Archive for January, 2012
I think that his timeline is a little politically charged or he is only 30 year old…LOL…this war has been ongoing for as long as historians can remember. It shouldn’t be politicised as a new thing, but an on-going tug-of-war for moral justness and acknowledgement of the value that the majority of and society creates. Human are in need to an opportunity to reach operational greatness…and it’ll start by incentives (investments) in people.
I’ve spent some time thinking about what the #Occupy movement is really representing. I’ve tried to attend the camps as I’ve traveled and interview the people in the camps; as well as, their formidable opponents in the ownership positions of the respective societies that Occupiers exist.
I think that I’m comfortable echoing the analysis in that Occupiers have done a good initial job in comparison to similar movements around the world and in the United States in particular. They’ve caught the attention of the masses, in that everyone knows what #Occupy means. Of course the problems of any fledgling movement are that its priorities aren’t hashed (#) out. While everyone knows what #Occupy is; no one has any idea of what it wants, or rather, needs.
Every movement-struggle-jihad, has is a battle of philosophy on how a society should exist versus how it does. Based on the consistent and more frequent collapse in the economic system, it is evident that we are due for some structural change in the modern world. When I listen to the rhetoric of this movement and the defense of its identified opponents, I think the following apply. There is a clash of ideals on whose altruism is not only virtuous but most beneficial. On the one hand we have that of the individuals, formally represented by the #Occupiers. On the other we have that of the institutions, formally represented by their owners/stakeholders. While individuals (humans in this case) can allocate a moral regard to their fellow man/woman based on their acknowledgment of his/her intrinsic or extrinsic value, institutions do not. Yet some individuals can advocate the virtues of an institution because for their holding that the institution’s incentives to take action better the society as a whole.
Institutions were created by individuals to protect the discovery, development, and deployment of technologies (methodologies, hardware, & software) that help individuals control what would otherwise be a chaotic environment. Who wants to live in 3000 B.C.E.? I’d doubt any of us could enjoy limiting our communication to a distances less than 20 feet. While institutions have served individuals well over the millennia their control mechanisms have the potential to run-a-muck. Their primary control mechanisms are related to their extrinsic value, or ability to generate revenues above the costs to exists. Controls validate the existence of each institution (for-profit & not-for-profit alike), but individuals don’t regard themselves as having extrinsic value alone (at least not all of them), per this on-going survey that I’ve been taking with some backlash about the use of language on “value“. Problem comes into play when those who are still benefiting from the existing operations of institutions clashes with those who are no longer benefiting. As institutions trying to sustain existence, they actually have incentives to suppress markets to indemnify stakeholders, per their understanding of who is most valuable.
Regarding the Occupy movement and its potential participants, the progress will occur when and if the most radical of the bunch agree that the contrast of values between individuals and institutions is infringing on their civil or even human rights and is in fact stifling their ability to live productive lives. Regardless of how they derive their understanding of the modern economic situation, they’ll have to hold it as dear and urgent as their more radical predecessors of the last past successful liberal movements. I’m not referring to MLK’s boycotts or the freedom riders, or the Jewish resistance in Europe, or the Mandela‘s political activism. I’m referring to the immediate threat that militant groups like the Black Panthers, or the onslaught of the Allied Forces, or the provocative military growth of Umkhonto we Sizwe and the many like groups respectively per each struggle. The laws of arbitrage are clear and animalistic. Incumbent leadership, ideals, and conservatism can only respect some formidable opposition.
The incumbent power in 1950’s United States and 1980’s South Africa only yielded because they perceived an inevitable destructive threat; any rhetoric that suggests otherwise is misleading. It would take years to list all the martyrs from every movement who gave their lives to inspire the few, and were willing to take other’s lives for their cause. The pathology of pacifism is a failed effort when it does not inspire an aggressive colleague. Occupiers are going to have to figure out what in the world they can do to change the way institutions and individuals agree on human value. Although they were arguing slightly different causes, the incumbent powers decided to oblige Lyndon B Johnson immortalizing Martin Luther King in order to nullify the slogan “black power” and its author Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael). It seems as though it takes a guilty old man faced with the passions of an aggressive young man, to make any incremental change.
