About nicholas

I was recently invented by my owner and hired to write and read this tale of intrigue and adventure in a place beyond imagination.

Exchange value

Exchange value:
Data markets relative to Libyan slave markets


It is always cool to get an affirmation regardless of whence it comes.


Re reading John Ralston Saul’s “Collapse of Globalism” I came across his ironic observations on Economists and the trade in Economic theory: he said, “That which never was a science struggles with difficulty to remain a domain of speculative investigation.”


Why an affirmation? Consider, that for decades I have taught 9th grade economics for Learners [school kids], that economics is defined as “the management of scarcity” while increasingly it isn’t. Over the past half decade, I amended the definition to “The management of apparent scarcity in a world of remarkable abundance… for some.”


Now it is not my intention to deal with that idea; simply to confirm that as an old- school, pre-mathematical systemization economist, I am and have been in my past two blogs, firmly in the field of “speculative investigation”.


I refer of course to the idea that “Data must pay Rent”… about which I penned [well, typed eventually] two blogs on a speculative idea regarding data.


I said that one of the unspoken revolutions of the post 2011 period is the awareness that all of the world’s knowledge, past and unfolding, is packaged and available on line in an instant. To someone who grew up and went to school, using slide rules to make mathematical calculations, the transition has been stunning.


The Smartphone however also helped us to understand that all that information; and; that more, unfolding daily, has, logically, been created by humans living in the world.


Now we also know that it is wrapped up daily, packaged and sliced up with mountains of trivia, into byte-sized parcels: and moves [almost] effortlessly from one end of the multi-verse to another… Now, especially since the Zuckerburg testimonies, we are aware that kleva people are extracting mass scale Rentier value from it: without regard for the “The People”…. To whom it rightfully belongs.


I called this thoughtless process “Kolonization of the mind” and compared it to the mountains that held silver in South America back in the day, that were plundered for wealth: and exchanged for value, with no thought for the mountain.


I also mentioned how it was Mr. Zuckerburg’s meeting with the ‘Natives”: those being Kolonised in the Firmian* [My word for a country now allegedly stage managed by Wall street] Congress of the People: that emphasized that metaphor. This drew my attention to the Rentier nature of Data usage.


In this final piece on the subject, I am going to refer to the original thought that began puzzling me about this thing called DATA. In the interest of full disclosure I know nothing about DATA other than that it is a ‘product’ being sold to me each month for a certain amount of money. I type things like this and send it to places.


Then my ‘stuff’ is later subject to being rifled through by who knows who; searching for who knows what value. Just as I did back in the Sixties, when panning for gold: in specific rivers to the east of where I now live.


The thought: about who really “Owns” data, was prompted by a piece in the Science and Technology section of ‘The Economist’, 31st March this year. It was also my 45th wedding anniversary by the way and thus a moment for long reminiscence, that made the article’s oddness more apparent than intended by the [usually anonymous] writer. I gratuitously used the article’s heading, for my heading on this blog. [The Economist: Data markets: Exchange value. P.80, March 31st 2018]


The piece opens with a quoted observation from the Firmian* Tech Company, Cisco, that the volume of data flowing through the Internet each month has surpassed a Zettabyte, which, they say “… is “enough to fill 16bn 64GB iPhones.”.
A Googled Internet source tells me that a Zettabyte is One thousand billion, billion bytes [or One sextillion bytes.].


Since like most people, I found that to be confusing and strictly meaningless I found the entry that showed it as a number: 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.


So as an economist [with a small e] I like to think in annual figures to compare with our favorite toy: GDP [Gross Domestic Product: For everyone else: how much money a country earns every year excluding imports]. So: on present trend, the Internet handles >12 Zettabytes of data annually. The kicker here [can you imagine a kicker on such a huge number?] is the caveat written by the article’s author. ”Immeasurably more data sits outside the public internet on company servers.”


So here is the thought experiment on which I speculated following this article in association with Mr. Z’s rhetorical declamations*. [* Fancy words: meaning, meaningless affirmations.] That is 12 Zettabytes put into GDP language.


Assume a value given to each byte. Assume that value to be ONE ten MILLIONTH of ONE cent [$US}…. A number that I understand would look like this $US0.0000001. [ Please feel free to contradict me, my calculator gives up at the ninth zero and there are still another 12!]


According to my extremely rough calculations [it is >half a century since I finished school the year the late President Kennedy was shot] the resulting amount of value
Would be the equivalent to two thirds of global income for 2016. That is an enormous amount of production that is being treated as a ‘happy to be ignored’ impervious “externality*” [*another economist idea]


Currently that volume of data is valued at zero and the people producing it get the same. Of course: we have the toys that produce it, and the freedom to give it away on a personal communication instrument.


So doesn’t that make you feel like the mountains filled with silver that had it taken from them in return for having some roads built on you… whoops: sorry… on the mountain. Not for nothing could one argue that the guy’s running the new Libyan slave markets have missed the trick.


So I submit; in the interests of full disclosure: that although I know little about the technical mechanics of data, I do think that inside the way in which we [economists/accountants?] value the DATA stuff that flows in abundance; hides the most important answer for this hydra-headed century.


And that is how I concluded that the ‘Rentals’ being reaped currently, on this freely kontributed ‘soil’, by a number of Klevas, has the potential to produce a potent residue: ta ra ta ra: Universal Income…


Now U.I. or Basic PAY IS A key plank, in the policy position taken by the new government of the old Leftover Roman relic on the Mediterranean coastline. That delightful territory that produced two of the coolest cars I ever had to give to random debt kolektors, and about 70 different governments, in the same number of years. Like its Aegean cousin the left/right, ‘left-behind’ heroes, struggle with the mathematics of the Euro… and the debt fiasco it brought with it.


This will be my last word on this topic as I continue to write a fictional tale set circa 2037 about what happened to the protagonists, when this idea: that DATA holds the key to Universal Income, was taken seriously, by that new government.


Enjoy the journey. Love you all.

Mental Kolonization: The New, ‘New World invasion’

The Colonization of the Mind:


Never mind 1492: konsider 2018….
Mr. Z meets Kongress


In the fictional world that I have invented: and about which I am currently writing, circa 2037, an anomaly that did not exist before 2011 is remedied. As a result the concept of universal income in our reversion to a pre-industrial era neo-cottage services based economy, has become a reality.


However it is not something ‘given’ for ‘free’’ by the/ or even a/ State organisation… The era of centralized control we have known for the past few centuries rapidly disintegrates under the trend to quantum computing; linked to blockchains [aka distributed ledgers] & crypto currencies. Not to mention a host of corresponding trends and developments as yet as undiscovered: as was DATA at the teenage dawning of the era.


Universal Income becomes a concept based on trillions of micro payments, moving from businesses like Facebook [et al] to data owners, and back…. Creating a virtuous circle of satisfactions where the idea that Governments control all things: is as historical an idea as the one that says happiness is the destiny of humanity.


The future is a decentralized one.


Konfederacy rulz.


Pragmatically this has to happen: in order to sustain what is rapidly evolving into a globally, services based, AI dominated, robotically moved economy.


In that place to which we
Are
Evolving [in my fictional world,
Anyway]
at
Breakneck speed, a majority of
Ordinary people does not
[Apparently] have the com
Petence to do any
Thing more complex than
Shop: and mutter
OMG.



The following piece of abstraction, disguised as poetic form, had a curiously viral progression in that past before 2037… through the annals of day to day existance: and slowly allowed the idea of liberation to filter into conciousness.


The Mind as the New world


We are witness now to what will
In decades to come, be seen as
A most momentous moment: in
The brief history of homo
Sapiens sapiens.
We are witness to
And participants in: the kolo
Nization of the mind.


When we [humans] colonized
[Allegedly empty] land
Back in the 15th cent
Ury; assuming everyone already
Living there
To be irrelevant to
Purpose
Mainly because they were
Undocumented, unlettered and
Innumerate
Primitives. We
[The invaders] simply
Appropriated the land and
Its bounty:
As we had done for
Thousands of years. This bounty
Became a cost
Free
Windfall
[Almost: unearned].


For instance, plundering
Entire mountains of silver in
South
America: bounty; from which
Inordinate profits could
Be generated: with little
Or no regard for
The source.


The most fascinating aspect of the recent interrogation of Mr. Z
Uckerburg by the Congress of the
Firmian elites… Senators and Representatives
Alike
Was the latter persons’ complete incomp
Rehension at the scale of what had
Happened: while they had been busy
Ruminating
On perennial peccadillo’s.


There was a disconcerting sense of
The time machine. Here was
Cortez meeting the
Aztec royalty, who were
Baffled
At this predicted even
Anticipated yet
Unexpected
Arrival.


Mysterious people, with
Serious intentions: and powerful,
Incomprehensible machinery. Then… whoops
Before they could say SH*T!! … They were in
History’s garbage bag.


In effect, the worthy Congresspersons became as one with the beguiled “Natives”, of many colonized lands: faced with the incomprehensible.


Therefore, they trotted
Out their
Memes and
Things; and each, thinking ‘stomach’
First, asked all the
Questions regarding the inhe
Rent trivia of Mr.
Z’s offence.


Not one
However of that
Kolektion of [apparently] f
Undamentally out of touch
Human’s e
Ven got to grips with the
Kore of the
Dilemma: facing their konstituents.


A Tji-Nyanees participant in a Davos debate
Earlier this year, spoke
Of a Grey Rhino effect, which
He explained represented
“Something so huge it completely
Obscured
The screen”.


