Information is a public resource and a valuable commodity. Without a free market it is neither.

Our information economy has been manipulated and monopolized to a dangerous degree. We propose the re-engineering of journalism into a decentralized information exchange akin to an authentic ‘free market’.

One of a series extrapolated from the HRTX discord.

Taking out Goliath

Time travel back to any US city in the early naughts, there was a Blockbuster on every second corner. Blockbuster was so successful that it had become a de facto monopoly in the movie rental sector.

And guess what its primary revenue source was?

Late fees.

So Blockbuster was locked into an adversarial revenue model. It feasted on a kind of delinquency tax.

So long as people were lazy, forgetful, or just didn’t care about the $2.99/day, windfall profits were guaranteed. But customers just accepted the tax as a cost of getting access to the top movies of the day. [Of course late fees are are a critical way for libraries to ensure returns from their customers. But Blockbuster turned it into a Fortune 500 enterprise.]

Then came Netflix. They eliminated late fees in favor of monthly subscription. It was one of the most rapid and efficient aikido takedowns of a sectoral monopolist in history.

Why aikido ? It uses an opponents’ force against them.

The Netflix narrative is a vital one for people working to liberate the ‘news’’ sector. Like Blockbuster’s short-lived monopoly, Big Media and Tech companies have become the primary, and heavily-fortified, channels to distribute information. But these partnerships with the State come with the power to police content, which mutates the public resource into weaponized propaganda that is increasingly being used to seed divisions within our societies.

Before the internet, the printing presses and airwaves were a public resource.

Like the air and the water, information was considered something that should be free and accessible for all.

While printing presses are governed by the courts under provisions of the First Amendment, the airwaves fell under the jurisdiction of federal overseers (the FCC) which allocated licenses to radio and television networks based on their service to “the educational and informational needs of the American people”.

This has sustained a contentious balance between corporate influence and public need for decades. The capture of the regulators was so complete that we now have entire generations who have no sense that information was ever classified as a resource. Let alone one to be protected or cherished.

One reason for that is the modern advertising model that arose as the driver for capitalizing broadcast journalism. Without a way to monetize their news desks through a subscription or direct sales model like publishers, networks sold advertising.

What started with innocent ads for dish soap and automobiles evolved into the entire capture of news organizations.

One pre-pandemic estimate claimed that 70% of the advertising revenues for one of the major news divisions come from pharmaceutical ads. A telling statistic considering the current role of new media under the Trusted News Initiative, which prohibits networks from reporting anything that might cause “vaccine hesitancy”.

This, in turn, drove multiple deplatformings for asserting heretical claims about vaccine and mandate efficacy that are now openly admitted by the CDC and msm physicians.

In the post-truth paradigm, TNI sounds fair and important to most people. But one that we need to consider in the context of news becoming an unprecedented exercise in perception management and social control.

“Information is a commodity.”

It’s a truism that often precedes discussions about how information, and the processes and networks through which it is mined and distributed, should be valued and monetized.

Source: Investopedia

But information isn’t just a commodity, it is the foundational currency (think electricity) of any authentic representational polity or commons. And the state of our information economy — the term traditionally used to describe the ecosystem in which the commodity is ‘valued’ and ‘traded’ — is in such a degenerate and monopolized condition, it speaks more to the status of our society than the commodity itself.

Hence, the vast opportunity to develop an authentic, ‘free market’ information exchange.

Source: Investopedia

An information exchange which — like any ‘stock market’ — allows for the harmonized (risk/benefit) dynamics of a community of buyers and sellers to identify, capitalize, evangelize, and benefit from the downstream outputs that are created with the commodities in that exchange.

Right now we have entire categories of the information economy which are being torpedoed and short-sold by a monopoly of entrenched interests.

‘Interests’ who control a pipeline of information nodes that starts at the executive branch and moves through the organs of legislature, into the bureaucratic/regulatory bodies, and out into the public channels of the corporate media and social networks. This is the antithesis of a free market, one in which the value of certain pieces of information — think of them as stocks — is artificially inflated and protected by excluding and censoring their competitors.