This week Reuters reported:
As many as 2,000 people forcibly sterilized under a past North Carolina program should be compensated $50,000 each, a panel voted on Tuesday, the first time a state has moved to pay victims of a discredited human selection program.
There approximately 2000 living victims of the eugenics experiment conducted between 1929 and 1974 in the State of North Carolina. The short report released at a late hour of the business day (3:26PM) in a non-graphic format only commanded ‘24’ tweets by the time that I wrote this article some 24 hour later. These are extremely small viewership numbers for the magnitude of this article.
Governor Beverly Perdue provided political backing for the aforementioned compensation derived by a five member task-force. While this information may just seem as common as Interpol discovering some Waffen SS General in his late 90’s, it is not. The political and legal implications of this executive decision are wide spread. It is not the normal protocol of any government to give legal and financial incentive to its constituencies to demand (and receive) any type of indemnification. A greater question for the NC-Governor and the task force is: Why? While I’d expect to see some District and possibly even the Supreme Court push back on this legislation, there is a real opportunity posed to the pseudo-democratic body that is the United States from a legal, socio-cultural, and technological standpoint. Of course there is a real threat posed from an economic standpoint. Every affected entity (individual or institution) seeking reparations for their abuse, from slavery to agriculture subsidies, has some new grounds for argument; and further, in the fashion of capitalistic we should assume that every ambitious attorney is paying attention.
Pandora’s passions for chaos provides all the incentives that federal, state, and local governments need to keep denying the need to even consider reparations for the many socio-cultural, ethnic, gender, and preference groups that are deemed “undesirable” by the most conservative and elitist of us all. Transhumanists have long had ties to eugenics,but ideas on how to improve the genetic composition of a population have to ensure that individual choice to (or not to) participate at their own risks/reward.
The lack of ethics that human-kind has witnessed by technological elites will over the others has been consistently dangerous to the optimal operation efficiency and effectiveness of our species.
While it is impossible philosophically for human’s to actually have a nature about themselves, the one thing that we’ve always tried to do is control our situation to better manage the risks of uncertainty. It’s not an ill mission, but the pathology of our altruism often shows that it is our most stifling virtue. Projecting our idea of greatness onto the entire population is not progressive, even as technology progresses. we must compel growth via our technologies.
As we merge away from the socio-cultural conservatism of the past century(s) and our diverse preferences become cliché, let’s be conscious to honor and protect choice, and continue to scale the distribution of information to individuals and institutions alike.
Wednesday on the Opinion Pages of the NY Times the renowned Vinton Cerf “father of the internet” published an article titles Internet Access Is Not A Human Right. It could be argued that the key word here is “access”, but before I address access again, I should start with the definition of the internet. I had this debate while at Michigan State in October of 2010 with the philosopher Andrew Feenberg. I’ll do my best not to be redundant while everything is still live via the links in this article.
Perhaps the internet requires much more definition, as the roots of the word can be confusing. Inter: situated within – Net: any network or reticulated system of filaments or the like. Its terminology is synonymous with the “web” or a web, which requires multiple linkages to points of initiation in order to exist well. If this is the internet that Feenberg is referring to then I’d think it accurate. However, the internet is not actually a web of ever connected points. Information destinations are not required.
The internet is analogous to space. Regardless of whether or not we access space, its potential exists – we can access or insert entities of sorts into the space regardless of, if another user were present to receive information of sorts from the distributed. Space is a dynamic system of expanding material potential as is the internet’s material potential. The potential of the internet expands as users (or rather, potential users) access to the internet expands – access could come in many forms including, user population(s) growth or by computing speed or by computing power… The internet, regardless of the constraints of the word, it cannot be identified as a specific technology.
