Understand, accept, get ready, fight!
THE FORCE: GOT
Before understanding the effects of the force, we must understand what the force is. So, let’s talk about currency vs money vs trade. Today’s society is almost entirely based on trade. People go to work because they trade their skills, energy, and time in return for food, comfort, a place to stay, and so forth. They represent this with money, but could be anything else (any currency) or it can be a direct trade: like they do some work in return for food or whatever they may need or want. The crazy maze you see in the world: companies, governments, businesses, jobs, ownership, social statuses, prices, they all revolve around this trade notion. Everyone is in a constant trade with others, an imbalance that will destroy the entire human species if left alone.
• trading WITH currencies: cryptocurrencies
Two guys discussing at a bar/restaurant.
P1: The fucking money is the problem, man! The Federal Reserve Bank creates money out of thin air. That’s theft!
P2: We should back up the money reserve with gold. At least that has tangible value!
P1: I think cryptocurrencies are the future. No one owns them. They are decentralized and correct. That’s a true currency, and they have a limit as to how many can be created so we can’t just invent currencies and consume infinitely on a finite planet.
TROM: Bullshit! 🙂 Hi!
Replacing currencies to make the world better, is like changing hats to become smarter.
People have complained about the influence of money and the harm it does for a long long time. They are right, but they are also completely wrong. It is true that the monetary system is by far the biggest trade system there is or ever was, but the reality is that money is just one of the many representations of trade, and today more and more companies, governments, or other organizations are moving away from money to other forms of trade. Blaming money will divert your attention from hidden trades that are not represented by money or any other currency. Also, money is seen as the root cause of problems by many nowadays because of the way money is created (like how the Federal Reserve Bank operates by basically creating money out of thin air), and so people think that the solution is to replace money with another currency, like cryptocurrencies. But that’s like replacing McDonald's with Burger King. Therefore we must address the big pink fat and sweaty elephant in the room: the distinction between money and trade. Or better said, the distinction between currency and trade.
Let me show you something folks. A new kind of Internet! SafeNetwork is an amazingly great project – it is almost like a puppy who doesn’t poop (just right!). Why is this puppy so great? Because it creates a fully decentralized network and it is free. Basically it is the Internet without a central governance. It is secure and encrypted and theoretically impossible (or very hard) to censor since the data is stored on multiple computers on the network. It is also Open Source and people can contribute to make apps that will run inside of the network in a decentralized way. Overall it seems like a much better alternative to the Internet because today’s Internet is often censored and controlled by a few, like governments or Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Therefore, SafeNetwork being this decentralized Internet seems like the perfect Internet. But even here there is a catch: you have to provide the resources of your computer (hard disk space, processing power, and bandwidth) to the Network to get more in return. No one forces you to contribute your computer resources to the network, but it is kind of a must if you want to be able to store data inside the network (basically to use the network for what it is intended). This doesn’t seem like a big deal, after all if I give 100GB of hard drive space to the network and 20% of my CPU and I get back a similar amount of storage and CPU power inside the network, then that’s great because now I have my files on the network, safe - stored online but distributed on many computers like torrent technology works (peer to peer). However, because I have to engage in a trade with the network to get more goodies from them, this gives rise to problems. You’ll see that although this puppy doesn’t poop, it pees quite a lot. For example, the same people behind the network developed a currency called SafeCoin. How can you use it? Well, think about what is being traded in the system: hard disk space, processing power and bandwidth. Easy to see what SafeCoins would be used for: to buy these things. You can use SafeCoins to buy more storage space on the network, for example. And now everything will get ruined because it will be a reflection of our monetary system: a trade game represented by a currency – classic PG (problem generator).
P2: What about Bitcoin, Ethereum or Monero then?
Same kinds of puppies! They are all called “cryptocurrencies” or “digital currencies”, but they are still currencies representing trade. You can make more Bitcoins or Monero if you rent your computer’s processing power to their networks (basically enslaving your computer to the network to work for you), and that leads to the emergence of all kinds of profiteers who are now embedding scripts into their websites and when you visit their websites you unknowingly get your computer enslaved by their scripts to work for them to make them more such currencies. Imagine if I implement this script into tromsite.com and when you visit the site the script will use your processor’s power and mine Bitcoins or Monero for me. And you have no clue about that. How unfair is that? That’s what many do nowadays to exploit cryptocurrencies for their own gain. They even embed these scripts into ads and YouTube, and there are over 32.000 websites using these scripts (hard to say which ones use them intentionally, and which were hacked and had this code injected into them).
Back to SafeCoin, it too can be traded and exchanged into Bitcoins and perhaps other currencies. It too is the same as any other currency, and it too will give rise to profiteers who will use SafeCoins in similar ways – instead of me enslaving your processor when you visit tromsite.com to make more Bitcoins for myself, I can enslave your hard disk space to the SafeNetwork so that I can get more goodies from the network or make SafeCoins out of that, and then buy 1.000 chewing gums and a baby zebra with the currency that I made :). Ethereum is another very popular cryptocurrency that was hacked in 2016 and 1/3 of their currency was stolen (worth around $70 million at that time), and the entire Ethereum community went through a lot of fights, arguments, splits, and anger, and they are accused of fraud, censorship, and more. (source 1, 2, 3, 4). And Bitconnect, one of 20 most successful cryptocurrencies in 2017, shut down at the beginning of 2018 after swimming through the mud of scam fooling thousands of people and eventually going bankrupt (source). More here about cryptocurrency fraud and scams.
But let’s understand these crypto/digital currencies because they will pop into existence more and more over the next years so we better have a good idea of how they work. First let’s understand BlockChain, because BlockChain is the foundation of almost all cryptocurrencies. Buckle up!
Money, the currency, is managed through centralized systems. If I send $100 from Spain to Romania through my Spanish bank account then I “push” a request to my bank to take $100 from my account and give it to the other account in Romania. My bank basically has to ensure that it removes the $100 from my account and adds that $100 to the other account, else they can take my $100 and put it into another account or not put it anywhere. Similarly, it can forget to take the $100 from my account but still add $100 to the other account , in this case, creating $100 out of thin air. All kinds of errors can happen, but the point is that all of these transactions are between closed doors and between centralized locations (banks or other institutions that keep an eye on these transactions). If you go to make a deposit to your bank account and give them $183 but they add into the computer $318 by mistake (lucky you!), then you’ll have $318 in your bank account even though you gave them $183 in cash, and that’s because digital money is (of course) a bunch of numbers. These numbers must be kept track of by the bank and so they are added to a “thing” ( a record), like a piece of digital paper. Let’s call this thing a “ledger”. Ledger is like a document that keeps track of your financial operations: how much money you have in your bank account, how much you took from it, how much you received, your transfers and such. It is your balance. Keep this “ledger” word in mind because we will use it a lot. So banks are centralized and they have to talk to other banks to make sure they transfer these imaginary numbers we call money from one to another and do this properly or else they can fuck things up really badly if they don’t put in the proper numbers, addresses, date, whatever. They are basically editing these “ledgers”, these documents, writing imaginary numbers onto them. The ledger is therefore a key factor in transactions because it keeps track of all transactions.
Now BlockChain is so cocky that it says it can solve these issues and also get rid of banks altogether. BlockChain is nothing more than a piece of software with some rules, and these rules are important. But basically BlockChain is all about that frickin’ LEDGER thing.
So let’s say we are a group of 5 friends and we want to keep track of our spendings with each other. If Mario gives Tio $700, then Mario can write down on a digital paper (a ledger) for everyone to see: “Mario pays Tio $700”. Anyone can write down these statements on this public ledger.
Mario pays Tio $700
Mario pays Alice $78
Tio pays Alice $44
Alice pays Tio $12
Dan pays Mario $166
And so forth.
We now have a ledger with all transactions to keep track of our in-group spendings. The real world is like replacing these 5 people with 300 million Americans for example, and the ledger is what a bank has access to in order to keep track of where money goes (who transferred to who and how much, and when). Now back to our group, we want to make these transactions without a middle man (like a bank), but how can we do that? If anyone from the group can write such statements on the ledger, what stops Mario to randomly write: “ Mario pays Tio $700” or whatever!? We need to make sure these statements are correct. A bank can do that because you move money through the bank and it records that, and it can confirm that indeed Mario didn’t pay Tio $700 because there was no such transaction going through the bank, so the ledger with that statement is invalid. “Fuck you Mario! Bad bad Mario.” - signed, Tio :).
Now things will get a bit more complex, but bear with me. If “Mario pays Tio $700” then Tio should confirm this as true, else Mario will lie like a bastard and will give Tio nothing. “Sad Tio, sad sad Tio.”. So if this indeed happened, then Tio should sign it as a confirmation. “Mario pays Tio $700 – signed Tio”. He confirms that Mario paid him $700. Now we are better of with Tio having a say in all of this. However, digitally this is not going to work since whatever signature Tio uses, that is digital and replicable, so Mario can sign it himself if he wants to. “Mario pays Tio $700 – signed Mario with Tio’s forged signature”.
From now on I will oversimplify how BlockChain works, because the process is very complex, but you need to understand the essence of it and not the details. (for details see this video, read this, and search about it).
The signature is important in a transaction to make these transactions valid. So, how can we make it unique and not-replicable? How can we make it so that Tio can sign that statement in a way that we guarantee it was him and only him? We can solve this if we have two sets of keys (bunch of random numbers). Say Tio has two such keys: public (q4erfefevfqvbewqECM) and private (q3vqewraewrfvtrE$VTQ). When Mario sends the message “Mario pays Tio $700” to the ledger, Tio sees it, and if it’s true, he confirms it (signs it) by combining his private key (q3vqewraewrfvtrE$VTQ) with the content of the message, and this results in a unique signature. Remember that a key, a letter, a message, or anything in the digital world is made up of bits of code/information (binary). All the same at their structure. So you can indeed combine a key with a message, a photo of a dog with a song, and so forth. All are 0 and 1 (bits of information - binary).
So a signature = private key x message.
“q3vqewraewrfvtrE$VTQ” x “Mario pays Tio $700”.
Or in “digital/binary” format it may look like:
01110001 00110011 01110110 01110001 01100101 01110111 01110010 01100001 01100101 01110111 01110010 01100110 01110110 01110100 01110010 01000101 00100100 01010110 01010100 01010001
SIGNATURE (a bunch of 1s and 0s resulted from the above combination)
A mathematical formula combines the two (private key and the message) and it results in a signature. This signature is unique since you used a private key (q3vqewraewrfvtrE$VTQ) and a unique message (“Mario pays Tio $700”). If you were to change the message then the signature will also change, making it invalid.
Look at how this message looks like in binary:
“Mario pays Tio $700”
and here how it looks if you change the message to
“Tio pays Mario $700”
or “Mario pays Tio $5”
If you look closely to the 1s and 0s you’ll see the differences. Therefore, a unique message combined with a unique private key results in a complicated mess of a unique signature. If I want to copy that same signature, I could since everything is digital, but if I attach that signature to another message it won’t work because we can verify that it is not from that message. That unique signature has traces to both the “ Mario pays Tio $700” and Tio’s private key. Therefore we just made a unique signature that cannot be copied to another message. We cannot copy this signature of Tio to another message to scam the poor guy, because it won’t work. I will not explain more because it serves no purpose right now and it is quite complicated, but basically this is how a unique signature is produced. And since Tio’s private and public keys are connected, we can use Tio’s public key to verify hat, indeed, only he could have signed that message and no one else.
But anyone can copy paste that entire message with Tio’s signature a billion times into our public ledger:
“Mario pays Tio $700 – signed by Tio”
“Mario pays Tio $700 – signed by Tio”
“Mario pays Tio $700 – signed by Tio”
“Mario pays Tio $700 – signed by Tio”
“Mario pays Tio $700 – signed by Tio”
and people will be like: “Wow, Mario pays Tio so much money...and Tio signed them all so it must be true. Tio got fuckin’ rich”.
To fix that, each transaction like “Mario pays Tio $700 – signed by Tio” has a unique ID:
#12 “Mario pays Tio $700 – signed by Tio”
#13 “Mario pays Tio $700 – signed by Tio”
#14 “Mario pays Tio $700 – signed by Tio”
#15 “Mario pays Tio $700 – signed by Tio”
#16 “Mario pays Tio $700 – signed by Tio”
#17 “Mario pays Tio $700 – signed by Tio”
So you can’t just copy paste that transaction to our ledger since every new transaction has a unique ID that requires a new signature from Tio. These ID’s are also connected with each other in order: say they all know when a previous entry was created (in reality they know more than that).
#12 (I know when transaction #11 was created) “Mario pays Tio $700 – signed by Tio”
#13 (I know when transaction #12 was created) “Mario pays Tio $700 – signed by Tio”
#14 (I know when transaction #13 was created) “Mario pays Tio $700 – signed by Tio”
#15 (I know when transaction #14 was created) “Mario pays Tio $700 – signed by Tio”
#16 (I know when transaction #15 was created) “Mario pays Tio $700 – signed by Tio”
#17 (I know when transaction #16 was created) “Mario pays Tio $700 – signed by Tio”
The only way the above transactions could happen is if they are all being added one by one and each time signed by Tio.
Basically, BlockChain is all about keeping track of such things (call them transactions): how they were created, if they are unique, if they are connected with each other, etc.. This is its backbone and all of the rules I described are to ensure everything stays correct and non-hackable.
Bitcoin (or most cryptocurrencies) takes the idea of BlockChain and uses it to create and distribute cryptocurrencies.
Instead of $ let’s use TromCoins (TC). We give each of the 5 people in the group 100TC as default to start with (as that’s basically how all such cryptocurrencies start). So it’s like we play the Monopoly game and give each player a starting amount of money. We put these into our ledger:
#1 (I know when transaction #0 was created) “Mario gets 100TC - signed by Mario”
#2 (I know when transaction #1 was created) “Alice gets 100TC - signed by Alice”
#3 (I know when transaction #2 was created) “Tio gets 100TC - signed by Tio”
#4 (I know when transaction #3 was created) “Dan gets 100TC - signed by Dan”
#5 (I know when transaction #4 was created) “Karla gets 100TC - signed by Karla”
Now the transactions can start for all kinds of reasons, like maybe Karla wants to send 20TC to Alice because Alice gave her her bike. Mario pays Dan 40TC for Dan’s dancing lessons. Whatever. Keep in mind these TC transactions are possible via a piece of software, since they are digital currencies. And the BlockChain starts:
#6 (I know when transaction #5 was created) “Karla pays Alice 20TC - signed by Alice”
#7 (I know when transaction #6 was created) “Mario pays Dan 40TC - signed by Dan”
#8 (I know when transaction #7 was created) “Alice pays Tio 17TC - signed by Tio”
#9 (I know when transaction #8 was created) “Mario pays Tio 70TC - signed by Tio”
Looking at transactions we spotted something: Mario already spent 110TC (40TC to Dan and 70TC to Tio) and he didn’t receive any TC. So he tried to spend more than he had in his last transaction to Tio. Therefore we add a rule to our TromCurrency and say: “We don’t let people spend more than they have.”. So this is where BlockChain is useful for a currency because with all of the above that we discussed, BlockChain can keep track of such transactions in order, and at transaction #9, it identifies that the transaction is invalid since Mario doesn’t have that much TC to spend so it declares it invalid. All of this was possible because of the previous rules to ensure trust, to ensure order, to ensure validity.
Imagine now how we can exchange “real” paper money with TC. Tio gives 40 Euros to Karla (physically) and Karla agrees to transfer 1TC to Tio in return, through our BlockChain. That is then registered in the system when Karla “pushes” the transfer to the BlockChain via a piece of software (similar to how you “push” a transaction through a bank): “Karla pays Tio 1TC – signed by Tio”. In our tiny TromCoins world that we’ve created, we could say that 1TC = 40 Euros. No one can guarantee that Tio gave Karla the 40 Euros since that happened offline and is beyond the BlockChain technology. Or that the above happened: that Alice gave her bike to Karla or Dan gave dancing lessons to Mario. The system of BlockChain is incubated and it only cares about those digital transactions. That’s something very important to keep in mind. BlockChain has no connection to what really happens in the world. All of statements/transactions in a ledger managed by BlockChain can be imaginary (not real) and BlockChain won’t give a fuck about that. It only cares for the consistency of transactions in that ledger.
For the last part now, in order to understand cryptocurrencies, a bunch of transactions like the above are merged together and put inside a block (think of it as a part of the ledger). Like this:
#6 (I know when transaction #5 was created) “Karla pays Alice 20TC - signed by Alice”
#7 (I know when transaction #6 was created) “Mario pays Dan 40TC - signed by Dan”
#8 (I know when transaction #7 was created) “Alice pays Tio 17TC - signed by Tio”
#9 (I know when transaction #8 was created) “Mario pays Tio 20TC - signed by Tio”
Any such block is, again, unique. And all blocks are connected with other blocks to keep track of them in order. This is where the name BLOCK + CHAIN comes from. It is a chain of blocks, and blocks contain transactions. And we have the complete BlockChain of the TromCoin: people submit transactions, transactions are signed and connected with other transactions, these transactions are put into blocks, blocks are connected with each other. It’s nothing more than keeping a record of transactions. And we can now use this system to create our own TROM economy.
We now have a chain of blocks for the TromCoin, which records all transactions. This is the “real ledger”, the complete one. Instead of a document-like thing, we have a chain of blocks that we call “a ledger”. Since it is only one single chain creating this ledger, we each have a copy of it (the 5 persons in the group) and we together form a network of 5 computers connected to each other.
Voilà, we created our own decentralized economy: 5 people with 5 computers, a BlockChain software to allow for transactions to happen, and all of these transactions are added inside the ledger. And we all have access to this ledger.
When new transactions happen, they are added into a block, the block to the chain, and all of the TromCoin BlockChain updated on all of our computers. This way the system updates in a decentralized manner and we all have a copy of these transactions + we can see these transactions in order. Therefore it is decentralized and open.
The verification process now. In order to verify the above mess (if a transaction is signed by the right person, if the transactions happen in order, and so forth), we need a lot of computational power to encrypt and decrypt basically, and that is a way to ensure that transactions are correct and blocks are added correctly in order. Again, you don’t have to know the details of this, you only have to remember that the entire premise of reward for most cryptocurrencies is “computational power”. When a transaction happens, it is shared with everyone in the network, and the computer that can verify the validity of the transaction faster (has the beefiest computer) is rewarded by the system. Let’s call these computers who do the work: miners. So, say in our example, the miner who can first check if the new transactions are correct is given 0.001TC as a reward (and with that we add new currency into the game – because we can since they are imaginary). The more people inside our network (and thus computers), the more transactions, the more rewards, the more TC we create. The more transactions, the more blocks into our system, the messier the mess and the harder to verify this mess. The chain of blocks gets bigger and bigger and harder therefore to verify the validity of it all. Therefore, the more we play this TromCoin game, the more computational power we need. People indeed make more TC now, but to make them they also need better and better computers, so it’s getting harder for people to make TC. If at the beginning, making 0.001TC meant to have a decent laptop, now for the same value you have to have a high end computer. In time you may need to invest a lot into buying a super powerful computer in order to make the same amount of TC as a miner. In essence, since this entire craziness is growing, you will reach a tipping point where the computational power to make more TC becomes so huge it is not worth it to mine more coins anymore. This is why people are saying that such cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are finite.
So this is how BlockChain is used to create cryptocurrencies. And BlockChain itself is nothing more than a sophisticated way of keeping track of records. These can be transactions (like a currency), medical records, keeping track of sold goods, or resources consumed, or whatever you may think of. It is a 1992 technology re-branded for cryptocurrencies primarily. BlockChain is a distributed ledger basically. Nothing more than that. Remember that.
Sure, it is a smart database which is resistant to alterations, thus ensuring a high degree of reliability. But is nothing more than that. And we will see later on how this too can be manipulated/hacked for profit. On top of that, a BlockChain can be private, can have different rules, and can be centralized or used for all kinds of harmful and profit-based purposes. For instance, banks are adopting the BlockChain technology to simplify their transactions... Imagine that... BlockChain, aimed to remove the need for banks, is now going to help banks make easier and more secure profits. (source)
TROM: Hey guys, do you make any Bitcoins yourself?
P1: I invest into cryptocurrencies, man. I buy them, then their value goes up, and I get a profit off of that.
But you don’t make any yourself. You still have to use another currency (like money) to buy these cryptocurrencies. Three years after the Bitcoin was born into existence, a very powerful computer (like an 8-core i7 processor over-clocked at 3.4ghz with 8GB of DDR3 and a good Nvidia Graphics card) could barely make any Bitcoins. And that’s because making Bitcoins from home, even with such a powerful computer, was a complete joke. You were trying to compete with companies that were building entire server rooms filled with hundreds or thousands of computers to mine Bitcoins. Today, if you were to mine Bitcoins or any other popular cryptocurrency on a similar computer, you would have to pay a few bucks from your own money, per month, for that. So you would not only make no profit, but you would also have to pay for doing this (electricity bills for the computer running software to mine these cryptocurrencies). If you want to mine from home, you need to invest many thousands of dollars into buying powerful hardware designed for that. (source 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) Nowadays most of the Bitcoins (or other cryptocurrencies) are mined by large servers (computers) that are optimized for doing this exact job of mining. To save on energy costs (since that’s basically the cost they have to pay for mining) some of these companies build these servers in either cold climates like Iceland, or in China where electricity is cheaper. (source) These companies and servers, or what is called as “mining pools”, are so powerful today that mining Bitcoins from your own computer is just ridiculous. Over 81% of these mining pools are in China. And to put salt on an open wound, mining Bitcoin (the largest cryptocurrency to date) is sucking in more energy than these 159 tribes combined (source). If Bitcoin miners were a country in terms of energy consumption, it would rank 60 on the world scale, consuming more energy per year than tribes like Morocco, Hungary, Serbia, Ireland, or Slovakia. Uruguay, Paraguay and Costa Rica combined do not use as much energy as the Bitcoin network. (source 1, 2, 3) At this phase, it is estimated that the Bitcoin network will consume the total world electricity consumption by February 2020 (source). You can watch this documentary about Bitcoin for more information about the subject. Imagine the stupidity of our species, consuming all of their energy for a worthless currency.
To understand cryptocurrencies is crucial since they are going to replace the currency “money” more and more. And it is important to understand that these cryptocurrencies are not in any way better than money or any other currency. Crypto/digital currencies are to money, like Facebook is to TV. You know how some people have this argument that they don’t watch the ol’ TV anymore - the old media, fake, biased, controlled by a few... Instead, they use Facebook to get their news and they brag about it. “Dude I’m done with the ol’ biased media. I get my news from FB. From independent journalists!” But they see the same shit on Facebook that they saw on TV. The medium has changed, but not the content. They think that some popular guy or a bunch of people on Facebook who do not belong to any news network is/are more truthful due to their “independence”, yet these creatures are the same hungry-for-views entities that would exaggerate, and lie, and deceive. That’s because both the ol’ media and the new one are part of the Game Of Trade and get influenced by it. That’s the illusion with cryptocurrencies. People think that we have to ditch the “old money” that is controlled by these ‘evil’ entities (like governments), and move to the new cool kid on the block, the crypto-kid (the cryptocurrency). But the “cool kid on the block” is the same creature as the ol’ dude (the money) only better smelling, nicer dressed, younger, and a lot more deceiving.
These cryptocurrencies are now slowly adopted by many tribes around the world (source) and this is like a magician fooling an entire crowd of people. “Yeah, bring on the new! Bring on the cryptocurrencies! That’s the future!” - many will be screaming, but they lack the understanding that money wasn’t the problem in the first place. If anything, cryptocurrencies will be even more unfair and tightly controlled than money. Not to mention the Monopolies that will form around these cryptocurrencies, as they already are.
There are lots of such cryptocurrencies nowadays and more are popping into existence - 1.4 thousand as of 2018 and growing rapidly (source). Anyone can invent their own currency. But all are hijacked for profit one way or another. There is no way to make a currency fair, regardless of the rules. Cryptocurrencies or just digital currencies, are all the same. Another hat on top of the trade game. Therefore, if you want to change the GOT (Game Of Trade) by replacing the currency “money” with another currency, then you are going to face the same CRAP and the evidence for that is all around you with these new cryptocurrencies that are not improving anything and are creating the same issues we see orbiting the “money” currency. It is like you’re eating shit and feel sick, and your solution is to put different condiments on the shit to eat it again, but you eat the same shit only slightly more spicy. Point is: stop eating shit. No condiment will change the essence of it.
First, get the point that money is just one of the many currencies out there and it seems to get out-of-fashion and pushed aside by these other new digital currencies that are sparking into existence like mold in warm, damp, and humid conditions. Games invent their own points and currencies, social networks invent their own ranking system that is converted into their own currencies, and pretty much anyone is able to invent these measurements of trade. Gift cards, vouchers, food stamps, they are all currencies. (here’s a list of all currencies)
Second thing, understand that you can trade without currencies.
• trading WITHOUT currencies: influencer marketing
One key thing about this journey is to showcase that trade goes beyond money, even beyond any currency. You can remove money or all other currencies and you’ll still see plenty of issues emerged from trades that involve none of those. Let’s unhide some trades that happen every day, from all around the world, that may not be known to people as being “trades”.
Girls browsing their Instagram feed.
P3: Oh, this dress is so gorgeous. I love Kira’s Instagram!
P4: Yes she is such a beautiful Instagram model. I would love to look like her!
TROM: Girls, this is just an example of how in our world we trade without the need of any currency. And man...you are so easy to fool….I am sad to see that.
These Instagram models get free clothes from companies, they dress in the clothes, then post on Instagram – it is an advertisement for these companies in return for free clothes. (source) This is a well known form of marketing and it is called “influencer marketing”. Companies are looking for people who have influence over others and try to sell and promote their products through these creatures. The companies can give them currency (like money) but they are also engaging in direct trades where they give away free products in exchange for advertising. There are many so called “influencer apps” that are making these trades easier. You just need a social account like Instagram and some followers, then you install the app, find some companies to partner with you, and they send you free stuff and you post on your social networks about their stuff. The more likes and shares you have, the more products they’ll send you. When you see these girls recommending those products, ask yourself: are they recommending these products, or are they just “talking mouths” promoting a brand for free stuff in return? Is this Instagram model posing at the beach or is she advertising that bikini?
Same thing happens on YouTube where tech companies send their products to “tech reviewers” for free, or send them special invitations to their special events influencing their “review”. If you get laptops and phones for free from the PIMP company it is pretty damn hard to be honest when you review their products. Do a bad job at being a prostitute for the PIMP, and you may not get goodies from them in the future. Here’s a part of an interview with the most influential Tech Reviewer on YouTube at the moment (he is from the US), talking about this issue. He does say that he is not really influenced that much by companies sending him their tech, though of course he cannot admit that so easily and lose credibility (and subscribers, and views, and money), however he admits the huge influence of these tech companies. And here’s yet another huge YouTube Tech Reviewer (biggest from Canada) making an ‘honest’ iPhoneX review after Apple didn’t send him the phone in advance for review like they do for most big Tech Reviewers – so the guy is basically saying: “Here’s how an honest review looks like, not influenced by Apple sending me their stuff for review.”. He too admits companies influence reviewers big time. And lastly, the largest UK Tech Reviewer talking about this as well. And here’s a random YouTube example of a review influenced by direct trades (Influencer Marketing scheme).
This is nothing new though. I remember in the 90s how companies like Avon, who were selling beauty products, came to our town to make businesses with all of the mothers and daughters they could find. It was a “deceive and conquer approach”. Every female creature in my town “partnered” with them to sell their stuff in return for getting free products from Avon. These “talking mouths” were so convincing that you could bet that this new perfume is gonna ‘bring a prince for ya’. And they engaged in these charlatan-like behaviors for free products in return. Phillips (tech company) went to poor villages in India and searched for “talking mouths” who would want free products in return for advertising. So Phillips started to sell wood stoves to poor people in India via these “influencing people” with whom Phillips engaged in direct trades, eventually making these poor people even poorer by hyping products that were neither that useful nor well made. (source)
From online makeup tutorials that are sponsored through product placements, to sweets sent to all kinds of popular Internet stars as treats to do food challenges with them, this extends everywhere and is a very “fashionable” thing to do nowadays. It’s hard to tell today if people are genuinely reviewing that brand new laptop or if it is a trade deal with a company. Is this food challenge just a fun video, or are you promoting this brand that makes those sweets? Is this a vlog or a promotion for various fashion companies? Websites lock down their content behind Facebook likes so that you have to like their Facebook page in order to access their content, because that in turn makes them more popular on Facebook, which in turn will provide more benefit for them (exposure) and they will be able to engage into future trades - “Hey, we have 1 million followers on our Facebook page, do you want us to promote your stuff? If so, give us free stuff and we promote your stuff. Deal!”; others ask you to leave a comment on their video for whatever reasons (like to win something from them) because they know that more comments can mean more YouTube exposure for their video - “Is this dude really interested in me leaving a comment with my opinion, or is he trying to make us all leave a comment so that he gets more exposure!?”; and so on and so on.