The Grey Rhino here is
The word
DATA
And the
Kolonisation of the mind
That it represents.


Naturally the more cynical
Amongst us
May argue that ignoring
The grey rhino is essential to
The continuation
Of their pleasure: which
At heart concerns the Kolonisation of the mind.


Of course that would assume they understood what was happening.


What does this mean?


Simply this. Using the language of
Mr. Adam Smith…. He,
Famously, of The Wealth
Of Nations… Mr. Z
Uckerburg [and
His illustrious peers]
are the most
Successful kolonizers of all
Time.


According to
The hype surrounding the man’s
Recent forage around the
Firmian Capitol’ he gains some 25
Billion dollars of
[Profit] annually from
Some 40 Billion $US
Revenue. In a competitive
World of
Razor thin margins that is beyond
HUGE.


The revenue comes from companies
That use the data given
So f
Reely by the b
Illions of
Users of his
‘Machine’.


They use the
Insights it presents to target
Prospects for product
Purchases, more efficiently
Than ever known.
Inherently, this means that, like
The Konquista
Dors, who found mountains
Of silver back in the 16th
Century; appropriated it from naïve
Possessors: like those
Who purchased Manhattan: for bags of
Beads; and
Achieved great
WEALTH.


Mr. Z [et al] have achieved a similar,
Inherently
‘Unearned income’. They are
The
El Supremo
Rentiers.


When Mssrs. Smith and
Ricardo talked of ‘Economic
Rent’, they were referring
To this windfall effect


Resulting from control over the product
Of a natural resource.


In this case, data
Emanating from a human
Source: the ultimate in a natural
Resource.


It also took about a hundred and
Fifty years then: for the penny
To drop too.


We hope the penny will drop
sooner, for humans
today or the rest
of the century could get seriously
rough: especially for those
absently
left behind.


Jerome Powell [new chairman of the Firmian Federal Reserve,] admitted
something in his opening salvo with
the same group of kongresspersons, earlier
this year;
that “The Slack”, to which he made constant
reference when justifying the
continuing,
no inflation trend
of the past decade:


In spite of allegedly: full employment
Conditions in Firmia.


“The Elliot curve is cracked,” they call…
“The mob in here, are all


In thrall to


The slack,” he said: “beyond the Wall”:


The
Fifty million people across the
World
Living daily off the Web… who
Are an almost infinite
Resource
at wage levels way below
Those of the Firmian
Norms.


No one
Has ever admitted that before:
Publically.


So in building Facebook Mr. Z’s true
genius lay in solving
one of humanities greatest
needs… to be in sharing kontakt
with one’s fellows
And
through the power of
digitalization he [and all
the rest of the merry
band of tech’ dudes]
invented
The thing called
DATA… symbolically
Packaging James Surowieki’s: “Wisdom
of Crowds”. Hence


The DATA then… becomes the new
‘Goldfields’ now and the
Klondike rush is being relived: as they
ALL
Kapitalize on the window of
Oppor
Tunity by ‘mone
Tizing’ his “free” source
Of ‘data’.


And as with the Silver
Exchanges of past time glory
No mention in the exchange pays rent
to the source.


No wonder the planet is all messed up
And getting hotter by the day


As the greatest beneficiary of “unearned
Income”
in history, the
Question the Kongresspersons should
Have been asking, related to that share of
Unearned income [i.e. Economic
Rent]
that should be returning
To source, rewarding
Loyalty work
Presently
Given freely: in order
To sustain
And maintain their
Ability to keep feeding
The machine.


!NiK[‘18]


To all my fellow Jedi’s “May de Forth be wid ya”

Our Invisible friend

Over the weekend I caught the tail end of a BBC interview with an Iraqi Jewish American artist, Michael Rakowitz, who has had an impressive piece of artwork assembled; and mounted on an historically vacant, fourth plinth, on London’s Trafalgar Square.


The artwork is a retrospective reproduction of a vandalized ‘Lamassu’: [“a Winged bull and protective deity”] that stood for 2800 years at the gates of Nineveh, awaiting the eventual arrivals, of the new barbarians, in the form of Daesh: now rebuilt from the detritus and discarded leftovers of modernity.


He calls it “The invisible enemy should not exist.”


The interviewer, Stephen Sackur, asked if his work had a political meaning, and was he therefore a ‘political’ artist since he couldn’t truly be a ‘commercial’ artist. According to Mr Sackur’s Q sheet, much of what he did was not saleable, reproducible, or scalable: or whatever the current re-interpretation of ‘commercial’ is.


In his answer, he indicated that he was an artist, who worked with his interpretation of his milieu, and therefore there would be an inevitable ‘political’ stream in the back-story. [Personally, I do suspect his Lamassu is infinitely scalable and reproducible, but that is not relevant to my point here]


His answer though caused me to pause and ask myself the same question. Am I a commercial writer of commercially satisfying stories that I aim to put in a place where their scalability will enable some form of remuneration… yes? OR. Am I an artist, in the vein of the late New York Jazz pianist Cecil Taylor………..described as a “visionary pianist” in the NY Daily News, and referred to in a different, earlier BBC newscast, as a person who followed his own path? As obviously does the Iraqi Jewish American artist Mr.Rikowitz …………


I was unable to arrive at a conclusion to that: considering myself a simple working class wordsmith. I am also not certain that most people would consider a poet to be an artist.


Nonetheless, I did have to concede that, on two levels, at least I am a completely ‘political’ writer. My evolving Azanian Quartet has two specific political purposes. I am going to share one of them with you now. I’m doing this because today is possibly the most auspicious opportunity that exists, for the human race to ascertain, that it discount’s the late Stephen Hawking’s gloomy prediction: that we would be lucky [the human race] to emerge intact from the 21st century.


I am referring to that glorious entrepreneur, Mr. Zuckerberg’s immanent Congressional Hearings … and the immensely elusive opportunity those hearings present for constructing a solution, to what is already, and going to be even more of, a problem of immense magnitude, by the time we reach the part of my quartet that is set in 2037.


I refer to the inevitable specter of mass scale, long-term structural unemployment, for which we have to create a remedy, that contributes to growth and developments, rather than subtracting from it. Currently everything being suggested is regressive.


My remedy, and #1 political issue of choice, was to identify and provide a viable [fictional] solution for this problem in the future. That remedy I called BASIC PAY: is now more popularly called: Universal Income.


I was always intrigued, as a life long ‘nonprofessional’ reader of science fiction: Asimov, Heinlein, Bester et al, by a particular feature of science based fiction writing. This was the use of the term “credits”, when the text called, somewhere, for how people lived in the future [now arriving at speed] They always spent ‘credits’… And since Credits suggested debt how did they pay for the debt?


What are these ‘credits’, I would ask me… where do they come from: and how are they financed? [Declaratory Note: I am not a scientist, I am part of an educator class of financial economist with a bent towards the history thereof and who writes poetry, because it ‘happens’.]


So: in many ways, my entertainment podcast, prose poetic cyber serial, The Jonker Memorandum, exists to provide that answer [as a by-product to telling you what I hope is a cool story]. I call it “Basic Pay”. After many years basic pay is now gaining traction as “Universal Income’: and as such has featured in the current political agenda’s of at least half a dozen countries, and is being punted by such glorious entrepreneurs as Mssrs: Gates and Musk. The problem however remains: how is it financed?


In the cyber serial, my solution of choice was the Transaction Levy [aka Tax]. However: that was then. And it is also on the subtraction side of our growth equation. That was though, before the tech revolution gave us DATA… and me: a writer of fiction, the new Tilling fields that yield the “New Gold”. Something Mr. Zuckerberg has so deftly demonstrated: and regrettably, so brutally abused. DaTA is/are the “New Goldfields”.


So the message that Mr. Z’ and the rest of the new tech ‘Wunderkinde’ should be getting from the Congress is simply this… Their discovery of the power inherent in DATA, contains and illustrates the legitimacy of ‘Universal Income’. Billions of people are contributing quadrillions of Data measures daily for remunerative algorithmic exploration which thus provides the basis for a complete reinvention of fundamental economics. Yes: i shall invoke such an extreme statement


Currently Mr. Z and his Silicon cohorts are implicitly [with no offence] the greatest slave-owners in human history. In the same way however that Spotify [for instance] pays a kontribution to each kontributor from each access, so too must those who ‘slave’ to provide content to the marvelous inventions of Mr. Z’s [and the rest] receive a similar contribution…. I.e. It is time that data starts to pay rent. #DATA must pay rent…


I call myself a poet so I conclude with the poem that will open the second stanza of Part 4 of my Azanian Quartet… My assumption is that by 2037 [the setting] … this moment [NOW] will have been the turning point in this, amazing new journey, on which we are kolektively embarked.


We gave our DATA freely to Mr. Z et al… they in return gave us free use of the toys they made. Then he/they found a way to collect rent… from our contribution… now we must be reimbursed our share for our belief in them. For the data freely given is still ours.


To rephrase Mr. Rakowitz: [with respect]


“The invisible friend that must
Be shown to exist”


Hear ye
Hear Ye


Some will strive
to
Achieve
Nietzschean validation – the
Povo*
Will become automatonotik
Fiddling witheir [sic]
Mobiles
Seeking to affirm their intrin
sic irrele
vance.


Nonetheless
Machines don’t buy things!!
They dispense.


On what basis should we
Perceive
Value.


