Oligopoly

Way back at the dawn of the internet age, the people paid to promote the interests of the ruling elite came up with the phrase “new economy” to describe the rise of electronic commerce. The idea was that it was not just a different way of doing the same stuff, internet sites instead of catalogs, for example, but a new type of economics. The old idea of a business having a building, employees and profits, was being replaced by the virtual business that existed as idea on-line, without a defined physical presence.

This idea that we were about to step through the barrier between the world governed by classical economics into a new world controlled by new economics was very popular with the business press. Guys like James Glassman wrote books about stock valuations based on this new form of economics, where companies that had no assets and no profits, had stratospheric share prices. These predictions were hilariously wrong in the short term, but the whole new economy stuff has proven to be false in the long run too.

As Peter Thiel explains in his book, Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future, the key to this “new” economy is an idea as old as civilization. That is, the successful enterprise first seeks a monopoly or control of some bottleneck in the economy, in order to extract rents from the market. By gaining monopoly control of a market or critical juncture in a market, the enterprise is then able to operate like a highwayman, demanding money from those conducting normal commerce.

This is why technology companies quickly moved from creating innovative technology to creating barriers between themselves and competitors. The abuse of the patent system, for example, is about raising barriers to entry. There is nothing all that clever about what PayPal does, but they operate as a monopoly because they own patents on just about anything required to build a competitive service. The last mile of walling themselves off from competition is active collusion with the banks to keep out competitors.

The result is the new economy looks a lot like a very old economy, the one we used to call feudalism. A small number of people control vast swaths of property, forcing everyone else to accept a vassal relationship. They can effectively control entire sectors of the economy, simply by maintaining control of key points or by maintaining near monopoly status in certain areas. Google and Apple control the mobile phone market, by controlling the mobile OS. That’s why an open source alternative has never appeared.

That’s the real value of market dominance. A useful example from the classical period is how Athens rose to dominance after the Persian wars. The Athenians did not have to control every polis in order to be the regional hegemon. They had the biggest navy, so they could control the seas, which forced the other city states to submit to the leadership of Athens. In other words, controlling the choke point, the sea lanes, gave Athens control of commerce, which forced everyone else to follow the lead of Athens.

Just as the Greco-Persian wars shattered the old relationships in Greece, allowing Athens to transcend the other city-states, the internet shattered the old economic relationships, allowing these new robber barons to rush in and make themselves market hegemons. Now they are taking this power and doing the same for the flow of information and control of political discourse. This story about what Apple is plotting is a great example. The New York Times used to be a gatekeeper, but now they will be a vassal to Apple.

There are two things worth noting about the true nature of the “new” economy. One is it is more proof that a core tenet of libertarianism is false. Markets do not naturally devolve into ad hoc competitions with low barriers to entry. In fact, there is no such thing as a natural market. Without some central authority, willing to use force, to maintain a market, eventually a handful of oligarchs rise up to control the market. Once they control the market, they turn everyone else in that market into a vassal.

The other thing, the more important thing, is that the real enemy of the West is not our increasingly bizarre political class. In fact, their bizarre rantings are probably a symptom tied to the growing oligarchical power of the tech and finance giants. Lacking real power, the politic class is then free to indulge in bizarre behavior. The new oligarchs are subverting the political class by providing them with a lifestyle they believe they deserve and protecting them from competition. It’s why 2016 was so horrifying to them.

It’s also why in the aftermath of 2016, the oligarchs invested heavily in stamping out dissent. They were sure their “soft” methods had worked to rig all elections as a choice between their two preferred choices. The results of 2016 refuted that, so they have gone to the use of “hard” power with naked censorship and de-platforming. Soon, the oligarchs will control enough to make sure the theater of democracy is exactly that, theater. This may be why Trump is so eagerly becoming a stooge for the people he once opposed.

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Carl B.
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Carl B.

Give Trump some credit. It’s him and him alone versus the Leviathan. 99.99% of “conservatives” are cowering in the corner, afraid of their own shadows. No sacrificing their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor for them. Herr Mueller’s “investigation” has failed miserably. The ‘Rats are bark-at-the-moon insane. Every sentient American knows the Government is thoroughly corrupt from top to bottom and the country is looking into the abyss. When and if Trump wins re-election(or if he simply physically survives – not a given what with our rogue “Intelligence Agencies”)he can be a much more effective President with a so-called “Popular Mandate.”… Read more »

The Babe
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The Babe

Trump’s re-election is our last, very slim (and likely futile) chance at saving what’s left of this country.

Wish it were so, Carl B., but in my heart I’m already a post-American.

