Will Covid-19 certificates trigger biometric digital identity roll out?

It is week four of the Covid-19 pandemic lock-down. People have been told to get busy fashioning masks out of bits of cloth, hair bands, and filters they have around the house. The initial shock has worn off, and apparently we are supposed to gear up for the long haul as the global economy collapses around us. Unless you have a top-security clearance, your chances of knowing the full truth of what is happening is impossible.

What IS clear is that powerful global interests, including members of the World Economic Forum, are using this time of disruption and desperation to try and push through many elements needed to implement their Fourth Industrial Revolution program. This includes global digital currency, smart biometric surveillance, wearable technologies, online education, and tele-presence labor including tele-medicine and tele-therapy. All of this is happening against a back-drop of increased policing, diminished labor and environmental protections, and 5G infrastructure installation.

WEF Covid 19

Source: World Economic Forum, Covid 19 Action Platform, Strategic Intelligence

Crown Castle 5G

Source: Crown Castle Surges in Q2 As Carriers Upgrade From LTE To 5G, July 2019

Crown Castle Bill Gates 5G

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I anticipate the next shoe to drop could very well be preparations for widespread implementation of digital identity tied to the issuance of viral immunity certificates. Digital certificates would be hashed on blockchain pending documentation of antibodies from a blood draw or having received a requisite vaccination – to provide “trust” in the social order. We appear to be quickly approaching a “show me your papers” phase. It seems logical such data would end up as part of a health-passport residing on a person’s phone (tracking device), to be presented on demand.

Since the primary focus of my research has been education, I had expected the pressure to adopt digital identity systems would come through blockchain credentials and workforce development – a soft approach that would slide in gradually over the coming decade as young people with Blockchain transcripts entered a new STEM-centric workforce.

Now it occurs to me that a faster roll out would be through health certifications, precipitated by this pandemic. Bill Gates got the ball rolling during a March 18 Reddit Q&A. Then Ezekiel Emanuel (brother of Rahm and Ari) suggested states maintain registries of people who can prove they have been exposed to Covid-19 via a blood test in a March 28 New York Times op-ed. Next James Bullard, president of the St. Louis Federal Reserve, suggested daily testing with badges during an interview with CBS’s Face the Nation on April 5. The idea of immunity passports, “vaccination passess” are being discussed in Italy and developed in Germany.

Gates Digital Certificates

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The screen shots below are taken from an April 2, 2020 feature in the Harvard Business Review. The piece attempts to position the imposition of biometric digital identity, individual and population behavioral analysis via artificial intelligence, and satellite surveillance as benevolent interventions tied to the “equitable” delivery of Covid-19 vaccines.

Public health is being weaponized as a tool of bio-surveillance and profit extraction. Profit will be created through human capital finance AND through the architecture of the surveillance it requires. Seth Berkley, the head of the Gates Foundation’s vaccine program GAVI, is a co-author of the piece. Gates maintains significant investments in satellite deployment and Crown Castle 5G wireless infrastructure. Rebecca Weintraub, another co-author, is managing director of the Draper Kaplan Richard Foundation, which is heavily invested in ed-tech and data-driven crimal justice reform.

When people ask you about proof linking Gates to vaccines to universal digital ID, here it is – straight from Harvard. The intentions of the ruling elite to turn our lives into data for surveillance and profit could not be more clear.

Harvard Business Review Covid 19 1

Harvard Covid 19 2

Source: A Covid-19 Vaccine Will Need Equitable, Global Distribution, Harvard Business Review, April 2, 2019

So here we are. Lots of folks are anxious to be tested. If proof of exposure / anti-bodies grants a “get-out-of-quarantine-free” card, I wager many would agree to sign up for a digital identity without giving it a second thought.

But as they say, beware of beginnings. Antibody passports throw open the door to a much bigger program of data-mining linked to self-sovereign or decentralized identity. Digital identity structures enable the vast accumulation of  interoperable data.

