A distillation of what @balajis said in conversation with @tferriss on The Tim Ferriss Show:
Covering:
🔷Financial & Ideological Independence
🔷Product, Distribution, & Media
🔷Crypto & Decentralization
🔷The Pseudonymous Economy
🔷Digital Native Education
🔷Attacks on Bitcoin
🔷Leadership & Crypto
🔷Anarcho-Primitivism & Transhumanism
🔷Capital
🔷India
🔷War
Financial independence is upstream of individual and ideological independence. It means you can’t be canceled. You can ride it out and not back down.

You know consequences may come, but you accept them because you’ve planned for the future and banked up.
If you’re in debt (or if you’re not in debt but you’re spending what you make), then you are conformist.

If possible, radically reduce your expenses. It’s much easier to reduce expenses 5X than to increase top line 5X. It’s possible to do both but deterministic to reduce costs.
Optimize your savings divided by your burn rate (i.e. your personal runway). That’s easier for people earlier in their lives and people without families, but even then, it can be done.

Get a remote work capable job and move to the cheapest place you can tolerate that’s good.
By cutting your expenses 5x, you don’t need to accept angel financing. You can self-finance.

For every year you work, you can take two years off. It’s a path to financial independence.
You’re a node at the center of a social network supply chain.

If you’re a CEO, your investors, employees, and customers are nodes. The most important thing about those nodes is what periodicals they read and respect, because those periodicals have root access to their brains.
Negative press is an attack on your social network.

If a periodical says you’re bad, the people who respect that periodical will zombie turn and start excommunicating you. People on the fence will quit. It’s like a mortar landed in your neighborhood.
One way you mitigate negative press is when you’re a sovereign individual who is financially independent. If people pull away, it doesn’t matter.

A second way is to make your social network supply chain more robust. Choose friends and colleagues robust to foreseeable attacks.
The term cancel is juvenile. It comes from TV shows being canceled.

The original term for being canceled was being purged. That’s what they called it in the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China.
In the Soviet Union or PRC, an editorial was a prelude to extrajudicial execution. You wouldn’t just get canceled and lose friends.

You’d lose life, liberty, and property. You’d be shot, jailed, expropriated, or all of the above. Other nodes in your network might be, as well.
The first mode of defense is personal financial independence.

The second is collective independence. Think hard about the nodes associated with you.
If code scripts machines, media scripts human beings.
Sometimes products have built in distribution, but most of time you have to put as much thought into distribution as you do the product itself.

Product is merit. Distribution is connections.
A great blog post that nobody sees is a great product with terrible distribution.

A dumb piece of content seen by millions is a terrible product with great distribution.
Regarding the distribution of ideas, media creators can have great content, or they can have influential followers.

A lot of media today is a terrible product with great legacy distribution.
Two people together on a podcast tend to have comparable distribution.

Because of that, it’s like the Wild West: each person comes to the saloon armed. The culture changes to a polite society of back and forth and give and take.
The Founding Fathers preached against a standing military. You’d have an armed, Praetorian class with its own esprit de corps.

That class would grow contemptuous of the civilians they protected, and that was a bad recipe.
A standing media is like a Praetorian class that practices behaviors the average person can’t.

Whereas podcasting is peer-to-peer, journalism is hierarchical: there’s a corporate journalist and there’s a subject. The journalist is a king, and the subject is under a microscope.
When journalists interview subjects, they can edit and pull whatever quotes they want, and they have distribution the subject doesn’t.

Millions of people will read their content and the subject can’t get a word in edgewise.
People used to say, “Never argue with the man who buys ink by the barrel.” You’re writing a letter to the editor and they’re rolling off the printing press.

Journalists have the equivalent of millions of drones. They push updates and you can just talk to the people around you.
Once people are equal on distribution, they can speak as peers. It’s futile to argue with someone who is hostile and has more distribution. Just build your own distribution, which is now possible.
The non-answer, the ignore, and the block are quite effective as an individual. They are even more effective if practiced by a large group of people.
The people who complain most about filter bubbles are complaining about the plural: there was just one filter bubble they controlled, and now they’re annoyed there’s more than one.

The complaint isn’t about filter bubbles, it’s about competing filter bubbles.
The answer isn’t reform, it’s radical decentralization. One component is citizen journalism, where everyone is a journalist, as opposed to corporate journalism.

