“What… is… that?!”That’s what one colleague asked when she saw this on my desk…My face, according to 3-D printing“My face,” I said. “What does it look like?”“Uh…”OK, sure. It’s a rough depiction. Eh. It’s pretty choppy…And, as you can see, the glasses didn’t really take well… making for an eerie sunken eye look.Didn’t really turn […]
Bitcoin has been pretty quiet lately. But that doesn’t mean big things aren’t taking place behind-the-scenes for the digital currency. In today’s Laissez Faire Today, Chris Campbell pulls back the curtain and shows you how Bitcoin is quietly slipping into the mainstream. He also shows you why now could be the time to buy now, or forever hold your peace. Read on…
In an odd mix of fate, protesters and corporations are holding hands. They both have one common goal: save the Internet from the evil cable companies. We all have a common hate for them. But what if the cable companies aren’t as evil as once thought? What if there’s an even bigger evil lurking behind them? There is. Read on…
Want to get rich? Don’t listen to financial “gurus,” says Chris Campbell. In today’s Laissez Faire Today, Chris shares a Zen proverb and shows how understanding it is the only real way to get rich (and live a rich life). Read on…
Ben Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” In today’s Laissez Faire Today, you’ll learn about one FREE website that has the potential to not only keep your family safe – but also open your eyes to what’s happening in your own neighborhood. Chris Campbell has all the details. Read on…
All over the world, power is dying. The dictators and tyrants of the world are no longer able to wield it like they once used to. And they’re losing it to the “little guy.” Chris Campbell shows you how to be the king of your castle by taking advantage of this fact. Today, you’ll learn how to grab “power gaps” in the market and channel them into your product idea or project. Read on…
Chris Campbell got more than he bargained for during Sunday brunch. In a packed restaurant, he learned about a hidden sex boom that’s taking the world by storm. You won’t believe how much money ordinary Americans are making in this boom. It’s so much…you may even consider cashing in yourself.
Hundreds of pictures of nude celebrities were leaked onto the Internet last week. The mainstream is blaming twenty-something hackers, but according to Chris Campbell, everyone must’ve already forgotten what we learned about the NSA only a year ago. Read on…
The fireflies along the tidal rivers of Malaysia show "feats of synchrony that occur spontaneously, almost as if nature has an eerie yearning for order." Chris Campbell tells you where else this might occur in the world. Also, new technology may revolutionize the agriculture industry and what we think of as a farm.
Jeff Davis is running for Governor in Hawaii and has an interesting campaign strategy. Also, what motivates hackers is revealed and the findings might surprise you. Finally, Ferguson is discussed in a new light. Chris Campbell has more...
When the government pumps trillions of dollars into the economy, they’re not actually printing the money. It enters as digital entries in banks across the country. It’s made the system fast, responsive, and, unfortunately, vulnerable. Now our money is no longer something we hold in our hands, but something that exists on a very susceptible network.
When’s the best time to invest in something? When everyone else is trying to get their money out of it. It might go against conventional thinking, but following the crowd usually makes you miss the real opportunities. At one monetary metal conference recently, the smartest guys in the industry sat down to discuss where these real hidden gems lay.
Say goodbye to your boring morning commute. New technologies are changing the way people drive their cars. It’s making them safer, more fuel efficient, and could reshape the way America builds its roads and cities. The only thing that could stand in the way...