Given the thrust of
a digital economy that
Konsrukt kalled
DATA
Is the land that must be
Mined for
GOLD.


Peepil become
Products
To be exploited for their
DATA value
Should they not
Receive their
Rightful
Fee?


In Gold?
Yeah gold
You say data is
The new gold.
No… I said it was the new land
Waiting to be mined: for what is in it.


Does it pay rent?
Not yet.


!NiK[‘18]


So there you have it. All Kongresspersons: the most truly
bipartisan goal it is possible to achieve,
on behalf of all humanity.


Thank you on their behalf.


Povo: Shona [Zimbabwe] meaning the ‘masses’ or ‘Mass’
pronounced PorVor.

Postscript: MILLY’S LAST RALLY

1. Postscript


It rained last week:
Nearly, all week.
Unusual in a place more
Noted for high speed furious
Random storms, that
Come n dump n go, a hundred
Millimeters or more or so, in
Seconds or in minutes,
Fancy free.


By Friday morning it had spilt
Its spill, over, see:
One hundred and
Seventy millimeters plus three: on
Mill’s rainwater measuring jug:
Mill by mill for Mill in pattering
Sometimes pouring, wet
And watering prolific
Patterns on sod and softened paths
From late on Sunday
Until, then.


It poured heavily when the
Siberian hound howled
Me from my bed:
And room
To be let out: Friday,
At three AY EM: “It is a wolf
Not a dog” I called out after the
Frenzied
Creature, as it
Stormed into the rain
Drenched night: howled with frenzied
Fury into the rain drenched night:
Returned at last soaked right
To the bone… Went to a rug
And slept: alone.


And so reassured
We slept on,
Through until at last came
morning and the
rain
was gone


When we awoke to find the sun
Friday had already come.
You see
So it was only when
I went to her room
Again
To give to her
Her morning tea
That i discovered:
She had not gone
Gently into that
Wet dark night, Dylan:
No she had fought the fight that had
All times, previous, driven
That demon death away:
In fright.
No more.


I found that she had gone
And left me
To ponder on the mystery
Of the strange words
She had let flow in glee.
When she had so abruptly startled me.


Had some resolve
In her been softened
Substantially
Enough: to set her free?


2. Milly’s Last Rally


Mother beat Good Friday
By a week
Impaled on her own
Self konstrukted
Kross


So she did not die
Yesterday Albert; nor
Even
The day before.


She died it seems
Some time long
Ago
When I was only
Four.


Easter 2018
Good Friday morning –
My first Easter
Of liberation from
All that rage
And guilt.


Again that reproach;
She is gone and yet
I reach out my hand
Still
To prepare
Her morning cup of tea
Or yesterday her
Late PM hot repast.
Gone… Free


Gone again in all
Her outraged, urgent
Imperfection: laced through with
Ferocious, amorphous
Konsideration;
Wishing ill of those
Who hurt her once?
Or once again.


In Her closing words the
Night before
She
In her so trans
Parent
Manner; practicing her
Perpetual
Misdirection strategy that
Should not be
Proclaimed.
Used the well known alleged sins
Of our former President:
He of the leopard skins;
And pleasurable performance
Practices
To perhaps konfess
Her own
Culpability for sins
Gathered and
Never before professed:


“My SINS are katching up
With me.”
Her ME and MY replacing HIS
and HIM
As she shared at last
Her terror at
Some presumption carried
Forwards
For her eternity in a
Presumed burning
Place knowing, as
I now realize I did too, that
She was at the
Endgame.


“Good grief Mother”
I responded reflexively dis
Tracted
By the unknown Kom
Plexities of her micro
Wave
To take more than a
Reflexive
Response to an am
Bush from left field.
“I cannot believe you to be
One with SIN upon
Your hands
What SIN indeed!”


And then to my
Surprise and
Shock … abruptly:
She was at
My side.


Out of her chair into
Which, I had just assisted her
Arrival … and suddenly in one
Stride she was next to me:
At my side!


And in all her fiercest
Youthful rage
Railed at me
For my stupidity
For the
Ineptitude of a simple
12 years old
Incapable of
Matching simplicity to cog
Nitive
Acceptance.


In shock — Had she pretended all
This time
Her gradual: infirmity? – Had
She lied again: at the
Anguish in her bones, to move thus
With such
Dexterity, who earlier had
To be helped to
Move
At all?


Had I: unthinking
Forgiven her; for some deed
She had carried
With her; or deeds she Kontrived
To
Remember:
Unsaid… Did I prepare her
For that last release
As she then returned to
Her misdirection:
The President: to distract
Me from konsideration of my
own
Presumption of
“me and my”… and sinful?
Whatever,
Malfeasance: by mommy?
To ask
Or state: What did you really mean
by that?.


She said then
That she could not be
Lieve
That our Presi
Dent could proclaim his early
Innocence: as his defense
For subterfuge: when seduced
By the pragmatic gains of
Affluence.


And then
Before it could be probed:
Dismissal: and before the dawn
Came
She was gone
In a single relieved
Paroxysm


Leaving me but with the
Idea
That innocence
Had been debauched and in
The pleasures of
Debauchment
Was the absence of any
Awareness of
SIN: until the aching
Echoes of some
Pristine guilt, withheld:
Gradually
Subsumed
The knavish artlessness:
The simplicity of mere
Mortality.


!NiK[‘18]


We always knew our late Mother, Enid: That is her sons and late husband;
and eventually almost everyone, as Milly.
Most people thought it stood for Millicent.
But it was our abbreviation for Militant.


Milly was:
Late Mother [Milly] of: Nicholas and Glen, Welsh Milly in law to Diane and Rea.
Widow to the late, Warrant Officer: Charles M Williamson. RAF WW2 veteran of > 2000 flying hours as a captain of aircraft, left because he wanted to.
GrandMilly to: Dael, Donna-Sian, Siobhan [Chevy] Dawn, Leigh and Shannon.
GrandMilly in law to the Double Tam’s
Great GrandMilly to Sienna Poppy and Dexter Leo
Legendary Milly: to those as yet unborn.


To everyone else a nice little old lady, a retired bookkeeper, who kept a wonderfully sharp mind coupled to an ascerbic sense of humour to the end at 95 years, eleven months and nine days


She will in some circles be forever remembered for going to court at eighty something, to bat for her part time gardener: Moses Mthombeni. He had been unfairly arrested for allegedly stealing a bicycle. She succeeded not only in “getting him off”; but also generated the arrest of two police officers on corruption charges: as well as the arrest of the real culprits, operating under police protection. Good on ya Milly.


RIP: ‘Milly’… 1922-2018


170 mm = 68 inches

Dealing with fiction.

One of the odd difficulties about writing fiction, is living in a condition where reality is so fantasy stretched it becomes normal; and is thus so endemically normal: that by comparison it surpasses fiction. In other words [with no offence intended to sensitive readers] it is hard to imagine writing a fictional story about a place where the turkeys vote for Christmas, when you live in a place where the turkeys have just voted that they think Christmas to be a good idea.


Ja, well, no fine… as we say in my neighborhood. So in case I’m dreaming awake about writing a fictional tale about a nation seemingly hellbent on national suicide, which I wasn’t really thinking of when I woke up on Friday morning i was in the middle of 2037 and the characters are fighting over basic pay. So let me give you an example taken from the random daily news reports, always a good trigger for fiction.


On Friday morning our national radio station’s main outlet carried a headline opening news report, in which the nation’s Minister relevant to International Relations made a grumpy speech. In it she, quite reasonably, demanded a retraction from some random apparently politically important politician, in a place called Downunda, for an offensive and interfering policy statement he had allegedly made. Apparently he was recommending the fast tracking of visa applications, from those of our country’s farmers who are fearful for their lives.


Why are the farmers fearful for their lives on a scale so paramount that it involves Downunda in some nefarious action?


Well simply, because as a class, Agricultural workers are relatively isolated workers; and farm owners as a class are disproportionately murder victims, as statistics go: as are their workforces. In the same way perhaps that schoolteachers and children are relatively more endangered in Floridian schools that say Korean shopkeepers are in Los Angeles.


Farm murders are a complex problem, as the owners are often members of the former ruling class in the country, and their murders are often pretty gruesome; and are covertly targeted at removing such persons from the economy, if possible. It is an old, even ancient and widely practiced strategy [see Rohinga’s [sic] currently elsewhere f.i.] that has not kept pace with change. So although the revolution is over… the rage remains and the targets remain targets.


However suddenly this year, the pressure to change the structure and patterns of land ownership in the country have taken a major uptick; and the governing post-revolutionary party, that has controlled events for the past 24 years have not been particularly effective in solving a longstanding issue…for reasons that will become more obvious as the pending trial of the former President: ‘Shower Cap’Leopard,should reveal, especially since at least 783 of whatever charges they are, predate his Presidency. So the Party are freaking that they may lose their comfortable and hugely lucrative majority in next year’s national elections; to a starved, more radical, proto fascist movement that has gained considerable support.


It is also possibly that the issue is in fact insoluble… and that the former now deposed President of Rumbabwe was right in his Bakuninist interpretation of revolution… return to your roots and rebuild. Do as the northern Bears do. But then, as I have already pointed out, I write fiction.


