Saturday, June 9, 2012

The 5 Most Surprisingly Corrupt Industries in the World (and what you can do about it)

Noah Bonn, Contributor
Activist Post

In my last article, I identified what I see as the 5 most blatantly corrupt industries on the planet, and offered solutions to the disharmony they create.

In the words of Johann Wolfgang van Goethe, however, “there are none more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.“

In most circles it has become well accepted that Banking and Energy are profoundly corrupt industries, but they are seen by many as isolated infections in an otherwise forthright world economy.

The purpose of this article is to address that assumption - to outline 5 of the most glorified, revered industries in the world, and display how they frequently are, in fact, just as corrupt as the Monsantos and Exxon Mobils of the world.

1. Values Investing - Most people assume that the credit crisis we’ve been facing for the last 4 years is entirely the result of foul play by the big banks and Wall Street. While they are, of course, the ones who triggered the ‘recession,’ they were far from the only ones who enabled it. Let’s consider a couple data points:
  • The US money supply (M2) is currently valued at just over 9.8 trillion USD [1].
  • The US Total Debt (Individuals+Firms+Banks+Government) is currently estimated at 57.6 Trillion USD [2].
Take a moment to process that ratio; there is 5.9 times as much debt as there is money in the US economy. No amount of clever budget rearrangement, therefore, can compensate for the fact that there is not enough money to pay off all that debt.


When an individual has a net worth of less than zero, their options are either a) work like a slave, or b) declare bankruptcy. This is the reality of our economic system - we are slaves to it. Thanks to movies like Zeitgeist: Addendum, many people have come to realize the fraudulent nature of the US dollar (aka Federal Reserve Note). Incorrectly, however, most assume that it is entirely the result of fiat mechanics and fractional reserve banking.

While those are, far and away, the greatest determining factors, it is important to understand that they are not the only ones. The very concept of interest-based lending creates the same inherent schism. This includes credit unions, venture capital, and even lending your friend five bucks with interest.

Consider this: when you loan your friend five dollars, the money supply of our economy does not change. It remains exactly the same. The Total Debt, however, increases by the amount of interest being charged on that loan. Any form of interest-based lending, therefore, widens the differential between M2 and Total Debt. This makes us (as a collective) more enslaved to our economic system, and more vulnerable to engineered credit crises such as we’ve recently experienced.

The Solution: invest in getting off the grid. Because money only comes into circulation through interest-based loans, there is no way for us all to become rich together and beat this game. It literally has nothing to do with how hard we collectively work. The only way to overcome “money” is to make it obsolete. Invest in things like growing your own food at home, installing solar panels - things that empower you to survive without the monetary system.

Today, the few can manipulate the masses because we are dependent upon their system for our survival (no money no food, right?). So use what money you have today to make yourself (and eventually others as well) independent from the globalist system. When you have all the food and energy you need in your own back yard, you will not be manipulable.

That is real activism. That is what’s worth investing in.

2. Software- Companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft are often held up as noble examples of progress through capitalism. Rarely, however, are they recognized as organizations whose model for business further compounds our dependency upon a fraudulent monetary system.

Let me explain: It is estimated that Microsoft, Apple, and Google operating systems account for over 96% of Internet usage [7]. Products released by these companies are written with proprietary coding, meaning that the only people who actually have access to the script for this software are people who work for that company. Anyone who freely disseminates that information would be violating intellectual copyright agreements. For the average user, this means that the only way to participate in that area of technological progress is by further involving themselves in a Ponzi-economy. But is that really how it has to be?

The Solution: open-source software. Juxtaposed with proprietary coding, open-source software is just that - software which allows anyone and everyone to access, play with, and improve upon the scripts for that product. In other words, it allows technology to progress, whether money is involved or not.

As an interesting side-note, it is commonly asserted by defenders of our economic model that without monetary incentive, there would be no forward progress in technology. The study of computer software indicates strongly otherwise. In the case of operating systems, Linux has evolved for generations with no big companies involved, simply because people enjoy playing with and improving upon scripts. Microsoft and Apple, on the other hand, have actually had to encrypt their codes to be top-secret, and use the threat of legal persecution to keep the general public from improving upon their software free of charge. Is it possible that modern economists are missing something about what inspires human behavior?

