Cucarachas enojadas, fumando marijuana, Buscando una fiesta.
(Angry Cockroaches, Smoking Marijuana, Looking for a party)
Mr. Tito Larriva was seen singing this in Titty Twisters circa 1996 and Google was born.
Looking back right from 2017 on the twenty years of digital tech evolution, I nominate Tito for a Nobel prize in the new economic science theory.
Right in the middle of the Industrial revolution, Keynes changed the world with his monitory and fiscal intervention theories, which made America and the whole concept behind Globalization.
At the beginning of Digital Technology revolution, Mr. Tito here gives “Cucarachas Fumando Marijuana” theory, which might solve the biggest puzzle behind what’s coming next in the 21st century.
We really don’t have to wait for a third world war and half a decade to really understand what really hit us.
And we will try to find answers, starting with Keynes.
With hundreds of billions in war chest and thousands of developers working in trenches for decades, the Search function, Gmail, Chrome are the basics they can give.
What we are debating here are the costs and the economic incentives making a $133 Billion corporation.
Incentives are way bigger economic events than demand and supply, they can move any curve in any direction if applied with precision.
Google does have utility and it touches everyone in a very warm and gooey way, tickling all the right cords, and it’s all around. And we get it! but the real story is behind the curtains.
Coming from the B2B world of Capital Markets, Financial Instruments and Securitization, Risk, compliance and technology I always had trouble understanding the whole concept of mixing B2B and B2C plays under one mega entity, without regulations and boundaries, these regulations be it Sarbanese Oxlay, Dodd Frank or internal regulations, they are the things which make most of what you do on Banking, financial and Capital markets.
Without these oversights isn’t Google more like a massive oligarchy?
Or Is it built so Oligarchies can survive? Only that now there is no bloodshed.
Google apart from blatant mixing B2C with B2B is now also involved in mega projects including payments and commerce which needs massive patronages in countries around the world.
Stories of Europe fining Google every now and then for its shady market grabbing techniques, Google getting entry into China when they agreed to build a government censored search engine.
Purported roots of Google starting as a surveillance technology for CIA should be a ready reckoner and the whole debate about the Leftist Bias in the organization.
With more and more Google in penetrating in India Is it not putting the world’s most populous democracy into a grave danger of eternal subjugation?
Everything below shouldn’t be considered a statement but more of a question, to fire up a debate and do something about it.
India is finding herself at the historic crossroads – Emerging from an era of exploitation and misguided policies, in 2018 we are facing existential questions.
While snooping around saw “the system” up close. Sat with farmers in village chaupals (village meetings under a tree), sampled drought first hand, Dams, River Links, “The Development”, met some amazing people calling themselves Fakirs (beggars) in practice and demeanor but with ideas for humanity way larger than what I ever saw in the world of Google, Technology, and Marketing.
Found a 960 km river system under stress to extinction and a scientist fighting for it right in the middle of Uttar Pradesh below the nose of mighty water buffalo of the politicians and some of the mightiest agencies under them with plans to build a very expensive river Mausoleum. Saw the subversion of every law of the land, the kind of bungled economics that can roll both Keynes and Marx in their graves.
Every environmental prudence mankind had, which made such a populous country thrive- squandered off.
Morality crises is blatantly visible everywhere, everyone has a focus on a mega selfie show without any substance.
Growing up in India I remember people with character, Non-GMO food without pesticide, politicians with fear and respect for democratic institutions at least in parliaments which were at least functioning. Family bonds better, people with more time for kids. Cricket used to be an event of art with teams slogging 5 days in cliffhangers. The news was news and views were viewed, editors had respect and a name to protect. People worked with people in communities, it was a necessity to know each other, work with each other, depend on each other.
Guess what, Google was not there, or the whole Keynes economics.
Information was people to people, editors to people with real human and societal filters. Not privately owned bots working for profit. Bots making everyone dance to their tunes, leaders to followers, business to costumers.
The disastrous consequences be on public lives, environment, governance, basic human rights violations of today have deep roots in the events started with Keynes in 1930s and digital technologies evolutions around 1996.
