Human Capital Markets, Digital Identity, & the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

The following is a presentation that I had planned to make as an invited guest at Big Ocean Women’s Many Waves, One Ocean gathering in coordination with the 2020 United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. Due to the pandemic, the conference and all related events were cancelled. A decision was made for those who had been asked to present to create a presentation that could be shared online. The video below was created for that purpose.

Below is the text I read from during the above presentation.

Hello everyone. Welcome to “Many Waves, One Ocean Cross Movement Summit.” I’m Alison McDowell, a mom and independent researcher in Philadelphia who blogs at I started my activism around public education, first fighting standardized testing, then ed-tech, and eventually realized the push by global finance to turn everything into data for the purpose of digital surveillance and profit meant I had to expand my work beyond schools and start digging into the global poverty management complex.

I organize with the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, an independent anti-poverty group that is led by the poor and does not take corporate or foundation money. We’ll be marching on the Democratic National Convention on July 13 to take back the 67 cents of every government dollar spent on war and occupation. We are demanding it be used care for the poor here at home. Check us out and consider joining us in the streets of Milwaukee!

Lives Over Luxury

My current efforts are focused on raising awareness around pay for success deals, privatized welfare, Blockchain contracts, smart cities, and predictive analytics derived from Internet of Things sensors. These elements are combining to create predatory human capital investment markets within the framework of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. I’m grateful to have been invited to participate today, and excited to talk to you about these goals, particularly target 16.9, digital identity, and how it relates to global finance and the profiling of families.

In 2015, member states of the United Nations adopted seventeen Sustainable Development Goals, an integrated program of 169 targets and 235 indicators ostensibly meant to achieve peace and prosperity by 2030. The question we need to be asking before we head down this road is whose prosperity and at what cost?

People have been led to believe the purpose of these goals is to address poverty and avert climate catastrophe. As a mother who lives in a city of deep poverty and who works at a public garden, I believe those are admirable goals. It is imperative that we address wealth inequality and begin to heal our planet.


But as a mother who has been researching innovative finance, emerging technologies, and racialized power, I also know there is more to the story than is being told in the media. And so today I will outline how powerful interests are using the Sustainable Development Goals to mask their plans to remake the world as a digital panopticon. What follows is a story of social entrepreneurship, greed, and technological authoritarianism. Its foundations are built on our nation’s history of racial capitalism, eugenics, and the rise of technocracy.

The technocracy movement advances the idea of an industrially engineered society. In the 1930s it was based out of Columbia University’s Industrial Engineering department. It sought to overhaul politics and economics such that technical experts would manage these systems placing efficiency above all else, measuring inputs of energy against outputs for “the public good.”

Technocracy Inc

I believe echoes of this have been woven into “smart” government initiatives incubated by think tanks and elite academic institutions including NYU’s Govlab, home to the Research Network on Opening Governance. Supported by Google, this effort hosted ten international convenings between 2015 and 2017 to discuss the “redesign” of government practice for the “complex policy challenges of the twenty-first century.”

Research Network On Opening Governance

Technocracy is a system that subverts local control and self-determination. It’s also a movement with considerable staying power. Zbigniew Brzezinski, who collaborated with David Rockefeller in creating the Trilateral Commission, resurrected the tenets of technocracy in the 1970s. It is important to note that the Rockefeller family has maintained close ties with the United Nations since its inception, even donating the land upon which the New York headquarters was built. The Trilateral Commission was started in 1973 and remains active today, a powerful invitation-only group of around 350 people from Europe, North America, and Japan that advances a globalist agenda. Its members are drawn from the highest levels of government, industry, academia, and the media.

Among the current North American members are Henry Kissinger, Michael Bloomberg, and, not surprisingly, Rajiv Shah, president of the Rockefeller Foundation. The Rockefeller Foundation structured social impact investments markets in the decade following the housing crash. The Foundation coined the term ‘impact investing’ back in 2008. It also provided seed funding for the Global Impact Investment Network and the Global Impact Investing Network Rating System. These were investments to set rules for a new and sinister game. Ten years after they originated the concept, impact investing has grown to become a $250 billion market. In 2019, the Rockefeller and MacArthur Foundations teamed up to form the Catalytic Capital Consortium. Each member commited $30 million to investments that would advance the Sustainable Development Goals.

GIIN Rockefeller

About five years after the Trilateral Commission was founded, former McKinsey consultant Bill Drayton advanced the idea of emissions trading, carbon credits. He was working for Jimmy Carter’s Environmental Protection Agency at the time. President Carter, himself, was a founding member of the Trilateral Commission, many of those appointed to his administration were also members, and Brzezinski was among his closest advisors. These were the years after Nixon jettisoned the gold standard and debt-finance started to take hold of the economy.

By normalizing measurement and pricing of desired outcomes, in this case carbon emission reductions, Drayton pioneered a form of finance that will play a key role in the global economy for years to come. The public was led to believe that once there was an agreed upon cost that could be applied to externalities, green house gases; markets would resolve the pollution problem. With impact investing this approach has been extended to social issues under the pretense there could be “profit with purpose” IF governments just allowed Ivy League MBAs to structure the deals.

Bill Drayton Ashoka

Fast-forward. We now have a world that is burning and flooding. People are resisting neoliberalism and structural adjustment in the streets, asserting their right to live in safety and with dignity. Indigenous peoples are putting their lives on the line to protect their lands not only from government-backed corporate raiders, but from supposedly “green” environmental NGOs advocating faux solutions that perpetuate violence against Black and Brown people. Solutions like the New Deal for Nature that in the name of biodiversity advocates creating protected areas that would remove human settlement from 30% of the planet, an outrageous theft of land from its original inhabitants.

We find ourselves on the doorstep of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, robots and algorithms poised to take over many jobs. The finance and technology sectors have converged. The world economy is dominated by the Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate (FIRE) sectors whose laser focus on short-term profit leaves only devastation in its wake. We’re seeing the rise of ubiquitous computing, surveillance, and crypto economics-virtual capitalism where digital assets are tracked on Blockchain. Philanthropy, credit, and global aid organizations have joined the Better Than Cash Alliance to push adoption of borderless electronic payment systems tied to biometrics. Their toe in the door? Government payments.

Better Than Cash Digital payments

It is an era of extreme wealth inequality, austerity, concentrated power, social unrest, militarization, and environmental degradation. Not only have market-based solutions NOT delivered on their promise to fix the environment and eliminate poverty, the financiers’ “solutions” have made the problems worse. But the rich have a way of turning disasters into gold. Case in point, this winter the World Economic Forum unleashed a manifesto in support “stakeholder capitalism.” Benefit corporations to the rescue!

Financiers are going to claim they’re doing positive things with their portfolios by configuring asset allocations to align with ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance), and that’s where the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals come in. It’s also worth noting that many faith communities have large endowments where investments are likely to be ESG aligned. Just because it says ESG doesn’t mean it actually represents the values of your faith.

Stakeholder Capitalism

It is the sustainability goals that will open the door to smart city infrastructure with facial recognition, cashless economies, big data analytics, and artificial intelligence used to implement broad threat assessments; the threat of natural disasters as well as threats posed by individual dissidents and groups. With advances in militarized predictive policing those contesting the status quo, or seeking to intervene on behalf of the people into the operations of global markets, can now be met with swift and possibly deadly countermeasures.

What started out as a cost offset scheme for carbon trading has grown into a globalized cybernetic system through which artificial intelligence operating at the behest of debt finance could eventually farm millions of people as domestic livestock data commodities. Remember all those chipped Swedes? Ericsson is thrilled.

The transnational capitalist class envisions a future where they can control vast swaths of the planet using 5G and Internet of Things sensors. Meanwhile, the Mad Scientist Division of TRADOC is figuring out how to best restructure neighborhoods for a future of mega-city urban warfare; and the Army Research Lab is two years into a ten-year project with six universities to create the Internet of Battlefield Things. So 5G, IoT, and cyber security HAVE TO be understood within this larger military context.

Mega City Urban Warfare

Human capital data markets are arising for reasons of political economy. As the Fourth Industrial Revolution dawns, the elite must have a new mechanism to circulate their concentrated capital. The spending of poor and working class people will not be sufficient. Folks are carrying way too much debt as it is. This will become an even greater problem once automation and mass migrations make it impossible for millions of people to earn a stable living. Simply put, the financers need new plumbing. Real estate served that purpose for a time, but the weight of toxic mortgages ultimately collapsed the housing market. Now they need something even bigger, because over the past decade wealth has become even MORE concentrated.

So what do you think?

Are the United Nations’ 169 sub-goals and 235 indicators up to this task?

Now that social problems have reached epic proportions there is money to be made scaling them back IF they can be tracked as metrics on the data dashboards being pushed by Microsoft and Salesforce. Finance and technology interests make fine partners in that regard. Impact investors demand data, which justifies digital surveillance, and tech and telecom interests make money off the software, hardware, and cloud computing.

Pay For Success-2

Moving forward everything will be assessed in terms of IMPACT, kind of like the technocrats tracking the energy credits. Thanks to Mark Zuckerberg among others, the Trilateral Commission now has Pavlovian tools to tweak and nudge the masses, digital pawns, in real time. It is at the point of “impact” that authoritarianism tightens its grip. So who gets to decide who or what will be impacted? Can a person refuse to be tracked as data for corporate profit? Who gets to decide what metrics are chosen? What if a community desires an outcome that cannot be reduced to a metric? Does it get taken off the table, replaced by a less consequential but more measurable definition of “success?” Kind of like a third grade reading score. How will metrics shape service delivery? I’m guessing more and more interactions will become digitally mediated. Who specifies how the tracking happens? How is it analyzed? By a person? An algorithm? What are the payouts?