The alternative to the hereditary dictatorship running media corporations is experts write as a duty, not for profit.
A second component is decentralized cryptographic truth. With cryptocurrency, it is now possible for an Israeli and a Palestinian, a Chinese person, a Japanese person, a Democrat and a Republican to all agree on the state of the Bitcoin blockchain.
Regardless of your views or geography, people agree globally on how much Bitcoin someone has. This is an incredible triumph because a million dollars is the kind of thing people fight over and disagree on.

There’s essentially no dispute on who owns what BTC.
Once you can develop consensus algorithms that can get people to agree on what Bitcoin someone had at what time, you can extend them to get people to agree on what properties somebody had at what time.

Less obviously, you can extend that to what events happened at what time.
Right now data feeds happen in disparate silos. But you can put them together into a Ledger of Record: a feed of cryptographically timestamped, undeletable history.

While crypto & digital signatures don’t offer a perfect set of checks, but they offer a better set of checks.
The feed becomes incorruptible. It becomes an indelible ledger, and it becomes cryptographically validated. It becomes a crypto oracle.

You’re no longer relying on fallible humans to tell you what is true. You rely on decentralized cryptographic truth not than corporate truth.
This is the alternative to a few people in Brooklyn trying to determine what is true for the entire world. That never scaled and today it’s obvious that it doesn’t.
Real names weren’t built for the internet. Real names are a technology. Even the term real name is a stolen base.
It’s better called a state name or social security name because it’s a global identifier. It’s an identifier anybody can type into a database and pull up info on you.
Historically, cultures understood giving out someone’s real name was bad. By knowing another person’s real name, you had power over that person.
The alternative to real names or a single global identifier is pseudonyms. Search-resistant identities.

People are already using them at large-scale: there are 400 million pseudonymous users on Reddit.
Real name is a global identifier.

Pseudonymous is a persistent pseudonym that accumulates reputation at a distance from your global identifier.

Anonymous is a disposable identifier.
We’ve just begun the Internet Cold War: social and currency networks compete for ideological and economic dominance. Everyone will try to cancel each other.
The peace at the end of the Internet Cold War is pseudonymity that stops discrimination and cancellation. It’s not ideal, but it’s accepted and used by people of all political persuasions.
It’s a mutual disarmament where you can’t cancel or discriminate against anyone. You don’t even know what their immutable characteristics are. You judge them by what they’re saying.
That’s an acceptable truce but not a great one. It’s the opposite of bringing your full self to your work. It’s minimum necessary self.

It goes hand-in-hand with a future world where there’s more tasking, more microwork, and fewer full-time jobs.
Sometime in the 2020s, in some country, probably the US, the cloud will burst. Once a government database is hacked and the surveillance on us is on the internet, the cloud bursts. DMs and messages rain down, searchable and available, Wikileaks style.
You won’t see fires and electrical outages, you’ll see social damage, low trust, relationships broken, and a tearing of the social fabric. The Sony hack was a preview.
The answer to the cloud bursting is a Pseudonymous Economy, separating out your real name, your earning name, and your speaking name.

You have multiple earning names and multiple speaking names, just like you have multiple usernames.
Crypto is crucial because it allows you to earn pseudonymously – and in time, you’ll be able to transfer reputation from one pseudonym to another. You may have reputation under a username, even a pseudonym. If you boot up another pseudonym, it starts at zero.
When you boot up a new pseudonym, it takes time to boot up a new following. With cryptocurrency you can set up another username and transfer money from one name to another pseudonymously.
It didn’t seem like reputation could be transferred in the same way because followers are non-fungible (one person is not the same as another).

But you can do it where you have karma accumulated.
Just like you transfer cash from one pseudonym to another, you can transfer karma from one username to another and thereby reboot under a new username.

That username would have no comment history, but people would recognize a person esteemed by the community.
Another dimension of the Pseudonymous Economy: it’s going to become less common for people to give out the mapping between their physical body and their usernames online. You may not even tell your spouse.
By 2025 or 2030 at the latest, you’ll have filters on your Zoom that aren’t simply your background, but audio and video filters so you sound and look like a different person. And that will be the equivalent of clothes.
People who’ve been fortunate can offer a hand and bring people into the global economy. They can share what they know about education and teaching.

They can deliver it at scale over the internet. Produce it once and replicate it across millions of people.
I want to bootstrap talent around the world.