The Digital Technologies started around that time have seen many busts and booms, but nothing much has changed in the way it all works. It’s the same pig with loads of lipstick on it now.
As older economists coming out from industrial revolution break the timeline of economic development Circa World War 2, right around Keynes, the whole capital redistribution, evolution of middle class etc.
I divide the economic development of today into two eras.
Circa 1996 when more than a technological event but a massively important economic event happened. Google was born.
I’m born in early 1980s so have seen both the eras and transitioned through it. I’m not really a digital native, nor consider myself a digital migrant. Standing with the first or the oldest lot in the millennia, a GEN-X and a father of a 5-year-old I find myself with a moral obligation to give my take on my own industry i.e. Tech.
I don’t remember my dad ever used a map to drive around city, between cities, navigate his ways cross country. Being a soldier, of course he did have a training, but he remembered his friends phone numbers by names and maintained a diary which was pretty much in his head too. He was way nuanced in his thinking, way more organized on his own, has a lot of unique, deep and engaging stories and my grandparents even more.
Same was the case for me, till may be the first decade of 21st Century. Me and my scooter never lost our way, wandered off the path of course, but we found something new. And it always opened a part of my brain, a new experience.
I didn’t see any of the local businesses going bust. Never had problem finding a restaurant or business and never had a bad experience but surprises, mostly good.
Be it India where local businesses ranging from restaurants, departmental stores, cobblers, electricians, plumbing, real estate, farmers, vendors, movie hall owner, neighborhood doctor, teachers and many more thrived over a regular feedback loop with their customers.
Even in the most individualistic societies like in the old days New York, neighborhood business starting conversation by sliding a note under your door, pasting a poster over a pole, with customers taking their bets. Businesses staying alive for decades, erring and then building.
With some common sense and a general map with basic navigation skills I never lost way, but with Google map I have seen smart people not following the obvious and big signs to go ahead and take U turns because Google said so.
I remember using yellow pages and a phone to find businesses of my interest, you call one guy he points to another. That man to man connection did help. No SEO garbage to bump you up with massive amount of money going to Google affiliates, just put it on yellow pages and everyone gets equal opportunity.
If I look at my day, where do I need google and what part I can’t really live without. There is pretty much nothing.
Didn’t Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shastri (Indian founding fathers) already solved the economics puzzle for India. When they said “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisaan” In English “hail the soldier, hail the farmer”.
Economy has two main components “Jawan and Kisaan” i.e. Soldiers and Farmers, and so is the slogan. But today Jawans (soldiers) are more and more going the way of dangers with our water buffalo of the politicians using them for PR props, and Kisaans (Farmers) are simply killing themselves or just dying of hunger, migrating in hordes losing their lands to floods, droughts, displacements, joining the “services” economy or lining up shanties after shanties around peri urban areas, looking to just survive.
If you have expertise to check all the wires and pipes, they all connect to the Google’s economy.
And why Google which does nothing which is vital for the community stands so tall. How google got so big without doing any of the two basic jobs needed for a community to survive. Why a cop(figurative) doing a beat around Google’s mansion, without which there might not be a Google Mansion, can be shot at and will die without many even blinking in today’s world of buzzfeeds - where humanity spends their time tying rubber-bands over a melon.
It’s bad and getting worse. And I’m talking about what’s going on under the hoods, behind the curtain. What is the real economics and where it’s going?
So if you are an average recently (last decade) empowered digital native or migrant, and not from digital marketing world, it might take some time to sync in.
Google economics is your new mom and she has a few super rich clown friends, only that this mom has no intentions to let you grow. She has some super psychological mommy tricks up her sleeves.
So she will feed you a lot of candies and pound cakes, will paint it pink if you like pink. She will also tell that pink is something you need to like and then give you some more. She wouldn’t want you to step a foot down, and even wipe your rear for you. She might also tell you about her “safe keeping” some of your gut juices to help you with the latest of her empowerments. Which will lead to more pink candies, because pink is your personalized super color, and “super-color” is the latest thing.