The big problem is that this has blended so much with normality that nowadays you can’t tell which things are ads, which ones are not, what is influenced by companies and brands, and what’s not. But from all I know looking at our society, with all of the knowledge I have, I’ll say most people spend their life watching and admiring an advertisement show. In the ‘ol days you were watching ads in between shows on TV, or via teleshopping programs, and movies slightly injected a Coke into one of their scenes, but nowadays mostly everything is influenced in one way or another by trade deals. And the Internet made it spread like wildfire. It’s like a big ad. Add that to mind.
I recommend this documentary to see how many people this influencer marketing scheme reaches online, which is staggering.
So, you see, the “influencer marketing scheme”, one of the many schemes that engages in direct trades. No currency needed.
• trading WITHOUT currencies: data collection and the scam of “free”
P5: I love the Internet. So much free stuff! YouTube, Facebook, Google! We live in such a remarkable time when knowledge is free. Information is free! To express yourself is…
TROM: NOT FREE! None of these are free, my friend. None. Yes they might be money free, or bitcoin free, or safecoin free, but not trade free.
Be aware of the word “free”! This word is so deceiving that it is scary. Facebook, YouTube, Google, and almost any service you see (offline or online) are not free at all. If I give you a bike and say: “Give me 5 nude photos of you in return!”, would you give me the photos, take the bike, and happily say that you just got a bike for free? Of course not. You had to give me 5 nude photos of you for that bike. You traded your intimacy, comfort, privacy, dignity for that bike. If I give you a phone and say: “Take it, it is free! It’s yours! Oh, one thing, I installed this tracking app that can’t be uninstalled and it will track you: what you write, what you watch, what you read, your contacts, and pretty much everything you do on your phone. But the phone is free! Take it!” - would you, again, take the phone and be happy that you just got a phone for free? No. You allowed me to spy on you and you got a phone for that. Then, what is the difference when you buy a phone that has an operating system that collects your data and sells it to advertisers? When Facebook collects your data in return for you accessing its services, why would you call that free? Why are you saying YouTube is free when it injects ads into your face and collects your data? Or Google that does the same? Therefore Facebook, YouTube, Google and the like are “money free” but not “trade-free”. Keep this in mind, and store it well, because the “free” deception will make your life a hell.
Look at this robot-panda taking care of your grandma! That robot-panda tells your grandma when it is time to take her heart pills, when your grandma should exercise, or when her grandson called in to check on her. Oh, what a wonderful robot. But wait! That robot is a Charlatan. It collects data about your grandma (what pills she takes, what apps she uses to talk to her grandson, how much exercise she does and when) and sells it to various companies like drug companies, or insurance companies, or app makers. You thought the robo-panda was a great friend, but you now realize it is a Charlatan housemaid. For the convenience of the robot panda, your grandma traded her data to the companies that own the little panda.
Perhaps the biggest trade in the world at the moment is DATA trading. And likely, everyone is engaged into that in one way or another – anything that you see online is likely to mine people’s data for their own profits. User data nowadays has become the new gold. Companies mine it for profits, governments mine it to control, punish, and overall spy on people for various reasons. We even have what is called as “data brokers” today, organizations whose sole purpose is to mine people’s data and sell it to advertisers or make other profits from it. One such company in the US has data from around 10% of the world’s population with about 1.500 pieces of information per consumer (source). And that’s one company from one tribe, imagine all such companies combined. Pfizer, one of the largest pharmaceutical company in the world, spends some $12 million every year to buy health record data from a variety of such companies (source).
This is the kind of data that is collected by so many today, and for the specific reasons. They are real data collection points.
Elections: to influence people to vote (or not vote) for a particular candidate/political party.
• Identifying and demographic data: name, gender, weight, race, marital status, occupation
• Court and public record data: bankruptcies, voting registration, criminal offenses
• Social media data: electronics purchases, friends, influencer status
• Home/Neighborhood: home size, value, listing price, numbers of rooms/baths
• General interest data: apparel preferences, pets, sports, participation, gambling, activism
• Financial data: credit card user, loans, net worth indicator, estimated income
• Vehicle data: brand preferences, boat owner, purchase data, vehicle owned, propensity to purchase vehicle
• Travel data: reads books/magazines about travel, preferred airline, date of last travel purchase, vacation property
• Purchase behavior data: purchase type, guns, mail-ability score
• Health data: aliment/prescription online search propensity, tobacco usage, disability insurance, weight loss/supplements, organic focus, smoker in household, allergy sufferer
• Loyalty card data
• Geo-location data
Aristotle, Blue State Digital, Cambridge Analytica, Cosmonauts and Kings, Harris Media, Nationbuilder, Ucampaign, and YouGov are just a handful of big players in this domain of influencing politics (and power) through data mining. Remember the fact that these strategies are often very influential (thus, they work).
Dating: companies and governments won’t only be able to influence what you eat and where you shit, but also who you will be dating. Tinder, Grindr, OK Cupid, Eharmony, these are today’s ‘angels’ who are going to find your soul-mate. Eharmony, in order to find your prince or princess, dares to ask you some 258 questions to know more about you. And some of OK Cupid’s questions for instance are: “In a certain light, wouldn’t nuclear war be exciting?”, “Would you date someone just for sex?”, “Overall, has capitalism made the world a better place?”, “Generally do you enjoy being drunk?”, “Are you annoyed by people who are super logical?”….
The co-founder of OK Cupid said: “If you use the Internet, you’re the subject of hundreds of experiments at any given time, on every site. That’s how websites work.” And OK Cupid indeed does such experiments or sells data for experiments. Imagine the immensity of personal data that these companies have on people.
Browser History: you may have never thought about it, but pretty much all of what you do online is through a single “thing”. The browser. At least on desktop. But every time you use the above services, or visit any website, type anything, all of that is recorded. It is your online history and it can be as accurate as predicting when you sleep, when you are at work (maybe even what your job is), what your interests are; it’s pretty much like all of those dating sites and websites combined, since they all happen inside the browser. Internet Service Providers, mobile phone providers, content owners, and others can access this data.
Trackography: it’s not enough that websites themselves collect data, and that your browser collects data, but some websites collect data from other websites. So say OK Cupid collects data when you use their service, and your Google Chrome (browser) collects your data when you visit OK Cupid using it, but since OK Cupid has a simple Facebook Like button, that button acts like a tracker for Facebook.com. Therefore, visiting and using OK Cupid will spill your data to OK Cupid, your browser, and Facebook (Google, Twitter, or others who have such “like” or “share” features). And it gets worse. After you leave OK Cupid, Facebook keeps on tracking you because it downloads a piece of code inside your browser that will follow you wherever you go and report back to Facebook (or, again, to other similar websites). You can find a wealth of information here about these trackers and if you read through it your head will explode at how much they collect about you.
Open Wifi: nowadays more and more restaurants, malls, buss stations, subways, airports, and so forth offer open wifi (as in “free” wifi). As you may know the drill already, this is only money free and not trade free. These “money-free” wifi connect to your phone in the background and know a lot about it: the kind of device (phone, tablet, laptop), model, operating system, the name you gave to your phone. Since any device has a unique serial number, they can track your movement between these “money-free” wifi networks. LinkNYC is one such huge project that will connect the entire city of New York through “money-free” wifi, and although they are in the early stages of deployment they are already facing lots of controversies surrounding the collection of data. Needless to say, if you have a SIM card they too collect a ton of data about you (see this impressive video).
So if you use an open Wifi, then visit OK Cupid from Chrome Browser using your Android Phone that has a SIM, then a dozen of companies and governments collect a shit ton of data about you. Just that simple act of visiting one website in that situation.
P: But dude, I use encrypted stuff! I use WhatsApp so they can fuck of – they can’t read my messages and shit…
TROM: Dude...even when your communication is encrypted they can still scrap a lot of data about you. This is called “metadata”.
Not long ago, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger (both owned by the Facebook company) announced that their apps became encrypted in an effort to show their ‘care’ for their customers privacy. Happy? Sure. Deceived? You should be. What they did was they implemented an encrypted protocol that was Open Source (leeching on the backs of Open Source projects) in their own way. Yes, WhatsApp, for example, cannot see what you talk about with your friends because conversations are encrypted, but they collect metadata. They collect who you contacted, when, from what device, how much you’ve talked, and everything else. (source)
They know you rang a phone sex service at 2:24 am and spoke for 18 minutes. But they don’t know what you talked about.
They know you called the suicide prevention hotline from the Golden Gate Bridge. But the topic of the call remains a secret.
They know you spoke with an HIV testing service, then your doctor, then your health insurance company in the same hour. But they don’t know what was discussed. (source)
🙂 - Got it? You can read what WhatsApp collects about users on their website, and it is a lot, even though they are “secure and encrypted”. Also, watch this video to see how much you can trace about an individual just by using metadata https://vimeo.com/159364972
Internet of Things: Perhaps the scariest thing of all is what is going to happen to our own personal and private “offline” spaces (homes, cars, gadgets). Lately, one idea sneaked into our homes: the Internet of Things. What this means is that more and more “things” will become “smart”, and by “smart” I mean “they will collect a lot (A LOT) of data”. Your bed won’t be the dumbass bed that you are sleeping in right now. No! Sir Bed will know when you sleep, how your sleep is, if you sleep alone or not, at what hours, how is your health. And Sir Bed will be owned by a company who wants your data and will use your data for all kinds of purposes. “Smart” toasters, windows, lights, doors, kitchen electronics, oven, furniture, shower, toilet, AC, and whatever else you can imaging will become a reality in the next few years (and many of these are already a reality for so many ‘owners’). Just think about children’s toys that are going to listen, watch and mine data about kids. (source) This is not only an invasion to our private spaces, but to everything we will interact with: use a taxi, commute with the subway or buses, buying stuff from supermarket, driving on certain roads, using health devices, going to movies, and pretty much everything else a human will do in our technological world even the simple walk on the streets is captured by CCTV cameras and our data mined. (source 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11) More about cars collecting data, here and here.
And here’s why this is even scarier: iPhoneX, Google Phones, Echo (Alexa), Amazon store, and 23AndMe. These companies are making collecting data “cool” and acceptable.
The new iPhone X has complex sensors to monitor one’s face (as that’s also the phone’s main unlock mechanism), and this will open up another huge pile of data that can be collected by companies or governments to understand people’s emotions and serve ‘better ads’ or whatever they might do with the data for profit. (source) Apple, like WhatsApp, ensures their users that their mighty data (face data) is encrypted and protected on their phone. So don’t worry, no one can access it. Except everyone. Because like in the case of WhatsApp, they are sneaky and brush off the details. Yes, face data is stored on the owner’s phone and encrypted, but developers (those who make apps for their phones) can access enough of this data to read your face and see if you smile, are happy, or whatever your face may express.(source) They know that you watched a video ad about health insurance, and that you spend 80% of the time paying close attention to it, then clicked on the ad and looked interested in it. They know that you don’t pay attention to their in-game purchases notifications, they know your age and your location, and they know what makes you happy whilst you play their game. But don’t worry, no one knows your face ;).
Google’s new phone (Pixel 2) has a feature that listens for songs in the background all the time (when activated), to ‘better serve you with music’. (source). Knowing the way companies behave, this “optional feature” may become default in the near future. Anyways, Google says that none of this information is sent to them, but the feature works with their own Google Music app so it’s kinda easy to see this scenario: “We don’t have access to your recorded background noise (song), but we sure know that you had our app activated and got a notification from it (we still don’t know what sound it picked up); but then you clicked the notification and it sent you to our Google Music store. Perfect. Ed Sheeran – Castle on the Hill, right? And we even see if you bought it or not, and with what credit card. But we have no fucking clue what our listening app listened to.” Google phones have another feature in the name of Google Assistant, a ‘smart’ AI designed to help you with all kinds of tasks: schedule appointments, play music, and stuff like that. It too can listen in the background if activated, and it is a very popular feature of any Android phone (not only Google phones).
Echo is an “in-home-smart...-thing!?” (Smart speaker) owned by Amazon. The voice behind it is Alexa (as you may know ‘her’). A new fad of ‘intelligent’ and multi purpose devices that are listening to you inside your own home, like Google Assistant does for your phone. Alexa can do a wide variety of tasks like reading emails, playing music, telling you about the weather, reading news, and can be connected to a wide variety of apps or appliances (devices). So this thing has a lot of data to gather. (source) Google, Apple, and so many other companies are starting to swim in the same water current and they too build such devices that are becoming a normality in any ‘modern’ home. Mind you, these devices are like that robot-panda, only that they have access to a lot more data. The same Amazon also opened a grocery store where you can walk inside, take your products, put them anywhere you want (like you bag), and walk out. There are no cashiers because the payment will be automatic. That is possible because the grocery store is packed with cameras and sensors, recording every activity. (source) You can see how that yells “collecting data!”.
These 4, a phone that can read your emotions (facial expressions), another phone that can listen in the background, these “in-home-smart-all-purpose-gadgets” that make your home not only yours anymore, and grocery stores “of the future” that record any of your moves, are making people used to these invasions of privacy. These 4 are the most popular ‘innovations’ nowadays, coming from the most powerful companies in the world. They invade your home, pocket, friends, habits, likes and dislikes, and pretty much everything else.
In the not so distant past, only a few years ago, allowing websites and apps to get your location seemed very intrusive for most users. Nowadays it has become a normal thing and many apps won’t even work well (or at all) if you do not allow them to track your location. Because companies know how to make people accustomed to such intrusive and sometimes necessary “penetrations” of their privacy, people seem not to mind or understand any of this. Apple, Google and Amazon are the biggest players in the field of in-home ‘smart’ gadgets and because they are so “cool, man!”, they will spread this feeling of feeling accustomed to data mining devices.
And 23AndMe is doing the exact same thing, but this time it is not about sharing your gadgets’ data, but your body’s data. They provide very cheap DNA analysis tools that provide almost no useful information except who your “ancestors” were (just ask WikiPedia without spitting into a tube) or if you are predisposed to certain diseases and even those fall short of any relevancy (source). This dude, who is a genomicist at the Scripps Research Institute, said: “I’ve likened these lifestyle tests to horoscopes—vague, occasionally informative, sometimes amusing.” (source 1, 2). 23AndMe uses the DNA data to sell to other companies or to research institutions, and although one has to agree with that (in a way), it is easy to see how 23AndMe can make people agree with it by providing discounts to their DNA testing, or ‘free’ testing, and other such marketing tricks in order to make their customers give away their data. And they have been successful at that since 80% of their 2 million users consented for sharing their data for research (source). 23AndMe’s privacy policies say that they can do the following with your data (by default): “monitor and improve existing products or services that we offer or to develop new products and services”- So then what stops 23AndMe to become a company that in the future will sell treatments, pills, therapies, and such based on the huge amount of data that they gather!? Also (they say): “You also consent to your personal information, including sensitive information, being transferred in the event of a business transition such as a merger, acquisition by another company, or other transaction or proceeding.” - So any other company can buy 23AndMe and use their data in any way that the new company wants. And lastly, the “metadata” craziness: “We may share anonymized and aggregate information with third-parties; anonymized and aggregate information is any information that has been stripped of your name and contact information and aggregated with information of others or anonymized so that you cannot reasonably be identified as an individual.”. Basically 23AndMe is another data collecting business masked as DAN testing service.
And in the future, what stops 23AndMe to change its privacy policies like every company does repeatedly? Millions of people have currently taken the 23AndMe test, and there are many other companies that are offering the same kind of service. 23AndMe advertise their service in a very aggressive manner with perhaps any big science YouTuber being paid to promote the service at one point or another. (source 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
And this is only the beginning of this worldwide madness. 20-30 years ago, data mining was a ‘nothing thing’ compared to today. They were able to collect data but mainly from the phone, tv, subscriptions to newspapers, credit card, and so on, yet today they have a ton of resources from which they can collect it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3FLKuQa62c
However, today, compared to 10 years into the future, there will be the same massive difference in terms of data collecting. We will see an explosion of DNA tests, smart devices, smart cars, “free” wifi, and so forth. If we see these “smart gadgets” for the true value they have today which is “marketing devices”, then we might appreciate the complete fuckery that’s about to come in the next years when these marketing devices will spread like a very bad infection. (source)
Think about 2 of the biggest Internet companies that reach billions of people: Google and FaceBook. They collect pretty much every pieces of information about people: what you search, what you click, the movement of the mouse pointer, your texts, messages, contacts, scan your images (how they look, when they were taken, with what device, etc.); they know your location, your device information, your family and if you have pets or a job. They collect your credit card information whenever you buy anything through their services and track the ads you’ve clicked. You get the point, they collect pretty much everything that’s possible about their users. Google is now tracking you on 76% of websites, with FaceBook lurking on about 25% of websites (source). You can see what Google collects here and here, and Facebook here and here. And I highly recommend you download your data from Google and FaceBook to get a glimpse at how much information they collect about you (mind you even this data is incomplete).
Now, what many people may not fully realize is, for one, how big these companies are. They own the most popular (in the world): search engine, email client, video hosting platform, mobile operating system, browser, maps and navigation, web analytic service, file storage service, mobile app store, anti spam protection, translating software, online advertising, books indexing, social networks, messaging apps. If you use the Internet then you use Google and FaceBook. Period.
Guess what the main source of revenue for FaceBook or Google is? Community support? No. Donations from elderly? No. Advertising and Data mining? Aha. Second thing to understand is that both of these companies rely entirely on data trading. The above services are, as you may realize, “free” - and that’s only because they collect data from you. For example if FaceBook were to remove its advertising from the website it would have to charge its billions of users ~$7 a month to keep its business afloat (source). Both Google and FaceBook get 80-90% of their revenue from advertising (source 1, 2). Actually, Google and FaceBook get half of the advertising revenue from the entire worldwide Internet. (source)
Therefore we must understand how serious data trading is when 2 of the most powerful companies in the world (reaching billions of people) rely entirely on it for survival and thriving. You will see when I’ll present you the Monopolies of our Game Of Trade, how a few companies own the entire Internet and their main businesses is, again, data trade. Microsoft for example bought Linkedin in 2016 and one of the primary reasons is the vast amount of data that Microsoft now has access to, since Linkedin is a place where people post detailed information about themselves, workplace, skills, and a lot more (source). Also watch this video to see what one can do with Linkedin data. Imagine using such a service that may want to respect your privacy and not force you into many trades with them, to then be bought by a large company that won’t give a fuck about this and they will now own your data. These things happen all the time (source). Microsoft already collects a lot of data through their Windows Operating System (biggest Operating System for desktop computers), so it’s not like this a new thing to them.
And it’s problematic because it is hard to escape this. They own the smartphone world, and that world is getting so big that it dominates everything. And people do almost everything through their smartphones: shopping, talking to people, getting news and knowledge, and so forth. Knowing that so much is filtered through a handful of companies that mainly want people’s data, it is troublesome. And think about the fact that A.I. systems, which are going to be the future of tech, primarily rely on data to become “smart”, and who has most of the data? Google, FaceBook, and the like. Therefore, these giants get a huge advantage when it comes to “smart” A.I. systems (and thus creating or managing “smart” devices – Internet of Things) that no one can truly compete with. On top of that they come up with services that have no competitor, sucking in people like flies attracted to light. Google Photos is currently offering ‘free’ lifetime use and unlimited storage for their service. Meaning you can upload unlimited photos and videos to their cloud, forever, and for ‘free’. Come up with a better offer than that! And of course, they will use the data of your photos and videos to train their A.I., or who knows for what. But because they are so powerful, pretty much no one can compete with them. And in the case of A.I., since A.I. relies entirely on huge piles of data, and this is a new trend that is exploding at the moment, it means that companies will be incentivized to collect even more data.
It can be difficult to comprehend how massive the data trade is nowadays, so I recommend you go here and install that browser plugin that will mine your FaceBook data use so that in about a week you’ll start to see what FaceBook knows about you in a very interesting and interactive way. (video demo)
Mozilla created a “Glass Room” exhibit to showcase the mining of data using all kinds of interesting representations. I recommend you have a look at it here. And here you can visit it in VR. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6N8nvUrnq1U
I also recommend this video: “We're building a dystopia just to make people click on ads” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFTWM7HV2UI
I recommend the following documentaries if you want to learn even more about the “data trade”: Your Data or Your Freedom, The Real Value of Your Personal Data, Cracking The Code, The Joy of Data, The Human Face of Big Data, The Age of Big Data, InRealLife, Generation Like, Terms and Conditions May Apply, What Makes You Click?, In Google We Trust, Democracy, Data and Dirty Tricks.
And yes, it is true, most of these companies collecting data do so to convert it into monetary gain and therefore some may argue that they don’t actually trade data, they just collect data to make money off of it. However that is besides the point since they could and would convert this data into cryptocurrencies, tokens, or whatever popular currency is at the time. Converting this data into money is just an arbitrary thing of our today’s world. Tomorrow FaceBook will convert the data it collects into FaceBookCoins, or FaceBook tokens, or into direct trades. Or think about when this data will be used by companies to give or remove privileges from you, like it is being used in work surveillance, or when this data is not being kept private, or used to influence opinions, and so forth. (source 1, 2)
I hope I got you tired with this big "data trade" explanation. It is so massive that even a summary of it is going to put a toll on most people. Here’s how long it takes to read the Terms of Service for Kindle (Amazon product) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxygkyskucA
The services, the cars, the toys, and the gadgets of tomorrow will become “entirely free”,
And that’s not because we will migrate to a new kind of saner society,
But because companies and governments will collect every data about you and me
To show us their ads
To advertise their brands
To know where we go
To see where we show
To learn what we like
Or what we dislike
To know us so well
We trade? Who can tell!?
That’s the future we are heading towards. (source)
• trading WITHOUT currencies: social credits and citizenship
P1: Hooooney! Look! We are rewarded for good behavior on WeChat by the government! They give us free tickets to the Suckers Water Park.
P2: Yay! So awesome! I told you that if we don’t swear or don’t make controversial posts on WeChat we will get rewarded 🙂
TROM: Hoooomans! This is really really bad! It is called social credit and it is going to ruin many lives. Don’t be completely naive.
Interestingly, companies are not the only ones who want to mine your data. Governments want that too. In China, an extreme example is underway: the government wants to monitor people to give them a ranking score in order to create a more “sincere” population. Imagine the things Google and FaceBook mine about you now being used to score your behavior by the government. Maybe some scores won’t allow you to get a house or drive a car or leave the tribe. “The possibilities are endless” and this is not a conspiracy theory, this is coming from the Chinese government itself who wants to make it mandatory by 2020. (source) That’s a forced trade with the government. If you read more about the Chinese plan it is truly unbelievable that they even thought about this, but it is not at all surprising considering the trade world we live in. There are already over 30 such programs in China run by local governments. Two of these programs are: Honest Shanghai and Sesame Credit. Honest Shanghai is an app developed by the leaders in Shanghai and works like this: you get the app and register with your national ID. Based on this ID and facial recognition, the app collects data from the government (because yes, they already collect tons of data about the population) and 24 hours later you will be given a credit score: very good, good, or bad. They say they will reward citizens who are, in their opinion, good citizens. They mine through 3.000 items of information collected from nearly 100 government entities to determine an individual's public credit score. If you get a good score you might get discounts, and if you get a bad score you might be punished in a variety of ways like not being able to book a plane seat, get a credit, leave the country, or whatever. The app is voluntary at this point, but does that matter!?
Sesame Credit is a partnership between the Chinese government and someone very powerful. A company. Alibaba. Alibaba, if you’ve never heard of it, is the world’s largest (in terms of sales) and most “valuable” retailer (business that sells goods to the public) which operates in over 200 tribes worldwide. It is also one of the largest Internet companies in the world with its sales surpassing that of all the US retailers including Amazon, Walmart, and eBay combined. Alibaba is bigger than all of the US retailers combined in terms of sales. Which is hard to comprehend. So it is in the top 10 most profitable and largest businesses in the entire fucking world. They have hundreds of millions of users and amongst many services, they own a pay service (Alipay) which is, not surprisingly, the most valuable financial technology company in the world. You get it, Alibaba is fucking boss and Chinese. They use the Sesame Credit system via their Alipay app (and their services) under the governmental supervision to rate Chinese citizens for “loyalty to the Chinese government and loyalty to Chinese brands based on social media interactions and online purchases” ( WikiPedia quote). Based on the score, they again, can reward or punish people. China is like the father you never wanted, who has control over your phone and laptop and is very grumpy.
Chinese companies like Tencent (as big as Alibaba) are already implementing a social credit to their own apps, and having almost a billion users sure helps with that. They will score for social connections, consumption behavior, security, wealth, and compliance. (source 1, 2) They too are under the influence of the ‘daddy’ China as most things are in China.
These are trades that people of China are persuaded into or forced to engage in. But although this sounds awful, it is nothing new. All governments are pushing people into trades of all sorts, like when they give you access to healthcare only if you work for the state, or give you benefits (food, shelter, or whatever) if you fit in a certain criteria and maybe do not break the law; or when they allow you (or don’t allow you) to leave the tribe. This is happening everywhere in multiple forms of trade. Interestingly, these trades too are based on data they collect about you (your behavior, your spendings, etc.). China only went one step ahead and made it ‘cool’ - digital.
Px: Oh man...our healthcare system in the US is the worst. We have to pay a ton of money even for the most basic consultation. Look at Spain! Free healthcare for all of their citizens! That’s so…
TROM: UN-Free! The term “free” is the biggest scam, online or offline, it doesn’t matter.
If you go to Spain now, do you think they’ll treat you for free? Of course not. You have to engage into trades with them. You have to be part of their tribe (become a Spanish citizen or resident), you have to work for them, perhaps even know their local language to be able to properly take advantage of the healthcare. You have to wait long periods of time for each consultation and respect their local laws and rules. You trade your comfort, privacy, time, labor, and more to the Spanish tribe for their healthcare system. Therefore Spain’s healthcare system is money-free for some people, but not trade-free for anyone.
Do you consider being part of a tribe (country - having a citizenship) as a trade? Think about it: you are born into a tribe and from that moment on you are forced to respect its rules. Maybe you won’t be allowed to leave the tribe, maybe you will be forced to join its army, work for the tribe, give information about you to the tribe (where you go, how much money you spend, who you stay with, what plans you have, etc.). If you are from Romania and want to go into the US tribe you can’t simply do that. The tribe leaders won’t let you. Even if your motive is to visit the Grand Canyon for your own pleasure or curiosity as a human being, a natural place carved by millions of years of erosion, you can’t. US owns that and your tribe and the US tribe won’t let you leave without a special permission that you have to apply for. You, as a human being on this planet, are forced to engage in such trades with the tribes. To behave in certain ways, to work certain jobs, to respect certain rules, to humiliate yourself, apply for permission, or to get help (healthcare, food, accommodation, etc.). All of these are forced trades that you have to engaged in. If you don’t want to accept the rules of your tribe, you can work on moving to another tribe and get a new citizenship, and that new citizenship will come along with another set of trades. In China, you may not be allowed to have more than two babies; in Iran, you may not be allowed to ‘marry’ someone with similar genitalia to yours. In the US, you are not allowed to drink alcohol until the age of 21, in the UK you may be arrested for walking in your underwear on the streets, and in Singapore you may not be able to get chewing gum. Tribes have these rules, and once you are a part of them or when you are visiting them, you have to comply with their rules in return for safety, roads, a postal service, access to Internet or other services, or just simple basic access to their land (mountains, rivers, whatever they think they own). Many people see these as “laws” but in essence, if you think about it, they are forced trades masked as “rules and laws”. This is why when you disrespect their rules they take something away from you: currency, possessions, freedom. The most common punishment for crimes (disrespecting a tribe’s rules) is to ban you from accessing what the tribe gave you: ability to walk on their streets, enjoy their products and services, travel, access their knowledge (books, tv, Internet) or any service, and so forth. So they lock you up in some buildings/rooms where they will give you stuff and services in limited quantities. They change the trade with you in a forceful way. All in all, being a citizen implies you forcefully agree with certain trades: you behave a certain way and you are given certain things in return (stuff, services, permissions) from that tribe.
