I am deeply concerned with the Liberal / Conservative flame wars. Countless Facebook discussions start with a casual reference to one position or the other, then quickly devolve into deeply divisive language. I see it in forums, Chats, Comments on blogs, news articles and YouTube Videos.

It’s getting worse – people can no longer agree to disagree.

I do not believe in big government. On the other hand, I do not believe that corporations should be the sole protectors for safeguarding the social charter. Call me an idealist, but I truly believe that given the right incentives, people can govern themselves to a very large degree.

Weapon of Mass Reconstruction

We have at our disposal the most powerful tool ever created for the potential benefit of humanity. Societies since the beginning of our time would have envied us beyond words – as their villages were pillaged, as the plague spread, or as the hurricane hit shore – if they had a system that could unify and organize people as we can do today with social media.

My fear, is that we will use this tool to divide instead of unify. Traditional media and the advertising industry are in deep trouble as people go online to self-select their news and content.

Trust me, I’m your friend

Unfortunately, traditional media (TV, print, and Radio) are under extraordinary pressure not just to maintain ratings, but to increase ratings to subsidize less successful areas of the enterprise. As a result, the content must become more and more sensational in order to keep people watching commercials. If I earned one dollar for every minute of YOUR time that I could waste, would you trust me? Yet people do.

The Terrorist Within

I am terrorized by the notion that Americans will turn against Americans. The problems facing this nation are so complex, so controversial, and so far reaching into the past and the future that it is unlikely that any intelligent person is more qualified than any other intelligent person to hold the highest office. Barrack, Hillary, Sarah, John, would all have the same pressures pushing back on every move leading them down 95% similar paths. None could be better and none could be worse – we’re officially in this together.

So until the super-star with extra-human discernment rides out of the clouds, People should really really be looking for a third way through this. Pure Communism is a Failure, Pure Socialism is a failure, and we are quickly learning that Pure Capitalism also runs out of track.

America’s Uncivil War

The Next Great American Civil War will be a battle against ourselves – all of the artifacts of past generations that pull at our subconsciousness; the reactionary fight or flight instinct of our ancestors. We are being called to something new. Let’s get on with business and find out where this road leads – together.

Editorialized Economics

Social media used to be so cool – a way to bypass the mediated reality of editorialized content. Real people coming back with real ideas and real opportunities from the crystal clear waters of cooperative community. Then legacy media and their ad-rev departments started to wonder “Hey, where did everyone go?” Marketer started saying, “Hey, these CPM numbers are F***ed – something is cutting into our pie ?!?!?”

Then came the Social Media Gurus

like the tattle-tale kid brother intent on spoiling a perfectly good game of hide and seek, screeching: “There they are, there they are!!!….Can you see ’em?…see, see, your customers are hiding in the shadows… there, in the shadows….quick!!! Can you see ’em now?.  By the way, pay my fee, buy my book, and did I mention my latest ‘keynote’ yet?”

Next, the Gurus went mainstream as legacy media analysts!! Legacy media picked up the ball on the run-away ad spend. They glossed poetic on the “effects” but not the “causes” of social media. And, OH Gawd, what a nuisance all those pesky bloggers are to the dignified art and science of professional journalism.

A Monster was Born

Facebook declared that people really want to share their personal details with the world, and a monster was born. So now we are stuck with Corporate Media on steroids.  Your data are scraped so they can find you. Images are reproduced infinitely. Lies and deception grow legs half way around the world before the truth can even be awakened from it’s slumber. Say one thing wrong and it haunts you forever.

Casualty or Causality

Social Media has become another casualty of the broken financial system where people fight for artificial scarcity.  It is no longer a means to empower and enlighten, it is becoming another means to exploit and oppress.   Special recognition goes out to all the so-called social media gurus. I can’t blame them though, everyone has the right to make an honest living.

Call it tattle-tale economics

Gambling with Jobs

The US Senate recently blocked a measure designed to reduce the outsourcing of US jobs that many corporations pursue in the relentless drive to reduce costs.

Modern Globalization is a system

Globalization must be analyzed like a system. Data, Information, knowledge, Innovation, and wisdom are profoundly related in a system. If you take away one of the components, the others become worthless.  If you destroy one component, the entire structure could fail.

Everyone knows that data, information, knowledge, innovation, and wisdom are related.  If I corrupt the data, then the associated information, knowledge, innovation, and wisdom are also corrupted.  Likewise, if I eliminate any of these elements, the system fails.

Focus on Core competency – what core?

The standard argument for outsourcing is that knowledge workers are better allocated in innovation jobs so “we can better focus on our core – and heck, we can all save a little dough in the process”.  But when we outsource our knowledge economy, the innovation economy is choked off.    The knowledge economy is the source of the Innovation Economy.  The Knowledge economy is also the recipient of the information economy which transforms data and information into useful tools, ideas, and products.

