for its action to be fictitiously represented by one or more elected or hereditary commissioners: an hypothesis the falsity of which the economic development of society and the organization of universal suffrage agree in demonstrating.

the constitution of the state supposed further, as to its object, that antagonism or a state of war is the essential and irrevocable condition of humanity, a condition which necessitates, between the weak and the strong, the intervention of a coercive power to put an end to their struggles by universal oppression. we maintain that, in this respect, the mission of the state is ended; that, by the division of labor, industrial solidarity, the desire for well-being, and the equal distribution of capital and taxation, liberty and justice obtain surer guarantees than any that ever were afforded them by religion and the state.

as for utilitarian transformation of the state, we consider it as a utopia contradicted at once by governmental tradition, and the revolutionary tendency, and the spirit of the henceforth admitted economic reforms. in any case, we say that to liberty alone it would belong to reorganize power, which is equivalent at present to he complete exclusion of power.

as a result, either no social revolution, or no more government; such is our solution of the political problem.

– Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, resistance to the revolution , quoted in Shaw Wilbur, notes on Proudhon’s changing notion of the state.

p. 43 – a whole new mechanism of legislation and of policing has (was) to be developed in order to subject some classes to the domination of others.  – Pyotr Kropotkin, the state: its historic role 1897

you pick which (type of ) government list you want to be on.. can change at any time..

p. 46 – when the tools are in place to allow individuals or groups within a local area to easily exchange value without using traditional centralized currency, it’s reasonable to expect a serious challenge to the engrained public perception of money.   – Venessa Miemis, 4 trends

p. 51 (52 addition- bottom) – Heather Marsh’s proposal for governance:

i esp like:

meritocracy: ….

contribution at all levels of each user group must be open to all users. expertise can be assessed and acquired in concentric user groups, and work can be contributed and accepted or rejected by stigmergy….. people can work on anything they like, they are not required to submit resumes, acquire accreditation, seniority, or approval from an individual authority. i f their work is good enough it will be accepted by the user group. everyone can work on the system that interests them, doing the jobs at the level they are capable of, with as much or as little involvement as they choose. if the worker is also part of the user group, the benefits to themselves are immediate and obvious. the most effective way to prevent producer and consumer conflict of interests is to eliminate separation between the two. the farmer who eats their own food has an interest in producing healthy food.

p. 52-55  – Michel Bauwens’ partner state:

Michel Bauwens, building on Orsi’s work, sees the partner state as a sort of “peer-to[peer state,” organized on stigmergic rather than democratic principles.

first of all, these communities are not democracies. why is that so? because democracy, the market and hierarchies are all modes of allocation of scarce resources. in hierarchy, our superiors decide; in the market, prices decide; in a democracy, “we” decide.

but where resources are abundant, as they are with knowledge, code and design – which can be copied and shared at a marginal cost – they are truly unnecessary. these types of communities are truly poly-archies and the type of power that is held in them is meritocratic, distributed and ad hoc. everyone can contribute without permission, but those with recognised expertise who are accepted by the community – the so=called”maintainer” and the “editors” – decide which software or design patches are acceptable.

these decisions require expertise, not communal consensus. the tension between inclusive participation and selection for excellence is one that every social system faces, and that peer production has solved in a rather elegant way. the genius of the solution is not that it avoids conflict, but that it designs away unnecessary conflict by allowing for the maximum human freedom compatible with the goal of co-operation. indeed, peer production is always an “object-oriented” co-operation, and it is the particular object that will drive the particular form chosen for its peer governance mechanisms.

the main allocation mechanism is such projects is a “distribution of tasks”. unlike in the industrial model, there is no longer a division of labour between jobs and mutual coordination. because the work environment is designed to be totally open and transparent, every participating individual can see what is needed, and decide accordingly whether to contribute. remarkable, this new model allows for both global coordination and for small-group dynamics. and it does this without “command and control”

so the partner state, arguably, is not so much a “government” as a system of governance.

– – – – –

ch 4 kevin

 p. 2 – a common theme in the networked platform models discussed below is that they are scalable and modular, with an y number of local communities or organizations being able to connect to them on a stigmergic basis. and as we already saw in ch 2 with regard to scalability, one of the advantages of the module/platform architecture is that it makes adoption feasible on a granular basis without any need for society as a whole to reach some “tipping point.” it also achieves economies of scope – and minimizes unit costs of infrastructure – by maximizing shared use of the same infrastructure. if a support platform is digital, the number of replicating modules that can share it at zero marginal cost is infinite.

p. 3 – Bruce Sterling: islands in the net

the protagonists’ transnational, for instance – rhizome – is a worker cooperative with an official philosophy of self-management. its “bottom line is ludic joy rather than profit,” and it has “replaced ‘labour,’ the humiliating specter of ‘forced production,’ with a series of varied, playlike pastimes. and replaces the greed motive with a web of social ties, reinforced by an elective power structure.” a “large number” of its associates do no paid work at all, but participate in the internal non=money economy of rhizome or are taken care of as dependents. and it’s a world wide distributed network of local facilities using the net – or rather the corporate platform hosted by it – as a base of support.

p. 4 – phyles: las indias and David de Ugarte

.. the phyle itself could be consensually defined as a networked, distributed, small sized, hacker ethic empowered, internet born organism with high productivity and great resilience (which) has its own universe of myths, narratives and tools…

p. 5 – the las indias cooperative arose from the cyberpunk milieu in europe, centered in berlin, and more particularly spanish circles affiliated with it:

a time ago, in the far, far days of the falling of communism some cyberpunk young people started in berlin a kind of small virtual community trying to understand what was happening in the world. with the years it developed into an ezine and a civil rights’ cyberactivist group )de Ugarte, from my ninja please interview).

las indias is the result of the spanish-speaking cyberpunk movement. originally a civil rights group, during the late 90’s it became strongly influenced by Juan Urrutia’s “economics of abundance” theory. very soon, we linked “abundance” with the idea of empowerment in distributed networks. we are very clear on this point: it is not the internet by itself, it is the distributed p2p architecture that allows the new commons (de Ugarte, from shareable interview).


p. 6 – the business would be the economic structure of the community we were creating, and as such, would have all the sources of wealth and income; we would not have – and still don’t have – savings, properties, or personal clients. the cooperative is our community savings and he only owner of all that we enjoy. with the passage of time and the growth of the indies’ community and economy, the first indies headquarters appeared with the same spirit: wide[open common facilities, with accommodations and offices, personal and common spaces all as property shared among everyone. in short: economically, we’re closer to a kibbutz that to the big cooperatives at mondragon

p. 7 – las indias is a phyle based largely in the spanish-speaking world, with it s tow primary physical bases in madrid and montevideo. as the members of the phyle explained in the my ninja please interview:

David de Ugarte: they are the first two dots of a distributed network of places, offices, business and social infrastructures e are dedicated to build. probably the third one will be in africa.. or maybe in ohter part of america. more dots: more security for our way of living more welfare for us, more social action in our everyday’s social environment.. more phyle we will be

p. 8 – the term platform probably gives too weak an idea of the relation between the phyle and its enterprises. as de Ugarte’s reference to the phyle as “owner” of the cooperatives suggests, it is not just a secondary network built on member oops as primary units; the cooperative enterprises bear the same intimate relationship to the phyle that their counterparts to in the mondragon system or kibbutzim

indianos are communities that are similar to kibbutzim )no individual savings, collective and democratic control of their own coops, etc.)..


when it is time to make decisions about the common structure and its resources, the indianos act as freely associated people, each one speaks,contributes, and participates in decisionmaking for him/herself. the demos for the indiano economic structure is made up exclusively of indianos, and not groups, projects, or structures

p. 10 – the distributed network architecture is intended to achieve maximum freedom and autonomy for the participating communities, by avoiding dependence on some single node (which would generate “control and dependence”).

as a result of the evolution from a virtual community (cyberpunk movement), we never had a unique location or a national identity.

p. 11 – talking about obstacle – just as ip, then says: the alternative will not be build through govt regulations, but inside our own networks. it will not defeat the corporate organization through courts or elections, but through competition.

i don’t get that. i don’t see anything enduring coming through competition. what am i missing?

Natalia Fernandez: the cooperative group is the legal form that orders our economic activity. in our organization, people are above companies, this means we organize ourselves according to out needs. the happiness and welfare of each of us is above the economic benefit. this allows us to decline those well-paid jobs that do not satisfy us and this also allows us to build together a free and full life.

the lifestyle combines a much lower material footprint and cost of living with a high quality of life, largely through ephemeralization and informalization. that means, in particular, a shift toward low-rent housing and a quality of life based mainly on immaterial goods. a large share of the things they consider indispensable for a high quality of life are free, abundant, non-rival goods.

p. 12 – the hacker ethic represents the values of a distributed network world and forms our way to understand cooperativism. we would sum it up as: […] 3) the freedom of doing as fundamental value: against the existing institutions we don’t demand things to be done, we do it by ourselves and if there is a claim, it would be to eliminate the obstacles of any kind that stop us from building the necessary skills to develop freedom and well-being in our environment.

of the obstacle Rodriguez mentions, “probably one of the most important is the existence of artificial monopolies established by law, like intellectual property and copyrights. it’s another way to create artificial shortage that benefits a few, using the repressive power of the state. accordingly, las indias advocates a progressive reduction in patent and copyright laws to the point of “their complete extinction.”

the internal democracy of the phyle is based on principles of distributed intelligence and deliberation.