UN SDG Measuring Impact

Who exactly is going to come out ahead if we allow global investment markets to be built on disaster and misery? If those markets are profitable aren’t we likely to end up with MORE disaster and misery, albeit better managed? Investors seek to increase the source of their profit, not eliminate it. That’s just the sick logic of it.

We are at a tipping point after years of austerity. Governments, unable to keep doing more with less, have shifted responsibilities to non-profit providers to care for their people; and private investors and their foundations are fronting money for services. The linchpin that makes this work is performance-based contracting, which was designed to appease fiscal conservatives and centrist liberals. Minneapolis Federal Reserve economist Arthur Rolnick developed the outcomes-based contract model in the mid 1990s in collaboration with former General Mills executive turned non-profit guru Steve Rothschild. Useful to note that charter schools were invented in the Twin Cities right about that same time.

Rolnick and Rothschild also promoted Human Capital Bonds or HUCAPs, an idea that hasn’t yet gotten off the ground, but I fear the concept is still waiting in the wings. Rolnick spent the latter half of his career with hedge fund manager Robert Dugger and Nobel prize winning economist Jim Heckman working on an “Invest in Kids” agenda that would transform pre-natal care, home visits, early childhood education, and early literacy programs into global investment markets built on child and family data surveillance.


An equation was concocted, the Heckman Equation, that guaranteed a 7-10% annual rate of return on investments. Not bad. The trick was finding an impact metric that worked for the markets. They settled on behavioral data, because they could manipulate it more consistently than they could cognitive data, or IQ. Video games for brainwashing, perfect! So now we have surveillance play tables showing up in Headstart programs at Educare in Tulsa, backed by big oil/big banking George Kaiser and his friends at Blue Meridian. In two corners of these tables are fisheye lens cameras to take video of toddlers so they can be scored on their social behaviors-for the markets.

Hatch Tables 2

We also have Pam, wife of Pierre Omidyar, EBay’s founder and advocate for global digital identity, pushing behavior modification apps that purport to solve poverty in low-income mothers using a behaviorist text message app called GoalMama. This was built into the Nurse Family Partnership Medicaid-funded home visit program piloted in South Carolina. IO2 Foundation and IXO Foundation have gone a step farther and are using facial recognition video recordings on home visits to verify smart contracts on Blockchain to unlock social impact payments. Test programs are underway now in China and Brazil. This is what “impact” looks like and it’s not pretty. All so Goldman Sachs’ beneficiaries, among others, can use their vast holdings to suck up more wealth gambling on the lives of those needing public services, which includes public education.

Goal Mama

The drumbeat for early childhood investment is getting louder, though bills supporting these programs have been met with resistance. The State of Washington’s Welcome Baby Bill was stopped again last week. Parents and community members rallied to stop the Great Start for Minnesota Children Act last year, too. It’s not easy explaining to elected officials who don’t have any of this background why “evidence-based” early childhood programs pose such a threat, but I am grateful to the activist moms out there who’ve put boots on the ground to get the word out.

The truth is these types of bills are data grabs that will be used to profile low-income families via a two-generation tracking model developed by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Aspen Institute. The Sustainable Development Goals are being used to justify this profiling. Of the 232 specific indicators, 35 are related to children. Home visits and early childhood education investments are associated with goals three and four.

I’m sharing here an image from the Global Education Futures Forum agenda, an international group of influential academics that has an education timeline touting a future where the super-rich and asset managers maintain portfolios of people. Yes, you heard that right, portfolios of people.


Most likely this will start as income sharing agreements for college and workforce training. Branches of the Federal Reserve System are pumping out white papers on how to turn labor markets, finclusion, and economic mobility into investment opportunities. The Fed maintains close ties with the Lumina Foundation (student debt) and the United Way with its ALICE (Assets Limited Income Constrained Employed) poverty management program.

This push for human capital investing is why we are seeing Swiss Model Apprenticeship programs rolling out in Colorado and Washington State. Career pathways and Blockchain transcripts serve as high school bookends to the Heckman Equation’s pre-k surveillance play tables. Workforce-oriented curriculum is being pitched in pre-k already, and middle schools are using corporate strengths assessments to direct students into specific careers even though the Davos folks know the only thing certain about the “future of work” is that it is uncertain. It’s not about knowledge, it’s about demonstrations of compliance that can be used to fuel the impact markets. If anything knowledge production, through “personalization,” is being stripped of its social components, atomized, and algorithmically engineered. What technocrats fear most is an organized, unified populace that can think for itself.

Federal Reserve Undervalued human capital

In this people-portfolio future, one’s worth will be measured in competencies and demonstrated skills represented by collections of badges and stackable credentials. We’re already badging behaviors and mindsets. PBIS, Class Dojo, Red Critter and Google’s Classcraft are normalizing gamified token economies based where student behavior and reputation scoring act as a sort of currency. We are taking corporate leaderboards and adapting them to rank and score children. None of this is ok.

PBIS Badge

Sir Ronald Cohen, Harvard MBA and father of British venture capital, built on Rolnick and Rothschild’s effort, to further refine the tools necessary for financializing humanity. Cohen tapped the UK’s lottery fund and implemented the world’s first social impact bond, or SIB, at Peterborough Prison in 2010. SIBs and DIBs (Development Impact Bonds) are carbon-trading equivalents for social issues like incarceration, homelessness, chronic illness, and unemployment. These bonds were implemented in several dozen countries, including the United States, over the past decade, but they did not scale.

Now it appears markets are shifting to pay for success deals, which are simpler, more flexible, and may advance more rapidly. Pay for success has the backing of Michael Bloomberg, JB Pritzker, Obama’s Social Innovation Fund, Cohen’s US branch of Social Finance, and George Overholser’s Third Sector Capital Partners. It’s riding the coattails of data-driven, e-government solutionism; waltzing in as “what works” change agents scramble to repackage the remnants of civil society as warmed-over investment products for hedge funds.

Pay For Success ECE Minneapolis Fed

With widespread adoption of pay for success, more and more wrong-headed interventions like online preschool, which are certified by authorities as “evidence-based,” are coming out of the woodwork. Mouthpieces for fin-tech, like New America with its Bretton Woods II responsible asset-allocating program, are lining up in support. People needing services are being groomed as data commodities. Need housing? Food? Education? Training? Addiction treatment? Healthcare? Well you better be willing to follow a prescriptive “continuum of care” pathway and be tracked on a dashboard. Service providers are finding themselves increasingly disempowered, their autonomy as professionals undermined by the tyranny of big data, accountable no longer to their clients and communities, but to the global investors that pay their salaries.

Human Capital Value Chain

So how does the United Nations fit into all of this? Well, we can look to UN-SIF. This is a collaboration of the United Nations and the business schools of nine global universities. They have been tasked with coming up with innovative ways to channel commercial capital flows into Sustainable Development Goal-aligned “solutions.” Like online pre-k.

And where will the capital come from? We have only to look to the Impact Management Project. In 2018, the United Nations Development Programme partnered with the International Finance Corporation, Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, Global Impact Investing Network, World Benchmarking Alliance, Global Steering Group for Impact Investment, and Social Value International to set common metrics to measure, assess, and report “impact.” The IEEE (Institute for Electronics and Electrical Engineers) is in on the game, too. Their job is to facilitate the creation of a people-centered Internet that will turn the masses into harmonized digital citizens of smart cities. It will be THEIR UN SDG-aligned behaviors upon which technocracy’s impact markets will run. The EU is already well on its way piloting Blockchain identity and fair trade data markets.

Impact Management Project

The Impact Management Project was launched with support from Bridges Fund Management, the firm of (surprise, surprise) Sir Ronald Cohen. Omidyar Network was also in on the ground. In eighteen months they had over 2,000 members onboard, including some of the world’s largest asset holders and philanthropic heavyweights, among them: BlackRock, UBS Bank, Deutsche Bank, Bank of America, Omidyar Network, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, UKAID, The Ford Foundation, and The MacArthur Foundation.

Just so you know, I believe many of UN SDG indicators are not bad ideas. I like riding my bike. I like walk-able communities. I don’t want people to be hit by car. I believe women should have access to healthcare, and all children deserve a humane education. I oppose cash bail and want justice to be served. But policies must be grounded in communities, not governed by some uber-manager in the cloud who serves Ronald Cohen’s interests.

Cohen At The Vatican 2014

Sustainable Development Goal indicators valued by community members should be advanced and funded with public dollars, not private. The data collection required to unlock “good capital” will always poison impact-funded ventures in the end. As we make these decisions, we must prioritize the interests of Indigenous communities, because they know how to live in right relationship to the land. If anyone thinks we should be turning control of society over to the financial sector and the military, because they’re the proper ones to set the world straight about climate change, maybe you should revisit your history.

