Coping: Revolution + Digital = Digilution

For a long time, people on the web have been talking about global revolution.  You heard terms like “globalrev” and “Arab Spring” and how what’s going on in Ukraine fits the mold.

Unfortunately, the concept of globalrev or democratic uprising in places like Ukraine rings hollow – especially to the Russians. 

As Russia’s head of their Foreign Relations Committee (of their equivalent of our Senate), Mikhail Margelov explained Wednesday:  The government that arises in Ukraine is not necessarily democratic.  It’s just whoever was the most violent, persuasive,  and assertive on the streets of Ukraine.

As the violence continues moving eastward in Ukraine, inspired (and partially funded by the West (US/EU) the real objective is clear to any military strategist:  Deny the Russians that warm water port in Sevastopol and thus, thug-led  “revolution” becomes the order of the day in the Crimea.

But what of the aftermath.  How does that work?  We’re also left to ponder whether revolution – more properly rerevolution – could come to the United States.   It’s a question we tackled in Peoplenomics recently and data suggests that the answer – at least in conventional revolution terms – is no. Not likely here.

The basis was study of more than 200 revolutions what emerges is a nearly universal existence of one (or more) major third parties to throw funding into a revolution.

Even when we saw the fall of the Former Soviet Union (FSU) it’s no secret that the US wasn’t going to win on simple competitive forces.  So, the Reagan administration announced the Star Wars Program and that, essentially, forced the Russians to ramp-up spending on defense to levels that didn’t make sense.  Collapse followed shortly thereafter. The mere size and scope of the Strategic Defense Initiative placed it beyond Russia’s grasp.

Thus,. the Russians allowed their system to begin changing, but in many ways that change-rate has been too slow for the West.

As a result, the interest in economic subjugation of Ukraine and, eventually, Russia itself.  The domination of the EU from “Lisbon to Vladivostok” is clearly in play. 

Yet Vlad Putin finds himself in a similar position old-style patriots in America:  At what point do the borders become firm and a country takes a stand?  Could Ukraine be the Russian Mexico?  In some sense, perhaps.

Indeed, the long border between Russia and Ukraine: 1,426 miles worth.  As a crow flies, that’ further than from Tijuana to the lower central mainland of British Columbia.  By comparison, the US-Mexican border is 1,933 miles long and we all know how problematic that border has been.

Prospects for US Civil War:

Personally, I don’t believe that the prospects for civil war (in conventional socioeconomic terms) is very high he US.

But there is a very high probability of attempts to “polarize and galvanize” by anarchists who don’t have the patience to work through the existing available processes to achieve change for their own ends.

The difficult task (likely to become harder, not easier) is caused by a high level of polarization as a result of native economic forces and where we are in the Long Wave economic cycle.

Recall that during the 1930s we saw such groups as the Industrial Workers of the World, the Socialists, and even groups like Technocracy make inroads.

In all these cases, however, and despite some deaths (martyrs as branded) by the Wobblies of the IWW, for the most part the increased social spending and ready work opportunities of the New Deal served to defuse the situation.

In much the same way, the most likely course for the US is to follow a similar path:  Having secured  delays of things like pipelines crossing western Asia, the most of the US is not to consolidate industrial resources, specifically energy in large measure, in order to have a solid foundation going forward.

But it doesn’t mean that anarchistic attempts at domestic revolution won’t arise.

In fact, just this week there was a report on LikeLeak about how “Police probe threatening ‘1 percent’ graffiti left on Atherton (CA) homes.”

In the Atherton case, the targeted one percenters are a majority. 

That area – in the hills west of the South Bay 101 freeway and the 280 freeway that winds its way up the peninsula that San Francisco sits on the north end of – is not exactly low income.

There’s a reason for that.  Atherton is just 20 miles up from San Jose, even less from Santa Clara.  And only 14-miles from Cupertino, famous for another major Silicon Valley company.  All those well-paid people have to live somewhere.  And back when we lived on our sailboat in  SF (2001), homes in the area were typically in the $750k-$1-million class in 2001 dollars.

It’s not what you’d expect to find at the heart of a revolutionary movement.  People driving 5 and 7-series Beamers didn’t use to be prime recruiting material for revolutions.  In the main, they “got theirs.”

On the other hand, if you’re trying to “send a message” it would be a logical place, but then so would the hills of Palo Alto, the mansions around Los Gatos, and all the rest.


There is one thing new on the “build a revolution” front that has not been present in past revolutions, like the US Civil War, or others – and we see it operating in Ukraine and we saw it (past tense) in Arab Spring: 

Mass communications of the one-to-many sort.  The same stuff that makes flash mobs.

The conventional “revolution” needed a much more dedicated core than the modern variety.  There was a need for a critical mass to evolve.  Some place that number at anywhere from 3 to 10 percent of a population.

