Will the Venture Capital Industry ever go back to its glory days?

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It seems, at first, like the logical next act in the classic entrepreneurial script. Having developed your software company on your home-built microcomputer, you pack your bags and set off on a pilgrimage to the venture capital Mecca of San Francisco in search of the help you need to turn your creation into a multi-million-dollar enterprise.

It is a well-worn path, that route from the entrepreneur’s garage to the investor’s suite. It is part of an initiation rite through which hundreds, if not thousands, of dreamers and doers had passed before.

What your company needs is capital and, equally important, the wisdom of those who had done it before in Silicon Valley’s venture capital community.

As you move from meeting to meeting, you look across the table at the people whose help you are seeking, and feel some kind of disappointment.

Are these the venture capitalists you had heard so much about? Scarcely believable. These guys act powerful and important, and they undoubtedly have access to a great deal of money, some of which they indicate they might be willing to part with. But they are hardly the experienced sages that you have been hoping to encounter, people who had built fast-growth companies from coast to coast. Some of these venture capitalists don’t even know very much about running a business, having only graduated from business school two or three years before.

Just because they have MBAs from Stanford or Harvard, they think they know everything about everything. Worse, their approach is pretty much antagonistic. ‘Why don’t you do this? Why don’t you do that?’ they say. They want you to redo everything you have done, and most of them don’t know anything about writing software. You feel you have been nursing this baby and these obnoxious morons are telling you that they don’t like the way the baby looks. But the fact is that they had done some things right…. Go figure.

In the end, you realize that these guys are a total waste of time and that you don’t even want them on board, telling you what to do. Maybe you wouldn’t go silk-stocking, but don’t care anymore. You are going to find a different route.

Welcome to the real world.

Yes there have always been young companies that, for one reason or another, have preferred to grow without venture capital, but lately it seems that more and more have.

Why?

Well as a starter, let me tell you that the vast majority of venture capitalists have no clue what they are doing. Most importantly, as I have been saying for years now, venture capital, by its very nature, distorts the process of growth.

Venture capitalists make you too ‘now’ — too profit-oriented, instead of quality-oriented. You introduce factors with venture capital that don’t really help build any company. As an entrepreneur you want to use your profits to do the things you want to do, not to please some investor who’s screaming, ‘Fifteen percent or you’re out!’ . No wonder the smartest entrepreneurs out there would rather have the steady, balanced growth that comes from pulling themselves up by the bootstraps.

That may be something of an overstatement, but it is also an increasingly common refrain in Silicon Valley, Route 128 in Boston or Silicon Alley in New York City. It reflects a growing disenchantment with an industry whose successes have become synonymous with the resurgence of the entrepreneurial spirit in America. Since the late 1950s, venture capitalists have played a crucial, even heroic, role in launching some of the nation’s most spectacular growth companies, from Digital Equipment and Federal Express to Apple Computer and People Express. At a time when the giant commercial banks, investment houses, and large corporations disdained small startups, venture capitalists were ready and willing to take the risks necessary to build their economic future.

I am afraid though venture capital today may well be becoming a victim of its own successes. Once a collection of small firms run by brilliant, if often idiosyncratic, individuals, the venture capital business is developing into a large-scale, highly institutionalized industry. The main impetus has come from pension funds, investment banks, insurance companies, and the like. Lured by annual returns as high as 40% to 60%, they have poured huge amounts of money into venture capital funds.

As the money has flowed in, the game has changed. You have to understand this is an industry where people are not used to having a lot of money. Then somebody gives you $150 million, and you start to feel you can walk on water. You read in the paper that you’re a genius, and you believe it. Some of the old constraints tend to get eroded away.

One manifestation of this tendency has been the recent emergence of so-called mega funds — venture capital funds of $1 billion or more.

Those are huge numbers for an industry in which, in the mid 80s the largest fund was about $50 million and the average fund was about $15 million. The problem of managing such mega funds, however, may be even bigger. In this business, you don’t multiply your talent with size. Stretched thin, the often illustrious general partners of the larger firms have had to depend increasingly on inexperienced subordinates for much of their investment decision-making and due diligence. This, in turn, has had an impact on the venture capital process itself. From the entrepreneurs’ standpoint, it means that they may not get the expert advice, or “intelligence equity,” which they often value more than cash. From the investors’ standpoint, it means that they are entrusting their money to people with limited knowledge of the business.