Rate Of Change is Innovation

The rate of change of the innovation economy is directly proportional to the INCREASE not the OUTSOURCING of the knowledge economy.  This is the calculus of outsourcing.  If, on the other hand, it is in you best interest to keep a population poor, weak, and unable to organize into powerful collectives, then yes, outsourcing is an effective method.

Mathematics Dysfunction Disorder

I am continuously astonished at the reactions I get from people every time I make a reference to mathematics, especially Calculus. Most people politely glaze their eyes over and stare at an inanimate object somewhere behind my head. Others launch into a diatribe of how the linear thinkers destroyed the world in the first place. Others will simply say, “I have [insert Deficit Dysfunction Disorder here]”

Puzzled by Limits?  Perplexed by derivatives?

The truth of the matter is that everyone already knows Calculus, they solve differential equations all day long – they just don’t know that they already know what I’m talking about.  If you take away all the strange terms, squiggly lines, and alphabet soup notation,….

Calculus is astonishingly simple

  • The Banker does not care about money, he cares about the rate of change of money.
  • The Stock Market does not care about risk, it cares about the rate of change of risk
  • The Politician does not care about votes, they care about the rate of change in votes
  • The Meteorologist does not care about weather, she cares about the rate of change in weather
  • The Pilot does not care about lift, they care about the rate of change of lift
  • The Gymnast does not care about motion, she cares about the rate of change of motion
  • The Artist does not care about color, he cares about the rate of change of color
  • The Doctor does not care about your health, she cares about the rate of change in your health
  • The Baker does not care about dough, they care about the rate of change of dough
  • The Farmer does not care about crops, he cares about the rate of change of crops
  • The Scientists does not care about data, they care about the rate of change of data
  • Google does not care about information, it cares about the rate of change of information
  • Entrepreneurs do not care about knowledge, they care about the rate of change of knowledge
  • Markets do not care about innovation, they care about the rate of change of innovation
  • Our children do not care about our wisdom, they care about our rate of change of wisdom

When people can learn how to understand what they are really doing in instead of what they think they are doing, then and only then, will we be able to see, and subsequently, build the next economic paradigm.  That is why I use mathematics and that is when Social Media Becomes a Science

The Capitalist does not care about value, they care about the rate of change of value

I often make the point that a currency is simply a social agreement. People need to agree that a monetary unit represents their productivity so that they will use it to trade their productivity with the productivity of another person. The test question for any so-called currency (coined by Jay Deragon) is: “Yeah, but can you buy groceries with it?”

I am now seeing a SHARP increase in the social interest for an alternate currency to the dollar. The dollar does represent productivity – albeit future productivity in the form of debt – that’s why it is still exchanged for the work that we do. My suspicion however is that the social agreement regarding the dollar is, in fact, increasingly becoming a social disagreement.

People have a deep seated unease with what the dollar is and what the dollar represents. To escape the dollar is to escape a tangle of influence that impacts everything we say, do, and think about ourselves and about each other. It almost seems that to escape the dollar is to escape ourselves.

That’s just the idea that came to me after watching this video about a soldier questioning the occupations. He is saying something very interesting:

War is simply the soldier’s willingness to fight it. It is a social agreement.

Independence is a state of mind. Americans have always chosen independence – and they will continue to do so. It is often convenient to let ourselves trust elected leaders and the esteemed business titans to do what is in our best interest. Don’t be fooled, this is “trust”, not dependence.

It is likewise unwise to underestimate the independence movement – independence from corrupt currency, independence from fossil fuel, independence from corporate greed, independence from divisive politics, independence from endless war. Just when everyone thinks that Americans are up against the ropes, they come up with an idea so radical, so creative, and so astonishingly consciousness-altering, the rest of the world just shakes their heads in collective disbelief.

That is where we are today. Something extraordinary is about to happen in the way Americans organize themselves. Nothing is sacred, no one is immune. The next economic paradigm will alter the course of civilization.

All stages of human development were derived from the prior stage of human development by integrating the tools of that prior stage. For example, the agrarians integrated the tools of the hunter-gather such as using the chopping rock to till a field for planting – and so forth. Likewise, the industrial revolution integrated the tools of the scientific revolution; mathematics, chemistry, and engineering. Earlier this century, the computer age integrated the tools of the industrial revolution, etc.

The next economic paradigm will be derived from the Knowledge economy by integrating the tools of the knowledge economy; these are The Internet, Social Media, mobile communications technology, etc…

Americans will chose Independence every time.