What are those marginalized and undervalued categories of information? What are its ‘components’ and ‘units’? What are the combinative narratives they surface and edify, but which (again) are being sabotaged by non-democratic, non-free market infoligarchs?

In the current information economy, these are hidden unless you comb the various (outlying) podcasts and YouTube channels, searching shadow-banned twitter accounts and substack subscriptions, or combing the increasingly crowded, single channel messenger apps. In other words, the so-called black market; the historical nature and quality of which should be a telling signal. These outlaw narratives — crafted by highly credentialed scientists, academics, and media commentators — have been forced into the margins and into a decentralized (not in the good way) hinterland, void of any orienting indexes. Worse, there is no aggregative memory or artifact of these narratives, which are being lost to history.

And this is by design, and entirely not a secret.

Because, we have been told: these narratives are dangerous and heretical. But one person’s heretic is another’s savior. And herein lies the opportunity.

Because any time a market or sector becomes monopolized, three things happen:

  1. design and manufacturing processes cease to be optimized through pure market interactions and unhindered regulatory oversight,
  2. products and services plateau and, in some cases, become toxic
  3. new, parallel markets arise to challenge and eradicate the monoculture

But there is another feature of the monopolist economy that is rarely mentioned: and that is that the consumer essentially becomes an adversary to the producer. And often, key revenue streams derive directly from these adversarial relationships. This presents the undercapitalized free market challenger with a powerful advantage.

With the advent of information technology, social networks, and big data, advertising evolved past the unidirectional messaging into a massive surveillance operation. A new kind of bargain was cut: consumers are given access to their communities on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn in exchange for their data, which is sold to bidders (from corporations to political parties). In other words, to cite the oft repeated mantra, the consumer became the product.

As we have seen, social networks (and phone companies for that matter) have had zero hesitation in sharing that data, with or without the consent of their users. To the extent that political interests have deployed algorithms that target individuals and communities, precision-manipulating their thoughts and actions like Pavlovian dogs.

I have written pretty extensively about the extractive and adversarial relationship that these platforms have established with consumers. My point in this quick recap is to assert that millennials and Gen Z have come to accept that this kind of surveillance and manipulation are just the cost of doing business. Which of course, is just fine.

Unless they are offered an alternative model.

An Information Exchange

Imagine an exchange which codifies and categorizes ‘information’ in its basic contextual units (like industrial sectors in the NYSE) and then the actual informational units (essentially leads or intelligence gathered from leaks etc) list as commodities which people can invest in — just as they invest in editorial products with their time, money, and through shares to their networks — through a tokenomics model.

With this kind of activity, the value of these informational units is shown in real time, as a moment-to-moment signal of their prevalence, their use, and their utility. And through the supply and demand fluctuations of the consumer market, not some top-down valuation from the Authority.

At the consumer level, people can buy-in or support the commodity units they favor or believe have some viable payout (intrinsic or extrinsic) like an investigation that exposes corporate malfeasance and leads to the shorting of a stock or boycotts that lead to some tangible social/political/economic outcome. Beyond a pure user-facing exchange that offers a dashboard of top info commodities, there is the potential of building a capitalization engine for campaigns and projects that is free from infoligarchical influences.

Just like the stock market.

If people can invest in specific pools of information, or intelligence, then why not allow them to make follow-on investments in investigative research projects or even attacks on certain corporate stocks, that simultaneously increase the value of the information, and deliver a social impact?

The instrument we have developed to process these investments is called the HRTX WarBond — no different than the low-yield war bonds that were issued by governments to finance wars. (More on this novel instrument in my next post, but for those who want to continue their exploration in a more informal way, this is a recent presentation made on the HRTX bearer bond that is the foundation of our tokenization strategy.)

Below is a flow chart showing some of the consequences that investors could bet on in a free information exchange. With billions in fuck-off monopoly money in the crypto market, this kind of a formulation could become a new, permanent Gamestop casino.