She doesn’t want you to snoop around or do the “chores”. If you feel fat she will even tie you up with those space dildos counting your steps and calories, take your readings.
You got diabetes? High fives, now she will hook you up with pink shots.
She wants you to be in the “highest of spirits” so you love her rich clown friends.
The pink candy and those insulin shots comes from these clown’s factories.
She tells you the stories of a wonderland where living off her love is your own caliphate, a world where everything is ready and served, you don’t need to stress your precious brain, that is a job for lowly people, mom’s friends owned bots will do those for you, actually you never needed that part of body called brain, mommy friends are making those goggles which will show you what you love the most, empowering you with those “new cool ways coming right from the future”.
All you need to do is keep doing those right left and side hustles for mama precious... and her clown faced friends.
It’s a story every sci fi “humanity is doomed” genre movie is made up off.
The whole procrastination debate is over the fact human brain is like water, flows along gravity so wherever is easy without any immediate, visible moral, societal barrier to it, but gives you a few quick pleasures is what drives procrastination.
It’s never a bad thing, great people have built cultures, form of arts, music, culinary innovations, evolving refined and fine taste, doing exactly this, procrastinating.
Procrastination is the time where someone is letting the brain guards down and letting it expand, it can go in all direction and the most vulnerable time to do brain catching.
Google strikes right there. Catching brain flights, stopping right before that barrier, crowd purging everything which can create a world with diverse individual values. Moving humanity to those clown-owned bots.
Google didn’t drop off space to destroy us. It’s the most potent and dangerous mutation of a major economic theory suggested right after 1930s by Keynes.
Now I’m not implying that the theory of monetary and fiscal stimulations was the worst thing that happened to humanity.
Keynes suggested them in those times with leaders like Roosevelt in sight and great depression staring at them. A great depression following industrial revolution needed that shot under strict doctor’s supervision. And of course
Keynes theories are perfect for an industrialized country like USA, which has a unique currency, the most powerful army, the citadel of the world with clout defining the whole globalization paradigm.
Keynes theories with favorable globalization will keep working for USA or a few emerging powers for many more decades at least. Of course, in the long run we are all dead, or maybe not all but most.
Minimal or controlled industrialized world or countries e.g. India doesn’t have the kind of army, religious fanatic patrons, land, culture, history, spirituality and foreign policy to keep Keynes happy.
I would call them Keynes Non-Optimal countries or KNOC.
These KNOC economies work over the concept of what you call is “panchayati raj” as Gandhi ji outlined. Small very local economies interacting with each other based on optimal demands, settling for right prices (the whole concept of haggling) with people working as needed and procrastinating creating a culture.
Google mama’s breastfeeding bro-babies looking for Starbucks and granola bars everywhere wouldn’t understand the concept of “Chola kachori”, “Idli Sambhar”, “Litti Chokha”, “Paratha Dahi” and many more, making the diversity of humble breakfasts in diverse communities of India. The unique culture evolved from within the communities and not sold homogeneously as the personalized pink colored candy by Google mama and her crown faced rich friends and their friendly bots.
Here is what Marx said about the whole inherent contradiction in industrialization and related capitalism if left alone in a free market.
Capitalist produce goods consumed or demanded by their own labors, now as the capitalist chase more and more profits, he must produce more and more while reducing the cost. The cost which are mostly the wages and benefits. Pushing wages down and along with that the demands.
When demands go down, sentiments lower, capitalist cut down on losses, firing labors, which spiral
Economies spiral down, creating what you call -The recession.
Now right after industrial revolution which Marx warned about- The great depression occurred, partly attributed to the same classical contradiction. Classics wanted to let the whole 10 doses (of economic detox) taken with yogurt(figurative), let the production adjust to optimal “as required” with optimal wages and employments.
But the pain was so immense, one of them – Keynes, had to suggest carefully administered steroid shots to prop things up.
How google or digital technology are dangerous mutations of the same intervention theory - we will see in a bit.