Red Deal

Tech and defense interests have had the creation of a global augmented reality overlay in the works for decades. Once that coding hits a tipping point, “green” capitalists can impose rules using digital geo-fencing to advantage their financial positions. In such a world everything will revolve around documenting “impact.” Everything will have a valuation and be subject to predictive analytics and risk profiling. That is what is needed for technocracy to run smoothly. Things that should never be tallied, things like happiness, companionship, and the wonders of nature, will be factored into a giant balance sheet. The trial run for this was the Pokémon Go game. Niantic was bankrolled by In-Q-Tel, the venture capital arm of the CIA. If the deep state was looking for a test case to see if the public would embrace an augmented reality future, it seems they got a big yes, at least for the time being.

Pokemon Go

And yet…communities across the nation ARE starting to wake up and express concerns about part of this program, namely the installation 5G in their neighborhoods. 5G is the telecommunication infrastructure that will bring the Internet of Things to scale and usher in Fourth Industrial Revolution disruption. The World Economic Forum, Brookings Institution, Nokia, Ericsson, Huawei and the ITU (International Telecommunications Union), the United Nation’s agency for information and communications technology, are among those touting the importance of 5G and ICT (individual communication technology like cell phones and tablets) in accomplishing Sustainable Development Goals, especially education, health, gender equity and smart infrastructure.


In order for 5G to function properly, antennae must be installed 100-200 meters apart, which concentrates radiation exposure. Not only are the small cell installations eyesores, there are serious questions about potential negative health consequences related to electromagnetic field exposure. In 2015, scientists petitioned the United Nations to convene an independent working group to examine the pros and cons of the technology and suggest alternatives that would lower exposure to ELF (extremely low magnetic fields) and RF (radiofrequency radiation), but no action was taken. The petition with over 250 signatures from scientists from 43 countries was resubmitted last fall, as 5G transmitting elements began to be installed not only outside on lamp posts, but on buildings, and inside homes. Still no response.

EMF Scientists Petition

So why has the United Nations remained silent about this public health issue, a threat that puts pregnant women and children at particular risk? Well, the globalists behind the United Nations MUST have 5G. Without it, the financiers will not be able to monitor people and nature. If there is no 5G their big plan to profit from performance data completely falls apart. To function at the scale needed to service global markets, the system HAS to be automated. They need 5G for wearable technology, telemedicine, online education, virtual reality CBT therapy, everything! They’re not going to defer to manual data entry either. It will never be fast enough or expansive enough. The authorities know they will not be able to steer communities to the targets set by the seventeen goals if they permit free discussion and consensus. They know that community empowerment would undermine impact markets, so their answer is to force us to accept radiation, sensors, and digital ledgers. We’re just supposed to shut up and not talk about it.

Bloomberg WHO

In order to bring human capital investing to scale, technology must be put in place so that people can be monitored in real time, like as with the emissions of an industrial smokestack. That is why they need self-sovereign digital identity, which is embedded in Goal Number 16, target 16.9. Prototypes are being set up now – to be able to aggregate data on a person’s health, education, training, economic productivity, behavior, housing access, and more. The World Bank, which has its own Human Capital Project and is experimenting with social impact and Blockchain bonds, is pursuing ID4D. The United Nations has partnered with Microsoft and Accenture to develop ID2020, a digital identity system linking refugee benefit access to biometrics. Various states in the US are working with Idemia, which touts its augmented identity product line, to roll out digital driver’s licenses.

16.9 digital identity

The family unit and mothers in particular will be a focus of intense scrutiny. Assigning a digital identity early in life enables more data to be aggregated, creates a more robust baseline, and opens up more impact opportunities. As I mentioned earlier, pregnancy behavior modifying apps and home visits documented with facial recognition video are already underway. These pilots are running with support from the United Nations Development Programme and UNICEF. UNICEF has secured major support from Disney to pursue research in the areas of Blockchain, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, wearable technology, and drones.

While it may be hard to imagine digital benefit systems linked to retinal scans or thumb-prints here in the United States, the state of Illinois, home of commodities futures trading, has a Blockchain task force. A report they issued last year included a number of thought experiments on how Blockchain identity could be used to regulate public benefits.

One of these featured a diagram of a person assigned a digital identity and e-wallet to hold their benefits, in this case money for food. If the person made the “right” choice, the apple, they were awarded an incentive payment. If they made the “wrong” choice, the hamburger, they paid full price. Of course it’s only an incentive until the allocation is recalibrated to the point where a person will only have enough money to last the month if they make ALL THE RIGHT CHOICES. For people who work multiple jobs or live a food desert or have unstable housing, making those “right choices” could be all but impossible.

SNAP Nudge

Now replace the apple and the hamburger in the diagram with a choice of daycare providers, school curriculum, job training programs, or medical treatments. In the case of digital identity and Blockchain there will always be a choice preferred by those in power, a choice that could make their impact investor friends a tidy profit. Then there will be the less-favored choices; those will be dis-incentivized. This is what digital authoritarianism looks like. This is the life for poor people within the “pay for success” panopticon. This is why at the national meeting of the NAACP in Detroit last July, members voted overwhelmingly in support of a resolution opposing any plans for government to link public benefit access to Blockchain identity systems.

Unborn children have been put on Blockchain in Tanzania to track prenatal healthcare service delivery. Illinois piloted Blockchain birth certificates contracting with Salt Lake City-based Evernym. Today data about people is like currency. It has value, because it feeds into risk-profiling. We shouldn’t be surprised that the goal of those in power is to assign unique identifiers to children in utero. Now technology is available to make predictions about a child based on the zip code where it is born, its parent’s income, their educational attainment, and even trauma scores. I suspect genomics will come into the picture soon enough.

Tanzania Blockchain

There is a prototype interoperable data system already, Datazone in San Jose. It feeds into the Silicon Valley Regional Data Trust, funded by Chan Zuckerberg, which in turn feeds into the National Interoperability Collaborative, which is partnered with National Fusion Centers and the Council on Juvenile Crime and Delinquency.

We are perilously close to a pre-crime, social engineering, Gattaca scenario. Will a baby become a burden on society? Will they be a good worker? Will they be disruptive? Will prioritizing the demands of impact markets require teachers, doctors, and social workers to justify benefits provided against an expectation of future economic returns? Given historic power imbalances and our nation’s callous treatment of the poor, it is hard to imagine a positive outcome. Maybe that is why the Sustainable Development Goals have such cheery, colorful, rainbow branding. It’s meant to be distraction, the sugar coating on a poison pill.

Nurse Dashboard

In the fin-tech world, it those who already have the power who come out ahead: McKinsey, Bain, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Citi, and Bank of America. Social entrepreneurship serves their interests. It legitimizes perpetual growth. It continues to enrich the Global North at the expense of the Global South. It separates Indigenous communities from their lands and non-human kin. It embraces data-driven solutionism. That data harvest requires server farms that consume vast quantities of water and energy. The tools of that harvest demand rare minerals to make the devices, sensors and batteries. Like it or not, the “profit with purpose” asset managers pushing UN SDG-aligned investments are bound to Bolivia’s lithium and Congo’s cobalt-the child miners, too. Without those materials they cannot tally the impact. Political upheaval, violence against Indigenous peoples, and human rights violations must be calculated into the cost of the brutal business of “green capitalism.”


Reducing social problems to data results in lands being desecrated by LNG pipelines, because markets deem natural gas “better for the environment.” Forests destroyed to install solar panels and mono-crop plantation carbon-sinks masquerading as proper substitutes for complex ecosystems. Under the banner of sustainability vulnerable populations are subjected to invasive levels of surveillance: Internet of Things cook stoves and pill caps, fit bits, online pre-school, brainwave headbands, housing accessed via retinal scan. And at the end of the day we must ask ourselves if these solutions are actually meant to solve the problem? Or are they about allowing dashboard managers to juke the stats and keep their bosses and investors happy?

What is being set up through the UN SDGs is not a program to save the planet or solve poverty, but rather a massive game of legalized gambling that uses “sustainability” to suppress dissent. If you question the motivations of the elite or the way the issues are portrayed in mass media you risk being painted a climate denier or hard-hearted person who doesn’t care for the poor. Evidently we’re supposed set facts aside and unquestioningly join in calls for imposed states of emergency, believing the big banks finally have a conscience, when they’ve actually just come up with a new way to profit from the problems they created.

Militarized Police

Cointelpro Criminalized Protest

Black and Indigenous communities are on the front lines of struggle, because this machine runs on trauma, and they are the ones who carry the most-a consequence of ongoing racism, erasure, and colonization. Make no mistake, though, the machine will come after everyone in the end. It is the moral thing to face up to the brutal past of the Doctrine of Discovery and the trafficking of Africans as slaves. It is time to stand in solidarity with oppressed communities at home and abroad. In a cloud-computing world, digital harms inflicted on families in poor neighborhoods or halfway around the globe could show up in the backyards of privileged families within a week.

In the end the question we have to ask ourselves is are we going to look away as global financiers put children on Blockchain? Unhoused people? People needing treatment for addiction or a chronic illness? Refugees? Students?

Or are we going say it stops now and organize across race and class to do what it takes to make that happen?

Amply Pre-K

Shanzai Video 1 China

Austin Blockchain Homeless


Blockchain NAACP National 1

NAACP Blockchain National 2



Human Capital Futures: Racial Capitalism on Blockchain – A Presentation Given at the Unitarian Society of Germantown

I was grateful to be invited to participate in a day-long conversation about race and technology last week at the Unitarian Society of Germantown in Philadelphia. The morning’s discussion was centered on Clyde Ford’s wonderful memoir Think Black, which touches on family, corporate culture, race, and social engineering. Ford’s father was the first Black software engineer at IBM, and Clyde followed him into the business. You can watch a presentation he gave on the book for C-SPAN here.