Open Source alternatives include Ubuntu (Linux) as an operating system, Mozilla Firefox as a web browser, LibreOffice for document processing (compatible with Microsoft Office), WordPress for websites and blogging, and many others for almost every application you could think of. They are almost all free to download, and, in my experience, are just as good as the big company’s products. They weigh lighter on your computer’s processing power, as well as on your soul. Try them out and see what you think.

3. Social Media - Similar to software, companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter are  revered as the “best of capitalism,” bringing people together free of charge. However, as anyone who’s looked into the matter knows, that’s not exactly where the story ends. Because all your information is saved for you on “cloud storage,” none of it is really your information. Every “like,” every” tweet,” and every private message you have ever sent (including email), are saved on a hard drive hundreds of miles away, even after you “delete” them. The way these companies turn a profit is by selling your “personal” information to marketing organizations, so that companies can cater advertisements specifically to your demographic.

Contrary to popular opinion, we are not the customers of social media companies. Just think about it - you never pay them a dime. The customers are the advertisers. You are the product.

To most, this seems harmless if a bit unsettling. That is before one realizes the endgame that is planned for these social networks. In the last year, four bills have been proposed to authorize more military intelligence involvement in social media. If one of them passes, it will effectively give the NSA and/or CIA the power to silence dissident free speech based on what it subjectively considers to be a “threat to domestic security.” Their hope is that the world will become dependent on social media like Facebook for all our communications, so that it becomes something that they can control from a centralized structure, with the push of a button.

The Solution: De-centralized social media. If you haven’t looked into this yet, look into it. The front-runner at the moment seems to be a project called Diaspora, designed by four friends from NYU. The concept is to make a Facebook-like entity with no central hub to store information.

Instead, individuals will setup their own “Pods,” which provide cloud info storage to themselves and others. So far this organization has around 40 pods, dispersed randomly around the US, Europe, and South America.

The benefit of this approach, is that there is no bundling of private information to give to marketing companies, because it does not exist in any one central location. Even if the founders suddenly decided to abandon their values and sell out, the information is distributed across too many pods, which they don’t even own to begin with.

And as for the military intelligence agenda, profiling “cyber threats,” becomes near impossible. Sure, if they had one Julian Assange-type individual they wanted to shut down, they could easily locate which pod he operated from and hack into it. But the centralized control center like Facebook would not exist.

4. Science - First of all, let’s not confuse our variables: it is the Science Industry, not the Scientific Method, which I am referring to here. The scientific method is the creative exploration of trial and error. It drives progress and deeper understanding in every area of our lives. The science industry, on the other hand, is largely corporate-funded, scripted research, designed to reinforce a product or practice. Because these two concepts are so commonly associated, many people have an almost religious reverence for science-related businesses and view those who question it to be all but blasphemous.

The point being made here is pretty simple: research that promotes corporate interest gets funded. Research that does not promote corporate interest does not get funded. In fact, the British Medical Journal concluded from a recent informational study that, “Systematic bias favours products which are made by the company funding the research [6].”

Surprised?

Of course, thanks to techniques like peer review and study replication, published scientific work is not likely to be a complete forgery. That being said, because of the bias in funding, our scientific mainstream still creates a very skewed lens through which we interpret reality.

The Missing Ingredient: Intuition. To some people this may sound strange, but it is absolutely essential. Why? Because the number of situations that we could research and collect data on is literally infinite. How do we decide what is worth studying, and what is not?

In today’s world, the answer to that question is money. Whether a study supports a financial interest is largely what determines whether it gets carried out. But should that really be the determining factor?

Intuition is our inner guidance. It tells us which ideas resonate with us, and which are BS. For what it’s worth, I believe that this should be the guiding force for which studies get carried out, and which do not.

Unfortunately, many people have lost touch with their intuitive guidance, and have come to resort instead to finance or authoritative dictatorship as their guide. This point alone does much to elucidate the distortion we see in our world today.