David de Ugarte: i believe in deliberation as the way to develop a common open source intelligence by a community.

deliberation means long term discussion without the urgency of taking a decision.

a permanent and open deliberation – what you can see in our chat rooms, blogs and newsgroups – leads, in time, to consensus, but also to a great diversity of personal positions and points of view.

we try to build from these consensus a guide for decisions on scarcity (economy_ but we also know that our most precious treasure is diversity.

Maria Rodriguez: i believe distributed intelligence. ants or bees use to be associated with collective intelligence, but we are non hierarchical, we are plurispecialists, we are multifunctionals.

Jose F. Alcantara: if there’s a way of improving the intelligence we all own as single persons, it is not to aggregate them as they used to toll us on “the wisdom of crowds”. no, if there’s something that really makes a difference is the intelligence you give birth when different people put their efforts on a distributed way. under this architecture, when yo let people work and coordinate their efforts freely, synergies emerge. whether it is or not something higher, the only think i’ll admit is that its..

success is not based on collective efforts, but on the way you let them interact:

..the distributed architecture is the key.

Natalia Fernandez: the key word would be “distributed” instead of collective. connect all nodes, eliminate the hierarchy and you’ll be allowing that ll knowledge to flow through the members of the network.

image from book (2012) & links to book:

distributed via el modo de produccion

p. 13 – phyles are the children of its explorers: of free software, virtual communities, cyberactivism, and the globalisation of the small.

in fact the phenomenon seems to be the wave of the future, given the growing economic importance of ethnic diasporas around the world coupled with the increasing availability of network communications technology:

… diaspora networks have three lucrative virtues. 1 – speed flow of info across borders 2 – foster trust  3 – create connections

p. 14 – migrants are now connected instantaneously, continuously, dynamically and intimately to their communities of origin.. this is a fundamental and profound break from the past eras of migration.” that beak explains why diasporas, always marginalised in the flat-map world of national territories, find them selves in the thick of things as the world becomes networked.

p. 15 – not sure why the need to sign constitutions (for new society fondaki)

mentions Poul Anderson’s Kith

p. 16 – Bruce Sterling‘s caryatids – 2060 – app like in that tagging and connecting is happening 24/7

p. 17 – writers like Cory Doctorow and Daniel Suarez have written several books that explore how weaknesses in cyber security enable entirely new form of guerilla warfare and economic production… they offer a new way forward as technology outpaces the authoritarian systems of control that held democracies in check throughout history.

the futurist, Jane McGonigal, offers a vision for deploying alternate reality games to solve real-world problems. we are entering a new era of possibilities.       – Joe Brewer

p. 19 – if d-space is overlaid on the physical world, rather than constituting a separate “cyberspace” dissociated from the physical world, then it reinforces physical community and becomes a tool for facilitating it. such a platform promotes relocalization, and builds social capital.

John Robb – like transition towns

p. 23 – … given how fast things move now, it’s not hard to imagine that a new economic system (better design), decentralized financial wire service, or p2p manufacturing system could sweep the world in months, drawing in tens of millions of people into a ways of creating, trading, and sharing wealth.   – Robb, digital roll-out of resilient communities, global guerrillas, dec 22, 2011

p. 24 – Mark Frazier’s openworld outgrowth of Robb’s miiu wiki

idea for collaboratory – with laptops looking out over city.. see click fix ish.. betaville

p. 25 – meshkit bonfire – shared at contactcon

p. 27-28 – global villages & hub culture

[kind of skip/skimmed 28-38 – too over my head right now]

p. 38 – at one point Michel Bauwens, director of the foundation for p2p alternatives, announced plans to create a phyle based on the p2p foundation. in 2010 (5 yr plan) he described an epiphany based on his contact with the las indias phyle. he saw it as the answer to a question that had long been plaguing him: we have successfully democratized the means of creating value, but have not been able to democratize the means of realizing that value.

p. 40 – united phyles – Michel Bauwens, president of the p2p foundation invited las indias to work with them to coordinate a organization of the united phyles, the first worldwide network of phyles. its main objectives will be to connect existing phyles by creating a global exchange network and supporting the development of new initiatives

posted on p2p site 2012:

p. 40 – Eugene Holland: Nomad Citizenship

Eugene Holland proposes “nomad citizenship” as a way of deterritorializing citizenship and organizing citizenship functions outside the state.

by most definitions, citizenship applies to an exclusive group of people identified by their belonging to a clearly demarcated, well-defined, and well-defended state territory. nomad citizenship is designed to break with that definition and its territorialization of the concept of citizenship: nomadism, by most definitions, broadly applies to groups that are precisely not identified with state territory… but the point of combining nomadism with citizenship in this way is to smash the state’s territorializing monopoly on belonging and redistribute it globally, in alternative or minor forms of sociality both within and beyond the boundaries of the state.

p. 43 – the solution, Little says, is to turn money into “numbers measuring our time & energy instead of being a thing or a commodity.” as Karl Hess said a long time ago, when people have productive skills they can exchange amongst themselves to meet everyone’s need, but say they can’t do it because there’s “no money,” it’s like construction workers saying they can’t measure out any more boards because they “ran out of inches.”

p. 50 – Venessa‘s collaboratory et al – she mentions Bernd

p. 52 – edgeryders – unmonastery

– – – – – –

ch 5 kevin

[first – repeat from ch 4: p. 43 – the solution, Little says, is to turn money into “numbers measuring our time & energy instead of being a thing or a commodity.” as Karl Hess said a long time ago, when people have productive skills they can exchange amongst themselves to meet everyone’s need, but say they can’t do it because there’s “no money,” it’s like construction workers saying they can’t measure out any more boards because they “ran out of inches.”]

following from ch 5

p. 1 – what money’s for and what it isn’t

local currencies, barter networks and mutual credit-clearing system are a solution to a basic problem: ” a world in which there is a lot of work to be done, but there is simply no money around to bring the people and the work together.” one barrier to local barter currencies and crowdsourced mutual credit is a misunderstanding of the nature of money. for the alternative economy, money is not primarily a store of value, but a unit of account for facilitating exchange. its function is not to store accumulated value from past production, but to provide liquidity to facilitate the exchange of present and future services between producers.

the distinction is a very old one, aptly summarized by Joseph Schumpeter’s contrast between the “money theory of credit” and the “credit theory of money.” the former, which Schumpeter dismissed as entirely fallacious, assumes that banks “lend” money in the sense of giving up use of it) which has been “withdrawn from pervious uses by an entirely imaginary act of saving and then lent out by its owners. it is much more realistic to say that the banks ‘create credit..,’ than to say that they lend the deposits that have been entrusted to them.” the credit theory of money, on the other hand, treats finances “as a clearing system that cancels claims and debts and carries forward the difference..”

Thomas Hodgskin, criticizing the Ricardian”wage fund” theory from a perspective something like Schumpeter’s credit theory of money, utterly demolished an moral basis for the creative role of the capitalist in creating a wage fund through “abstention,” and instead made the advancement of subsistence funds from existing production a function that workers could just as easily perform for one another through mutual credit, had the avenues of doing so not been preempted.

the only advantage of circulating capital is that by it the labourer is enabled, he being assured of his present subsistence, to direct his power to the greatest advantage. he has time to learn an art, and his labour is rendered more productive when directed by skill. being assure of immediate subsistence, he can ascertain which, with his peculiar knowledge and acquirements, and with reference to the wants of society, is the best method of labouring and he can labour in this manner. unless there were this assurance there could be no continuous thought, an invention, and no knowledge but that which would be necessary for the supply of our immediate animate wants…

the labourer, the real maker of any commodity, derives this assurance form a knowledge he has that the person who set him to work will pay him, and that with the money he will be able to buy what he requires. he is not in possession of any stock of commodities. has the person who employs and pays him such a stock? clearly not…

[..] ie of cotton and brew manufacturers

p. 2 – .. as far as food, drink, and clothing are concerned, it is quite plain, then , that no species of labourer depends on an previously prepared stock, for in fact no such stock exists; but every species of labourer does constantly, and at all times, depend for his supplies on the co-existing labour of some other labourers.