The Hubble Telescope looks for dark matter in the universe. Mobile can help find undiscovered talent in places where people haven’t had a chance.
I want to build up citizen journalists and content creators. I want to invest in a cumulative form of open source education.

I want people to get paid for creating educational tasks others can do.
1729 is going to be the first newsletter that pays you prizes for completing tasks, tutorials, essays, responses, scientific articles, and videos explaining something. Generate open source exercises for a chapter of a textbook and get paid in Bitcoin.
With nothing other than you phone, you learn, develop skills, level up, get more tasks, and get digital currency.

Anywhere there’s a phone, there’s a job, and anywhere there’s a job, there’s an education.
For kids willing to put in the work, they can get into the internet fast lane.

They can contribute pseudonymously to a community that will neither discriminate against them nor cancel them.
The ideal of a Pseudonymous Economy is a true global meritocracy: accent doesn’t matter, age doesn’t matter, skin color doesn’t matter, and gender doesn’t matter.

Those things can’t matter. This is the digital native solution to education.
Think about a Stanford degree in computer science. In addition to grad ed requirements, there are ~25 courses you need to complete the degree. There are roughly ten weeks per course and ten problems per course per week. That means ~2,500 problems before you get your one degree.
You have zero degrees at problem number 2,300, and you have one degree after problem number 2,500. That’s a caricature but not by much. And after you have your one degree, you can get paid and work.

That’s the historical thing: you get your degree and then work.
Rather than this step function where you have to solve 2,500 problems before you get a job that’s paying $100k, what if you solve five problems and I give you a microtask that pays you ten buck, and we see how you do on that?
That radically reduces the risk for both sides. Your risk in terms of spending time and learning something, and the employer’s risk.

And the difference between a person who solved five problems or one problem in JavaScript versus zero is actually a big difference.
The idea is to show proof of skill and then qualify for more skilled microtasks. You show proof of skill with a crypto credential.

Every time you solve a problem, you get a badge that’s held in your digital wallet, just like cryptocurrency. It’s a non-transferrable NFT.
Just like you can earn badges in a video game, you can earn crypto credentials.

The difference is they are on chain, and because they’re on chain, you can log into any site with them and qualify for instant jobs or microtasks.
What’s cool about digital native education is it levels it all out. There are smart people at Harvard or MIT or Stanford, but there are also smart people in Brazil, Hungary, India, Nigeria and the Philippines.
The goal is people who are focused on truth, health, and wealth, in that order: determine what’s true, maximize your health, and then accumulate wealth, but don’t do it at the expense of what is true or what is good for your health.
The concept is you would constantly be learning, earning, and burning: crypto credentials would allow you to earn cryptocurrency, and the best 100 workouts or varied health tasks each day get $10 in BTC.
I think of “Truth. Health. Wealth,” as the next “Liberté. Égalité. Fraternité.” It’s the slogan of the next state, or one of the next states.
I’m bearish on the U.S. specifically and the West generally, but bullish on the internet, technology, crypto, Asia, and future progress.

Often people are positive on one, and positive on the other, or vice versa. Now, they’re separated out.
For a long time, people have associated technological progress with the U.S. Now, technological progress doesn’t benefit the U.S. establishment.

The pre-internet, East Coast establishment doesn’t win a game of free speech and free markets.
How is it that the U.S. has turned 180-degress on free speech, unfettered conversations, and critical thinking

The answer is pre-internet institutions have legacy distribution, but they have a terrible product. They can’t win the argument.
Because legacy institutions can’t win the argument, they’re trying to use their distribution to shut off other people’s distribution.

They know they’d lose the argument if distribution is open to all, so they’re against free speech and against free markets.
Crypto is true free speech and free markets. It’s the true inheritor of the Western tradition.

The internet is to the USA what the Americas were to the UK. It’s a New World that it will eventually give birth to a successor.
Crypto captures the part of the West that’s globally admirable: unambiguous rule of law through smart contracts and protection from search and seizure through encryption.
Legacy institutions aren’t selecting on talent, they’re selecting on connections.

They’re not taking the best people; they’re taking people who can repeat the party line. Many people at legacy institutions lack skills to win in a fair competition, so a lot of rigging goes on.
In response to rigging, technologists developed Bitcoin and Ethereum and free systems. They are a counter to the nepotistic East Coast establishment.

