Network America

Networked information technologies enable people to organize solutions to the collective action problems that, in the past, could only be solved by government.

These organizations already exist in every town in America – community centers, nonprofits, churches and social clubs have many of these characteristics – but they have yet to join a national network with the capacity to collaboratively scale best practice solutions to local challenges.

The construction of a meta-network that enhances the work of community organizations supported by voluntary contributions on a national scale constitutes a decentralized social service provider that operates completely independently of the government under free market principles.

We call it Network America.

Network America couldn’t exist in any other time because our technological base wasn’t advanced enough yet the concept has existed for many years.  In fact, an organic network of non-governmental social service providers existed before America instituted the income tax in 1913.

Between the Civil War and World War One, charity hospitals, usually associated to a religious organization, provided millions of Americans with free healthcare services and similar organizations provided education services to the nation’s children.  It was only after the income tax was instituted and our money supply was centralized in the Federal Reserve Bank did the government start providing these services and, as the government and tax burden grew, the organic, emergent, locally organized charitable providers starved due to lack of resources.

Trade Creates Wealth

Free people have an abundant amount of faith because their every action expresses two fundamental economic principles that ensure that free people share best.  These principles are ‘trade creates wealth’ and the economic law of comparative advantage.

Trade creates wealth was first expressed by Adam Smith in his 1776 treatise “On The Wealth of Nations.”  This concept is obviously true: voluntary trade between two parties MUST create value for both parties because, if it didn’t, they simply wouldn’t make a transaction.  So, simply by engaging in trade, people generate value in the world: they create a net gain.  This net gain is described by the economic law of comparative advantage.

Comparative advantage “explains how trade can create value for both parties even when one can produce all goods with fewer resources than the other.”  This ensures that everyone, from the most unskilled laborer to the most sophisticated engineer, can create value in the marketplace by voluntarily exchanging goods and services.

People often confine the principles of ‘trade creates wealth’ and ‘comparable advantage’ to economics, but they have profound spiritual implication.  They deliver in sober economic terms the message that everyone is naturally valuable and the most value is created through collaboration and voluntary trade.

It’s important to realize that these economic laws are true under EVERY circumstance.  Trade ALWAYS creates wealth. People can ALWAYS engage in trade.  Everyone can ALWAYS create wealth.

Since value is, by definition, desirable and these economic concepts are always true, than any activity that prevents trade is never a rational decision.  Peace is rational.  War is always irrational.  Trade creates peace.  Peace creates trade.

The American Imperative

The patriotic duty of every American is to liberate the world’s people through the peaceful expression of the power of the individual living in a free society.

Within the next decade, the American people will successfully organize a solution to the current political gridlock blocking our ability to significantly change our society’s industrial power structure.  The paradigm that emerges from this mobilization will govern America through the age of the information network.  The American people have two options:

  • A centrally organized society with paternalistic, socialist ideology.
  • A locally organized society with a liberty driven, free-market ideology.

European socialism is an attractive option, but it comes at a great cost: the freedom to be exceptional.  America is exceptional.

We have a mission – a moral obligation – to be a shinning example to all the world that free people can live together in peaceful harmony.  As other nations increases their government’s size and scope, America must reduce it.  We must show the world that individuals free from coercion can organize collective solutions better than coerced people.  We must challenge the peoples of the world to trust themselves more than their leaders.  This mission will test our courage and strengthen our faith.

HOPE for CHANGE. Sounds silly now…

OverObamaTaoBarack Obama told us he’d CHANGE America.  During the campaign, when Obama was asked about the CHANGE he would bring to Washington, he didn’t describe specific policies or proposals as much as he asked us to HOPE for the CHANGE.  The Tao Te Ching says that “hope is as hollow as fear.”  It appears Obama’s CHANGE is also hollow.