Think Black

My role later that day was to paint a picture of next-gen tools of enslavement, the ones finance and technology interests have been refining for quite some time. As my host noted, my talk was meant to help folks recognize the digital slave ship when it comes on shore, because it might not look dangerous at first glance.

Faith-based communities will play a significant role in privatized social-service delivery. The plan is hook them into performance based contracting that requires them to data-mine the people they serve. I am trying to get out in front of this and tell people, especially white liberals, that we all have an obligation to intervene in the structures of racial capitalism. When foundations and politicians knock on the door with “pay for success” plans, people of faith must tell them in no uncertain terms that justice will never be served putting people on Blockchain.

What is needed is an abolition movement to stop digital identity systems tied to surveillance, policing, and public benefit access. It will have to be a movement of global solidarity that centers our nation’s brutal history in genocide, land theft, slavery and forced labor.

This is the slideshare for the talk I gave on February 22, 2020.

Below are a few images that speak to the plans of transnational global capital to turn people in data commodities. As always those on the front lines who will experience the full force of these brutal programs are Black and Brown people, Indigenous people, and the poor.

Global Education Futures Forum: Go to the “Maps and Posters” Tab, Then “Future of Global Education Map 2014”

GEF Human Capital Investment


NAACP Blockchain Cropped

Will Bloomberg’s Municipal Technocrats Undermine A Progressive Presidency?

Pointed critiques of Bloomberg’s egregious behavior and the damaging policies he advanced as mayor of New York have filled media feeds for months. Many progressives are heartened by the results of the Nevada primary. Bernie Sanders’s star is rising, and Bloomberg, despite deep pockets and support from centrist insiders, seems less likely to be the Democratic nominee.

Even so, the power Bloomberg holds over national public policy should not be underestimated. It is vital to connect his past activities, ones that were incredibly harmful to the Black community and low-income people, to his current efforts that aim to transform government into an extension of transnational global capital using a combination of innovative municipal finance, data analytics, and smart city infrastructure.

What Works Cities Intro


In a recent MSNBC clip, Anand Giridharadas, said his book Winner Take All was written to expose “dance moves” executed by the super rich to distract people from what is actually happening. He noted Bloomberg made a fortune selling data terminals to global finance, whose activities have contributed to the economic misery of many, many people. Anyone who reads my blog knows poverty is THE raw material for pay for success finance. Bloomberg has been in on this market from the ground floor.

Bloomberg Philanthropies acted as guarantor for the first social impact bond in the United States at Riker’s Island. In 2012 he prepared a briefing paper titled “Bringing Social Impact Bonds to New York City.” In 2018, Tracy Palandjian at Social Finance lauded his “What Works Cities” certification program, noting her hopes that participating cities would be able to more quickly scale pay for success finance using new tools like outcomes rate cards. The post housing-crash decade of austerity and precarity has teed up social impact investing as the new growth sector for Bloomberg’s oligarch network. No one in mass media is openly talking about THAT part of the story.

Privatizing social services using “evidence-based” programs that extract human capital data to facilitate performance contracts is the next phase of this brutal game. The “pay for success” game is not, however, exclusive to Bloomberg. It has advanced with broad bipartisan support. Federal legislation including the Foundations for Evidence Based Policy Making Act and the Social Impact Partnership Pay For Results Act paved the way for this agenda. FEPA passed the House with a 95% approval rate! While Giridharadas shines a spotlight on some of the dance moves, for now pay for success finance remains back stage. It seems no one is eager to unpack Moneyball government. Far easier to simply close with “rich-splaining” than complicate the narrative. Listen to the clip here.

Giridharadas On Bloomberg

With Bloomberg Philanthropies’ “What Works Cities” operating in over one hundred communities and counting, the billionaire class is poised to spread the trauma he inflicted on New York across the nation and around the world.

The partners in Bloomberg Philanthropies “What Works Cities” program include:

Behavioral Insights Team: Spin-off of the UK “nudge unit” that advances behavioral economics research to shape public service delivery.

Harvard Kennedy School Government Performance Lab: Successor to the Social Impact Bond Lab. Provides technical support to scale pay for success projects nationally.

Johns Hopkins Center for Government Excellence: Established in 2015 with a gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies to transform government operation through data infrastructure.

Results For America: Administrator of “What Works Cities” and intermediary between “evidence-based” policy implementation and social impact investors.

Sunlight Foundation: Tech and finance funding think tank promoting use of technology to advance transparency in government spending.

The Davos crowd knows more poverty is coming, and that poverty will be monitored in ever more sophisticated ways (cue food stamps on Blockchain). Smart city surveillance was refined in lower Manhattan by Microsoft and the New York City Police Department with Bloomberg’s blessing and homeland security funding. Domain Awareness System  has been adopted in numerous cities and by the governments of Brazil and Singapore. One of my recent posts examines Trump’s Operation Relentless Pursuit policing program and provides insight into the target cities along with Bloomberg’s ties to urban surveillance.

Domain Awareness


In the data-driven future of Bloomberg’s dreams, stop-and-frisk will include hive-mind drones and robot police dogs; education privatization proceeds with digital vouchers, stackable credentials, and teachers transformed into gamified avatars; gentrification forces unhoused folks into Blockchain identity systems and “smart” cargo containers where their every move is tracked for “impact.” Add brutality to his previous policies and plug them into a world of Big Data where targeted individuals are valued for their compliance to pathway programs as bits and pieces of global investment portfolios.

It will be a surveillance society beholden to corporate interests where public services are aligned to UN Sustainability Development Goals (UN SDGs) and efficiently measured to maximize profit for impact investors. A majority of the UN SDGs are framed as “anti-poverty” initiatives that allow billionaires to make money from micro-management of the misery of the poor. Bloomberg served as special envoy to the United Nations for Climate Change and was a global ambassador for non-communicable diseases to the World Health Organization. He chaired the Sustainable Accounting Standards Board, which is part of the Impact Management Project and partnered with Credly, a digital badging software company.

He has his pulse on how the very real social welfare concerns of progressives can be twisted by his fellow bad actors to turn a tidy profit. It’s all in how the deals are structured, and how the data is harvested. Bloomberg made his fortune creating innovative financial products and collecting and analyzing data. If you’re unfamiliar with how the UN SDGs interface with global finance, read this post.

UN SDG Michael Bloomberg

Michael Bloomberg UN SDG Map here.

With the advent of 5G and quantum computing, the visions of technocracy advanced nearly a century ago by Howard Scott may be coming to fruition. Government run by industrial engineers, technocrats, was a premise first investigated by Columbia University in the 1930s. Now Neil Kleiman and his colleagues at the NYU GovLab are advancing a similar approach branded this time around as “open data” and “civic tech.” GovLab,based in the Tandon School of Engineering, hosts several programs that support social impact finance. These include the Google and MacArthur Foundation funded Research Network on Opening Governance, the Data Labs project, and Innovations in Open Grantmaking.

Kleiman, a liberal, and Stephen Goldsmith, a conservative former mayor of Indianapolis who briefly served as Bloomberg’s Deputy Mayor of Operations and later led Harvard’s Data Smart City Solutions, are members of the “What Works Cities” standards committee. The two men published a book in 2017 titled A New City OS. The new “operating system” they pitched embraces distributed governance as a way to “restore public trust.” In reality that “openness” will usher in a wave of public-private partnerships intended to unlock public data so companies can pillage communal assets and develop products like predictive policing software.

The video below is a gathering Kleiman participated in at the University of Pennsylvania’s Fels Policy Research Initiative in the winter of 2018. It gives you a sense of the scope of data-driven government. I ask a question about pay for success finance at timestamp 57 minutes.

While not specifically identified as technocracy, algorithmic governance aligns with the ideals popularized by Thorstein Veblen and later stewarded by Zbigniew Brzezinski and members of the Trilateral Commission, of which Bloomberg is a member. Tracking the exact input and outputs of a nation’s economy was not possible with the technology available in the 1930s or the 1970s. Advances in ubiquitous computing and digital identity make it seem those challenges could eventually be addressed. Today global finance has embedded itself firmly into most government operations.

Cadres of technocrats are being lined up to service this industrial government vision. A new effort, Public Interest Technology – University Network, is being led by New America with financial support from the Ford and Hewlett Packard Foundations, both major players in global impact investing. Twenty-one prestigious universities have signed on to deliver the interdisciplinary training that data scientists will need to manage operating systems designed to engineer “living cities,” humans and infrastructure, to meet the financial expectations (impact) of Bloomberg and the Davos crowd.

PIT-UN Project Leads

Interactive map of Public Interest Technology – University Network here.