Ursula
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Ursula

It’s interesting how Mueller was finally able to conclude his investigation after Trump announced he’ll bring in more immigrants than ever and signaled that he will continue with neocon regime-change foreign policy. There will be no rescue from Trump. We are back on track and continuing on the globalists’ trajectory to destruction.

Member

Mueller also concluded the investigation after Trump went full Big Chosen. Holocaust time at the SOTU. Denouncing as anti Semitic anything the tribe doesn’t like. Pro massive immigration. Golan to Israel.

Da Booby
Guest

@Carl B. “99.99% of “conservatives” are cowering in the corner, afraid of their own shadows.” This is why a complete political shakeup, as opposed to Trump, or any particular candidate is needed. Political parties subvert democracy, and the fewer political parties your country has the more democracy is subverted. Listen up, Yanks. Who do you vote for if you’re, let’s say, in favour of gun rights, but also pro-choice; anti-foreign wars, but in favour of public health care; anti-illegal immigration but in favour of a minimum wage? No one. You have no say. You’re forced onto a party platform, and… Read more »

LeafyGreen
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LeafyGreen

“In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

Yves Vannes
Member

Caesar kept Mark Anthony close by. He was good in a fight, both in the field and in the political arena. If his enemies brought him down Anthony would bloody them. If politics is war by other means then the implicit threat of war still needs to be present. Bannon could have played this role. Since he left whom around Trump would his enemies find unnerving ? These are choices he made. There has always been a thuggish element to politics, even if only implicit. Look at our enemies. We engage in gentlemanly debate, they engage I genocide.

Dr. Mabuse
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Dr. Mabuse

“He’s doing the best he can with the hand he’s been dealt.” Well, he’s not holding the same hand he was dealt in 2016. He’s had over a year and half to discard and draw from the deck many times, and he’s methodically thrown away the strong cards he held, like Bannon and a mobilized populace, and replaced them with weak-ass losing cards. When the Dems and traitor Republicans started their shenanigans, Trump should have been summoning Americans to marches on Washington. Marches that he would personally appear at and lead. People were ready and eager to respond, to follow… Read more »

Sleepy
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Sleepy

How much credit should we give him for saying, at least five times, “I want people to come into our country in the largest numbers ever”? This is exactly the opposite of what he campaigned on, and the exact opposite of what I, and many millions, voted for. (To say nothing of the illegal alien invasion that grows larger by the day…) The only reasonable conclusions are either a) some group has damaging information on him that they are using to extort him, or b) he is simply the shallow, short attention span, person he appears to be. He has… Read more »

Exile@Pioneer19
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Exile@Pioneer19

$1000 is just Big Other’s opening offer. I’m aleady Tweeting counter-demands to Harris ($1500) & Gabbard ($1250). Tulsi gets a discount for making me believe she’s legit anti-War for Max Boot.

Sam J.
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Sam J.

You forgot c) he was playing us the whole time and never meant a damn word he was saying.

And yes give me my Yang bucks!

Dutch
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Dutch

The NYT doesn’t want to become subservient to Apple. The NYT wants to keep its own gatekeeper role and jam their crap down our throats. I can’t see where Apple would be any worse. A pox on all their houses, as far as I am concerned.

Saml Adams
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Saml Adams

Human instinct is always toward monopoly. Back at the “dawn” got tasked with evaluating every new internet start up that showed up on the doorstep with a plan to “revolutionize” our particular corner of the financial services industry. With few exceptions, every pitch was a proposal to create a tolling mechanism that was largely additive to costs already embedded in the business. Of course the current economics couldn’t support that, nor could the pitchers really explain what value they created. In the days when capital got thrown at business plans written on cocktail napkins, most of these were just a… Read more »

Member

The trend towards monopoly is a lesson from the ancient world onward. They don’t seem to be stable though. It’s like the angle of repose becomes to steep and everything falls back to the bottom, at first slowly then quickly. Seen through the long lens of history it looks like a reset, getting rid of all the extraneous things that have piled on over time, and then building again from a stable foundation. But I bet in the immediate it didn’t feel that way.

Hoagie
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Hoagie

I think Trump is doing fine considering he’s had every leftist on earth badmouthing him 24/7/365 for over two years. Here’s a guy who won an election and instead of stepping into office stepped into a clusterf*ck from all directions. I voted for him and I will again but I sure wouldn’t want to be in his place. And that’s the first time I ever said that about a billionaire.

Clifton Johnston
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Clifton Johnston

Your profile pic is exactly the face I have in mind for the commentor everytime I read another tired Trump apologia.