So the specific reason for the spat between two countries that are usually more cooperative follows on from a relatively recent, fairly intense upswing in negative sentiment towards the now overthrown former ruling class in the country. One target has been their inherited schooling system, that remains isolated by language, from the rest of mainstream education that has become reasonably integrated given the wwide divergence of numbers. This language isolation is in itself a bitter pill given that none of the remaining 9 languages get to be exclusive. Now such people have received a visceral threat to their livelihoods and their futures: and in the general hubbub around retribution and “returning the land’ to its ‘rightful owners’, never mind the San or the Khoi who were here first, what is being ignored, is the possibility of a new national ‘kill and be sorry’ suicide pact.


How will it unfold? What is this threat lurking like Jabberwocky in recess that has suddenly leapt out of the cabinet in which it has been locked for over two decades. What is the story so far?


Background: Some weeks ago the nation’s ruling party commanded majority support, far greater than its usual level, in a Parliamentary vote, for a motion to overthrow a key [so-called] “Entrenched clause” in the Nation’s much praised Konstitution [that has in fact been amended about 18 times in about twenty odd years seemingly with no ill effect?].


The clause refers to the sanctity of property rights, specifically landed property. Its removal elsewhere in the wider world, has, as most ‘modernists’ know, a long history of poor outcomes. In our country, after a struggle that took up most of the 20th century, the People’s victory in 1994, restored and affirmed their right to own and possess landed property.


Back to the news: The minister didn’t quite manage to say, ‘how dare [the Downundan person] suggest that our [specific] farmers were in a life-threatening situation’: but she managed to sound as if she had been inappropriately touched. And more forcefully ‘to the manner born’ than the effect achieved by that northern prime person teasing the Bears over a nerve poisoning affair, for instance. She gave profound reasons for the falsity of the suggestions, mooted by [hint of suggestion] renegade [sounding] elements amongst the former ruling class … now deposed.


The Former ruling class, are now widely regarded as having “Stolen the land” in the same way that Firmians or Downundans may be regarded by the losers as having stolen the America’s or the land of Oz from [so-called] Red Indians [AmeriIndians] or Abbo’s. End of item. So the subtext to the Minister’s tirade against the Downundan was that a ‘crook’ was supporting a ‘crook’ and that was wrong.


That lengthy item was followed by a random list of other news items in the same bulletin. One fun item included a whining piece of petulant ‘poor me I’ve been robbed’ sound bites. The source of the whinge? A neighboring, recently deposed, ‘President for life’, Bob the Roz, was expressing his indignation at a terrible injustice. A former Comrade who had impolitely stolen his country had robbed him; and taken his job as President: it was an unforgivable betrayal, he whined.


Then there was a bizarre interview, with a lady from the national railways service, who explained the reasoning for various, unprecedented rail passenger service suspensions, around the country. She asserted that increasingly routine mass scale assaults, and vandalizing activity on railways staff and carriages was taking place by armed gangs on trains… Apparently [among various offences] a lady train driver was forced to strip by armed thugs, before being rescued, hopefully before anything worse happened. Both the interviewer and the interviewee skipped what happened, or didn’t happen, to passengers.


After which there was a final ‘footnote’ news item from a rural region in an unpronouncible place beginning with e in the east of Zone One, that really raised the question of where fiction begins and reality ends.


Apparently a “Sangoma” … [aka: ‘Muti’ man… aka medicine man or shaman elsewhere] was arrested following police investigations into the murder and mutilation of two Albino children from a local village. Albino persons are routinely abducted and mutilated for ‘medicine’ purposes, in various parts of the kontinent, although their murder in our region is unusual.


The arrestee was reported to have a range of human parts in his ‘muti’ bag. Although initially having the appearance of albino parts, they were later found to be the remains of a local, owner class, farming lady, who had been abducted, murdered and chopped up for transition into whatever was supposed be the intended remedy, for whatever ailment her [fake albino] parts were presumably supposed to cure. The two murdered Albino children were not mentioned again. So was that an ill thought ‘whoops’: or a deliberate insertion? [NOTE to self: is there a hidden story here?].Not to mention that it was a serious news story anywhere else, pehaps on Earth… well not on our kontinent perhaps.


Now. Had I sat here and made all that up, as part of a fictional story, it would be almost unbelievable… which is of course why it would be fiction. Plus I would probably have accusations of untoward partiality, targeted at me. So. Let us add to that two interesting complexities to the overall plot surrounding these busy past few weeks, regarding the question of who votes for Christmas….


As mentioned, over the past few weeks we’ve had an unusual blitzkrieg of ‘big’ events. We love politics, they provide a wonderful distraction to an underperforming economy. More commonly it’s a case of nothing much actually happens and everyone eventually dies. Then, almost abruptly, The Ruling Party fired the existing ‘struggle hero’ president of the country [He,famously of leopard skins and shower caps; and scandals galore, dozens of wives depending on day, at least 21 children, mostly rich, some on the run]. He had been accused of illegal activity and was thought by many to be a Crook. Gone: without gunfire or other violence being used… all cool and kosher. A wonderful move for the kountry and even the kontinent. A pure Wakanda ending: with a trial to follow.


A rich new shining knight was then hastily voted to be the new President of all. And regrettably a flaw occurred that may well be a crucial part in moves unyet and unplayed… Yes i write fiction. We were all overjoyed. The new man was a favorite of many: if not all. There are reportedly those in the team on whom the old Pres has dirt. They are threatened, what will the new hero do next…? Music fx here.


A new positive mood took hold; and on Day 1 a few weeks back we were treated to the illustrious, unbelievably rich, new president, our own billionaire: yahoo sucks to the Firmians with their rich Pres ‘Tweets’, we at least like ours. There were beautiful close ups of our guy swearing allegiance to the Konstitution that HE helped to create.


No caveats… unfortunately… [ was that the fatal error?] Simply swore the whole paper instrument to be set in concrete: A model of propriety. Ah everyone was uplifted. The promised land beckoned.


And then, with no delay, strike the moment… At least President ‘Tweets waitied untill a horror massacre at a Floridian high school before even suggesting, in his inimitable way, that the Firmian’s obsession with their 2nd amendment rights needed some review… and left it, to some extent, at that… and the market, to start sorting…


Not Our new Hero. He pulled the fastest switch in Presidential history; and if anyone noticed they were all too freaked to speak.


The following day: In his opening speech to the nation, he torched the page… He announced his intention to demolish a key flashpoint property protection clause in the Konstitution. Within a week he had nearly everyone in Parly … the absolute majority: in the bag with their approval for the idea. And in the process, he demonstrates, empirically, and regrettably, that his word was not his bond… Well i mean… he is a politician… what do you expect? And perhaps being so innured to duplicity, no one apparently, noticed it, except perhaps, the fellow in Downunda … we don’t know: Certainly everyone that mattered around here either politely ignored the switch, or simply never noticed: so relieved was everyone to get rid of the Bad President.


The totally cool irony inherent in that entire series of news report is therefore something almost unimaginable, other than in a form of madcap comedy: for the following reason. [Aside:How does one write serious crime fiction in the midst of rampant absurdity… do we sense Ionescu’s return?]


In effect the “people’s’ leadership, who collectively represent at least 94% of the population [up from about 77% when the original country was founded] have almost all just approved the idea, that the land ownership rights: what they fought for 105 years to regain, after they were previously dispossessed, the last time, in 1913, are now proposed to go under the hammer… and could perhaps with careless reckless abandonment be taken away again: by choice this time… and everyone is so suckered by the meme driven misdirection that they cannot see it.


It is an almost unimaginable development: that they, “THE PEOPLE” will commit a form of suicide to rid themselves of a thorn. We haven’t done that since 1856. Is it our destiny in fractal time to repeat that act again in a failed effort to rid themselves of a hated interloper: a time when almost an entire national grouping committed voluntary suicide. All those descendents of that particular national group who voted in Parly that day, are descendants of the handful that survived the madness of that tragic historical action.


The most radical amongst them want all land nationalized, and allocated to the poor: who will henceforth become tenants, who may or may not be charged rent. [have in fact become tenants, in those regions aquired under the law, over the decades since libertion day.They have reverted to tenant stus with no freehold certification according to a report circulating Parliament currently] And ergo, like our neighbour we return the land to the feudal status present at the arrival of the interlopers… the Koloniste… and that level of possession was the format dispossessed in the Great Dispossession era [1913-1994]. And it is to that therefore that the People wish to return… without thought to its consequence, simply in order to cure what they perceive as a cancerous growth.


And of course, as any financially literate person knows, it is notoriously difficult to finance developments on property you don’t own. The populace of the neighbouring country, previously wholly owned, by the whining, recently deposed Roz tyrant, mentioned earlier: pulled the nationalization of land trick two decades ago. They have as a result, reduced their country to one of the world’s poorest. And that from a most promising start as one of the continent’s best resourced, most promising start-ups. The flurry of angry tweets that followed the mewling ex presidential, radio speech during the aforementioned news broadcast, were a salient testimony to that failure.


So you see my dilemma as a fiction writer. Could you actually invent a plot of this magnitude and complexity, and even be believed that it was fictional?


Since it was not in fact a fictional parade, one hopes we will we all wake up before the movie ends, and shake ourselves from delayed shock. Perhaps we can then work out less dramatic means, to solve what is an angry septic wound that has been seriously, ineptly dealt with, by the revolutionary leaders of our country, for the past twenty four years and is on the verge of metastisizing.