You can only use force to clamp down on free speech and free markets for so long. It’s a Jack in the box that will pop out.
Few institutions that predate the internet will survive the internet. It’s a universal acid.

The reason is the internet connects people peer-to-peer.
When the internet disruptor comes in, variance increases. There’s more amazing outcomes and more bad outcomes. The internet removes the middleman, mediator, moderator, and mediocrity.

Each of those words has a different connotation, but they’re all true at the same time.
The internet is a centrifuge that is taking previously mediating, mediocre, moderating, middleman institutions, and nuking them.

They’re trying to fight back, but they won’t make it. The force is too much.
The one exception that proves the rule might be the Chinese Communist Party. They were early. They built the firewall.

The future may be centralized East versus decentralized West.
The system is juddering because folks are unhappy with it. One old assumption is people who are geographically proximal are ideologically proximal.

In the modern era, people can’t recognize somebody ten feet away, but they share intimate moments with people 3,000 miles away.
Middlemen are going away. They’ll fight to keep control. Some will reform, but it’s not going to be trivial.
BTC and ETH represent the unbundling from the old system where it’s no longer able to corral all the nodes. The nodes aren’t all trusted. It isn’t performing the functions they wanted.

The top ones can now escape to build something better, which they did on the internet.
A loss of faith in the past makes people open to turning a constant into a variable. Many things were constants due to a mediating influence.

Once people could connect peer-to-peer, you could see more permutations and more levels, and people started to gain more of a voice.
States of mind and nation states no longer map to each other. People around the world are friends but they’re not physically concentrated.

Nation states have less consent, so they enact more coercion. More coercion leads to less legitimacy.
That’s a negative feedback loop where people are building bonds with other folks of like mind who are geographically disparate.

That’s exerting a strain on the system, which eventually results in mass migrations and people assembling into communities of like minds.
The internet becomes the new center people align around. All these particles won’t fly around forever. We’re in the age of unbundling and then eventually rebundling.
At this point, the idea of cryptocurrency can’t be defeated. It remains to be seen how robust individual chains are, but as a concept, cryptocurrency won’t go away.
The attack on Bitcoin that I think would be the most likely is the Chinese put up the great firewall against it. It would be a network-level attack as opposed to a mining attack because Bitcoin assumes every mining node can reach every other mining node.
You can work out the predator-prey of a firewall: China blocks port A333 and the Bitcoin developers do port randomization. Then they do deep packet inspection, and these guys do tunneling to try to put it over SSH or HTTPS, there’s a back and forth that can happen there.
The firewall is sophisticated.

That plus domestic penalties may make it challenging for people to maintain a blockchain indefinitely in China, or they mine the China chain and the rest of the world chain is also being mined and there’s like a peek-a-boo problem.
Because the China chain would have more mining and the rest of the world chain would have less mining, the blocks mined in the rest of the world would get thrown away with a chain reorganization, and the China chain would periodically throw away every transaction.
The worst-case scenario: (1) China puts up the firewall; and (2) China allows mining to continue.
In the event China puts up the firewall and shuts down mining, no problem. There’s enough mining in the rest of the world. The Chinese would have to go overseas or execute transactions remotely somehow.
China will never be able to eliminate Bitcoin because of the way it’s constructed, but if they went after it, they’re the only state in the world that has a combination of disregard for individual privacy and human rights, and an organized top-down surveillance regime.
Depending on how an attack manifests, people might move over to a quasi-trusted chain.

You put a signature or hash to prove they are a non-China miner. You temporarily move away from the Satoshi algorithm of heaviest proof of work chain to heaviest trusted proof of work chain.
In the event of an issue with the Bitcoin protocol, the thing I’m pretty sure will never disappear is the Bitcoin ledger.

It's replicated in so many places and it’s so valuable that it could be imported into 100 other chains and would be.
The same thing could happen with Ethereum, the same thing could happen with other chains. It’s as if your stock would get split into a hundred different or 1,000 different instances. Your private keys would still find refuge.
But it would be a messy, Tower of Babel moment: you’d still want to hold on to your private keys, but other chains would back you up.
The U.S. will probably do a regulatory attack on Bitcoin because that’s the one part of the state that’s still functional. They can pass regulations and yell at people.
New York tried to throw its weight around and found that it sanctioned itself. America will try to wield the dollar as a weapon and find that it walled itself off from world economies outside the dollar economy.
The people who got New York to where it is weren’t arrogant: they were always hungry coming up. They understood you had to gain leverage.

