kepic's ramblings

Random thoughts and stuff

I published this originally on April 1st on Facebook. Some grammar and wording has been corrected.

WARNING: a long rant about #wealth.

Couple of days ago (that means within the week, probably) I had an interesting conversation with my wife about my rather extreme dislike (“hate”) of #rich people. I'm a #richist. Prejudice is a bad thing, but is it prejudiced to hate fascists or slavers?

Oh, yes, our conversation covered everything from “some rich people really deserve more than others” to me comparing rich folks to Nazis and slavers.

You see, it's not the fault of some heir or heiress that they're born to #privilege. Just like it wasn't the fault of any child to be born to a #Nazi or #slaver family. But when you're presented proof that you're doing wrong (or even #evil), then it's on you to change. Neither slavers nor Nazis could do it themselves, the change had to be forced on them. I wonder if the rich can change before that's necessary?

There's literally no reason for a #good person, an #ethical person, to be rich. I'm not talking about comfortable incomes when you don't have to think about #money before spending it on personal stuff — I'm talking about the kind of wealth you really can't even use sensibly on personal stuff. Why the heck would anyone need five homes, three yachts, or four jets?

Regardless, the rich (and I'm not talking about individuals, I'm talking about the group as a whole) consume and pollute many times over what the non-rich do. Their mere existence drives up #inequality, creating unsafe environments, and their #hoarding actively removes #money from circulation. Sure, maybe it's invested somewhere and whatnot — but not all of it is, and those investments in today's capitalist world do not usually improve our lives.

Money is #power. It buys #airtime, #advertising space, #visibility. It can be used to #lobby politicians, and even when it's not actively used to change #policy, the passive effect of “keeping the money in” means many politicians are biased towards money anyway. Political candidates with better financial backing have bigger and better campaigns, and they reach more people.

There is a form of domestic abuse called #EconomicAbuse. In it the one(s) controlling money use it to bend the other party (or parties) to their will. The rich do this to the rest of us, often without trying or any conscious #malice. It doesn't change the fact that it's wrong and abusive.

Back to that comparison to slavers and fascists. We can claim that one can't really be blamed about not knowing better, and one way that can happen is by being born to an environment where keeping slaves or being a fascist is normal and good. But once they are made aware that slavery or fascism is bad (evil), they themselves lose whatever claim they had to morality. Then, if they don't change their behavior and/or circumstances, then they are guilty of being bad (evil).

The same can be said about being born to wealth. There is practically no way the rich don't know their actions, hoarding, or just being passively rich doesn't harm the rest of us, either directly through unlawful business practices (in case of the rich actually doing something for their wealth), or indirectly through environmental damage or increasing inequality.

Some do realize that being rich in itself looks bad, and soothe their consciences with donations and #charity work. This rarely achieves anything of significance, as they are unlikely to give away enough to lose their multimillionaire or #billionaire status.

“What about #investing?” is something I hear whenever this topic comes up. What about it? That's been going on hundreds of years (if not more) even without billionaires. If anything, the current situation is worse in many aspects. The big companies already entrenched on the market can easily buy out or otherwise get rid of a smaller competitor if they become troublesome (look like they might actually grow to be significant competition). That's nothing new, either. What is new, is that at the top of the pyramid are just a few very, very, very rich people.

It's even worse when we're talking about short-term aggressive investments (#stocks, #derivatives, all that shit). People make daily huge financial decisions that affect hundreds, thousands, or even millions of people. The most aggressive are usually the most lauded. The best can make huge profits consistently. They, however, play mostly with other people's money, taking surprisingly little risk themselves. It's like #gambling on steroids. You have all this abstracted data you go through obsessively and then make educated guesses with huge stakes. Get it right, you get rich. Get it wrong, and, well, it really wasn't your money, was it? Sure, there are consequences, but the risk vs. reward is firmly on the side of reward.

Why isn't everyone a #StockBroker, then? Because for the most people that kind of work isn't work, and for the most people that kind of gambling isn't really gambling, either. But for those who get the kick out of that #addiction… Stock trading is a specially created heaven full of tasty brain chemicals.

And the #WealthGap between the rich and the rest of us is growing. Absolute poverty is getting rarer, sort of. But it could have been abolished. The rest of us are stuck, get poorer, or, mostly through luck, get actually richer.

Studies have shown that often the wealthier person is, the less capable they are of #empathy. After a certain point, the benefits of having more money face diminishing returns in terms of quality of life. After that money is just points on a score board, and sometimes collecting more becomes an addiction.