Pay for Success finance runs on data from services relating to education, healthcare, and housing. Just as public assets have been siphoned off from public education to fuel the growth the ed-tech industry, the same is about to happen with Medicaid and “Med-Tech” as we see a shift from fee-for-service to value-based payments.

Deloitte anticipates a “Smart Medicaid” future where smart pills and cameras are used to manage patients through chat bot interactions that increases efficiency and ROI. In 2011, the World Economic Forum partnered with Bain to explore personal data as a new asset class, white paper here. In this document they advanced the idea of using sensors in running shoes to encourage moms to exercise in order to get discounts on food for their dependents-because that would be more of a motivation that doing it for themselves.

WEF 2011 Personal Data New Asset Class

WEF Personal Data Asset Class
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Data is EVERYTHING, and digital identity ushered in with pandemic certificates is the key to turning people into speculative investment commodities. If you want to understand how this works, watch my video, Your Permanent Record.

Those who know me know how much I despise the idea of ed-tech and the surveillance of learning. So shift gears and think about how wearable technologies are being set up to monitor bodily function. Such monitoring has generally been voluntary up until now, though people are increasingly being required to participate in IoT data sharing for insurance reimbursement or to avoid having a surcharge placed on their premiums. But seeing how things have evolved over the past month, it is not hard to imagine that under conditions of pandemic, authorities will not hesitate to enforce use of IoT health monitoring devices in the name of national security.

So how far are we prepared to go with this digital bodily discipline? Device-based location tracking is up and running. Facial recognition is probably in that mix, too. Next up mandatory wearable thermometers? IoT nano-pills?

When society isn’t under lockdown will be there an expectation that all individuals participate in a strengthening regimen for their bodies and minds in anticipation of the NEXT outbreak? Adherence tracked via fit bits and brain wave headbands? Leaderboards? Badges?

Black Mirror today, but how about next year? Five years from now? What is your “health brand” in this new age of pandemic? How “risky” are you? What level of discrimination will you be subject to? How are you managing your health? How are you tracking it? How will we hold you accountable?

MIT Covid 19 Legal Discrimination

Source: We’re not going back to normal, Gideon Lichfield, MIT Technology Review, March 17, 2020

Global finance is pushing this transition to tech-mediated medical care, which will run on Internet of things sensors. These sensors create value through “innovation” and the generation of data tied to the “value-based” care model that is supplanting fee-for-service. The global ruling class is now in a position to impose a new era of biocapitalism. In their digital panopticon individuals and populations can be programmed for the purposes of “pay for success” profit taking and social control. You can see this if you scan Deloitte Centre for Health Care Solutions’ July 2018 white paper on MedTech.

Internet of Medical Things Deloitte

Deloitte Internet of Medical Things 2

Source: MedTech and the Internet of Medical Things, Deloitte Centre for Health Solutions, July 2018

The federal government has been investigating use of Blockchain to hold interoperable health data, including data generated by IoT sensors, for at least five years. The Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology (ONC) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) held a two-day conference from September 26 to 27, 2016 to discuss the use of Blockchain in healthcare delivery and research. The creation of digital identity linked to electronic health records was discussed, as was linking IoT data to such records and implementing “smart” contracts for pre-authorization and payment verification.

Blockchain Healthcare Challenge 2016

Interactive version of the map above can be accessed here.

NIST, National Institute of Standards and Technology, co-sponsored the effort. In 2001 the agency along with DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) funded an effort of the National Research Council that resulted in the report Embedded, Everywhere: A Research Agenda For Networked Systems of Embedded Computers. The twelve-member committee that prepared the report included representatives of UCLA (committee chair Deborah Estrin), University of Washington, Stanford, MIT, Intel, Lucent, HP Labs, Sun Microsystems, Sensoria, Maya Design Group, and Wind River Systems. The document was meant to provide a guide for future federal research efforts in partnership with private interests as computing shifted from devices into networked systems of embedded computers, which they called EmNets. Nanotechnology is a key element of such systems.

