nathan schneider

nathan schneider

intro’d to Nathan via his platform coop conf (w Trebor)


Platform Cooperativism Conference Disrupts Silicon Valley’s Disruptions

Schneider said on Friday that what we need are “algorithms for the 99 percent.”

perhaps.. chip (actually us) as platform.. algorithms via personal fab.. self-talk as data.. in the city. as the day.

“The history of the Internet is full of hope and disappointment,” says Schneider. “Free-and-open-source software, the ‘personal’ computer, the ‘sharing’ economy — each of these aroused hope for empowerment for people, only to become tools for monopoly and extraction.”

www ness

Silicon Valley, for its part, was busy the same weekend with the O’Reilly Media “Next:Economy” summit on the future of work. That conference is succinctly summarized by Tim O’Reilly’s declaration on the conference website that “Every industry and every organization will have to transform itself in the next few years.” It is this Silicon Valley mindset of transformation as an end unto itself that platform cooperativism is thinking outside of and against. While tech entrepreneurs look to disrupt in order to profit and see adoption on platforms as a bigger bottom line, platform cooperativists are focused on creating democratic ownership and governance structures and seek to adapt technology toward those ends.

? or maybe both have some of both…?

“When people in Internet culture talk about ‘democratizing’ something, they normally just mean expandingaccess to something,” says Schneider. “This is a pretty gross misuse of the word. A core challenge of platform cooperativism is to make sure that the need for democratic ownership and access of online platforms never gets watered down again into mere access for the sake of capital extraction.”


We’re drawing on decades of critical scholarship on the political economy of the Internet,” says Schneider. We’re trying to offer an intervention that might help end the cycle that turns all our of great hopes and ideas for a truly democratic Internet into new tools for monopolies to exploit.”

perpetuation ness.. broken feedback loop ness


nathan and krista 2014 – start at 6 min:

krista on nathan.. far seeing mind of youth… what it means to be human

11 min – my parents were both searchers.. and i got to go along with that

12 min – when i started realizing.. this weirdness i’m encountering is not weird.. others too.. and this time is not so unique.. other times..

14 min – experience at 17-18 – then monestary – then college..

the word proof – had this sort of intoxication for me… spent next 10 yrs trying to experience that word proof..

16 min – at this time.. new atheists were forming.. 9/11 had just happened..

17 min – the real power of these so called proofs .. was in the relationships (between people) they were forming

18 min – on not being able to separate logic from affection… the way the question was being framed around me.. of proof.. was maybe not the best way

23 min – young people not protesting church…. but protesting church wasn’t acting like a church… general identity was that of the nuns.. that was the cry.. act like a church

24 min – occupy wall street people banded to offer relief/supplies… in churches

occupy sandy ness

25 min – which is still ongoing and still tremendously unequal…

was good for them to see resilience power from these people that they had not had with occupy.. they started to draw from ideas, ie: jubilee… they started to recognize there is something real in this religious language that they were connecting with in the frustration of societies around them

27 min – bonhoffer ness.. the death of god phenom in 1960s.. something tantalizing about those questions.. ie: is church necessary… i think traditions/communities are necessary… only if.. at constant renewal w/respect for tradition…

a challenge the none’s amongst us are facing.. there isn’t a satisfaction with being a none (the new none religious)

30 min – reading paul goodman’s growing up absurd… made mistake focusing on just white men… he did point … dislocation.. was also necessary response to hypocrisy..

32 min – on diversity challenging to occupy movement.. on some of the undoing of relationships formed.. race/class.. things that divide us that we don’t know how to talk about.. we are the 99% but we are the 99% in a lot of diff ways.. far graver.. longer times..

occupy ness

34 min – people started recognizing the pain that so many in our society are carrying that we don’t have language to talk about.. because movement wasn’t built around, ie: people most impacted.. it ended up marginalizing them…. the injustices in outside world replicating themselves.. deeply puzzling many.. but set them off more aware… to connect local with global in a way they had thought to before..

35 min – one of great privileges for me.. covering occupy.. i had responsibility to edit columns of a pair of civil rights veterans.. (w/king et al)… i would tell them chaotic.. everyone saying.. where are the demands.. etc… and they said.. yes.. that’s the way it goes.. just flow with it… such a reminder of the amnesia we give ourselves about our social movements… we forget what movements have looked like and how to build stronger ones in the future

reminds of ta-nehisi at harvard nov – talking about things being bad for king when he was alive..