Part of the problem has to do, quite simply, with the dearth of available talent. Experienced venture capitalists are hard to come by, and their number has not kept pace with the explosion of the industry as a whole. It is a fact that venture capital is rapidly becoming a very talent-short market segment and there is a tremendous danger in this. Inexperienced people can be like the proverbial loose cannon on the battleship.

It’s like a large law firm. You can say you’re with the greatest law firm in the world, but, if a junior person is handling your account, I’d say that’s baloney. The question is: Who is your individual lawyer? This is not a profession for a lot of inexperienced “master of the universe” Ivy League rookie types in their 20s and 30s.

Then again, it would be unfair, and wrong, to blame most of the industry’s woes on MBAs, whose role, after all, is more a symptom than a cause of the problems. Certainly, there were very experienced hands involved in many of the venture-backed fiascos of the last decade…. clearly a broad pattern of mistakes and misjudgments. People get into situations with entrepreneurs or companies that they soon realize aren’t going to work out, but once you start, you often find a deal takes on a life of its own.

Exacerbating this situation is the growing involvement of major financial institutions in the venture capital process itself — not just as suppliers of capital, but as direct participants in latter, or “mezzanine,” round financing. As investment banks, insurance companies, and other large institutions have formed their own venture capital arms, they have added millions of dollars to the already huge pool of money available to companies on the verge of going public. The temptation is to pump these companies full of cash in hopes of increasing the appeal of their initial public offering. It is a temptation that some venture capitalists have found impossible to resist.

A lot of the troubles started when the institutions began co-investing with venture capitalists. It’s a fundamentally unsound process. It’s like believing in Santa Claus. The pressure is to short-cut the whole process. Instead of giving companies five or six years to grow, they try to do it in two years. Some companies have been rushed and grossly over financed as a result. The institutional involvement distorted everything. It’s a process that will lead – and is still leading — to disaster.

“Disaster” may seem like a rather strong word, and “over-financing” a rather strange concept — especially to young companies that are struggling to make ends meet. Yet that concept touches the root of the problems precipitated by the influx of new money and new players into the venture capital business. The business has become very chic. In the not too distant past, many of these same institutional investors would react to venture capital like venereal disease. Now they think it’s the greatest thing in the world, but they have picked up none of the skills.

In their enthusiasm, the new players often fail to comprehend the fundamental difference between venture capital and conventional financing mechanisms. They think it’s an investment business, but that’s wrong. Venture capital is not a business of trading stocks and investing for fast returns. Venture capitalists are not bankers. They are into building companies.

That is, indeed, what venture capital used to be all about according to General Doriot; the father of venture capitalism — building men and companies – and they have done a great job funding companies started by ARD back in the 40s to thousands of other companies since then such as Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook and the likes.

I think venture capital has been fantastic for the country. But this is past…not anymore today.

People then knew what they were talking about and were extremely analytical and unemotional. Exactly the reverse of what venture capitalists are today where most of them are just parallel investors who follow what other people do…Total sheep.

In my humble opinion, it is often later — after the company is up and running — that the knowledge and experience of a skilled venture capitalist becomes most important to the entrepreneur. Why? Well it is a fact that most entrepreneurs today run a tight ship and don’t need money. What they mostly need is somebody who could tell them what a big company is all about. Basically they need strategists who could tell them a problem and they set the guidelines, so you can get a solution.

People say power corrupts, but I think it’s money that does the trick. We have today the symptoms of the heightening of greed among venture capitalists and entrepreneurs. I suppose greed is okay up to a point, but it’s like wine. A glass is pleasant; a bottle will have a different effect.

This particular form of inebriation produced a variety of effects and manifested itself in a variety of ways. To begin with, it drew into the venture capital business a lot of people and institutions that were less interested in building companies than in scoring “quick hits” — that is, realizing enormous returns in a relatively short period of time. That was all right for entrepreneurs of a similar mind, but it posed a tremendous dilemma for those who were interested in something more than a fast buck.

Whether or not they were looking for weeds, that is what they found. All over Silicon Valley, companies began to spring up that were heavily promoted and heavily financed on little more than grand schemes. In place of expertise, the venture capitalists provided the companies with tons of money. The people who ran the companies often wound up spending it like oil sheiks on a weekend jaunt to Las Vegas.

There was, for example, the leading semiconductor start-up that added a totally unnecessary, albeit aesthetically pleasing, sloping roof to its headquarters at a time when losses were running at more than $1 million a quarter. An elaborate management information services staff, elegant workstations, and a host of other extravagances helped boost this company’s breakeven point as much as $4 million above that of its competitors.