I recently attended another one of those economic development summits where a bunch of people with long titles gets a chance to speak on a panel touting the mysterious benefits of a mysterious innovation clusters that create mysterious wealth that can only be realized if their mysterious department is funded.

Nearly every speaker concluded with the following paraphrase: “if only government would fund this or that, everything will be fine”, or, “if only corporations would fund this or that, then we’ll all be better off”

Uhmmm…sorry to break the news, it ain’t gunna happen.

Innovation clusters are all the rage in regional economic development circles. Actually, they are “industrial clusters” because several companies in similar industries collocate in the same geographical area. The industrial cluster then attracts supporting industry and often causes the migration of educated and motivated people to the prospect of jobs. I suspect the ‘innovation’ moniker comes from the notion that new ideas will somehow result from similarity of ideals and purpose.

Group Think Tanks

There are, however, a few drawbacks to industry clusters; they are vulnerable to stagnation, silos, and external shocks. As companies become organized and technologies mature, patents and trade secrets take hold. As they ‘go public’, SEC regulation effectively places a gag order on everyone and sharing slows while stagnation sets in.

Soon after, dozens of nimble companies consolidate into a single giant to achieve economies of scale. Finally, silos form under the weight of multiple layers of management while jobs are mechanized or outsourced.

Then, something somewhere happens to shock the cluster; the end of the cold war leveled the So Cal aerospace cluster. 9/11 busted the Seattle Aerospace cluster. The dot.com bomb stunted Seattle, Silicon Valley, and Route 128. Hurricanes and environmental disasters hit the petroleum cluster, stem cell and genetic engineering legislation stalled biotechnology, and corruption continues to shock financial institutions. At the end of the cycle, companies divest, people defect and a new planet starts to form someplace else.

Remember “scrubbing bubbles”?

While occasional cleansing, in a Schumpeterian sense, is good for industries, the extreme volatility takes a horrendous toll on that invisible turbine of the economic engine – social fabric. Families, friendships, professional networks are strained or collapse and those who dedicate their life to a career path – the pure innovator themselves – can be left marginalized by obsolescence.

The term “Innovation Clusters” makes for a good soundbite for politicians because it fits on the “Jobs R Us” banner they can stand in front of (thumbs up) for the next election cycle.   The term keeps funds flowing to organizations to publish studies that conclude that more studies are needed. Maybe these summits ought to be renamed to Cluster Funks because that is largely what they actually promote.

Henry George was discredited for many ideas which are now emerging in with the increased economic influence of Social Media, social capitalism, trade of limited natural resources, and the trade of social currencies in reaction to the demise of financial currency.

The new film “The End of Poverty?” begins with the same question which Henry George asked in P&P:

Why does poverty become a deeper problem as a society becomes more prosperous?

While times and technology are far different than 110 years ago, early ideas are sometimes essential to peel back the complexity and look for the “truisms” that drive the Human Condition. Only then can we find both our common ground and our common direction.

From WikiPedia: Henry George (September 2, 1839October 29, 1897) was an American writer, politician and political economist, who was the most influential proponent of the land value tax, also known as the “single tax” on land. He inspired the philosophy and economic ideology known as Georgism, which is that everyone owns what he or she creates, but that everything found in nature, most importantly land, belongs equally to all humanity.

[The following is a lose adaption from a 1993 article by Robert V. Andelson which can be found here with links dutifully provided by Stephen Nacci, 2010]:

…The method of discrediting Henry George is described in “The Corruption of Economics

The book describes basically taking Classical Econonomics and distorting it by
artifically merging land into capital, and distorting Classical economic thought
with NEO- Economic thought, and pushing this agenda through media and
institutions… over the last 100 years…

Henry George’s first book, Progress and Poverty: An inquiry into the cause of
industrial depressions and of increase of want with increase of wealth… The
was self-published in 1879. It went on to become the best-selling book ever on
political economy,* and in the 1880s and 1890s was said to be outsold only by
the Bible.

*Political economy is the science which deals with the natural laws governing the production and distribution of wealth and services.

He went on to write several other important books including Social Problems, The Land Question, The Condition of Labor, A Perplexed Philosopher, The Science of Political Economy, and (published posthumously) Protection or Free Trade, and a number of articles and speeches, including The Crime of Poverty, Ode to Liberty, Thou Shalt Not Steal, Thy Kingdom Come, Causes of Business Depression, and Justice the Object, Taxation the Means.

In 2006, Bob Drake* did a thought-by-thought updating into contemporary language of Progress and Poverty, which was published with the subtitle “Why there are recessions and poverty amid plenty — and what to do about it. Or, download and listen to Bob’s MP3 here

We hope you’ll explore Henry George’s answers — and his remedy. We are persuaded that the problem of poverty can only be solved through recognizing what George taught.