39 min – we saw so much of this w/occupy.. disappointment in how hard it was.. they saw selves not as americans rising up but as actually joining a global movement.. one thing i was noticing about way stories were being told.. the flash/flicker/spectacle.. that shows on streets for a few weeks.. but i had heard the long/patient organizing behind all this… there was a nother story about what was going on in the midst of it..  set up a lot of disappoint in young people.. a strange set of expectations by the way we tell our stories.. ie: where’s you king coming to save..

43 min – i find term: digital native as troubling… why are we using fb instead of something we control..

44 min – i was drawn to computer science same way i was drawn to religion.. interested in the stuff that was affecting our imaginations… i thought i might do a thesis: how people organize files on computers.. but we never talk about how/why.. it’s those decisions i’m interested in in tech..

45 min – on mesh networking… feeding each other internet rather than everyone getting it independently from comcast.. but it doesn’t work.. our neighborhoods are organized enough… it’s important when we talk about tech.. that we talk about how we relate to others in other ways..

46 min – on turkle – i’ve been exploring frontiers of ways people are doing that… ie: europe gathering hacker ness in monestaries.. looking to religious legacy as means of starting from scratch… don’t feel they can go to traditional institutions to explore these things…

a nother way to leapfrog to a global do-over – deep enough for all of us..

49 min – reason alone eventually turns into reason together… that was something i saw very vividly in occupy movement

i was very vividly here – when you’re free to be you.. you can’t not be us..

51 min – people talking and talking as if no one had ever listened to them before.. – at occupy

55 min q&a – on how people got drawn into occupy a: three words in an email: occupy wall street.. if they doesn’t pull you in.. need to spend time studying what wall street means to us today

57 min – we can’t stop ourselves from destroying the planet.. why is that..

what kind of society is one that can’t stop itself from destroying the planet…

59 min – q: where can we go for true investigative reporting a: leaks – power of leaks are indicative of failure of media/govt

1:02 – something about this movement (occupy) brought out the incredibly troubling militarization of our police around the country… whatever we think about the movement.. that’s something we should all be troubled by… not police.. military.. for an unarmed crowd..

1:05 – blessed are the organized by stout..

also not available on overdrive

1:06 – mesh network.. one of many ways we could have built the internet.. didn’t have to be all google/fb all the time…  use imagination for more equitable/just ways that tech might enable us

www ness –

1:08 – on away from shiny – and turning attention to inner work

self-talk as data.. commonplace booking ourselves into being and as we are being.. ish

1:11 – on a person who had been losing his faith had guided me to mine..

1:11 – despair i feel comes from the stories.. when people tell each other stories in which they have no agency.. in which someone else has to do it for us..

the experiences of hope are the stories that i’m grasping to be able to tell.. but where people are living that agency.. to build societies that resist that injustice… i hope that we can learn to tell those stories better.. to see that divinity that’s within all of us.. how to tell those stories.. to hold up those moments where we find our ability/agency to make a change..

a and a ness – a nother way

recommended god in proof to overdrive.. but thank you anarchy not available for recommend. nice.


nathan on occupy 2013:

3 min – several meetings.. independent… about occupy ness… trying to bring u.s. into global uprising

4 min – w/in weeks occupy had majority of support in u.s.

5 min – didn’t pilfer out.. was taken down

6 min – talking on the movements that came out of the movement

9 min – if you’re going to make a right wing comparison with occupy.. i’d compare more to churches of the right than tea party of the right…

10 min – tea party and occupy share: concern with financial/bail-outs and deep concern of growth of security state.. differences.. occupy concerned w/growth of military.. far less nationalistic/borders.. occupiers want borders eliminated in general.. see selves as global movement

14 min – are people going to rediscover tools of grass roots ness …

problem with people is not that they are agreeing with what’s going on but that they feel helpless..


from platform coop conf:

from recording/opening … Nathan:

the internet has changed the meaning of our words.. that’s why we’re here today; ie: democracy; sharing; .. what if we brought the fuller meanings of these words back… barcelona – experimenting with working on their own- faircoop – using bitcoin et al…

open source, holocracy, blockchain… really powerful tools for organizing.. but too often extractive for big business… firewall between bottom line and where decisions are being made

what if we were in control… surveillance, isp, net neutrality..