What’s changed (and it’s one of the reasons I fully expect one of the future casualties of digital revolution talk to be the Internet in general and social media in particular) is that one person with an idea can use digital means to turn a hundred dollars worth of idea and promotion into a million, or more, page views.

Like old-style revolutions, there’s a critical threshold that would be necessary to achieve a critical mass to overthrow a government, as happened in Arab Spring (and is going on in Ukraine) but the emphasis on the aspects of digital revolution/ digital warfare have not been so pronounced in Ukraine because it scares the PowersThatBe shitless.

One discussion worth noting, on point, is this Bloomberg video in which  Google ideas founder Jared Cohen, explains how Twitter and other digital platforms shaped the narrative of what was going on recently in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, there’s another revolution going on – this one down in Venezuela, and as was the case with Ukraine, there is a dominant external interest (the US) dumping in plenty of support to the various interest groups.  Remember: Venezuela’s former leader Hugo Chavez got at least some of the country’s gold back and the country is a prime supplier of US energy.  So what’s not to go for?

A very good article is “Protesters in Venezuela, Ukraine turn to peer-to-peer messaging app” to achieve their ends.

It all puts governments globally in something of a box.  It’s becoming clear that the Internet is a kind of huge Brain Amplifier.  And, because it’s about quality of thinking (and argument) it holds the potential to become a kind of upper boundary layer, beyond which governments can not go, or they will face failure through the prospect of digilution.

Future of Digilutions

What’s difficult, however, is figuring out (for the PowersThatBe) how to put down the limits on personal use of communications.  There are a number of tactics.

1.  Licensing of the Internet.  In this scenario, there would be a worldwide licensing scheme set up – just as there is for cars with international driver’s licenses and such – and it might include (in place of safe braking distance questions) “What’s the right response to a message about a flash mob?

2. Government Control of Social Media and Peer-to-Peer.  Under this scenario, government would admit that it is worried about prospects for digilution but in order to maintain order and prevent a revolution over digital fascism, it would simply own the digital tools and limit their use through word filtering strategies.

3.  Hands Off – Then Respond With Force.  This is the one Russia is actively looking at not just for Ukraine’s west (which is more European-leaning) but now they have to face the issue in the Crimea.  That’s a lot harder.  So does government bend to the will of the people, or will Russia put up a major military move this weekend and march in with network blocking tools, and shut down further digilution efforts?

4.  Hands off – Roll With Change.  This is ideal – except, of course, that when true democracy reigns, it’s anarchy shortly thereafter.  The poor will vote themselves rich, the rich will be beggared. Communism was nothing more than democracy pushed to the extreme, is one way of thinking about it, except that eventually a dicktator (sic) will arise and that’s that…  But, of course, the rich will lose power in this work out, so it’s not even really on the table.

How It Runs from Here:

1.  Revolutionary thinking is part and parcel of the Long Wave economic cycle.  Ask the Wobblies.

2.  Revolution + digital = Digilution.

3.  Digilution reduces the threshold for change and ends “barriers to entry” by other parties.

4.  Digital unity in a Digilution has two aspects, however.

a.  Unity if immediate action (Ukraine or Arab Spring)

b.  Unity in long-term outcome.  This one often doesn’t work.  Ask Egypt and Libya, and let’s see how Ukraine works out in five years.

It’s like selling any other kind of soap.  Makes a lot of promises on the front end.  But revolutions and digilutions are no different than Proctor and Gamble selling soap.

Call me lazy, but I’ve read enough economics to see that the need for my personal participation in digilution is hardly necessary.

The continued watering down of paper money purchasing power, the hacks of Bitcoins, the bankruptcy of governments because of compound interest?  Remember them?  They’re going to do the revolution/digilution for me.  At age 65, I’m less interested in taking it to the street so much as being able to get across it, lol.

My only real task in all of this is (referring to the How It runs) list is to watch for my local #4 and then jump ahead of the crowd to the right answer to #4 b above.

That’s how to prevent jail time, make money and maybe preserve lifestyle, and as a bonus: Not get all wrapped around the axle of the police state.

Warren Buffet’s statement about class war (“…and my class won…”) may very well come back to bite him.  And those folks in Atherton, too.

But it may not be from something as “policeable” as graffiti artists. Compound interest and catastrophic returns to historical norms are just as effective as barricades, tweets, and Molotov’s and a whole lot less personal effort.  Slower, but slow is good anymore.

In the end, digilutions are just another brand of soap and I don’t see them cleaning governments any better where that brand has been used. It’s may be more appealing hype-wise, but it’s all HS&J (hype shuck & jive)  until Shangri-La* emerges from the digital wreckage. 

And I don’t see it yet – anywhere.