Today, people are born with it. They’ve inherited the system.
Being incorporated in the U.S. is going to be considered a vulnerability after the 2020s. People will want to incorporate on chain because it’s global rule of law. You can add your corporate votes on chain, just like you can print out a document locally or exchange Bitcoin.
Local governments are starting to adapt to on-chain realities. You don’t need ten percent of the world’s mayors to be like @FrancisSuarez. You just need ten because they are technologically progressive leaders that will recruit tech and finance to their cities.
Local leaders see the opportunity if they’re smart. Many legacy mayors don’t understand what has happened. COVID has put us into the remote world, and now you’re more like the CEO of a city than a typical mayor.
When you’re the CEO, you’re always selling your city – and there’s a new path to power. You don’t need to go mayor to governor to president. You don’t need to angle for a spot at the convention or go to national media.

Instead, just do sales every day.
If a crypto ban is contemplated, it will happen at the time crypto has created many millionaires and billionaires who are ideological.

Typically, the more crypto you have, the more likely it is you made a bet ten years ago when it was an out-of-the-money thing to do.
The best tech folks and crypto folks are “win & help win,” which is neither progressive nor conservative nor libertarian.

“Win & help win” is ambitious in a way conservative is not, positive sum in a way progressive is not, and collective in a way that libertarianism is not.
Pro-crypto people tend to be more pro-crypto than anti-crypto people are anti-crypto, with exceptions.

Pro-crypto people feel passionately for ideological, financial, and technical reasons, they’re extremely online, and they’re anti-establishment. They punch above their weight.
Once money was to be made from crypto, people who were sympathetic but not interested in an ideological project could come off the sidelines.

In 2013, people were able to argue Bitcoin was financial innovation. There was upside, not just an ideological project.
Working on the scalability of blockchains is like scaling the early internet.

There will be paradigmatically new things. Ethereum will scale but use cases might go to specialized chains. Derivatives might go to a specialized chain. NFTs might go to a specialized chain. Etc.
Chain interoperability, so-called interchain, will be a big thing. Even if they’re remote, assets can be indexed and referenced to particular chain.
Hold your crypto keys locally. Get your keys off exchanges. Do it now. Do it yesterday. “Not your keys, not your coins.”
The future will differ more from the present than is commonly understood. How much different was the year 2000 from 1970? Not much. There were political changes, but the rhythms of daily life were similar.
Over the past 20 years, there has been an enormous change in the rhythms of daily life.

We’ve turned into nomadic creatures, and our political structures and homes haven’t flexed to accommodate that.
Your job isn’t hammering things, it’s hitting keys. Your work is with 50 people who you might’ve never met in person. They’re remote all around the world. Your job is much more variable than hammering.
In the past, the map was mostly corridors. It wasn’t opened up. Now every second of life is opened up. Every day. you can meet with a different person in your recreational life rather than the same group of friends.
Humans operate in two ways. There’s the hunter-gatherer, and there’s farmer/warrior.

Settling and defending one place like a farmer/warrior has you grow less, but it’s more reliable and consistent than the up and down life of a hunter-gatherer.
Today we’re going back to the hunter-gatherer way of doing things, but with technology.

The best quality of life is available to the digital nomad who has a minimum number of possessions and can pick up and move stakes. That’s because mobility is leverage against a state.
New kinds of polities and self-government will form that are network-based rather than state-based. These polities will be optimized for mobile social networks rather than stationary houses.
One definition of a network state is a social network with an integrated cryptocurrency and a sense of national consciousness that eventually crowdfunds territory, and that territory doesn’t have to be all in one place.
A network state is a group of people who are constantly in communication with each other and consider themselves to be a people.

It’s a national formation, distillation, and centrifugation out of the internet.
Jordan Peterson has a phrase that the number of different revolutions happening at the same time is too hard to track. The internet dominates everything. The institutions that we have are simply not built for this.
Institutions are straining and stressing and they’re going to give, and we have to have a vision for what’s on the other side.
A positive international vision is based around transhumanism:
🔷Individuals can shape the future
🔷A founder can shape the future
🔷You can shape the future
Our ambitions have been lower than they need to be. Something to strive for: infinite frontier, immutable money, eternal life.