what i think these next 2 days are/aren’t about.. focus on questions of ownership and govt and not just access, democracy and sharing… we have to be talking about building an ecosystem not just apps.. uber is good because of a whole ecosystem.. if we’re going to create alts we need to create an alt ecosystem.. process not solution… going to be difficult/flawed… not because one time fix..but because it’s right/just… a horizon not an absolute… not get set on what this has to look like.. most of all this is an invitation..

when i go back to colorado.. i’m going to try to build up an ecosystem there… where a young person w/good idea … democracy available/option/chance to do something even better…

dear Nathan.. boulder already has so many ecosystems.. so much of what you are saying.. is the future.. together in one place. (like we saw at contactcon at devcon and at platform coop) that’s not what we need.. we need the glue. first.

there is a nother way.. based very much on.. the divinity/map in each of us. already there.

we can Nathan. we can’t not.

think about who you’d like to get together over next 2 days..

last year.. we kept coming up to responses.. to what do we do next.. (trevor and i) decided we need to go deeper

end of day 1:

Really blown away by our #platformcoop showcase so far: @fairmondo@StocksyUnited@fuselabs. The future’s here, together for the 1st time!



convened by two guys.. one: nathan schneider – from cu boulder

Looking forward to tomorrow’s conference, orgnz’d by & : the internet needs a new economy!

Over and over, this is what happens with the most promising new technologies. From the telegraph to radio and television, early adopters imagine a coming reign of freedom and democracy. But then investors buy in and monopolies rise up, extracting profits above all and suppressing the next generations of innovators, at least until the next “disruption.”


We’re operating on the hunch that many of the economic challenges we face—wealth inequality, job security, health coverage, pensions—can’t be addressed adequately without the reorganization of how online platforms are owned and governed. Platforms are already reorganizing our economy; let’s reorganize them first, putting solidarity at the center.

or perhaps.. make them irrelevant.. no? ie: pensions, health, security..


We will hear, for instance, from the people behind Stocksy, an artist-owned stock-photography website, and Resonate, a cooperative music streaming platform. Backfeed, Swarm, and Consensys will show us the potential of the technology that made Bitcoin possible. We’ll learn about several new platforms that put labor markets under the control of workers themselves.


Cooperative businesses require a different kind of ecosystem than what fuels today’s online monopolies. This means, for instance, forms of financing that allow the people most affected by platforms to retain ownership and control, while still reaching appropriate scale. We’ll need cooperative incubators, cooperative legal clinics, and federations that coordinate the open-source software development that co-ops need. Governments will need to enact policies that make it easier for cooperative enterprises to flourish in the context of markets stacked against them.

? how is that a different kind of ecosystem..?

our souls are begging for systemic change..

we can. so we can’t not.


The same weekend as we convene Platform Cooperativism in New York (entrance is gratis, the public invited), the Silicon Valley elite will be gathering for O’Reilly Media’s Next:Economy conference to discuss the future of work. “No company, no job is immune to disruption,” its website boasts, and for $3,500, you too can attend. But the future need not emanate from there. The same weekend, in Cincinnati, the much more modest Union Co-op Symposium will gather those who are organizing to disrupt the reigning elite with cooperatives. We hope to amplify the growing chorus seeking real ownership and control over the systems that determine the shape of our lives. It’s time to bring the solidarity economy online.

www ness

a nother way – ps in the open et al – to leapfrog to a global do-over

find/follow Nathan:

link twitter

[links to new handle – @ntnsndr… old was @nathanairplane]

his site:

from his about page:

I’m Nathan Schneider, a writer, editor, and professor of media studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. I’ve published a book each on God and the Occupymovement. ..

I suppose what I’m after is the chronicling of ideas, of perfect worlds, of ordinary imaginations in practice. My method is speculative. Every word is hypothesis—while recognizing fearfully that with even the most casual remark we are building ourselves and our world irrevocably.

wikipedia small

Nathan Schneider (born 1984) is a journalist and author who covers religion and political movements in the United States.


Schneider was among the first journalists to cover the Occupy Wall Street movement during its planning stages and wrote about it for Harper’s Magazine, The Nation, The New York Times, and other publications, as well as in his 2013 book Thank You, Anarchy: Notes from the Occupy Apocalypse, published by University of California Press. He claims that his coverage of Occupy Wall Street served as the basis for a scene about Occupy Wall Street in HBO’s The Newsroom. His early articles about the movement appeared in a briefing sent to analysts at the security company Stratfor, which was released by WikiLeaks as part of its “Global Intelligence Files.”[13]Democracy Now! regularly turned to him as a correspondent about the movement,[14] and he also appeared on NPR’s The Brian Lehrer Show, Al Jazeera’s Inside Story, and an oral history of the movement by Vanity Fair, and Ezra Klein of The Washington Post referred to one of his articles as “the single best place to start” learning about the movement. Interviews with Schneider appear in two of the feature films made about the movement, American Autumn and 99%.