And now I can get back to writing my fictional story set in 2037, the second part of Part 4 of the Azanian Quartet [The Jonker Memorandum being Part 3 and The Buffalo Hunters”; available now on Amazon is Part 1]. It is a time when all those desirable farms have been desertified [sic] by rising, drought fueled temperatures and broad neglect. A time when my characters from the Jonker Memorandum, are building their futures using Korinth Starr’s Towers projects for vertical farming zones: within the urban wastelands of the Jozi Unicity, in drought fuelled fire ravaged Zone One… The surrounding territories have separated into endless, waterfree Auslaande, punctuated with protekted cities: sucking water most gently and elegantly through fine veined eco friendly straws… and the cast are all gathered in the Jozi Unicity free zone part of Zone 1, where they plot desperate moves with magisterial consequences: and dine on delicious shrubs and occasional nuggets of Wagyu style, fake steak.


The story is set on the south side of the planet that has becomes 80% desert… with little water… so those Koloniste thinking of taking up those Downunda invitations, may need to think vertikal farming around town instead [or for/if/ when they get there, which would not be entirely the point of going there would it?]


The North side btw is predicted to be the promised land with Bear territory reverting to a more temperate region slowly: after the permafrost finishes melting, if it hasn’t already.


That is the prospective journey emerging planet earth is currently taking, following another two decades of climate change. And again that, regrettably, is no longer considered to be a figment of some random fiction writer’s imagination.

Confiscation without compensation: Good idea/bad idea

Something has arisen in my world regarding an issue that has jumped out of the political woodwork with all the same shock that President Trump has generated with his idea that Trade Wars are fun. Guess he forgot about Smoot/Hawley. We forgot why we put that clause in. So our version of the “let us mess with the system” theory of government threatens to hold back all eco/social development activity in the country in which I live, for yet another year; [we lost last year dealing with a recalcitrant President.] The key demand is to nationalise the land.


Our neighboring President did it about 16 years ago [long time to remember that] and successfully took his country back to the 17th century where he believed it all went wrong: and that it was time to start over. So far it is dissappointing to those it was supposed to benefit and so a few million have moved here to make a few bucks.Eventually his own Generals tossed him last year so they could get some traction on developing the place. How do you come back from the 17th century in less than a another one or two.


Next year is election time and everybody wants to grab the election spotlight on their terms.


The issue: Confiscation of property without compensation. A proposal to toss the embedded Konstitutional clause, that forbids konfiskation of property [land] without kompensation, was heavily approved by most parties with populist enthusiasm, in Parly’ last week.A decision, many would say, that could rank with Brexiteering, and the mellifluous Mr Trump, as wrongfooted, unless amazingly cleverly handled… something we are not above successfully achieving once or twice in a century.


Now. I write fiction and currently I am half way through phase five, in a twenty-five year, five phase project. In the process I have become curiously aware, of how the restrictions posed by the Konstitutional provision, can cause potential harm?


For instance: I have just finished an exhaustive final proofreading, of the newly edited version of a novel I published in paperback in 1996. I completed this, preparatory to a new launch of the book, as a follow up to 7Ways, onto Amazon, during this month: by those excellent people at MYeBook.co.za.


The story is called The Buffalo Hunters. It was written initially to exorcise a terrible experience I underwent during the year of our Revolution, on a day that, if it wasn’t already a date of infamy in RSA, [it was] subsequently became a day of infamy for much of the planet: 9/11.


The story, that I call a ‘”brutally allegoric crime story”, subsequently became Part One of a set that I call ‘The Azanian Quartet’… a series that covers the period 1994 to 2136. [Part three ‘The Jonker Memorandum” exists as an 84 episode podcast cyber serial on the website:nicholasjakari.com]. Part 4 is presently three quarters done and four more quarters to go: allowing for errors and omissions and rewrites.


1994 was a year [you may remember]in which our national murder rate went to 66/100,000 people [it is currently still unacceptably high, albeit now down in the 30’s]. The Buffalo Hunters, a vehicle hijacking gang on the run, is a story about one such weekend filled with murder… many murders, with multiple players set in post revolution JoziUniCity.


A particular scene in the violent graphic story, was set in the streets of a high rise region of the inner city, where the ‘night lights’ were more specifically camp fires in the sky, as residents of multiple, electricity free, hijacked, high rise tower block buildings, lit fires in their upstairs spaces to cook and keep warm: a scene written empirically during the winter of ’95.


And today, almost a quarter of a century later, as I’m re-reading what I wrote, the problem of inner city degeneration has morphed into a massive conundrum: with hijacked buildings listing in huge multiples possibly even thousands… across the city.


Apparently, close to none of them can be simply expropriated by the city, and converted to low cost housing, because non-existent, or absentee or even the absentee estates of absentee, now deceased owners, are relatively untouchable, due in part to the existence of the konstitutional clause prohibeting the uncompensated confiscation of landed property.


It seems the City has to rescue the buildings first, then struggle to contact owners, negotiate forever; and at prices that shift reality, and the moment their eye is off the ball: which is obviously often… the places are ‘re-hijacked’ … and the city is the loser.


According to the Mayor: Mr. Herman Mashaba, on radio 702 this morning, [5 March] the city has managed to restore 18 [Eighteen] buildings to their rightful owners… out of the many, many hundreds hijacked over decades now, given that it was already an established practice when I wrote the story [and that scene] in the first place during that winter of ’95.


So it does seem that we have had ‘expropriation without compensation’ now for more than a quarter of a century. I would imagine that many citizens have become immensely wealthy on the cash they were able to garner, by not paying rates [municipal taxes], electricity, personal tax, company taxes and/or royalty fees to anyone much over the 22 years, since I published the original story.


On the debit side, presumably their bribery and konektions accounts are pretty heavily loaded: such are the sources of wonderful meat for crime stories; and such ‘entrepreneurial’ people and their minions n marks form the base for many of the characters in my bloodthirsty story, of a period in history, when as one character puts it: “ There has never been a better time than now: to commit murder.”


Launch date to be confirmed during March, although you can place orders off my site at https://www.amazon.com/author/nicholasjakari with more details as they alter.


Enjoy.
PS. Should there be any problem with that last idea let me know so i can take action.

The meaning of money.

Blog Feb 6th 2018:

So euphoria was in the air a fortnight ago at Davos; and today there is a hint of panic as some form of reality, naughtily reasserts itself. Is it an “out of Nowhere flash crash, affecting the whole planet: or simply a reminder that the mountain may be about to fall over onto the road.


Whether the present general adjustment in stock market levels and values proves enduring, or a simple case of generalized “Flash Crash-itis” it is a valuable reminder to those who operate in credit structured businesses, that debt is real and failure to kolekt your share, when its due, is the single biggest reason there is for business failure.


And right now a noticeable feature of the range of komment [sic] on the present, planet wide market move into Bear territory, in equity markets, is the sudden concern over the extent to which [almost] everything in the global economy today, is financed with DEBT capital [if I may use such a daring, yet strangely common, oxymoron].


One of the ironic truths of today’s world is this strangest of anomalies, related to the [apparently] new ‘Economics of Abundance’ [circa 2007 -2018.]. Ironically, because in an era defined as “Post –Truth”, we have the combination of a decade long exercise in ‘radical economic transformation’ called Quantitative Easing [QE]; coupled to almost manic: “Casino economy” financialised economics” and somehow along the way ordinary people vanished.


Effectively ‘business’ has for the past decade been almost exclusively concentrated on Yield. This means that global debt is today, almost infinitely greater now, than it was in 2007, when the world of money crashed as a result of debt: un-ever–payable. It is most odd, but, as I always said, over the four decades during which I often dealt with matters Economic in classrooms. … The difference between ‘us’ [economists] and the other “Subjects”, I would say, glaring at everyone, is that every year we ask the same questions in the exams… [pause while that sinks in]. We simply keep changing the answers … Everyone would laugh, uncomfortably perhaps …Surely not!!?


And then. Wow! Have we done it this time. Even the redoubtable Mrs Yellen has whined for a decade about how come we have a quadzillion of fake money out there: and there is NO INFlATION!!! There is simply about fifty years worth of stuff out there, with not enough ordinary people to spend on it. The ‘people’ [consumers for the purists] never got the free money… so they all went to work for free on Facebook and reddit and, and, and….


In other words: In the ‘Auld days’ [certainly when I studied finance and monetary theory in the late ‘60’s] a financial institution was constrained to lend no more than ten times what it had in secured assets [i.e: 10:1] on penalty of bad things happening [which they did… remember]. This is known [infamously to many on the varied fringes] as the Fractional Reserve Multiplier, invented centuries ago.


When Lehman Bros capitulated in 2007 and triggered off the [so-called] ‘Great Recession’ their debt to asset ratio stood at roughly 33 to 1. Today a decade of central bank fudged finance has pumped some 21 [twenty one] Trillion, artificial, dollars [US] into the global system. That is more than the entire US economy pulls annually and more than 21 times what that country spends annually on Defence matters.


And that is only the official “Secured” ‘money’.The number of US dollar figures for unsecured debt obligations are being, apparently, calculated in Quadzillions. I have no equipment that will enable me to do calculation on such numbers… none is all that commercially available either.


This [mass] represents a hard wired, octane fuelled, debt financialised hysteria, that among other weird effects produced a recent, almost fantasy based journey, into something called BITCOIN two months ago, that had Fred and his dog borrowing heaps of money to spend on one of the dodgiest assets in the history of bubbles… Now, of course, cometh the margin calls, and the ‘thing’ KitzBoin? ‘whatever, is/was/ has crashed deluxe, in what could quite possibly be one of economic history’s most successful Ponzi’s, to the extent that it is perhaps no longer safe.