Harnessing the people of the United States to “What Works” government policies would be a crowning achievement for this electrical engineering major who used his expertise and a Harvard MBA to create a name for himself in bond sales at Salomon Brothers. Bloomberg leveraged that experience to become one of the largest purveyors of data analytics in finance. He pivoted to government “service” where as mayor of one of the world’s power centers he created a test-bed for data-driven policies. As a “philanthropist,” this billionaire is collaborating with finance and technology interests to hijack what remains of the social safety net, transforming it into a digital containment system to wring a few last drops of profit from the masses that will be thrown out of work by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Even if he’s not able to set up shop in the Oval Office, Bloomberg’s extensive partnerships indicate he’s not likely to quietly exit stage left if he loses his bid for the presidency. He’s working with Harvard Kennedy School to train hundreds of civic leaders; has tapped Results for America to oversee national implementation of “evidence-based” programs; and partnered with Living Cities to expand the network of change-agent Innovation Teams (iTeams). Cities, apparently, are the most attractive “unit of change.”

Bloomberg Government Innovation

Bloomberg Government Innovation interactive map here.

Bloomberg has billions to burn, and his plan is to bring global impact investing to scale. If his A-game doesn’t pan out, you can be sure there’s a Plan B. Imagine a truly progressive candidate wins the election. How likely is it that state and local governments will turn their backs on innovation zones, predatory public-private partnerships, and “pay for success” performance-based contracting? It seems far more likely that leaders groomed by Bloomberg whose communities have accepted Bloomberg Philanthropies’ largesse will continue to play along, even if it means vulnerable citizens are put on Blockchain and turned into profit centers for social entrepreneurs.

Bloomberg Harvard Mayors Training

What gives me hope is that there are more big-hearted people out there than technocrats. People of diverse backgrounds are uniting to demand wealth inequality be addressed, to demand people’s needs be met, to demand an end to violent systems of state control and police brutality.

My concern is that the very real needs for which these people are fighting have been set up as social impact markets.

So, will those of us who see the bigger picture be able to expose all the oligarchs’ sneaky “dance moves?”

Once we do that will we be able to come up with alternative sources of finance that do not require toddlers to be put on surveillance tables; veterans suffering from PTSD to be assigned text-bot therapists; or diabetic patients to have IoT sensors in their shoes to access the public service so desperately needed?

Can we convince people that Blockchain identity and 5G won’t offer liberation, but is instead a way for capitalism and private (digital) property rights to jump into virtual reality? That augmented reality is the next settler-colonial frontier?

Austin Blockchain Bloomberg

Funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, more here.

Can we strive for right relationships and banish technocracy once and for all?

People know the countless terrible things Michael Bloomberg has done in the past, but not enough people are talking about “what works,” data-driven, technocratic government. I’m not holding my breath for mainstream media to sound the alarm. There are too many hands in the Moneyball government cookie jar. We must do it. Please, share this information and broaden the conversation. If technocrats are able to redirect public demands for progressive public policy into the predatory architecture of pay for success finance, it will be a terrible loss for humanity and the planet.

PS: If you haven’t read my post in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en people, check it out here. Freda Huson and those around her are a perfect antidote for the toxicity of Bloomberg and his ilk. This is where hope lives.

All The Darkness Exposed To Light










Statement of Solidarity In Support of Wet’suwet’en First Nation: All The Darkness Shall Be Exposed To The Light

Today I had the luxury of enjoying time with my child who is home from college for a brief visit. As wonderful as it was to have a day off of work, it felt wrong to enjoy a “holiday” celebrating two colonizers. This feeling was particularly strong for me this year. You see my child is now pursuing their education on the un-ceded lands Canada calls British Columbia. It is a place where a significant struggle for Indigenous rights is unfolding. I feel a responsibility to encourage them to educate themselves, to be a good guest, and to support the self-determination efforts of Indigenous peoples who put their lives on the line to protect their territories and culture. I signed a pledge in support of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation and made a contribution towards their legal fees. Information about various ways you can support can be found on the supporter toolkit page here.

I write this statement of solidarity today, hoping my voice can in some small way honor ongoing Wet’suwet’en resistance to the colonial violence being carried on behalf of Coastal GasLink and other pipeline companies and their investors, many of which have ties to the United States. If you haven’t been following the Royal Mounted Canadian Police’s armed invasion of Wet’suwet’en lands, I encourage you to check out the hash tags #ReconciliationIsDead and #ShutDownCanada. Also take twenty minutes to watch the short documentary film, Invasion. It describes Unist’ot’en Camp’s decade-long project to build a healing center and protect their lands and water.

I’ve been trying to sit down and write for several weeks but keep putting it off. I’ve been preoccupied mapping the Negroponte brothers, technocracy, and Blockchain education. Each dot on each map reveals some new horrific facet of the larger puzzle, making it hard to focus and tell the story that needs to be told. My praxis has been to digitally swim in this toxic brew of militarized transnational global capital. It helps me learn the terrain, so I can interpret it for others. The toxicity, however, does take a toll.

An antidote over the past few weeks has been watching from afar the powerful stand taken by the Wet’suwet’en people against the pipeline companies. They have steadfastly and at great personal risk opposed the Canadian corporate state, which professes to be a leader in sustainability while continuing to partner with extractive industries that are intent on devastating Indigenous lands and waters. In a video last week, Freda Huson of Unist’ot’en Camp said they intended make their stand and expose the lies. They would bring the darkness to light.

As a mother, it was incredibly moving to see these matriarchs confronting riflemen and dogs and helicopters. The women of Unist’ot’en Camp were taken while in ceremony honoring the lives of missing and murdered women lost to the petroleum industry. They were taken as they stood in ceremony, living links between ancestors and future generations. It brought to mind Regina Brave’s treaty stand at Standing Rock. The sacrifice of these women exposed the brutal violence upon which colonialism rests.

There is no doubt in my mind that the world is at a crossroads. Will the masses follow the scorched path of technocracy or will we uphold Indigenous sovereignty and pursue a different course? I hope that mothers of the world will recognize this is the time to choose the latter path, the green one. This week my feed was filled with images of Michael Bloomberg and Freda Huson. The former is the face of faux “techno-green” capitalism that intends to kill the planet to further enrich oligarchs through initiatives like LNG. The latter embodies a worldview that centers self-determination for Indigenous and oppressed peoples and collective healing for people and planet.

It gives me hope that so many across North America have risen up to join with the Wet’suwet’en people in calling out Canada and Trudeau on their treacherous actions. The amount of direct action and disruption caused shows how powerful people can be when united in struggle. Let us tap into that power to build a world based in right relationships. Let us to bring the darkness to light. As we in the United States drown in coverage of the upcoming presidential election, we should keep in mind that the leaders we actually need may very well be the Freda Husons.

Reconciliation is dead; revolution is alive.



Dallas And Tulsa: A Tale of Two Blockchains

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to travel to Dallas and Tulsa, connect in person with friends and research collaborators, see local sites of “social entrepreneurship,” and meet others who are developing strategies to fight the coming tide of predatory “human capital investment.” For important background on the disruption that is overtaking Tulsa, I recommend you read Julianne Romanello’s feature article in the Tulsa Star, George Kaiser’s Social Impact Philanthropy: How A Billionaire Turned North Tulsa’s Misery Into A Cash Cow.

During this visit I gave several presentations.  Below are three of them, as well as a Facebook Live feed from an informational leafleting action held at an Impact Tulsa event. While the Wednesday and Saturday talks are on the same topic, the first has more audience participation while the second gets through the whole slide deck. It’s a lot to take in, but I wanted to put it all in one place for future reference. I believe the importance of the information shared here will become more evident as the takeover of public benefit systems by “stakeholder capitalists” picks up steam. You can access the slide share for the Tulsa talks here.

Tuesday Discussion in Dallas

Alison McDowell in Dallas from Lynn Davenport on Vimeo.

Wednesday Evening Presentation, Downtown Library, Tulsa, OK, filmed by Green Country DSA

Saturday Morning Presentation, Downtown Library, Tulsa, OK

Leafletting at Impact Tulsa’s Pathways to Opportunity Event at OSU, January 23, 2020

In preparing for my visit I discovered both Dallas and Tulsa are piloting Blockchain high school transcripts. Promoters of Blockchain credentials tout their convenience as well as their capacity to aggregate demonstrations of competencies earned from a variety sources. That, of course, is the infrastructure needed to set up “anytime, anywhere lifelong learning ecosystems.” It will also enable the tracking of people’s economic output against their “education” over time, throwing open the door to widespread adoption of income-sharing agreements. Both are crucial elements needed to scale human capital investment markets globally.

If social impact financiers get their way, future generations will no longer have access to physical school buildings in their communities. It will be in the interests of the elite to suppress social discourse and free idea sharing among the masses as the Fourth Industrial Revolution begins to pick up speed. Instead, we will see efforts to transition to screen-based and wearable technologies that deliver “just-in-time” “personalized” learning content via OER (open education resources). Blockchain will be used to “verify” that individuals, now reduced to raw material for digital processing, have acquired the skills that chamber of commerce executives deem desirable for maintaining their planned regional economies.

As people progress along assigned “cradle to career” pathways, service providers and global investors will collect “impact” payments. Children and older “lifelong learners” will be expected to demonstrate “success,” jumping through the hoops designated by the government officials and investors who set up “pay for success” deals. “Education” will thus be transformed into a grueling, gamified exercise carried out in an augmented reality, surveillance world from which there is no escape, until perhaps one reaches the “gray” stage. Each point along the path is clearly identified, so profit can be continuously harvested as long as some level of “growth” is shown. Increasingly “growth” will entail students and older knowledge workers performing appropriate mindsets. That is why demonstrations of social-emotional competencies have become more and more central to the “educational” process.