• trading WITHOUT currencies: other forms of trade
Teen angry at re-captcha.
P5: Aaaaaa….C’mon man! Let me access the website for fuck sakes!
TROM: Ever been discriminated online and called a bot? No worries, you are not alone. Millions face this discrimination :). Who’s behind most of it? Google who owns a tool called ReCaptcha to detect “fishy behavior” (SPAM bots) and when it does, it throws you a puzzle that you have to solve in order to show that you are smarter than a coffee machine. What many don’t know is that you involuntary help Google train their A.I. software that is then used to transcribe books, addresses and what not for Google’s own profit. (source) So, if you are not a bot, you are a minion working involuntarily for Google to train their A.I.’s that will later be used to create products and make a profit. You trade your intelligence (and labour) to Google through ReCaptcha.
Other forms of trade that involve no currency are sex for rent, where people let you stay in their homes in exchanged for sex or other favors; rent can also be “money free” if, in exchange, you do the housekeeping, take care of the elderly owners, walk their pets, mow the lawn, or do their grocery shopping (source). Maybe if you join a group (a sect, a cult, a religion) you’ll get free accommodation, food, and other stuff in return. There is no shortage of trades that involved no currency. So all of the above examples are purely random, as there are trillions of such scenarios where people trade without any currency. They did that in the past, they do it now, and will do it in the future.
Next time you want to blame money for the world’s problems, think about cancer because that’s what you are talking about: cancer, cancer, cancer. And I’m like: “But dude, cancer is one of the many many diseases that kill people and create harm. Why do you focus only on that?”. If you focus on money as the source of most problems, it is like having the entire healthcare field in the world focusing primarily on cancer and not on other diseases. That’s what you are doing. That would be insane! Millions of people would die. So don’t do that! Cancer is bad, but cancer is one disease among so many others. And, remember, cancer is one of the symptoms of aging.
Here’s the Trade Bubble. Green are currencies, blue are direct trades.
Say the big green bubble is the currency “money”. Yeah, it’s fucking huge, but what about the other ones? Should we ignore them? Many of the other ones are growing faster and faster, whilst the “money” one may be shrinking. If you choose to only care about that one single green bubble inside the Trade Bubble, then fine for you, but I (TROM Superhero) am about the entire bubble of trade with all of its currencies and direct trades. TROM is all about the big Trade Bubble that contains them all. That’s our enemy!
A. Money is one form of currency.
B. Currency is just a representation of trade.
C. There are lots of currencies.
D. There are many trades without currency.
= Money is not the problem. Trade is.
-------explained in the book with photos-----------
The Normalson family of 5. They are normal. They live inside a tribe. They use technology. They have an Internet connection. They trade on a daily basis with everyone and everything.
- education scenario
School: Want a “secure” future and to be part of our tribe? Come to us for 12-16 years and respect our rules: dress the way we say, learn what we say, come when we say, stay for as long as we say!
- job scenario
Company: Want food, house, medicine? Give us currency!
State: Want currency? Have a job that we define as a “job”! And give us a % of your currency!
Company: Want job? Have these skills and respect our rules (dress a certain way, behave a certain way, present yourself at certain hours)
- technology scenario
Smart Gadgets: Want access to the latest apps and features and in general access to technology? Give us currency and tell us what you like, who you are, where you are, what you want, what you do, and give us as much data about yourself as possible!
- entertainment scenario:
Internet: Want to see videos, access websites, and listen to music? Watch our advertising and give us all of your data.
-------explained in the book with photos-----------
This is how everyone and everything sucks energy/attention/time out of humans in the name of TRADE, like a vampire who cannot survive without it. Now we understand what the force is! Let’s move on!
Understand, accept, get ready, fight!
Let’s prove that the force of trade influences things in a very bad way. The stronger the force, the more obvious the effect.
• space exploration
P6: SpaceX launch is live!
P7: So awesome. Wow! They landed the boosters back, and in sync. This is so wonderful. I never saw this before! They even launched a Tesla car into space, man! That’s so fucking rad!
P6: Elon Musk is the man, man! He is changing the world right in front of our eyes.
P7: Indeed. Not only does he revolutionize space, but with his Tesla electric cars and Solar City (solar panels), he is our savior. I don’t think that’s an exaggeration!
TROM: Oh, this is a HUUUGE exaggeration! Elon Musk may be a great guy (MAY), but he is the living proof that trade fucks up everything.
Think about gravity. Humans do not know exactly what it is but they see its influence (source). We know that objects with mass attract one another (bending the space). The bigger the mass, the stronger the attraction. If you are near our Sun you will ‘fall’ towards it because the massive mass of the Sun “pulls you in”. The closer you are to the Sun, the stronger the force of gravity. The farther you are from the Sun, the weaker the force. You get the point. That’s one way to prove gravity, by observing its increasing or decreasing effect on the matter. We can apply that same way of thinking to prove the existence of the negative effects that are caused by trade.. Here’s how:
Let’s replace the Sun with our Trade Bubble. Let’s suppose it has the same mass as the Sun. Here it is, the Trade Bubble in space! Huge. Massive. Ugly. Yikes!
Now let’s remain in space for a while. Let’s say humans want to go to space to explore it. The only way to do it in the Game Of Trade is via funding (currencies). There are mainly two ways of getting funding for such a mission: one is to get the funding in advance, the other way is to invest money into the mission then take the money back. This is NASA vs SpaceX, for example. NASA gets a budget from the US government (through taxes) and they send space probes into space to do science. Because of this they are not under the influence of trade that much since they already paid for the mission in advance so they don’t have to think of ways to get some investment back from the mission. But a company, say SpaceX, invests money first, then it needs to take the money back somehow, if it wants to survive in the trade game. Or else SpaceX will go bankrupt. So SpaceX, or whatever other company, needs to think about marketing schemes. If they go into space maybe they will sell their scientific discoveries to scientists instead of making them freely available for everyone like NASA does; maybe they will focus more on space tourism (like sending rich people into space) than doing science and exploration; maybe they will seek for sensationalism over science. And if you look at it, that’s the reality. SpaceX plans to send two rich creatures around the Moon very soon to make a buck for the company (source). They also plan to put satellites into orbit to provide Internet to the people, again as a business plan (source). And that rocket launch and the car….Recently they launched a “Big Fucking Rocket” (to quote them) to test this heavy and powerful thing, and they had to put a payload on it for the test. Although apparently SpaceX asked NASA if they wanted to put something on the rocket as a payload and NASA refused because such payloads are likely to explode with the experimental rocket they were testing, the company decided to put an ad on it - a car that is made by SpaceX’s sister company, Tesla (also owned by Elon Musk). So Musk decided to send his car into space because he says, “it’s a silly thing” (to quote him), but this also ended up as a huge advertisement for his Tesla company. Perhaps the biggest advertisement ever created. Silly ad… The car floated around the Earth monitored by several cameras streaming the video back home. “There it is, a Tesla car and the Earth behind it. The future of Space Ads.” Now NASA has to index the object as a potential danger (like indexing asteroids near Earth) and the car is also an unnecessary space debris that can, although with little chances, collide with another planet and contaminate it. (source) Basically, in 2098 people will explore Mars and they’ll be like: “Damn, we found life. And it is similar to that on Earth,” but they won’t realize it is the mighty Tesla that crashed into Mars years before and contaminated the planet. Some argue that the risks of sending this car into space and in orbit were less important compared to the enthusiasm that was created amongst humans because of this event. What people seem to miss is the fact that rich people can do such stunts. That’s the issue, not that car itself, or Musk, but what these rich creatures could do next. That’s the important question. Elon Musk is seen as a unique figure who wants to help the human species. Maybe this is the case, however he too is influenced by the force of trade. In 2017, SpaceX was forced to pay nearly $4 million to thousands of their own employees for being treated unfairly. And according to a 2016 survey: “SpaceX (along with Tesla) standout in the tech industry as among the lowest-paying companies to work for”. (source) Tesla model 3 (their newest model) has all of the hardware for becoming an autonomous car, yet it costs around $5.000 – $8.000 to enable it via software. This is a cheap marketing scheme that only makes sense in our wasteful trade society. Musk is also advertising his cars as “autonomous” - Tesla model 3 has two options: ‘Autopilot’ ($5,000) or ‘Full Self-Driving’ ($8,000) - even though they are far from that. This endangers people’s lives because they put too much trust into these cars because of Tesla’s advertising, and several people have died as a result of this premature trust. Overall, Musk is very close to the Trade Bubble and he is not a superhero, he is just a human influenced by the Bubble and he does (and will continue to do) a lot of harm to others and/or the environment at the expense of his profits or his companies’ profits. (source 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12) On top of that, Musk is criticized for taking advantage of state taxes to grow his businesses, not to mention that he is currently the 53rd richest man in the world. (source 1, 2)
As you can see, Musk and his companies are also under the influence of trade. Musk needs to run a business, and even he who seems to want to make this world a better place, is going to become a Charlatan here and there and somewhere.
Back to space, other companies like Blue Origin (owned by Amazon’s boss) or Virgin Galactic are also looking at exploring space with the business in mind (mining asteroids, space tourism, and such). Mars One, is an organization that is mainly privately funded and wants to send people to Mars by 2032. Lots of press coverage, lots of money pumped into the project, lots of plans for the organization. But because it is privately funded it needs to find ways to get their investment back. So they thought: “You know that Big Brother show, mate!? Where they close a few strangers into a house and live stream their life? What if we do that on Mars!?” - “Fucking Brilliant mate!”. (source) They really have such plans. Imagine that. Do you think Mars One would care about human exploration, or making some profits? Science or mindless entertainment? None of these privately funded organizations and projects that I am aware of want to explore space for the sake of exploration and on behalf of all humans. (source) Because the truth is that they can’t. It’s not affordable.
The amazing Hubble telescope was paid for in advance through taxes by the US tribe and was not intended to be a “currency making machine”. If this telescope would have been private, we would have seen its photographs and discoveries being privately sold to tribes or to other companies and researchers, or to rich people who want to masturbate over a photo with Andromeda galaxy, instead of having these materials produced for free (as in trade free) to everyone on Earth like they are now. Over 14,000 scientific papers have been published using data from Hubble and over 1.3 million observations have been made. (source) How many of these could have been possible if Hubble was launched as a “business in space”? More than likely, no one would have invested into Hubble in the first place because it would have been hard to get a profit off of it.
Imagine a mission like Voyager. NASA sent two spacecrafts to flyby several planets in our solar system and analyze them. The project’s cost was 865 million dollars, took 5 years to build, and some 30-40 years to run. If this was made by a company it would have been impossible. What company would make a project that lasts tens of years and how would they get the money back? No one would invest in such a mission. When NASA sent the Voyager spacecrafts, they were so scientific in their mission that it took Carl Sagan and others a lot of time to convince them to turn one of the spacecraft’s camera towards Earth and take a symbolic photo from 6 billion kilometers away. That became the well known “Pale Blue Dot” photo. NASA doesn’t even care about the cameras on their probes because what they care about are the scientific instruments – the science that gets out of these missions. Another interesting thing about this mission: others had to convince NASA to add a “payload” for humanity to these two spacecrafts since they would travel a long long way and for a long time, and who knows maybe in 3 millions years some aliens will find them. Although as we discuss in our book on Language, it would be almost impossible for any alien species to understand our human language (regardless of whether it is the language of day to day use, or the language of science). Anyways, NASA is usually pragmatic but it eventually accepted this idea. The payload was a disc which contained sounds and images of nature and different human cultures from all over the world. See the difference with SpaceX!? They didn’t send a NASA specific thing, but a human specific thing. The disc also included a message from the U.S. president Jimmy Carter…..oh...bummer. You see, I want to prove the degree of influence that the force of trade has, not to make NASA look like it is doing the right thing. NASA too is in a trade agreement with the US tribe because the US tribe pays them and controls them. So NASA has to do such “stunts” as well. In the 60s when the US sent a man to the Moon, NASA was forced to do that not for a scientific purpose, but because the US tribe was in a competition with the Russian tribe to prove whose dick rocket was bigger. It was a silly, stupid, and dangerous mission that even killed several astronauts because of the rush. (source) NASA is also engaging into business deals with private companies and at times, they may collaborate with the army. (source 1, 2)
This is the difference when it comes to trade. When the force of trade is stronger, the CRAP gets crappier. In the case of space exploration we can see it very clearly. Agencies like NASA or ESA (European Space Agency) are funded through taxes. They get the money to do the missions. They may “ass-kiss” their tribes and leaders here and there with their missions (look at my flag, my nationality), but their missions are mainly scientific and exploratory for the entire human species. They make their discoveries trade-free for everyone and usually they explore space in a collaborative manner and for a human endeavor. At least for now.
SpaceX, Mars One, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic are privately funded so they are forced to engage into trades from the get-go. That’s why they will fuck things up, to put it bluntly. They will become Charlatans and exaggerate their tech or discoveries and so forth, and will probably go into space to make more money for their companies. Pay attention: I am not saying they will, but I am saying they are most likely to do that.
So, SpaceX orbits much closer to the Trade Bubble than NASA. Much much closer. Therefore, the force of trade is much greater for SpaceX (or any private company), than it is for NASA (or any state funded space science organization), even though NASA (and others) are not immune to the force of trade. What I am trying to prove here is the degree of influence. The force.
If people go into space to explore it under a massive influence of trade (like private companies do) then, very likely, the space exploration will become space exploitation:
Elon Musk will colonize Mars (because he is obsessed with that planet) and will power it with Tesla batteries – the new Tesla cars will be made on Mars and will cost a premium fee to be sold on Earth. But fuck it! The Tesla Mars Roadster is worth every penny! After he dies the planet will be called Musk. The Musk planet.
Bezos (Amazon’s Boss and the richest man alive today) will buy the International Space Station (ISS) in 2024 when the project is going to cease, and he will name it Amazon Space Station (ASS). They will sell “space grown lettuces” via “www.amazon.universe” and send them via Amazon Prime to Earth or Musk Planet (same day delivery!). Amazon will be the first to own an asteroid and mine it, and it will partner with Apple to make the first mobile phones with asteroid materials, again at a premium price. The iPhone Asteroid Plus.
Google will eventually own the Moon and tax everyone who needs to settle there for a brief period of time in their long voyages to other planets. They are going to filter all of the space travel.
Rich fucks will get to travel to ASS and eat at a premium price a meal on top of planet Earth, whilst Instagramming themselves with the iPhone Asteroid Plus and planning their holiday trip to the Musk planet.
That’s the world that I see if we continue down this path.
I’ll leave you with this promo video from the Deep Space Industries company to see how the future of space exploitation looks like. I am afraid that under the Game Of Trade, this video will become the norm in about 50 years. And this other promotional video from United Arab Emirates Space Agency (UAE) – an Arab “NASA” like entity – is the other side of the coin of trade showcasing how the future “state-run” space agencies are something like NASA was in the 60s, trade bounded with the state and promoting their flag basically. If Americans went into space and stabbed the Moon with their flag, why can’t Arabs go to Mars and do the same? A show-off, but also a search for perhaps new opportunities for UAE which may not be able to make its billions from oil for longer, so space resources may be tempting.
Therefore pay attention to what I am trying to prove here: the stronger the force of trade, the more dangerous and harmful and awful and wasteful things will become. Both SpaceX and NASA are trade bounded, but SpaceX is more prone to do shitty things because the force of trade is greater for them. This is not about state vs private, but about the influence of trade itself.
P: I think WikiPedia should stop begging for donations and should become a proper business with investors and actually pay its editors! Their business model is broken!
TROM: Actually their “business” model is better! Keeping profits out of WikiPedia is an excellent decisions. Else, WikiPedia will become a clickbait tabloid.
Have you noticed that every time an organization wants to become more honest, it transforms its funding strategy into “non-for-profit” or donation-based? WikiPedia is anything but state run, yet it too adopts a similar funding method that NASA has: it asks for money from the people (like a voluntary tax - donations) to run WikiPedia. They get the funding, and they run the project with the funding that they have. They too want to remove the force of trade as much as possible, to not be influenced by it. (source) If WikiPedia were to invest their own money into the project, then they would have to make money out of that project somehow in order to become sustainable: maybe adding ads on WikiPedia, restricting access, or collecting user data and selling it. But since they get the funding in advance, they don’t have to engage into trades with anyone to keep the project alive, or at least not as much. However, if WikiPedia were to rely too much on a big donor and that donor put pressure on WikiPedia to write more articles about penguins, then WikiPedia editors or managers might be influenced by that. But considering the financial model of WikiPedia and the fact that it relies on volunteers to write for it, this is a very unlikely scenario. It too relies on donations from people to run the project, so they are also engaged into a trade with the people. However, I would say that WikiPedia orbits further from the Trade Bubble than NASA does. Noticeably further.
Everipedia is exactly the WikiPedia that gets close to the Trade Bubble. They are a private (for-profit) creature who sparked in 2014 to “replicate” WikiPedia but make in into a business. And, of course, their revenue model is to add advertisements to the website. On top of that, they are using BlockChain and are working to create their own currency that will be used to reward people who create and edit articles. “The site frequently focuses on trending topics. The site has been criticized for initially presenting false information in wiki pages on breaking news topics. The site allows for a significantly larger range of articles than in the English WikiPedia because its inclusion criteria for notability are lower. For instance, a very large number of pages describe pornographic performers.” (source 1, 2) And Everipedia can change its business tactics in a heartbeat, providing paid access, or who knows what limitations that can only be unlocked with currency (maybe their own) or other trades.
So, two examples of encyclopedias, one is close to the Trade Bubble and it has worse content and overall a worse outcome, and the other stays far away and is doing pretty well both in terms of content and access. And if you read about not-for-profit organizations you’ll see that their biggest weakness is where the funding comes from or if the funding is ever coming. In other words, when not-for-profit organizations get close to the Trade Bubble, they too will ACT.
• open source
P: Open Source is the best! I love it! Linux, Ubuntu, Android, it has spread like wildfire and that’s so….
TROM: Troubling in the Game Of Trade! If you put the Open Source idea close to the Trade Bubble, you will ruin it, just like you would ruin WikipPedia!
Here’s what happens when you take an idea like Open Source and put it close to the Trade Bubble:
Take Linux. Amazing. Open Source, Super useful. However, although it is a “non-for-profit” organization, Linux has a board of members who decide the future of this organization. To make more money for the foundation they made a sort of a business out of this membership. For example, if you pay lots of money (like $500.000 a year) you become a Platinum Member. A $100.000 yearly investment gets you a Gold Membership. And so forth. Platinum Members have a lot more to say about the future for the Linux Foundation than the other members. (source) Microsoft (the anti-matter of Linux and Open Source) recently became a Platinum Member. You make the connections. Amongst other members you can find Google, AT&T, Samsung, FaceBook, Intel, or IBM. (source) Regardless if these members have a big influence on the Linux Foundation or not, what is certain is that they have an influence – that’s the idea of being a member after all. It’s like if WikiPedia had large investors like NYTimes, CNN or Washington Post, and they were on an advisory board. And recently Microsoft announced that it had acquired GitHub, the “leading software development platform” with over 28 million developers. For those who are not familiar with GitHub, it is the “Mecca” of Open Source Software where pretty much everyone posts and hosts their Open Source code. Now Microsoft will control that as well. (source)
The Open Source community itself is influenced by trade too, and that’s because they have to seek funding. Say I am SOFT, a company that makes laptops. Instead of paying a license for the Windows Operating System for all of my laptops to come pre-installed with, I can simply invest into Linux or any derivative of Linux (say an operating system based on it) and make the people there (developers) focus more on creating an operating system that works best with my SOFT laptops. Thus, I am pushing the focus of the Open Source development towards my own products so that I can sell more laptops and make more profits for my company. Actually, since Open Source projects cannot sell their code, like Microsoft sells its Windows Operating System, they have to sell services. Ubuntu or Red Hat, the most well known Linux derivatives , make money out of selling services - “I am Ubuntu, I make Operating Systems and also software for servers. Have a server and a product that needs help with our software? Then pay us to do it for you with Open Source software – we are the experts on this after all so you need our services.” - and so that’s what they do. They sell services and make Open Source software for various companies. They are forced in a way to take the profit motive out of their Open Source software itself and focus it on services instead. But it is not as black and white and they also get polluted by the Trade Bubble. Ubuntu, at one point, added Amazon to their operating system’s search – so that you could search on Amazon directly from Ubuntu, and Ubuntu would get a share of that from Amazon. This was a very invasive move influenced by their position close to the Trade Bubble. Ubuntu needs currency to stay in the game with their products, and if they can’t make enough from their server-side services, they’ll do such stunts. They made that option as default, so many users didn’t even noticed that their searches could be shared with Amazon. It took them several years and a lot of criticism to make this option “opt in” (so you have to select it to be active). (source) Recently, Ubuntu announced that with new versions of their operating system, they will collect data about the user’s machine in order “to improve Ubuntu”, and this will be a default option (same as it was with Amazon). Sure, they may want to improve Ubuntu, but they are also a company and data is damn important in our trade based world.
Take the Android Operating System, a product of Google, which is based on Linux. They don’t ask for any money for it (because they cannot, being partially Open Source) but they use the Android Operating System to sell phones and products (because Google made Android its own product and it is fined by EU because of that, promoting Google’s services and phones) – and on top of that, the “partially Open Source” Android collects data through those Google services or other services. Not to mention that they can add proprietary code on top of the Open Source one. (source) It is a mix of proprietary and open source code designed to sell stuff, collect data, make profits, or serve advertising. So basically, they created a monster out of an Open Source software, and that’s because Google was too close to the Trade Bubble.
WordPress is another massive Open Source project that powers 30% of all the websites in the world (it is their backbone) and they too make money off of services. One part of WordPress websites that is essential are plugins – they are pieces of code that can allow for greater functionality of a WordPress website. For example, on tromsite.com (which is built on WordPress), our Curated News section is basically a plugin that we bought (and customized). Same goes for most parts of tromsite.com. Now, the Open Source “law” says that if you use another piece of Open Source software, modify it and build upon it, then anything you do/add to it should also be Open Source. So then, how come we have to pay for those Open Source plugins if they are built on Open Source code? Because the Charlatans of our world are very inventive. They put a price on those plugins but the price is not for the software (and almost no one is aware of that), the price is for the support and updates. That’s what you are paying for. (source) In theory, that premium plugin that a Charlatan “sells” is a piece of software that should be freely available/sharable to everyone, yet they are still able to sell it under this mask of “selling support and updates”. In theory, again, any plugin that we bought for tromsite, we can make public and share with anyone, but in practice this may cause a lot of problems with the ones who are selling those plugins. If you go to WordPress.com to search for a plugin, all of those over there are free (so no one sells anything), yet as I’ve noticed for the past years, the Charlatans upload free versions of their plugins that have very little functionality, and then advertise their “premium” versions on the same page. For instance you are very likely to read this book on tromsite.com and the viewer that allows you to do that is based on a paid plugin. That plugin is also available as a free version on WordPress.com here, but it is very limited in functionality. It is a way of using a bait on WordPress.com to make people buy premium plugins that should, in theory, be free. Same goes for WordPress themes. And that’s how small and big businesses or private individuals rape the WordPress Open Source platform for profit. Because, you already know, they were too close to the Trade Bubble.
You can very well make an app or a game as “Open Source” but sell “in game stuff” like customizations, add-ons, functionalities, whatever. You can read more here on the topic of “business out of Open Source”.
In contrast to these, there are many community driven Open Source operating systems that never engaged in such behaviors, and that's because they stay far away from the Trade Bubble. They didn’t make a business out of their operating systems, and some of them either rely on donations or do their work as volunteers. (source) When Open Source gets close to the Trade Bubble, it means trouble!
And speaking of software, pretty much all software has bugs and some people use these bugs (security leaks) inside the software for profit motives like spying, data mining, some can use these security leaks to infiltrate inside computers, encrypt computer files, then ask the owner for currency. This happened on a global scale in 2017 when such a security leak was exploited by some anonymous individuals who infiltrated into many computers around the world, encrypting files, then asking for cryptocurrency in return of decrypting those files. (source) What could you do if they encrypt all of your files? You can’t decrypt yourself, so you are forced to pay them (money, cryptocurrencies, whatever). And here’s where the Trade Bubble has its massive influence: around the world there are hackers whose sole job is to discover these security leaks (bugs). These hackers are super useful for spotting these bugs, but since they are in need for trade like everyone in this system, they are selling the bugs they find to the highest bidder. If I am a hacker, and discover a bug, why would I give it away for free if I could make a fortune selling it to whoever is interested in paying for it? Interestingly, hacking to spot bugs in software was a hobby not long ago, with hackers sharing these security leaks for free, but for the past years it has transformed into an ugly business. (source) Hackers close to the Trade Bubble, means more trouble!
• science: research and healthcare
What would you trust more: a drug research funded by the state, or a drug research funded by a drug company? Think about it.
State healthcare is underfunded and wants to avoid costs so they may treat you poorly and delay tests and treatments. Private healthcare wants to rip you off. Both are bad, but the private might be worse because they are more incentivised to do bad stuff for a profit. In Australia, they did a study between private healthcare and state healthcare. What they found was that the private healthcare sent people to do unnecessary tests and treatments way more often than the state healthcare, but also that doctors in private hospitals charge a lot more money than they should (taking advantage of sick people), showcasing how the private is under a bigger influence of trade and wants more profit. (source 1, 2, 3) Not surprisingly, the same thing happens in the UK (and perhaps everywhere around the world) (source 1, 2, 3). Even donating blood is a messed up situation when that “donation” activity sits close to the Trade Bubble (source).
Recently it was uncovered how Coca-Cola paid scientists to basically lie about the bad health effects of sugar and to shift the attention towards exercise. Basically, they were like: “Mate, you know how the tobacco industries lied about the bad effects of smoking and it worked for many years like a charm? Well, let’s do the same with sugary drinks!” They made immense efforts to change the public opinion and that of governments in this regard, so much that they invested into a network called “Global Energy Balance Network”, an organization whose sole purpose was to pretend to do obesity studies and to ‘show’ the link between obesity and exercise, and not between obesity and sugar. After a lot of criticism, the Global Energy Balance Network felt forced to close down and several of their scientists had to leave their universities’ positions. Coca-Cola also gave money to 94 public health services to promote their nonsense. Thinking that the Coca-Cola scenario is the exception rather than the rule can be a very naive move. (source) The tobacco industry is notorious for paying scientist to conduct misleading science in their favor (source).
The astonishing fact is that “60% of research and development in scientific and technical fields” is done/funded by companies. That’s globally. Universities fund 20% and governments fund 10%. And the conflict of interest is detectable. (source)
Think about science journals where science is published: if a science journal is for profit (engaged in trades) then it means that the ones publishing are paying for their research to be published, and the one who reviews these papers will make more money if he/she accepts more articles. Thus, it is easy to see how poor scientific papers are accepted due to the profit involved. Why wouldn’t I accept more scientific papers if that means more advantages (like currency) for me? (source)
Another awful thing that happens to scientific research is patents. Recently an amazing new technology was discovered that can edit DNA strings in a way that looks magic. It is called CRISPR. It could help cure diseases that we only dreamed we could cure only a few years ago. But instead of having the scientific community focus on the way we can use this amazing tool to cure incurable diseases, they have been fighting over patents for the past few years. They want to make a huge profit out of CRISPR so that’s what they are doing right now. (source)
The entire science field understands the effects of trade. No scientific study can be trusted when it is funded by a private organization (company), or at times when it is funded by a “shady” government. (source) This is something understood worldwide. TROM only goes one step further to blame the trade and not just one of the thousands of its baby-monsters, money.
• science: media
P8: Netflix is so fucking great! You can find so much stuff. And the subscription is so cheap. I pay 10 bucks a month and I have access to a ton of stuff on any device.
TROM: Netflix is a Charlatan too, my friend. It will serve you anything that you want as long as you keep your subscription going. It will scratch your back, massage your feet, and brush your hair, as long as you remain their customer. It may sound great to some, but they are again fooled into thinking that this is something good.