Those types are still all around the Valley. Basically the hip shooters, the guys with a good front who feel they can do anything. It’s a lifestyle thing. They want to live like kings on other people’s money. What amazes me is that the idiotic venture capitalists backing them let them get away with it.

The consequences of all this are already being felt throughout the venture capital industry today. With the souring of the public market, many knowledgeable observers expect the returns of venture capital firms to plummet over the next few years, perhaps dropping by as much as half. That, in turn, will affect the supply of venture money available from institutions. If institutions are making venture investments on the basis of the returns we’ve seen over the past five years, I believe they are going to be disappointed.

The first casualties will probably be the industry’s “greener” players, particularly those venture groups set up by investment bankers and other traditional financial institutions. Venture capital doesn’t fit easily with the mentality of large corporations.

But the ripples of venture capital’s plunge are likely to spread far beyond the institutional funds. I fear in fact a backlash similar to the one following the “go-go” years of the late 1990s and early ’00s. That era, like the present one, had seen a spectacular boom in young growth companies, many of which went public with great fanfare. Aggressively promoted by stupid young brokers, hustlers and underwriters, these hot new issues soared briefly across the investment horizon, until the fundamental weaknesses of the companies brought them, and their investors, crashing back to earth.

Something like that could happen again, particularly if a significant number of the “living dead” don’t survive. Indeed, it is by no means inconceivable that a series of massive failures of venture-backed companies could send a chill across the entire entrepreneurial landscape, affecting all kinds of smaller businesses, even those that might never have been candidates for venture capital themselves. After all, the rise of venture capital helped generate new interest in small, growth companies in general; so, too, its decline could have the opposite effect. To a certain extent, this is already occurring.

But even if the worst doesn’t happen, entrepreneurs will increasingly have to look elsewhere for the money and expertise that they have traditionally counted on the venture capital community to provide.

Too many start-ups I’ve seen over the years started with too much money. The key thing is you have to go through the pain. If you sense pain in the beginning, the chances are you won’t have to deal with it later. The only way to stay focused is pain — and not being able to make the rent if you screw up.

In the future, that observation may apply as well to companies that have already received venture capital. The guys who spend lavishly will go under, and those who spend carefully will survive.

Much the same might be said for the venture capitalists themselves. While the newer firms begin to fade, some of the more traditional venture capitalists are pulling in their horns.

There’s a time to reap, and there’s a time to sow. Maybe this is the time to plant seeds and get through the long winter. The opportunities are still there at the end of the cycle. Survivorship never has been easy, but that’s the way this business has been from the beginning.

So, in the long run, the venture capital industry may yet emerge from its Big Chill stronger than ever. It will, that is, if venture capitalists put their shoulders to the wheel, and return — in the words of General Doriot — to the business of “building men and companies.”

You’ve been warned…. Now let’s see what you make of it next time you deal with venture capitalists.

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Living your Life as a True Activist?

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I believe that many people are living a life just for the sake of existence with no real purpose other than going with the flow or seeking an elusive happiness that never seems to materialize.

Have you ever thought about living your life as a true activist? What do you think this would entail?

Here are some personal thoughts.

As George Orwell once said: “Men can only be happy when they do not assume that the object of life is happiness.”

Well I believe we’re all here for a reason. There are many forces that would distract us and prevent us finding it. Seek your reason, and in doing so you will find consolation and purpose.

I’d suggest, by and large, society today is geared up to turn good people into bad. It’s a society run by bad people in favor of bad people; bad meaning the self centered and selfish. People are forced to tow the ridiculous, individualist, greed driven line in order to survive.

The metaphor I use is that of someone who’s in a hole in the ground. The hole is filling with water and they are bailing out the water just to stay alive. The bigger their wage, the bigger their cup. The problem is that no one is given the time to ask the very simple questions, ‘Why am I in this hole, who put me there?’. They’re just kept too busy bailing and become exhausted in the process.

Remember Tolstoy? “Money is the new form of slavery”.

A friend of mine refers to this as ‘the upside down world’. Such an observation of society’s contradiction is correct both in moral and practical terms. We are doomed in both respects as long as we keep believing the great lie which forms the basis of economic models around the world, that of ‘infinite growth.

If you’re interested in reading a very interesting work on the fundamentally flawed economic models used to keep us all captive and grind the Earth and its resources to dust, check out Professor Tim Jackson’s work entitled ‘Prosperity without Growth’.