It is interesting to note that with advances in the use of nano-technology to deliver precision medical treatments, there is also growing concern about potential negative health impacts of nano-particles on the lungs. Such engineered particulate matter is being incorporated not only into cutting edge medicine, but also into fuel and even sunscreen. It is emerging as a major factor in air pollution, particularly the carbon nanotubes – almost like manmade asbestos.

We know patients diagnosed with with asthma and other conditions that reduce lung capacity have far worse outcomes if they develop Covid-19. Fatality rates in Black communities have been particularly high. Often residents live in toxic environments under conditions of environmental racism. One has to wonder if such “innovative” technologies could be playing a contributing roll in how this crisis has unfolded.

Meanwhile backers of the Fourth Industrial Revolution continue install the 5G towers and build their planned EmNets with under-regulated nano-technology. I expect few people even know to be concerned. The quantum dots planned for use in for the Gates/MIT-backed vaccine delivery system could very well be the new Teflon.

Nanoparticles Lung Disease

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Nano Tech Regulation
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The year after the “Embedded Everywhere” committee submitted its report, Deborah Estrin, the committee’s chair, was selected to head a new center at UCLA that was created to undertake R&D for nano-technology and sensor networks – CENS, Center for Embedded Sensor Networking. The project was launched with a $39 million grant from the NSF. Estrin moved across the country to work in IoT data research as a professor of health policy at Cornell-Tech, a brand new academic research institution set up by Michael Bloomberg on Roosevelt Island in New York City with the backing of Google and serious funding from wireless communications companies and venture philanthropy. Qualcomm for example pitched in $133 million, Bloomberg Philanthropies $100 million, and Verizon and Tata Consulting $50 million each.

Small Data Lab

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Alessandro Voto of Institute For the Future’s Blockchain Futures Lab presented at that conference and discussed “smart health” profiles and AI healthcare delivery. Voto co-authored a paper titled, A Blockchain Profile For Medicaid Applicants and Recipients, a month before the conference. In it, Institute for the Future (remember them from Learning Is Earning) advanced a number of potential applications including: “smart” pill bottles to track medical compliance; virtual medical assistants; tokenized diagnoses; artificial intelligence insurance brokers; and custom insurance products transformed into non-traditional investment opportunities, which sounds a lot like human capital investing (see ALICE).

Last week a fellow researcher forwarded me information regarding a “non-profit” insurance outfit that was pitching flexible insurance products to gig workers during the Covid-19 crisis. The polices, which are being sold as alternatives to Affordable Care Act plans, hinge on participants agreeing to be tracked on their phones and other devices for a reduction in the premium. There are vague references to sharing in profits generated through the aggregated data. The organization, EASE Alliance, makes it clear on their website that they wish to maintain the privacy of their donors. I bet we can imagine a pretty solid short list of possible funders. The organization currently has 50,000 policy holders. More information on their website here.

ease 2

Beyond enabling the production of custom insurance instruments, the IFTF paper also mentioned using Blockchain health records in medical pattern recognition for epidemic management. It notes that Blockchain would enable detailed analysis of disease presentation in connection with a person’s finances, family, age, and residence. The language echoes that of the Harvard Business Review article. Those in positions of power are entitled to digitally monitor all aspects of a person’s life, of entire populations, to predict future behavior and control outcomes.

IFTF Medicaid Epidemics

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We are seeing a first wave of digital driver’s licenses is rolling out now. Idemia is pushing “augmented identity.” The pandemic is likely to speed up adoption. GAVI, a Gates Foundation-funded partner in ID2020, is piloting a program that combines vaccination with a digital identity. Another ID2020 effort, MyPass, backed by Bloomberg Philanthropies in Austin, assigns Blockchain identity to unhoused people to help them keep track of things like medical records. This program doesn’t require anyone to be “chipped.” The first phase operates using a simple QR code that is printed out and laminated. Though I expect eventually biometric data will be attached to the record.