I am curating documentaries for many years now (see VideoNeat) and what is so obvious from the past years of doing this, is that the state funded science (and investigative journalistic) documentaries are far better quality than the privately funded ones. That’s mainly because state funded science (and investigative journalistic) documentaries are already funded so they won’t have to sell these documentaries further to make a profit since they are usually broadcasted on their national TV station for free. This is a similar situation to SpaceX vs NASA.
Examples of such state funded TV stations that create good science (and investigative journalistic) based documentaries are PBS, BBC, ABC Four Corners, VPRO, Al Jazeera. On the other hand companies like National Geographic, Discovery, Animal Planet, History Channel, TLC, Netflix and the like, use their own money to create their documentaries (or buy documentaries) and then they have to sell them to get their money back, plus make a profit on top of that. Now, in order to sell their documentaries, they have to do tons of marketing to persuade TV stations to broadcast them and/or for people to watch them. They are the “clickbait” and deceiving side of the story. Discovery can advertise a documentary in which the fastest swimmer in the world would compete with a great white shark, to then showcase a race between the man and a CGI (Computer Generated Image) shark disappointing everyone - but hey, that reveal was at the end of the documentary so they’ve got what they wanted (people's attention, serving them ads) (source). That’s one example of marketing deception. The same Discovery hyped a documentary about a guy who was wearing a special protective suite and would presumably be eaten alive by an Anaconda (recording the entire event in the process), to then be ‘discovered’ at the end of the documentary that, of course, won’t be the case. But, again, they made some money from advertising this shocking story and that’s all that matters for their business. Discovery is notorious for such stunts (more here). NatGeo seems a bit more decent, but still hypes the shit out of everything. The other channels became totally “reality show” focused, and less or no science-focus. “TLC” originally stood for “The Learning Channel”, and was one of the best science channels prior to the 90s. With modest ratings, it was acquired by Discovery in 1990 and since then it went downhill, presenting less and less science and more reality shows. Today, the “learning” channel is mostly about reality-based drama or interests such as home design, emergency room or medical dramas, extreme weather, law enforcement, dating, personal stories, and human interest programs. (source) This is a classic example of what happens when you orbit close to the Trade Bubble. You’ll get sucked in a bit more every day. Look at Netflix. Netflix is in the business of buying documentaries (licenses) to sell on their network via a subscription, so they won’t give much of a damn about the quality of these documentaries. What they want is more documentaries to keep their subscribers subscribed and non-subscribers tempted to subscribe. That’s why you’ll see all kinds of crappy science documentaries on Netflix. Not to mention the many controversies Netflix found itself emerged into over the years, where it behaved like a Charlatan. (source)
National Geographic, Discovery, Animal Planet, The History Channel, TLC, and Netflix all orbit very close to the Trade Bubble, same distance that SpaceX, Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic and the others orbit, but the science or journalistic investigation programs of PBS, BBC, Al Jazeera, or ABC Four Corners orbit around at the same distance from the Trade Bubble as NASA does. Again, keep in mind, what I am saying is that some are under the influence of trade more than others. NatGeo can and is producing many great quality science programs, but it is so much under the influence of trade that it will be pushed towards creating more and more crappy stuff in time. I remember when Discovery was a decent science channel, but then, because it orbits so close to the Trade Bubble, the force of trade got so big that it ruined them. (source) Discovery moved from making decent science programs, to making low budget high revenue programs. Same goes for Animal Planet, who was a decent TV station at one point in time. (source) I predict the same is going to happen to NatGeo.
But state funded TV stations can become biased towards the big daddy state, like NASA was in the 60s with their “putting a man on the Moon” mentality. Russia Today (RT) is a television channel funded by the Russian government and it may be one of the most criticized TV channel in the world for their biased news that aim to put Russia in a better light whilst making other tribes look bad. (source 1, 2). As you see, this is not all about direct monetary profits, it is about a fight over power under the influence of trade. The Russian government wants to keep its status (with its resources, social statuses, laws, and overall differential advantages) so it will do anything for that: lie, deceive, exaggerate. Needless to say, all of the above state televisions can be and are biased in one way or another towards their parent state when it comes to politics and the like. But RT in this case stands out, or let’s say “stands closer” to the Trade Bubble.
Jimmy Whales, the founder of WikiPedia, about the influence of trade in news: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2QaHzkiy5c&feature=youtu.be&t=23m19s
To produce news (articles, videos) or content in general, is a big business today. You can pay a company and they will create the content for you. Such a company in China has the following prices for all kinds of articles:
National news $116
Site in Baidu news feed $116
Provincial news $72
IT news $174
Real estate $131
Another company in China claims to be monitoring over 3.000 websites and forums, and can influence opinions by posting as many as 100 posts per minute. This is happening all over the world and in so many ways. You can buy likes, followers, influence, whatever you want. On the Internet, you can create your own news media and focus only on making money by buying content and influence, then putting ads on your content. You can read more here about the staggering reality of creating news and articles for the sake of making profits, ruining the entire journalistic world.
News agencies recognize this issue and some try to change their revenue model (to push themselves further away from the Trade Bubble) so they started to accept donations or create a paid subscription model. It is well understood that if you rely on selling ads, you are so close to the Trade Bubble that you will clickbait like crazy, and the “journalistic” endeavor is going to perish. Having curated news for our TROM News for the past 3 years, I can confirm that the most reliable news information comes from not-for-profit institutions or from those who rely on donations or are state funded.
Think about TV shows like Dr. Oz or The Doctors, two of the most popular TV shows that give medical advice to people. They consist of doctors and celebrities who discuss treatments, medicine, and anything health related. But because it is a show and they rely on a rating, thus they are in a trade-situation (they need more viewers to make more money to keep the show going and thriving), they exaggerate claims. A research team analyzed these shows and they found that “About 78% of statements made on the Dr. Oz show did not align with evidence-based medical guidelines, society recommendations, or authority statements. For The Doctors, this was about 80%.” More than that, these shows include paid promotions (advertising). More than half of these shows had advertising related to the products they were talking about – in other words, they were talking about paid promotions or tried to make a buck on the backs of medical advice. (source)
One study found that advertising medicine/treatments is, not surprising at all, pretty misleading. And another study found that popular health news are often exaggerated.
And if you follow HealthNewsReview.org (a big team of journalists and healthcare professionals who are supported through donations and universities) you will see how the entire world of news and journalism that regards health is full of CRAP. Articles that mislead the population, that exaggerate claims, or some that are simply paid promotions for various companies. The state of healthcare news is a total disaster. What is sad and yet predictable, is that such a news organization that doesn’t seek to engage into trades to raise their profits, is on the brink of bankruptcy and it recently announced that it will close in a few months time due to lack of funding. (source) Hopefully someone with money will save them, but such stories are too common nowadays where journalism cannot exist anymore unless it prostitutes over views, clicks, and ads, which in turn transforms the “journalism” into “tabloid”.
So, the influence of the force of trade is clear when it comes to science media (documentaries, journalistic investigative programs or news): if they are funded in advance and have no “profit model” attached to them, they are far better quality because they don’t have to sell documentaries or news stories and hype them up. But if they are privately funded and/or “for profit” then these programs are going to be exaggerated, deceiving and will present poor quality material because the focus will be on what sells best.
Look at Johnny. He is a good good boy. Good boy, Johnny! 🙂
He loves science and wants to make science videos. To explain how the Universe works, what is gravity, the Sun, the birds, the water, the me and the you. Johnny uses his smartphone to record the first episode. It is about relativity. Tough subject. Takes him several weeks to finish. Uploads on MyTube (the most well known video streaming service in the Universe). Gets some tens of views. He is happy that some people watched his video. He is so passionate. He makes more videos. The views increase, but not by much. One day he decides to make a video about the “Top 10 unsolved mysteries in the Universe”. It is an easy video compared to the others because he mainly lists the mysteries that he learned from a website. He posts the video and gets 45.000 views. Wow! From hundreds to thousands in one video. He feels great. MyTube also has a reward system. They make currency from displaying ads on the videos that people upload, so to encourage more people to upload videos they give them a share of that. MyTube cares about views and time spent watching, because that means more and better targeted ads, and therefore more currency for MyTube. Johnny's video made him 37 cicero-coins, the currency of MyTube. The views, the likes, the shares, and the coins that Johnny gained from this video is going to influence him a lot. He focuses on making more of his original science-heavy videos but they get very few views and it takes a lot of time to make them. Johnny has to go to college and needs currency. He knows that his “Top 10 mysteries” videos brought him some coins, so he decides to make another “Top 10 mysteries”, this time “Top 10 Chemistry Mysteries”, then “Top 10 Mysteries that BAFFLE scientists”, “Top 5 SHOCKING discoveries of 2018”. He gets the point: clickbait titles and poorly made videos (not a lot of effort put into making them) give him the highest rewards. Coins, likes, shares, comments. His videos are poorly researched and badly made, but very popular. He doesn’t spread science anymore, but misinformation. He now makes thousands of views per video, and thus lots of cicero-coins. His material life is good, his conscience raped.
He became a prostitute and a Charlatan. Johnny was too close to the Trade Bubble. He had to engage into trades with the society he lives under, and through a system like MyTube that is also under the influence of the same society. Both entities needed food, shelter, access to needs and services, comfort and security, so they had to trade for that. Trade with the state, trade between themselves, trade with others. That let Johnny put profits on top of anything. He needed cicero-coins, because he needed access to food, shelter, to a life in this society.
In our “real” society, the most popular video platform, YouTube, is exactly the same. It doesn’t care much about anything other than profit, and for them, profit means having people spend more time on their site to watch advertisements. And so, if YouTube’s algorithm detects that someone is interested in “flat Earth” conspiracies, then YouTube will recommend “better” videos to that guy/girl, reinforcing his/her primitive beliefs at the expense of more time spent on YouTube’s platform. And YouTube knows very well what “flat Earth” videos to serve to this person based on engagement from other users. In YouTube’s world, it doesn’t matter if these videos make people stupid, primitive, or dangerous due to their beliefs, the only thing that matters is that this works for their business, to make more profit.
YouTube users got this idea and are now making more and more clickbait videos to make more profits since YouTube splits the advertising revenue with them. One way creators Charlatans do this is by exploiting children. Parents spend most of their day at work and kids spend most of their day at school (because both have to trade). When parents come home they are tired, so what’s better to do than to give their children their phone or tablet and let them search stuff on YouTube. Maybe the parents are selecting a few good videos for their children to watch, but YouTube has an autoplay-next video feature (again, another trick to get people to spend more time on their site) so they can easily trap children in this never ending loop of clickbait videos. And users, being profiteers on their own, found a way to exploit that. They started to make crappy, weird, and moronic videos specifically for children. Because, you see, children are great for ad revenue since they watch a lot of content and for a long time. Adults may get bored easily, but children can watch for hours, this is why the profiteers are targeting them.
One such channel, called “Toy Freaks”, was created in 2012 by a single dad and his two young daughters. They uploaded anything onto this channel that would make them more bucks: children eating sweets in a weird way, their daughters pretending to pee themselves, impersonating cartoon characters in a very freaky way, and anything that was shocking and clickbaity. They accumulated over 8.5 million subscribers to their main channel and a few million to other similar channels that they had. To give you a taste of it, their most viewed video had 622 million views and it was titled “Bad Baby Real Food Fight Victoria vs Annabelle & Freak Daddy Toy Freaks Family” and you can watch it here: link
In total, they accumulated 7.263.410.223 total video views and were ranked the 68th most-viewed channel on YouTube in 2017. According to some sources, YouTube may pay around $1 per 1.000 views. If we calculate their total views, they made around $7.3 million from that channel in only 5 years. Or $1.5 million a year. To put it in perspective, the average household (family) in US makes around $60.000 a year. So these people, making dumbed down videos for children, earned 25 times more than the average US family, from 2012 to 2017. Also consider that they had other channels so the amount of money they made could be much higher.
You can find their videos on DailyMotion (or other online places) to see what they were all about, because in 2017, YouTube removed their channel since they found it to be “unsuitable for children”. (source)
This is not new or an exception. Despite YouTube banning this channel, tons of new channels are making the same weird videos for profiting on the backs of children (or for that matter on the backs of anyone). More examples here:
You can watch this and this documentary to see how YouTube is a huge business that pretty much only cares about its profits. And you can watch this other documentary to see how this is not only a problem with YouTube, since even in China (where they have their own YouTube alternative), people prostitute themselves online for views and currency.
Being close to the Trade Bubble is also the reason why you start to see more and more movie remakes and sequels (and less original movies) nowadays: it is safer, cheaper to make, and more profitable. (source 1, 2, 3)
Therefore, the quality of any media (not only science): news, videos, movies, articles, etc., sharply declines when the media entities (companies, individuals or states) are close to the Trade Bubble.
If I, the TROM Superhero, would not be financially supported by people like you, then how would I survive? Post ads on the website making you trade your attention for our work? Post paid-for articles to fool you into thinking they are “unbiased” articles? Lock down the content and ask you for currency to unlock it? Or FaceBook likes? We keep this project relevant and alive because we are financially supported in advance. This is the reason why TROM doesn’t engage into trades. If we were to give custom TROM T-Shirts to those who donate to our project, or signed paper books, or give early access to new content, and so forth, we would be influenced by that and maybe focus more on making merchandise or coming up with more marketing schemes that bring us more currency, and focus less on the content. If we were to make more currency from videos, then our tendency could be to make more videos, even if the books were more relevant for our project. You get the point. Right now, TROM orbits far far away from the Trade Bubble, somewhere close to WikiPedia because we too rely on donations from people to keep this project going. But that’s a great place to be in our Game Of Trade.
• breaking promises
P: Look TROM dude, we get it. You showed us a lot of examples of how companies, individuals, or states can fuck this up when they are close to the Trade Bubble. Ok, I get that, you’re right. But things are getting better, companies are becoming more responsible and we have to push for them to become more transparent and care about their customers.
TROM: Wild dream my friends. Wild indeed.
Look at this interview from 2009 with the guy behind FaceBook. When asked who is owning the information on FaceBook, he replied, “The person who’s putting the content on FaceBook always owns the information, and that’s why this is such an important thing.” Now, 9 years later, this couldn’t be further from the truth (read in detail here). FaceBook is always dribbling around with such things, since its inception (source 1, 2). Recently, it was uncovered through a series of private messages that FaceBook top “chiefs” care more about making profits than their users (what a shock!) (source). Interestingly, although FaceBook collects pretty much everything about its users, the founder paid over £30 million to buy the four houses that surrounded his own £7.3-million-home in Palo Alto, California. He also asked construction workers and interior designers working on the house to sign non-disclosure agreements before starting renovations. (source) So he cares about his own privacy….
When Google started, they had a motto saying, “Don’t be evil” as a message towards or because of their competitors who they believed “exploited their users” (to quote them). Needless to say, today, Google is perhaps the biggest data collecting machine on Earth, invading people’s privacy like no one else (source). Related to this motto, one of Google’s bosses said, in 2004 that “Our search results are the best we know how to produce. They are unbiased and objective, and we do not accept payment for them or for inclusion or more frequent updating.” yet in 2017, Google was fined $2.7 billion because they tweaked their search results for their own profit, to promote their own services. And recently it was discovered that Google is helping the military with its AI capabilities to detect objects (source). In other words, Google will help the army identify targets better. What’s the meaning of “Don’t do evil” for Google now, I wonder…
And Microsoft was waving a well known saying since their inception: "Embrace, extend, and extinguish." - they seem to be the only ones who didn’t break their promises ;).
Embrace: Development of software substantially compatible with a competing product, or implementing a public standard.
Extend: Addition and promotion of features not supported by the competing product or part of the standard, creating interoperability problems for customers who try to use the 'simple' standard.
Extinguish: When extensions become a de facto standard because of their dominant market share, they marginalize competitors that do not or cannot support the new extensions.
They have a history of doing shady things in that regard. (source) So when you see them investing into Linux, or developing a Linux based operating system for the “Internet of Things”, you have all the reasons to doubt that there are ‘good’ intentions there.
And maybe a company like Instagram, WhatsApp, or Linkedin are honest for a while, but then FaceBook or Microsoft buys them and that honest attitude quickly changes.
So you must wonder: say SpaceX or Virgin Galactic and the others are awesome and great. Good guys. Good good guys! But even if that’s the case, which may not even be, you have to wonder how long are they going to be like that when every single example of companies and projects coming too close to the Trade Bubble became sucked in by it? SpaceX is already ‘serving’ the military by deploying spying satellites, so you must think about this. SpaceX is likely to become the taxi of space, satisfying any client who pays enough. I think it is fair to say that anyone or anything that gets close to the Trade Bubble is going to fuck things up regardless of their statements or terms and conditions, or previous behaviours and acts.
• Summary thus far
We first understood what this force is, then we accepted that the force creates the problems.
“Follow the money to see where the problems are,” some say, but I’ll slightly rephrase that and say: “Follow the trade to see where the problems are.” The slope towards the Trade Bubble is very slippery, folks….very.
Smoking tobacco greatly increases your risks of developing a plethora of cancers. But if you smoke tobacco it doesn’t mean you’ll get cancer. You’re just more likely to. Staying close to the Trade Bubble doesn’t mean that you will automatically become a Charlatan, Abuser, or a Thief, but it increases the chances for you to become that. By a lot! The same way that someone can smoke tobacco and live to be 100 without developing cancer, a billionaire or a company (or someone close to the Trade Bubble) can create an honest and scientific project that will help humanity. But both scenarios are rare. Very much so.
Never forget about the importance of the force of trade. The game. The GOT. The stronger it is, the higher the probability of ACT and CRAP.
Understand, accept, get ready, fight!
Now that we understand what the game is all about, and we accept that the game creates the problems, we are going get ready for the fight. For that we need to understand the players of this game.
THE BEHAVIORS: ACT
THE PROBLEMS: CRAP
Alien: “Why are you so frustrated, superhero?”
TROM: “The world humans live in is shitty as hell. So fucking shitty. People are dying, bad products are made, people are lied to, it is awful!”
Alien: “I see. That’s what frustrates you?”
TROM: “Not at all! I am angry that these things happen. But I am frustrated because I don’t think I can explain to you or to anyone how awful they are and how many they are. How can I present to you, Alien, how far in deep shit humans are!? I just don’t know how and I am frustrated!”
Alien: “Well, give me some examples.”
TROM: “That’s the frustrating part….what examples? Because there are trillions of them. If I present 20 examples then that’s too little for you to understand the vastness of the problems. If I present 1.000 that’s too much for you to take in and even so it’s too few to get an idea about the vastness of these issues.”
That’s what frustrates me no end. The fact that on one hand, people need to understand the vastness of the CRAP that is produced in our world so that they can get the point that it is really bad and we must change something, but on the other hand, people may be sick of hearing about the many problems in this world and presenting even more of the CRAP and the ‘bad’ actors (ACT) to them is like beating a dead horse (meaning it will have little to no effect towards their “awakening” due to saturation). So you, dear reader, are the Alien to me. I want you to understand the severity of the problem and to get ready for what we will have to face if we want to change this world.
I read about the CRAP and the ACT every day. Today I’ve read about how the American government can search through your stuff (including devices – phone, laptop) at their border without proper authorization. I’ve read about cryptocurrency miners (the malicious ones) and how much of a mess they have become - to quote MIT: “Software that hijacks your computer to mine has become the most popular malware on the planet.” I’ve read how scammers use fake versions of popular apps like Signal or WhatsApp to trick people into believing these are real apps, while in fact these are apps that are spying on you. I’ve read yet another story about how big journalistic Institutions or TV Channels like Washington Post, TIME, or USA Today, are exaggerating healthcare research for the sake of profit (views, clickbait). I’ve read how Discovery is yet again doing shitty and exaggerated science documentaries. I’ve read how companies try to punish those who link from their websites to “illegal” content (not host it, but link to it, imagine that). I’ve read how the main international airport in the Netherlands is tracking every single individual via wifi and bluetooth for commercial purposes, and how these practices are quite common today. The same article also explains how people are tracked if they use credit cards or cash. And that article is part of a series of many articles looking at similar shady practices. Mind you, these are the news I’ve read in the last 24 hours. Here’s the proof. Imagine combining all of these negative news for a period of a month and from more sources. What about a period of a year and even more sources? 10 years and more sources? Insane. You can’t keep up with these.
I also know the following, for a fact (and sourcing documentaries): slavery in fruits and vegetable industry, slavery in Britain, slavery again in Britain, countries and companies sell weapons to fuel wars, big store chains enslave people, councils are dickheads, USA accepts having a lot of poor children, there are people whose sole job is to make us consumers, even terrorists kidnap people for profit, slavery in USA; even puppies are big business, charlatans have been selling vitamins for ages even though they are useless, some can kill wild animals for fun (hunting) if they pay a lot of money, young girls are scammed and abused into modeling, car manufacturers lie about the safety of their cars, car manufacturers also tried to kill the electric car, people in Japan are overworked; child beggars in Britain, dentists are charlatans, Amazon overworks its workers to exhaustion, tribes fight over the ocean’s floor for profits, poor people are exploited in Canada, in India girls are sold as brides, charlatans are making money out of climate change, all politicians are for sale, slavery at embassies, sex slavery, and even sport is ruined for profit. And a lot more.
So, how can I explain to you, dear reader Alien, the severity of the CRAP and the immense power of the ACT? Maybe my emotional breakdown was enough for you to understand it...maybe you are already familiar with this. But let me try something different.
Think about your favorite teacher. Imagine you’re in school and there’s this teacher of yours that you think is cool, and smart, and slightly funny. The way he presents the subjects in class is so entertaining. He organizes school trips, listens to your problems, and overall he’s a good sport. You used to say good things about him and enjoy his lessons. He is a bit like a role model for you. But his daughter thinks differently about him. She knows him more personally than you do. She sees him every time he comes home drunk and talks dirty, and becomes violent. She saw him beating her mother occasionally. She sees him talking badly about his students (including you), and how he complains that his job sucks but he has to do it for the money. Often she is afraid of him because he acts inappropriately around her and she feels abused. But you see, because you only know this guy from your classroom (as a teacher), you don’t have the insight into who he really is. You only see his teacher-mask, but not what’s beneath it. Only the people who know this guy personally, like his daughter, know the “real” man behind the profession. She will get angry if she hears that you look up at this man. At this monster.
This is the sentiment one feels towards entities like Google, Netflix, Microsoft, Apple, USA, China, Romania, FaceBook, Coca-Cola, Amazon, and so forth, once one spends ‘intimate’ time with these entities, knowing them up close, behind their masks. To know the players of the trade game from behind their deceiving curtain is a must in order for the population to understand what it faces. Of course, the players of this world are not limited to these big players, every one of us taking part in the Game Of Trade gets to ACT according to the game. The entire TROM project is about showcasing these players at work (corrupt and violent, deceptive and destructive), and so far in this book you understood these players even better. However there’s something very interesting about the biggest players of this world that has to be showcased in order for you or anyone else to get a grasp of who they are and what they are capable of.
So, dear you, if we were to look at the world from the outside (from the Alien perspective), then this trade game that we play has two big, fat, tall, smelly players: state and private. The government and the companies. The Abuser and the Charlatan. They rule the game, and since the game is to acquire, their primary (or sole) purpose is to milk the population in a way or another. Therefore, they are also Thieves. Meaning, both engage into trades with the population. All of those types of trade we’ve talked about (cryptocurrencies, data, influencer marketing, etc.), are under the control of these two entities. Let’s see how much power they have over our species and in the end, how we can go about destroying them.
• the octopuses! the statopus and privatopus.
Google, FaceBook, 23AndMe, China, USA, Microsoft, SpaceX, NASA, Discovery, and so forth are not important at all. They are just the farts of these octopuses. Smelly and powerful, but perishable :). Companies come and companies go. Countries come and countries go. And the bad stuff that they do changes all the time.
The real deal are these two octopuses. Because they are far more eternal. So we need to focus on these two big and powerful octopuses that have ruled the world perhaps since the inception of our species. These octopuses have their tentacles spread tight around the trade bubble. That’s what they feed off, that’s what they want, that’s what they are all about. These are the true players of our game.
Statopus: “Ok fuckers, you work, you make money, we take a percentage of that money. You have no choice but to comply. With the money we take from you we build stuff for you, little piglets. Like roads, healthcare, stadiums, create events, shit like that. It’s true that we are getting filthy rich on your back and the services we provide might be shitty, but you have no choice. It’s true that we pretend to care about you while our main purpose is to shift the power from you to a handful few (cough’: politicians), but what can you do!? We also have tons of rules that you cannot break and you need to give us as much information about yourself as possible so that we can control you. We want to know how many of you fuckers are out there, what you do, what you want, if you respect our rules or not. If you dare not to comply we will fuck you up because we have police and armies and such goodies. Money, cryptocurrencies, other trades, we want them all, and will control them all. So shut’up and roll’.”
Privatopus: “You tiny squishy little and powerful wonderful beautiful creatures of all colors and races and genders, we don’t force you to do anything. We are so neutral. We are here, and only if you want, you can come to us. We invest our own money and efforts to create stuff for you like smartphones, clothes, houses, gadgets, medicine and so many other sweet sweet things. We make you offers that are hard to refuse, and we will take advantage of poor people to maximize our profits. But no one forces you to be a slave to us. We are so not guilty. You see, we ask you for nothing, even though in most cases you either have no choice but to come to us, or we successfully persuade you to come to us. We invest first and need to take our investment back from you. So we will do whatever is possible to get our investments back from you, plus a huge profit, and lots more than that, so we lie and exaggerate claims about our products and services, we are the masters of language and confuse you with our terms and conditions, we sell you stuff that you don’t need and services that you don’t use. We are experts in persuasion. But we don’t force it on anyone. Thank you very much and have a great weekend.”
state: fuck you, trade with me
private: bless you, trade with me
The Statopus is the Abuser so it doesn’t care: “Yeah we spy on you but so what!? Fuck off!”, and in contrast the Privatopus is a Charlatan: “No no no, we never spy on you, we only collect data to protect you!” That’s their main difference. Now let’s look at both individually.
20 farts tribes account for 70% of the world population. This means that only 20 tribe leaders have tremendous influence over 5.3 billion human beings. (source) China, India, and USA together (3 tribes) have control and influence to over 3 billion people. Can you imagine that!? Complete hegemony. Countries (tribes) are Statopuse’s farts (remember!).
We will look at 6 of the Statopus’ tentacles: Surveillance and Control, Abuse and Corruption, War and Propaganda.
• statopus: surveillance and control
P: America is the land of free!
TROM: And the land of surveillance and control!
The Statopus loves to spy on its citizens and control them. The National Security Agency (NSA) is the “security part” of the USA tribe. The US has some 300+ million members. But in 2013, it was finally proven that NSA spied on millions of its members and the members of many other tribes. In total, it spied on millions and millions on people for many years. (source 1, 2, 3, 4) They did all of the spying behind everyone’s back and partially with the help of companies who provided “back doors” for the state. Just imagine this: we now know the massive amount of data companies are collecting about people, but think about the fact that the servers of these companies are physically somewhere and they are subject to the local laws. The Internet cables are also physical and they pass through different regions owned by different tribes. Thus, maybe you are from Europe and FaceBook has its servers in the US, therefore the data FaceBook collects about you is subject to US laws. Therefore, an agency like NSA will have access to your data too. So in this manner they extend the tentacles of surveillance everywhere.
The NSA had access to data from 9 huge companies: FaceBook, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, PalTalk.com, YouTube, Skype, Apple, and AOL.
NSA went to these companies in the US and was like: “You fuckers, you give us access to call-detail records and Internet data. Right here, right now! No complaints allowed.” And so NSA had (and still has) access to customers' names, street addresses, other personal information, detailed records of calls they made—across town or across the country—to family members, coworkers, business contacts and others. The wanted to create (and quote): “a database of every call ever made within the nation's borders.” The same companies allowed NSA to install special surveillance equipment in secret rooms at key telecommunications facilities around the tribe. This gave them access to a large streams of “domestic and international communications” in real time - what amounted to at least 1.7 billion emails a day. In total they collected 10 types of information: e-mail, instant messages, videos, photos, stored data, voice chats, file transfers, video-conferences, log-in times, social network profile details. Simply put: when you send an email, a pic with your dick, or make a call to your oversea pal, all of what you do on the Internet or over the phone goes physically through some cables. These cables are owned by big telecommunication companies, like the ones who worked with NSA. NSA basically cuts those cables and lets all of the information go to them as well. Cut the pipe to feed the monster. One copy to them, the other copy went to the initial destination. So your pic with your dick reached the destination you wanted (you pervert), but it also reached NSA (oops!).