betwixt him who produces food and him who produces clothing, betwixt him who makes instruments and him who uses them, in steps the capitalist, who neither makes nor uses them, and appropriates to himself the produce of both. with a niggard a hand as possible he transfers to each a part of the produce of the other, keeping to himself the large share. gradually and successively has he insinuated himself betwixt them, expanding in bulk as he has been nourished by their increasingly productive labours, and separating them so widely from each other that neither can see whence that supply is drawn which each receives through the capitalist. while he despoils both, so completely does he exclude one form the view of the other that both believe the are indebted him for subsistence.  – Thomas Hodgskin, labour defended p. 71

p. 3 –  the whole point of money is to create purchasing power where it did not exist before: “..need of money is a condition precedent to the issue thereof. to issue money, one must be without it, since money springs only from a debit balance on the books of the authorizing bank or central bookkeeper.”

if money is but an accounting instrument between buyers and sellers, and has no intrinsic value, why has there ever been a scarcity of it? the answer is that the producer of wealth has not been also the producer of money. he has made the mistake of leaving that to government monopoly.  – Riegel, the money pact

p. 4 – money is “simply number accountancy among private traders.” […]

and again, since some for the participants run negative balances for a time, the system offers what amounts to interest-free overdraft protection. as such a system starts out, members are likely to resort to fairly frequent settlements of account, and put fairly low limits on the negative balances that can be run, as a confidence building measure. negative balances might be paid up, and positive balances cashed out, every month or so. but as confidence increases. Greco argues, the system should ideally move toward a state of affairs where accounts are never settled, so long as negative balances are limited to some reasonable amount.

one possible rule of thumb – negative account balance should not exceed an amount equivalent to three months’ average sales. (but what if that’s gone? what if there are no more sales talks)

in fact, as David Graeber shows in his monumental Debt: the first 5000 years, that kind of mutual credit-clearing system historically predates coinage as the normal basis for money. Adam Smith’s scenario of primitive barter first emerging as the basis for exchange, running up against the problem of “double coincidence of wants,” evolving into the stockpiling of especially commonly desire commodities, and finally to the adoption to rare metals as a universal commodity suitable for a common medium of exchange, turns out to be as much a “bourgeois nursery fable” as the “social contract” and the “original accumulation of capital.”

p. 5 – in all the known world, anthropologists have never yet found an actual example of barter being used as the primary basis for exchange within a village or other community. it is used only between communities, for one-off transactions involving strangers where trust is low. on the other hand, village credit systems like Riegel’s and Greco’s, where neighbors and merchants keep running tabs and periodically settle up, are quite common. in the 16th and 17th century english village, for example:

since everyone was involved in selling something…, just about everyone was both creditor and debtor; most family income took the form of promises form other families; everyone kew and kept count of what their neighbors owed one another; and every six months or year or so, communities would hold a general public “reckoning,” canceling debts out against each other in a great circle, with only those differences then remaining when all was done being settled by use of coin or goods.

in this world, trust was everything. most money literally was trust, since most credit arrangements were handshake deals. when people used the word”credit,” they referred above all to a reputation for honesty and integrity; .. but also, reputation for generosity, decency, and good-natures sociability, were at least as important considerations when deciding wether to make a loan as were assessments of net income.

we can expect LETS or credit clearing system to increase in significance in periods of economic downturn, and even more so in the structural decline of the money and wage economy that is coming.

so – like govt reaching out to help with student debt – is them trying to hold onto power? esp if we are evolving into a new economy – soon enough..

Karl Hess and David Morris cite Alan Watts’ illustration of the absurdity of saying it’s impossible for willing producers, face with willing consumer,s to produce for exchange because “there’s not enough money going around”:

remember the great depression of the thirties? one day there was a flourishing consumer economy, with everyone on the up-and=up; and the next: poverty, unemployment and breadlines. what happened? the physical resources of the country – the brain, brawn, and raw materials – were in no way depleted, but there was a sudden absence of money, a so-called financial slump. complex reasons for this kind of disaster can be elaborated at lengths by experts in banking and high finance who cannot see the forest for the trees. but it was just as if someone had come to work on building a house and, on the morning of the depression, that boss had to say, “sorry, baby, but we can’t build today. no inches.” “whaddya mean, no inches? we got wood. we got metal. we even got tape measure.” “yeah, but you don’t understand business. we been using too many inches, and there’s just no more to go around.”

the point of the mutual credit clearing system, as Greco describes it, is that two people who have good and services to offer – but no money – are able to use their good and services to buy other goods and services, even when there’s ” no money.” so we can expect alternative currency systems to come into play precisely at those times when people feel the lack of “inches.”


p. 6 – for all these reasons, the kind of “community currency” that you have to buy with conventional currency is fundamentally wrong-headed. unfortunately, this – berkshares are a good example – is the most visible kind of “local currency” in the media – a “buy local” campaign in which local merchants agree to accept the local currency at some modest discount compared to dollars, and one obtains the local currency by trading in us dollars at participating businesses. the problem is that, to obtain this currency, you’ve got to already have conventional money as a store of value from past transactions. it’s essentially a greenwashed lifestyle choice for npr liberals: upper-middle class professional types who have the money in the first place.

such local currencies are basically useless for the primary purpose of a local currency: providing liquidity and a unit of account to facilitate exchange between those who have skills to trade for consumption, but no money.

p. 7 – the barter network (2011) in the city of volos is one of many that allow local greeks to achieve a measure of prosperity using their ingenuity and hard work, side-stepping the currency system that is so tied up in unbearable complexities and unsolvable problems at the international level.

talk of time bank – but hours are rated according to skill – and ie: young dr’s with huge medical school debts – less likely to participate

… the organizers are careful to make sure that the time is never given a specific value in hard currency, which would open the door to taxation from govts.

although awareness of the problems associated with the for-profit creation of money as debt at interest has grown, understanding of the solutions is still weak. despite an understanding of the problem as just described, many currency innovators have chosen currency designs which initially ally themselves with the existing monetary system, such as the ‘transition pound’ initiatives in the uk. this could be because they are designed with an interest in how to market an idea to people who would choose to engage in the currency for reason other than necessity.

p. 8 – president & founding member of ovolos – in patras greece, founded in 2009, local exchange currency, barter system, time bank.. has about 100 transactions a week…

p. 9 – by march 2012 volos’ tem system had double to 800 members, reaching 1300 in jan 2013. a member, Maria Choupis, summarized the significance of the system in language that applies just as well to the philosophy behind any well designed alternative currency:

“you are not poor when you have no money,” she said, “you are poor when you have nothing to offer – except for the elderly and the sick, to whom we should all be offering.”

in spain, the skyrocketing unemployment rates since the 2007 market collapse,… the unemployed and underemployed have turned to assorted barter arrangements in the informal economy in order to survive outside the wage system. such arrangements include time banks, of which some 290 existed in spain as of august 2012.

[..] – in Barcelona, the country’s second-largest city after madrid, the preferred model is time banks, which allow people to trade their services in hours without the involvement of money.

this is a way for people who are on the fringes of the economy to participate again,” said Josefina Altes, coordinator of the spanish time bank network.

p. 16 – according to Michel Bauwens of the foundation for peer to peer alternatives, “bitcoin is designed by people who believe in a certain type of economy, it is designed to be like gold, privileging hoarding.”

Michel Bauwens … has also sensibly withdrawn his support of the digital currency and expressed strong criticism during a talk at OuiShareFest in may 2013. but contrary to Varoufakis, he remains optimistic:

thank you bitcoin for doing this, because ow we can do something better ..


at a panel at oisharefest on virtual currencies, everyone agreed on the principle that next currencies should be based on trust, and help the real economy. but where to start?

“we need to dismantle the idea that money should be a commodity, a store value” Dropis’ Scrofina says

p. 17 – when this tipping point happens (we slide into usability), there won’t be any central point of control over economies. it will be like everybody traded in cash, traditional anonymous cash, once again. why, then, will this make govts dump a ton of bricks on the internet?

up until now, from the perspective of govts, it’s only been some friends complaining about a sales slump of cds so govts have given them some legislative breadcrumbs to shut up.

how do you think govts across the world are going to react when they realize they’ve lost the ability to tax the public.

…. the decentralized, uncontrollable economy where one lifetime employment is no longer central to every human being is something i’ve called the swarm economy, and i predict it will redefine society to an immensely larger extent than the ability to get rap music for free.