Capitalism is inherently flawed – The cycle of boom and bust is same as you need to exercise after eating half a goat last night with four beers.
Free markets capitalism chases wild profits and after a while i.e. the “cycle” it throws everything into disarray. Competition and huge private profits employ the best scrambling to find the most innovative ways to keep the demands up, while squeezing the labors keeping the costs down.
“Innovations” which are way beyond the intellectual reach of regulatory agency or monitoring civil society. Leading to recessions or corrections. Many lose employments and capitalists start hoarding their stashes and treasure chests.
Governments which are voted into and obliged to keep the voters happy start acting - Essentially paying the same capitalists with fiscal (tax tweaking) or monetary (printing more money) policies to up the party a notch.
Now even in Keynes world, every fiscal or monetary easing must follow with equal and opposite tightening over the time. It was a medicine under strict supervision, like medicinal marijuana to lift the spirits. So next cycle can start.
Remember Demand, Supply and employment are the most important factors and should work optimally, with money or currency only acting as facilitators.
In this system services and goods are priced optimally, production is below optimal and labor at times would be found “procrastination” - building a community, culture of humanity, which if added to the equation, it will make it optimal.
And this system is optimal, from sustainability point of view too. United Nations as part of is 17 Sustainable development goals preaches about over production and heavy consumerism as sustainability hazards.
People growing up in India pre-google, will remember how frugal we were with our consumerism, with a fine taste for durability not just with goods but services, our tenacity to re-use, re-cycle. As per 2012 data South Asian countries including India generated only 5% of the world’s solid waste while OECD countries generated 44%.
South Asian countries hold 25% of world’s population, but most of the Solid waste produced was by OECD. Let’s not get into the debate around the waste and sustainability, who owns responsibility in this article. And keep our focus on where digital tech comes into picture.
So, the fiscal or monetary policies are short term measures to lift the spirits but depends on a government body and federal banks with real responsibility to operate judiciously and take it back when needed.
That never happens. At least effectively as written in the book. Stimulus once administered never come out of the system fully, be it money printed, tax breaks or similar.
After all, politicians need to fight elections. So, when we see the theories around how much we are screwed with federal banks running out of ammo to fight next recession, rates are already all time low, printing more money is not an option with real dangers of stagflation.
Yes, those fears are true.
Those steroid shots administered many times without the surgical supervision have put the system more immune than ever, with real dangers looming.
Google mama and her clown faced rich friends tell us they are our friends. They are there to save us, will make us more efficient, our lives much easier. One of them is also preparing voyages to Mars to save the humanity, another one is talking about free internet with his solar kites.
All of this so that lowly procrastinating people can hustle more, living a full life, all of this to connect people, who can share, so they can drive innovations eradicating poverty in Africa and India, and happy children and old people with hope, so people minds are set free, all that creativity you know, equal space for everyone right, so these small people can take on mighty few. Everyone connected in a more connected way (through their phones) and doing great things (Picture flying doves…).
Never worry about wasting time exploring things, don’t stress your precious brain, google it and find what you “like” and way more…
Look around you, does that work?
Indian parliament hasn’t functioned since last 7 years now, coinciding with the advent of Google. Politicians are talking rubbish every passing day, It’s oligarchy everywhere, leaders loosing class, acting as sleazy salesmen, spewing so much rubbish that no-one even cares.
Rivers are dying, ponds, lakes encroached, farmers are killing themselves, honorable people are migrating in millions to cities living under terpene tents. Pile or garbage is heaping up around every corner. Sewerage drains are overflowing, cities flood with slight rain, villages drown under rivers, and then need water from water trains. Taxes are raised at whim, 86% of currency in circulation wiped off with people standing in queues.
Leaders talk about nuclear wars, sacrificing millions to teach neighbor lesson just to incite communal tension and “supposedly” win next elections. Talk ridiculous without repercussion, squander off billions of dollars on adverts, propaganda and then on quid quo pro with their sponsors and no one seems to care anymore.
Years after year thick smog engulfs cities and leaders fight with their trolls by their sides, and then do nothing. Just pick another bullshit.