And all of this was done “without a warrant or any judicial oversight”. Meaning they did it on their own without any approval. Not to mention that NSA had/has the guts to create special pieces of software that can hack your computer or phone and spy on you “on demand” - no need for a 3rd party.
On top of this, an agency like NSA has access to CCTV cameras, data from all kinds of companies, utilities, and other agencies (taxi, subway, banks, whatever you can imagine). And NSA are so inventive and sophisticated that they have these “Wide Area Motion Imaging” cameras that can be put on anything that flies (airplanes, drones, helicopters, mosquitoes!? - maybe in the future) and they have such high resolution that they can monitor (at once) an area as large as a city with so much accuracy that they can track cars and people for months at a time.
By 2020, about 30,000 unmanned drones are expected to be deployed in the USA for the purpose of surveillance and law enforcement.
This whole spying thing is not new, of course. NSA had a similar program in 1945 (among other such programs over its history) “that involved the accumulation of all telegraphic data entering into or exiting from the United States.” At times “150,000 messages a month were printed and analyzed by NSA personnel”. (source) And as a ‘bonus’, your physical mail (yes, it still exist) is all photographed (scanned) by your mail provider and NSA had/has access to this as well (it can collect data about who you send mail to and when, what mail you receive, who you bank with, and so forth). (source)
I think except monitoring people’s heart rates, NSA monitored (and is still monitoring) everything people did or do (inside or outside their tribe). On 12 August 2013, former NSA Director admitted that "We [the NSA] steal secrets. We're number one in it".
One very scary thing to consider is that although this mass surveillance was continuously being uncovered since 2005, it wasn’t until 2013 that someone who worked for NSA leaked a shit ton of documents revealing all of this ‘beauty’. There are two things to learn from this: one is that Statopus can be sneaky as fuck and hard to detect, and second, that it takes years and years to “prove” such things because of how well they are hidden and often insiders have to take the matter into their own hands and risk their lives exposing these Abusers.
But there’s also the fact that the people who expose these Abusers are getting abused by the Abuser, as if they were the Thieves. Statopus collects data about its own citizens in a shameless manner, then it gets exposed doing that, and Statopus (the Abuser) has the nerve to go after the one(s) who exposed it to punish them. As if Statopus has no shame at all. NSA called the 2013 guy who exposed them, the biggest Thief in US history, because of course, they are not Thieves for stealing so much personal information from their citizens, but this guy totally is (Shame! Shame! You prick!). The guy faces up to 10 years in prison and he is now a ‘fugitive’ and lives in the Russian tribe to avoid getting punished by the USA tribe. (source - also watch these 3 documentaries to learn more about this scary situation: 1, 2, 3)
You see, the Statopus makes the rules, it gets to decide who is a Thief or not, who gets punished or not. The Abusive Statopus may argue that it spied on its own citizens to find the bad guys, but whatever its reason, Statopus took the decision itself to do that without the permission of its citizens. Democracy, anyone!?
The thing is, the mass surveillance that the US engaged into was mind-bogglingly complex and no one knew about it for a long time. But for one, this is happening anywhere in the world and in any tribe or any time (source), and second, there are no consequences for these acts of abuse because who can punish the biggest Abuser there is!? (source)
The US is like the nosy mother that everyone hates, but she owns the fucking world so no one can really stand up to her, even though you really want to punch her in the face. Speaking of mother USA, remember China, the father no one wants? China is basically monitoring and controlling all of its tribe’s Internet and has no shame in admitting that. If mommy USA has around 290 million of its children connected to the Internet (89% of the population), big daddy China has over 700 million connected to the Internet (just over 52% of the population, so this number will grow significantly). China has this “Great Firewall of China” that is basically filtering everything and blocks everything it doesn’t like: like pornography and obscenity, defamation of China, most blogs and encrypted traffic, and so forth. Over 6 million websites are actively blocked by the firewall. They include Google, FaceBook, YouTube, Yahoo, Chinese WikiPedia, Twitter, Instagram, The New York Times, Vimeo, Dropbox, Archive.org, Reuters, and lots more. (source) Of course, any tribe does this sort of thing, banning the Internet as they prefer, and for all kinds of reasons. This is a map of Internet Censorship around the world https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Internet_Censorship_and_Surveillance_World_Map.svg
Pervasive censorship and/or surveillance
Substantial censorship and/or surveillance
Selective censorship and/or surveillance
Little or no censorship and/or surveillance
Not classified / No data
For the sake of it, let’s take 3 examples from the “green” area, the “Little or no censorship and/or surveillance”. Let’s focus on censorship. In Australia, “over 90% of Australians using Internet Services are going to have a web filter” and Australia can block any website that “facilitate copyright infringement”. For example, 5 huge websites of this kind (The Pirate Bay, Torrentz, TorrentHound, IsoHunt and SolarMovie) were banned in 2016 in Australia. In 2009, a leaked list of banned website was published online and more than half of the banned websites were “online poker sites, YouTube links, regular gay and straight porn sites, WikiPedia entries, euthanasia sites, websites of fringe religions such as satanic sites, fetish sites, Christian sites, the website of a tour operator and even a Queensland dentist.” In 2006, Australia banned websites that discussed methods of suicide and their official statement is that they block websites that are about “real depictions of actual sexual activity, child pornography, depictions of bestiality, material containing excessive violence or sexual violence, detailed instruction in crime, violence or drug use, and/or material that advocates the doing of a terrorist act”. And recently, Australia wants to be able to read encrypted traffic (source), and block satire (plus also punish it with jail time).
In Spain, “persons who provoke discrimination, hatred, or violence against groups or associations for racist; anti-semitic; or other references to ideology, religion or belief, family status, membership within an ethnic group or race, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, illness, or disability may be punished with imprisonment for one to three years. “
Here are a few concrete examples of how Spain surveils and controls its members:
• On 13 April 2012, neo-Nazi Marc Mora Garcia was sentenced to two years in jail for spreading ideas and doctrines justifying genocide and promoting discrimination, hate, and violence through a web page.
• On 20 April 2012, Madrid-based Radio SER journalist Pilar Velasco was charged with violating confidentiality after posting a secretly-recorded video of a politician online and with refusing to reveal how she came by the video.
• In 2014, newspaper El País reported that El Agitador, a satirical blog from Lanzarote, had been ordered to pay €50,000 in three separate proceedings related to satirical cartoons which complained about widespread corruption in the region.
• In 2017, the government blocked several websites and apps that were connected to the Catalonia Referendum.
And Norway, which is said to be one of the most “censorship free” tribes, has laws to ban websites that are “threatening or insulting anyone, or inciting hatred or repression of or contempt for anyone because of his or her: a) skin color or national or ethnic origin, b) religion or life stance, or c) homosexuality, lifestyle, or orientation.” And this can be punished with 3 years jail time. Recently (2015), Norway started to also block websites that are sharing files that the Norwegian government thinks are not ’legal’. And of course, all of the above “good” tribes block child pornography like a bad plague that needs to be extinguish from the face of this planet. Right or wrong, it is still censorship and can mutate in ways that will affect more than just “child pornography”. In the same year (2009), a list of 3.500 banned websites by the Norwegian tribe leaked online. More such lists here, for almost any tribe. And you can read a detailed report on Internet censorship here.
Just think about WikiPedia which is an educational website, trade free and community driven, but still it is completely or partially blocked in China, France, Iran, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom and Uzbekistan (source). And here’s an interactive map showcasing censorship and control of journalists around the world, because ordinary members (citizens) are not the only ones facing these issues. Therefore, if that’s how a tribe who does “little or no censorship” looks like, then it is beyond worrying.
Back to China (who ranks very high on that map, as “pervasive censorship and/or surveillance”), they are really proud of their status and they send messages to people saying that they have 10 days to install surveillance apps from the government on their own phones, and if they refuse to do so they will get 10 days of imprisonment (source): “The main function is to block pornographic websites, online scams, trojan horses, and phishing sites; to alert users of how much time they spend online; and to enable remote control of one’s home network. The tool is intended to help kids develop a healthy lifestyle by building a safe web filter for the minors.” When a bunch of people want to decide for 1.3 billion others how “to help kids develop a healthy lifestyle”, then the alarm should ring louder than the thunder.
And of course, the tentacles of Statopus extent everywhere, not only online. China has stored data of 95% of its population (that’s some 1.3 billion people). (source) Social scores anyone!? Also, China tracks down and punishes Chinese activists who speak against the government, even when they are not even living in China anymore (source).
When most people think of India, they may imagine chaotic traffic, but although India may not be good at filtering the automotive traffic, it is getting damn good at filtering the digital one. They use Artificial Intelligence to monitor and filter “Internet traffic, emails, web-browsing, Skype and any other Internet activity of Indian users” and they are proud that their system could detect selective words like “bomb”, “blast”, “attack” or “kill” within seconds from emails, instant messages, status updates and tweets. And on Skype or Google Talk, they can detect a “suspicious voice”. The Indian uncle has nearly full control over the telecommunication inside their tribe and although they ‘only’ have 460 million members connected to the Internet (34% of their population – imagine how rapid this number will increase over the next few years), they have over 1 billion of their members owning a phone. (source) So they have a ton of data about (at least) 1 billion people, and a lot of reasons to surveil and control them.
So there you go, if you only take China, USA, and India, then billions of people (40% of the world’s population) are under 24h surveillance by the Statopus (proven as a fact), and controlled by it. Statopus knows every move of everyone, everything they do, when they do it, and with whom. It wants to control the trade world by keeping an eye on everything that moves. You sneaky Statopus! You can also watch this and this documentary to see how large populations of people are being surveilled and how this has transformed into a business because of the Trade Bubble.
And as I explained with the Internet of Things, that will allow for a greater mining of data and as a result, greater power to companies or states; here too it is scary to think that the ‘advancement’ of technology will give a greater power to Statopus to surveil people. How long until people of the world will be forced to provide their biometric data? The DNA, iris, detailed 3D face scan, updated fingerprint. How long until you can only get a home if you ‘identify’ with your biometrics? Go to a shopping center but can’t enter until you provide your facial fingerprint? Use a car but only after you are registered with your DNA print? Also, no online accounts without at least 3 biometric data. Want a life insurance? Let us see your in-house activities and patterns. Want food? Let us see your hobbies? Want health care access? Let us see what you eat and drink. Biometrics, in house gadgets, the outside world that’s full of cameras, sensors, police, and so forth; your ‘smart’ clothing, car, or phone, who do you think will keep an eye on them all?
• statopus: abuse and corruption
P: I think that our government does a good thing monitoring the citizens. After all, if you have something to hide...you are doing something bad! Our government cares about our safety and protects us. So I disagree with you entirely!
TROM: Well...not so fast cowboy!
Is the Statopus really an Abuser? Sure, it collects so much data and controls its members, but is that really a bad thing? Maybe Statopus only wants to protect its tribe members. It’s hard to argue that this is the case when you see the moronic, dangerous and primitive laws that are all around the world, which hurt or kill people, and the actions of Statopus who imposes what it think is “right or wrong” for billions of people. That alone is extremely problematic. However, let’s look at something truly awful, an abuse that many may not be aware of: the abuse of psychology by the Statopus. I explained in our book on psychology why this field is so problematic because it is riddled with assumptions and a bad practice of science, and that explains how Statopus can take advantage of the poorly defined “so-called-mental-illnesses”.
In Canada (Quebec more exactly), 20.000 children were wrongly hospitalized as having a ‘mental illness’ in the 40s and 50s. The Statopus in Quebec was very much Christian, and most of those children were orphans, but not any kind of orphans. Their parents were not married and the children were abandoned, something the mighty Christian faith considered as unacceptable (for a child to be born out of non-marriage). Therefore Quebec made it so that these children were diagnosed with a ‘mental illness’ and locked them up for about 10-20 years, and on top of that, these children were sexually, physically, and mentally abused by those who should have been taking care of them. They were also used as guinea pigs: drugs were tested on them, and some medical experiments were done on them. Back then in Canada, a human who was considered “insane” could have been forcefully locked and ‘treated’ for/to (and I quote): “maintain social order in public and private life” - something so subjective that could have been used (and it was) to create a lot of harm. In 1999 Quebec admitted its fault and paid a modest amount of money to the survivors. But even this awful situation is a direct cause of the Trade Bubble. You see, people pay taxes and politicians (Statopuse’s babies) spend the money in various ways. And to make this simple for you to understand, for Canada, having “a school and children” is not as profitable as having “a mental hospital and patients”, in terms of spending that tax money. Canada can make huge profits by re-labeling “several schools and students”, into “several mental hospitals and patients”, and that’s exactly what they did making many millions of dollars in profit (corruption). It was a combination of being close to the Trade Bubble (the profit motive) and primitive education (religion). (source) Abusive and corrupted.
China, as you might expect, also has a bad history of doing such awful acts of abuse incarcerating activists, people complaining against injustices by local authorities, human rights workers, those who may engage into (and quoting) "political harm to society", or the "political maniacs", and so forth, on the same basis of ‘mental illnesses’. China seems to be continuing these practices to the present.
The uncle India who manages the second largest population continues to be a dick. He seems to be new at this game and barely starting. In 2012, the Indian government contacted a very well known mental health institution from their own tribe and asked them to assist and crush anti-nuclear protests that were happening against building a certain nuclear power plant. And they did so and sent there several psychiatrists to “help the protesters learn the importance of the plant”. And they did more such stunts.
Such is the case in Russia, Norway, Cuba, USA (more here), and perhaps any tribe. It is easy to see how well can such an opaque field like psychiatry and psychology be used to abuse by the Statopus.
Sad because you can’t afford shit in this world? Well, you might be depressed and need some “assistance”! Angry because you have to work from 9 to 5 every single day? Here- some drugs for you to calm your tits down, and maybe we will lock you up for “your safety”. Are you confused and don’t know how the fuck to navigate this retarded society? Oh, you might be bipolar.
The immensity of abuse that can be done through the misuse of psychiatry and psychology is tremendous. And of course, the abuse of psychology is just one single example, as there are endless examples from all around the world and in all kinds of flavors. Amnesty International, International Federation of Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, World Organisation Against Torture, Freedom House, and International Freedom of Expression Exchange are the world’s most well-known watch dogs of governmental abuse and they showcase the Statopus at work all around the globe.
Statopus uses its powers to abuse its own members so that it keeps control over the trade world. And Statopus is also a corrupt bastard, for the love of power and profit (powfit!?).
• statopus: war and propaganda
P1: The Syrian government is mass-killing Syrian people with the support of Russia! This is outrageous! America should intervene!
P2: Bollocks! Americans are making up stories to invade Syria!
TROM: Guys, you are both wrong and right. All states lie. It is their most well known quality ;).
The biggest form of abuse from the Statopus is war. War is “go and kill”. That’s it. For the past 2.500 years an average of (or around) 380 million human beings have died because of war. The number can be a lot higher than that though. 1.000 years ago the entire population of human beings was about 400 million individuals. This means that the wars of the past 2.500 years could have easily wipe out the entire human species 1.000 years ago. That’s how big this numbers is. Take all of the present day Americans and Germans, and kill them. Wipe all of them out right now, and that’s how many people wars have killed for the past 2.000 years. Insane!
For the past 100 years alone, 120 million people, out of the 380 million, were killed in wars. In just 100 years humans got so good at killing their own kind that they have killed 120 million of their own. If your grand grand grand father would live today and would be 118 years old (which is entirely possible), in his lifetime 120 million people were killed by the human species in wars. 120 million unique minds.
Needless to say, wars are very much (if not entirely) because of trade. Tribes want land, resources, power, so they conquer. The only reason we may not see a World War today is because the trade agreements are kinda ‘working’ between the big tribes for their own interest (like Russia, China, or USA). If Russia would be cornered by the others and would have little resources for their own people, then Russia will take military actions to regain access to resources. If the US would stop trading with China, then China would stop trading with the US, they will hurt each other and may reach a point of military action (war). That’s why everything is about trade, even wars. That’s why modern day wars are mainly “trade wars”. You often hear how the US goes on a trade war with China, or Russia is punished by cutting its trade capabilities with other tribes, or North Korea is not allowed to import or export certain resources/materials/stuff. Today these tribes are very much locked in all kinds of trades so it is easier to go at war in this manner, whilst in the past it would have been easier to just invade. If I am Germany and you are Poland and I want stuff from you, and we are not friends and engage into trades, then I (Germany) want to punish you and take stuff from you, but since we are not friends and I cannot impose sanctions on you, then I’ll invade you. Simple. But today such sanctions can be used, and are used, instead of military interventions. Even when some tribes attack others and may not necessarily want something from them, they do want to gain power in the world and that will increase their status in the Game Of Trade. Then they can be like: “Look how powerful we are so don’t fuck with us! Trade nicely with us or else...”.
Not to mention that war is a profit making machine. Many tribes and companies profit on the backs of war (from selling weapons and equipment, to stealing resources and land from the ones they conquer, and so forth) (source).
Speaking of war, another way for the Statopus to keep its status in this trade world is by lying. In a big big way. It is called “propaganda”. And wars are perhaps what sparked propaganda. Statopus is going to lie to its members to justify going to war. In World War 1 the USA created an organization called “The Committee on Public Information” (CPI) that was responsible for, basically, creating propaganda materials. Producing films, commissioning posters, publishing numerous books and pamphlets, purchasing advertisements in major newspapers, and the recruitment of businessmen, preachers and professors to serve as public speakers in charge of altering public opinion at the communal level. They recruited 75.000 volunteers who would give speeches about war at social events. They were called “Four Minute Man” because their presentations were 4 minutes long since the CPI understood the short attention span of the population. This was the social media propaganda of the 1900. In just one year they have given over 7.5 million speeches in about 5.200 communities, reaching 314 million people. Viral marketing indeed. Like really good viral marketing. You won’t reach that on FaceBook very easily :D.
Historians said about this massive campaign that: “Every item of war news they saw—in the country weekly, in magazines, or in the city daily picked up occasionally in the general store—was not merely officially approved information but precisely the same kind that millions of their fellow citizens were getting at the same moment. Every war story had been censored somewhere along the line— at the source, in transit, or in the newspaper offices in accordance with ‘voluntary’ rules established by the CPI.” But all of the other tribes involved in War War 1 did the same with their own members. They controlled all of the media and presented the side of story they wanted to present. It was a complete fakery from all sides. All wars are filled with propaganda: they make movies, cartoons, comic books, radio shows, music, and so on, just to influence the population the way the Statopus wants to.
You can watch this documentary to see more about propaganda in the US.
A few examples of posters used in wars, or for other means to influence the population:
If you have a lot of time to spare, you can read about the history of propaganda. Just imagine how much propaganda there is today, when governments can target any message so specifically to every individual based on the huge amount of data they gather. Today, it’s kinda pointless to even talk about propaganda because it may be everywhere. That’s why it’s hard to trust anyone nowadays.
And so that’s Statopus which needs only a handful of tentacles to rule over billions of people. Surveilling them, abusing them, controlling them, lying to them, stealing from them, killing them.
Since we understand that the “private” part of our world sits very close to the Trade Bubble, it is beyond any reason to showcase their “wrong-doings” once again. Therefore what I will showcase to you mainly is how they rule the world in pretty much any domain, and how a handful of companies get to be the “Masters of The Game”. The Monopolies. The Cartels.
Six tentacles: internet/digital, clothes/wearables/furniture, food/seeds/beverages, media, healthcare, transportation.
How can we calculate who’s a Monopoly and a Cartel and who’s not? Take airline companies: there are top companies by revenue, but also top companies by passengers transported, and it is not necessarily that the company who makes the most profits also transports the most passengers because they may have higher prices or their market strategy may differ from the others. Also, there’s this thing called “Market Share” (MS) – take Apple, who is the 9th richest company in the world in terms of revenue (how much profit it makes), and Samsung (its competitor in terms of smartphones), who is 15th richest. However, Samsung has a bigger smartphone market share (MS – 20,5%) vs Apple (MS – 14,4%) (source). This means (to put it simply): Apple makes more profits, but Samsung makes more phones. Who’s the Monopoly in this case? Both, but in different ways. So we can look at these two factors: the Market Share, but also how rich a company is (in terms of revenue or how much it is valued at). Usually the MS is one of the biggest factors to determine a Monopoly but I will try to find a mix of variables to best determine these Cartels for each domain. Let’s do it!
For the following showcasing Privatopus “at work”, we rely on statistics from 2016-2018.
• privatopus: internet/digital
P: I understand that companies are really bad and they put profit on top of everything, but at least we have a choice. Don’t like a service? Well, use another! Simple!
TROM: So if you don’t like FaceBook or YouTube what will you choose?
P: Instagram for example.
TROM: That’s also owned by FaceBook. Look, 12 massive farts companies own the Internet and the Digital world entirely. Only 12. Maps, social networks, instant messaging, search engines, cloud computing or storage, video platforms, online stores, browsers, navigation, operating systems, apps, games, and the hardware production to enable this world to function. Let’s have a look at them in detail.
There are basically 3 search engines, maps and GPS navigation, A.I. systems, video hosting services, self driving cars, and advertising platforms:
Alphabet (US), Yandex (Russia) and Baidu (China). Each are complete Monopolies in their own tribes or globally.
Perhaps the largest company in the entire world. Period.
Most well known services/products they own: Android (>2 billion active users), Google Search (most popular search engine), Gmail (most popular email client with 1.4 billion users) YouTube (~1.5 billion monthly users, and the 2nd most popular website in the world), DoubleClick/AdSense/AdWords (biggest online ad platforms), FeedBurner (perhaps the most popular RSS reader), ImageAmerica (aerial photography), reCAPTCHA (most popular anti-spam bots protection for websites), DocVerse (popular online office suite), Waze (one of the most popular GPS navigation app), Nest Labs (home automation), Pixel phones, DeepMind (perhaps the most well known and “smart” A.I. - AlphaGo and AlphaZero), HTC (owns 50% – smartphones, laptops, VR gear), Chrome Browser (most popular web browser - 52% MS), Chromecast (one of the most popular video streaming hardware), Google Maps (by far the most popular Maps service), Google Drive (file hosting with >800 million active users), Google Analytics (most widely used web analytics - tracks and reports website traffic), Play Store (most popular app store with >3.5 million apps), Google+ (social network with ~111 million users), Google Translate (most popular translator), Google Books, Google Hangouts (video conference app), Google Flights, Google Photos (500 million users with 1.2 billion photos uploaded every day), Google News (~500 million visits per month), Google Shopping, Google Music, Google Movies, Google Newsstand, Blogger, Google Finance, Google Wallet, Chrome OS (two times more popular than Linux on desktops), ChromeBook (60% of the schools use it), Google Ventures (investing), CapitalG (investing), Verily Life Sciences (research organization), Waymo (autonomous cars), Google X (semi-secret research-and-development facility), Google Fiber (Internet provider with >450.000 customers), Calico (biotech company), Google Home (smart speakers), Google Cloud Platform (cloud computing), Project Fi (phone, messaging and data services).
- full list here and here -
The Google of Russia, Yandex is Russia’s biggest technology company and the 4th largest search engine worldwide and of course, the biggest one in Russia.
Most well known services/products they own: Yandex (4th largest search engine), Alisa (A.I. assistant), Yandex.Direct (advertising, similar to AdWords), Yandex Disk (cloud storage),
Yandex Browser, Yandex Maps (20 million monthly users and it is the most popular cartographic service in Russia), Yandex.Money (Russia’s largest electronic payment service), Yandex.Translate, Yandex.Taxi (Russia’s largest online taxi booking services), Foodfox (food delivery service), Doc+ (invested in - telemedicine), Auto.ru (automobile website - sales), KinoPoisk (biggest Russian movie search engine), Agnitum (Internet security company).
- full list here -
It is one of the largest A.I. and Internet companies in the world. 4th website in popularity, worldwide. Across its services it has >2 billion active users worldwide. It also owns the 2nd largest search engine only behind Google.
Most well known services/products they own: Baidu.com (2nd largest search engine in the world), DU Ad Platform (mobile advertising platform with >800 million monthly active users), Baidu News (similar to Google News), Baidu-Hexun Finance, Baidu Tongji (web analytics), Baidu Youa (online store), Baidu Anti-Virus, Baidu Internet TV, Baidu Browser, Baidu Library (documents sharing), Baidu music (music service), Baidu waimai (food delivery service), Baidu Maps (>348 monthly active users), Baidu Wangpan (cloud service), Baidu Tieba (China’s largest forum), Baidu Knows (questions and answers), Baidu Baike (largest Chinese online encyclopedia by users and views).
- full list here -
If you are going to ever use any A.I. assistants, maps, search engines, translating software, mobile operating systems and apps, forums or blogs, email, cloud storage, will use an autonomous car in the future, or use an advertising platform to make profits online, then statistically (worldwide) you are going to use one of these 3 companies.
There are basically 3 platforms for social networks, instant messaging, and gaming:
FaceBook (US), Mail.Ru (Russia) and Tencent (China)
Perhaps the most influential company in the world, managing the ‘social lives’ of around 2-3 billion people, or around 60-70% of all Internet users.
Most well known services/products they own: FaceBook (~2.2 billion active users), Facebook Messenger (~1.3 billion users), Instagram (~800 million users), WhatsApp (~1.5 billion users), Oculus VR (virtual reality hardware and software).
- full list here -
It’s the world’s largest and most valuable gaming and social media company. It has services like social networks, music, web portals, e-commerce, mobile games, Internet services, payment systems, smartphones, and multiplayer online games, which are all among the world's biggest and most successful in their respective categories. It also owns the majority of China's music services, with more than 700 million active users and 120 million paying subscribers, the world's largest and most profitable. To put it in perspective, Tencent is larger than FaceBook by revenue when it comes to social media.
Most well known services/products they own:
Riot Games who makes League of Legends (LOL) that has >100 million players each month – as a side note, they reinvented the game industry with this game by creating a world wide championship (esports) that is watched by >60 million people (for example the massively popular Super Bowl in the US is watched by around 120 million people); Miniclip who makes most of the online and mobile games like 8 Ball Pool, Gravity Guy, Bloons Tower Defense, Plague Inc, Agar.io, Diep.io; Supercell (owns 84%) with titles like Hay Day, Clash of Clans, Boom Beach, or Clash Royale; Epic Games (owns 40%) with titles like Fortnite, Unreal, Gears of War, Infinity Blade; Pocket Gems (owns 38%); Garena (owns 30.0%), CJ Games (owns 28.0%), Netmarble Games (22.0%), Glu Mobile (21.5%), Bluehole Inc. (11.5%); Activision Blizzard (owns 5%) with titles like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, StarCraft, Diablo, Crush Saga, Farm Heroes Saga; Ubisoft (owns 5%) with titles like Assassin's Creed, Far Cry, Just Dance, Prince of Persia, Rayman, Raving Rabbids. Tencent also invests in (and owns parts of) other massive gaming companies like Shanda Games (has 460 million registered accounts publishing games like AION, MapleStory, The World of Legend, The Age, Magical Land, Ragnarok Online, Dungeons & Dragons Online, Crazy Arcade).
Other Internet services: QQ (instant messaging with ~783 million active accounts), QQ Coin (their own digital currency), Qzone (social network with >563 million users), Tencent Weibo (microblogging), Pengyou (social network with >200 million users), Pidgin (instant messaging), QQ Live (live video streaming with 3 million visits per day), Sogou (owns 42%) (search engine accounting for over 16% of searches on mobile in China); Tencent Weiyun (cloud storage), TenPay (similar to PayPal), WeChat (multi-purpose messaging, social media and mobile payment app with ~1 billion active users), Tencent Video (one of the largest video platforms in China with >500 million monthly users)
Tencent Pictures (film production company with titles like Roco Kingdom 4, Warcraft, Kong: Skull Island, Wonder Woman.)
- full list here -
Owns (amongst others) the top 3 largest social networks in Russia and the entire fleet of the websites it owns reaches some 86% of the Russian Internet users. Basically Mail.Ru reaches 86% of the Internet users in Russia and owns top 3 largest social networks in that tribe.