 – Rick Falvinge, wit napster of banking round the corner, bring out your popcorn, 2011

rest of chapter heavy on bitcoin – don’t really follow any reasoning there.


p. 23 – – web app does not make actual transactions. it is not a currency, and it is not a bank. it just helps you to cryptographically sign open tabs (ious) between peers, as an alternative to actually executing a bank transfer.. this way we can both forget about the train ticket you owe me, and strike it off against other transactions, until maybe at the end of the year we clear the balance once, and settle the tab. just like tabs in a bar.   – Melvin Carvalho – open tabs – decentralized oney coming this week, 2011

udc & metacurrency project (  lauren higgins from denver)

money revelations


– – – – –

ch 7 kevin

p.2 – the technical basis, in network technology and the tools of individual super-empowerment, already exists for supplanting regulatory state functions [..] but getting from here to there will involve a fundamental paradigm shift in how most people think, and the overcoming of centuries worth of ingrained habit of thought. this involves a shift from what james C. Scott, in seeing like a state, calls social organizations that are primarily “legible” to the state, to social organization that are primary legible or transparent to the people of local communities organized horizontally and opaque to the state.

the latter kind of architecture, as described by Pyotr Kropotkin, was what prevailed in the networked free towns of late medieval europe. the primary pattern of social organization was horizontal (guilds, etc.), with quality certification and reputational functions aimed mainly at making individuals’ reliability transparent to one another. to the state, such local formations were opaque.

p. 3 – the absorption of all social functions by the state necessarily favoured the development of an unbridled, narrow-minded individualism. in proportion as the obligations towards the state grew in numbers the citizens were evidently relieved from their obligations toward each other.

likewise, the preemption and absorption – or suppression – of all regulatory functions by the state favored the development of a mindset by which providers of goods and services were relieved of their obligations to provide reliable certification s of the quality of their wares to consumers, and consumers were relieved of their obligations to scrutinized their quality and the reputations of the vendors. it was the state’s job to take care of that business for us, and we needn’t bother our heads about it.

but it’s usually a false confidence that relies of the imprimatur of the state for the quality of goods and services; the average citizen consumes endless amounts of things like genetically modified organism, pesticide and herbicide residues, and prabens on the assumption that “they couldn’t sell it if it was dangerous” – when the so-called regulatory standards are largely written by the regulated industries. and whatever minimal genuine quality and safety standards exist in the regulatory code become, in practice, a ceiling as much as  a floor; often corporations have successfully pressured the courts when their competitors advertise a product quality or safety standard higher than the regulatory state requires, to treat such advertising as “product disparagement” on the grounds that it suggests products which merely meet the ordinary standard (which of course is based on “sound science”) are inferior. for example, monsanto frequently goes after grocers who label their mild rbgh free, and some federal district courts have argued that it’s an “unfair competitive practice” to test one’s beef cattle for mad cow disease more frequently than the mandated industry standard. in short ..

..the regulatory state, by supplanting self-organized reputational and certifying mechanisms, has relieved the citizen of the burden of thinking for herself – and the corporation has rushed in to take advantage of the fact.

to accomplish a shift back to horizontal transparency, it will be necessary to overcome a powerful residual cultural habit, among the general public, of thinking of such things through the minds’ eye of the state: ie: if “we ” didn’t have some way of verifying compliance with this regulation or that, some business somewhere might be able to get away with something or other. we must overcome six hundred years or so of almost inbred habit s of though, in which the stated is all seeing guardian of society protecting us from the possibility that someone, somewhere might do something wrong if”the authorities” don’t preserve it.

in place of his habit of thought, we must think instead of ourselves creating mechanisms on a networked basis, to make us as transparent as possible to each other as providers of goods and services, to prevent businesses from getting away with poor behavior by informed each other , to prevent each other from selling defective merchandise, to protect ourselves from fraud, etc. the estate has attempted to coopt the rhetoric of horizontality (ie: we are the govt.) but in fact, the creation of such mechanisms – far from making us transparent to the regulatory state – may well require active measure to render us opaque to the state (ie ;encryption, darknets, et.) for protections against attempts to suppress such local economic self-organization against the interest of corporate actors.

p. 4 – we need to lose the centuries-long habit of thinking of “society” as a hub-and-spoke mechanism and viewing the world vicariously from the imagine perspective of the hub, and instead think of it as a horizontal network and visualize things from the perspective of the individual nodes which we occupy. we need to lose the habit of thought by which transparency from above even became perceived as an issue in the first place. because the people who are seeing things “from above,” in reality , do not represent us or have anything in common with us.

well – not nothing.. they are human.. none of us if one of us ness

as Charles Johnson – aka “rad geek” argued, “the market” is nothing more than a series of choices made by human beings as to how to interact with one another.

two kinds of spontaneous orders in a self-regulating society: unplanned – no prior blueprint; voluntary organizing and activism

p.4 – in other words, if you want regulations that check destructive corporate power, that put a stop to abuse or exploitation or the trashing of the environment, don’t lobby – organize.

it’s not important that we can’t answer every question about “who will prevent this or that without a state?” “how will we do the other thing without the state?” we need, as David de Ugarte argues, to think of social problem solving as something that we will do, by responding to the situation and using our judgment as we go along.

 and what happens if we don’t have an alternative to every “solution,” at every moment? nothing. it’s like free software, ti doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad, we’ll improve it; it doesn’t matter if there’s support or not, we’ll organize it. freedom is fundamental to what is truly alive and human. its the starting point for all ethical thinking, not a distant objective. it’s not with Tony Soprano – or what’s worse, with his bards, or, worse still, as the case may be, with the initiation chants of the children of his theoreticians and renters – that the starting point lies for thinking in communal and social terms.   – David – ethics and the state is like freedom and Tony Soprano.. march 2013

such a shift in perspective will require, in particular, overcoming the hostility of conventional liberals who are in the habit of reacting viscerally and negatively, and on principle, to anything not being done be “qualified professional” or “the proper authorities.”

p. 6 – Paul Fussell, i bad, ridicules the whole do-it-yourself ethos as an endless sahara of the squalid, with blue collar schmoes busily uglifying their homes by taking up on themselves projects that should be left to  – all together now – the properly qualified professionals.

the progressive society is one of comfortable and well-fed citizens, competently managed by properly credentialed authorities, contentedly milling about like ants in the shadows of miles-high buildings    […]  such reputational systems really are underused, and most people really do take inadequate precautions in the marketplace on the assumption that the regulatory state guarantees some minimum acceptable level of quality. but liberal criticism based on this state

p. 9 – the sooner we take it upon ourselves to kill the advertising industry th eless time it’ll have to build weapons for the state.

Adem Kupi remarks on the role of the state in artificially lowing the transaction costs involved in establishing trust, underwriting risk, etc, in the anonymous transactions that occur in large markets:

the security state makes it too easy for people to stop thinking. in fact, it penalizes “over-thinking” by shortening time horizons. we just don’t have time to think too much about anything, and we don’t have enough options to weigh. they’ve done the thinking for us and pre-limited our options..

in the skeptical society, on the other hand, trust has to be earned, and people will rely on their local social networks to provide them accurate information. honesty, and not bullshit, will become the most valuable commodity. “authority” as such will be scorned, unless it is backed up by a great deal of legitimate evidence. people will think more and do less, because that will be the only way to deal with risk. in the process, wealth will localize. no more vast towers of concentrated power. production will become more interdependent, and decentralized, because no particular group will be able to sustain large-scale production, and thus no one will be denied the opportunity for small scale production.

the current growing ratio of noise to signal is putting pressure on the world to become more skeptical, which will put pressure on societies to shift away from guaranteeing security. they just won’t be able to do it effectively. the idea of managing anything larger than a local area will become preposterous.   – Kupi, the security state vs the skeptical society

p. 11 – Dean Baker point out, in rather colorful language, the nature of strict bankruptcy laws as a form of welfare for the rich:

in a free market economy, businesses know that investment decisions don’t always work out as expected. sometimes businesses invest in developing a product.. that doesn’t have the market they anticipate. […] no one expects that the govt will step in and sustain the demand for a bad product. nor do we expect the govt to intervene to make sure investors’ expectations about rising oil prices are realized…. but when it comes to making bad credit decisions, the nanny state conservatives do expect the govt to step in and bail them out.

the nanny state conservatives think that it is the role of the govt to act as a strong-arm debt collector for businesses that did not accurately assess the risks associated with their loans. they want the govt to chase after individual debtors, following them throughout their lives, to wring out every possible cent of debt repayment….

p. 14 your grocer or natural foods coop may have some produce that’s labeled as “no-spray” without actually being certified organic. organic certification typically results in a 50% markup over no-spray produce.

p. 18 – Pierre Omidyar originally founded ebay on the assumption that people are basically good; within weeks, so many transactions had involved cheating that he introduced a reputation system based on mutual reviews for honesty, promptness, etc, between buyers and sellers.

it was designed, in Clay Shirky‘s words, to cast the shadow of the future over both parties, giving each an incentive to maintain or improve their standing on the site.

p. 20 – imagine if you could scan a cereal box and find out that the company’s ceo likes to hunt rhinos, ride elephants, and eat shark fin soup – at the same time. imagine if you could scan a video game box and immediately see all of the active legislation , the representative sponsors and supporters, and how much money thy’ve received from industry lobbying. you could even go as far as equipping the app with facial recognition, so that you can point your phone at a senator’s face on the tv and quickly find out whether what he’s saying actually jibes with his real world behavior and voting recored. this sin’t a futuristic concept; we could do this right now with the tech we have.   – Sebastian Anthony , boycott sopa: an android app that terrifies publishers and politicians

p. 21 – every year new health care devices are designed to solve crippling global health challenges by university students. [..] these low cost devices target low and middle income countries that have no formalized systems to guide how to demonstrate a device’s quality, reliability and safety. [..] the net result of this landscape is that many products never make it from the lab to the field to benefit people, that products have difficulty with funding due to the challenges of responding to varying data requirements and that adoption by providers is often limited due to lack of data on quality, reliability and safety.