While nature is killed with impunity with 100s of millions spent to gloss over, with intellectual voices drowned under massive brute force subversion of everything which held institutions together.
All the institutional transparency lost. Reporters don’t report but are drawing 50 shades of garbage hoping one will go viral. Editors are vitriol, spineless lot working for their own masters in their own systems. No regulatory body really left with any spine to make any difference or take a stand.
Moral fabric of society is broken, we have Fakebook marketers running countries and confusing everyone with crude top of the funnel marketing with real economics.
We have a leader sitting with biggest stock pile of nuclear weapons tweeting on his nuclear plans when he takes the chair. Presidents trolling TV show actors, politicians, disabled journalists, disrespecting women, belittling opponents, runs misinformation campaigns and still wins.
Why the internet looks like a giga-virus has taken over.
There is a massive war going on between huge new and old oligarchies with Google right in the middle. Google is the wire going to everyone’s mind and its bots are the targets. Bots which are just bots, however tremendously complicated AI(Artificial Intelligence) you want to put, there is no way they can beat ingenuity of politicians riding massive tax money and power, who can buy their own mega marketers to game the system in the way google can’t even think, or is google is also a party to it? It’s the real debate.
Isn’t it a free and sophisticated platform with scientists writing some super algorithms where everyone is equal. The algorithms even the scientists writing them don’t know how they work, since it’s all deep learning now with AI (Artificial Intelligence) hocus-pokus.
Search over internet was a real problem and there were many providing the same service like AltaVista, Yahoo etc. but google won. Google’s search results are way better, try any other bing, duckgogo you will agree, but how and what is the cost?
See google searches are better because it shows what you would like to see, it’s that simple.
Dig deeper, Google’s real business is not search, its selling impressions and clicks to ads (adwords or adsense). Search is only a free functionality so you can keep coming, fakebook does the same.
Why do you think an enterprise grade software is provided to you for free by a very profit seeking company?
It’s a known fact that Gmail was the biggest play by google before Chrome. Another free service with a catch. They will scan your mail pattern with your own search and browsing pattern along with those of your friends to custom your searches. It’s that simple.
But remember webmail with 2 GB free space is not a joke and that too for free to everyone. There is no way you can do that if you are running a conventional “sensible” business.
Also people planning IPO on google were not smoking marijuana, they knew exactly what they were doing.
And that’s where Keynes intervention theory met “Cukarachas Fumando Marijuan” comes into play. Keynes interventions are to lift spirits so people start buying again.
Google did exactly that, to sell ads, way more ads, they did the same intervention, but without any regulation like a federal bank, or a parliament or a regulatory body or even a Roosevelt in sight.
I remember growing up India newspapers and internet was filled up with ads saying “work from home, make money” with an oblique mention of adSense. I always thought its dollars coming home, boy I was wrong.
Someone wants to sell a product, they see “Gee google has so many people using the platform” let me pay him to put my product out. So I pay him $10, now in India or similar poorer countries a mega industry sprung up with housewives, students spread across the continent clicking ads for a pennies. These cheesy website owners made a killing, and so did Google with a major chunk going to its war chest.
There is supposedly a google adsense fraud prevention bot too. Did it work? Google made tens of billions, everyone made billions off this international fraud and no one even bothered to throw Brin or Pages of the world behind the bars in orange jumpsuit.
It was a blatant case of active collusion in a mega fraud, which due to very “innovative” nature of it nobody caught. Or nobody cared since it was such a lucrative opportunity planting incentive for everyone enterprising enough to take any action.
Google did fraud and it had no way to stop that fraud without putting its own profits in line. Google works on a simple principal what will make them money and it paves the way for them. It opened avenues without any regulations in places, and this fraud built a major war chest to make Gmail with all those frills for free possible and feasible.
And after Gmail, there was absolutely no chance for anyone to compete.
Google results were so good because you told google what you want to see and google did exactly that.
My theory above will hold till google releases data on its adsense and adword clicks from India, categorized by products with no relation to India or any sale in India with bank details of actual money moving between borders.