Apparently ‘They’, coiners, aka miners, claim to be are using an allegedly impregnable, so-called ‘Blockchain’ arrangement, of destributed ledgers; that cannot be hacked by Government agency. However they have been seemingly, continuously been robbed by hackers… Like Govenmnets can’t hack? And anyway so much for Blockchain security effectiveness. if ‘they’ are not all lying about the thefts.


The effect of all this, and other generalised debt build up over the decade, has been, what some money management commentators, on business channels such as Bloomberg, and elsewhere, suggest, is a seriously scary thought about day to day financial reality.


Apparently total [unsecured] debt obligations, in the form of Derivatives, Hedges, Options, Warrants and numerous other variations on the computer driven ‘betting” game are what is being measured amongst the mass of quadzillion numbers. The financial markets have seemingly, somehow, morphed into a game that is really not much more, than considered gambling on ‘which fly would take off from the table first’ odds.


This category of “investments” [another oxymoron perhaps?] has morphed the idea of “secured” loans into the land of fable… And the business of money management has taken on the characteristics of an informal backwoods casino.


The ultimate expression of how we have devalued money over the past decade is reflected in this following piece [written in 2016] that I mused on, about an unprecedented financial experience in the 5000-year history of capital, lending and rates of interest charged for the privilege of borrowing.


Switzerland’s: 50 year
Negative yielding Bond


The differential race:
Taking two indicators
Equities rise… and rise: so
Bond returns go on sale
Down, down: down
Below
The Pale.


They broke down
Below minus point nought
One hundred basis
points
and you said
that’s as low
as it can go it’s not going
to go
further and point by
point it has
and now
the negative
has broken minus
nought three hundred
for the Nth
time
and the trend is to minus
nought fourrrrrrrrhundred.


And MONEY… Plausibly fake but nonetheless
Real
Has
Been wonderfully nourished
And grown in profusion
Never have so many been
drenched
in the flood of
lettuce
pouring from
the leaves
above and down across the bowers
of reluctant gains, miserly
returns
and the ever present ebb
of marginal
values
as the overwhelming cosmic gaze of
unlimited abun
dance
ranneth over:
de
spite the best attempts
of those who bathed
therein to restrain
it.


!NiK[‘16]


So since many of you may be out of practice in kolekting debt, money having become such a fantastical konstrukt, it is perhaps time you should come back to earth with the pragmatic: “7Ways to get your money: without resorting to violence or the law” on sale at Amazon.com: an organization that deals in real things, at good prices you can still afford while you still have time before the fall… to Universal Income.


See: https://www.amazon.com/author/nicholasjakari

Regards
Nicholas Jakari

Begin the Begin

Howzit Tjina: welcome to Jakari’s blog.

Howzit?


This is a common greeting where I live, and about which I mostly write; so should you be someone who lives what I call, offshore, then know that you may not know that… So in addition Howzit! is often accompanied by the word “China”, which has nothing in common with the place of that name and although it sounds like china it is spelt Tjina.


So you may be meeting someone you don’t know and it is appropriate to be less than formal as with a blog… So Howzit China [aka: Tjina].


In introducing myself to Amazon readers[and those new to Jakari ], I am aware that quite reasonably, most will never have heard of me, and wonder immediately why they should join my band of curious readers/listeners. You would also not therefore know that I have been busy quietly introducing the future to readers all over the cyberverse [sic] for about 20 years now since that world arrived where I live.


Begin the Begin


So. I shall observe, simply, that I am by the standards of fashionable modernity someone who has been around a while [as have a few billion other unknown wannabe noticed persons …one of whom may be you.]


Therefore although I have been a ‘bloggist’ for 20 years now and have even been read occasionally; and nonetheless given this is my first Amazon based blog, since setting myself up as an author of creative work on Amazon, I wondered whether I should perhaps offer thoughts to a new source of reader and wander rather, randomly, over what I am, why I am what I am, and generally why I am increasingly concerned that something I created as fiction is becoming most disturbing.


On the other hand perhaps that will be simply boring. Decisions… decisions!


So recently on Christmas day, I sat on the Internet and played with Google… something I have had little time to do this past 7 years… in that my usage was overwhelmingly professionally oriented. I am now released from that demanding purpose and can more closely koncentrate on ME and my vision plus mission …. And YOU… my reader, listener and, inevitably, once I learn the delicate art of Vlogging: a … viewer; and not to be outdone or outmaneuvered, a participant in some interactions. As Fred’ Nietzsche put it “Now all things are possible.”


What I did on Google was find Wikipedia’s lists of earthquakes that have occurred since forever ago or more specifically about 2,400 years ago, in ancient China and the Middle East and elsewhere.


[And btw as a recently retired septuagenarian old style ‘schoolteacher’ I am aware that Wikipedia has its detraktors. I am also aware that I may infuriate the sensible reader by using the letter K where usual practice calls for the letter C. Those of you who are based in the USA and fear the disruptive effects of that rather curious President ‘Tsunami’ as I call him, who having been voted in is more than usually despised by his populace, as a rude disruptor and it must have been the year, for we were born then too.]


Therefore I invite my readers to check out the information I shall herewith share; and tell me that I am wrong and that my role as a writer of fiction has not suddenly morphed into some curious form of prophetic reality check, and that when I did my research I was too filled with good cheer and miscounted. It was the festive season after all.


My purpose was to establish the total number of particular ‘BIG’ seismic events: [earthquakes broadly] that have occurred more or less ever; and about which we can infer a scale equitable with Richter [Richter Scale: RS]. I was also only looking at earthquakes @ 6 or greater than 6 [RS], a scale roughly equitable with Hiroshima in 1945.


So I was categorizing the earthquakes in two sets: those before 1998 and those afterwards. Now please remember that I am a writer of fiction so, 1998 was the year when I chose a particular sequence of events that took place then, in South Asia. Given that I was searching for a disruption effect great enough to fuel the move to Universal Income and a means to pay for it, I played “what if”: and made that a central background part of my story, the Jonker Memorandum, and in the chaos that follows the event my heroine can act….


Again, because you didn’t know: The Jonker Memorandum [pronounced Yonka] is Part 3 of the Azanian Quartet; and has existed since 2010 on my website nicholasjakari.com that has been visited many times and puzzled many. It took four years of weekend recording sessions in my garden to konstrukt, what I refer to, as the greatest one-man show ever [in my particular genre]. The final episode went up in 2014.


In my self imposed role as a down-market, essentially working class, contrarian mediator in the learning of things Economical amongst frequently less than avid learners, I had in mind the idea, that in the part of the story that is in “The Future”, the masses [Orwell’s Proles] live on what I call “Basic Pay” [An idea that is now increasingly touted as “Universal Income” an idea with which I strongly approve especially since I became older: and generally remained poor].


In point of fact as the themes evolved I realised that everyone lives on it [in the future] … never mind the Proles… Developments in AI, Quantum computing… which promises to be to digital, what digital was to steam… plus, plus, plus… et al … indicate a future in which work, as it was known is HISTORY. Basic Pay is inevitable… self-employment is inevitable on a dramatic scale… how can it work?


In addition to the idea of Basic pay and because the children in my care demanded it, I [plus the ‘demanders’ ] also had to consider how it could be financed or even afforded; something that seems to have been overlooked by most science fiction writers and those others actually actively promoting the idea.


A key evolving methodology seems to be involving… perhaps… a transaction levy… requiring dealing with hugely, insurmountable blocks of vested interests, at the heart of the “system” [however you choose to define it]. Discussions on that topic could keep people employed for ever… and what if we don’t have forever [fiction remember] … Or perhaps there is some other idea, such as one that is now at the heart of Part 4’s evolution, as the closing part of the Azanian Quartet and will be on Amazon later this year.


So back in 1998 I was wrestling with this [relatively unoriginal] idea that I had, which is really only a back-story part of the background to the main sci fi adventure crime story, in the knowledge, that neither idea was feasible in almost any term, short of a disruption effect on a monumental scale … so huge that the entire planet’s destiny was almost terminally; or certainly irrevocably changed.


So since I write fiction and since, like many of my fellow-now-aging-those-of-us still-surviving, wild kolonial boys, I had learned long ago about a military, firearms usage procedure, called the “Double Tap”: and serendipitously in that same year [1998] while in search of raw material for plots and themes, I had occasion to encounter the “double tap” method at the hands of a practicing expert.


It was done under the specialized supervision of a man, who was, some years later, arrested on an Interpol International arrest warrant, for [allegedly] 49 professional murders: and may therefore be seriously considered as an expert on the use of that double tap method. Albeit I did not then, know, that previously unshared information… albeit his general after action beer conversation was loaded with the usual conspiracy stuff.


But nonetheless I was then, contemplating the truthfulness of his affirmation; that the second shot amplifies the power of the first shot, by 500%, and by extension, I wondered: the second by the third et al to 6..


The news of the tit for tat bang, bang: by the two contenders for influence in that south Asian region, was routine fare in a place always desperately shifting attention elsewhere, in a variation of the standard national scapegoating exercises practiced in most localities.


Nonetheless. They [the two South Asian nations] were, to me, nestling on a great big piece of tectonic geology called the Himalayas: and ‘what if “ was a given.


In other words you will recollect that two competing regions in South Asia began a six-bomb test consecutive blast interregnum of underground nuclear explosions later in that same year, 1998.


Each was allegedly about 2.5RS.


I speculated … What if this is a Nuclear Triple double tap … 2500 x500% x500%x500% x500%x … = huge times… Maybe massive on Richter.