Doc Searls – everything that i described can be made possible only by the full empowerment of individuals – that is, by making them both independent of controlling organization s and better able to engage with them. work toward these goals is going on today, inside a new field called vrm, for vendor relationship management. vrm works on the demand side of the marketplace: for you, the customer, rather than for sellers and third parties on the supply side.

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ch 8 kevin

p. 4 – but there is a role for workers’ organizations too. . it’s just that that role is changing. “we’re going to have to evolve past the idea that the only thing a union is, is a collective bargaining agent at a workplace,” says freelancers union founder Sara Horowitz. “there will be a a lot more experimentation. you can see the shape of the future already, not just in the freelancers’ union but the growth of the peer economy.”

today networks help us find a job (linkedin), a place to crash (airbnb), fund our projects (kickstarter), or give us a place to perform and publicize our work (behance, github). coworking spaces give startups and businesses a coop edge along with a desk. website like glassdoor give workers important leverage in knowing about who to work for and how much to charge.

tomorrow, crowdfunded workers’ networks could perform all of the above functions and more to serve as the union of the future.  – Anya Kamenetz, unions are dying. what comes next jan 2013

p. 7 – i’m thinking we are ready and have the means – to move beyond replicating at a smaller scale (ie: govt to guild even) to going straight to the individual – aka: ni ness. talking of job placement and training and identity – just sounds so much like what we already have – so how long before we’re starting the cycle over yet again..? [label, credentialing, et al] – a qr mechanism ness

ie: p. 8 – while affinity groups are likely be the primary means by which workers come together in the future, guilds can also be expected to subcontract to third-party companies for such services as insurance and retirement planning, in order to create larger actuarial pools or achieve administrative scale economies. similarly, third-party, for-profit organizations — which might emerge out of present-day temporary agencies or educational institutions — could also play a subcontracting role in the areas of placement and professional development, providing brokering or specialized training services which would not be economical for guilds to maintain internally.  – Ana Silva – the future of work: on to a freelance model?

what if insurance, retirement plans, prof development, … all are not a part of the future..?

p. 10-11 – Hardt and Negri’s multitude ness – ie: can do more from home than at work – then describes city as school ness.. ish – talent integration ecosystem (tie): purpose finding (what could happen life-long – in the city – as the day); strengths analysis (rather than working on deficits);  motivation; futures search (how does one become ultimately flexible and agile?); ed and competencies; internships; mentoring; continuous learning

p. 11  – members pay fraction of income to guild in good times in return for a guaranteed min income in bad times…

what if we just had min income…? imagine the time we would save.. ie: with all the checking on who paid in what when.. who took out what when. also – no worries of – ie: if i go into this field – where their pool is smaller – i will be less secure.. so maybe i won’t go do the thing i can’t not do.. but rather .. i’ll just go do the thing i can do…

p. 14 – the growing importance of human capital relative to physical capital as a source of equity (artisan is mobile – in and out of companies – like self-contained) and revenue streams, and the shift from expensive machinery (that got people coming to factory et al – to share burden of cost) back to affordable general-purpose tools as the primary form of physical capital, open possibilities for reviving worker coops as a tool of labor resistance that existed before the triumph of the factory system.

the sam principle applies to the expansion of all kinds of self-directed labor. according to Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri:

.. the trend toward the hegemony or prevalence of immaterial production in the processes of capitalist valorization… images, information, knowledge, affects, codes, and social relationships… are coming to outweigh material commodities or the material aspects of commodities in the capitalist valorization process. the means, of course, no that the production of material goods,… is disappearing or even declining in quantity but rather that their value is increasingly dependent on and subordinated to immaterial factors and goods… what is common to the se different forms of labor… is best expressed by their biopolitical character.. living beings as fixed capital are at the center of this transformation,,a and the production of forms of life is becoming the basis of added value. this is a process in which putting to work human faculties, competences, and knowledges = those acquired on the job but, more important, those accumulated outside work interacting with automated and computerized productive systems – is directly productive of value. on distinctive feature of the work on head and heart, then, is that paradoxically the object of production is really a subject, defined… by a social relationship of a form of life.   – commonwealth, p. 132

p. 15 – …knowledge is embedded in the workers themselves – “knowledge that is widespread across society” as ” a central productive force, and out of reach of the system of control.

labor’s revolutionary struggle, accordingly, under these conditions – under the new technical composition – takes the form of “exodus”:

by exodus here we mean, at least initially, a process of subtraction from the relationship with capital by means of actualizing the potential autonomy of labor=power. exodus is thus not a refusal of the productivity of biopolitical labor-power but rather a refusal of the increasingly restrictive fetters placed on its productive capacities by capital. it is an expression of the productive capacities that exceed the relationship with capital achieved by stepping through the opening in the social relation of capital and across the threshold. as a first approximation, then, think  of this form of class struggle as a kind of maroonage. like the slaves who collectively escape the chains of slavery to construct self-governing communities and quilombos, biopolitical labor-power subtracting from tis relation to capital must discover and construct new social relationships, new forms of life that allow it to actualize its productive powers. but unlike that of the maroons, this exodus does not necessarily mean going elsewhere. we can pursue a line of flight while staying right here, by transforming the relationship of production and mode of social organization under which we live.

most household possess producer goods like kitchen appliances, grage power tools, sewing machines….as well as member with cooking, sewing, babysitting,…. skills. and the productive capacity of such machinery and skills is typically far beyond the consumption needs of the individual household.  if the spare capacity of such machinery and skills were used for production for barter with other households, a major part of what we consume could be produced using the spare capacity of producer goods and skills already possessed in the households of the unemployed and underemployed. … workers who barter babysitting time with the neighbor need a lot less work time than those who spend half their paychecks on daycare.

p. 16 – it is easy to see now why from the perspective of global capital and the global power structure all these classes are so dangerous. if they were simply excluded form the circuits of global production, they would be no great threat.. they are dangerous rather because not only the immaterial and the industrial workers but also the agricultural workers and even the poor and the migrants are included as active subjects of biopolitical production. their mobility and their commonality is constantly a threat to destabilize the global hierarchies and divisions on which global capitalist power depends. they slide across the barriers and burrow connecting tunnels that undermine the walls.   – Hardt & Negri, multitude

… we have begun to recognize (from the standpoint of the critique of political economy) how the singular figures of postmodern labor do not remain fragmented and dispersed but tend through communication and collaboration to converge toward a common social being.. this common social being is the powerful matrix that is central in the production and reproduction of contemporary society and has the potential to create a new, alternative society. we should regard this common social being as a new flesh amorphous flesh that as yet forms no body. the important question at this point is what kind of body will these common singularities form?

p. 17 – the production of the common always involves a surplus that cannot be expropriated by capital or captured in the regimentation of the global political body. this surplus, at the most abstract philosophical level, is the basis on which antagonism is transformed into revolt. deprivation.. may breed anger, indignation, and antagonism, but revolt arises only  on the basis of wealth, that is, a surplus of intelligence, experience, knowledges, and desire. when we propose the poor as the paradigmatic subjective figure of labor today, it is not because the poor are empty and excluded from wealth but because they are included in the circuits of production and full of potential, which alway exceeds what capital and the global political body can expropriate and control.

…this relationship is the point on which sovereignty can be challenged and overthrown. in politics as in economics, …

one weapon that is constantly at the disposal of the ruled… is the treat to refuse their position of servitude and subtract themselves from the relationship. ..

…this act of refusing the relationship with the sovereign is a kind of exodus, fleeing the forces of oppression, servitude, and persecution in search of freedom.. without the active participation of the subordinated, sovereignty crumbles.

p. 18 – this does not mean the sovereignty immediately crumbles and the rulers lose all their power. it does mean that the rulers become ever more parasitical and that sovereignty becomes increasingly unnecessary. correspondingly, the ruled become increasingly autonomous, capable of forming society on their own. .. indeed when the products of labor are not material goods but social relationships, networks of communication, and forms of life, then it becomes clear that economic production immediately implies a kind of political production, or the production of society itself we are thus no longer bound  by the old blackmail; the choice is not between sovereignty and anarchy. the power of the multitude to create social relationships in common stands between sovereignty and anarchy, and it thus presents a new possibility for politics.

interesting – in the break away – what always seems to be top priority is some type of structure/safety net – ie: health insurance.. but what if ie: health insurance is no longer an issue/desire/assume commodity..

p. 25 – in lat 2004 and 2005, the phenomenon of “doocing” – (the firing of bloggers for negative commentary on their workplace, or for the expression of other non-approved opinions on their blogs) began to attract mainstream media attention,..

the exchanged-via-hyperlinks-and-web-services information is retrievable, re-usable and when combined with other information ..often shows the person in a position of power to be a liar or a spinner, or irresponsible in ways that are not appropriate. this is the basic notion of transparency (which describes a key facet of the growing awareness of the power of the web)

.. the hoarding and protection of sensitive information by hierarchical institutions and powerful people in those institution is under siege         – Jon Husband, wirearchy

p. 27 – … if a whistelblower goes to the sec (securities and exchange commision), the first notice of a problem will be when a govt investigator comes knocking. if a whistleblower turns to wikileaks the first indication of a problem is likely to be splashed across the pates of the new york times or the wall street journal.