Notably, the Sustainable Development Commission which commissioned and published this work was shut down in 2011. It’s stated aim was to ‘Hold government to account to ensure the needs of society, the economy and the environment were properly balanced in the decisions it made and the way it ran itself’. It was axed as part of the coalition spending cuts enforced upon the people to pay the price of the banking industry’s excess.

As mentioned above in ‘the hole dilemma’, if people had the time to stop and think how their society has been butchered by the greed driven power politics of big business, and the consequential harm to society and social services, I suspect a great many politicians would need to put their running shoes on…

Thomas Jefferson summed up and warned of our society today nearly 100 years ago. I believe it is applicable to all, if not the vast majority, of nations.

“And I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.”

In short, we are governed by the morally bankrupt and criminally corrupt. Though I am of no specific religious denomination, I pray to all and any deities that one day we find the strength to stand up and put an end to this horror.

I would also add that to my mind the idea of nations is as primitive as stone age tribal thinking and that patriotism is just nationalism by another name. We are one planet, there is no disputing that. What harms one harms us all. What helps one helps us all. The universal bond that connects us is one that cannot be broken and should not be allowed to be degraded by the politically motivated manufactured consensus based on an ideological madness.

All I can say is hold on, be strong, start contributing by educating your fellow citizens, live your life like a true activist. Change is coming.

You don’t need to change anything external like your behavior or your circumstances. You don’t need to have “worth” to society. If you want peace of mind and happiness, you must change the way you perceive your world and start doing something about it.

A person’s contribution doesn’t need to be grand or even positive, as long as we’re not stuck in solitary confinement our actions and behavior will contribute. I’ve learned and benefited from all levels of society in many countries. Lawyers have taught me, beggars have taught me, doctors have taught me and other species have taught me – everything and everybody has in some way affected and raised my awareness.

I live to cut through, endure and learn from the suffering and pain because it’s so very worth it to experience what comes as a result. I realize that for some, suffering consumes the majority of their lives and may well be inescapable. In that case it becomes an individual’s choice whether or not to continue. This is an ecosystem, it isn’t fair or intrinsically purposeful, life is a struggle with intermittent rewards.

So I say, struggle and find your rewards, use all your wits and resources to glimpse those fleeting moments of joy, share your life with others, share the struggle and the joy, bite the bullet and see if you can outsmart the system. Keep doing it, learn and fight, bite and scratch for your piece of the cake. Find solace in whichever form works for you, understand the sharks you swim with.

Life isn’t pretty but by living your life as a true activist you do create an enormous ripple effect no matter who you are.

Share your thoughts.

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Wealth Takers v/s Wealth Creators Some food for thought

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The natural state of our economy is prosperity. Freedom guarantees that. The only force capable of undermining it is government. It is high time to realize that all important fact.

It is clear that we are still stuck today in the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression. Despite all the disinformation and market manipulation out there, our economic weakness has now become a top national security threat.

Did the market fail or did the government fail? If so, how? I have made my business career by asking the right questions. Are we working on the right problem? Do we have the right people? Are we close enough to the action? My strong suit is to ask questions until the bottom line is found. Are you asking yourselves these questions or taking at face value all what you’re being fed by our supposed “economic and market gurus” out there?

I believe even the most well-meaning government policies have unintended consequences that have harmed the economy. If government policies were held accountable the way private businesses are, the scoreboard would say government is failing to help people. What do you say?

In my humble opinion, there are few problems in the world that economic prosperity cannot help solve. Yet the engines of that prosperity are under fierce attack. The forces that seek power over others have gained the upper hand against those that seek freedom. By harming wealth creation, they cause even more strain on society. Historically, this is nothing new. State domination over its subjects has roots that connect statism, totalitarianism, communism, and socialism to more modern-day variants of liberalism and progressivism. It is a constant fight and we must win.

It is a fact that the forces against wealth creation accelerate when the Progressives are in power. More recently, they forced “Obamacare” and “Dodd Frankenstein Financial Deform” upon us. We now face a perfect storm. One only needs to observe the unrest across the world to imagine what life will become here if we don’t get our economy turned around very soon.

But how? It is not as though people lose sight of simple principles in a complex society as much as it is a Progressive tactic to confuse people. For example, if the world consists of two farmers, and one is paid government benefits, who pays? Exactly. The other farmer pays. Redistribution is a negative-sum game, and people understand that. In another example, if one farmer raises cattle and the other grows vegetables, they are both better off through voluntary trade. Making other people better off is the only way to satisfy your needs. Is it bad that some people make many people better off? Do you deserve a special attack by government if you make millions of people better off? Voluntary exchange is a positive-sum game.