Most well known services/products they own: Mail.ru (email service with 100 million users), Vkontakte (it is the most popular website in Russia with ~477 million users and 9th most popular website in the world); OK.ru (social network service with ~200 million users – it is second most popular in Russia); My World@Mail.Ru (3rd most popular social network in Russia); ICQ (instant messenger with 11 million monthly users); My.com (games and Internet-based services), Am.ru (one of the biggest Russian websites for buying and selling cars), BeepCar (ridesharing), Youla (location-based marketplace with >20 million monthly active users), Delivery Club (Russia's number one food delivery service).
- full list here and here -
Want to game, communicate, or be social online? Statistically (worldwide) you will use one of these 3 companies.
There are basically 2 online shops in the world:
Amazon (US) and Alibaba (China)
It is the world’s largest online retailer by revenue by a huge margin.
Most well known services/products they own: Amazon (online shop), Whole Foods Market (supermarket chain), A9.com (product search, cloud search, advertising technology and community question answering), Echo (smart speakers – Alexa), Alexa Internet (provides web traffic data, global rankings, and other information on 30 million websites), Amazon Books (chain of retail bookstores), AbeBooks (e-commerce global online marketplace), Amazon Game Studios, Amazon Lab126 (developing Amazon's Kindle line of e-readers and tablets), Amazon Kindle (buy, download, read ebooks – has >6 million books in its library), Amazon Robotics (automation), Amazon Studios (film production studio with titles like You Were Never Really Here, Last Flag Flying, Wonderstruck, Brad's Status, Landline, City of Ghosts, The Big Sick), Amazon Video (video on demand), Amazon Web Services (the most powerful cloud computing, owning 34% of all the cloud, more than Google, Microsoft and IBM combined), Audible (world’s largest audiobook store), Body Labs and Graphiq (Artificial Intelligence), IMDb and Box Office Mojo (largest databases of movies with IMDb having ~ 83 million registered users), Digital Photography Review (comprehensive reviews of digital cameras, lenses and accessories, buying guides, user reviews – it is the top 2,000 most visited websites), Goodreads (perhaps the largest database of books), Ring (security company), Souq.com (the Amazon of the Middle East - It is the largest e-commerce platform in the Arab world), Twitch.tv (it is a live streaming service, very popular amongst gamers – >100 million users a month).
- full list here -
If Amazon is the world’s largest in terms of revenue, then Alibaba is the world’s largest in terms of sales and most “valuable” retailer (business that sells goods to the public) which operates in over 200 tribes worldwide. It is also one of the largest Internet companies in the world.
Most well known services/products they own: Alibaba.com (world's largest online business-to-business trading platform); Taobao (580 million active users), Tmall (500 million active users) and AliExpress - 3 of the world’s largest online shopping stores; Alipay (world's largest mobile payment platform), Fliggy Corporate (online travel platform), Alibaba Cloud (cloud computing – largest in China), AliGenie (A.I. assistant), Tmall Genie (smart speaker), AliOS (operating system for mobile phones and smart devices), AliMusic, Alibaba Pictures (film company with titles like Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation / investor /, Little Door Gods / distributor /, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows / investor /, Star Trek Beyond / investor /, Once Upon a Time / production /), Youku Tudou (one of the largest video services in China with >500 million users a month), Aliwangwang (50 million users – instant messaging), AliSports (television), AliHealth (online pharmaceutical shop), AutoNavi (one of China’s top maps and navigation app), Alimail (mail service), South China Morning Post (one of the largest newspapers in China), UCWeb Inc (mobile Internet company that offers products and services - one of its products, UC Browser, is the most popular mobile browser in China and India, top 2 of the largest populations on Earth, and has >500 million users around the globe), Sina Weibo (owns 32%) (one of the most popular social media sites in China).
- full list here -
If you want to shop online or sell products, then you basically have 2 choices. Again, statistically worldwide.
There are basically 2 personal computers in the world:
Microsoft (US) and Apple (US)
It is the largest software company in the world by revenue.
Most well known services/products they own: Windows (the most popular desktop operating system), Bing (3rd largest search engine in the world), DirectX (collection of application programming interfaces for handling tasks related to multimedia), Xbox (popular video game console), Linkedin (perhaps the most popular professional networking with 500 million users), OneDrive (cloud storage), Microsoft Office (most popular office suite used by >1 billion people), Windows Server, Outlook (one of the most well known mail clients). Mojang (game developer – popular game Minecraft), Edge (default Windows browser), HoloLens (mixed reality smartglasses), Skype (one of the most popular voice and chat application with 300 million monthly users), Microsoft Store (offline and online), Microsoft Surface (tablets and laptops), Microsoft Azure (cloud computing), Microsoft Visual Studio, GitHub (one of the largest software development platform).
- full list here -
Apple: It is the world's largest information technology company by revenue and the world's 2nd largest mobile phone manufacturer after Samsung.
Most well known services/products they own: Macintosh (one of the most popular personal computers), iPhone (2nd largest phone manufacturer), App Store (2nd largest app store), iPad (most popular tablet), Apple Watch (one of the most popular smart-watches), iOS (2nd most popular mobile operating system), MacOS (2nd most popular operating system), Apple TV, iTunes Store (largest music vendor/shop – 575 million active user accounts), HomePod (smart speaker), Apple Pay (one of the most popular mobile payment services), iCloud (cloud storage – 782 million users), Apple Music (music streaming service with >40 million subscribers), Beats 1 (radio station), Beats Electronics (audio products), Siri (A.I. assistant), Shazam (software that can identify music, movies, advertising, and television shows – has >100 million active users monthly), Texture (digital magazine app), FaceTime (instant messaging – one of the most popular), Final Cut Pro (popular video editor), Safari (2nd largest browser in the world).
- full list here, here and here -
Have a desktop computer or a laptop? Well, you are using Microsoft or Apple products. Statistically, worldwide.
And finally there are basically 2 manufacturers of the electronics that allow this digital world to happen: Foxconn (Multinational) and Samsung (Korea)
Foxconn: It is the world's largest contract electronics manufacturer and the 4th largest information technology company by revenue. Foxconn factories are responsible for manufacturing >40% of all electronics sold worldwide. Imagine that.
Owns: FIH Mobile (manufactures new Nokia devices), Sharp (produces electronics and it is the 10th largest television manufacturer by market share), Smart Technologies (technology and software.)
Some popular stuff they produce: BlackBerry, iPad, iPhone, iPod, Kindle, Nintendo, Nokia, PlayStation, Wii, Xbox.
Some of their most popular customers: Acer Inc., Apple, Amazon, Cisco, BlackBerry, Dell, Google, Huawei, Microsoft, Motorola, Nintendo, Sony, Toshiba, Vizio, Xiaomi.
Samsung: It is the world's 2nd largest information technology company by revenue (only behind Apple) and it produces a wide variety of goods and services.
Most well known services/products they own: Samsung Heavy Industries (one of the largest shipbuilders in the world), Samsung Engineering (it provides a full range of engineering services like construction or design – it is the world's 13th largest construction company), Samsung C&T Corporation (global engineering and construction projects, trade and investment, fashion and resorts – it is the world's 36th largest construction company), Samsung Life Insurance (the largest insurance company in South Korea), Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance, Cheil Worldwide (major advertising and marketing company), Samsung SDS (information technology services – investing into BlockChain, IOT, A.I., and more). Samsung Galaxy (most popular smartphone line, and 2nd most popular tablets), Harman International Industries (designs and engineers connected products for automakers).
Samsung Electronics: It is the world’s largest: information technology company, manufacturer of mobile phones and smartphones (34% MS), television manufacturer, memory chips manufacturer (49.6% MS), semiconductor chip maker, flash memory (42.6% MS), OLEDs screens (40% MS) and AMOLED (98% MS).
Produces components such as lithium-ion batteries, semiconductors, chips, flash memory and hard drive devices for clients such as Apple, Sony, HTC, Nokia, Verizon Communications, or AT&T.
- full list here -
So, 12 big farts companies own the Internet and the entire digital space in general, both in terms of profits and in terms of the people that they reach or the amount of stuff they produce.
But I want to better put this into perspective to see them at work and how they “monopolize” the digital space. The general concern with these companies is that they only (or primarily) care about profits and they managed to own a space that should be abundant. This is not really a showcasing of their wrong-doings but a showcasing of how they plan to own the digital space.
The “digital” is a current invention. We may be very used to it now, but it is an odd thing. Explain to someone from the near past that we spend most of our time playing with or getting played by some screens and machines that at their core have a weird algorithm that moves tiny bits (transistors, light bulbs, mechanical parts) in a way that almost no one fully understands. Factories, laptops, satellites, hospitals, phones, management or resources, cars, houses, science, everything is digitized. Remove the digital space and the world will collapse in a second.
Before digitization, if you were to discover something, you would write it down on a piece of paper, draw, explain verbally, and share physically. If I would create a new kind of windmill to produce energy, then only I knew how to build it and in order for others to build it too, I would have to explain it to them by word of mouth or by drawing and writing down the instructions. How one should cut the wood, what bolts should use, where such a windmill would be more efficient to buil, how to operate the machine. This information flow was extremely inefficient and hardly scalable. Today, however, if I make a windmill I can explain the process, materials, and how to be operated in the digital space that’s instantly sharable everywhere around the world where there is an Internet connection. I can also get instant feedback from around the world and improve my design. More than that, I can share the exact 3D designs of the windmill and others can simply print the necessary parts. And on top of it all, we can share the details of the structure and how it needs to be built, with machines directly. So then machines will know how to build and operate this windmill. No (or less) humans needed for that. It is magic! This is a tremendous advancement that would have seemed science fiction even 100 years ago. And because the digital space is only information (so nothing physical), then it can be shared infinitely and with anyone, making it naturally abundant. Despite the fact that this looks like a technology that Aliens would send to us to create Heaven on Earth, the digital space is already owned by the two octopuses you‘ve already met.
But I want to draw attention to one thing the Privatopus is doing right now, because this is a direct attack to the abundant nature of the digital space that anyone should be aware of. It is called: DRM - Digital Rights Management.
If I have a USB Drive Stick, I can copy a video file to it and give it to you. It is fast, it costs nothing, and doesn’t damage the file itself. I just created a copy of that video for you. Now we have 2 copies of that video file. Same happens if I send it to you via the Internet. This allows us to create an abundance of anything that’s digital without any effort or resources consumed. But companies have pushed something that’s truly ‘evil’ in the form of DRM. Basically that video file is restricted to be copied to you or anyone, and if it is copied, that copy cannot be seen unless you have permission to do so. The way they do it is to encrypt that video file (scramble the bits of it), and it can only be decrypted (de-scramble the bits of it) through the one who owns the video (a company). When Amazon sells digital books it does the same thing, applies a DRM encryption to all of them, and these books can only be read with the Amazon software for reading books. If you buy such a digital book, you cannot (or may not be able to) download it, and for sure you’re not allowed to make copies of it or share it. In the old days, if you bought a book, you could give it to a friend, rip its pages apart or write on them (adding bookmarks, highlight text, whatever you wanted), and store it anywhere you want to. Full control over the book. The irony is that a book in digital format can be shared and copied as many times as you want, yet in our Game Of Trade it is far more restrictive than a physical book. Pretty much all of the “legal” online content (movies and Netflix, music and Spotify, books and Amazon, expensive shit and Apple) are under a DRM encryption. You buy a game, only you can play it on your own machine made by a certain company and having a certain account. That’s the idea. Unnecessary and idiotic way of making an abundant world, a scarce and closed one. And trying to unscramble these digital materials is a “felony” that can get you jail time or a huge fine.
With that in mind let’s think about about the mighty Internet that we all use. Over 4 billion of us. But how does it work? I sit here inside my home, reading some news from the EFF website. I am in Spain, but the content of EFF was made in the USA and may be on a server in UK. The fact that I am able to freely read (technologically wise) those news is taken from granted, but it is something that is changing in many ways. I have a computer, on my computer there is an Operating System that controls my computer (the fan, processes, my interaction with the installed programs, etc.). I connect to the Internet through my Operating System and access it via a “browser”. Aha! The browser! Ever wondered why you can’t access the Internet without a browser? It is because a browser is a program that decodes a bunch of code from a server (HTML) and displays on your computer. It’s like a translator. No browser, no web pages. EFF makes their website on their computers in the HTML language, uploads to servers that they have access to, and I can access their website from those servers via a browser. The cool, great, and useful part of this is that I have control over that website via this browser, similar to having control of a physical book if I have it in my hands. As soon as that website ‘lands’ on my computer (through the browser) then the control is in my hands for my own use. I can remove parts of it, block others, download images from it or videos, and so forth. If you ever used an Ad Blocking extension for your browser then that’s what it does, it blocks parts of the websites that it detects as ads. Other extensions allow you to mute websites by default, block scripts that may track you, and so forth. Basically, whatever is served to you as a “web page”, you have control over on your own computer. Imagine if you were to visit tromsite.com and the website would access your microphone by default and you can’t stop that, or play a loud song that you cannot mute, or show you short clips with mule porn that you cannot pause :). This seems trivial but let’s see why it isn’t.
The Charlatan Privatopus first attack on the Internet as a whole is the attack on the browser. More specifically to the language browsers use, the HTML. Privatopus wants this HTML to allow for DRM content by default, so that they can make websites that you cannot control for your own use anymore. And browsers who do not comply with it, can fuck off! Same way that you cannot play that video game unless you have a Playstation or an Xbox, you will not be able to access say Netflix unless you use Netflix’s browser, or a specific browser for that matter. And you have 0 control over what Netflix shows you. Imagine such an Internet where you cannot block any ads, trackers, have no control over them for your own use. This is like you buy a box of ice creams but you can only eat them by licking and not biting, melting, or doing anything to them other than licking. That’s how ridiculous it is. And Privatopus achieved just that at the end of 2017. (source) Not surprising that Charlatan-farts (charts!?) like Netflix pushed for this implementation. This is the first time in the Internet’s history that such a drastic decision has taken place, and this will put a lot of power in the hands of Privatopus.
And here’s something more that you may not know. The rise of smartphones makes the Privatopus even stronger. On smartphones, the main way that people access the Internet content is not through browsers anymore, it is the mighty “app”. A piece of software that can use DRM by default. So big companies are already using apps and say: “Fuck off Internet browsers, we don’t need you!”. This was also a reason for browsers and the people behind the Internet and HTML to comply to this new trend because they were left behind and soon you couldn’t access Netflix or FaceBook if those companies didn’t want that. So for example, Netflix can only be accessed via their own encrypted app and can only work if installed on a certified Google phone (source) or iPhone. If you have no such phone, or the Netflix official app, then fuck off you cheap bastard! Next step is for the Netflix website to not work on desktop if you don’t have a certain operating system (like Windows or MacOS with a license), or a certain browser. That’s where we are heading. Actually this is already happening since you cannot access Netflix from a Linux operating system unless you install specific software for that.
Apps and mobile phones are getting owned by these giant companies. If on a computer, you can easily install Linux or other operating systems, and have control over them (websites, programs, etc.), especially if they are Open Source, on a phone nowadays, you cannot do many of these things unless you kinda hack your device, and then you’ll get into lots of issues with apps not working on that hacked device or the device not performing properly or not getting updates and so forth. Basically, mobile phones are the heaven for Privatopus who is gaining control over what people do, where, and how. (more here and here) And they want to do that with computers too, via the “mighty browser”.
So Privatopus is going to lock down the Internet and have control over it. And with the Internet of Things combined with DRM, we can safely see a future in which your toaster can only toast bread from a certain company (crazy, but maybe not so crazy), your 3D printer will only print with their own printing materials (which is already happening), your car can only be allowed on certain roads, and all of those things that you ‘own’ are ‘illegal’ to hack for your own personal use. Actually, this is happening. Cars already have DRM software and they can only be repaired by certain companies. You own the car, but you really don’t. You are not allowed to fix it yourself.
And the other attempt of the Privatopus to own the Internet is to own the cables. Because indeed I may have an Operating System and a browser, but to see a website, the server where the website is hosted and my computer need to connect. And they do so through cables. Up until now, you could access any website equally to any other (if they were not blocked by tribes or companies), but this is very counterintuitive to the Game Of Trade and Privatopus wants to ‘fix that’. In the US tribe they thought: “Why not have some websites load faster than others. Why not make the Internet like the TV, so that people can buy subscriptions to websites, so that they can only access those websites instead of the entire Internet.” And they passed a law allowing for that to happen. (source) Basically you will buy a subscription to access YouTube and FaceBook and a bunch of other websites, but not have access to the entire Internet. Just like the Cable TV.
But this is already happening all around the world when it comes to the dumbsmartphones – I told you, smartphones are the sweet and tasty snacks of Privatopus. Many mobile Internet providers are already offering packages that include access only to a restricted number of websites, or on the other hand, you get offers that give you unlimited data access to popular services and apps like WhatsApp or FaceBook, making these giants even bigger.
Guy: It’s so fucking awesome that with my mobile Internet plan I get free data on WhatsApp and FaceBook! I mostly (or only) use those so that’s so aaaawesooome!
TROM: You naive being….
Locking down the Internet by default, controlling the pipes, censoring the web, the Privatopus does them all. And on top of that, Privatopus (exactly like Statopus), has its own rules when it comes to the digital stuff. The 12 big farts we’ve talked about all ban words, content, comments, and whatever they want, in whatever ways they feel. They have a complete distaste for sex or nudity, ‘bad’ words, anything that they think incites violence, and so forth. But what they won’t admit, is that they are doing this for trade-based reasons. It’s not like YouTube gives a shit about people’s safety or it is a moral dad for any Internet orphan. YouTube primarily gives a shit about the advertisers and its profits. And if advertisers do not want their ads on what they consider as ‘distasteful’ content, then YouTube will comply and will remove the ads from those videos. YouTube will go as far as changing its rules, hurting millions of users, just to satisfy the advertisers. It’s that simple. If YouTube would care about its users, it could easily give them the options (and power) to control the content they want to see. Don’t want to see nudity? No problem, enable our nudity filter that will only filter nudity for you. See how simple this could be?
Recently YouTube decided to ‘care’ about their users and here’s what they did: when you see a channel that you like, you subscribe to it; in return you expect to see its videos in your YouTube subscription tab. But YouTube decided that, looking at statistics, people were not engaged that much and didn’t click many of these videos that ended up in their subscription tab, so now when you subscribe to a channel you’ll only see the videos the YouTube algorithm thinks you may want to watch. They are saying it with their own mouths. What is obvious though, is that YouTube cared not at all about users, but about engagement, because engagement sells ads better. Actually they admitted that this is the focus of YouTube (advertising and engagement). Why do you think they have the “next video” button in-between the play/pause and volume buttons? Or why do you think that when you pause a video you’ll see a big “recommended videos tab” that many will click by mistake? The same reason why stores put sweets for kids at the checkout, so when parents wait in line, kids can persuade them to buy them sweets. It’s all about being a Charlatan and making profits.
So you see, Privatopus is going to lock down the digital space. Own, censor, block, lock. Hegemony! You can listen to this podcast to learn more bout the Monopolies that have been created in the digital space.
• privatopus: clothes/wearables and furniture
Our basic necessities like clothes, that are meant to protect our bodies and make us comfortable, have become anything but that. They are luxury items, and what many may not realize is that a few companies own the production and distribution of them.
PX: This is what I love about our society: variety! I can choose any glasses I want, any color, shape, or brand. Chanel, Prada, Giorgio Armani, Burberry, Versace, Dolce and Gabbana, Miu Miu, DKNY. Wow, so many options!
TROM: Again, wrong. They are all owned or made by a single company. One! It is like I make ice cream cones, and I name them differently, and you think all of those names are “brands” that are independent from each other.
So, all of those brands are owned or made by Luxottica. The biggest eyewear company in the world (14% MS). Want to know what’s the second largest? Essilor, with 13% MS. But guess what? In 2018, the two merged together. Their next ‘competitor’ is Johnson & Johnson with 3.9% MS. Johnson & Johnson is also one of the biggest companies in the world that produces “medical devices, pharmaceutical and consumer packaged goods manufacturing”. This may not seem much at first sight, but the top company having a 27% share of the entire world-wide market, and their next competitor having a 3.9% share, is definitely making Luxottica+Essilor a Monopoly. And considering they have contracts with the largest retailers in the world, it means that when you want to buy glasses you are very likely to buy them from the big dog Luxottica+Essilor.
YKK is a Japanese company that produces zippers, among other stuff, and is perhaps the biggest one in that niche – just look at your zipper and you’ll probably see the YKK logo. In 2007, the company was fined €150.3 million by the European Commission for running worldwide price-fixing cartels and sharing markets with two other companies (one from Britain and one from Germany). The other two companies were also fined. This showcases something very concerning about our trade based game: it’s not necessary to have a Monopoly in a certain domain to dominate that domain. Smaller companies can also get together and do these shameless tricks like “price-fixing” to dominate that market. Maybe alone you’re not a Monopoly, but together we will be. They agree, behind closed doors, how to run their companies in a way that will not allow for competition and will keep their status, plus raise their profits. Between 1995 and 2000, music companies conspired to raise the prices for CDs and it is estimated that they overcharged people over $500 million (source). In 2005, the huge Korean company, Samsung, was fined $300 million for doing the same kind of tricks together with other manufacturers for inflating the price of DRAM (Dynamic random access memory) chips. Samsung admitted it. (source) Same happened in 2018 when the European Commission fined 8 companies for doing the same with capacitors. In 2006, 13 perfume companies were fined for similar stunts; in 2008 and 2010, huge companies like LG pleaded guilty for LCD (displays) price fixing; and between 2005 and 2013, it was estimated that 60 massive airline companies were doing the same stunts (34 of them were charged). (source)
It’s not hard to see that big clothing companies (or any other company) may engage in such schemes right now, but are not caught yet.
Inditex is the biggest “fashion group in the world”. It owns well known brands like Zara Home, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Oysho, Pull and Bear, Stradivarius and Uterqüe. H&M is the second largest. Go into any Mall and it is very unlikely to not see these two companies dominating the retail space. Nike and Adidas completely dominate the market of sports equipment and clothing. Nike is the biggest in the world and second in Europe, and Adidas is first in Europe (second is Nike – surprise surprise!).
Nike brands https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Nike_brands
Adidas brands https://duckduckgo.com/?q=Adidas+brands+&t=canonical&ia=list https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Adidas_brands
Essilor brands https://www.essilor.com/en/brands-and-solutions/our-brands/
And IKEA is the largest furniture (and in house decoration) fart in the world since 2008. IKEA owns and operates 415 stores in 49 countries. In one year (from 2015 to 2016), they had over 2.1 billion visitors on their websites where they sell most of their stuff from – they have over 12.000 items.
Whether you buy glasses, clothes or furniture, you will most likely buy them from ~6 huge companies: Luxottica+Essilor, Inditex, H&M, Nike, Addidas, or IKEA.
• privatopus: grocery-products
People in a supermarket
Food, sweets, beverages, seeds, livestock, products for personal care or household, you name it. Grocery-stores have them all. What I am going to show you right now is how only 25 companies own pretty much everything you see in any grocery-store anywhere in the world. I won’t call them farts for this section because we are talking about food and stuff. Thank me later. See if you can recognize the brands:
It is the largest food company in the world, measured by revenues and other metrics, since 2014. Nestlé's products include baby food, medical food, bottled water, breakfast cereals, coffee and tea, confectionery, dairy products, ice cream, frozen food, pet foods, and snacks. Nestlé has 447 factories, operates in 194 countries, and employs around 339,000 people. It is one of the main shareholders (owners) of L'Oreal, the world's largest cosmetics company.
- full list here and here -
Kraft Heinz -
The world's fifth-largest food and beverage company, and the third-largest in the United States.
- full list here and here -
Mondelez International -
Produces some of the most well known brands of chocolate, cookies, gum, confectionery, and powdered beverages.
- full list here and here -
General Mills -
It is a boss in North-America producing most of the top brands there.
- full list here -
Mars, Incorporated -
Global manufacturer of confectionery, pet food, and other food products and a provider of animal care services and is ranked as the 6th largest privately held company in the United States by Forbes.
- full list here -
It too produces some of the most recognized brands of cereals, sweets, cookies or crackers. Kellogg's products are manufactured in 18 countries and marketed in over 180 countries.
- full list here -
In 2014 was the world’s largest seller of fresh dairy products and among the world’s largest sellers of early life nutrition products and bottled waters. It continues to be a huge player in the market. (source)
- full list here and here -
It is the third biggest chocolate producer and confectionery company in the world.
- full list here -
So these 8 companies own the food market (sweets, foods, cereals, yogurts, even drinks). But the next 5 companies complete the list of beverages and add to the list of foods that a few companies own. So, let’s see next how the industry of beverages is owned by 5 companies (top 5 by assets value – all of what they own).
One of the largest packaged foods and beverages companies in the world. It is responsible for 28% of all the beers sales in the world. Has approximately 500 beer brands in over 100 countries.
Most popular brands - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anheuser-Busch_InBev
Owns 170 beer brands and over 125 breweries in more than 70 countries.
Most popular brands https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heineken_brands and http://www.theheinekencompany.com/brands/international-brands
It is the world's largest distiller company. It sells its products in over 180 countries and owns several worldwide “best selling” vodkas/liqueurs.
Most popular brands https://www.diageo.com/en/our-brands/ and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diageo
In 2015 Coca-Cola was the world's third most valuable brand, after Apple and Google. In 2013, Coke products were sold in over 200 countries worldwide, with consumers drinking more than 1.8 billion company beverage servings each day.
Most popular brands https://duckduckgo.com/?q=Coca-Cola+brands&t=canonical&ia=list and https://www.coca-colacompany.com/brands/the-coca-cola-company
PepsiCo is the second largest food and beverage business in the world in terms of revenue. Within North America, PepsiCo is the largest food and beverage business by net revenue. Its products are distributed across more than 200 countries.
Most popular brands http://www.pepsico.com/brands and https://duckduckgo.com/?q=PepsiCo+brands&t=canonical&ia=list and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PepsiCo#Products_and_brands
These are all of the companies that basically rule the world of foods and beverages in terms of availability, and popularity. If you ever go into a supermarket look at the label of any food or drink at random and you’ll see how the vast majority of them are owned by these 13 monsters.
The “raw” foods and beverages (the ingredients, the animals, the processing) are made primary by 5 other companies. JBS S.A. is the largest (by sales) meat processing company in the world, producing factory processed beef, chicken and pork, and also selling by-products from the processing of these meats. So it is the world's biggest meat producer. The second biggest in the domain is Tyson Foods – they also own major food brands like Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farm, Sara Lee, Ball Park, Wright Brand, Aidells, and State Fair. WH Group makes “hog raising, consumer meat products, flavoring products, and logistics” and it is the largest pork producer in the world and the largest meat producer in China (remember that China has the larges population of humans). This company slaughters more than 15 million pigs a year. The 4th is BRF S.A. Its products are sold in over 150 countries, in all five continents. And the last one, Fonterra, is responsible for approximately 30% of the world's dairy exports (milk, yogurt, cheese, and butter). They also own a lot of known dairy brands.
Poultry (chicken, turkeys, eggs).
These are the top 10 poultry production companies. As you can see the top 3 are JBS, Tyson and BFR, taking over 60% of the top 10 production companies. (source)
Again, top 10 pork producing companies. WH Group alone takes 27% of the production in this group. (source)
Dairy exports: milk, yogurt, cheese, and butter from cows or goats, but also from buffaloes, sheep, horses, or camels.
A very scary and concerning thing when it comes to food is the owning of nature. Now companies genetically modify seeds and those seeds belong to them. They also own pesticides and fertilizers. In 2016, only 6 such companies owned over half the seeds, pesticides, and fertilizers around the world: Bayer, BASF, Dow, DuPont, Monsanto, and Syngenta. (source) In 2015, Monsanto was the biggest supplier of seeds, controlling 26% of the global seeds market. Du Pont was its competitor, controlling 21%. (source) That’s 2 companies controlling 47% of the global seeds market, and at the same time, “owning nature”, through their pursuit of patenting and privatizing these miraculous things we call “seeds”. Just stop and think for a moment: if a company owns a bunch of seeds, and they are the most used seeds around the world, and through these seeds a variety of plants and vegetables or fruits are growing (from corn to tomatoes to trees) then we are fucked, to put it more directly, since these companies control nature. No longer will we be able to grow food or plants unless we borrow them from these powerful companies. Think about that.