“we need to recognize that this is, in fact, an age of revolution,” says Keith Darcy, executive director of the ethics compliance and officer association. “there is no stopping what is becoming an increasingly transparent world.”

more than anything, wikileaks underscores the ease at which employees can expose massive amounts of internal documents to the public anonymously, with a simple click of the mouse……

Bill Prachar, a partner with the law firm compliance systems legal group, says he worries that sites like wikileaks will start to dictate the way companies operate for fear that the public may perceive certain decisions the wrong way. “one hopes that companies can operate without the paranoia of hot it may appear on wikileaks,” say Prachar. but there’s alway s the risk that something will be taken out of context, he says.

oh.. the time/energy we waste.. not looking good.

or that they’ll change the way they operate, rather, out of fear the public may perceive their decisions entirely correctly. interestingly, Keith Darcy suggests that …

one way for organizations to immunize themselves against the wikileaks threat is to “create a culture of trust,.. in which employees feel a sense of shared ownership in the reputation and the brand of the organization.” in other words, the corporation needs to behave in a less authoritarian manner – change the way it operates – to reduce the threat of having its public image destroyed by disgruntled workers.

even more interestingly, Darcy mentions responding quickly and fairly to internal whistelblower complaints as part of that culture of trust:

companies should also communicate that whistleblowers will be protected and treated with respect. whistleblowers will often report a problem internally before they go to authorities if they feel like the company won’t retaliate against them. “the burden is on us to make sure when people speak to us internally that we act as quickly as possible to resolve and settle those investigations,” Darcy says.  – Jaclyn Jaeger, wikileaks: th other whistle blower problem.. 2011

still not getting the sense that we need unions/insurance/et al.. 2013 – 200000 in freelancer’s union – Sara Horowitz. not sure that we wouldn’t have mounds more (time/money/everything) if we rethought what we think are basics.

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ch 9 kevin

p. 4 – Kim Stanley Robinson in the second volume of his Mars trilogy, made some interesting comments (through the mouth of one of his characters) on the drawbacks of traditional models of revolution:

“..revolution has to be rethought. look, even when revolutions have been successful, they have caused so much destruction and hatred that there is always some kind of horrible backlash it’s inherent in the method. if you choose violence, then you create enemies who will resist you forever. and ruthless men become your revolutionary leaders, so that when the war is over they’re in power, and likely to be as bad as what they replaced.

p. 5 – a character in Marge Piercy’s woman on the edge of time, describing the revolution that led to her future decentralist utopia, summed it up perfectly. revolution, she said, was not uniformed parties, slogans, and mass-meetings. “it’s the people who worked out the labor=and-land intensive farming we do. it’s all the people who changed how people bought food, raised children, went to school.. who made new unions, withheld rent, refused to go to wars, wrote and educated and made speeches.”

p. 6 – our goal is not to take over leadership of existing institutions, but to render the irrelevant.

the best way to change “the laws,” in practical terms, is to make them irrelevant and unenforceable through counter-institution building and through counter-economic activity outside the state’s control. states claim all sorts of powers that they are utterly unable to enforce.

p. 7 – without the ability of govts to enforce their claimed powers, the claimed powers themselves are about as relevant as the edicts of the emperor norton. that’s why Charles Johnson argues that it’s far more cost-effective to go directly after the state’s enforcement capabilities than to try to change the law.

in point of fact, if options other than electoral politics are allowed onto the table, then it might very well be the case that exactly the opposite course would be more effective: if you can establish effective means for individual people, or better yet large groups of people, to evade or bypass govt enforcement and govt taxation, then that might very well provide a much more effective route to getting rid of particular bad policies than getting rid of the govt enforcement and govt taxation.

Chuck Hammill – … consider that, for a fraction of the investment in time, money and effort i might expend in trying to convince the state to abolish wiretapping and all forms of censorship – i can teach every libertarian who’s interested how to use cryptography to abolish them unilaterally…

 p. – there exist ways to make yourself free.

this coincides to a large extent with what Dave Pollard calls “incapacitation”: “rendering th eold order unable to function by sapping what it needs to survive.”

but suppose if, instead of waiting for the collapse of the market economy and the crumbling of the power elite, we brought about that collapse, guerrilla=style, by making information free, by making local communities energy self-sufficient, and by taking the lead in biotech away from govt and corporatist (the power elite) by working collaboratively, using the power of many, open source, unconstrained by corporate allegiance, patents and ‘shareholder expectations’?  – Dave Pollard – all about power & how to save the world

p. 10 – the key is to find the key nodes whose destruction will disable the entire system.

like this…?

you cannot oppress

taking control of the state’s policy-making apparatus, through conventional politics, is extremely costly. remember our earlier examples of immigration, copyright law and pot decriminalization? every single step in that process involves an uphill battle, with endless legislative hearings and ballot initiatives, in which the forces of reform are outgunned many times over by lobbyists in terms of money and access.

but by attacking the state at its systempunkt – enforcement – we can render it ineffective against us at a tiny fraction of the cost:

a law that cannot be enforced is as good as a low that has been repealed…

if you put all your hope for social change in legal reform, and if you put all your faith for legal reform in maneuvering within the political system, then to be sure you will find yourself outmaneuvered at every turn by those who have the deepest pockets and the best media access and the tightest connections. there is no hope for turning this system against them; because, after all, the system was made for them and the system was made by them. reformist political campaigns inevitably turn out to suck a lot of time and money into politics – with just about none of the reform coming out on the other end. but if you put your faith for social change in methods that ignore or ridicule their parliamentary rules, and push forward through grassroots direct action – if your hopes for social change don’t depend on reforming tyrannical laws, and can just as easily be fulfilled by widespread success at bypassing those laws and making them irrelevant to your life – then there is every reason to hope that you will see more freedom and less coercion in your own lifetime. there is every reason to expect that you will see more freedom and less coercion tomorrow than you did today, no matter what the law-books may say. – Johnson, counter-economic optimism 2009

one of the benefits of stigmergic organization , as we saw in earlier discussions of it, is that individual problems are tackled by the self-selected individuals and groups best suited to deal with them – and that their solutions are then passed on, via the network, t o everyone who can benefit from them.

p. 11 – in light of all this, the most cost-effective “political” effort is simply making people understand that they don’t need anyone’s permission to be free.

p. 17 – legibility is a condition of manipulation. any substantial state intervention in society – to vaccinate a population, produce goods, mobilize labor, tax people and their property, conduct literacy campaigns, conscript soldiers, enforce sanitation standards, catch criminals, start universal schooling – requires the invention of units that are visible.. whatever the units being manipulated, they must be organized in a manner that permits them to be identified, observed, recorded, counted, aggregated, and monitored. the degree of knowledge required would have to be roughly commensurate with the depth of the intervention. in other words, on might say that the greater the manipulation envisaged, the greater the legibility required to effect it.

it was precisely this phenomenon, which had reached full tide by the middle of the nineteenth century, that Proudhon had in mind when he declared, “to be ruled is to be kept an eye on, inspected, spied on, regulated, indoctrinated, sermonized, listed and checked off, estimated, appraised, censured, ordered about… to be ruled is at every operation, transaction, movement, to be noted, registered, counted, priced, admonished, prevented, reformed, redressed, corrected.”

 –  James Scott, seeing like a state, the art of being governed-

p. 18 – in that book (the art of not being governed), Scott surveys the populations of “zomia,” the highland areas spanning all the countries of southeast asia, which are largely outside the reach of the govts there.

p. 19 – based on the state’s preference for “legibility, appropriation, and centralization of control, ” it will tend to promote “institutional arrangements [that] can be readily monitored and directed from the center and can be easily taxed…”

the principles of standardization, central control, and synoptic legibility to the center could be applied to many.. fields. if we were to apply them to education, for example, the most illegible education system would be completely informal, nonstandardized instruction determined entirely by local mutuality [eg, me on one end of a log and Mark Hopkins on the other]. the most legible educational system would resemble Hippolyte Taine’s description of french education in the nineteenth century, when “the minister of education could pride himself, just by looking at his watch, which page of virgil all schoolboys of the empire were annotating at that exact moment.”

p. 20 – more broadly, the state prefers large-scale property to small, petty bourgeois property, large farms to small peasant farms, large commercial establishments to small family shops, and formalized economic activity in the cash nexus to informal exchange, barter or gifting.

the transaction costs of overcoming opacity and illegibility, and enforcing obedience in an atmosphere of non-compliance, function as a tax in a manner analogous to john Robb’s “terrorism tax” which we discussed in an earlier chapter,. it makes some “spaces” (ie: sectors or areas of life) more costly to govern than they’re worth. Scott argues that for a ruler, the relevant metric is not gdp but “state-accessible product”. the greater an area’s distance from the center, the higher the concentration of value or value-to-weight ratio a unit of output must have to be worth appropriate and carrying off to the capital. the further from the center an aria is, the larger the share of its economy will cost more than it’s worth to exploit.

the more costly enforcement is and the smaller the revenues the state (and its corporate allies, as in the case of enforcing digital copyright law) can obtain per unit of enforcement effort, the more hollow it becomes and the more areas of life it retreats from as not worth the cost of governing.

historically, when not being governed required spatial distance and inaccessibility, creating a nonstate space meant a choice of technologies of living based on the need to be less legible. in many cases this translated into “abandoning fixed cultivation to take up shifting agriculture and foraging,” the deliberate choice of a more “primitive”lifestyle for the sake of autonomy, and the conscious choice of less productive methods of cultivation and a smaller surplus.