Activist, Science fiction writer, and blogger Cory Doctorow spoke at in Seattle to a full house at the Sunset Tavern in Ballard. He performed a reading from his latest book, “For The Win”. Cory has an interesting sense of abstraction. He’ll spot a trend – or collection of trends – and extrapolates them into the future dutifully revealing all the complexities of the human condition.

For The Win

His reading centered on the “exploitation” of young adults who are hired to play online games where they work to achieve levels, rewards, virtual currency, and game status which is then sold to rich Western players. Some players become highly valued for their knowledge inventory of game world monsters, strategies, power points, and the uncanny ability to assess the knowledge inventory of their opponents who’ll get suckered into a virtual dual with predictable consequences. The kids literally “mine gold”. As always, gold corrupts the most innocent hearts resulting in situations and behaviors at least as strange as the game itself.

The Activist

Cory has long been an activist for digital publication rights and rules. Not surprisingly, the Q&A was dominated by privacy, security, and exploitation of information issues. Cory recently closed his Facebook Account which caused quite a stir in the blogsphere. Ironically, every big name in world-class privacy violation had recently been in the news for Mr. Doctorow to eloquently spit roast on an open flame. It was quite entertaining.

There is a reason that it’s called Monetization

While Mr. Doctorow did not specifically mention this, what struck me most was hearing him talk around this emerging battle for control of people’s information. While this idea is not new, the reasons behind it may be new. As Money is losing it’s capacity to store and control value, human knowledge is increasing it’s capacity to store and control value – this is hugely accelerated by social media. The desperate attempt to control people’s information is really a proxy for the desperate attempt to control knowledge, therefore to re-control the value that money once represented.

Unfortunately, controlling information also destroys value.

People actively participate and share on social media to achieve levels, rewards, and status which is then sold to corporations in the form of predictive marketing by third party aggregators like Facebook. Some people become highly valued for their knowledge inventory of real-world game perils, influencers, and social mavens and become celebrities of the craft. Many develop the uncanny ability to assess the knowledge inventory of their opponents who get suckered into a virtual dual with predictable results.

Suddenly the News started sounding like one of Cory’s Science Fiction Novels…

Event Sponsored by: The Stranger

(Editor: I’ll be speaking at the following event on June 4th. If you are in the area or blogging issues in this genre of ideas, let me know and drop by. Look up the other speakers and you’ll find an extraordinary group of visionaries preparing to make this PM Cluster Summit a truly enlightening event.)

Enterprise Prediction Markets Summit:
Leading Enterprise Prediction Markets

Friday, June 4 2010 8:00am – 5:00pm

EVENT LOCATION: The Boeing Company: Integrated Aircraft Systems Lab Building 2-122, Conference Room #102L2 (Conference Center) 7701-14th Avenue South Seattle, Washington 98108 USA

EVENT REGION: US –Pacific Northwest

EVENT PURPOSE: This summit is for executives, directors, mangers, users and practitioners having immediate needs to apply collective intelligence networks and enterprise prediction market mechanisms to advance business outcomes through mastery of collective wisdom.

EVENT SPEAKERS: Dennis P. O’Donoghue (Boeing), Sharon Chiarella (Amazon.com), Arik Johnson (Aurora WDC), Dan Robles (The Ingenesist Project), Dr. Richard O. Zerbe, Jr. (Evans School of Public Affairs), Christel Alvarez, ConsensusPoint, George Neumann, George Daly Research Professor of Economics, (Iowa), Olav Opedal (Microsoft, Internet Security)


EVENT WEBSITE: http://pmclusters.com/Prediction%20Markets/SEA10.htm



CONTACT EMAIL: Jennifer.Hulett@pmclusters.com

MUST ONE RSVP: Yes! No on-site registration

ATTIRE: Business Casual

BUSINESS CARDS: YES – Bring Business Cards

EVENT NOTES: The conference sessions are focused, practical and conversational. They are for executives, directors, mangers, users and practitioners having immediate needs to apply collective intelligence networks and market mechanisms to advance business outcomes through mastery of collective wisdom.

ORGANIZATION NOTES: The Prediction Market Clusters, founded in 2004, are the global industry commons and open community for prediction markets and collective intelligence networks worldwide. The open, agnostic network is a focused collaboration of vendors, academia, traders, users, developers, markets, regulators and stakeholders. The goal is to provide awareness, diffusion, adoption and pull-through for enterprise and consumer prediction markets. The Prediction Markets Cluster is the worldwide Next Practices network for collective intelligence networks practices, tools and theories.

PM Clusters

Prediction Market Clusters