After all, trade and wealth creation is not all upside. It is failure, too. Failure is a necessary component to growth and success. Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times but also hit 714 home runs. We need to let failing entities fail. Only then will successful people turn these enterprises back into wealth-creating vehicles again. “Too big to fail” is a concept that perpetuates failure and saps vitality from the rest of the wealth creators to do so.

Bottom Line: Wealth creation is not a business suited to those whose skill set consists of voting “present.” It requires decision making, risk taking, hard information, discipline, insight, and intelligence.

We have clearly gotten away from the 10th Amendment. The only equal outcome for all that can be achieved by the federal government is misery for all. It is not that people shouldn’t be helped. It is that in most cases, it is not the role of the federal government to do so.

After all is said and done, in whose hands should you place your trust for improving the economy? An entrepreneur, whose job it is to solve problems for a profit? Or a bureaucrat, whose job it is to cause problems for a profit? I know where I put my trust, and I’m sure 90 percent of us agree.

We outnumber them, so let’s act like it. After all, the American Dream isn’t a house, or any property, or the consumption of any good. It is to be productive creating wealth.

It is real sad that the very people whose policies unleashed the attacks on our economic foundation are today waging a full-blown assault on the true wellspring of business formation, innovation, and job creation: the wealth creators.

When you see how the Washington–Wall Street corridor, which I call the “Chaos Industry”, profits at the expense of average Americans, what are you waiting for to take action?

The turnaround must come from outside of the Washington establishment. It must come from us.

Battle lines have been drawn. On one side of the battle are the fakers and takers. On the other side, all of the wealth creators. Who offers you more opportunity?

The Founding Fathers did their job. I strongly believe we must be the “Defending Fathers”. What do you say?

One of my favorite political lines on the campaign trail comes from former U.S. Senator Everett Dirksen. He once said, “When they feel the heat, they will see the light.”

Share your thoughts….

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Stop Procrastinating and Find a Reason to be Rich

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I believe each one of us has a financial genius in him/her that is asleep and just waiting to be awakened. It lies asleep because our culture has educated us into believing the wrong things about money. We’re taught to be employees and work for money rather than to be entrepreneurs and investors and have money work for us. We’re taught to not worry about our financial future because our company or the government will do that for us.

I also believe the best revenge against liberals and corporate bosses idiots is “obscene wealth”.

The message about money we’re taught from a young age is work hard, earn money, spend it, and when we run short, borrow some more. Unfortunately, 90 percent of the Western world subscribes to the above dogma, simply because it’s easier to find a job and work for money than to make your own way and build your own wealth.

But to those who want to buck the trend, I have 10 ways to awaken your financial genius which I’ll share with you over the next couple months.

The first is Find a Reason.

If you ask most people if they want to be rich, they say “yes.” But then reality sets in. They realize it’s a lot of work to become rich. There is no getting rich quick. Facing these obstacles, they throw in the towel and take the easy route—getting a job and handing investments over to a pathetic broker.

Yet, there are clearly those in life who don’t take the easy route. And there are those who are wildly successful where others aren’t. What separates the successful from the unsuccessful? The answer is found in a reason.

A reason is simply a combination of “wants” and “don’t wants.” My reason for getting rich began with my “don’t wants,” which defined my “wants.”

I don’t want to work all my life. I don’t want what my parents aspired for, job security and a house in the suburbs. I don’t like being an employee. I don’t want to be emotionally absent from my family and friends because I’m always working to make ends meet. I don’t want to have nothing to pass on at the end of my life.

Out of these “don’t wants,” I developed my “wants.”

I want to be free to travel the world and live the lifestyle I love. I want to be young when I do this. I want to be free financially. I want control over my time and my life. I want money to work for me. I want to be a “master of the universe” and say whatever I please to anyone without fear of being fired or looked upon as an outcast. Well, money is the only way to get me there and insulates me from all the dependence crap out there.

Personally, I’ve faced many setbacks in my road to riches. I’ve lost a lot of money and seen many deals fall through. I wanted to be financially free by age 30, but it took me until I was 34, with many learning experience along the way. But through it all, my reasons pulled me through.

Today is the day to determine your reason for getting rich. Make a list of your “Don’t wants” and your “wants.” Make sure that your reason is strong and determined. If you find the right reason, I promise you that you will find a way to get real wealthy But it all starts with you.

Stay tuned to my 9 other ways over the next few months… In the meantime, share your thoughts

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It is all about Money and the Media Stupid Wake up

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Seventeen years ago, I read a book called The Evolving Self. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, it profoundly affected the direction of my life.