So yes, I'm a #richist. I'm also a #socialist (or a #communist, depending on where you're looking from), which makes sense. I'm also #feminist, #AntiFascist, #AntiRacist, #AntiEthnonationalist, and many other things a sensible #FarLeft nut job is supposed to be. I stand for #FreedomOfThought and #FreedomOfExpression, for #NonViolence, and #HumanRights in general. I end this with a question: is it wrong of me to strongly dislike the rich?

I'm on Mastodon, Facebook, Twitter, and Friendica. I also have a web page.

A #p2p social media platform. We have federated ones, like #fediverse and #hubzilla, and truly p2p like #twister — but none of these are really accessible. All of them require a dedicated server.

So I got to thinking. We have a multitude of technologies at our fingertips that seem to imply that going serverless is possible. Well, when I say serverless, I mean without a dedicated server for the platform. Ideally the site, P2P connections and all, will run in a browser, which implies there's an #Internet site.

With #webtorrent (or something similar) we could share media content, or probably something akin to a bootstrap file, and #IPFS is an obvious alternative. #WebRTC makes direct browser-to-browser connections possible (and WebTorrent is built on it). #IndexedDB offers local storage for personal content, which could then be offered to other users over other means.

Sadly torrents are immutable, so they are not optimal for this kind of content delivery, assuming functionality similar to Twitter/Facebook. IPFS could help here, too.

Another possible problem is user identification, but I'm pretty sure there's something that can be done. A traditional user/password -pair is of course an obvious choice, but encryption keys or OpenID-like solutions shouldn't be overlooked either. Hubzilla has an interesting implementation for authentication.

So what do we need? Essentially everything would come together in a Progressive Web App. A #PWA can be run offline, so all assets can be loaded to the browser, be it on mobile or desktop. It also means that it essentially requires nothing but #HTML, #CSS and #JavaScript. It could therefore be served from any hosting service, as all computation and storage are client-side.

Another problem to solve would be federation. Would this kind of p2p platform be able to join the fediverse? Fediverse runs on dedicated servers and I have to assume that a central location for a server to poll is a necessity. Since we don't want to run a dedicated server of any kind, would it be possible for the network to trade information with a fediverse server?

One answer is to build the compatibility into fediverse. #Friendica and #Hubzilla are easily extensible, and others can implement the feature if they want — and for some it's probably possible to implement it by user (I'm looking at you, #Misskey).

Peer discovery is of course a problem in a system like this. We could probably bootstrap it from the website that works as the home (or not, Hubzilla channels could work well here to allow migration), but, again, there is IPFS with its already-existing p2p network and storage. #IPNS is something that would probably work wonders here.

Oh, and apparently IPFS now has a browser implementation in JavaScript.

Wheels are turning in my head…

I'm on Mastodon, Facebook, Twitter, and Friendica. I also have a web page.

I'm using #WriteFreely platform for the first time, and dove straight into the deep end by starting a #webnovel called I Am What I Kill. It starts out at a Superhero #Academy, a prominent institution for teaching young people with #superpowers how they should use their powers. The expectation, of course, is that they become #superheroes.

The protagonist veers off a little from this path, as his powers are utilized best if he becomes a prolific serial killer. Specifically one that kills other superpowered people.

The world is one where having superpowers is rare, but seeing them is not. While some superheroes, maybe even most of them, try to think along the lines of “with great power comes great responsibility”, many find this a harsh standard to aspire to. Some don't even try, toeing the line between heroic and villainous. A small minority abandon heroism entirely and go full vigilante.

With great power can also come great ambition, or just plain greed. When you're at the top of the food chain, at least locally, then why not take what you want? Sometimes reasons are more complicated, and sometimes the label doesn't fit, but the reality of #supervillains is undeniable.

Superpowers like supertechnology and superintelligence mean that the world has significant #scifi elements even beyond the superhuman society. Teleportation and space travel aren't such impossibilities as they are in our world, and some supers tend to seemingly break ten laws of nature before breakfast every day.

Superpowers, or their users, are divided into power tiers. The lowest and most numerous tier is the Epsilon-Class, and the rarest and most powerful is the Majestic-Class. There exists technology to determine one's power level, but not what their actual superpower(s) is.

Here's a tentative look into rarity of the #superhumans:

  1. Epsilon-Class: 1 / 10,000
  2. Delta-Class: 1 / 100,000
  3. Gamma-Class: 1 / 1,000,000
  4. Beta-Class: 1 / 10,000,000
  5. Alpha-Class: 1 / 100,000,000
  6. Majestic-Class: 1 / 1,000,000,000

That's pretty much it for now. I'm off to play #GuildWars2.

I'm on Mastodon, Facebook, Twitter, and Friendica. I also have a web page.