With cost per click going down with each new ring scheme cropping up in India or similar, making the business less profitable. “Industrious entrepreneurs” found another way.
See google works on the Keynes “shot of steroid” + “Kukarachas Fumando Marijuana” principal. Make everyone happy so they keep coming back to google. So free email, Chrome, subsidized phones, now their own network, free or cheaper than anything.
And what makes people the happiest? Current day google derivates like Fakebook, twitter, youtube or every free mega platform of today is built on top of those same principals.
A human’s natural tendency is to procrastinate. In Pre-google era there were a lot many diverse activities leading to humanity, culture, trust, faith, happiness.
I for instance will play cricket, football, fly kites, build hideouts, go out on hikes, meet friends, read comics, engage in barters with complex negotiation, lean how to cut a chicken, clean fish and shrimps, watch movies in single screen theaters, read old classics, care about what is around.
The activities were way diverse than the canned lives our children have. Have you seen kids right now, glued to youtube on phone with no clue or interest on anything around?
Generations before us spent their time procrastinating over art, cuisine local community, its problems. I remember visiting my Grand Parent’s villages and I have seen those practices. Community dinners, gatherings, people had rich taste for good things in life ranging from food till culture.
All that is gone since Google has come between us and reality.
A point should be made to analyze why after so many efforts, regulations and stress tests 2008 Crises occurred.
Not to absolve Wall Street for extreme greed and debauchery, did the test cases run by Geithner and team failed to acknowledge the “Google Effect”. It should have been a valid case considering the timeline of Google.
The question I keep asking in the light of extreme test cases and models run on sub-prime loans and their probability of delinquencies, how many of those families after taking those extra heavy home loans also clicked on that clickbait peddled massively by Google and bought may be a vacation, or bought X-box or Iphone which they could avoid, but bought due to peer pressure of “American Dream”, or took habits which broke the credit card and bank. Or employees wasted a lot of time “procrastinating” the google way.
How many marketing and sales jobs were replaced by Google, how many artists left on street. How many journalists, writers and story tellers gone obsolete. How many restaurants and businesses were shut down since someone was savvy enough to put a two star in their ratings.
How many businesses belly up since people now were searching on google and buying from the ones who was paying to the Google system and savvy enough, than just taking a walk to the market.
How many American Jobs were replaced by Google bots?
Wall street models didn’t account for this for sure – So did google trigger 2008 Crisis?
Google has roots in CIA seed funding, news coverage, protests and outrages around their collusion with military of the USA has hit sporadic headlines.
Any country which allows Google to harness behavioral data of its citizen, simply on principle should be very cautious of Google.
Android phones hooked to the Google system are not only with common citizen but also political leaders, army personals, their families, community leaders who have influence on people, literally anyone of importance. A simple tweaking in the algorithm can play with the psyche and give a disastrous direction to the masses.
Google is a portal between cultures and can easily tweak or be tweaked by savvy few to project aspects of a culture selectively. Google is not allowed to operate or operate partially under restrictions or only covers narrations selectively. But it never says that its coverage of the country is not as reliable as the USA or how the search is affected and its presenting only a few voices from certain countries.
Example is – If Google favors war between two such nations, e.g. America and Iran it has the power to selectively give the coverage of Iran to American people under the impression of the reliability it has with American coverage. Try the equation on India and Pakistan, if someone wants to play a multi-Trillian dollar bet on a nuclear holocaust between the nations and following re-building, the question is Can google be bought? Or Played? Or Hacked? Or its employees subverted?
Google with its economic, cultural, war and sustainability risk is a major hazard faced by the world.
Can Google be fixed?
No – Google is trying to fix itself using AI which can’t beat the thought process of a 5-year-old. I’m not saying it can’t in future, but why would you want to do that? Point is why such long lasting and massive impacts on humanity with so many fundamental flaws can run. Does google treat mere humans as Guinea pig.
I write and speak on the matters of relevance for technology, economics, environment, politics and social sciences with an Indian philosophical pivot.