Why is hope as hollow as fear?  Because hope and fear both come from thinking about the future Self.  If an individual thinks that things will get better, they feel hopeful, if they think things will get worse, they become fearful.  HOPE did not ask us to be the change we want to see in the world.  It asked us to dream about a future with President Obama.  If we want authentic, evolutionary change to take place in America, we need to act.

Evolutionary change is rooted in ancient truths, spreads through informal channels and is applied in the most unlikely places, far from the glamour of the conventional and mainstream.  When the change emerges into the popular consciousness, it doesn’t  come packaged in a CNN Special or a New York Times commemorative coffee table book, it comes from unconditioned voices protesting a taboos that makes the experts uncomfortable.

One of the reasons it’s so difficult for evolutionary change to insert itself into culture is that evolutionaries find it difficult participating in conventional conversations which are based upon assumptions they disagreeable with.  Gay marriage is a perfect example.  A progressive will argue that the government should recognize any two individuals who want to marry while a conservative will say the government should only recognize marriages between a man and a woman.  An evolutionary would deny the government the right to recognize marriages. Why would government – the people with the right to the legitimate use of force – be informed of an individual’s marital status, must less authorize people to change that status.  The answer to this questions leads to much more significant ones about our government’s state of Constitutional noncompliance and the intrusive nature of the income tax, among others.

When evolutionary topics enter the mainstream media narrative, not only does a web of new questions emerge, but so does a world of new possibilities.  It’s like the scene in the Wizard of Oz when the curtain is pulled and the wizard is revealed as a normal man using a powerful machine.  Our natural reaction to the man behind the curtain is curiosity: who this man is, what does he want and what can his machine do?

In America, the people ‘behind the curtain’ work very hard to keep us inundated with never-ending debates, pointless news, meaningless art, disposable products, and futile projects that make it difficult to become aware of evolutionary perspectives.  They don’t do this because they want to suppress us: they do it because they want to suppress themselves.  By lying everyday to earn money and privileges that fill their ego’s with the phantom of ‘success,’ they get their vengeful reward – Vengeful because they view themselves as the victims.  From their perspective, they haven’t been victimized by the neoloiberal economic paradigm, but by other individuals who have robbed them of their dignity.  The theft may have occurred in a playground decades ago or it might take place everyday at home or at work but their need to control their environment comes from an inability to control themselves.  Homes, clothes and cars that signal outward ‘power’ often signal inner weakness.  That weakness comes out on the nights and weekends when the mind wanders away from work and ‘success’ and into its dark recesses containing more fundamental questions about competency.  Did I do a good enough job? Was my text message too revealing? Should I have said that to my father? These questions all stem from one root: did I do the right thing?  It takes a leap of faith to ask the question honestly enough so it can actually be addressed: Did I do the Right thing?

It’s a spiritual question and it requires a spiritual answer.  What is that answer?

Welcome to humanity…

We Thought for Ourselves

We’ve lived through a time period of unprecedented information centralization.  Never in the history of humanity has such a small group of people controlled the content consumed by so many.  This centralization is characterized by three factors: ownership, control and penetration.

In the early 20th century, there were hundreds of media companies.  Now, five global media conglomerates own 90% of the ‘mainstream media’ Americans consume.  All of the media properties owned by these conglomerates operate serve the same few hundred clients (corporate advertisers) for the same benefactors (large shareholders.)  This enables a few thousand corporate managers and shareholders to determine, consciously or unconsciously, the frame through which news and information is delivered.  These people, directly and indirectly, determine the taboos that hundreds of thousands of employees work hard to pass on to hundreds of millions of consumers.  This process is  subtle – indeed it’s become institutionalized – but it’s results are spectacular.  Corporate media has constructed an entire worldview around the concept of limitless consumption by piping it directly into the average American for over four hours a day.  This unprecedented degree of penetration by a group of organizations who’s primary motive is to trick Americans into watching more TV advertisements explains why so many in the US are obese, in debt and ignorant of their nation’s history.