Since reading that book, I have dedicated my life to coming ever closer to getting a glimpse of the universal order, and of our part in it.

After years of research and analysis, I’ve come to the conclusion that we, in fact, live in a neo-feudal society built on debt and mental slavery.

That may sound like over-the-top rhetoric, and it obviously sounds extreme to propagandized and conditioned minds, and yes, it is extreme. However, it is the unfortunate reality of the present situation. The facts are there for the rational and unbiased mind to absorb and comprehend.

Let’s start by giving some context and perspective on present circumstances by breaking down some economic data. As Thomas Jefferson once said, “Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.”

For the past 35 years, with technological advancements, there has been an explosion in production and profits, in wealth creation. That unprecedented increase in wealth, as many of you know, has gone to the top economic 1%. Most of it, the lion’s share of it, went to not even the top economic 1%, but to the top one-hundredth of one percent, to the modern day aristocracy.

After analyzing the most recent data, here’s the headline: US millionaire households now have $50 trillion in wealth. They have $39 trillion in legally accounted for wealth, and an estimate of $11trillion hidden in offshore accounts.

Most people cannot even comprehend how much $1 trillion is, let alone $50 trillion.

Only one-tenth of one percent of the population makes one million dollars a year, and, again, most of that wealth is in the top one-hundredth of one percent.

To show how consolidated the wealth is, even in the upper most portion of the top one percentile, the richest 400 people have as much wealth as 185 million Americans combined; that’s only 400 people with as much wealth as 60% of the entire US population.

Before continuing, let me defuse the reactionary propagandized mind’s instinctive response. This is not about demonizing people just because they have money. I am a wealth creator and I have the highest respect for them. There are in fact many people who are using their wealth and resources to improve the human condition. It’s important to understand that the focus here is not on the people who have a mere $10 million or so in wealth. When discussing the modern day aristocracy, the main focus is on the pathological, shortsighted and greed-addicted forces that are doing much more to limit human potential than enhance it.

Broadly speaking, the “aristocracy” is composed of governments, political parties, policy groups, think tanks, intel factions, private military companies, large global corporations, banks and media empires. Included in that are mega-wealthy billionaires and CEOs who have unprecedented control of wealth and resources. For example, the Business Roundtable, the people who run the 147 inter-connected corporations who control half of the world economy.

However, the ultimate point here is to show people that there is presently more than enough wealth and capabilities to solve societal problems. We can truly evolve society in unprecedented fashion. At this point, there is an overwhelming majority of the population, even a majority of the mega-wealthy, who realize that our present systems are obsolete, unsustainable and unstable. We don’t need to spend our finite time and energy fighting with each other. We already have a critical mass of aware citizens, we just need to inspire and organize them to build the cultural and political will. Once we do that, we will be an unstoppable force.

Let’s get back to that 50 trillion number, because we have had an entire generation of mind-blowing wealth creation that has been systematically withheld from the population.

Can you comprehend how much money $50 trillion is? Just to give a little context, we can end world hunger and provide clean drinking water to everyone on the planet for an estimated $40 billion. Again, one trillion is one thousand billion, and we are talking about $50 trillion.

Imagine what could be done with that amount of wealth. Imagine the implications, the possibilities. Imagine how we could evolve society, to the benefit of everyone, with modern technology and just a fraction of that staggering amount of wealth.

The average American cannot comprehend how much wealth there is because there is no frame of reference, no comparison of scale or historical precedent. If Americans had an understanding of how much wealth is being kept from them and the possibilities of what we could do with that wealth, we would have a full-blown societal evolution right now.

It is the denial of wealth that keeps you in check; it keeps you in debt.

Just at the point when technological advancement, production, distribution and wealth increases should have made everyone’s life much easier, just when basic necessities should have become much more affordable and easier to obtain, they became more expensive.

The cost of production dropped dramatically and efficiency of distribution skyrocketed. Housing, food, health and education costs should have plummeted dramatically. However, most basic necessities now come at a much higher price, and people are forced to take on increasing levels of debt to keep up. As most people are aware, student debt, consumer debt, medical debt and household debt have reached all-time record highs.
As an old wise person once said, “There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by the sword. The other is by debt.”

We live in a neo-feudal system of debt slavery. The indentured servant is now the indebted consumer.

When you understand the wealth at hand, you begin to grasp the crime against humanity that is afoot. We live in the richest, most technologically advanced society humanity has ever known. Yet, here we are, in the 21st century, with an all-time record number of Americans living in poverty.

