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Overthrowing Our Tech Overlords | NOEMA

๐ŸŒˆ Abstract

The article discusses the concept of "technofeudalism" and how it has impacted the modern individual's sense of identity, freedom, and relationship with technology. It proposes an alternative economic and social system to counter the negative effects of technofeudalism.

๐Ÿ™‹ Q&A

[01] The Death of the Liberal Individual

1. What are the two perplexing demands that young people face when curating their online identity? Young people today are taught to see themselves as a brand, yet one that will be judged according to its perceived authenticity. They must constantly be mindful of how their online choices and activities will be perceived by others.

2. How has technofeudalism diminished the capacity for individuals to be self-possessed? Technofeudalism has shattered the individual into fragments of data, an identity comprised of choices expressed by clicks, which algorithms can manipulate. It has diminished our capacity to focus by co-opting our attention.

3. How does technofeudalism contribute to the rise of bigotry and online violence? Technofeudalism's algorithms optimize for cloud rents, which flow more copiously from hatred and discontent. This intrinsic feature of cloud capital makes it difficult to stop the rise of bigotry and online violence through comment moderation or hate-speech regulation alone.

[02] Democratized Companies

1. How would a system of democratized companies work? In this system, every employee would receive a single, non-transferable share upon hiring, granting them a single vote in all company decisions. Pay would be determined democratically, with a portion allocated equally as basic salary and the rest as bonuses distributed based on peer evaluation.

2. What would be the impact of legislating such a corporate governance system? It would eliminate the distinction between wages and profits, abolish the market for shares, end financialization and private equity, and organically diminish the size of large conglomerates. It would also create more competitive product markets and a process of price formation that powers entrepreneurship and innovation.

3. How would this system impact the current "cloudalists" like Bezos, Zuckerberg, and Musk? They would wake up to find they only own a single share in "their" company, granting them a single vote. They would have to sway a majority of their fellow, equally empowered, employee-shareholders on every decision.

[03] Democratized Money

1. How would the proposed public digital payments and savings system work? The central bank would provide everyone with a free digital wallet and a monthly basic dividend. People would be able to earn interest by shifting their savings from commercial banks to the central bank's system. This would pull money away from private banks and put it under the control of the central bank, which would be overseen by a Monetary Supervision Jury.

2. How would this new financial system handle international trade and payments? A new digital international accounting unit called the "Kosmos" would be used to denominate all trade and money movements between different monetary jurisdictions. Countries would be charged levies on trade deficits and surges of money moving in or out, with the proceeds used to fund green investments in the Global South.

[04] The Cloud & The Land as a Commons

1. How would the Permanent Auction Subletting Scheme (PASS) work in the commercial zones? PASS would create a permanent auction where current occupiers of commercial spaces must annually submit their own valuation of the property. Anyone can then offer a higher valuation, in which case the current occupier is replaced within 6 months. This incentivizes accurate self-valuation.

2. How would the governance of regions and the nation as a whole work in this alternative system? Regional County Associations, comprised of randomly selected local citizens, would oversee the division of land between commercial and social zones. At the national level, a Citizens' Assembly of randomly selected citizens would serve as a test bed for ideas, policies and legislation to be debated and passed by Parliament.

[05] A Cloud Rebellion

1. Why is organizing the traditional proletariat and precariat not sufficient to overcome technofeudalism? Technofeudalism has physically isolated cloud serfs and cloud proles from one another. Collective action is made harder, but the cloud also provides the potential for new forms of coordinated "cloud mobilization" that can disrupt cloudalist control.

2. What are some examples of how a "cloud rebellion" could target and disrupt cloudalist enterprises? Possible actions include global strikes by Amazon warehouse workers coupled with user/customer boycotts, payment strikes against private utility companies, and campaigns to reveal hidden connections between cloudalists, governments and bad actors like fossil fuel companies.

3. Why is owning our minds collectively, by owning cloud capital collectively, the key to reclaiming freedom and democracy? Under technofeudalism, we no longer own our minds, as cloud capital asset-strips our brains. To regain individual ownership of our minds, we must own cloud capital collectively, transforming it from a means of behavior modification to a means of human collaboration and emancipation.

Shared by Daniel Chen ยท
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