Space is good. Bitcoin is good. Crypto is good. Life extension is good. Universal health care is not enough. We need eternal life.
One of the few good things that’ll come out of the pandemic is a Y-shaped recovery, where we’re taking a different fork. We’ve deprecated the 20th-century leisure economy.
If we’re lucky, there’s a greater focus on health and life extension and reversing aging.

If we can reverse aging, we can fix so many other things.
The way we think about cars cannot be how we model aging. If we break down a mechanical thing, there’s a known statistical distribution – a hazard rate. In the car world, you’d have an exponential distribution of lifetimes and a fraction of cars would make it through.
Aging is a coordinated thing. Going from a child to an adolescent is a coordinated process.

People understand that’s programmed into your genes, but for many people it hasn’t sunk in that aging part is coordinated, as well. We might be able to un-program or reverse it.
The anarcho-primitivism axis is the Unabomber, burn-it-all-down ideology.

It’s an ideology that humans are bad, we’re all destroying the planet, therefore we need to kill as many humans as possible.
Many people believe humanity is bad, humans are bad, humans’ impact on the world is bad, you shouldn’t have children because everyone’s causing climate change and we’re ruining the earth, and we need to have a smaller footprint. The future sucks.
The anarcho-primitivism atttitude is partly connected to people idealizing nature. They don’t realize they love tamed nature. They like nature without wild lions and with eyeglasses. And they like nature when they can go back to a warm bed. Many people are inconsistent.
Against anarcho-primitivism ideology is transhumanism: we’re going to the stars. We’re transcending this human body; we’re doing brain-machine interface; we’re doing limb regeneration; we’re doing CRISPR; we’re taking away limits. Infinite frontier, immutable money, eternal life
Lee Kuan Yew was perhaps the greatest leader of the 20th century. He’s a piece of the 21st century that fell into the 20th.

He was the first startup CEO of a city-state, and I think we’ll see a thousand more like him.
Lee Kuan Yew did what he did with minimal coercion. He’s not famous for winning some giant violent conflict.

He’s not famous for some activist movement. He stands for delivering results. He’s famous for boosting prosperity and zero-to-one-ing a society.
Countries that are on my shortlist to watch have leaders with some of the skills of software CEOs.

It’s a different approach to the network state where a state takes on qualities of a tech company. Master technology to drive things forward.
Remote economies put every city in competition with every other city. Smart cities recognize that and reinvent themselves constantly.
What is not priced in about China? It’s becoming more totalitarian. In China, the state is asserting itself and saying, “There shall be no gods before me.” As an entrepreneur, you better bow and kiss the ring.

Is that far from where America is nowadays? Not that far anymore.
The world is splitting into three groups: Woke Capital, Communist Capital, and Crypto Capital.

America and its allies are woke capital. China is communist capital. The free world is crypto capital. The first two are good at pointing out each other’s flaws and faults.
Internet censorship is going to ramp up aggressively in the U.S. By 2024, you’re going to have to use a VPN. There’s going to be filtering at the ISP level. It’s going to get to a level way beyond where people think.
Censorship will get worse because East Coast institutions can no longer win a game of free speech and free markets, so they’re going to restrict and constrict.

The same thing is happening in China. The difference is China’s more explicit about it.
In the U.S. it’s a weird moonwalk where it’s more like the Soviet Union.

The Soviet Union would say that you have this great constitution, and everyone can have an election, but there’s a gap between the actual thing and what is written down. That’s where the US is going.
China is underestimated. There’s an impression everyone in the country is oppressed and doesn’t like the regime. If you’re a Uyghur or Jack Ma or you’re an entrepreneur who’s on the wrong side of the Communist Party, you’re probably not a fan.
But in the minds of many people, the Chinese government has delivered the goods. China is a relative winner of COVID. The West just wrecked itself.
People don’t understand how far beyond China is technologically. China took temperatures with drones. They delivered things with robots. They had telemedicine.

Outside the U.S., it’s perceptible America was handed a defeat by COVID. Inside the U.S., people don’t perceive that.
The Chinese have shown the ability under duress to be able to execute in the physical world. When, as a subroutine, you can think, “Okay, we’re going to build a hospital,” that’s just not something we can contemplate in the U.S. That seems like a 30-year process, not a 10-day one
In a serious non-nuclear conflict between the U.S. and China, China would probably win.