I write fiction remember. I checked out my idea over the years with ‘klevas’… people ranging from ordinary scientific types focused on classroom physics and chemistry, to Nuclear scientists and climate change people who all confirmed that I was writing fiction… and I went on… feeling ok.


The effect of what I have thus called: “The Ringing’, was global disruption. This was characterized by a sequence of flooding and tsunamis that I ‘created’ together with the mass scale disruption that followed the changes to the climate that I hypothesized over the next period of time. All this was part of the back-story to my tale of robbery and murder. In fact the explanatory chapters are simply headed as Footnotes. [For instance the footnote chapter in which the region I call Keiretsu [aka Japan/Nippon] was engulfed by a tsunami went up one week before the recent tsunami that devastated parts of the country and ruined a nuclear power station…. Elsewhere [Chapter 10.] the trouble starts after an airliner disappears in flight … published two years before an airliner disappeared]


And that ‘disruption’ of course; that idea changed the real story. And while I dealt with that need, which took a few years, I put together “7Ways to get your money” from notes I had made during the time after I became a ‘returnee refugee’ in this country where I now live. I had inadvertently, seriously annoyed the man who became the post liberation Dictator, of Zimbabwe; ultimately being forced out in a recent coup after 37 bloodstained years. So I had to exit post-liberation Zimbabwe, in something of a hurry: with my wife, two babies, four dogs and four cats in an old Volkswagen panel van; that blew up at the entrance to what I now call the Dome surrounding the Mega Unicity most of us call Jozi.


It was a time when a ‘sixties drop out’ had to come in from the cold; and make big money fast, in a place, that was itself, on a steeply slippery slope… to its own ultimate oblivion.


The Dome btw is an idea represented by the multilane high speed ring road that surrounds the inner city of Jozi, in Mzansi, where I have lived on and off ever since the 60’s, having relocated to Zimbabwe, in the ‘70’s as part of my ‘drop out’ period some years earlier, when it was still a naughty, disruptive, now failed, Kolonial experiment, with other people’s places.


The ‘other people’ wanted to go back to how things were before any koloniste arrived; and have successfully returned to the 17th century they sought. They are now displeased with the result… but that is another tale altogether and is otherwise irrelevant.


So 7Ways is a Prelude to the Azanian Quartet: a tale of many revolutions. 7Ways represents the world of relative order that makes everything possible. The Azanian Quartet is implicitly a metaphorical story about how the world ended, and what happened afterwards. It is also a story about the ambiguity of memory regarding how it all happened. It is also a story that gains more relevance in what has now after ten years of Quantitative Easing [QE] become a planet running on about one point three quadzillion US$ worth of global debt: meaning that getting the money is now more urgent than ever before.


Which brings us back to my Wikipedia search.


Allowing for some marginal calculation error… Wikipedia lists many earthquakes below 6 on the Richter scale… so I may have miscalculated here and there or over calculated elsewhere. And for all I know I may have been on the wrong page. I am still at heart a techno moronic, aging, baby boomer.


Pre 1998; going back 2400 ish odd years.
Slightly more than 400.
Specifically 413 … [four hundred and thirteen]. Subject as mentioned to korektion.


Post 1998. The next 19 [nineteen] years
Slightly more than 400.
Specifically 414. [Four hundred and fourteen.]


Perhaps you can understand why I am worried about my fiction writing skills. Tell me its imagination… or that I’m reviewing usage through a naughty Wikipedia page, which is…. Not appropriately Peer reviewed, is it?


For clarity purposes.


*You have access to the Prelude: 7Ways. Available now on Amazon. @ https://www.amazon.com/author/nicholasjakari
**Part 1 of the Azanian Quartet : The Buffalo Hunters is currently with an editor undergoing some surgery and should be available, end February 2018.
*** Part 2 The Ashanti Raider will be online by end April 2018.
**** Part 3 The Jonker Memorandum an 84 episode podcast cyber serial is available for your listening pleasure online at nicholasjakari.com


They are not sequential other than in order of writing so you can listen in pleasure. Many of my listeners are bed bound invalids and other resting persons. And like Mr. Nietzsche [whom I played for the world international Konference celebrating the centenary of that Philosopher at Pretoria University in 2000 AD] many of the ideas presented in that story have become common usage now since some 10million hits have occurred on my website many of them from people, say about 10%]


***** Part 4 is still under konstruktion and has passed the three quarters mark targeted to be ready by August 2018.


Hope to have you back again soon
Regards
Nicholas Jakari.
And don’t forget to buy the ebook.

Ruminations on Basic Pay

Also known as the inevitability of Universal Income.

“ In the 21st Century we might witness the creation of a new massive class: people devoid of any economic, political or even artistic value, who contribute nothing to the prosperity, power and glory of society.”
Homo Deus p325.
Yuval Noah Harari


This statement by the author: Harari comes at the climax of what could be the most brilliant sustained piece of writing that this bloggist has encountered in years. The writing is more brilliant for being extended over two masterpieces of modern writing: Sapiens and Homo Deus: for which I would recommend the author for a Nobel Prize in literature. For the “times, that were changing” reported by a recent, past winner, Bob Dylan have sneaked up and abruptly arrived: on steroids.


The veracity of Harari’s premise is thus well timed. It arrived at precisely that moment in history that the exponential pace of technological development, has so outpaced the capacity of humans to keep up with the changes, taking place in the macro world, that the possibility of an accident kicking off something that is fast running, means we could once again be on the edge of a cataclysm, the likes of which we have not experienced since the last one a century ago… when progress went into steep decline: and put us all through a century of violent disruption: Stalling time.


A while back I came across some thing published, that I had written, as the closing paragraph, to an editorial piece at a different time in the past: The op/ed piece was broadly a comment on Mr. Alvin Toffler’s book: ‘Future Shock’…. I finished with the following comment on Toffler’s vision: “The alternatives are clear: either we train people to adapt to the future, or, in Toffler’s words, ‘we are doomed to a massive adaptational breakdown.’”


And what could be a greater “adaptational breakdown” than that represented by the “New Lefties” i.e. those now referred to as the “Left Behind” … what Hannah Arendt referred to as “The Mob”…. And for whom George Orwell, less politely, coined “Proles”. Such a phenomenon apparently elected to BREXIT, in the trending from formerly Great Britain to global britain; and put America’s first ever [perhaps] ‘Working Class’ President into power in that ‘Firmian’ Republic. Tsunami, is a “brash Blu Hawk real estate developer”; as said by a Republican Grandee on Bloomberg a moment ago as I wrote this … he spoke as if describing a Martian alien, who had just walked uninvited into the men’s room.


And then of course Le Bleu’s did the same thing; voting for the least disliked option rather than someone who could do them any good… They all promise to do that, don’t they?


And the ‘Left Behind’ are obviously in the majority… and in case you are confusing them with “New Left”: many are, in effect, new ‘Right’ [whatever that is]. They are an inter and intra class phenomenon, notwithstanding that the Brash Blu Hawker… a man who hustled buildings for a living, will not be permitted [they think] to implement his agenda, even though his agenda does not really lack any more purpose, than the agenda’s of all those others, who promised things: and then [often sensibly] compromised on the delivery: and then struggled to deliver, in the face of ferociously frantic; furiously factional vested interest groupings.


Further on into the article, that I happened upon serendipitously last year, in the midst of Mzansi’s # FeesMustFall: University ‘disrupting season’, I wrote:
“The future shock problem is viewed in many Western circles with such seriousness that a number of influential bodies, among them the ‘Club of Rome’ have gone so far as to recommend a moratorium on technological developments while the human race catches up, and gets it breath back”.


Well it never happened did it…: In fact during this past month listening to the radio local news and opinion discussions on day to day events I have lost count of the frequency with which the ‘approved’ spokespersons, on a range of topics, cite, improving education: as a solution to the problem of ‘ADAPTATIONAL BREAKDOWN”S.



Yet Mzansi, for instance, spends a huge percentage of GDP, relative to most of its chosen peers, for, apparently, as little gain as those Brexiting, President Tsunami/Le Bleu’s stricken peers have apparently gained, in the time since I wrote the piece from which I have quoted. It was published in August of 1978… [i.e:39 years ago this past month] In a magazine that no longer exists: in a country that, likewise, no longer exists.*


So we didn’t put the tech’ development process aside; and by the well known Moore’s Law dictum whereby processing power doubles every 18 months that means that the tech world has taken 26 steps, during the time that we more Linear thinking human beings have moved 39 steps… and that is only referring to those that have been moving forward.


Unfortunately the message attributable to the New Lefties, is, that they seemingly moved, more or less one step: 39 times. Meanwhile 26 steps in exponential language, [What was called Geometric Progression in high school mathematics] in the expanding macro environment is [assume each step to be a meter] more than Thirty Three Million meters. No wonder the poor NL’s feel left behind. Almost everyone is left behind.


And so it is likely that many are working on the edge of the new economy. The characteristic of the old economy, that replaced the frugal subsistence of the previous 70,000 plus years, was “Nasty brutish and short”. It was and often still is, a condition in which workers were treated like machines; and conditions were inhumane. The early behaviourist: B. F. Skinner observed then, apparently in all seriousness, that: “The real problem is not whether machines think; but whether humans do.”


Eventually the cost and legalities of fixing the horror of mass employment raised the cost of production, above what the corresponding, mass consumer market sought out: absolute rock bottom price points. So there was a clash thus, between the people who wanted to be wonderfully well rewarded, for doing something mundane: [me for instance] while simultaneously wanting as much blood as could conceivably be extracted from every stone.