Writer Rebecca Solnit wrote the foreword to Thank You, Anarchy, which was adapted into an article for the Los Angeles TimesIn it, she wrote, “Thanks to this meticulous and elegant book, we know what one witness-participant was thinking all through the first year of Occupy, and what many of the sparks and some of the tinder were thinking, and what it was like to be warmed by that beautiful conflagration that spread across the world.”



when adding pic above.. David Graeber‘s value came up.. so perhaps he writes of Nathan..


may 2015

Still, Slow is far from perfect. If NSA spooks want to read your mail, they can install a keylogger, or steal your hard drive. Open-source software development depends on some big-bad corporate benefactors, and there are real usability benefits to embracing the dismal conformity of monopolistic operating systems. To those interested in some consciousness-raising about the machines with which we spend so much of our lives, I wholeheartedly, evangelistically recommend a bit of Slow Computing. But I’m not sure how much more it is than an act of piety.

ps in the open


nov 2015

“The pregnancy of Mary this year coincides with pangs of violence in the land where she gave birth.” @nathanairplane
Original Tweet:

Closer to home, the United States remains one of the few countries in the world that does not guarantee paid maternity leave. God may have dispatched legions to defend the woman in the sky and her child, but too few American mothers have even the protection of time.

 Should parents have to play this roulette with their weeks-old infant?
I wasn’t just up against the end of my parental leave. I was up against an entire culture that places very little value on caring for infants and small children.


Everybody has their own thing that they yell into a well

We can be her, her midwives, her doulas.

also thinking.. on birthing a nother way.. for all of us..


reading code/recode.. Nathan facilitated second interview..

here his article on them aug 2014:

Can Monasteries Be a Model for Reclaiming Tech Culture for Good?

perhaps unMonasteries, sparing the dogma and self-flagellation, can keep alive the promise of a liberating Internet as companies like Google and Facebook tighten their grip.

The unMonastery’s gestation began in 2011, the year of Occupy and the Indignados, a time of so many ambitious undertakings with ambivalent outcomes.  The Council of Europe’s ominous-sounding Social Cohesion Research and Early Warning Division sought, in the words of its chief, “to have a better idea of the extent of insecurity in society.” The international body sponsored the invention of Edgeryders, “an open and distributed think tank” of people working through an online social network and a series of conferences.  They produced a report about the economic crisis—a “Guide to the Future.” Soon the council’s funding ended, but Edgeryders pressed on as an online network with more than 2,000 members and an incorporated entity. The group presents itself as a company in the business of “open consulting.”

At the end of its first conference in Strasbourg in June of 2012, a small circle of Edgeryders, with glasses of wine in their hands and under the shadow of a church, dreamed up the unMonastery. The idea was this: find a place with unmet needs and unused space to lend a building to a group of young hackers. Live together cheaply, building open-source infrastructure for the commons. Repeat until it becomes a network.

The unMonastery vision went viral in the Edgeryders community. It fit into a widely felt longing at the time, evident in many parts of Europe and North America where protest had broken out in 2011, to start figuring out practical alternatives to the failed order. Occupy activists were learning to set up worker co-ops, and their counterparts in Spain laid plans for Internet-driven political parties. This was the period, too, of Edward Snowden’s leaks, of Aaron Swartz’s suicide, of blockades against techie commuter buses in San Francisco. Google became one of the world’s leading lobbyists, and Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post. Tech could no longer claim to be a post-political insurgency; it had become the empire.

wow just copying it all so far

ben vickers.. insight – much to read here .. just go to link above

documentation can trump even failure; others can study the attempt, tweak it and try again.


Elf Pavlik, a 31-year-old web developer with pony-tailed hair, had been living for five years without touching money or government IDs.


Keeping track of the longer view was the job of Bembo Davies, a Canadian-turned-Norwegian widower and grandfather, a veteran of the circus and the stage who updated his WordPress chronicle in august prose.


or when they worried about whether they’d done any good for Matera whatsoever, they reminded each other, “Everything’s a prototype.”