We’ve got the observables: even under duress, the U.S. military can’t execute in the physical world. The Chinese can build things. That’s not a one-off, it’s across their whole society.
The fear is that, if vaccines are eventually rolled out and if enough Americans take them, then by 2023 or 2024, people will be spoiling for a fight to go and beat up China as the one legitimated enemy.

It would be an unfortunate thing.
Most of the world will keep as far away from a U.S.-China fight as possible.

Many Americans think Europe will saddle up with us against China. Europeans don’t think that. Europeans think America’s going crazy.
The U.S. is the most left-wing large country, then Europe, then crypto in the center, then India and Israel center-of-right, then China furthest right. That’s a new political spectrum: ethnonationalists on one side, ethnomasochists on the other, and pseudonomists in the center.
The U.S. is on a civilizational downtrend. The only thing that is functional are the internet businesses that were founded 20-something years ago. Still, the U.S. has the capability for a national rebirth.
If the founders are still around, the founders can edit things and change things. Whereas many East Coast institutions were inherited, sometimes in the literal sense, but also in the sense of inheriting something that they couldn’t have built in the first place.
The 57th mayor or 72nd governor of a state could never have organized the National Guard or the Public Health Department from scratch. They were selected for legitimacy and not for competence. They weren't selected for being able to organize the NYPD from scratch.
If you’re a founder, you’re selected for legitimacy and you’re also selected for competence.

Your support didn’t come with a snap overnight like it does when you win an election. Your support comes to you gradually over time with a 1,000 proof points.
The root of democracy isn’t voting, per se. The root of democracy is the consent of the governed. In recent years, we’re just barely clearing the bar. There’s little margin for safety.
Insofar as the legitimacy of democracy comes from the consent of the governed, we intuit there’s more legitimacy if there’s a landslide.

If it’s a bigger margin, you have more consent. If there’s more consent, you need less coercion. 60/40 is better than 51/49.
When it’s 51/49, which it’s been for a long time now, that’s the minimum necessary clearance. That’s a Fosbury Flop of consent. When you have minimum necessary consent of the governed, you have to use a ton of coercion when you’re in power.
That pushes the two percent to the other side, and the next group is in power. Then that group has to use a lot of coercion when they’re in power.

That’s a bad negative feedback cycle.
Being a CEO is like trying to hold subatomic particles in your hand and not have them go all over the place.

I’m not saying you sometimes can’t give an order. Ultimately, though, a good leader is doing more convincing than coercing.
Voting w/your ballot = democracy: smallest cost & lowest probability of changing the outcome.

Voting w/your wallet = capitalism: higher cost & higher probability of changing the outcome.

Voting w/your feet = migration: highest cost & highest probability of changing the outcome
There’s nothing more American than immigration. America is a nation of immigrants, which means America is also a nation of emigrants.

We focus a lot on immigration, and we focus less on what causes people to emigrate.
What causes people to come to the United States is declining economic circumstances or communism or Civil War or socialism or a lack of opportunity.

If our ancestors weren’t evil, immigration can’t be evil.
The model of lots of jurisdictions run by the CEOs of city-states maximizes consent because people can vote with their feet (nobody is there if they don’t want to be).
Once you start thinking about convincing rather than coercing, you just start organizing people. You declare yourself shadow mayor or community organizer or CEO.

If you start delivering the good, people just start folding into you.
You’re leading a group organized for collective action. It’s old, but it’s new to us today because it hasn’t been done in a while.

People know how to start a company and a multi-billion-dollar business, they don’t how to start a community organization, but your ancestors did.
You start accumulating users, from ten to a hundred to a thousand, because your organization is competent and delivers the goods.

It can’t coerce. It doesn’t have guys with badges. It can’t tax. It has to do everything with contributions.
As you start delivering more goods, you gain more political capital. And ultimately, that entire social structure is softer in people’s heads. People have agreed to the mayor, the supervisors, and City Hall.
Fiat currency is to cryptocurrency what fiat government is to crypto government.
You can affect political change outside of politics by delivering societal goods, by convincing people, and you set coercion to zero.

You can get far with that because CEOs get far with it. It’s a community-oriented tech startup.
The recipe for rebuilding functional organizations in the U.S. is affecting political change outside of politics. It’s setting coercion to zero and delivering societal goods. It’s getting far the way CEOs go far. It’s a community-oriented tech startup.
The dollar is not just currency, it’s a technology platform. It’s a declining technology platform because it’s based on 20th-century technology.

