When, like me, you think that humanity moves forward at the speed of trust and collaboration, blockchain seems like the antithesis of all that.
If you’re still reluctant to stand up, this is the time to remember that your working conditions are students’ learning conditions. One of the things students learn at school is how grownups function in the workplace. And everything else they learn is colored by the atmosphere of that workplace. What do you want your students to learn? And what kind of atmosphere do you want them to do their learning in?
You’ll never forget my face, because all you have to do is reload it. No faded daguerreotypes for you. No perfume-scented letters. Now digital bits of me run through your bloodstream, and you’ll be plugged into them forever.
You’ll pick up the device that can connect you to me in moments, and heed its siren call.
Deciding what to believe based on other people’s opinions is not only not journalistic, it’s arguably hostile to the press as a democratic institution. The truth may be nuanced, but reportable facts are often quite straightforward. As any journalist can tell you, the best answer to the question “what happened?” is not why don’t you ask a bunch of your friends what they think, organize their views along a spectrum, and then decide where to plant yourself.
Take a step back and remind yourself of Facebook’s attempts to bring you news ended in fake news becoming the norm. Their algorithms created not friendship but hate bubbles. And now the same company will create an algorithm of love?
You see, there simply are no rugged individuals. Not a damned single person who has pulled themselves up by the bootstraps.
A turning point for me was John Dewey’s pragmatism, an argument that either/or thinking fails humans. In short, Dewey argued that it is a false choice between individualism and collectivism—that they are symbiotic, not antithetical.
My freedom is inevitably bound to everyone else’s freedom—and this is the great moral truth denied by the lazy Libertarian lie.
What bearing does this have on institutional racism and its causes? The neo-colonial economic model is about coercing labor apart from whatever racial and / or national animosity might exist. American industries could have offered market wages to the Mexican peasants that NAFTA targeted until they agreed to work for them- this is the way that labor ‘markets’ work. But instead they chose to ‘free’ several million people from subsistence economies to compete with previously displaced Mexican labor and American industrial workers with the result that wages were lowered all around.
As uncompensated labor, slavery reduces employment and wages for the non-chattel working class. Without slavery, plantations and factories hire labor and pay it the prevailing wage. But doing so reduces profits. Then consider: this dynamic places the working class in direct competition with more deeply exploited classes, be they slaves, descendants of slaves or displaced peasants. This economic relationship of competition is (1) imposed from above and (2) socially divisive by being economically divisive.
From slavery through convict leasing, Jim Crow and the New Jim Crow, the economic lots of American blacks were never left to market forces. Each of these institutions were used to expropriate the product of black labor outside of market forces. And this racialized economic ‘management’ impacted labor markets more broadly through controlling the supply of labor. What this means is that ‘management’ of black labor was to manage the supply, and with it the price, of the entire working class, not just blacks.
In human terms, unless the source of this systematic exploitation is made visible, the class dynamic that it establishes is to make the most deeply exploited the most blameworthy. Slaves, descendants of slaves and displaced immigrants were never the creators of the circumstances of their exploitation. The fallacy of ‘takers’ that unites white racist chatter confuses state strategies to maintain relative class positions for employers with the power to expropriate social resources. The class that largely controls economic outcomes remains well-hidden in this ruse.
Starting in the 1830s and 1840s, some American abolitionists advocated for a tactic called moral suasion, arguing that surely white Americans who truly knew about the full horrors of slavery would change their minds and fight for its abolition. They tried to promote fellow feeling, telling stories of separation and sexual abuse to play upon Victorian idealization of family togetherness and womanly virtue. This worked for some listeners, but not for others, whose racism and complicity in the system deadened any natural empathy they might have had. Ending slavery took a war.
But no extremely moving information about John Kelly’s or Mike Pence’s families from decades ago will make immigration hawks rethink the way they perceive a story like the one about ICE taking an 18-month-old child from his Honduran mother-telling her to strap him into a car seat, and then driving away without allowing her to say goodbye. From an immigration hawk’s point of view, that’s not anyone like their mother, not anyone like their family.
The chasm between the life and experiences of a white American, even one who’s descended from desperate immigrants of decades past, and the life of this Honduran mother is the entire point of racist anti-immigration thought. Diminishment of the human qualities of entering immigrants (“unskilled” and “unmodern” immigrants coming from “shithole” countries) reinforces the distance between the two. People who support the Trump administration’s immigration policies want fewer Honduran mothers and their 18-month-olds to enter the country. If you start from this position, nothing you hear about illiterate Germans coming to the United States in the 19 century will change your mind.
It’s important, she says, that the technology came out of a lengthy process of understanding what challenges existed in the system. “I think if you look at certain attempts to use technology within complex bureaucratic systems, you’ll very often have people writing a beautiful algorithm, but for a problem that’s the wrong problem,” Pahlka says. “What I’m proud of our team doing is the work to figure out where the real problem is.”
“American meritocracy has thus become precisely what it was invented to combat,” Markovits concluded, “a mechanism for the dynastic transmission of wealth and privilege across generations. Meritocracy now constitutes a modern-day aristocracy.”