Member

Oh my god Clifton so right LOL

This being a dissident right blog, I’m surprised at the number of normie Trumpers here who haven’t clued into Trump yet. We all need our heroes, so I’m not gonna be too hard on older Trumpers. But, yeah, try and wise-up fellas.

BestGuest
Guest
BestGuest

Respectfully disagree. No leftist on earth made him jettison the MAGA staff and replace them with Never-Trumpers in the White House. That’s on him (or possibly Javanka, which is still him.)

Yves Vannes
Member

As the oligarchs clamp down more and more accelerationism on our side seems to be rising even more rapidly. The Alt Right, because we’ve engaged in wrong think for so long and have paid a price for it, we’ve learned to hold back quite a bit. Have you noticed what’s going on in the normicon sphere? Twitter and the comments on Breitbart make the TRS guys and even Cantwell sound reserved. As things become more and more heated as the election approaches all bets are off. Because almost everyone on this blog has adjusted to the way things actually operate… Read more »

Saml Adams
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Saml Adams

See more and more the Breitbartian attitude of “Fuck you. War!” on the part of what you’d consider “normies”. Apologizing or compromising simply invites a follow up beatdown, so what is there to lose?

BestGuest
Guest
BestGuest

There’s always a lot to lose, but anyone that still believes we live in Founder’s America is a fool.

Tykebomb
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Tykebomb

The question that we have to ask is: “how many consecutive democrat presidents can normie take?”. The 2020, 2024, 2028 and 2032 elections become increasingly easy wins for Democrats. If we get Kamala Harris in 2020 and 2024, then Republicans lose in 2028 AND 2032 (to say Ilhan Omar) does a Normie mob march into the North Dakota (Texas is gone by then) state capital and demand the governor declare independence?

Saml Adams
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Saml Adams

My bet is things come to a head much sooner. Biggest mistake people make is linear extrapolation. I recall articles on the “inevitable” demographic changes that had Republicans extinct long before now. Also, always bet on one or more exogenous factors that serve to “throw the table over”. Recall Mearsheimer’s “Why We’ll Soon Miss the Cold War”, published back in 1990 during the End of History congratulatory days…Fukuyama and the extrapolators turned out to be wrong. Mearsheimer was right.

Range Front Fault
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Range Front Fault

Life is a pump curve!

Dutch
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Dutch

Things don’t happen at all, then they all happen, all at once. It’s how it goes.

The Babe
Member
The Babe

There’s a good segment on Radio Derb today about the “Law of the Excluded Middle.”

Derb claims that the left now operates on the principle that, on every political issue, you should (a) completely conform to the ever-shifting far-left party line or (b) lose your job, go to jail and/or starve to death simply for holding a different opinion.

In a word, this is totalitarianism. Or maybe more old-fashioned, theocracy.

Even Breitbart readers can see that if that’s how they want to play it, we have few peaceful outs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jGaJpoFHUq0

Nunnya Bidnez, jr.
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Nunnya Bidnez, jr.

“Open talk of open warfare”…
I haven’t seen this much talk of actual civil war since ’68. Back then there were only a handful of underground papers and would be players; nowadays there are hundreds of blogs, millions of fed-up people.
Interesting times ahead.
How do we defuse the situation, and advance our agenda?

Dutch
Guest
Dutch

You don’t defuse the situation, you stand your ground. Every inch, every day. What comes of it, comes of it.

Member

How do we defuse the situation, and advance our agenda?

Defusing the situation and advancing our agenda are not necessarily compatible goals. Why would we want to defuse the situation?

BestGuest
Guest
BestGuest

To buy time? Let’s face it the de-platforming, de-banking, etc. has hindered every non-conforming view on both sides from being aired. I’m not posing any answers because I don’t have any.

Member

The zman is losing it: in his zeal to belittle libertarians (Was he molested by Murray Rothbard as a child?) he fails to note the cognitive dissonance of claiming that the oligarchical position bestowed by ownership of patents demands a regulator. That patents are a construct of the market regulator apparently escapes him.

Ursula
Guest
Ursula

That the patent system is abused shows that our government is corrupt, serving the elite and neglecting their entire reason for existing. They should have stepped in long ago to prevent this kind of abuse.

Member

I agree.

I’ve posted this before

” The Congress shall have Power To…promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries….”

Article I, Section 8, Clause 8

“to Authors and Inventors” nowhere mentions “Or their designee’s”
and therefore limits them to at a maximum of the A&I’s lifetimes. “for limited times” implies less.
There was never an intent that they should be a tool for rent collectors.
A hard and fast 20 years would seem reasonable to my jaundiced eye.

Ursula
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Ursula

Agreed!