Monsanto tried to acquire one of the big 6 companies, Syngenta, but failed. Though another giant of the 6 (Bayer) managed to buy Monsanto in 2018 in return. Now they are as powerful as 2 of the 6. What’s more is that ChemChina, a big state owned company, managed to buy Syngenta in 2017 and they are in the talks of acquiring another company described as: “China’s biggest agricultural input company (fertilizer, seed and agrochemicals) and China’s leading chemical service company,” Sinochem. These two acquisitions will make ChemChina the most powerful chemical company in the world overtaking BASF who is currently the largest chemical producer in the world. And in 2017, Dow united its forces with DuPont to create a single company DowDuPont. So, in 2016 we had 6 big farts (well, I said it!) and now they combined with each other to become 4 or so: Bayer+Monsanto, Dow+DuPont, ChemChina will merge with Syngenta and Sinochem, and BASF is still a fucking giant on its own.
Therefore, these 9 companies are controlling the production of food: from seeds, to animals, to meats, and everything else.
Before we close this topic I have to mention 3 other companies that own the market of household/personal care products, and one of them also owns a lot of the foods/drinks market as well. No grocery-store/supermarket will be complete without those products. So, these 3 are going to close this chapter in a “beautiful” and “complete” manner.
It is the world's largest consumer goods company measured by 2012 revenue and the world's biggest ice cream manufacturer. And currently it is Europe’s seventh most valuable company. Its products are available in around 190 countries with over 400 brands. It owns so much it is a complete monster.
- full list here and here -
Procter & Gamble
It owns the most well known products for household/personal care.
- full list here and here -
It is another giant of household and personal care products.
- full list here -
One small side note: Unilever and Procter & Gamble created a cartel in 2011 for “price-fixing” practices. They were caught. They admitted it. They were fined. They continue to be the biggest players in their domain. (source) Same story with Colgate-Palmolive which was caught in 2016 for doing the same. (source)
There you have it: 25 big damn farts of the Privatopus that together are taking over any grocery-store/supermarket in the world. From the products that you see on the selves (beverages, sweets, cereals, packaged foods, household/personal care products, etc.) to the meats, livestock dairy or the seeds that enabled the production of these, they are mainly (almost entirely) owned by these companies. Shitty situation indeed.
• privatopus: media
Scene: at the cinema
Although the Internet is a dominating force nowadays, newspapers, TV channels and movies are still a big part of people’s lives. In 2016, in the US, people spent around 725 minutes per day consuming major media (this “old fashioned” media). In the same year, television (broadcast/cable) was the medium with the highest daily consumption per capita in the U.S., followed by smartphone, radio and emails. (source) So who owns the “major media” worldwide? Let’s look at their financial value and overall popularity.
Alphabet Inc. is the papa of Google and it owns a lot of other companies as well. Alphabet is basically Google under a different name, and remember that Google has Google News, YouTube TV, and other such media entities. It is the largest media company by revenue in the world. But let’s leave this modern fart behind and focus on the old and traditional ones.
Interestingly we only have 5 major companies that overtook the media industry.
1. The Walt Disney Company + 21st Century Fox: Disney acquired Fox recently and they will finally merge in 2019. Combined they own the most iconic cartoons and movies with some of the most popular TV channels.
Tv channels: Disney, ABC, ESPN, A+E Networks, Hulu (60%), Fox Channels, National Geographic, Sky (40% - Europe's biggest and leading media company and largest pay-TV broadcaster. They recently announced to buy Sky completely and are in the process of doing just that.)
Cartoons: Alice in Wonderland, Mickey Mouse, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, One Hundred and One Dalmatians, The Jungle Book, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
Pixar: Toy Story series, Finding Nemo and Finding Dory, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, WALL-E, Monsters Inc., Cars.
Lucasfilm: Star Wars, Indiana Jones, The Land Before Time
Marvel Entertainment: X-Man, Spiderman, Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Hulk, The Avengers, Blade, Daredevil, Ghost Rider, Wolverine, Deadpool
20th Century Fox: Avatar, Home Alone, Night at the Museum, The Martian, Ice Age series, Planet of the Apes, Kung Fu Panda series, Minority Report, The Revenant, Alien series, M*A*S*H
- full list here and here -
2. AT&T + WarnerMedia: The world's largest telecommunications company and also the second largest provider of mobile telephone services and the largest provider of fixed telephone services in the United States merged with one of the biggest names in the movie industry.
TV Channels: HBO, Warner Bros, CNN, Cartoon Network, TruTV, Hulu (10%), The CW, Turner, Boomerang
Movies: Warner Bros: The Dark Knight, Wonder Woman, Harry Potter, Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad, It, The Hobbit, Inception, The Matrix, I Am Legend
DC Comics: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Aquaman, The Flash, Catwoman, 11 Green Arrow, Supergirl
- full list here and here -
3. Comcast: the largest broadcasting and cable television company in the world by revenue.
TV channels: NBC, Telemundo, CNBC, MSNBC, Bravo, E!, Syfy, USA Today, Olympic Channel, DreamWorks Channel, Carnival Films, Hulu (30%).
Universal Pictures and DreamWorks Animation (movies): King Kong, Jaws, Back to The Future, Jurassic Park, Mr. Bean, The Mummy, American Pie, The Fast and Furious, Shrek, Madagascar, Despicable Me, E.T.
- full list here and here -
4. Vivendi: The company has activities in music, television, film, video games, telecommunications, tickets and video hosting service.
Gameloft (it makes games like Asphalt, Brothers in Arms, Brain Challenge, Captain America, Chessmaster, Despicable Me: Minion Rush, Desperate Housewives: The Game, The Dark Knight Rises, Dragon Mania Legends, Ferrari GT: Evolution, Gangstar, Ice Age, Iron Man, Midnight Pool 3D, Modern Combat, My Little Pony, NFL, Prince of Persia, Rayman, Real Football, Shrek, Sonic, Tom Clancy's (full list here)
Universal Music Group (biggest record label in the world). Artists who signed with the label: 50 Cent, Akon, The Beatles, Blink182, Bon Jovi, Cher, David Guetta, Demi Lovato, Dr. Dre, Eminem, Enrique Iglesias, Fergie, Post Malone, Imagine Dragons, BTS, Taylor Swift, Maroon 5, Ariana Grande, Shawn Mendes
TV and Movies: Canal+ (Cnews, C8, Cstar, CanalPlay, CanalSat) and StudioCanal (with movies like Terminator 2: Judgment Day, JFK, Basic Instinct, Cliffhanger, Under Siege, Free Willy); Mediaset (owns 28% with channels like Italia 1, Italia 2, Canale 5); Telecom Italia ( owns 24.6% - the largest Italian ISP);
Vevo (owns 31% - it makes the most well known/watched music videos like "Look What You Made Me Do" Taylor Swift, "Hello" Adele, "Anaconda" Nicki Minaj, "Wrecking Ball" Miley Cyrus, "Boyfriend" Justin Bieber, "Where Have You Been" Rihanna.)
Dailymotion (owns 90% - video hosting with > 300 million unique monthly users.)
- full list here -
5. Sony: it is hard to know where to fit this giant because it produces everything from big budget movies to electronics or games. The company owns the largest music entertainment business in the world.
Sony Pictures (producing movies): owns Columbia Pictures and TriStar Pictures. It is hard to name a movie that they didn’t make or distribute. Here are a few titles: The Karate Kid, Ghostbusters, Spider-Man, Stuart Little, Men in Black, Underworld, Groundhog Day, The Smurfs, The Fifth Element, Sniper, My Girl, Hotel Transylvania, and many more.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (home video distribution), Sony Mobile (producing phones like Xperia or Ericsson), Sony Interactive Entertainment (video game production – they make PlayStation, which is one of the most popular video consoles, and games like Gran Turismo, Uncharted, God of War, Twisted Metal, or LittleBigPlanet), Sony Music (2nd biggest record label – artists who signed with them are ABBA, Alicia Keys, Avicii, Avril Lavigne, Backstreet Boys, Beyoncé, Bob Dylan, Boney M., Britney Spears, Celine Dion, Christina Aguilera, Daft Punk, David Bowie, David Guetta, Jennifer Lopez, Johnny Cash, Justin Timberlake, Katy Perry, Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson, N Sync , One Direction, Pink, Shakira, Whitney Houston).
6. Meredith Corporation: As of 2018, they are the largest magazine company in the world.
Pretty much any movie you see, TV channel you watch, music you listen to, is owned by one of these 6 powerful farts. And looking at a more broader picture, 8 out of 10 leading media companies in the world are U.S.-based companies. (source) Considering how ‘good’ the US Statopus is at spying on people and manipulating them, the power of Privatopus in the US is not going unnoticed by the Statopus.
• privatopus: transportation
P1: Man I love motor showrooms. Audi, Bentley, Porsche.
P2: Wow, Lamborghini and Bugatti.
P1: What would you like, a Lamborghini or a Bugatti if you were rich?
P2: They are rivals, aren’t they!? Both fast, both slick, both jaw dropping. But to me the Lamborghini brand is still better.
TROM: Same brand! Volkswagen makes Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, SEAT, Škoda, and even Ducati. You may think they are different brands under a different company-umbrella, but they are not.
Worldwide there are some ~95 million motor vehicles produced each year.
Now think about the following:
Top 6 companies are responsible for 55% of all motor vehicles produced. Over half.
Add the next 4, and now top 10 companies are responsible for 72% of all motor vehicles produced.
Top 15 companies are responsible for 83% of all motor vehicles produced.
And only 30 top car companies produce 97% of all motor vehicles in the world.
Imagine that, only 30 companies basically producing all the of motor vehicles in the world.
Meaning passenger cars, light commercial vehicles, minibuses, trucks, buses and coaches. (source)
But let’s only focus on the top 10 since they are responsible for 72% of all the production, which means complete takeover by a handful of companies over the motor vehicles production.
1. Toyota: Lexus, Daihatsu, Hino Motors, Ranz, Isuzu (owns 5.9%), Subaru (owns 16.66%), Toyota Models.
2. Volkswagen Group: Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, SEAT, Škoda, Ducati, Volkswagen Models.
3. Hyundai Motor Group: Kia (owns 33.88%), Hyundai models. It is also one of the 2nd largest shipbuilding company in the world. (source)
4. Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance: this is another kind of what we’ve seen so far with huge companies merging or simply uniting their forces to dominate the game. Alpine, Automobile Dacia, Renault Samsung Motors, AvtoVAZ, Renault Models, Nissan Models, Mitsubishi Models. Mitsubishi is also the largest shipbuilding company in the world (source).
5. General Motors: Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Holden, HSV, Wuling, Baojun, Jie Fang, Ravon (owns 25%).
6. Ford: Ford Models, Edsel, Lincoln, Mercury
7. Honda: Honda has been the world's largest motorcycle manufacturer since 1959 as well as the world's largest manufacturer of internal combustion engines measured by volume. Honda Models
8. Fiat Chrysler: Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Lancia, Maserati, Ram Trucks, Fiat Models.
9. Groupe PSA: Peugeot Models, Citroën Models, Opel Models
10. Suzuki: Suzuki Models
When it comes to airplanes we can see the exact same approach with companies collaborating with each other to create tiny monsters (alliances) that are going to dominate that market. Here we have only 3 such Alliances that are responsible for over 61% of all the world wide air traffic. (source)
1. Star Alliance: 27 members with over 4.600 aircraft operating in 192 tribes. Adria Airways, Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, All Nippon Airways, Asiana Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Avianca, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EgyptAir, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Swiss International Air Lines, TAP Air Portugal, Thai Airways, Turkish Airlines, United Airlines.
2. SkyTeam: 20 members in 178 tribes with over 4.400 aircraft. Aerolíneas Argentinas, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, XiamenAir, Czech Airlines, Air France, Garuda Indonesia, Alitalia, Kenya Airways, Middle East Airlines, Aeroméxico, KLM, TAROM, Aeroflot, Saudia, Korean Air, Air Europa, China Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Delta Air Lines, Vietnam Airlines
3. Oneworld: 13 members in 158 tribes with over 3.400 aircraft. American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LATAM, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines, SriLankan Airlines
10 motor vehicles companies and 3 airplane companies, own most of the transportation worldwide, land or air.
• privatopus: healthcare
Top 10 pharmaceutical companies own ~40% of the market. ‘nough said! (source 1, 2) These companies make the essentials of healthcare: drugs, develop treatments, vaccines, antibiotics, medical technology, and so forth.
Johnson & Johnson, Gilead Sciences, Hoffmann-La Roche, Pfizer, Amgen, Novartis, AbbVie Inc., Merck & Co., GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi.
The same companies prescribe 43% of all drugs worldwide. (source) And when it comes to vaccines, only 4 of them account for over 90% of the market share (MS). Basically the entire market of vaccines is owned by 4 companies. (source)
Could these companies engage in price fixing or think about merging together to become more powerful? Why not, it seems that that’s the trend.
There we have it my friends. Privatopus with its 6 tentacles spread around the world, controlling it, manipulating it, owning it. But I can’t just leave it like that. No no no! In our world we have many domains like toy production, resource management, boats and books, porn and home appliances, and so forth. In order to understand that Monopolies can be found in pretty much any domain, I made a list of charts to showcase their value in their respective market. It is calculated in terms of “assets”. Assets are basically all that a company owns and is worth. The numbers represent the billions of dollars owned in assets. Observe a trend: how the first and second place are dominating in almost all domains. That’s what a Monopoly looks like. Also, keep in mind that these are the 5 top companies in each domain. Imagine how much smaller other companies are compared to these ones, like say position 23 or 50 compared to position 1 or 2. They are minuscule. If there were no Monopolies in our society, you would see a gradual difference between these companies and not what you’ll observe below. If these were stairs you would break 3 legs and 2 necks. The stats are from Forbes 2017. (see/download all charts from here)
Second thing that I did was to create a mega search engine comprised of around 200 of the biggest companies out there, to showcase their complete domination of our world. There are hundreds of thousands of items (if not millions) in the database so feel free to search any product you want, movie, artist, company or brand. See who owns them. The engine is a work in progress and we may add more companies on the fly, if needed, to cover even more ground.
So there they are, the two giant Octopuses: Statopus and Privatopus. They own the world.
These Charlatans want to appear like what they are not,
so they put on a tie, a jacket, or some hat.
But the Abusers don’t need any of that. .
They want to pretend that they represent the rest of the creatures,
and so they need no clothes to hide behind, they teach us.
But the reality is that both of these monsters
Are nothing more than a bunch of mean gangsters
But what’s unique about octopuses is that they can change color and shape. One octopus can become identical to another. Sometimes it is hard to differentiate them. And that’s what’s happening with Statopus and Privatopus, as they are (many times) the same creature. They look, smell, and feel the same.
Who tells the state (Abuser) – Statopus - to spend money on a football stadium instead of a hospital? Hosting the Olympic Games vs restructuring the transportation system? Events over practicality? Well, the Abuser is also a profiteer (Charlatan). They too want more for themselves and less for everybody else. Also, think about the Privatopus (the Charlatan): banks are private yet you cannot do without them. You can’t pay for lots of stuff if you don’t have a bank account so you are abused into making a deal with them and open a bank account. Then they will rape you too with rules that they change all the time and will force you to give them more and more money (some examples). Therefore, the Abuser is also a Charlatan and the Charlatan can become Abusive. They work hand in hand most of the time.
Imagine a cable company that provides television for people. For it to be successful it needs to stand out from the rest of the cable companies. How does it do that? It starts with a big investment in building the infrastructure and bribing politicians to allow them to implement the infrastructure: laying down cables, maybe renting frequency channels for transmission via satellite, and whateverthefuck they need, and the state has to allow them to do that. So they bribe the politicians and build the infrastructure. Now they provide cable TV to millions of people in that tribe. They invested a lot of money and now they can create a Monopoly by removing any competition. As soon as they are in this position, they can control it. They can use their power and the already-built infrastructure to also provide Internet for people. They can easily lay down cables to people’s homes and make them package offers for both TV and Internet. They have a database of users already so it is easy for them to market their new business. Now they expanded and provide both cable TV and Internet to millions of people. Say another company wants to come and offer better Internet to people. They too will try to bribe politicians but now they will also have to fight with the big boss company that’s already in place. With the Monopoly. And this is not an easy fight to fight. The big boss company can easily block them by either bribing the politicians (again) to stop the new company from laying down cables (let’s say), or by offering cheaper Internet subscriptions to their existing users - so cheap that the new company won't be able to compete with them. Remember that the new company must start as brand new and invest in infrastructure, which can be a massive investment, and they will also have to make a profit from all of this. But the big boss company (the Monopoly) can drop prices so low that it is not worth the investment for the new company. The big boss company can raise prices again once the competition is gone.
Actually that’s the real story of what happened in the US for the past years: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sdbpJ7l4Zk
But the story doesn’t end here. Now the state can take advantage of this big boss cable and Internet company. How? It knocks on their door and tells them to hand over data/information about their users (the citizens). The state can also dictate what people can or cannot access via this company - like blocking certain websites or TV shows.
Companies bribe politicians to make decisions for the their own benefit, and the state forces companies into trades for the state’s interest. So I have the company X and I sell guns. Now, because I want more people to buy my guns I want less strict laws in regards to people buying guns. But some worry that too many guns results in more deaths, so they say: “We want for people to first get permission to buy a gun and not own more than one gun.” Maybe statistics show that too: more guns equal more deaths, but because I have so much money, I can pay some talking mouths called “lobbyists” to basically go and influence politicians to not adopt strict rules in regards to buying guns. As simple as that. I, as a company, make the rules by influencing politicians to adopt new laws, change them, remove them, or whatever. No statistics or group of people will stay in my way. And the worrying thing is that this is 100% legal and it is working like a charm (source 1, 2).
Here are a few examples of the Statopus and Privatopus, the Abuser and the Charlatan, transforming into each other and collaborating together for their own gain, and from pretty much any tribe out there – and keep in mind that the following are the so called “illegal” collaborations between the two, not the “legal” lobbying that became a normality in our society:
• Siemens (Germany)
◦ $40 million in bribes in Argentina to win a $1 billion contract to make national identity cards.
◦ $20 million in Israel for a contract to build power plants.
◦ $16 million in Venezuela for urban rail lines.
◦ $14 million In China for medical equipment.
◦ $12.7 million in payments in Nigeria.
◦ $5 million in Bangladesh for mobile phones.
◦ $1.7 million in Iraq to Saddam Hussein and others.
• KBR/Halliburton (US) bribed Nigerian officials tens of millions of dollars to win construction contracts (source).
• BAE Systems (US) paid $2 billion in bribes to Saudi Arabian ambassador Bandar bin Sultan in a multi-billion-dollar arms deal (source), amongst other bribes.
• Snamprogetti (Netherlands) bribed Nigerian officials to win construction contracts. (source)
• JGC Corp. (Japan) bribed Nigerian officials to win construction contracts. (source)
• Daimler AG (Germany) made illegal payments to foreign officials worth $56 million in at least 22 countries including China, Russia, Turkey, Hungary, Greece, Latvia, Serbia and Montenegro, Egypt and Nigeria, among other places. (source).
• Alcatel-Lucent (France) bribed officials $4 million to win telecommunications contracts in Costa Rica, Honduras, Taiwan, Malaysia and other countries.
• Panalpina World Transport (Switzerland) paid thousands of bribes totaling at least $27 million to foreign officials in at least seven countries, including Angola, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Russia and Turkmenistan. (source 1, 2)
• Johnson & Johnson (US) bribed government-paid doctors and health officials to promote sales of medical devices in Greece, Poland and Romania. (source)
You can start your investigation here to see more examples of Statopus and Privatopus becoming one.
These two big entities - do not only own the entire game, but are interchangeable in their behavior (moving from Abusers, to Charlatans, then Thieves, and the other way around).
You trade with both the state and the private - one forces you, one deceives you, and many times over, they do both. Both seek trades with you. The state wants to keep its position of a state and it forces you into trades that you can’t really refuse, and the private has to keep its profits raising or else it will cease to exist, so it will do anything it can to engage you in trades and deceive you. They are the big players.
If you look around the world people are fighting over which one is better: the abuser or the Charlatan, the left or the right. Some say we need more government control or else the private Charlatans will only seek for profit and will ruin our world, some say the abusive state is ruining things by being so nosy. Problem is, both are wrong, because as you can see the Abuser and the Charlatan are the same entity influenced by the trade world. And man they are experienced Thieves as well.
Whatever these two, the state and the private do, it is all a trade-related poo. And they fart companies, businesses and profiteers, countries and politicians. Every human who is forced to or engages willingly in this Game Of Trade, is one of their farts in the end (pun intended), because everyone will become a gamer. Just like in the Monopoly board game where everyone ACTs according to the game. So never forget that this is not about these big players, this is about every player. At any level. If firefighters would make a profit out of putting out fires, they would start the fires themselves.
A 2018 published report by Oxfam (not-for-profit organization) describes very well the state of our game: big players get bigger and bigger, and small players are getting fucked. There are currently a bit over 2.000 billionaires (in US dollars). 82% of all global wealth in 2017 went to the 1% of the richest players, whilst the bottom 50% saw none of that. This increase of their wealth (not their huge amount of money, but only that increase in 2017) can eradicate poverty 7 times over.
Try to really understand this fact: 1% of the humans on planet Earth, of the players of the Game Of Trade, are richer than the remaining 99% of the humans (the players) combined. Two thirds of the wealth of billionaires is either inherited or created through Monopolies - they came to the game, and inherited their wealth; or created Monopolies and had 0 competition, like all of the examples I showcased.
What more can you say than that to prove that the Game Of Trade is the most unjust game we humans will ever play!?
I hope you are now aware of who these players are, and you won’t look at your favorite teacher with the same eyes as you did before ;). Now you know him (or them, the players) more intimately. You now know what hides behind the mask of companies, states, businesses and profiteers.
Thinking back to the Monopoly board game, I think I’ve showcased to you that we are in fact, playing it on a daily basis, and our own Monopoly game (GOT – Game Of Trade) is a billion times more unfair and creates a trillion more problems.
I showed you the GOT (Game Of Trade), I showed you the ACT (Abusers, Charlatans, Thieves), and I showed you the CRAP (Common, Recurring, Amplifying Problems).
We can replace these players, and the game will remain the same.
That’s the reality my friends, supported by facts and examples. It is sad, but important because it will allow us to find a solution for this. The first stage is understanding, then acceptance, and now that we have gotten ready by knowing what players we will face, we are ready to fight!
In the following parts we will focus on solutions. We will start the fight!
What do we want? I think this is the best question that not many seem to have the time or drive to ponder about, perhaps being caught up in trying to change something in the world (activism!?), and this is what I am going to ask TROM right now. I want to do that because we must not lose track of what we are trying to achieve.
So, TROM, what is it that you want? Why all of this struggle with books and videos, social networks and newsletters, quizzes and memes?
0. The story.
A simple, but powerful message.
Over these past years since TROM has become a thing, I’ve come across many groups of people or just individual people who claim to be aligned with what TROM is, and they contacted me several times over the years to try and explain that to me. I’ve heard about groups who want to intelligently manage the Earth’s resources and provide for everyone, groups who were all about promoting self sustainable technology, and those who only proposed renewable energy; people who were saying that becoming vegan is the way to go about changing the world, groups who were against money and those who were pro cryptocurrencies. Gift economies, different currencies, meritocracies, or ‘true’ democracies. Many many ideas. A planet of them. But what I think is lacking amongst these groups is a clear vision of what it is that we want, because we all seem to want a better world for everyone and to get rid of the problems we see today: war, violence, poverty, and so on. So we indeed have many things in common like ending hunger and poverty, taking care of people and the environment, using clean renewable sources of energy, becoming a planetary species, arriving at decisions through science, creating a level of security and comfort for all of us, and so forth. That’s all great, but to me it seems all over the place. Where to focus first and how? Which one is more important? This is why I decided to define TROM’s mission in one word, that can then be described easily in a sentence, and afterwards understood in simple paragraphs that even a 10 year old would understand. And all of this will encompass the common ideas that all of these organizations seem to have. Basically, most of what I’ve heard being talked about in terms of changing the world for the past 10 years is engulfed into what I am going to describe in a single word, then a sentence, then several paragraphs.
Imagine talking to a 10 year old.
If a 10 year old kid, with an open mind, would ask me what is this TROM project that I and others are dedicating so much time for, what would I answer? To imagine explaining this project to a kid is important because you assume that the kid doesn’t know much about our society (because s/he is too young and didn’t get to experience or learn much about the society we live in) so you’ll have to explain the project damn well and in a very simple way. If you can do that, then it means that you (who is explaining this project) understand what this project is all about, and it also means that the explanation can be used for everyone out there with an open mind because if a 10 year old is capable of understanding this, anyone is (at least in theory).
I’m presenting you the TROM Superhero! He has no fear of authority and can walk butt naked in front of academia without a sweat of shame. 🙂 He says things as they are and doesn't prostitute over anything (That fucking ivory kills 55 elephants a day!). He respects humans, but has no mercy for their unscientific values (C’mon man, there is no God!). He is the arrow of the science bow. Color him fearless and scientific and it will match his outfit. Voilà, the TROM Superhero.
Ok, enough with the intro. Let’s see him in action. Ta-da!
Hi Kid :). I’ve heard that you are curious about me. Who am I? What do I want? What’s my mission? Say no more, let’s waste no time, and let me show you: “me”.
I am giving you one word: trade. Keep it in mind because this word is the cause of most of the world’s problems. Actually, all problems, except a few (maybe).
The word: trade.
The sentence: We play a game in this world (all of us), the: “I have something, you have something else”, and we exchange what we have with each other, which in turn creates an imbalance of power (some have more, some have less), and this imbalance gives rise to so many problems because if I have something that you need, then I can be bossy with you over that and manipulate you or others who need what I have.
The Paragraphs: Think about the Monopoly game. You and your friends get around to play it. You know the rules, right? You each start with the same amount of money, you get to choose the Monopoly playing piece, you roll the dice and see if you are lucky or not, and so forth. But I want you to gather your friends and play Monopoly based on my rules.
First thing first: I will start by giving you all a different amount of money to start with.
Kid: Hold on, why?
TROM: Not fair? Well, are your parents rich?
Kid: Not really. I mean they earn enough but we are not the richest.
TROM: How much do Elijah’s parents (your friend) make? He has expensive gadgets and every summer he goes on expensive trips with his family, I’ve heard.
Kid: A lot more than my parents for sure.
TROM: So you see...we need to start the game in the same way. You get less money than Elijah, and more than Stacey because her parents make less than yours. Imagine you inherit the money and properties from your parents like the rest of the players do, despite the fact that you start as a brand new player in this game. It sucks, I know. Elijah is also going to own a few properties, houses and hotels from the get go. You only have a small property and one house. Again, like in the real life.
Kid: But that’s really unfair to be honest. Anyways, go on.
TROM: Well let’s start and you’ll see what I am trying to teach you.
The Kid starts the game with his friends and soon realizes how his disadvantage is getting worse and worse with every roll of the dice.
Kid: Why does Elijah get to roll the dice two times when we only get to roll once?
TROM: These are my rules, Kid, don’t forget! Keep on playing!
Elijah is starting to make more and more money. He bribes other players, makes hard to refuse offers to others so that he can expand his properties, he pays his way out every time he goes to jail, and does everything he can to get richer and richer. Elijah makes an offer to the Kid: “I’ll give you 2.000 for this property.”
Kid: Nah. That’s my best property.
Elijah: I need it because I have the rest. If you sell it to me you won’t pay if you land on any of the same properties. So you won’t have to worry about that.
Kid: Hm…but then I’ll have nothing….
Elijah: Well, you decide...I already have lots of properties and money so is not like I really need yours, but I think you should accept my offer because it is in your best interest, Kid.
Stacey: Elijah I will sell you two of my properties that you need with the same rules that you made for the Kid (to not pay you when I land on them) – but only if you don’t make the deal with the Kid. If the Kid makes the deal with you then I am ruined since we compete for the same place in the game. If he doesn’t get charged when he lands on those expensive properties that you have but I will, it will be very bad for me. I already have very little money. I am also open to making more deals with you. What do you say?
Elijah makes the deal with Stacey. The Kid is very upset. So upset that he steals some money from the bank when no one’s looking. But his financial situation is still awful.
TROM: See Kid….the Abuser, the Charlatan, and the Thief. The wonderful trio. That’s the ACT. Elijah, Stacey, and you. Elijah is so powerful that he can abuse anyone into making deals with him and his cartel for his own advantage, and Stacey needs to survive in the game so she becomes a charlatan deceiving Elijah and others for her own interest. And you...what do you do? You are stealing money from the bank….you’re the thief!?