HRTK Chart by EKKIS

In the end, agnostically, the exchange is just a crowdsourcing platform that supercharges, and puts the action back in, actionable intelligence.

Another iteration of a decentralized news agency.

Agnostically, journalism is just a reality creation engine. In quantum parlance, like the religious dynasties of old, it catalyzes the focus of the observers which generates the reality that the media elites are instructed to project. So this kind of decentralized ‘generative’ model can be applied across a lot of different information and reality powering ecosystems. These kinds of exchanges could realistically take over the old philanthropy model as well.

Two models of information economy

Most people who get their news from establishment sources do not believe there is a problem with our current information economy. Rather, many are calling for anti-free market dictates to inoculate them, and our society, from what they consider to be ‘bad’ information. Which is understandable. But this means that the majority of the news consuming population will be unmoved by any push to decentralize the info-economy.

This presents a critical challenge to the introduction of a utility like HRTX.

But there is a more pernicious and nuanced problem that our network is attempting to solve. It’s a systemic phenomenon that we have observed in information monopolies. And that is what they do to the process in which information is gathered and produced. As Gunther Sonnenfeld — one of our co-architects at HRTX — explains: in these top-down authoritative systems, information is captured in a closed loop of predetermined conclusions.

Information and its processes are not generative, they are deterministic.

He illustrates this dynamic:

Source: Gunther Sonnenfeld

In a Cartesian system, arguments are made from the authority of belief and pre-conceived bias. Debates are mostly exercises in self-talking, where opposition is struck down by attacking the tone or reputation of the opponent, reducing their arguments to points which can be negated using citations that emanate from sources that may themselves be riddled with errors and inconsistencies. We see this all the time — a recent study tracked the rise of ‘emotional’ over ‘rational’ language’ — and it forms an identifiable pattern that looks like this:

Source: Gunther Sonnenfeld

In our view, a society which operates via deterministic processes that only validate the Authority’s pre-approved truths are not living in an evolutionary system.

Like nature, growth and expansion occurs when organisms interact generatively. In human terms, this means coming together to assess moment-to-moment circumstances and creatively, communally determine the best way forward. This is called a Euclidian system, and looks more like this:

Source: Gunther Sonnenfeld

The participants in this kind of an open loop of enquiry begin from a point of intention and higher purpose (besides proving that they are right). They use facts that are irrefutable as a means of consensus-building, and they incorporate multiple conflicting and complementary viewpoints to generate a spectrum of scenarios and roadmaps to choose from. It is a system that looks like this:

Source: Gunther Sonnenfeld

I know this is a lot to absorb. But I decided to keep this previous section in the document — and risk losing even more people ;) — for two reasons.

First because this system requires a marketplace, a true information exchange, to function. Hence the introduction of the HRTX exchange.

Second, because our group are in this for more than just the creation of another news and social impact enterprise. We see HRTX as a transformational engine which must necessarily evolve and depattern its community as much as the world outside of it. In laying bare these visions, we are also revealing the philosophical authority that is guiding the crafting of the smart contracts that will govern our DAO (decentralized autonomous organization).

Because the problem is not just that specific interests have captured the global information economy to promote their own (toxic) commodities and (authoritarian) narratives, it is that the very process we utilize for telling stories is, itself, dysfunctional. It hasn’t always been — let’s be clear, we’ve come a long way from the divine right of kings — but certain civilizational vectors have surfaced us into a ‘post-truth’ paradigm, and in this brave new zeitgeist, the old systems of story-telling are no longer valid, nor actionable.

And now with the evolution of blockchain and crypto economies into DAOs, and the insanely fractious and uncertain world we’ve suddenly landed in, I don’t think this is just a good opportunity…

It’s absolutely critical that many of us do this.

Immediately.

Visit the HRTX NewsFeed, optimized for mobile

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system design • quantum ideology • wonder junkie

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