CBDCs: A Tyranny Worse Than Prison

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by quoth the raven
Wednesday, Mar 29, 2023 - 10:26

By Bert Olivier, The Brownstone Institute

In an outstanding piece of political-theoretical writing, titled ‘The Threat of Big Other’ (with its play on George Orwell’s ‘Big Brother’) Shoshana Zuboff, succinctly addresses the main issues of her book, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism – The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power (New York: Public Affairs, Hachette, 2019), explicitly linking it to Orwell’s 1984

Significantly, at the time she reminded readers that Orwell’s goal with 1984 was to alert British and American societies that democracy is not immune to totalitarianism, and that “Totalitarianism, if not fought against, could triumph anywhere” (Orwell, quoted by Zuboff, p. 16). In other words, people are utterly wrong in their belief that totalitarian control of their actions through mass surveillance (as depicted in 1984, captured in the slogan, “Big Brother is watching you”) could only issue from the state, and she does not hesitate to name the source of this threat today (p. 16):

For 19 years, private companies practicing an unprecedented economic logic that I call surveillance capitalism have hijacked the Internet and its digital technologies. Invented at Google in 2000, this new economics covertly claims private human experience as free raw material for translation into behavioural data. Some data are used to improve services, but the rest are turned into computational products that predict your behaviour. These predictions are traded in a new futures market, where surveillance capitalists sell certainty to businesses determined to know what we will do next. 

By now we know that such mass surveillance does not merely have the purpose – if it ever did – of tracking and predicting consumer behaviour with the aim of maximising profits; far from it. It is generally known among those who prefer to remain informed about global developments, and who do not only rely on the legacy media for this, that in China such mass surveillance has reached the point where citizens are tracked through a myriad of cameras in public places, as well as through smartphones, to the point where their behaviour is virtually completely monitored and controlled. 

Small wonder that Klaus Schwab of the World Economic Forum (WEF) does not let an opportunity pass to praise China as the model to be emulated by other countries in this respect. It should therefore come as no surprise that investigative reporter, Whitney Webb, also alluding to Orwell’s prescience, draws attention to the striking similarities between mass surveillance that was developed in the United States (US) in 2020 and Orwell’s depiction of a dystopian society in 1984, first published in 1949. 

In an article titled “Techno-tyranny: How the US national security state is using coronavirus to fulfil an Orwellian vision,” she wrote:

Last year, a government commission called for the US to adopt an AI-driven mass surveillance system far beyond that used in any other country in order to ensure American hegemony in artificial intelligence. Now, many of the ‘obstacles’ they had cited as preventing its implementation are rapidly being removed under the guise of combating the coronavirus crisis.

Webb proceeds to discuss an American government body that focused on researching ways in which artificial intelligence (AI) could promote national security and defence needs, and which provided details concerning the “structural changes” which American society and economy would have to undertake to be able to maintain a technological advantage in relation to China. According to Webb the relevant governmental body recommended that the US follow China’s example in order to surpass the latter, specifically regarding some aspects of AI-driven technology as it pertains to mass surveillance. 

As she also points out, this stance on the desired development of surveillance technology conflicts with (incongruous) public statements by prominent American politicians and government officials, that Chinese AI-technological surveillance systems instantiate a significant threat for Americans’ way of life), which did not, however, prevent the implementation of several stages of such a surveillance operation in the US in 2020. As one knows in retrospect, such implementation was undertaken and justified as part of the American response to Covid-19. 

None of this is new, of course – by now it is well-known that Covid was the excuse to establish and implement Draconian measures of control, and that AI has been an integral part of it. The point I want to make, however, is that one should not be fooled into thinking that strategies of control will end there, nor that the Covid pseudo-vaccines were the last, or worst, of what the would-be rulers of the world can inflict upon us to exercise the total control they wish to achieve – a level of control that would be the envy of the fictional Big Brother society of Orwell’s 1984

For example, several critically thinking people have alerted one to the alarming fact that the widely touted Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) are...(READ THIS FULL PIECE, FOR FREE, HERE). 

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