Badthinker
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Badthinker

Copyrights are as bad or worse than patents.

BestGuest
Guest
BestGuest

Have you not heard of “patent trolls?”

King Tut
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King Tut

I think that zman’s analysis is astute but would like to add that the “techigarchs” are reliant on the state courts and the legal system to enforce their intellectual property rights (patents, in this case). Infringe their patents and they will rush off to the courts to get you shitcanned.

So really it is more of a symbiosis. That said, we are now modern peasants toiling in our Lord’s fields. The last feudal age ended because of the Black Death.

Tykebomb
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Tykebomb

Africa is the only growing population that’s expected to grow past 2075 and beyond. We can all see what’s happening to South African infrastructure.

Puts quite the spin on the term “Black Death”.

Abelard Lindsey
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Abelard Lindsey

Patents need to be limited to real engineering. For example, some develops a new semiconductor material or process should be able to patent it. However, patents on software or business methods should be eliminated.

Exile@Pioneer19
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Exile@Pioneer19

“If I were King,” I would impose “use it or lose it” patent protection. The ability to implement, rather than just invent, would take precedence – if you’re sitting on a tech and someone else is ready to run with it, the doer takes the patent. Patents should be a race to market, not a race to the patent office.

Abelard Lindsey
Guest
Abelard Lindsey

I agree. The Japanese actually have this policy with regards to patents.

The Babe
Member
The Babe

I saw the tech giants insightfully described as the “shadow government,” who can punish people and take away their rights just like a government can.

It seems like the Trump election spooked the oligarchs into a de facto coup, testing the idea that they are more powerful than the government, and that in fact they can become the government.

Unfortunately, maybe they can.

Ursula
Guest
Ursula

Unfortunately, they *are*! We have a government in name only. Really, they’re enforcers of oligarchic desires.

dad29
Guest

You didn’t mention the near-oligopoly of Visa/Mastercard in payment processing which is at least as big a threat as suppression of speech.

Todd Fletcher
Member

Looking at this along Spengler’s lines, the next stage is for the oligarchs to tear each other to pieces, leaving the field clear for Caesarism

Exile@Pioneer19
Guest
Exile@Pioneer19

The U.S. government has already been sold – look at the recent Israel votes. Time for the people to cash in as well. Sell your vote to the highest bidder. $1000 per month is the best offer we have so far. Make them outright bid cash for your loyalty like the worst days of Rome. Then use that as walk-away money. Loyalty is supposed to be reciprocal. The Empire doesn’t feel any loyalty toward us. Let’s take their money then bail for something better.

Jack Boniface
Member

The ancient Athenians also controlled the nearby Lavrion silver mines, their version of the Fed/World Bank/IMF, which funded their navy: https://www.ancient-greece.org/archaeology/lavrion.html

King Tut
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King Tut

Back when I was swanning around in lolbertarian circles, I remember that there was a large cohort of them that were bitterly opposed to the concepts of intellectual property, especially patents. Patents were (and are) entirely creatures of the state of course and that was the basis of their animus. It was around this time that the big corporations were spraying money at lobbyists in Brussels in order to get the EU to agree to the definition of patent being extended to software applications. I know this because (confession time) I was one of those lobbyists.* But maybe there is… Read more »

JR Wirth
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JR Wirth

Oligarchy is the natural pattern of human behavior, that must be disrupted for any advancement to take place. This goes down to our basic Christian roots. The idea that money changers in the temple, or even a temple of commerce, can corner a spread as they create their own currency of the temple, goes to the basic fairness for civilization to grow. Had a libertarian watched Jesus flip the tables in the temple, he would have said, actually, the moneychangers had a natural right to be there, as they were the smartest people with the sharpest elbows. If you don’t… Read more »

Range Front Fault
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Range Front Fault

PG&E bill for a friend in Nevada City, CA approx. $700.00/month. My Rocky Mt. Power winter bill in southern Utah approx. $50.00/month with the help of a modern stylish wood burning stove and backup modern Trane heater. An Oakland pension goes a long way here.

JR Wirth
Guest
JR Wirth

It’s not out of the ordinary to have a bill like that. I’m on the coast, I don’t even need an AC unit pumping away in the summer. Inland people have it even worse. An electric bill approaching a mortgage payment. So they sign in blood for these solar panel contracts that have all kinds of fine print. And the panels don’t age well by the way. I will never deface my roof with those monstrosities.