….liberatory technologies now offer the potential to eliminate the necessity for this tradeoff between autonomy and standard of living.

p. 21 – the taz (temporary autonomous zone – via Hakim Bey) is like an uprising which does not engage directly with the state, a guerrilla operation which liberates an area (of land, of time, of imagination) and then dissolves itself to re-form elsewhere/elsewhen, before the state can crush it.

unfortunately, Bey frames the taz in terms of a false dichotomy, treating it in contrast to revolutionary or insurrectionary strategies of directly confronting the state – and equating all totalizing visions of freedom to the latter.

you will argue that this is a counsel of despair. what of the anarchist dream, the stateless state, the commune, the autonomous zone with duration, a free society, a free culture? are we to abandon that hope in return for some existentialist acte gratuit? the point is not to change consciousness but to change the world.

i accept this criticism. i’d make two rejoinders nevertheless; first, revolution has never yet resulted in achieving this dream. the vision comes to life in the moment of uprising – but as soon as “the revolution” triumphs and the state returns, the dream and the ideal are already betrayed. i have not given up hope or even expectation of change – but i distrust the word revolution. second, even if we replace the revolutionary approach with a concept of insurrection blossoming spontaneously into anarchist culture, our own particular historical situation is not propitious for such a vast undertaking. absolutely nothing but a futile martyrdom could possibly result now from a head-on collision with the terminal state, the megacorporate information state, the empire of spectacle and simulation. its guns are all pointed at us, while or meager weaponry finds nothing to aim at but a hysteresis, a rigid vacuity, …

Bey misses the transformation of quantity into quality: that as change in technological possibilities makes the proliferation of taz more feasible and shifts the offensive-defensive arms race between them and the state, there will be a shift in their structural significance. taz will become progressively less “temporary.” it need be “temporary” only in the sense that state capitalism is “temporary.” the particular, local features of state capitalism  the rise and fall of individual corporations, for instance – are temporary. but the structure persists. likewise, the structure of the counter-society can persist and gradually achieve dominance over the older state-capitalist structure even as its local components are created and destroyed.

Bey’s pessimism is understandable, considering that he wrote at a time when no one imagined the liberatory potential of the worldwide web and network culture. at the time he wrote, hyperlinks and an open browser-based web weren’t even a twinkle in Tim Berners Lee’s eye. “internet” was synonymous with the official military/university network of the 1980s, populated mostly by govt, university or corporate employees with access to institutional mainframes.

p. 22 – one especially important variant of the stigmergic principle is educational and propaganda effort. even though organized, issue-oriented advocacy groups arguably can have a significant effect on the state in pressuring the state to cease or reduce suppression of the alternative economy, the best way to maximize bang for the buck in such efforts is simply to capitalize on the potential of network culture: that is, put maximum effort into just getting the information out there, giving the government lots and lots of negative publicity, and then “letting a thousand flowers bloom” when it comes to efforts to leverage it into political action. that being done, the political pressure itself will be organized by many different individuals and groups operating independently, spurred by their own outrage, without their necessarily even sharing an y common antistatist ideology.

so the many – with their own issues – is fine – once we have a mechanism to set everyone free (rather than as it is now – the many keep getting in the way of each other during their 20% time of anarchy ness) – and even better – if we can bypass the issues ness – and just have the time and space to do.. the things that matter. (ie: rather than fight for policy to be able to do them)

in oppressive latin american regimes – suspected murderers or torturers where outed with the use of graffiti, barbed wire, and red paint. the outing tactic was known as escrachar, and old spanish term meaning “to break” or “to destroy,” which was invested with the new meaning “to strike out publicly at someone’s reputation for the purpose of shaming them and revealing to others the terrible things they have done in private.

in the case of any particular state abuse of power or intervention in to the economy, there are likely to be countless subgroups of people who oppose it for any number of idiosyncratic reasons of their own, and not from any single dogmatic principle. if we simply expose the nature of the state action and all its unjust particular effects, it will be leveraged into action by people in numbers many times larger than those of the particular alternative economic movement we are involve in. even people who do not particularly sympathize with the aims of a counter-economic movement may be moved to outrage ….

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ch 10 kevin

p. 7 – now bear in mind that, under the ethos of “professional journalistic objectivity,” independently searching for information that bears on the truthfulness of an individual’s statement – as opposed to reporting that some prominent figure on “the other side” referred to such information – is a big no-no. it there’s not a “he said” money quote from a spokesman for t”the other side,” examining the record for yourself and reporting on what you find is taking sides.” that’s only for the op-ed page, you know.

but once the bloggers had circulated the story enough, it became a news story in its own right. and when Trent Lott was provoked into making a lame response, suddenly the bloggers’ findings triggered the he said” standard of conventional journalism.

p. 8 – one criticism of blogging and online journalism is the lack of a gatekeeping function, like that in the editorial offices of the major newspapers of record…but they failed to grasp the significance of the lowered capital outlay costs and other entry barriers for web publishing: the proliferation of many more outlets. in a networked blogosphere, in which any blogger can link to the material she criticizes and provide hyperlinks to corrective information, the corrective function is performed by the networked environment itself.

p. 12 – the network allows us to act socially on a certain scale, bypassing the mediation of external institutions – in face, it allows us to act as “individual institutions” and, in that sense, to become much freer and to acquire many more options.

networked individualism ness

on the web, linking to original materials and references i considered a core characteristic of communication. the culture is oriented toward “see for yourself.”  ….. and knowing that for any given referenced claim or source, there is some group of people out there, unaffiliated with the reviewer or speaker, who will have access to the source and the means for making their disagreement wit the speaker’s views known.

p. 13 – the internet allows individuals to abandon the idea of the public sphere as primarily constructed of finished statement uttered by a small set of actors socially understood to be “the media”.. and separated from society, and to move toward a set of social practices that see individuals as participating in a debate. statements in the public sphere can now be seen as invitations for a conversation, not as finished goods.

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ch 11 kevin

p. 1 – the sad truth is that bad security can be worse than no security; that is, by trying and failing to make ourselves more secure, we make ourselves less secure. we spend time, money, and energy creating systems that can themselves be attacked easily and, in some cases, that don’t even address the real threats. we make poor trade=offs, giving up much in exchange for very little security. we surround ourselves with security countermeasure that give us a feeling of security rather than the reality of security.

p. 2 – it follows that most so=called “national security” is a manufactured problem.

p. 5 – i argue later in this chapter that a decentralized, stateless society is less vulnerable to foreign conquest insofar as it presents a much wider array of lower-profile, lower-value targets and there is no single center of authority to surrender after it is captured.

p. 9 – Eugene Holland celebrates a positive development the emergence of a new generation of utopian literature, which abandons the monolithic social models traditional to the genre for something less totalizing:

… rather than the “obsessive search for a simple, single-shot solution to all our ills” that characterizes the imagination of classic utopian texts, more recent utopian thought and fiction acknowledge and emphasize Fancy and the plurality of possible utopias instead. Friedman, for example, depicts a plethora of distinct utopian societies scattered across the globe, each embodying its own unique set of ideals uncontaminated by contact with the others. Robinson’s sprawling novels, similarly, portray a wide range of different utopian experiments and communities in the course of his account of the colonization of mars, the significance of this recent direction taken in utopian thought and fiction is the departure from singularity and totality that had seemed inherent in, if not indeed definitive of, the genre: the plurality of utopian impulses and ideals defies the singular perfection of utopia. from here it is but one step – albeit a significant one – to the vocation of affirmative nomadology to detect and reinforce utopian ideals in actually existing institution of whatever scale, from neighborhoods to virtual internet communities to production cooperatives to far-flung global trade arrangements. the utopian character of these institutions remains completely distinct from any singular utopia conceived as a total, self-contained community, for they are interwoven transversally with one another and constitute something like a meshwork rather than a unified whole.