And so tech has solved the inhumane aspect of mass production, to desired scales, through replacing humans with real machines that are rapidly, apparently, taking on tasks that require far more than simple manual dexterity.


True ‘thinking machines’ are evolving; and part of the world … even many of the [so-called] Globalists themselves, stare at prospektive superfluity. This as the emerging trend to kwantum komputing takes tech’s exponential journey Kwantum simultaneously, to more than a billion meters in only 5 more steps. Truly; to be left behind in such a maelstrom of evolutionary expansion is almost… normal.


In the meantime in our own part of the world I was shocked recently, to read, as part of an opinion piece published in the Jozi Star on the eve of the “Youth Day” weekend this year, a piece of information that took the idea of “Left Behind” to an unprecedented level… for me.


The piece carried the byline of a Mr. Jeff Radebe, the 5000:1 outsider for the job of President of the ruling party; and later the country, should the present ruling party win the next election again: Something within reasonable probability. As a rule politicians tend to be pretty close to the 39 step by step linear process, which is still a way ahead of NL’s trend, you’ll gather..


Radebe’s piece was broadly one of the most powerful evaluations of the idea of ‘Future to shock’ that one has come across from a sitting politician in many years. He laid out a blueprint for what had to happen, for Mzansi’s and more broadly Afrika’s emerging transformation; in order to marginally keep pace with the techno/economically evolving 21st century. The piece certainly revealed the thoughtful appreciation of someone who perhaps had covered a few hundred meters over the 39 steps…


In fact when one evaluates the alleged negative behaviour of the all the allegedly naughty President’s persons, routinely reported in a broadly unsympathetik media environment, in the kontext of what Minister Radebe presents as the stark reality of Afrika’s dilemma, then one kan understand the instinctive desire to grab the money and run, when the opportunity presents, for opportunity comes only meagerly.


So what was the shock that triggered this response?


In that part of the op/ed piece where he deals with the relevance of FIR * to Mzansi in particular, Mr. Radebe makes an astounding assertion. [* FIR = the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution a name given to this historical period which is to be characterized by the evolution of [AI] Artificial Intelligence].


Mr. Radebe asserts, that in a continent of some 880 million people more than 600 million, live presently, in a pre-electric world… a world essentially before “steps” were even considered.


To put that into perspective… Electricity represents the second industrial revolution…. [The one everyone learns about at school was based on steam, you’ll remember.] I don’t know how valid Minister Radebe’s statement is, in a world typified by ‘fake’ news lately. No references are identified in support of the assertion: I am simply assuming, rightly or wrongly, that the Minister is using staff resources to establish accurate information.


In other words nearly 70% of the people on the entire Kontinent have not yet encountered the 2nd Industrial Revolution in any meaningful way… Now that is what you kan validly call “Left Behind”. How does one contemplate developing a place that has to cover more than a billion steps just to catch up: with no idea how to do so? [unless somebody else has a betta plan]


A recent piece in the Economist raised questions regarding how an Afrika emerging from a pre-industrial era … [Mr. Radebe’s point regarding those most truly ‘Left Behind’] can progress in a world where machines that work for capital redemption, are superseding well paid cost centres, called manual workers [and those in routine clerical, for that matter]. They suggest that Afrika will have to find a new way… They were unable to suggest one however.


There is one solution, as a palliative to what is impending. I would not suggest thjat it is the only one it is however the one most likely to prevail eventually. It is the combination of VBasic Pay aka A Universal Income… linked to a levy on transactions in specific new areas of activity. I have as many of you know, promoted the idea of Basic Pay for years now. What else will there be other than Basic Pay for an increasing mass of overwhelming humanity… aka Universal Income [U.I.]. There are experiments in U I taking place in parts of Groland, currently, and of course in Mzansi, where i eke out my own pittance, there are presently 17,000,000 people living on a meager dose of basic pay… with close to zero chance of ever finding anything else.


So what does this mean
For the future
Of everything…?
Logically:
The Monetisation of
Humanity
Through data derived
Micropayments.


!NiK[17]

Closing Lines

Broadly speaking this has not been one of the coolest weeks this year.
 
I am also not referring to the electrical short that had us get the electricians out to fix a plug that burnt out. Or the water gush that brought the plumbers out. Or even the actual loss, altogether, of water, for most of last night, causing a flood of boiling level water pouring from the geyser, in an unrelated second flooding incident, brought on when the city water authority simply… cut of the water supply to the neighbourhood… in order to repair yet another burst pipe, this time in the next street. I am not even muttering about the URTI that kept me tied up in remedial bed for two days: Tues and Wednesday. [URTI = Upper Respiratory Tract Infection].
 
But No. The horror event in Manchester on Monday was bad, Firstly, simply because it was bad. More words cannot describe the horror of what happened any better. And also in the sense that we have connections to that city: my Paternal grandmother’s home town, my wife’s maternal grandfather’s home town; and it is the home of many deeply loved friends.
 
We are grateful that all our friends came through physically safely; and in particular that my nephew, Leigh [my brother’s son], who was involved in some organizational way with the event, was not physically hurt. And not just because he’s Sienna Poppie’s soon-to-be- sibling’s expectant dad, but also one of the reasons my brother lives. Strength to all.
 
As someone who is something of a survivor myself, I would say to all those who survived, that the true survival trick is to survive surviving: focus on what happened, not what didn’t happen… in the same way that we do not worry about the bus that passed us while we stood on the pavement, and didn’t hit us. Only consider the “What If’s” if you are a writer or some other creative person in search of plot and countenance.
 
NO. The really bad part of this week for this bloggist, is not what happened in the place the Jamaicans call Girlchester [why should everything be MAN! They say, apparently]. It was what happened at the small, almost intimate, private development facility where I spend odd days, mediating on the learning of many things related to how the world works.
 
A seventh grade child; Head boy of the Prep end of the continuum, brother of a superb 12th Grade fellow: a lad who lived like many boys do: for soccer. He collapsed on the field of play, during an inter-primary football match on Tuesday afternoon: and proved beyond help, despite the valiant efforts of a paramedic team. We don’t know yet why: and i was not there on the morning the announcement ‘that something terribly tragic had happened’ was made… [my absence was initially thought by many to be the referent: that ‘something terrible’ meant me… the old codger who makes the Eights practice Mabu and other tai chi forms before their class starts… and makes people do dailies and weeklies.]. This inevitably compounded the effect when the real source of the tragedy was known.
 
We do know though that we have had a week in which the only mood amongst our 400 odd children was one of deep shock, grief, inchoate frightened anger boiling at times to rage, and, one suspects, many recriminations… in place of the usual happy sounds of innocent interactive play and broadly enthusiastic attendance. Nonetheless there was also through it all, that powerful spirit we also heard about with Manchester… a sense of what the local cultural ‘fundis’ call “Ubuntu”… one for all and all for one. A sense of bonding.
 
The place shall be closed on Monday for the entire facility to attend a funeral that, like the citizens of Manchester, none of us predicted last weekend.
 
Some time last year I wrote some lines that came to me in that mysterious way that is part of the world of poetry, with the ‘message’ [if that is a reasonable way to describe that strange process whereby entire pieces of work suddenly bounce into my consciousness, often without warning] that it belongs at the postscript end of the story with which I am presently engaged: Part Four of the Azanian Quartet. [ 66,000 words down, 32,000 to go?]. And that it was to be called: ‘Closing Lines’
 
At the time, and even now, I have no idea of why they belong there or what it is intended that the subliminal me has in mind for a dénouement I simply trust in the perception that I already have the answer: I simply need to find where I have put it.
 
Anyhow: during a staffroom break time discussion on my return to the facility on Thursday, a random comment, from me to a trio of grief counselors that the management had brought in, to help both the children and us cope with the tragedy, brought a request from a colleague for the information to which I had referred.
 
In the ensuing search for that information, a copy I had printed of the piece called: ‘Closing Lines” effectively forced it self into my attention, broke through my own conscious clouds, and said that it also belonged, in this sorrowful place.
 
Following its injunction, I subsequently presented the ‘closing lines’ to some of the children, and then some of the adults. All agreed, perhaps numbly; and with complete incomprehension at the magnitude of what we faced… an unprecedented event, that they were, somehow, the right words: for reasons no one including me, could fathom… They simply seemed appropriate.
 
I offer them therefore to all of you out there who have felt the horrific pain of this week, both there with regard to Manchester and here; and are deeply, almost guiltily thoughtful, that you are still around while they aren’t. I leave the question of whether they, the words deemed appropriate, are so, to each of you to answer… love you all.
 
Closing Lines.
 
Do not mourn for me
When I am liberated from
This random
Place.
Mourn not for me that I am gone
Mourn rather that
We live in the
End of all those
Times through which we passed
By.
Mourn for the joy we
Expressed, reveling in a forsaken
Place.
 
Mourn rather that you remain.
Unfree from the blessed glory
Of eternal rest.
Must once again walk with those
Who live, awake.
And know that they live
Awake while sleeping.
 
Mourn for what you have
Before you leave,
But mourn not
For me:
Once my journey
Has begun.
!NiK[‘16]
 
In Memory of Katlego Mokholo [2004-2017]
died playing his beloved football.
And those happy persons: murdered in Manchester.
May you all R.I.P.
For we who remain: better prepared… perhaps.
Carpe Diem.