5. Education - This issue is messy, sensitive, and taboo as hell. All the more reason, however, why it needs to be addressed. For that reason, I’ll keep my opinion out of it as much as I can reasonably do, and just share these statistics:
  • A recent informational study by NPR found that US medical schools receive up to 16 percent of their funding directly from pharmaceutical companies [3].
  • The Harvard Business School’s largest private supporter is Citigroup, providing an undisclosed annual donation somewhere in the six-figures [4]. As was done with Pharma-funding of medical schools, informational studies are needed to elucidate the banking interests reinforced through schools of business and economics.
  • Many universities receive the majority of their funding from government programs such as the National Institute of Health. This may seem to address the issue at the surface level, however when we consider the financial lobby involved in government, we realize that special interest bias still exists, if indirectly:
  • According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America spent $18.9 million on public lobbying in 2011 alone [5].
  • The US Chamber of Commerce spent $66.3 million last year to represent the interests of business and banking [5]
It is generally assumed that corporate donations are altruistic in nature, and that scrutiny of them is out of line. What such thinking fails to realize is that corporate donations and not just donations - they are strategically placed investments. At the executive level of any big company, nothing matters beyond the bottom line. So when they donate money to a school, or fund a campaign like “Procter & Gamble presents Thank You, Mom,” unfortunately, it is not simply out of the goodness of their hearts.

Finally, and beyond all that, the very concept underlying school deserves some consideration as well: you are paying someone so that they will tell you what to read. Does that sound a little crazy to anyone besides me?

The Alternative: Un-Schooling. While some educational programs are insightful (and not just indoctrinating), it’s a mistake to ever assume that someone else is responsible for your intellectual growth. I personally made the choice to withdraw from University last fall when I finally acknowledged that I (like 99% of students) had been going to school for the wrong reasons. I wasn’t there because I really believed I was learning anything mind-blowing - I was there because I was afraid not to be there. That’s no way to go through life.

The un-schooling approach simply means picking your own curriculum, rather than having it predetermined for you. Since I have started doing this, I’ve learned exponentially more impactful concepts than I was dealing with in school. I’ve studied metabolic pathways in strength and conditioning, the raw food approach to nutrition, the philosophy of sustainable design, and about how fiat economics really functions - all the last 9 months. In a sentence, it has  transformed the way I see the world - how many college students can really say that?

So am I advocating that everyone needs to drop out of school? No, what I’m saying is that whatever you’re doing - school, work, sports, whatever - just make sure it’s for the right reasons.

Conclusion

Hopefully this article has caused you to re-consider a few of the establishments that you took for granted. If we want to see real change in our world, simply asking the coercive forces to go away will not do it. We have to start with ourselves, and start supporting alternatives to structures that keep us locked into bondage.

It’s easy to look at something like a backyard vegetable garden and say, “this is so small - there’s no way it will make any kind of difference.” But it will. There is a momentum inherent to such small actions that will empower you and others around you keep taking those little steps, until they become bigger steps, and you are running full-bore toward a different type of tomorrow.

You are not a helpless victim of circumstance, you are all-powerful. You can continue with the flow of world right now, or you can generate momentum to create something completely different. In either case, it all starts with one little step.

Sources:
1. http://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/h6/current/
2. http://www.usdebtclock.org/
3. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4696316
4. http://www.alumni.hbs.edu/giving/corporate-partners/corporate-associate.html
5. http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/top.php?showYear=2011&indexType=s
6. http://www.bmj.com/content/326/7400/1167.full
7. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_operating_systems#Estimates_for_2011

You can support this information by voting on Reddit HERE  

The original article with additional images can be found HERE. 

Noah Bonn is 21-years-old, born and raised in Seattle, Washington. He is into health, spirituality, and independent media. In his spare time he likes to run, rock-climb, and lift kettlebells. He can be found at his own site NoahBonn.com


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12 comments:

Bush is Hitler said...

Good points - just one thing: Among the many Linux distributions available, you're recommending the one that has actually emulated Microsoft and Apple in many ways - while Ubuntu is still open code, their business has been engaged in illicit marketing ploys to eradicate better but less moneyed projects.

If you want to make the switch to Linux, consider the more ethical alternatives, such as

http://www.mandriva.com/
http://www.rosalab.com/
http://www.pardus.org.tr/
http://www.pld-linux.org/
http://www.archlinux.org/

Anonymous said...

Good job Noah! Your life is about to explode onto the great adventure it is meant to be! I am more than 2.5 times your age and have taken a similar path leading to wonderful experiences few will ever know.
Ultimately, the knowledge you will gain the most, will be the activity you delve in the most and through your life, many pursuits and hands on learning, all your life, will give you the best capital of all!

Austin said...

Good article, but one small error: android and chromium os (the Google operating systems) are both open source.

Anonymous said...