For financiers, it is never too soon for children to start building portfolios of badges. Curating a desirable data brand from birth will be key to becoming a successful competitor in the artificial intelligence hiring, global platform, gig-economy Hunger Games. They are attempting to delude people into thinking that if they can log every aspect of their life as a job qualification, they will have a better shot at employment; when in fact, the micro-credential race will enable employers to more effectively pit workers against one another and regulate society using “educational” micro-debt products.

Even though “philanthropists” have put unborn children on Blockchain in Tanzania, and toddlers on Blockchain in South Africa, I expect someone made the calculation that it was not yet palatable to do that in the United States. A better point of entry here is the high school transcript. People would likely question the need to assign a digital identity to a three year old, but by framing it as an “improved” high school transcript, one that could be linked to “free college” no less, adoption of digital identities for workforce development could slip in with few realizing the magnitude of what actually happened.

Thus a generation of children is about to be transformed, on Blockchain, as raw material for the “impact economy,” a system that will run on predictive profiling and real time “smart city” data aggregation. This is what is being discussed now in Davos under the banner of “stakeholder capitalism,” neoliberal poverty management carried out as an extension of the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals. This apparatus is designed to profit the global elite, as refugees and the global poor will be forced to code the geo-fenced digital jails meant to contain them. Offering up their unfree labor will thus become a prerequisite to survive in a world where human labor is rapidly being made obsolete by 5G, robots, and the internet of things.

Union Public Schools in Tulsa, which services 19,000 students, signed on to Blockcerts last April. Blockcerts is an alternative credentialing system refined by MIT spin-off Learning Machine. It premiered in the United States at Southern New Hampshire University, which is led by Paul Leblanc, one of the education advisors to Ridge Lane LP. The district’s ninth graders will be issued full digital transcripts when they graduate.

Dallas County Promise is a “scholarship program” set up ostensibly to combat the “skills gap” and aid students in acquiring post-secondary credentials. In reality it is just as much about creating an apparatus to grow human capital impact investment markets. Last year the program partnered with Manoj Kutty’s Greenlight Credentials and Salesforce.

According to Global Education Futures Initiative advisory board member Tom Vander Ark, this digital transcript will allow Dallas students to “tell their whole story.” Of course we know that means tracking in demand “soft skills” that will inform future investors of a person’s perceived worth as “human capital.” According to a project overview by Salesforce, which provides technical support for the program’s “Education Cloud” digital nudge service, students who sign up for the program are immediately put on a “communications journey.” Thus the digital processing and compliance monitoring begins.

Commit! managed by Todd Williams, a former Goldman Sachs executive, is a partner in the Dallas County Promise effort. It is one of the largest and most influential “collective impact” programs in the country. More background on Commit’s collaboration with DataKind to engineer “gap-closing” “solutions” by deploying social impact finance can be found on Lynn Davenport’s write up here.

There are other big money players in on the game. JP Morgan Chase provided the seed funding for Dallas’s “free college” program. JP Morgan has made numerous significant donations to organizations involved in the privatization of public education, “evidence-based” policies, and the development of “stackable credential” systems.  See map below. Interactive version here.

Dallas County Promise JP Morgan

In the spring of 2019 a $1.1 billion bond was passed to expand the operations of the Dallas County Community College District. The bond’s passage was, however, contested by Kurt Launius who filed a lawsuit charging voting irregularities. Launius submitted over 4,500 pages of evidence to back up his claims.

Commit’s offices are located directly across the street from Old Parkland, which I will describe in more detail below. That office complex houses the Dallas Foundation and Tom Luce’s Texas 2036. Human capital speculation is big, big business – a bipartisan business – and it seems a lot of the groundwork is being laid within the leafy confines of that exclusive campus. The futures of coming generations are wrapped up in the calculated conversations going on behind closed doors. The map below shows relationships between Commit!, Old Parkland tenants, and special guests of Harlan Crow. These guests were identified on a framed document seen hanging outside Crow’s fancy Debate Room. Interactive version of map here.

Old Parkland

Under the banner of “convenience,” coming generations will be turned into data commodities, their behavioral compliance to authoritarian systems recorded on Blockchain. Thus they can be risk-profiled, their futures exchanged as data in service of global markets. While some still cling to the idea that we’re headed towards a Star Trek techno-utopia, it feels far more likely our destination will more closely resemble the panopticon of Zamyatin’s 1921 novel “We.”

The screen shots below are taken from the education timeline created by the Global Education Futures Initiative.

GEF Human Capital Investment

Peopleonaire - Human Capital Investments

From Global Education Futures Initiative, see maps and posters tab, here.

During my visit to Dallas I dropped in to check out the Debate Room at Old Parkland, described by the Dallas News as the most expensive, invitation-only office space in the city. Originally a hospital that closed in the 1980s and sat vacant for many years,  Harlan Crow bought it from the city in 2006 and developed it as an enclave where the public-private partnership deals of the impact economy and “smart city” development could be hammered out.

It is telling that the architecture and artwork bolsters the mythology of America’s founding fathers as an ideal to be embraced. According to the Dallas news feature:

“This is an American fantasyland created by Crow as an homage to the American Experiment. Towering bronze statues of founding fathers George Washington, Alexander Hamilton and Benjamin Franklin stand as sentinels at three buildings. ‘The idea was to celebrate the ideas of the American founding using specific founders, but also their intellectual antecedents from the Enlightenment,’ says Crow, who’s more than just a history buff. ‘So there’s a lot of John Locke and Adam Smith and guys from the Enlightenment who never came to America but who greatly influenced the founders.’”

But as Tim Scott lays out in his meticulous analysis of The Duplicitous U.S. Constitution published in Dissident Voice in 2017, such myths have always been and continue to be used to mask the ongoing violence that defines our national psyche.

“A nation where private property rights are akin to natural rights, therefore framing capitalism, no matter how brutal, with benevolent intent and thus inviolable. These structural foundations, which are rooted within the barbarism of chattel slavery and the brutality of gender oppression, constructed an enduring national culture defined by genocide, dispossession, white supremacy, anti-blackness, heteropatriarchy, misogyny, social inequity and wealth inequality. Over three centuries later, despite significant efforts by resistance movements to transform it, this underlying national culture persists; entwined within an era where mass surveillance, mass incarceration, unprecedented wealth inequality and unending militarism are perversely justified as imperatives to preserve freedom, democracy and the mythical ‘American Dream.’”

We have arrived at the threshold of techno-fascism precisely because so many cling to myths of “enlightened” white men. Many of these men advanced revolution so they could profit from illegal land speculation. They included men who owned and raped enslaved Black women while issuing statements such as the one featured on an Old Parkland bronze lamppost: “I prefer a rebellious liberty to a peaceful slavery.” That was Jefferson’s letter to Madison in 1787. These contradictions can no longer hold. We are the supply chain, all of us. Once human labor is no longer needed for manufacturing, service and knowledge work, the sole value most of us will possess is our willingness to serve the system as obedient impact commodities. The protections offered by whiteness, professional credentials, and meritocracy will no longer apply.

Now is the time to start acknowledging our long-standing American nightmare. Blockchain identity will usher in neo-slavery at an unimaginable scale. As a society we have never reckoned with the fact that our wealth and power as a nation was built on genocide, land theft, enslavement and forced labor. Soon many more people will be staring into the great maw of late stage capitalism, our futures foreclosed as robots and algorithms are trained to replace us.

So, how will we proceed? Will we begin to address our brutal history? Will we strive for right relations with one another and the planet? Will we build a world where ALL people enjoy self-determination and equal opportunity for fulfilling, life-sustaining work? Where resources are shared in a spirit of abundance, turning our backs on imposed scarcity and brutal competition?

Will we push back against oligarchs who meet in sumptuous basement rooms festooned with Greek inscriptions and inscrutable coins inset into the paneling? Where bad art and bronze plaques extoll the idea of people as private property, targets for debt collectors who seek to profit from mass dispossession?

Now is the time. Given the disturbing Ides of March painting that presides over the Old Parkland Debate Room, we should be very concerned about the extent to which their plans are already in motion.

Images of Old Parkland

Ides Of March

A painting depicting The Ides Of March dominates the debate room. The Ides of March was a time for debt collection. Following the assassination of Julius Caesar, Rome was plunged into a period of civil war.

Old Parkland Exterior

Exterior View Coming Up Oak Lawn Avenue

Old Parkland Map

Map Showing Debate Room, Dallas Foundation, Texas 2036, and Commit! Offices

Old Parkland Gues 1Old Parkland Guests 2Parkland Guests 3

Guests of Old Parkland 2006-2016

GueFreedom's Charge

Freedom’s Charge Statue In Interior Courtyard

John Locke

Consider this plaque at the entrance to the building that houses the debate chamber within the context of Blockchain identity and global human capital impact investing.

Debate Room

Debate Chamber, 75 Seats

Debate Room Foyer

Atrium at Debate Chamber Entrance: DNA, Steve Jobs, Nixon, Churchill and FDR with Eisenhower. Note lamp posts.

Defend PropertyAdam Smith Man Lives By ExchangingAdams Property Must Be SecuredLamp Dangerous Liberty

Statements On Lamp Bases Speaking to Protection of Private Property

Presidential Portraits

Bush Allegory

Allegory of 9/11 With Founding Fathers

References to Antiquity In Debate Room

Steve Jobs

Homage to Steve Jobs and Technology


Operation Relentless Pursuit: Test Beds For “Smart City” Signals Intelligence?