Building a new society in the shell of the old can seem so impossibly hard. Capitalism, meanwhile, makes organizing ourselves look easy by paying us to pretend that’s what we’re doing. Maybe the longing for leaderless swarms in the protests of 2011 partly stemmed from the image of a team at a software conglomerate, or a noncommercial, open-source project nonetheless parasitic on its corporate sponsors. But the kind of democracy and community we glean from tech culture lacks a deep structure, a core; tech culture is particularly good at disguising the reality that its core has become investor returns and Wall Street IPOs. The CEO’s absolute authority dresses up like charisma. Rapt in admiration, we the people are being de-skilled out of actual self-organizing. A few months in, the unMonastery’s communications had become a jungle of platforms, many of them proprietary, with few clear lines between inward and outward: the public Edgeryders website, public Trello boards, a closed Google Group and public folders full of Google Docs.


Like just about everything, all of this has happened before.


“Making the democratic most of the Information Age,” Roszak wrote, “is a matter not only of technology but also of the social organization of that technology.” – 80s

rushkoff os law – we need to go deep/simple/open .. ps in the open – io dance ness


Offers of real estate for a new unMonastery have come from Greece, Spain and up near Venice.


Michel Bauwens, an elder statesman in Europe’s peer-to-peer movement, wrote an open letter to Pope Francis suggesting that underused churches and monasteries not be sold on the real-estate market but repurposed as sites of a new collaborative economy. He cited the unMonastery as a model.


These relationships can seem like compromises with the past, but what seems new and original almost never really is, except to the degree that we fail to remember.


Of course the @washingtonpost thinks #OregonUnderAttack is about hating gov’t. But it’s also about the meaning of common land & resources.

Original Tweet:



jan 2016 – are you ready counter apocalypse

When I and several hundred thousand people demanding action on climate change marched through Midtown Manhattan on September 21, 2014, apocalypse was on our lips. We were marching to save the world—to change everything, as the propaganda beckoning us to participate had said. Wave after wave of marchers paraded through the city, carrying hand-painted banners and giant puppets, hopeful and joyful despite the likelihood of more political inaction to follow.

After a few hours in the streets, we could hear each other’s tired voices wondering what it might take for real change to happen.


There are many kinds of apocalypse stories. One can wait for the climate apocalypse to come, or one can see that it is happening already, especially in the pockets and places far from centers of power, where people live closest to the earth. These people are already on the brink. Things can get worse before they get better, but who says that they must


dispensationalism—a wildly popular, yet little-discussed, kind of Christian theology—that the idea of things getting worse before they can get better has been hidden in plain sight.


Those who long for crisis, and who imagine that it is necessary, betray their privilege.


Wherever we are, those facing apocalypse at the margins can be our guides, and our hope. … Grace Lee Boggs was heralding the kind of counter-apocalypse Catherine Keller writes about. Boggs and other Detroiters have been resisting the distant investors trying to take over their city, …“Instead of pursuing rapid economic development and hoping that it will eventually create community,” Boggs writes, “we need to do the opposite—begin with the needs of the community and create loving relationships with one another and with the earth.”


This is basic Sermon-on-the-Mount stuff. And it bears a simple and utterly non-dispensational revelation: Things will get better if we make things better for each other now, if we survive and love our neighbors where those who rule the present age want us out of the way. This is our calling, and it means no longer waiting for things to get worse. This is an apocalypse worth having.

yes. let’s. now. a nother way


The result is a financial system whose most serious risks are borne by the most vulnerable. Foreclosure, eviction and eventual homelessness are part of a tolerable business model. Through international debt, lenders dictate policy to debtor governments with little oversight from the people who will be expected to obey. And, as Aquinas warned, financiers lavish on themselves money from out of thin air. These are moral problems, but without a concept of usury it can be hard to see that. It is hard to imagine a jubilee.



New from @excinit @KernelMag: Can we build a humane alternative to Uber?… #platformcoop #IoO


VC $$ backed platforms like Uber slash customer prices to gain market share. Hard for coops, upstarts to compete.…


.@ucsdCOMM @excinit @KernelMag time to anti-trust the platform monopolies and cooperativize the pieces. #platformcoop #IoO

and/or cooperativize us.. making the pieces irrelevant (pieces from article, ie: money, policy, et al)

are we meaning share as in share things or as in monetary shares.. huge difference. i’m not sure we’re ever sure which one we mean.


on Illich

schooling the world ness..


platform coop as critique of open source

The result is products like Android, an operating system that employs Linux to carry out perhaps the most powerful engine of corporate surveillance ever invented.