One example of greed corruption and fraud out of many. Take for instance coffee. Most people are addicted to cafein so they buy it no matter if the price keeps going up and at whatever price it sells for at the retail level. There are many contributing factors that contribute to the price increases for a can of coffee. There are at least 5 middle men before it reaches the corporate retail box store. 1-The grower. 2-The coffee broker or buyer. 3-The processor. 4-The wholesaler. 5-The retailer. And finally the consummer. Also there is the inside traders and speculaters in the NYMEX that determine the price of coffee beans of the producer or grower by manipulating commodity prices. Only the account executives or brokers favorite customes with accounts in the millions of dollars have access to this information. The coffee companies even have shills on the NYMEX bidding the price of coffee. They even control the supply of coffee. If you control the supply, you control the demand. It is definitely not a fair playing field. If it were you would not have a price of ten dollars for a can of coffee. This corruption that is being exposed is just the tip of the iceburg. If it just on the price of coffee, what do you think it is on other commodities such as the price of oil?

Author said...

@Bush is Hitler, I haven't no looked into Ubuntu's marketing strategies. Hopefully people reading this article will look at your link as well to find their ideal operating system. Which one do you use?

Author said...

@Austin, turns out you are right about those two projects, man. I made the mistake of assuming that all of Google's projects ran the same. Nonetheless Apple and Microsoft combine for over 90% of the market and use proprietary code.
I'm still reluctant, personally, to endorse any google product, just knowing how that company operates and makes their money tho.
thanks for the fact check

Anonymous said...

*facepalm*

@Author - http://opensource.apple.com/

Also, Diaspora is shit. It's shit to set up and shit to use. Why would I trust any data of mine to an essentially anonymous POD when Google or Facebook have a legal team that analyzes risk long and hard enough to be able to field the type of class action lawsuit that would come from a breach of data like what you're describing?

There is one thing that the software engineering world is guilty of, though - it's guilty of turning jobs that once took tens or hundreds of people into jobs that now take two or three (unskilled, even - see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zXOW6v0c8s

Of course, this is just exposing a critical flaw in plutocracy - namely, the inability of the system to handle an excess of people because of how expensive everything is - and that's /really/ what you have to fight, not these shitty industries that are all leached off of.

Joe Albert said...

I would have included the Medical/ Pharmaceutical Industry as well.But then again , maybe people are on to them. Just my opinion .-Joe

Anonymous said...

I only read #1. Build your own garden and put solar panels on your roof. That is not enough especially when they can reclassify your property under Agenda 21.

Seriously, you think solar panels and a garden of food is going to bring down the banking cartels? How have the Amish done so far? Why not instead talk about setting up a barter system with local professionals or going back to a gold backed currency?

Noah said...

@Anon who only read #1,

The purpose of this article is give people action items and direct alternatives. What I'm suggesting here is as an alternative to financial investing, people could invest in their own autonomy, helping them become less reliant upon our monetary system.

I agree that a gold standard is less manipulable than our current fiat/fractional reserve system, however I'm looking to give individuals the power, rather than waiting around for the government to abolish the fed (hint: never going to happen).

To really get to the bottom of what you're saying, however, I could have encouraged readers to buy physical gold and silver as their investment. While I do feel that this is a better option than keeping your assets in financial holdings, I don't think it's the best we can do.
My aspiration is to go beyond monetary reform, and really facilitate the creation of new era here. True freedom will only come when energy and food are so abundant that having a "job" is not necessary. Obviously we can't have that full discussion here, but that's just where I'm coming from. So if you want to buy gold, go for it, I have no disagreement there, nor do i think it precludes the option I'm presenting.

Anonymous said...

No 4. Science
"Of course, thanks to techniques like peer review and study replication, published scientific work is not likely to be a complete forgery. That being said, because of the bias in funding, our scientific mainstream still creates a very skewed lens through which we interpret reality."

I would go further and say there are flaws in the Scientific Method and Peer Review. There is the example of GM Food Safety. Education - whole areas of knowledge are being lost if the subject is not funded, this in turn effects the peer review process?

UK http://www.sgr.org.uk/projects/corporate-influence-scitech.

canobs said...

Good article ___ As long as the Fed will be privatized and run by the BIS,bank of international settlements or the Rothschilds and the Rockefellers(the three presidents who tried to make it public were assassinated)___ And even if you grow your own food and try to be self-sufficient, or are member of a social commune like the Amish and Mennonites, you will always have to pay taxes on the land you or your community use.

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