On January 7, 2020 Black Alliance for Peace – Baltimore issued a demand that public officials reject a planned surge of militarized policing authorized by the Trump administration. Operation Relentless Pursuit is targeting Baltimore and six other mid-size cities, all of which have significant Black and Brown populations. The others include: Detroit, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Kansas City, Memphis, and Albuquerque. Representatives of the FBI, DEA, AFT, and US Marshall Service were present at the Department of Justice’s December 18, 2019 press conference.

I write this post as a statement of solidarity in support of their demands and to examine this operation in light of my recent work around policing, diversion courts, and prison “reform” as a global investment market. I have concerns that some of the funds associated with this vile operation may be channeled into problematic technological systems. Residents of these cities could end up as test-subjects for new forms of militarized digital surveillance intended to further harm Black and Brown communities while allowing military interests to refine the signals intelligence required for future urban military actions. Data collected under the pretense of crime reduction could also create baselines to expand futures markets in human capital (pay for success). Baltimore, in particular, is home to major players in the global impact investing space. Among them: the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Catholic Relief Services, Johns Hopkins, and Yet Analytics.

Baltimore Impact Investing and Innovation

Interactive map of Baltimore Impact Investing and Government Innovation here.

According to the Black Alliance for Peace – Baltimore’s statement, these cities all participate in the Defense Logistics Agency’s 1033 Program, which permits police departments to secure surplus military equipment. The statement goes on to say, “Related is the ‘Deadly Exchange’ program, which is a massive exchange between the U.S. and the Israeli police and Israeli military where hyper-militarized techniques and technologies are shared.”

Five of Operation Relentless Pursuit’s cities are partners with Bloomberg Philanthropies “What Works Cities.” The program promotes municipal “innovation” with data-driven policies and public-private partnerships that provide cover for hostile corporate takeovers of ostensibly public assets. These programs are advanced through donations of in-kind consulting services to governments, provided by fellows from Bloomberg’s iTeams. Last year Israel’s Ministry of the Interior set up a “civic innovation” program in partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies to install change agents in twelve Israeli communities.

The program, called Hazira, is located in Tel Aviv. Sir Ronald Cohen’s Israeli office of Social Finance, originator of the first social impact bond, is located there as well. We are living within an increasingly militarized web woven by global financial interests. Activists must always be making connections between policing actions and economic violence carried out at home and abroad. For transnational global capital, borders are fluid; it is for the masses that borders and biometrics are deployed to impose control. Technologies devised to manage one population; whether British prisoners, the children of Gaza, or the homeless of Austin, spread like viruses. For this reason solidarity among cities and through international channels will be vital as we all face the violence of late-stage capitalism.

What Works Cities Bloomberg

Interactive map of What Works Cities here.



Militarization of urban environments by public and private security forces (including robots) is a growing concern. In September of 2019 a story in Newsweek revealed that US Immigration and Customs Enforcement sought to procure “hyper-realistic training devices” that would include up to fifty new prop buildings constructed at Fort Benning, Georgia. Just shy of a million dollars was budgeted for two replicas: a Chicago model and an Arizona model. It appears the government is leveraging brutal immigration enforcement policies to launch a training program for domestic counter-insurgent warfare. This is not surprising given the economic and social unrest anticipated to ramp up as the Fourth Industrial Revolution progresses.

In a 2017 interview with Ann Marie Slaughter of New America at a symposium on the future of war, Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff discussed the need for the US army to optimize for urban warfare stating that provisions were being made to design tanks and helicopters to fit these new terrain requirements (clip here). Later in the conference Eric Schmidt of Alphabet / Google, a funder of New America, stated that the future of war would be shaped by advances in artificial intelligence (AI), computer vision, and pattern recognition (clip here) leading to an increase in lethality from precision weaponry. These sentiments are affirmed by a 2016 report prepared by Mitre for US Army TRADOC D-2 Mad Scientist Megacities and Dense Urban Areas Initiative. The document describes the need for robust systems of data collection and analysis in cities via sensor networks.

Mad Scientists Urban MegaCities

Source, page 16 here.

In October of 2017 I attended a public meeting on the future of policing hosted by Azavea in conjunction with the International Police Chiefs Conference. At the end of the Q&A then CIO of Philadelphia, Charles Brennan, stated the future of policing was facial recognition software, predictive analytics, and drone surveillance. Robert Cheetham, a colleague of Brennan’s who founded Azavea after being trained in landscape architecture at UPenn and initiating GIS mapping for the Philadelphia police department, had lobbied for city’s “open-data” policy.

Cheetham capitalized on that free data, creating Hunchlab, a predictive policing software program, which was sold back to Philadelphia and other cities where Black people have been killed or assaulted by police including East St. Louis and Chicago. According to this history of the project, the NSF actually funded the research used to develop the for-profit Hunchlab platform. For more on Hunchlab and the rise of predictive policing software I recommend Bilel Benbouzid’s 2019 article from Big Data Society, “To Predict and to manage. Predictive policing in the United States.”

Future of Policing Azavea

Azavea event description here.

Drones or UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) are important. Anyone who’s been following state intervention into resistance movements, including pipeline protests, knows that drones are go-to tools of law enforcement. In 2015, the state of North Dakota even passed a law permitting police to equip drones with non-lethal weapons. A 2019 article put out by Curt Fleming on behalf of the International Association of Chiefs of Police suggests that with strategic education and legislative changes, nests of drones could be mounted on public buildings in service of urban policing within the decade.

Drone Nests

Drone policing source here.

Aerial surveillance is not limited to drones/UAVs, but can include satellite imagery and even planes equipped with industrial cameras. In Baltimore, a plane-based monitoring program is being reinstated after having been quashed due to its secretive nature back in 2016. At the time John Arnold, a key figure in impact market development and reentry services, was found to have been underwriting the program. Persistent Surveillance Systems provided the monitoring using military technology developed for use in Iraq. Undisclosed philanthropists are funding this next round of the program, which involves three planes flying over the city for four to six months.

Drone Surveillance Persistent Software Systems

More information here.

Again think about the military goal of training algorithms for pattern recognition. Imagine all this data being captured about our social relations in urban environments. Any small sliver may not be actionable, but in aggregate and funneled into enormous data lakes, these feeds will undoubtedly begin to exert tremendous control over civic life. As if Internet of Things-based predictive policing were not bad enough, consider what it would mean to layer in risk-profiling of individuals and communities for social impact investments.

We know truancy is an impact metric. Could UAV or plane surveillance data be used to target “impactful” interventions for families of children deemed to be at risk? How about addiction? Will aerial surveillance or Internet of Things Data be used to track substance users in a given census tract? Could policing extend to monitoring the retinal scans of users of supportive housing if they are under state supervision?

Even something as seemingly innocuous as infrastructure for a public transit app opens the door wider to surveillance as is seen in this US Department of Transportation “smart city” application prepared by the City of Albuquerque (which was not ultimately funded). In this excerpt you can see the impetus for the mesh network was ostensibly to track buses and allow building inspectors to upload data, but it also would have made police access to surveillance cameras and criminal records easier, too.

Albuquerque Smart City Surveillance

Source “Beyond Traffic The Smart City Challenge” Albuquerque here.

So, it appears the US military anticipates a future of urban warfare, likely within our borders. They are adapting their capabilities to this environment, which had previously been according to Milley “sub-optimized.” The weapons will be informed by AI, and their effectiveness will require lots of training data. The more data that is fed into these systems, the better its “pattern recognition” will be. Now, consider the ways in which digital surveillance has been normalized, particularly in cities, under the pretense of creating “safer” environments. Consider widespread adoption of body cameras, which Axon Enterprise (formerly Taser), distributed for “free” to police departments. The company has been data-mining that footage to refine its own AI.

Seventy-one million federal dollars have been budgeted for Operation Relentless Pursuit. While I anticipate much of that will be used to pay for traditional mechanisms of policing, the press release does state funds can be used for “mission critical equipment and technology.” The seven cities being targeted are all part of the big data, government agenda. They’re involved in “smart city” planning efforts, have “open data” portals, and are collaborating with social impact investment / municipal “innovation” interests through Living Cities and the Bloomberg-backed “What Works” Cities program. Four of the seven municipalities are participants in the Strive Together “Cradle to Career” network, and four are part of the MacArthur Foundation’s “Safety + Justice” Challenge. Several are working with the Behavioral Insights Team, “nudge” consulting.

Operation Relentless Pursuit Map

Interactive map of Operation Relentless Pursuit here.

So-called “smart” city sensor networks and “open data” policies that digitally track public engagement with municipal services need to be viewed as tools of signals intelligence. While touted as enabling cost-effective and accountable budgeting, data-driven e-government is actually about ceding community control to predictive analytics and risk assessment algorithms.

This transition is advancing:

1) lean efficiencies / labor automation that will result in widespread poverty

2) the engineering of labor markets in service of transnational global capital

3) the creation of human capital investment markets where people = data

The hub that permits all of this to move forward is the carceral state: policing, courts, custody, and state supervision. Policing should be understood to include not just municipal law enforcement, but the “soft” policing of welfare officials, state and federal law enforcement, the US military, as well as private security forces. All enact violence against poor communities, though the methods vary. The carceral state works hand-in-hand with “smart cities” and IoT deployment.