p. 10 – and it follows that whatever system of meta-law emerges to maintain peace and regulate dealings between these varied communities, it will be organic (the product of ad hoc, bottom-up negotiation and precedents) rather than schematic (like Roghbard’s libertarian law code).

so as irresistible as it was for me to engage in the broad speculations above about the society-wide organization, we need to get back to the question of security as it relates to the overall theme of this book: 

measure that are within the capabilities of individuals and networked groups to protect themselves in way s that previously required a territorial state.

given this constraint, our primary emphasis will be at the micro rather than macro level. what can individuals and self-organized networks do, at the micro level, to secure themselves from the danger of attack and minimize the damage that does occur..

in recent years we’ve reached a level of complexity beyond their (the professionalized meritocracies that managed the centralized state and large corporation through the late-middle 20th cent) capacity to deal with.

the “educated classes” are adrift, lurching from blunder to blunder in a world that has out-complexified their ability to impose a unifying narrative on it, or even a small collection of rival but commensurable narratives. they’re in the exact positions of old soviet central planners, systemically locked into grinding out products nobody wants to buy.


since we can no longer count on being able to plan, we much adapt. when planning doesn’t work, centralization of authority is at best useless and usually harmful.

p. 11 – after the boston marathon bombing and subsequent security lockdown of the city, Robb noted that  a society organized on such centralized and brittle lines as ours would spend an increasing share of days each year under lockdown from terrorist threats.

…. as the number of disruptions increase, we’re going to face a choice. we can either stay under constant lock-down, or we can become resilient…

resilient communities don’t shut down and cower wen the going gets tough. they are the first responders

the ideal organization for countering the threat of terrorism is one that 1) has a distributed architecture in which damage to any one node will only do minimal damage to the network as a whole; 2) has no nodes large enough to present a valuable enough target, from an attacker’s perspective, to expend resources attacking; 3) empowers those at the endpoints to act on their own initiative in response to the situation on the ground; and 4) doesn’t go around the world stirring up terrorism in the first place. according to Ben Kohlman:

we heavily secure nuclear facilities and the bit ticket infrastructure. but the attacks of 9/11 were successful because the attackers completely bypassed the us military in attacking our country. they rendered our multi-million dollar air defense fighters irrelevant.

p. 12 – John Robb has done extensive work on this with his resilient communities project

rigid hierarchies and standard operating procedures only work in a predictable environment. when the environment is unpredictable, the key to success lies with empowerment and autonomy for those in direct contact with the situation. as John Hagel argued, the large hierarchical institutions with standardized routines only work in a predictable environment. .. (push vs pull ness)

p. 15 – our primary focus is not so much on decentralizing and hardening on a large-scale, society-wide basis, in keeping with some common policy. it is one of individuals, small communities and neighborhoods, business firms, utilities, etc., all doing what is within their own capabilities to minimize the danger of attack and mitigate its damage when it does occur, and taking advantage of whatever ways are feasible to network and federate with one another, in order to maximize their own long-term resilience.

…. a transformation of quantity to quality… that will determine the character of the system as a whole. but the specifics will likely clarify themselves only in the emergent system.

“flexibility in security rules is important, because it leads to more dynamic security” this means that the person implementing security measures in the last mile is trusted with discretion to apply the rules to novel situation s that were unforeseen by the people making the rules.  …[the underwear bomber (can’t find page now) – halted by a stander by person – not the billion dollar security system]…. the tsa has typically responded to attacks by formulating new policies that further limit the discretion of the people in direct contact with the situation. the static, inflexible kinds of policies that tend to predominate in bureaucratic organizations are the reason the work-to-rule strike is so devilishly effective: simply obeying the rules, literally, can bring an organization to a halt. (not to mention potential to kill people)

p. 16 – John Robb’s distinction between robustness and resilience is key to understanding Schneier’s concept of defense in depth. a robust system is simply hardened at all points, so that it can absorb an attack with minimal damage. a resilient system, on the other hand, focuses on rapid response to containing and repairing damage where it has already occurred, or bypassing damaged links so that the system can continue to function. the former is far more costly – usually prohibitively so.

sometimes the best defense is to allow attackers to succeed a little bit, commit themselves, and only then to employ additional defenses.

p. 18 – rather than focusing on how to thwart an attack, the idea should be to make society less vulnerable to a successful attack when it does occur..

.. when centralized security systems are no longer subsidized by taxes, society will reconfigure itself to make itself less dependent on them.

p. 20 – …. in one sense, there was no place where important decisions were made, and in another sense, decisions were made by everybody everywhere.

… there was no one person or node whose capture would effectively disable the system, and no central point of control with the authority to surrender on behalf of the apache nation

p. 21 – ie: during the american revolution the british focused their energies on conquering philadelphia, at that time the nominal capital of the us, on the assumption that once the capital had fallen the rest of the country would be theirs as well. what the british failed to realize was that the us was a loose-knit confederation, not a centralized nation-state, and the govt in philadelphia had almost no authority. when philadelphia fell, the rest of the country went about its business as usual; americans were not accustomed to living their lives according to directive from philadelphia, and so the british troops ended up simply sitting uselessly in the occupied capital, achieving nothing. hence Benjamin Franklin, when he heard that the british army had captured philadelphia, is said to have replied, “nay, i think philadelphia has captured the british army.”  – Roderick Long, defending a free nation.”

p. 21 – 22 – as Rebecca Solnit point out, after large-scale disasters the media are typically flooded with stories of looting and senseless violence by ordinary people. almost none of the stories is true. [p. 22 follows w/section of q&a with Rebecca by Astra]

p. 22 – most people are familiar with the mainstream news media’s framing of federal disaster relief efforts after hurricane katrina – the sheer incompetence and disorganization of fema’s response, bush’s hands-off approach, etc. – even i f they don’t realize the sheer scale of incompetence.

but what they’re not familiar with is the hostility of govt, at all levels, to attempts by new orleans residents to mitigate the disaster to themselves, and to outside relief efforts organized w/o govt authorization. not only did the state not recognize or support open-source, self-organized relief efforts after katrina; as we shall see below, it actively suppressed them.


ordinary residents and tourists carried out their self-organized rescue efforts in the face, not only of official indifference, but of official hostility.   [ie: govt/officials not wanting to look bad for their incompetency;.. people looting walgreens – because 2 days in and needed food and owners were gone.. police instead playing cat and mouse]

p. 24 – ie: of 500 pooling $45 each to get charter busses to come take them away – finding out military stopped them at city limits.. then national guard proceeded to inform them there were no shelters and no water for them…. et al..  oh my.. told to cross the bridge to busses – then fired at – told there were no busses..

p. 25 – sounds like iwan baan ness – oh what people can do..

this was something we saw repeatedly in the aftermath of katrina. when individuals had to fight to find food or water, it meant looking out for yourself. you had to do whatever it took to find water for your kids or food for your parents. but when these basic needs were met, people began to look out for each other, working together and constructing a community.

if the relief organizations had saturated the city with food and water in the first two or three days, the desperation, frustration and ugliness would not have set in.

p. 26 – self-organized evacuation attempts before the storm hit new orleans, and unofficial attempts at evacuation or aid organized from outside, met with similar official hostility. (the thing about this here is they are embarrassed, they all know we did a better job than [the shelters] did. we took care of ourselves. we survived. – until run out by officials) as we already saw, people attempting to distribute safe food and water supplies from retail stocks – stocks that would be written off as lost in any case – were treated as “looters” by police enforcing a “shoot to kill” policy. new orleans residents were prosecuted for commandeering empty schoolbuses from fleets of such idle vehicles to evacuate refugees ahead of the storm – something that apparently never occurred to govt to do.

Malik Rahim addressed the audience with an analysis and an attitude that the mainstream corporate media refuses to transmit across its airwaves. he pointed out how black doctors had been turned away from the devastated areas and how surrounding parishes had refused to help the predominantly poor and black communities of new orleans. he pointed out the hypocrisy of the state, which employed a shoot-to-kill order for young black men looking for food, but permitted armed, white vigilantes to roam the streets of new orleans. he revealed that there are many so-called “looters” who are still in jail for attempting to commandeer empty buses and transport people out of new orleans. many of these unjustly imprisoned individuals have yet to see their day in court.

what the heck..

p. 30 – despite the popular image of looting and assault and a generally hobbesian reversion to the “war of all against all,” the tendency toward cooperation and mutual aid also generally dwarfs anti-social behavior. “after the cataclysm,” Walker wrote, “social bonds will strengthen, volunteerism will explode, violence will be rare, looting will appear only under exceptional circumstances..”

p. 33 – thinking much about what we could be doing – if we’d just trust in iwan baan ness vision..

sitting in his office, which could be mistaken for an empty storage room, Philippe said the gab between the aid providers and the needs of the recipients was infuriating and humiliating. “our priorities are not the same as theirs, but theirs are executed. in theory, ngos come with something, but not with what the population needs.”           – 10s of billions/yr