In a 2009 article, the Huffington Post went into considerable detail about the number of people with PhD degrees in economics employed by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. This is the government’s branch of the Federal Reserve. It is not one of the 12 regional Federal Reserve banks, all of which […]
When the NSA surveillance news broke last year it sent shockwaves through CERN, the particle physics laboratory in Switzerland. Andy Yen, a PhD student, took to the Young at CERN Facebook group with a simple message: “I am very concerned about the privacy issue, and I was wondering what I could do about it.”There was […]
Remember that correction we’ve been quietly talking about over the past couple of months?Well, it might be right around the corner. Stocks waited until the last day of the month to nose-dive. The S&P 500 posted its first 2% down day since April — and the Dow wasn’t far behind. Early this morning, futures continue […]
I was talking with one of my colleagues the other day, and he raised a very interesting question, one that deserves consideration by anyone worried about their digital privacy. He read an article that championed the idea that the more steps one took to protect their privacy by using anonymous Web-browsing tools like Tor, the […]
Health care costs in the U.S. have been rising so steadily for so long that containment barely seems possible. Even optimists don’t dream of cutting the price tag. As its official name — the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — suggests, Obamacare aims for affordability, not radical reduction.But at a time when we’re all […]
When you type a website address into a browser, you might have noticed that the letters “http” appear at the front. “HTTP” stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. In typing a Web address, you are actually sending an HTTP command to transmit that website to you. Hypertext Transfer Protocol is the means by which information is […]
Picture the scene. It’s 2020. You’re at the checkout in a convenience store with a carton of milk. But you’ve got no cash and you’ve left your cards at home. No problem. You scan your right index finger; the green light flashes. Purchase approved and you leave. Easy.Is this a realistic vision of the future, […]
After a week of reckoning about the American oil and gas boom… I’ve got to get something off my chest.I can’t stand it when a coworker takes credit for something I did.Whether it’s a special report I wrote or just a little investing trick I found on my own — if someone takes it and […]
Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously used the term “forgotten man” in a 1932 speech to describe those at the bottom of the economic pyramid who, he felt, government should aid.But the originator of the phrase “forgotten man” had a whole different meaning in mind. He aimed to expose the seeming good intentions of government to reveal […]
I want to share some insight and give you a front-row seat to America’s next big shale play.Let’s get to it…Over the past 10 years, the U.S. has turned the ship around, quite literally.We’ve gone from a country that was expecting to import massive amounts of oil and gas — to a country that’s sitting […]
Whatever your views on the role of government, one thing is clear: There will be no way to pay for it if the economy doesn’t grow. And I’m not talking by a measly percentage point or two. If we can’t find our way back to 5% annual economic growth or above soon, America’s accumulated federal […]
What if I told you that the march of human progress could be traced in a direct line from the Epicureans of Ancient Greece… through the 18th Century’s cure for smallpox… to where Steve Jobs and Bill Gates found inspiration as scrappy teenagers… to the flying car of tomorrow?Stay with me and I’ll show you […]
Real progress happens through real people, ideas, and innovations. Not by legislation argued and debated in Congress. Right now, one of the most influential technologies is changing the way people do business. And reinventing the future in the process.
Innovation can change the world… if the world lets it. Unfortunately, society’s gatekeepers make it a point to constrain, regulate, and control these ideas. But their power is limited, and the power of innovation is too great. Unfortunately for regulators, there are some technologies they can’t control.
I’ve just completed a heavy schedule of talks at the Agora Financial Investment Symposium in Vancouver. All my talks centered on information economics, Web startups, and the productivity of the Internet and its meaning. As usual, I learned as much from the attendees as (I hope) they learned from my talks. The research I did to prepare blew my mind concerning the role that the digital revolution has played in our lives.
How huge has it become? Well, 2.5 billion people use the Internet every day, and that’s nearly 80% in North America, 67% in Europe, and 43% in Latin America. I suspect that Africa’s usage of 15.6% is actually underreported, because smartphones are flooding the continent by the day.
Other interesting data include: Nearly 140,000 new websites go live every day, half of users bank online, and social networking users hang out on sites 3.2 hours a day! One point really burned into my mind, because I remember a time in the late 1990s when users were busy burning as much of the Internet as they could onto CDs. It turns out that if you tried to use your home computer today to download all existing content, it could take as long as…wait for it…11 trillion years.
The “cloud” has become the new world in which we live, communicate, network, build our professional and family lives, distribute what we know, find out new things, and generally manage the whole of our lives. The migration to the cloud intensifies in speed and substance every day. If you look at a map of what’s going on, you realize something else. No one in particular is building this world. It is being built without design by the individual choices of people, one choice at a time.
I can’t help but compare this new world with the old. The old world was governed by nation-states with borders and strict organizational charts and categories and plans for all things. The new world transcends states, borders, charts, and plans. It is a spontaneous order, extended constantly by people’s desire to know and connect. It is the most poignant and beautiful example in our midst of the capacity of people to organize their lives on their own, with the assistance of merchants, coders, promoters, entrepreneurs, and property holders.