* [from Wikipedia: “Shangri-La is a fictional place described in the 1933 novel Lost Horizon by British author James Hilton. Hilton describes Shangri-La as a mystical, harmonious valley, gently guided from a lamasery, enclosed in the western end of the Kunlun Mountains. Shangri-La has become synonymous with any earthly paradise, and particularly a mythical Himalayan utopia — a permanently happy land, isolated from the outside world. In the novel Lost Horizon, the people who live at Shangri-La are almost immortal, living years beyond the normal lifespan and only very slowly aging in appearance. The word also evokes the imagery of exoticism of the Orient. In the ancient Tibetan scriptures, existence of seven such places is mentioned as Nghe-Beyul Khimpalung.[1] Khembalung is one of several beyuls (“hidden lands” similar to Shangri-La) believed to have been created by Padmasambhava in the 8th century as idyllic, sacred places of refuge for Buddhists during times of strife (Reinhard 1978).

Many scholars believe that Shangri-La is Shambhala, a mythical kingdom in Tibetan Buddhist tradition, which was sought by Eastern and Western explorers…”]

The Coming Advertising Collapse

Hats off to Aribtron!  There is integrity in the system!  Hallelujah digital brothers and sisters!

OK, back to the beginning, then, if you’re not up to speed. (More coffee?  A snort, maybe?)

After a nice, refreshing rain on the parade of digital anarchists (who are just another brand of soap) we can see how the Truth Detector (which is the Internet) is working out in real life. Pretty damn well, as turns out.

I told Peoplenomics subscribers the background (and letter) of my pal Oilman2 whose whose homestead in the (not quite poor) part of Houston’s burbs, was picked to be an Arbitron Rating household.

He sent them a full disclosure asking  (“Are you sure you want ME???”)  since he is mostly streaming, watches very little hypevertising supported MSM infotainment crap/BS.  He was almost sure that his disclosure be the end of it.

Wrong.  Both he (and I) and duly impressed with the Arbitron folk’s reply to his mea culpa…you sure you want ME letter…

Good Morning Mr. Oilman2,   <–redacted

I would like to thank you for contacting me regarding our media research.  I am happy to find someone with so much insight into television programming.  Arbitron was acquired by Nielsen Ratings in October 2013 and the name will change in 2015.  Your viewing content is very valuable to us, and you would be representing several thousand households within your demographic i.e. those who have moved to an alternate media, but occasionally dabble in more traditional forms.  You would be a welcomed addition to our ratings team!  Please provide your contact information (including address) so that I can meet with you at a convenient time.  Please don’t hesitate to contact me with additional questions.  Thanks in advance and have a great day!

Wow!  Seriously interesting:  As more and more people tell the ratings outfits about the drop from MSM crap and the huge portion of time spent on advertising on air, the more the business models are going to change and that oughta be for the good of all of us… 

Just one thing to consider:  Since people are going through this metamorphosis, what happens to ad agencies?  We’ll save that for an in-depth treatment in a future Peoplenomics report.  But come on!  If you got this far into this morning’s column, you’ve got to have at least an inkling, right?

The Brave New World of online advertising is just waiting for a mega-agency to form and sign up websites (like UrbanSurvival and so on) and the first one to get there is going to own a huge cash cow…  Oh, wait, is that Click-Bank?

Condo Nazis and HOA Jackboots

Reader Bill has some pertinent experience to share if you bought a home only to fall in love with a hobby (or use) that’s not compatible with the limited scope of others…

Good for you Geo, I could not agree more.
Myself, if I were in the home/property buying mode I would not consider any that have a HOA or restrictive zoning that affects Ham Radio.  Or anything else for that matter.  I would just look somewhere else.
My son, on the other hand, was not a licensed ham for many years.  Even though for the entire period of his life, ( he is 40 something), I have been licensed.  Since 1953 matter of fact.
So some years back he had a new fancy 3 story home built in a rural subdivision next to Tampa FL.  There is a HOA, antennas are verboten.  First thing after he finally got his license, he put a 2m J Pole on the roof way way up there.  Told the imbeciles of the HOA that it was a lightning rod.  They bought it.
Then, since his property is right next to a swamp, separated therefrom by a chain link fence, he dug a trench under the lawn for conduit and ran coax.  And went on out in the swamp a bit to where there were two trees about 3/4 wave apart on 75m.  Hung a G5RV there.  Periodically he has to go out there to check connections, supports etc.  He told me he carries a baseball bat when he does.  Strange?  Turns out it works nicely to change the minds of overly friendly alligators. 
So he has learned to co-exist with the HOA folks.  Myself I would have asked the questions beforehand and never never gotten into a house in a HOA.

Somewhere in the Northwest, my lifelong buddy has an 85-foot vertical antenna wire out from a huge fir tree, expertly installed by a stealthy arborist.  He’s also got vegetables in his back yard.  I’ve watched him go through the gyrations on the antenna project and I’ll say it again:

If someone tells you what you can do on your own property, you don’t own it.

They do.

OK, back to work on the foundation analysis of trends that are killing us – which may turn into a book.  Our Topic this weekend in the Peoplenomics section is Creeping Death 1:  ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning)….

Write when you break even (or run into Woo-Woo, in which case send in your reports)