After careful consideration, it must be said that this is not only the greatest theft of wealth in history; it is also the greatest crime against humanity in history.

People can’t afford to pay their medical bills. Millions upon millions of American families have lost their homes, and millions more are on the verge of losing their homes. An all-time record number of children are going hungry. Meanwhile, record-breaking profits and record-breaking bonuses for the bailed out banana republic aristocracy.
Now that you are beginning to grasp the wealth at hand, and the possibilities of how that wealth can be used to evolve society, let’s take a look at how we got into this situation and how exactly it is that they got away with hoarding so much wealth.

To paraphrase a man who fought against the aristocracy, ‘The depravity and amount of suffering required for the accumulation of such a staggering magnitude of wealth, in the hands of a few, is kept out of the picture, out of the mass media, and it is not easy to make people see or understand this.’ Especially when you have an all-encompassing mainstream media propaganda system.

It is a fact that the  mainstream media is the most effective weapon of mass oppression humanity has ever known.

Since the early 1900’s and World War I, a massive propaganda system has been in place. This is not a conspiracy theory; it is all well documented. Research Edward Bernays, Walter Lippman, Ivy Lee, George Creel and the Committee on Public Information for starters. In fact, you don’t even need a conspiracy theory; you just need a basic understanding of propaganda, social psychology and behaviorism .
Speaking from personal experience, I have come to realize that even the most independent minded among us vastly underestimates how mentally conditioned we all are. Most people are no more consciously aware of this mental domination than they are aware of gravity. It’s like the air we breathe.

For two obvious examples, let’s start with television consumption and advertising. The average American watches more than five hours of TV a day, every single day of their life. American children view more than 40,000 per year, every single year of their life. Think about that. That’s intensive mental domination administered on a daily basis, from the cradle to the grave.

I guess it’s what advertisers have known all along: if we just keep the exposure rate up, people will be influenced. It’s all about repetition.

Repetitive messages fill our mental atmosphere. To paraphrase Philip Lesley in Managing the Human Climate, ‘When a message appears all around you, you tend to accept it and take it for granted. You find yourself surrounded by it and your subconscious mind absorbs and becomes immersed in the climate of repetitive ideas.’ They form the origins of your thoughts. It’s where your desires, opinions and perspectives are born.

Well, the mainstream mass media is the software on which our minds run; it’s our operating system. It’s an extension of our nervous system. Repetitive mainstream propaganda creates a belief system, popular reference points, symbols, archetypes, mental patterns, a mindset and groupthink, all based on repetition – and groupthink is a highly contagious infectious disease.

It’s hard to escape groupthink. As with freedom and democracy, you must be ever vigilant to avoid the tyranny of groupthink and cultural conditioning.

Malcolm X said it best, “The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”

The mainstream media keeps everyone isolated inside a false reality, a pseudo mental environment. People are trapped in a bubble of status quo supporting reality, in a bubble of what’s good for shortsighted, short-term corporate interests.

People’s consciousness and awareness gets conditioned and contracted, they become isolated and detached from wider reality.

People are born and raised inside mass media created illusions. The majority must resign itself to the consumption of fantasy. Illusions of wealth are sold to the poor, illusions of freedom to the oppressed, dreams of victory to the defeated and of power to the weak.

The censorship that is most prevalent today is the most dangerous form. Not censorship of explicit words, sex or violence, but censorship of any thoughts outside of shortsighted corporate ideology. Any thoughts that lead to critical thought on the established power structure or veer outside of the spectrum of status quo supporting opinion are left out of the debate, out of mainstream public consciousness.

The mainstream press does not cover the most vital social, economic and political issues. The more important something is, the less they report on it. If mentioned at all, it’s mentioned in passing, with little, if any, in-depth reporting, discussion and debate on it.

It’s censorship by omission and bullshit on repetition.

Imagine wall-to-wall 24/7 news coverage of the trillions of dollars in fraudulent activity that got us into this mess. Imagine in-depth coverage of the corruption of our political process through a system of bribery that makes the mafia look like amateurs.

What about the staggering consolidation of wealth? Imagine if the media kept discussing how a small percentage of the population has 50 trillion dollars, then they started debating how we could use just a fraction of that money to solve problems, create solutions and evolve society.

What if they reported on all the wealth and resources that a small number of corporations control, then debated how that wealth and those resources could be redeployed to get us onto a sustainable and thriving path?

When you understand what is possible, you see how truly corrupt, shortsighted, ignorant and obsolete our system of rule is. You then realize that our mainstream media system is pure propaganda.