The CEO of Google recently summed it up in this profound statement: “The Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn’t understand, the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had.”
By “doesn’t understand,” he means that no one person can possibly comprehend the extent, structure, or direction of this order that is emerging in our time. The knowledge that makes it possible is decentralized among billions of users themselves, each of whom grasps only the discrete choices that he or she is making at any one instant. You can see the whole only in the way that you can only see the fullness of a city by flying above it and looking down. The orderliness of it all becomes clear. But from that vantage point, you miss the detail that makes it all work.
The political implications have yet to dawn on this generation. We somehow keep pretending as if governments are in charge. They are not. Yes, they loot, menace, regulate, posture, preen, and hector. But they do not finally control. It simply is not possible. Even the strictest regulations that exist in places like China are a national joke.
If people really understood the implications of the rise of the global order in the digital cloud, everyone the world over would completely bail out of the illusion that our analog-age governments can make any kind of positive contribution to our future.
I was thrilled that there were so many people from older generations who attended my talks and paid such careful attention. They asked so many wonderful questions. Even my discussions of cutting-edge issues like Bitcoin drew an intense amount of interest from older people. This completely defies the stereotype, which I’m convinced is a canard.
Older people see their kids working in industries in which the Internet is central. It has saved them from loneliness by keeping them connected to their kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids. They see their grandchildren starting businesses on the Web, and watch in amazement as the great-grandkids use new tools so effortlessly.
They see the future, and they’re thrilled to see that it is bright. They want to know that when they leave this world, they will leave behind a world of hope and promise. They are seeing hope in this sector, and it thrills them.
Sometimes I play with an alternative history in my mind, one in which the Internet had never been opened to the private sector and there had not been any technological progress since, say, 1990. I’m pretty sure the economic environment would be dreadful beyond anything that’s been experienced in hundreds of years. Despair would have swept the Earth by now. Governments — their taxes, regulations, money manipulations, and controls — would have killed off any hope of prosperity.
But that didn’t happen. We were bequeathed this glorious new space in which to build and live, and it is largely a place that government cannot control with anywhere near the ability with which they once managed the physical world. The innovation essentially gave civilization another shot at survival after humankind made such a mess of the world in the past. Digital spaces unleashed humankind’s creative energy when the masters of the physical world had almost killed it off.
People asked me about my optimism. The best case I can make for it is as follows.
The state in all times and all places wants a population of despairing, dreary, hopeless, and weighted-down people. Why? Because such people don’t do anything. They are predictable, categorizable, pliable, and, essentially, powerless. Such people offer no surprises, threaten no change, and destabilize nothing. This is the ideal world that the bureaucrats, the plutocrats, and the technocrats desire. It makes their lives easy and the path clear. Today is just like yesterday and tomorrow — forever. This is the machine that the state wants to manage, a world of down-in-the-dumps and obedient citizens of the society they think they own.
In contrast, hope upsets the prevailing order. It sees things that don’t yet exist. It acts on a promise of a future different from today. It plays with the uncertainty of the future and dares imagine that ideals can become reality. Those who think this way are a threat to every regime. Why? Because people who think this way eventually come to act this way. They resist. They rebel. They overthrow.
Yet look around: We see progress everywhere. What does this imply? It implies that noncompliance is the human norm. People cannot be forever pressed into a mold of the state’s making. The future will happen, and it will be shaped by those who dare to break bad, dare to disagree, and dare to take the risk to overthrow in favor of what can be.
I realized all this some years ago, and when you begin to look around and see how the power elites do not and cannot rule, you discover the whole secret to social order. It turns out that they are not really in control, not finally. Then it all becomes fun.
It is a blast to see the powerful topple from the thrones they want to sit in so badly. It is a thrill to use and hold technologies, as we know them, that no one among the elite ever gave permission to exist. It is a kick to see how the market — meaning human beings acting with vision toward the future — is so constantly outwitting the arrogant planners who want to freeze history, control our minds, and wreck our world.
To defy them is so simple: Just imagine a future better than the present. You become an enemy of the state, and you begin to love every minute of it. You become part of the solution and see that your life and energies are worthwhile and making a difference. How fortunate we all are to be living in these times.