The signals intelligence of data-driven policing and justice will be used to:

1) identify and confront threats to systems of control / contain the impoverished

2) absorb surplus labor as living wage jobs disappear

3) justify and document cost-off sets needed to run “pay for success” impact deals

Smart City Policing

IoT Policing Poverty


Efforts are underway to portray the “digitally harmonized citizen” of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, as an innovative entrepreneur who will be able to pursue a prosperous “personalized” future through 5G / Internet of Things edge computing. In fact, the vast majority of folks will instead be predictively profiled into permanent poverty and mined for their data as human capital investments. That is the intent behind the big-money interests of the Living Cities and What Works Cities initiatives.

Harmonization of Digital Citizen IEEE.jpg


The map below shows the linkages in Cincinnati between Procter and Gable, the Internet of Things, and Strive Together / Knowledgeworks’ human capital tracking programs. On the right are the seven cities of Relentless Pursuit in orange. All but one are linked to either a Strive “cradle to career” or MacArthur / Collective Shift LRNG program of badge/place-based “lifelong” learning in cities (see my post on navigating whiteness). The bottom section features select partnerships the MacArthur Foundation has supported to structure data around the carceral cost off-sets needed to underpin profit taking from the“human capital” management / processing / surveillance of populations deemed “at risk.” To the left of that are links to IEEE and some of the mechanics of digital citizenship. Finally the left side shows the tentacles of the Rockefeller Foundation in the impact investing space. The Rockefeller Foundation is but one of eighteen influential funders working through Living Cities.

Relentless Pursuit Living Cities

Interactive version of Relentless Pursuit / Living Cities map here.

Policy pushers with Ivy League degrees know there will be resistance to what is coming. Government officials attending all of these “Future of Work” panels know it, too. What they need is to have systems in place to predict unrest and contain it, preferably so that the people who already have most of the money make even money; because that is how the machine runs. I suspect that the technologies that will be deployed as part of this operation will begin to address those needs. Perhaps these seven cities are test beds to try out options for military signals intelligence AND human capital data monitoring.

Operation Relentless Pursuit will not improve quality of life in these seven cities. It will be yet another layer added onto a toxic accretion of racist policing. This phase may, however, impose more sophisticated tools of surveillance and data analysis than have been previously seen. It will also serve to push up the number of people under state supervision, so that when human capital impact markets begin to scale, the cost-offsets of mass incarceration have been maximized. Gang-related profiling will likely be used to create baselines for expanding juvenile justice related impact investing; the same for substance users and “evidence-based” addiction treatments. In the end it’s ultimately about building global markets and shutting down dissent.

Brandon Walker of Ujima People’s Progress Party gave an extensive interview about Operation Relentless Pursuit and his view of situation in Baltimore. He expressed a deep desire to reassert community control in response to the systematic and chronic abdication of responsibility carried out by public agencies and elected officials for decades. I suspect similar sentiments are shared in the six other cities. The What Works / Living Cities model is the antithesis of that. Liberation won’t come from an open data portal. Look what we got in Philadelphia – predictive policing software. I write to express my solidarity with Mr. Walker and community members in the other six cities who find themselves in the cross-hairs of Operation Relentless Pursuit, a terrible misdirection of federal funds with tremendous potential for violence to be used against innocent people.

Our collective futures depend on stopping wars at home, including Operation Relentless Pursuit, and the wars abroad. People are hurting. We need the 67 cents of every taxpayer dollar spent on defense to be redirected to poor communities so they can have a voice, self-determination, and start build the world we need; a world of peace where the machines of mass incarceration and militarization are completely dismantled.

If this sounds compelling, check out the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign’s #LivesOverLuxury March on the Democratic National Convention planned for July 13, 2020 in Milwaukee. Find more information here.

Lives Over Luxury




#LivesOverLuxury: The Poor People’s Army Will March on the DNC in Milwaukee on July 13, 2020

Today the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign officially launches preparations for the 2020 Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee where we plan to march to demand an end to the wars at home and abroad. The 67 cents of every taxpayer dollar that is devoted to waging war must instead be used to meet our responsibilities to those in need here at home. The theme of the march, #LivesOverLuxury, speaks to the brutality of wealth inequality, gentrification, and dispossession. The Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign is an organization advocating for the rights of poor and is led by poor people. This afternoon there will be a press conference in Milwaukee. Press release below. 


January 9, 2020 PRESS CONTACTS
Cheri Honkala: 215-869-4753
Galen Tyler: 215-883-9771 

The Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign (PPEHRC) and the Poor People’s Army announce the #LivesOverLuxury March on the DNC, that will be held opening day of the Democratic National Convention on July 13, 2020 at 4:00 p.m.

MEMBERS OF THE POOR PEOPLE’S ARMY WILL BE ON HAND JANUARY 10 AT 2:00 P.M., AT FISERV FORUM ON THE SE CORNER OF 6TH ST AND WEST JUNEAU IN MILWAUKEE, WI, the site of this summer’s DNC, to speak to the press and public about plans for the march and the teach-in they are holding.

Cheri Honkala, a formerly homeless mother, antipoverty advocate, and
founder of PPEHRC, will provide details of the march. Also present will
be other PPEHRC leaders who organize and educate around issues impacting youth, student debt, community and police violence, climate crises, lack of living wage jobs, and homelessness.

“I want to encourage everyone to come out and address this epidemic, the
endless gun violence, that exists in our communities, especially the
African American community,” said Jamal Johnson, of Stop Killing Us
organization. “Also want to make all aware that we are the solution to
the problem, so we must galvanize to combat it. That’s in a country that
spends $50 million on security for a week at the DNC but abandons
addressing the violence at home.”

“People don’t have a place to live, they’re dying. There’s homeless
people right here in Milwaukee, and violence at home and abroad,” said
Honkala. “As Dr. King said, humankind must put an end to war or war will
put an end to humankind.”

Since 2000, PPEHRC has had the largest marches outside both the
Democratic and Republican National Conventions each election year. This
year, at a time so crucial for the future of humanity and the planet,
PPEHRC will amass the largest Poor People’s Army this country has ever
seen outside the DNC to take back the $.67 of every government dollar
spent on war and occupation, to end poverty and all forms of violence at
home and abroad.

PPEHRC is dedicated to building a movement that unites the poor across
color lines. Poverty afflicts people of all colors. Every day more and
more people are downsized and impoverished. Millions of Americans are in
poverty, and millions more working and middle class people are just
paychecks away, or medical bankruptcies away. from homelessness and

With the world’s press and attention on the theatrics at the Democratic
and Republican conventions, the Poor People’s Army will put poor people
front and center in a historic march that will demand a different kind
of world where the world’s resources are protected and used to meet the
basic needs of all people. The march and teach-in will feature speakers
and performers from across the country.

Lives Over Luxury

Andy Willis, our comrade from Chicago, created an amazing poster to promote the event. Because of my research I was asked to write up a brief description to go with it, even though the visual alone is incredibly powerful. The take-away is that while we are up against incredible odds, and our government (both sides) has completely sold us out, we should not despair, but instead organize. Poor people, working class people DO have power; what is needed is to come together. Organizing for this march and week-long teach-in provides just such an opportunity. 


We face a disruptive future brought about by climate catastrophe, militarization, wealth inequality and the automation of labor. The global elite have deprived the masses of a living wage, access to stable housing, healthy food, and quality healthcare. We are at a tipping point. Millions are cast out of their communities, disconnected from one another and social institutions. With so many adrift in media noise, drugs, and violence it is vital that we focus, organize, and begin to restore authentic connections and systems of mutual aid to prepare for what is to come.

Those in power intend to manage global disruption profitably and brutally. That infrastructure is being put in place now, branded as “smart” city technologies. Cloud computing, Internet of Things sensors, artificial intelligence, and Blockchain feed signals intelligence to US Defense interests. Sophisticated systems of surveillance and militarized policing are sneaking in behind innocuous programs like transit apps and digital payment systems. We are unthinkingly adopting life-killing technologies that will force the poor into open-air jails as we poison the planet. There is nothing “smart” about systems that demand the mining of rare minerals by child labor and vast quantities of clean water to cool server farms, not to mention e-waste. 

Hedge funds plan to use technology not only to police us, but also to nudge our actions and digitize us as data. Then they can gamble on our identities, our futures as human capital assets, securitized and traded on derivatives markets. The poor will be biometrically linked to benefit vouchers and tracked through the Internet of Things panopticon. The price of living in this world of austerity is behavioral compliance. Stay on the pathways, or else. This is a bipartisan scheme where elected officials front for IBM, Oracle, Cisco, HP, Intel, and Qualcomm. Leaders swap out at election cycles, but the “what works” data-driven government machine stays on its destructive course, lining the pockets of Goldman Sachs and Blackstone as we get ever closer to the edge of the cliff.

But this future is not preordained; it can and will be contested. We will fight inhumanity with relationships. Our clarity is an antidote for corporate propaganda. Together we will channel our creativity and expose these sickening schemes while making provisions to care for one another with shared resources. Endorse the march, make a donation, and connect with the Poor Peoples’ Army. More information, including a #LivesOverLuxury toolkit, available here. I am planning to attend. If you are in the Philadelphia area and want more information, get in touch with me through the blog.