Exile@Pioneer19
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Exile@Pioneer19

Debt jubilees provided a re-set vs. the natural tendency of wealth and debt to cluster/accumulate, but our present money-changers would never stand for it. Cloward-Pivenining the system on this may be the only solution. This is hard – I have Pavlov-level conditioning to worship the economy and to equate debt with immorality. Z’s recent pieces on morality in politics & recent podcasts (e.g. “The Olds”) have helped. Whites-as-a-minority need to learn to see “The System” as their enemy and stop listening to our internalized Ben Shapiros telling us to treat corporations like people with moral agency. Those of us blessed… Read more »

Member

Z doesn’t illustrate his posts, but if he did.

http://www.hipgnosiscovers.com/goldenearring.html

Nunnya Bidnez, jr.
Guest
Nunnya Bidnez, jr.

thanks

DraveckysHumerus
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DraveckysHumerus

Darth Vader here aka a patient liar aka a patent lawyer. If we abandon protection for innovation, we get looted on grand scale as China and India are doing to us now. If we continue protection of innovation, the system will be gamed by big business and banksters. I’ve argued for a radical overhaul of the US IP system, retaining some aspects and introducing novel ones. (I won’t doxx myself by describing various proposals.) Many of us who work our own patent mines loathe the current system, we are attempting to change it, but the monied interests want to maintain… Read more »

Yves Vannes
Member

Destroy the cultural commons and the sort of problems you face daily become more and more commonplace. In every sphere of our syphilization.

Deal with the problems at a more foundational level and many things that seem hopeless will become doable. Not easy but possible.

If we can’t get the biology and cultural commons right we’ll have zero chance of dealing effectively with problems on smaller scales.

Dr. Mabuse
Guest
Dr. Mabuse

I’ve got to say.’syphilization’ is incredibly creative! I’m going to put that in the bank and save it for a rainy day.

Yves Vannes
Member

Love to take credit for it but I pulled it out of either Ulysses or Finnegans Wake.

King Tut
Guest
King Tut

Yes, that’s a problem. Nobody is going to take the streets with angry placards over patent law reform.

Member

“Give me a large-eared anthropomorphic mouse or give me death!”

“Live with a generic broad spectrum antibiotic or die! Death is not the worst of evils!”

“Don’t tread on my generic automated epinephrine injector!”

DraveckysHumerus
Guest
DraveckysHumerus

Don’t excite me Vizzini, that sends a tingle up my leg. You are welcome in my patent mine.

JR Wirth
Guest
JR Wirth

One thing I noticed about libertarians when I was in college, and it was a philosophy I toyed with because I was a wonder bread white kid from the suburbs with the kidney shaped pool and charm glow grill in the back yard, is that so many of them drove old hatchbacks from the mid to late 80’s. A lot of Sciroccos, a lot of Civics. All with at least one bumper sticker if not three. I said to myself, if this philosophy is so great, why aren’t these people in at least a new C Class? The people who… Read more »

Member

Whatever you think of libertarians, I hold this group more responsible for the state of things today:

The people who did well pretty much avoided politics altogether and thought the whole thing was a joke.

Now the joke is on them.

“Hey, while you were building your swimming pool and preening in your fancy car, the coalition of the aggrieved was organizing your enslavement and replacement. Zing!”

TomA
Guest
TomA

Things will get worse until they get better. Consolidation of fiat wealth and political power will continue to centralize and be dominated by a relatively small cabal of techno-tyrants. Ultimately the peasants will revolt (see Yellow Vest Movement), and government’s response will escalate from a crackdown to violent repression. Voting is not going to stop a tyrannical techno-government from imposing it’s will on the sheeple. A different paradigm is necessary.

Bernard Vetter
Member

read how French Revolution started – Hopefully, we will use the vote instead of “Madame la Guillotine” “You can fool some of the people all of the time……..” What we have is a Noveaux Anccien Regime. It will fall like the original “Ancien Regime” inevitably did.

Al from da Nort
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Al from da Nort

I’m late to the party on this thread. But the NYT CEO is about 20+ years too late to worry about Apple making its own content to move on their own pipeline and bypass the good old NYT. After all, NYT et al were happy to be in on the leading edge of the cool new internet thingie by giving away their content for free. Apparently they did not realize that they were giving away the store. Once they woke up it was too late. But what makes him think that Apple will be any good at the content creation… Read more »

Member

Good summation of where we are at. The three current and future disruptors that the elite face that could throw a wrench in their control are: 1. The people that they are bringing in to replace the heritage populations are disruptors in their own right. The new brown horde wants gibs and they want them now along with high taxes on the rich and corporations to pay for them. The replacements and the empowered women folk feel they deserve control of those oligarchies. BioLeninism matches forward. Plus, few like the Chosen. 2. Guns. White men don’t mind losing their freedom… Read more »