Kid: Yeah but….
TROM: No worries. Please continue with the game I won’t interrupt for a while.
After some playing time, Elijah and a few other friends gain so much power that they have no competition. They created a cartel, a monopoly. Aha, Monopoly! If you wonder what that means it is exactly this: “the exclusive possession or control of the supply or trade in a commodity or service”. Basically they rule the game and the others are fucked. The game is now controlled by them. The other kids are depressed, in trouble, disadvantaged, and transformed into thieves and charlatans as their only resort for survival. These disadvantaged ones have no chance against the cartel. Most properties are owned by Elijah and the other cartel members (many of whom they owned before the game started), they have so much money that every time they get ‘taxed’ by the game’s rules it is either that the ‘tax’ is very easy for them to pay (because they have so much money), or they get away with it just because they own the game. Although the cartels are responsible for the most Common, Recurring, and Amplifying Problems (CRAP) in this game, everyone is either an Abuser, a Charlatan, or a Thief (ACT), and they too create a lot of CRAP. The ACT creates the CRAP basically, either alone, in groups, or bigger groups called cartels. ACT creates the CRAP. Simple enough to remember it I hope :).
The Kid finds himself paying more and more money to these rich bastards even if his pile of money is as thin as the air at 100 km altitude. Any revolt against the cartel seems pointless. Any attempt to make more money seems like a bad joke. But now the things get even worse for the Kid because he is getting caught stealing money for the second time.
Elijah: You’re going to jail!
Stacey: That’s so unfair Kid!!! You are not allowed to take money from the bank! Give back twice as much as you stole as punishment!
Elijah: Let’s also move the bank away from him so he doesn’t steal again!
The Kid is punished and sent to jail. The bank moved away from him, closer to the richest players because, they say, they have no need to steal any money so they won’t. After some more time spent playing the game, the Kid is out of the jail, the bank is away from him, and he is broke. Elijah on the other hand wants to build more hotels and stealing some money from the so-close-to-him-bank is too tempting for him. So he does that too. Stacey sees that but instead of saying anything she asks Elijah for some money to shut up. Elijah can’t refuse and gives some to her. The Kid desperately tries to make friends with the other players to plot against Elijah and Stacey.
TROM: What a surprise (applause). Elijah becomes the thief, Stacey the abuser, and you Kid….a charlatan. Interesting game. I know I am annoying staying here and observing and commenting, but that’s exactly what I expected to see: abusers, charlatans, and thieves who will eventually grow into cartels (monopolies), and an interbreed of them all. Some of you are so poor yet others are filthy rich. A perfect inequality. This is the CRAP you little pricks just created: corruption, anger, lies, deception, and so on.
Kid: Ok I’m done. There is no fun in this. From the beginning I found no fun in starting with a disadvantage but now it has become ridiculous. I’m out!
TROM: No! You stay and play!
Kid: What!? Are you serious!?
TROM: What if you had no choice of leaving the game? What if you would be denied access to food and shelter and basic life necessities if you refused to play it? This is how real life is, Kid. Sorry to be so aggressive now but you must learn a lesson. You may think that Monopoly is just a board game, but it is not. You are playing the same exact game in your ‘real’ day-to-day life, a game that you cannot leave at your will. You see, you are born in a very unequal world. You own what your parents have acquired, including their debt. Others have a lot more, some a lot less. The house you stay in, the car your parents have, your clothes, everything you and your family own, is what you are born with. You are just a kid, a new human born in this world, but you start life in the most unequal manner possible. Do you think you can just stop playing the day-to-day game? Give up money, work, nationality, and all that? What would you do? And do you think the society will let you go away on your own? Where? All of the land is owned, all of the food is the property of “who-knows”.
Kid: But real life is not a game! Monopoly is. But not life.
TROM: Really? Is this your phone?
Kid: Sure it is.
TROM: Well, I think it is not. Prove it!
Kid: Just ask my parents.
TROM: So it is yours because your parents say so? What if I call my parents and they say it is mine?
Kid: What!? I have my photos and apps and contacts on my phone.
TROM: No no. These are my photos of you on my own phone. All of what is in the phone is mine, it’ just not about me. Photos of you, in my own phone.
TROM: Not really. Suppose we delete all that you have on your phone, how can you tell it is yours?
Kid: My parents bought it for me. We will ask the store where we bought it from.
TROM: People and papers. That’s all it is. This phone is “yours” only because others say so. Look at Elijah’s Monopoly properties. Are these his properties?
TROM: Why? I don’t think so, I think they are mine.
TROM: When the Monopoly game ends, everything goes back into the box. All of those fake properties and hotels, all of the fake money and playing pieces. At that point they are no one’s. They are pieces of paper and plastic. Agree?
TROM. Then the only reason Elijah owned those properties and hotels and could use those fake papers to buy more, is because you all agreed upon that when you played the game. Otherwise, they would not have had any value. If you, in the middle of the game, would decide not to play or accept the properties and hotels and all that as real, could you have done that?
Kid: Of course.
TROM: So that’s my point: in this “real life” that we play day by day, we do the exact same thing. We play pretend. The only difference is that the stuff doesn't go back into the box, the people do. And you can’t just stop paying the game because others won’t let you. All of those clothes, phones, houses, cars, properties, and so on, are only yours because we all play this game and we accept them as being yours. If you go on and ask people if they are yours, from your parents to the store you bought them from, to the police, they can only verbally agree with that and show you some papers written by others which say that the stuff is yours (documents). That’s all: people and papers. Like plastic and papers. It’s a play pretend game. Your parents play it, your friends play it, your teachers play it, you are playing it, everyone plays it. If I refuse to accept that your stuff is yours right now and I say that it is mine, I don’t break any cosmic law. Physics and biology will be the same. We will still breath oxygen, and gravity will still exist :). The Universe is still the same. Only if I am going to take this phone from you, you’ll call other people (parents, cops) and they will use force to take this phone from me and give it back to you. There is nothing out there that says you posses anything. Your heart is clearly yours. It is part of your body. Same with your all your body parts. But not the other stuff that you acquire in this world.
Of course I won’t take this phone and assume it is mine, as it would be equally ridiculous, but I want you to learn perhaps the most important lesson of your life: the real world is just a game. No more real than Monopoly, but a lot more cruel. At least in Monopoly you get to start with equal advantages and can leave the game any time you want.
Kid: It is hard for me to accept that real life is just a game like Monopoly, but it makes sense…
TROM: I understand. But this is an “open secret” that not many are aware of. Perhaps not even your parents.
Kid: But is everything an invention? Play-pretend?
TROM: Pretty much, yes. Jobs (like teachers, doctors, policeman), documents, countries and nationalities, money and laws, and so forth. But that doesn’t necessarily make them useless or without a value somehow. A doctor pretends to be a doctor but she is knowledgeable enough to fix your health problems. She is just a human who knows how to fix health problems, but anything more than that is just an invention (the label, the job, the social status, the salary, what she owns, etc.). However we will always play pretend in one way or another, no matter what society we live in, so this is not important. What is important is for you to understand that life is just a game. Why is that important? Well, in our Monopoly game, knowing it is just a game, how would you improve it?
Kid: Will give everyone a fair start. Same amount of money and no one owns any property from the get-go.
TROM: Perfect! So you see, now that you understand that it is just a game you can change the rules of the game to make the game more fair. That’s exactly what I wanted you to learn. You want a fix for it and you apply it.
Kid: So you mean that I can do that in real life too?
TROM: Exactly! We can change everything about our real life game, because….
Kid: ….it is just a game! 🙂 I get it now. This is like...wow...can we really do that?
TROM: Sure we can! Not long ago in this real life game it was ok to sell people for money. Slaves. That’s still going on today in a few parts of the world, but we changed that quite a lot. We changed that rule. Women were not allowed to earn money at one point, people of different colors were paid less, and so many other such rules existed and still exist today but partially they were improved. Things do change though. We, as a society, no longer accept public beheading (awful stuff) or put people in prison for talking against the president. At least not as much as we did in the past.
Kid: So then, what should we change? What first? And how? How to fix it?
TROM: Tell me some of the things you would change in our society.
Kid: I would give everyone a fair start in life. All will have the same amount of money and properties. All people should be equal!
TROM: It’s like starting the board Monopoly game using its own rules and not mine?
Kid: Yes, exactly!
TROM: That’s great. So all people in the world would get the same money and properties to start with. But what happens when you and your friends play Monopoly by starting all as equal? What happens after an hour let’s say?
Kid: Some will have more, some will have less….
TROM: You see, a fair start will end up in the same kind of result. Some will be super rich, some super poor. Some players will still cheat, lie, steal, groups of people will ally against others to gain power and wealth, and so on. The Monopoly (cartels) will still come into existence. The abuser, the charlatan, and the thief will still exist, alongside the cartels and the CRAP they will create: corruption, lies, abuse of power, and so on.
Kid: This is depressing.
TROM: Think more! For example, back to the Monopoly game, what would you do to make the game fair?
Kid: Hm...I will move the bank away from any player so that they don’t steal. I will also not allow for people to own more than two sets of properties. And players can’t collaborate with each other to form cartels. And maybe more….
TROM: Sounds awesome! Let’s give it a try.
The Kid invents his own rules to try to fix the game: from draconian punishments for those who steal or cheat, to more proactive approaches like helping those in need. But nothing really works. Some are still super rich and some are very poor. The cartels are still forming because who can stop that when a handful of people have so much financial power in the game? Who can stop them from ‘collaborating’ with each other? The Kid can be bribed and he can change or soften his laws, and because all of the players are still a mutation of the abusers combined with charlatans and thieves, then the Kid’s rules seem pointless. His effort of creating a fair Monopoly game is a complete disaster.
Elijah: You won’t let me own more than two sets of properties? No problem, I own two of the most expensive ones and I’ll build a ton of houses and hotels on them so when you step over them you’ll go bankrupt.
Stacey: You won’t let me make deals with others? No worries, I will sell the properties Elijah wants to the bank, and he is gonna buy them from there. And guess what? Because I did that (wink wink) he will be nicer with me when I land on his properties. Can you stop that?! I don’t think so! I didn't make any deal with him. It just happened that I sold the properties he needed to the bank and he became nicer with me after he bought them from the bank…. 🙂
Kid: I don’t think anything works. No rules that I put in place seem to stop people from stealing, abusing others, becoming charlatans or creating cartels. They find loopholes in everything I do. They seem a step ahead of me...
TROM: Indeed. But that’s because you forgot something essential. Tell me first, and think well about this, who is responsible for the problems you see in this game?
TROM: Yes! The problems of cheating, and stealing and bad things happening in the game (the CRAP) are not a result of viruses, aliens, or a bad odor in the air. It is people. Humans. The ACT (Abuser, Charlatan, Thief) and the CRAP (Common, Recurring, Amplifying Problems) they create. TROM: Now let me ask you this: How old is your grandma?
TROM: How’s her health?
Kid: Alright. She complains about her health a lot, but in general she is ok.
TROM: Have you ever seen a photo of your grandma when she was young?
Kid: Ah yes, she was very beautiful. She was a dancer. A flamenco dancer. Well, she’s still beautiful I guess. She has a very soft voice and she cares about me a lot and I care about her.
TROM: When you look at that photo of your young grandma and look at your grandma now, what do you see? What changed?
Kid: Well, she is old now!?
TROM: Yes. Wrinkles, health problems. That’s becoming old. You understand very well what that means. Everyone gets old. Right?
Kid: Yes...what does this have to do with anything?
TROM: Have you ever had a cold?
TROM: Ok, how did you cope with it?
Kid: Stayed at home. Felt fine in a few days. But I am still confused...
TROM: If your grandma gets a cold it will take her longer to get well. Sadly some old people can die from a flu. That’s because they are fragile. Their bodies can’t fight diseases very well. The older you get the more your body will stop functioning like it used to do. We have many health problems in the world: cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, strokes, and so on. Let's write them on this blackboard and I’ll explain in a minute why we do that. I will do it for you, you don't have to know what these health problems are, hold on.
Look at the blackboard: atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, cancer, arthritis, cataracts, osteoporosis, type two diabetes, hypertension, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, osteoarthritis, age-related macular degeneration, hearing loss.....
Although we have many health problems in our world, like the flu we talked about, the ones on the blackboard are primarily because of us getting old and are the most severe ones. A flue is a nothing thing, but Alzheimer's disease or cardiovascular disease are deadly. Around 150,000 people die each day in the world. 100,000 of them die because of those kind of diseases that I showed you on the blackboard. The diseases of old age. Hearts and kidneys are failing, our pipes (blood vessels) get clogged, and so on. When we get old our bodies stop functioning well and we get those diseases. Like a car that after many years of use stops functioning properly. Parts of the car are failing, and our bodies do the same. We are biological machines after all. So most people in the world die because of those diseases on the blackboard. But, now my question to you is: what is causing those diseases?
Kid: As you said, being old!?
TROM: Yes yes yes!
To solve those health problems we need to first recognize what creates them (getting old), then fix that. Basically keep your grandma young. And if we manage to do that then we fix most of the healthcare problems that kill people every day. Taking this approach could save a third of all the people who die. Amazing!
Kid: How can you keep my grandma young?
TROM: I don’t know, but what you should understand is that we just recognized what kills most people in the world. That’s the most important bit.
Kid: But everyone gets old. That’s normal.
TROM: First you learned that life is just a game, and now you are going to learn your second lesson: nothing is ‘normal’. This is where you have to think “out of the box”. Don’t be afraid to think big! If everyone says getting old is normal, it does not make it normal. Some 100 years ago if you were to cut your finger a little bit (something that happens to all of us nowadays) and get an infection, it was normal that you could die from it.
Kid: Really? Only a simple cut?
TROM: Yes! But then humans invented some medicine and sanitation that will save your life in those scenarios, and nowadays cutting your finger is often ignored and no one is scared of dying from it. What was completely normal 100 years ago, is not normal anymore. Almost half of all children died before the age of 5 some 200 years ago. Again, it was normal back then. Some parents would have more kids because they knew that some of them would probably die. Sad way of looking at things, but it was normal for them - they were used to this even if it was tragic for everyone of course. In 1900, the three leading causes of death were pneumonia, tuberculosis, and diarrhea, treatable diseases today, but those caused one third of all deaths in 1900 - like today two thirds of all deaths are due to people getting old. Point is, getting old seems normal today, but is not normal at all in a scientific sense, and we can see aging as a death causing problem (as a disease), like pneumonia or tuberculosis were not long ago. Many scientists today are starting to recognize that and work on tackling aging like they tackle any disease.
Kid: …. Interesting … Very interesting.
TROM: Ok kid. We’ve learned two super important things: first that life is a game and we can change its rules, and second that nothing is normal (we can basically challenge everything as long as we keep our approach scientific). What I am trying to teach you has nothing to do with either the Monopoly game or aging. These are just to prove a point.
Prepare yourself because now everything will make sense. I will write words on the blackboard again, though this time I will not write health problems but world wide problems.
Hunger, theft, violence, inequality, drug abuse, terrorism, war, corruption, bribery, destruction of the environment, stress, starvation, slavery, crime, climate change, pollution, lack of education, abuse of power, lack of basic needs, poor quality products, and lots lots more.
Do you agree that these are huge problems today?
Kid: Of course. Yes!
TROM: Ok then. Like with the the most deadly health problems being caused by a single thing (aging), all of these huge (most ‘deadly’) world wide issues (and tons more) are created, again, by a single thing. One single thing. But, we need to think out of the box again, not be afraid to think big.
TROM: Yes, but no! Indeed no alien creates our inequality and violence, and no bad smell creates terrorism, but this is where everyone gets things wrong and that’s the reason no one can fix anything in our world or in the Monopoly game itself. They correctly point out that “people” are the source of all problems, but they don’t understand something else: what makes people do those atrocities and have those bad behaviors.
Think about the Monopoly game again. You wanted to fix it and the only way you tried to fix it was to “attack” two layers of the game: the ACT and the CRAP. The abusers, charlatans and thieves, plus the cartels some of them create (the conglomeration of powerful players), and all of the CRAP (Common, Recurring, Amplifying Problems) they create. People and the crap they create. Elijah, Stacy, you and others created the shady, unfair, bad, and inequality situation in the game. You were the ACT and you created all of the CRAP in the game. That’s correct. You kids created the cartels and everything else. So then you tried to make people honest and make them play fair, and dissolve the cartels and combat the smelly CRAP. And you failed. Why did you fail? Because people are not the problem, the game itself is. And no rule can make the Monopoly game fair.
When you see people like Elijah, you, your parents, ‘saints’ and criminals, dictators and priests, kind and awful, they are not born like that. They learn how to behave, and behave according to how they were raised and the situations they face. They are like water. Water is not like this or like that. It becomes ice when it is cold outside, liquid when it is warm, and vapor when it is very hot. People are the same. In the same way that you don’t laugh spontaneously, but only when you hear a joke, you don’t just steal spontaneously or behave badly all of a sudden. Something triggers you. A situation. The environment you are facing.
When you played Monopoly you stole and did some shady stuff there :D, but I bet you are not like that in real life unless you encounter the same kind of situation. You stole in the game because you were cornered (you had no money), but you may wrongly assume that you were cornered by others when in fact others behaved the way they behaved because of the situations they were facing. Elijah abused you into making hard to refuse deals with him, but you would do the same in his situation and in fact I am sure that you were in his situation in the past when you played the same game. Right?
Kid: Hm, yes. When I play “well” and make lots of money I too behave the same, I think. I am Elijah, and Elijah is me when he doesn’t play “well”.
TROM: Ok then, so what made you steal?
Kid: The situation? The game?
TROM: Yes! The game made you behave the way you did, and so it was for the other players. It’s the environment (situation) you were in. And sure, some in the same situation will behave differently than others, because of how they were raised, but that’s also the overall environment one grows in and faces. Point is, the environment makes people behave the way they do, whatever that means: kill others, help others, like video games or hate movies. Whatever their behavior is.
Back to the “real” game, all of those problems like terrorism, bad products, lies, corruption, wars, and so on, are created by what, if not people? Think out of the box - I told you something in the beginning ;).
Kid: Trade! The trade game!
TROM: Finally, yes! The Game Of Trade (GOT) makes people behave badly, they become the ACT and create the CRAP. The GOT creates the ACT which creates the CRAP. 😀 - The environment of trade creates abusers, charlatans and thieves, and they create the awful situations we see today in the world.
We trade stuff with each other, and the only reason we do that is because that’s how the game we play works. If we start all as equal, it does not matter because we all play the same trade game. In Monopoly even if you start with the same amount of money and properties you will have to play the trade game: acquire, sell, make deals with others, make more money, and so on. Because that’s the nature of the game itself. These will lead to all of the bad problems you know the Monopoly game creates. No rule can make any of these games just because the force of trade will push people to find loopholes and still put their profit over anything else. And that’s the same in the real life, with the trade game that we play. The problems that I listed above are like a reflection of the problems that would arise in a Monopoly game. There is no way to make the Monopoly game fair. That’s the idea. As long as the game requires you to trade between each other it will create imbalance of power and it will push anyone to do ‘bad’ things. Same happens in our world game when people steal and cheat. They do that because we live in a world where we are made to do that.
If your parents would not have money to buy food for you, they would go and steal food or money to buy food for you because they love you and want you to eat and have a good life. But they are not bad people.
Kid: Is everything a trade? I mean, for example, if I give my bike to my friend for a ride and he gives me his skateboard for a ride, is that a trade?
TROM: It is the need for trade that’s the problem. Would you give your bike to you friend for a ride if he had no skateboard to give you back?
Kid: Sure, he is my friend.
TROM: You do that because he is your friend. So you don’t need anything back from him. So, no trade. What you describe is sharing. But what if your friend really needed your bike when you really need it too? Would you choose to give the bike to him? Say both of you had the same urgent need for a bike, who would get to use it?
Kid: Me, of course, because it is my bike.
TROM: You see, that’s the problem: the need for trade. That’s not sharing anymore, that’s a need for trade. If your friend really needed a bike, you had one but you need it too (or didn’t want to give it to him), then that creates a need for trade. If there were enough bikes around then such a situation would never happen.
Tell me, if your friend would give you, say 1 million dollars, to give him your bike in that situation, would you?
Kid: Hm, that’s hard to refuse. If I didn’t need my bike that urgently….but I don’t think there is such an emergency that I won’t take the 1 million.... So I would take the money and give him the bike.
TROM: Aha! See, you too are in need for trade. If you had access to anything you need and want, really anything (cars and planes, houses and food, gadgets and toys) would you take that 1 million?
TROM: But why? What would you do with the money if you could only spend it for yourself? What would you buy for yourself if you already had everything you wanted?
Kid: So I could not buy anything with that money?
TROM: Well, you could buy anything you want for yourself, but as I said you already had access to anything you want.
Kid: Then the 1 million is pointless.
TROM: Yes. It is. If we had whatever we needed and wanted then we would not trade because there will be no reason for that. You and your friend, the bike and skateboard, are not the problem at all. The fact that we lack access to stuff is the problem.
Kid: Is all trade bad, then?
TROM: Yes because it creates instability of power. You and your friend (or anyone else) could trade bikes for skateboards, Pokemon cards for fidget spinners, and all could be ok. You create fair trades between you guys and you are all happy. No problem at all. But the fact that there could be a problem, that’s a serious problem. If one of you really needed what the other had, then the other could take advantage of his power.
In highschool I loved movies. Loved them! I was watching 3-4 movies a day. That’s 5 or so hours a day spent on watching movies. I slept 7, went to school another 7, and the rest (5 or so hours) spent eating and doing other stuff. So I spent 50% of my free time watching movies. Because I loved movies I learned where to get the latest releases (online) and at that time this was very hard to get your hands on. I became the only guy in my town who had the latest releases. That made me “powerful” amongst my friends. They would come to me to give them these juicy latest releases. I loved that. I became important. I gave them lots of movies and enjoyed recommending new movies to them. But in time the situation changed. Because I knew I was holding a powerful position by having something they didn’t and wanted to have, I became a bit shitty with them. I took advantage of my advantage and sometimes asked for stuff in return, or just accepted the stuff they would give me (a drink, money, sometimes I would ask them for other movies in return or software, stuff like that). Although they were my friends, the fact that I held that power made me change my behavior. Why would I give them these movies for free when I struggled so much to get a hold of them?!
Later on I made a website and I started to sell these movies online. I would buy them from some shady online places that I knew, and sell them back to others (made copies of them on DVDs). I made a small ‘fortune’ out of that. At times I could not work alone on dealing with orders and I paid a few other friends to help me with that. But you see, instead of just sharing these movies online with those who wanted them and share them for free (because what is digital can be replicated billions of times without a cost), I would rather sell the movies to them. I became a charlatan and an abuser. I then started to not give movies away to friends who would ask for some but give me nothing in return - I would prefer to say that I don’t have any new movies. They gave me nothing, I gave them nothing. No trade, no movies to give.
Once I was waiting for a big order from this shady place I was buying these movies from - many new titles on brand new DVDs - remember this was a “black market” thing that I was doing back then. The package came via the post office. I was so excited! Went there, paid a large sum of money for that package, and they gave me a package that was light as a feather. It was empty. I felt a lump inside of my throat and a pressure in my chest. I was scammed big time. Apparently I wasn’t the only charlatan, there were more out there and they were doing these jackass stunts. I was so shocked I wanted to burst into tears and anger. I lost a shit load of money (for a kid). I had the address of the guy who sent the empty package and a phone number (something required by the post office to send packages). I called and called and no one answered. I wanted to go to that address and confront the other charlatan. I sent him messages lying that my parents worked in the justice department and that we filed a complaint against him and if he sends my money back we will not pursue the complaint. Nothing worked, of course.
My only option, I thought, was to get my revenge. And I did the same scam this guy did to me. I had a classmate whose mother worked at a post office and we managed to send empty packages with inexistent names and addresses to unaware “customers”. First package sent, and we got some money from it. We were thrilled. I gave my classmate a percentage. We then sent several more and made more and more money, I am ashamed to say. I became a thief. So instead of me buying blank DVDs and burning movies to them then send them to “customers” in this fair way, I preferred to take the shortcut and send empty packages for a bigger monetary reward. Plus if I would have sold real movies that I had, I wouldn’t be able to lie that I have the latest releases, the bleeding edge releases, that I didn’t. When people saw my lies online, that I have the movie that just came out a day ago, they would order it immediately. Lying brought me more “customers”, easier, and more profits.
Now imagine if I were not a 16 year old boy with movies and DVDs, but instead a 50 year old man owning a drug company. Ponder about that.
That's the moral of the story: when the need for trade is present then it transform people into jackasses and they will create awful things.
Want to know what put a stop to my awful behavior?
Kid: I sure do.
TROM: Abundance and Education. The Internet became faster and people could easily share these movies online for free on dedicated HUBs (online networks). Full of them. No one would be stupid enough to buy my DVDs. Also my lies about having the latest releases that no one had were easily spotted by people becoming more educated - they knew that such brand new releases can’t be obtained so quickly and if they were they should already be shared on HUBs. My “business” went bankrupt and I scammed unaware people...I am ashamed of what I did, but my environment made me do that. So many of my friends are still doing similar scams today, and they started because they were poor or were influenced by their entourage to want more, to acquire more. These people won’t stop until the need for trade disappears and makes what they do obsolete, like it did for me. I just could not trade because of the abundance of free movies that anyone could find online. But one more important thing you have to remember: if I was very poor or motivated enough to acquire more, going bankrupt wouldn’t have stopped me from finding new scamming methods. The fact that I was also part of a middle class family and had pretty much what I needed at that time, made me stop doing scams.
This story is a classic example of what happens under the force of trade, and it can be found underneath every human or organization in the world today that is engaging in similar actions and behaviors on a daily basis to keep their differential advantage alive and thriving; to survive or grow in this game.
To summarize: We play a game, “The Game of Trade”. We trade our labor, energy, skills, knowledge, comfort, security, and so forth, for our needs and wants. “I do stuff for your stuff.” That’s how simple it is. What we have to understand is that this is JUST a game and we can change it any way we want to. “Take what you need, man, is not like they are mine. If you’re hungry, just eat :).”
The Game of Trade breeds bad behaviors that create lots of problems for everyone: pollution of the environment, corruption, slavery, lies, killing of animals, and so on. The problem is that most people believe that human behavior is the problem or the CRAP they create. So they either try to punish and change people’s behavior, or make the CRAP they create less crappy. And so those who try to fix this world are trapped in a loop because they don’t address the ‘elephant’ in the room (the force): what makes people behave so badly.
“Arrest that criminal!”
“Let’s forbid the trade of Elephant ivory!”
“I have no food for my family so I’m going to hunt some Elephants to sell their tusks as ivory.”
People don’t understand that trade is the source of most problems. Trade is the force that pushes people to behave badly. They don’t think bold and out of the box. Or, more than likely, they are not aware of this.
The problems on your left are created by aging, the ones on the right by trade. We currently do not know how to fix aging, but a lot of progress is being done and the most important step is happening: the awareness of what is the core problem. We also may not know how to tackle trade, but that’s not even important. The important bit is to understand that trade is the source of those problems, meaning most problems we see in the world today.
I challenge you: take any domain in this world (fishing, electronics, school, friendship, religion, terrorism, scientific research, everything) and put the microscope on any of them and at their core you’ll see that the force of trade is everywhere and it influences everything, mostly in a bad way.
Keep in mind this chain of events: the force of trade creates the bad behaviors, and the bad behaviors create the problems. Or GOT (Game Of Trade: the force) creates the ACT (abusers, charlatans, thieves: behaviors), and ACT creates the CRAP (common, recurring, and amplifying problems).
Ok Kid? Kid!? Where are you!?
Oh, there you are. Yes you who is reading this book. I am talking to you. I sure hope that you are the Kid because I want you to have an open mind and think big because I want to take you with me on a journey through the real life game, the game of trade, the one you play on a daily basis. I will show you how the force of trade pushes people to behave badly. I will show you what kinds of behaviors it creates and how groups of people transformed into Monopolies that are basically owning the game. And then I’ll show you how much mess these people create all around the world: from China to Africa, Europe to America, and even outside planet Earth. This might be a lengthy journey, but in order to understand how the game works, you need to know it in detail. And after I show you the bad and the ugly, I’ll show you the good. Because we can indeed change this and I’ll equip you with several tools that you can take with you to try and change the game.