It’s easy to forget that until a century ago, a million people had never been ‘informed’ of events in a standardized way.  News from far away places came through many mediated layers – whether it was written, pronounces or socially spread – and often fell on suspicious ears. The concept that humans could ‘know’ that something was happening outside their reality did not exist like it does today.  Without the glare of highly produced media, Americans relied on family knowledge, ancient wisdom and their own experiences to develop an understanding of the world.  They could make  informed decisions because they trusted their experiences, understanding that core principles of human interaction aren’t dependent on time, space or scale.  What is true for a village is true for a nation and an empire.

Americans naturally understood that violence enables theft and war was immoral.  They didn’t need their newspapers to explain how a general could get rich from war: they intuitively knew war profiteering always takes place.  Americans naturally understood that food with unknown origins could very easily be unsafe.   They didn’t need a reporter  to inform them of the danger of food processed by mysterious factories.  With common sense gleaned from everyday experiences, humanity not only survived the dark days before TV and centralized media, they thrived.

In 2009, our media has never been more advanced.  One would imagine that advanced media would create a more harmonious and intelligent public but that doesn’t seem to be the case.  Our economy has problems no one can grasp.  Our military is embroiled in a war that started with a reverberated lie.  Our food system is unsustainable and dangerous.  Our stores are filled with products of low quality made in places we’d like to pretend don’t exist.  Our population is increasingly addicted to prescription (read: corporate produced) drugs and imprison millions of Americans for distributing and consuming illegal (read: non corporate) ones.  Then we ask the same media companies that crafted our current insanity to explain why we’re all so crazy.  Of course, they can’t address that question. How could they?

After thousands of years of human civilization and amazing technological advancement, why are we still so easily hoodwinked by the magician behind the curtains?

There is good news and that good news is that you’re reading this, which means that after a lifetime as an unwilling consumer of centralized news and information, you’ve found yourself consuming media from decentralized sources.  The internet is fundamentally changing the way we receive news and information and thus, it is changing our perspective and freeing us from the chains of homogeneous, standardized, centralized media.  It is freeing us from the media that is financed by corporations that are financed by our consumption based economy.  On the web, there is media from CNN and NBC written by people who ultimately have to answer to their advertisers, but there is also media written by us: and the only people we have to answer to are ourselves (and our audience.)

More good news: while the mainstream media cries that centuries old news institutions are crumbling, decentralized networks of local blogs and reputable source are stepping into the void.  The marketplace loves this new form of media: the faster, better, cheaper of independent journalism can’t be stopped.

The Future of Capitalism is Not Corporate

Every organization’s structure is defined by the way in which it’s members communicate.  During the industrial era, when top-down mass communication systems allowed a small group of people to send messages to large groups, corporations flourished.  As networked communication systems such as the internet spread, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that a new batch of organizational entities will emerge that will out compete corporations because they’re structured to thrive using networked communication systems.

Why won’t corporations be as competitive as these new organizations?

Corporations have a very simple incentive system that is best understood as ‘low costs, high prices.’  Every product a corporation makes is designed to cost them the least amount of money possible while simultaneously allowing them to charge the highest possible price.  Shareholders profit off the margin between those two numbers.  This business ethic, to charge the most while providing the least, is so common it’s easy to forget its perverseness.  The basic assumption in this ethic is that neither the people who produce the product, nor the people who consume it are of value.  Both entities should be marginalized as much as possible so that the difference between the cost and price is greatest, allowing the shareholders, the only entities truly valued by the corporation, to make as much profit as possible.  Increasing shareholder value is the sole purpose of a corporation as defined by the law.  In other words, it’s actually illegal for people within a corporation deliberately perform tasks that do not ultimately increase shareholder profit.

Corporations achieved what no other organizational structure had been able to do: they took us from the farm field to the electric field.  Just as corporation succeeded guilds to power the industrial revolution, more flexible structures will succeed corporations to power the information revolution.