MyPass ID2020 Austin

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I want to draw attention to the program’s name, MyPass. I have serious concerns that the long-range plan is to combine digital identity with geo-fencing as a way to selectively restrict mobility of targeted individuals and groups. It feels very likely that health risk will become the rationale for such a system, especially given the nature of the Covid19 virus where people may be asymptomatic carriers. Now that that precedent has been set, anyone could theoretically be detained for weeks at a time and there is no readily available way to prove you are not a carrier.

IFTF Digital Wallet Medicaid Token Vaccine

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Implementation of such a system would be sold to the public as necessary measure to keep us all “safe,” but there would be a steep cost with respect civil liberties. Those whose freedoms would be the first to be curtailed would be historically oppressed communities: Black people, Indigenous people, and poor people, often those working minimum-wage front-line jobs. Exactly the kind of jobs that the EASE Alliance is targeting for intrusive health data-mining.

Add predictive analytics and artificial intelligence to the mix, and the most vulnerable populations would most certainly be risk-profiled as potential disease vectors given factors like employment instability, housing insecurity, and complex medical histories. There might eventually be calls for the removal of “risky” people, opening the door to “social impact” interventions that would justify relocations, enmeshing those targeted in continuum of care programs linked to predatory outcomes-based pay for success contracts.

The systems of power operating today have antecedents. We must to know the history of structural racism linked to epidemiology if we are even to attempt to navigate a path towards justice. A seminal 1977 article by Maynard Swanson, “The Sanitation Syndrome: Bubonic Plague and Urban Native Policy in the Cape Colony 1900-1909,” provides thoughtful analysis of infectious disease as social metaphor used to impose segregation a century prior.

 

Source, Source, Source, Source

Certainly we are living through extraordinary times. It’s as if the world has changed overnight, but it hasn’t really. As we chart a course forward, we must understand that the place in which we find ourselves is grounded in a deeply racialized past.

As we struggle to comprehend this new reality and protect ourselves and our loved ones and communities, we must also realize that global powers have weaponized public health systems in ways that are unimaginable to most people.

Unless you have a clear understanding of biometric surveillance and human capital finance you will be tempted to dismiss valid concerns as “conspiracy.” That is what they want. They want you to believe in the benevolence of Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Marc Benioff, Pierre Omidyar, and god forbid even Michael Bloomberg.

Resist the urge to lash out when people present facts that challenge your prior views. Instead, take time to go to the source and analyze the information for yourself. Exercise muscles of intellectual discernment.

The full truth may never be known, but you will surely not find it in the mainstream media. Follow the money, follow power. Know that technology and finance and military interests are at the center of it all. Fight for as much clarity as you can get, and grow your network. We are living in murky times. Find people you trust and build from there.

Pandemic, Public Health, Policing, And Pay For Success “Solutions”

My research into “pay for success” over the past three years made it clear that health and behavioral health data would be used to fuel the growth of “social impact” finance around the world. Over the past three weeks, however, it has dawned on me that it will also likely be used as a tool of social control. As populations become more volatile with the roll out of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, digital quarantine will be a powerful method of regulating economic systems and human bodies.

Global Health Security Launch

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Framing future pandemics as an issue of national security allows public health to be subsumed within an increasingly sophisticated global apparatus of of digital surveillance, predictive analytics, and enclosure. The nature of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has been characterized by asymptomatic carriers and inadequate testing protocols, has led populations around the world to embrace diminished civil liberties and even welcome the opportunity to be deputized as community enforcers.

In our present state of emergency mismanagement, the vast majority of people do not have a solid understanding of the territory into which we are rushing. But the World Economic Forum with its Covid Action Platform does. Theirs is a future of robots and algorithms, where the masses are valued only so far as they demonstrate compliance to a new global order dictated by behavioral economics.