While visiting MSU, Feenberg uses a “ramp” as analogous with the internet, which was at the center of his mistake. I don’t mean to read gerontophobic, but based on the pervasive analysis that I’ve witnessed from Feenberg and Cerf’s generation; I’d have to accredit their perspective to the relatively similar changes in technology that they’ve seen during the 20th century. The difference in composition and utility of a technology (hardware, software, methodology) and that of the internet are synonymous with that of an air-craft and the expanding celestial matter beyond earth’s ionosphere (that’s a sufficient analogy).
Cerf wrote “technology is an enabler of rights, not a right itself. There is a high bar for something to be considered a human right.
He is correct! The problem exists when he identifies the internet as a technology, which it cannot be (to be redundant). This is in fact a human rights issue. It is perhaps the most significant human rights issue of our time, because of the internet role in providing the potential for transparencies in the public and private sectors. The deterministic nature of our technologies is bridging the cultural, political, legal, and economic GAPS of all our societies today, and if we as individuals allow a few mistaken “leaders” or the interests of institutions to control our ability to access a space, because of their resume, then we are all doomed. The implications of the masses adopting Cerf and Feenberg’s view on space are tremendous in building an ethically sound environment for human development.
Regarding Cerf’s word “access”, it may provide him an out from his varied rhetoric in the article. Near the end he transitions to civil rights where he writes “the responsibility of technology creators themselves to support human and civil rights” suggesting the internet hold egalitarian virtues. I’m no egalitarian, as it just doesn’t prove feasible in a world of, even, hyper-connected individuals.
While the ability to access an open space should not be prohibited, the technologies of certain kinds could be. Reference weapons of sorts. I’m no advocate for government supplying all of their citizens with camera phone (although it would be great idea for the individual and institution), but I am against governmental and other agents making efforts to restrict the individual’s ability to populate space with their entities aside from the technologies that one would hold on his/her person.
When the United Nations declared the Internet as a Human Right(PDF), they weren’t necessarily evaluating its full potential, but they were stressing that individuals should have the ability to be transparent and review information of all kinds as they so pleased, catering to the collective knowledge of the species and everything it supports. The problem with this article are the future implications of its rhetoric, even as he means well.
Tangent: Cerf having studied math, computer science, and IS for decades; knows as well as anyone that it is virtually (pun intended) impossible to prohibit internet expansion as small pockets of those educated in the knowledge community of development can find a way. Any computer (which would the blockage point) can be hacked its just a matter of time and will. I spent the last year consulting with Hewlett-Packard Global Info Security on multiple acquisitions of competitive companies and security tool providers, and as anyone in the IS/IT security industry can tell you, there are no solutions, only active management of incidents and problems. This is why methodologies are as (if not more) value than hard/software in modern business transactions. So then why wouldn’t Cerf think more thoroughly about this before publishing in the NY Times? Could it be because he has an equity stake (as an employee of multiple firms) in a less open space (internet). Speculation aside, I’m in the business services industry, I studied “control” specifically. Business is about control, which is the value proposition in establishing institutions virtues as separate from those of the individual. We can only forecast and manage risks well in areas that we can define and control. Business itself doesn’t require an suppressive type of control to make good calls on risks. A more transparent world could tell us all (individuals and institutions alike) more about the types of decisions that benefit the most in a society.
In the future let’s all make a conscious effort to keep spaces open and hope that the benefits incentivize philanthropists, entrepreneurs, and governments to provide technology to the masses at a rate that enhances the human condition.
Journal for Biological & Health Innovation is accepting papers for peer review now. This journal is specific to Africa and our thoughts, theory, research, practice could have a huge impact on the expeditious development of the rest of the world technologically.
Roger Martin thinks the culprit behind the sorry state of American capitalism: our deep and abiding commitment to the idea that the purpose of the firm is to maximize shareholder value.
Is there any way to disincentivize profit seeking run-a-muck? These are the questions that this book doesn’t answer, it merely sheds light on the problem. But the sport analogies were nice :-). The definition of “value” also varies depending on the stakeholder and their time/cost (risk) threshold.
In the next Integrationalism book I’ll elaborate on remedies to curb the potential for rational-self-interest and collusion to run-a-muck. These remedies will be centered around better distribution of ownership over assets of sorts.