The industrial economic paradigm is that resources are scarce while labor is abundant.  The information economy is the opposite.  Information, unlike traditional ‘working capital’ such as a factory or a resource, is not scarce: it’s abundant.  Information can only create value if it’s organized, synthesized and made consumable by intelligence.  Once made consumable, information can be shared with any and all parties interested in consuming it.  This difference creates a ‘high cost, low price’ incentive for information organizations.  Why?  Because competition is fierce and scale is instantly achievable.

This paradigm is most obvious in open source organizations like Wikipedia where the amount of time  being invested in the product continues to increase while the price remains stagnant (zero.)  The internet in general operates under the same laws because the open source community – a massive, decentralized collection of programmers who write code and release it online for free – continue to build an even more robust technological infrastructure for all to enjoy at zero cost.

Most of the products and services we consume, online or off, are commodity products given significant value via information.  McDonalds top down information distribution system informs it’s myriad franchises how to make a valuable burger and fries, how to market and how to keep costs low, among other things.  If a network of burger restaurants came together, using online collaboration tools, to create a virtual franchise that fulfilled the same role, but did it through a network instead of  a hierarchy, then they could create an information product for burger joints more powerful than McDonald’s and, eventually, defeat the corporation.  This is the future of our economy: networks of independents out performing hierarchical corporations.  This is cooperation capitalism.

Trade Creates Peace

Adam Smith stated in his 1776 treatise “On The Wealth of Nations” that trade creates wealth.  More specifically, voluntary trade between two parties MUST create value for both parties because, if it didn’t, they simply would not make a transaction.  This means that by engaging in trade, people generate more value in the world: they create a net gain.

This net gain is described by the economic law of comparative advantage which “explains how trade can create value for both parties even when one can produce all goods with fewer resources than the other.”  Comparative advantage ensures that everyone, from the most unskilled laborer to the most sophisticated engineer, can create value in the marketplace by voluntarily exchanging goods and services.

People often confine the principles of ‘trade creates wealth’ and ‘comparable advantage’ to economics, but they’re actually natural principles whose application is infinitely broader.

Trade ALWAYS creates wealth. People can ALWAYS engage in trade.  Everyone can ALWAYS create wealth.  Isn’t this the world’s most empowering concept?  Not only can EVERY individual naturally create wealth in the world, it’s fantastically easy.  There is only one rule: you must trade.

Trade is by definitely voluntary.  If someone is being coerced into trading something of lesser value for something of greater value, that is not trade: that is violence.  Violence has no place in trade.  In fact, violence makes voluntary exchange impossible.

Violence breaks the laws of trade because it erodes the individuals fundamental right to private property.  This allows violence to simulate the creation of wealth through theft.  People ‘make’ money during war, but they do not create wealth, they have only used violence to steal the wealth of others.  When people engage in violence, they prevent trade from taking place.  This increases the amount of poverty in the world, ultimately hurting everyone because poor people trade less.

If your mission is to become wealthy, logically you must oppose any practice that reduces the amount of value you could capture for yourself.  You must oppose the use of violent force and war.

If your mission is to live in a more peaceful world, logically you must oppose any restriction on the right of two people to engage in voluntary exchange. You must advocate the right of all individuals to engage in (truly) free trade.

Peace is a struggle, not on the battlefield but within ourselves and our communities.  We must wage people through trade.  We must encourage those who would engage in violence acts to engage in trade instead because it will make them more wealthy.  Trade creates peace and it’s absence creates war.   To build a more peaceful world, we must engage in trade.

Lost and Found #2


Here are the fruits of my labor a.k.a. the results of my procrastination at work. It’s a tough task, but someone has to shine a light on music that you hopefully have not heard yet. This weeks list is more folk-centric than the recommendations I gave last week. I’ll chalk it up to the weather… all I really want to do is listen to relaxing music while lounging in a hammock. So, for all you hammock lovers out there, these bands can supply a nice soundtrack for your gentle swaying.