When you see the reality that they don’t tell you about, it becomes all too clear. If you were to just look at what they don’t tell you, you would see. Mainstream media is the most effective weapon of mass oppression humanity has ever known. It’s hard to break free, when you are always told you are free.

As Huxley put it in Brave New World Revisited, “The victim of mind-manipulation does not know that they are a victim. To them, the walls of their prison are invisible, and they believe they are free.”

You can’t break free until you see the walls. The whips and chains have evolved into TVs and radios. Propaganda is to democracy what violence is to dictatorships. If television was around in the 1770s, we would still be living under British rule.

In the land of propaganda, tyranny is democracy. It’s “enlightened despotism.” When it comes to oppression, it’s all cyclical yet evolutionary. Most people live in a mental cage now, they toil on mentally conditioned plantations.

In revisiting the reactionary propagandized mind, when you confront a member of the consumer cult and expose their mental conditioning processes, the false reality and illusions that people are trapped in, they will instinctively dismiss or attack you. People will bite your hand when you try to remove the mental leash from their neck.

Anything that deviates from the conditioned norm is ridiculed and instantly, instinctively dismissed before critical thinking skills are activated. The repetitious conditioning process leads to an amputation of critical thinking faculties. That which people are not familiar with becomes odd, evil and damaging to their mental construct, to their thought patterns, to their fabricated self-image.

For instance, we tend to look for anything that confirms our pre-existing beliefs while ignoring anything that goes against them. This is how confirmation bias works, to paraphrase Bertrand Russell: ‘If people are offered a fact which goes against their instincts or their cultural programming, they will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, they are offered something which falls in accordance to their cultural programming, in accordance to their conditioning, they will accept it, even on the slightest evidence.’

No one wants to believe that they have been manipulated or taken advantage of. This will stir up an instinctive dismissal, a powerful emotional response. We are creatures of habit, and it is much easier, over the short-term, to just stay on a path of denial and ignorance. Hear no evil. See no evil.

So what are we to do?

I believe the task upon us is to consciously counter conditioned consciousness. The most difficult and important prerequisite to freedom is the ability to see past all of your culturally programmed biases. It takes great personal inner-strength and determination to achieve this; you will inevitably have to face many facts that will go against your programmed, conditioned beliefs. If one can endure this, one will eventually come to experience true freedom.

However, even if one is strong enough to have an awareness of their conditioning, it is another level to confront and transcend it. As Nietzsche said, “Even the most courageous among us only rarely has the courage for that which they really know.”

The big question becomes: Are you brave enough to see? Do you want to change it?

Most Americans are aware of the fact that we are on a disastrous path. However, many of us feel powerless to change things. These feelings are only a result of our conditioning and induced delusion. We have become so propagandized that many of us do not realize the significant position that we are in. We are not poor people trapped in a third world existence. We are a mass of people who have the power to evolve society and change the course of history.

It is stunning to hear all these people, so many people saying that they can’t do anything about it. Far too many people think that we can’t create change; that is why we don’t.

Why do you think that we can’t change the world? How did you come to that conclusion? Who taught you to believe that?

The overwhelming majority feels powerless to create political change. If they would just realize that they are the overwhelming majority, they would no longer feel this way.

Thanks to the Internet, to the cyberspace underground railroad, people are now freeing their minds from conditioning and entrenched power censors. The Internet is to our generation what pamphlets were to our forefathers’ generation during the first American Revolution. People are going to the Internet to find out all the information that the corporate mainstream media is not letting people know about. As a result, we now have a critical mass of informed and outraged citizens who are also using the Internet to organize. They are now transcending conditioned consciousness and expanding their awareness on a scale unprecedented in human history.

The inevitable demise of our current neo-feudal system was summed up by George Orwell when he said, “For if leisure and security were enjoyed by all alike, the great mass of human beings who are normally stupefied by poverty would become literate and would learn to think for themselves; and when once they had done this, they would sooner or later realize that the privileged minority had no function, and they would sweep it away. In the long run, a hierarchical society was only possible on a basis of poverty and ignorance.”

If you are still wondering if we can truly create change, consider this simple truth from Strobe Talbott, “All countries are basically social arrangements, accommodations to changing circumstances. No matter how permanent and even sacred they may seem at any one time, in fact they are all artificial and temporary.”

People are the world over throwing off their mental shackles and are realizing their potential…. You can’t stop it no matter what…. you wait and see what’s coming.

Share your thoughts.

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