Covid Action Platform WEF

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The spectre of future public health crises will be leveraged by transnational global capital to advance “pay for success” preventative “care,” where “care” is managed through the soft-surveillance of data-dashboards. Venture capitalist Bill Ackman and Solutions Journalism outlets like Atlantic magazine have highlighted the fact that Covid-19 patients with co-morbidities including asthma, diabetes, hypertension or a history of smoking have significantly worse outcomes.

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And that my friends is where Michael, global envoy for the World Health Organization, Bloomberg comes in. As mayor of New York, Bloomberg established numerous precedents for “non-communicable” disease management that conveniently dovetail into “healthy city” initiatives. Once we come out the other side of the immediate Covid-19 threat, I foresee impact investors calling for resiliency and advancing generous grants for “preventative care.”

Source Left, Source Right

Communities that have for decades borne the brunt of environmental racism, food insecurity, trauma, and chronic stress, will be put on self-improvement pathways, lest they become “vectors” of disease transmission in some future viral outbreak. The “solutions” proffered will never eliminate the source of the problem, because that would foreclose future profit. Global hedge funds will link improved pandemic outcomes to data-driven investments in “social determinants of health.” “Public health” can thus be harnessed to manage dissent as a new globalized economic regime based on bio-capitalism is installed.

Partnership For Healthy Cities

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For the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Warren Buffet, health and mental health data is an asset class that sits conveniently at the intersection of “pay for success” profit and coercive force. We must have clarity around this as the world transitions to a “new normal.” It cannot be allowed to become a “normal” that advantages the interests of a billionaire class and the corporate state.

Data for these purposes will be harvested from screen-based devices, including phones and apps, wearable tech, personal digital assistants, and Internet of Things (IoT) sensors integrated into our homes, modes of transportation, and neighborhoods. Data collection will increase as care begins to prioritize tele-medicine and tele-therapy. That transition, of course, is being hastened by the Covid-19 pandemic.

WEF Telehealth
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The pace of 5G installation, the infrastructure upon which these Fourth Industrial Revolution systems rely, has ramped up even as we are under stay-at-home orders. In March, the same month that the World Health Organization recognized Covid19 as a pandemic, the White House issued the document: National Strategy To Secure 5G of the United States of America. Keeping a safe distance, we take evening strolls through our urban neighborhood a few times a week. Every few blocks there are new small cell installations, pavement markings for utilities, and loops of cable overhead. Trucks for Verizon, the backbone 5G installer for our city, are a regular feature.

Recent 5G small cell installations, Art Museum area, Philadelphia, USA, April 2020

Even without 5G in place, the digital dust of our tele-presencing has skyrocketed under lockdown. In addition to our regular social media habits, we’ve added zoom meetings, online education, watch parties, organizing events, virtual family visits, classes, and online shopping. As we slog through the coming weeks, if not months, of quarantine, it is vital that we understand our online interactions as signals intelligence.

Darpa Ground Truth

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We are filling the Internet with information rich in sentiment analysis, a goldmine for folks like Martin Seligman at UPenn’s World Wellbeing Project to analyze for insights into our collective consciousness during a time of stress and uncertainty. We are being coerced into creating training data to inform efforts like DARPA’s Ground Truth program and the DoD’s Minerva Research Initiative. Sandy Pentland at MIT has run living labs to digitally track populations for years in cities like Trentino, Italy. Now it feels like we’ve all been co-opted into one giant experiment. Those in power are working their magic to “learn” the social physics of pandemic.

Consider this a test run.

They’re taking our temperature to strategize the next phase of the campaign.

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 wrenchinthegears.com. 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.

UNSIF 17 UNSDGs

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.

HUCAP

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.

Peoplenaire

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.

5G UN SDGs

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.”

Wetsuweten

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

Peoplenaire

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

Source

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

Source

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