Finally we are beginning to hack corporate ownership design with the same gusto and imagination with which the progenitors of FLOSS hacked intellectual property. We’re coming up with democratic financing, open companies, and diverse, multi-stakeholder co-ops. And we’re also rethinking the rules of the digital commons. The “copyfarleft” licenses of Dmytri Kleinerand the P2P Foundation, for instance, are designed to protect commons from exploitation by extractive companies while allowing their use by democratic and non-commercial enterprises. Some platform co-ops deem it necessary to use full copyright. There is disagreement about intellectual property in the platform co-op community, and I view this as a good thing; robust debate is needed to address the challenge of cultivating the commons while also doing business democratically.





What does campus rape have to do with the 2008 financial crisis?…#StanfordRapist #BrockTurner

A similar creeping  came over me during a very different kind of news cycle—the financial crisis of 2008 and its aftermath. ..the people who carried it out, finally, got a pass. …they knew they’d get away with it…….Where did the titans of finance learn to live so confidently by unwritten rules? At a formative age, we ship promising young people off to institutions where they’re supposed to develop the skills and relationships that will give them a start on adult life. Meanwhile, they’re expected to drink. For most of them, it’s illegal, of course; they start at 17 or 18, and the legal drinking age is 21. But they do it anyway, just as many of their parents did, just most of their new friends do, just as the literature and films of the American college experience indicate they must. On many campuses, there is a special police force, which helps ensure that dangerous situations can be dealt with while maintaining a parallel, privileged universe of tolerated illegality.



Those who don’t get to attend these special institutions, meanwhile, learn a very different lesson. When I lived in a rent-stabilized building in Brooklyn, I’d try to befriend my young neighbors—especially the young black men, many of whom had little hope of reaching a gentle enclosure of high-up higher ed. Befriending them could be difficult, though, not least because from time to time they’d disappear for months on end due to arrests and detentions. When they’d come back, I’d learn the crime was usually something along the lines of what I or people I knew had done regularly in college, with no thought that there would be any serious consequences; for us, there weren’t. For them, the lesson was their own expendability.


Alcohol and rape are part of a common continuum of toleration on campuses, constituting a curriculum of privilege that teaches students that they are and will be—so long as they remain in service of elite institutions—above the law and the ordinary moral order. This is how we train our leaders.


july 2016 – scandinavian econs

ust because their countries are at the top of the international charts for equality, that is no reason to be smug.


I know we are so much more.


plan to save twitter: buy it

obviously sharp thinking.. ie: green bay packers, twitter employees, crunching the numbers of shares .. et al

imagine if we go bolder.. and disengage from ownership.. from money ness.. why do we have to own it..? why play the game of measuring all this.. shares.. et al..

Even the US government could step in, recognizing Twitter as a public utility and helping to orchestrate the conversion – just as it has in financing rural electric co-ops since the 1930s, which have become vehicles for broadband expansion today.

yes.. we need it all.. but why waste energy on counting shares.. on inspectors of inspectors.. disengage from money as os..



“anarchism offers a stark alternative. It calls for a politics that doesn’t begin and end with politicians”…

bulk of anarchist tradition has sought for people to be better org’d in everyday lives..from below/shared..not room for so much greatness

live as if already free.. anarch\ism

rev of everyday life


via Nathan fb share:

A new bit of #platformcoop for Quartz (my first there), focusing on founders. They should have more options. Featuring insights from Paul Allen, a founder of, as well as Jason Wiener.

before long, the founders discovered that their companies were no longer built around that original idea anymore, or even around the users it could serve. The whole point had become to extract short-term returns for shareholders—and to disguise that fact from users. The great idea, together with the community it attracted, became a mere commodity.


“When people ask what modern invention has led to the most inequality in modern civilization,” Allen told Quartz, “the answer I give is ‘the modern corporation.’”


Balancing the competing, diverging needs of investor-owners and users is a *cumbersome task. Given the choice, many companies may find they’d be **better off making their owners and users one and the same.

always/obsessing measuring transactions/exchanges is a *cumbersome task.. imagine how much **better off we all would be if we disengaged from that..


fb share

Okay, so this is my moral argument against the philanthropy of the super-rich, new at America Magazine – The Jesuit Review.