Gradually over the last ten years, China has been replacing the dollar in cross-border trade.
India is going to be the dark horse of the decade. It’s not priced in. People just don’t understand how big a deal it’s going to be. It has the potential to become a tech and media superpower.
It’s not just raw materials and it’s not Bollywood going global. India is going to make a mind shift in the 2020s that’s going to take a lot of people by surprise.

India is going to start building products for the world, not just software products, but media products.
India and countries that have just gotten smart phones have risen with technology. The rise has correlated with the greatest improvement in living standards they’ve ever experienced. You can’t teach that. You can’t inculcate it. It’s a different cultural base.
In India, the mentality is the future is looking bright: we’re on the way up and we’re coming back to our rightful place in the world. That’s the basis for a different kind of culture. India will be a bright sun to the Black Mirror worldview of the U.S. East Coast.
The two biggest stories in India over the last 30 years are economic liberalization and the internet. Crypto combines both. It’s the financial internet.
The internet digitized books, movies, songs, and all forms of media. Crypto digitizes everything scarce: stocks, bonds, commodities, and gold.

A blockchain is a way to transfer scarce things in a proven way.
Every financial asset will become natively digital, just like every media thing became natively digital.
Over the last four years, while everybody in the West was obsessed with American politics, India brought 400 million people online and it has the cheapest mobile LTE service in the world.
At the same time, COVID happened, so all the world’s jobs went remote; and crypto happened, which meant that you have peer-to-peer international payment.
India has the opportunity to have 400 million people start doing remote work jobs they’re newly qualified for with their phones. That’s tens of millions of new sources of remittances. Every Indian could do white collar work for one-tenth the price on a phone being paid in crypto.
Banning crypto would be one of those things where it’s more obvious as to what would be lost when we unbanned crypto.

By 2030, you could understand progress wouldn’t have happened without it. But it’s hard to show you because the compounding hasn’t happened yet.
While America is blowing things up and while China is building colonies, India can build software for the world.
If India gets behind crypto, crypto is a globally neutral platform. It’s where international capitalism can live and continue to thrive even in an age of tariffs and trade war. People can work across borders and India can be a peacemaker.
India tried to stay out of the cold war with non-alignment. There was NATO and the Warsaw Pact and non-alignment. The non-alignment movement was sympathetic to the Soviet Union, but it wasn’t sending troops around the world to wage communist revolution.
If you have the West and Woke Capital on one side, and China and Communist Capital on the other, India could be Crypto Capital. It could be the center of the decentralized movement and maybe the most powerful because there are millions of crypto sympathizers in the U.S. and China
It won’t sound that weird in 2025 or 2030. Crypto is an ideological movement and it’s a transnational movement. It’s not nationalist capitalist or nationalist socialist or international socialist. It’s international capitalist, that is, do a deal across borders.
Like blue jeans were in the Soviet Union, the orange coin is the global symbol of freedom and prosperity.

It’s prosperity. It's the power to transact with who you want, to say what you want, be free from surveillance, speak your mind, not be deplatformed, not be censored.
The premise of “The Terminator” is the present is fine, a tech bro scientist invents a horrible new Terminator, and now the future is worse. But it’s easy to invert that premise: the present is dystopian, and a small group might be able to carve out a better future.
Every innovator startup founder has had to fight procrastinators and technologically conservative power.

Media allowing people to recognize the present is dystopian and people might carve out a better future is upstream of technological progress.
The Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict was a glimpse into the future of warfare. It was heavy on drones. Once you get full automation, it’ll be drone-on-drone and people will surrender rather than have civilians killed. It might be more ethical in some way.
The transitional phase of human versus drone will be like early in World War I. There were cavalry charges against machine gun nests, and the calvary were an outdated way of war. Human versus robot will be like that. People will realize, “We just need robot versus robot.”
Moving away from a standing military to a citizen military will have to wait until midcentury when war is all drones. At that point, it’s computer programming. You need a small number of people programming the robots.
After World War I, the French built the Maginot Line. Of course, Germans invented Blitzkrieg and just went around it. The Maginot Line is a great metaphor for fighting the last war.
You can follow @jmikolay.
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