  1. Tunng (
    A really nice mix of electronic and folk influences that definitely errs on the side of folk/acoustic (at least on their album “Good Arrows” which I have the most experience with so far). While Tunng prioduces some really chilled out melodic tracks, they also aren’t afraid to inject some extra zest pulling from their electronic influences, keeping you on your toes yet relaxed at the same time. I don’t know many bands that can pull this off as well as Tunng does. Recommended tracks: “Take”, “Soup”
  2. Melpo Mene ( or (
    Sweden is a pretty rad place… let’s recount just a short list of some reasons: Swedish Fish, Ikea (and the meatballs they serve in their food court), Blenda (trust me, the story of Blenda is one you will not regret reading), and now Melpo Mene. Melpo brings some interesting influences into his music, as I hear some subtle almost-latin-jazzy undertones that remind me of a Swedish version Seu Jorge singing in English. Awesome. Strong guitar riffs and electronic influences are offset by Melpo’s disarming voice, placing it firmly in the “folksy” category. He also does a cover of the Gorillaz “Dare”, which added at least 100 points to his imaginary score in my head. Recommended tracks: “Hello Benjamin”, “The Sun”
  3. M. Craft ( or (
    Heading to another land filled with blondes and funny accents, our next featured artist is M. Craft from Australia. Definitely the most traditionally “folsky” of my folk-centric selections this week, M. Craft constucts melodic and lazy vocals over soft percussion and tinny, low-treble guitar riffs. It’s hard to listen without coming to the conclusion that this guy definitely listened to a lot of Neil Young. Recommended tracks: “The Soldier”, “Dragonfly”, “Sweets”

A Platform for the Network

Networked information technologies (ex. the internet, mobiles phones, GPS) enable people to organize solutions to the collective action problems that, in the past, could only be solved by government.  The emergence of these technologies allow humanity to create a society that empowers communities to solve their own problems by expanding individual liberties.

The QS Platform combines the modern liberal’s mission of building an equitable society with the classical liberal’s mission of preserving individual liberty.  We advocate policies that nurture community organized solutions to local problems.  These policies include:

  1. Replace the Income Tax with the The Fair Tax universal sales tax.
  2. Place the Federal Reserve Bank under the authority of the Legislative Branch as advocated by Milton Friedman
  3. Provide vouchers to every American so they can select their own  education service provider, be it public, private or charter.
  4. Provide health care vouchers to every American and facilitating the creation of independent collective bargaining organizations.
  5. Enact a Carbon Tax deployed once at the point of carbon extraction.
  6. Dismantle the American Empire and construct a transparency-centric foreign policy.
  7. Eliminate subsidies, tariffs and other government interference in the international marketplace.

*Links go to organizations on the right path but we don’t necessarily advocate everything they describe.

Benefits of Civilization

Violence and war are still pervasive in our culture which makes it easy to disregard the amazing progress human civilization has made over the last 10,000 years.  Experts estimate half of all men in hunter gather societies were killed by another person.  In our post-industrial society, less than 1% of individuals die at the hands of another.  This makes civilization worth celebrating.

Civilization is most usefully understood as a singular absolute: the civilization is wealthy and peaceful.  To achieve absolute wealth and peace, it has unified passion and compassion to create a global cultural framework that  fosters personal self-actualization within a community of of autonomous individuals each of whom treat the other as he or she would like to be treated.  This is the benchmark that all prior human civilizations have failed to meet.

Civilization can also be viewed as a collaboration platform that enables individuals to engage in increasingly valuable trading relationships.  When the Roman Empire spread Latin technology – language, culture, standards – around the Mediterranean, they created a platform for collaboration that enabled individuals from disparate regions to interact and trade with each other in increasingly efficient and valuable ways.  Trade creates wealth, and wealth finances the development of civilization.