The Case Against Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Philanthropy As We Know It

What goes by the name of philanthropy—literally, the love of people—and what the tax code regards as giving can rival the cynicism of the feudal indulgence business.

When most of us donate from our small excess, we express a concern and entrust the money to those with expertise; when Gates donates, he sets the agenda.

He chose to do this through a limited liability company rather than a foundation, forgoing even the tax code’s spacious definition of philanthropy. The intended targets for this wealth, as for the Gates fortune, are health and public education, although, like the Gateses, they have limited direct experience in either field

If we are to go on tolerating the self-canonization and attempted do-gooding of wealthy donors, we should expect them to actually be engaged in donating—not in the buying of indulgences, not in a vast privatization scheme to replace what could be public decision-making. This is advocacy; advocacy is fine, but we should call it what it is.

If philanthropy means love of others, it must prove itself by entrusting the material of that love to the intended recipients.

To believe in the dignity of other human beings is to honor their capacity to choose.

Giving should mean really giving, or giving back.

Nothing is mine or yours, but it is ours because we are part of the same divine communism.

There is, of course, a very big but.

The catechism goes on, “However, the earth is divided up among men to assure the security of their lives, endangered by poverty and threatened by violence.” Our flawed and fallen nature makes God’s communism impracticable. Therefore “the appropriation of property is legitimate for guaranteeing the freedom and dignity of persons and for helping each of them to meet his basic needs and the needs of those in his charge.”


So, there is a pass for possessions. Property of some kind is needed and useful.

or not

property ness

Thomas Aquinas put the matter this way in the Summa Theologica: “Man ought to possess external things, not as his own, but as common, so that, to wit, he is ready to communicate them to others in their need.” We hold property, yes, but we should hold it as if it is not completely ours. We should dispense with it that way, too.

common ing ness

many such gifts are simply acts of either obligation, preference or reciprocity—like tithing at one’s church, or supporting organizations that promote one’s social opinions, or underwriting a public radio station to which one listens. That is a normal part of being a good community member, and it’s praiseworthy, but it is not really giving. It is more a matter of responsibility than philanthropy. Actual philanthropy, the love of people, the stewarding of Providence—these expect a fuller kind of gift.

In either case the gift, once given, is no longer one’s own. It never really was.

Pope Francis has made a point of challenging the common habit of mind in contemporary philanthropy that second-guesses the person in need, that presumes to know better.

an attempt to back away from the presumption that a philanthropist is typically entitled to: the presumption of knowing what other people need better than the people in need do.

Another framework for dispatching such presumptions is democracy. Democracy can be a tool, or a family of tools, for achieving the humility that wealth can otherwise lift beyond reach. We tend to think of democracy as the purview of government, but it can also be a means of real giving. It can be a vehicle of Providence.

Democracy often gets blamed for the bureaucratic outgrowths of government, so we forget its efficiencies;

spreading decision-making processes widely across a large and diverse society is, in principle, a far better way to meet people’s needs than trying to anticipate them through central planning.

redefine decision making via hlb

There has never been less reason for tolerating feudal, unaccountable pretenders to generosity.

One way or another, in order for a gift to be regarded as truly a gift, it should be given in a way that is accountable to its recipients, rather than as an imposition on them.

“Philanthropy is supposed to be private funding for the public good,” he has written, “but increasingly it’s become a playground for private interests.”


a people owned internet – ie: next light

@ntnsndr “A people who are hard to provoke are a people harder to rule.” Damn. All from here: @ntnsndr

Original Tweet:

Figure out what each of our peoples brings to all of us, that is

ie: hlb via 2 convos that io dance.. as the day..[aka: not part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake…]..  a nother way

one can save that energy for focused, committed work

energy toward eudaimoniative surplus

A people who are hard to provoke are a people harder to rule.



This is the start of what is going to be a potentially obnoxious spree of book promotion in the coming months. I will do my best, in the process, to focus on promoting not primarily myself or even the book so much as the tradition it depicts, especially the remarkable people I’ve met who embody that tradition. This process can be awkward, but I view it as a duty and a service, and from there it can turn into a pleasure. Thank you, in advance, for understanding that this will be my job in 2018. Thank you, in advance, should you help amplify these remarkable people’s good works and my attempt to share them.

I hope this book will be a useful tool. I think it might be.

suggested to library for purchase