Keeping The Dream Alive

When I am gone please play this on my funeral: “Keeping the Dream Alive” ~ Freiheit (on YouTube). [  ]

It pretty well sums up the way I feel looking back on what we did together for interconnections of billions of people and computers on Internet.

jaap van till, TheConnectivist

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Political Power of (Social) Networks

political power1This is a log of publicly available information about [mass mental manipulation of voters with the help of ICT/ internet tools and social media] , in a number of countries. Roughly listed in sequence. From recent — back to 2015/2016. I have tried to comment on the articles and books as scientific/neutral/factual as possible.

5UK British security chief warns of Russian hacking.

2World China and Russian attempts to influence, are they Softpower? The meaning of Sharp Power:

1Sweden & Czech (excerpt from an announcement June 16, 2017):

Text zweden

1.EU Commission has announced that it will set up a study group to look at manipulation of voters with Social Media. See announcement on Twitter

1Iran  Alternative channels for the civil society: How has changed the internet landscape in ? investigates:


2Netherlands Two cabinet ministers and a number of MP’s have annouced that there should be done an investigation on Fake News and that proposals to fight that should be gathered. It is curious that none of them mention that a “StaatsCommission on Parlementarian Processes” has been installed by them that has these subjects as one of their subject issues (Commissie Remkes).

1.Netherlands Log of Russian #agitprop activities with people/social media to sow discord: (a) before advisory referendum about EU-Ukraine, (b) before the elections for Parliament “Tweede Kamer”, (c) during the legal investigation of the #MH17 plane crash.  Article in NRC newspaper (in Dutch Language) :


1UK. The UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has launched an investigation into the way UK political parties target voters through social media with a warning that if they send political messages to people based on their individual data, they could be breaking the law.

The investigation “into the use of data analytics for political purposes” was announced by Elizabeth Denham, the information commissioner, and will go further than the watchdog’s current activity of exploring practices deployed during the European Union referendum campaign.  (…..) techniques used for gathering personal data on voters from social media and processing it for campaigning purposes does not excuse them from obligations under the Data Protection Act to tell people what it is doing with the data.

2UK  Very revealing article by  in the Guardian about what took place dring the Brexit referendum and long before that with the help op #PsyOps , ads and RU trolls and -bots

1France They outwitted the Russians by injecting a huge amount of (most of it made-up) gossip about candidate Macron just before the presidential elections. So the Russian trolls had no time to sort out what was true or not, and spread it in France. The trolls lost their credibility because of nonsense messages. So this is an important lesson: use fast response and Audace Audace! (the unexpected) on Internet.

3UK. Speech of PM Th. May (Nov. 15) in which she accuses Russia with election meddling (for #Brexit)  

4UK Articles in the Economist blaming the ((greed of the management of)) Social Media for the meddling: social media more Gamergate Economist (1)    and  Do social media threaten democracy 

1.World.  Russia is not the only country that interferes in the free flow of information of messages and publications and the freedom to assemble and form/ discuss viewpoints.  The Freedom on the Net 2017 Report (by Freedom House) :  “Manipulating Social Media to Undermine Democracy”

1USA Senate Hearing . Watch Google, Twitter and Facebook lawyers testify to the Senate hearings about the meddling in and before the 2016 elections:

1Germany, Europe The first alarms about mass manipulation by personal profiling and nudging of the isolated ‘bubbles’, where raised in an academic paper first published in Germany (2015) and later translated for the Scientific American (2016) .

The first warning that Mass Mental Manipulation (MMM) was going on was published (in German) by a group of Swiss, German & Dutch scholars. published by Spektrum der Wissenschaft:

[A] Helbing, D., Frey, B. S., Gigerenzer, G., Hafen, E., Hagner, M., Hofstetter, Y., van den Hoven, J., Zicari, R. V., & Zwitter, A  (december 2015). “Digitale Demokratie statt Datendiktatur,”

B. A more extended version of that paper was published (in English) two years later in Scientific American
[B] Helbing, D., Frey, B. S., Gigerenzer, G., Hafen, E., Hagner, M., Hofstetter, Y., van den Hoven, J., Zicari, R. V., & Zwitter, A.: Will democracy survive Big Data and Artificial Intelligence? Scientific American, February 25, 2017)
Full text ((very much recommended read))

More about these early warnings was logged in my blog on July 15 2017:


1Books About political power of Internet and networks. Recommended reading for politicians:

(a) Ann-Marie Slaughter “The Chessboard & the Web” -Strategies of Connection in a Networked World- , described in:

(b) Joshua Cooper Ramo “The Seventh Sense” – Power, Fortune and Survival in the Age of Networks-, described in

(c) My contributions to cope with the new power of networks in a democratic way are described in an earlier blog, probably a chapter in a book that I am writing: . Focus there is on Multi-Tribe membership (Reed’s Law) and Btweeners (weak links) that re-connect and stabilize communities and bottom-up cooperation between a diversity of very skilled problem solvers (the powerful Van Till’s Law)

political power2

This “river” may run deeper and wider than you might have imagined. Simply throwing stones in it will not change much. navigating it and building dikes may be more constructive.

jaap van till, TheConnectivist


Posted in Brainwashing, Brexit, Civil Society, election meddling, Russia, social media, Trolls, Trump, Trumpism, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Freedom of the Net report

Manipulation of Net

Freedom House has published an interesting report called “Freedom of the Net, 2017” – Manipulating Social Media to Undermine Democracy  – November 2017.

========= Thomson’s comment in The Register ==========================

Think the US is alone? 18 countries had their elections hacked last year

Less than a quarter of world has freeish internet communication


While America explores quite how much its election was interfered with by outsiders, the news isn’t good for the rest of us, according to independent watchdog Freedom House.

In its annual Freedom of the Net [PDF] report on the state of the internet and democracy, the group surveyed 65 nation states comprising 87 per cent of internet users and found 18 where either governments or outside bodies had tried to influence an election by restricting or interfering with internet use.

“The use of paid commentators and political bots to spread government propaganda was pioneered by China and Russia but has now gone global,” said Michael Abramowitz, president of Freedom House. “The effects of these rapidly spreading techniques on democracy and civic activism are potentially devastating.”

While some of the election interference attempts were performed by outside countries, the majority were carried out either by the local government or opposition. And outside of elections, 30 countries have now been found to be running armies of paid trolls to try and influence general public opinion.

China is the biggest player in this field, with a huge army of paid bloggers and social media users who either broadcast state-friendly messages or muddy the waters with fake news or smearing political opponents. But other countries are catching up fast.

Russia has its Internet Research Agency, a trolling operation controlled by a businessman who supports Vladimir Putin. In the Philippines, President Duterte’s supporters offered $10 a day for members of the “keyboard army,” while in Turkey the 6,000-strong “White Trolls” pollute the online world with scores of pro-government propaganda.

“Not only is this manipulation difficult to detect, it is more difficult to combat than other types of censorship, such as website blocking, because it’s dispersed and because of the sheer number of people and bots deployed to do it,” said Sanja Kelly, director of the Freedom on the Net project. “The fabrication of grassroots support for government policies on social media creates a closed loop in which the regime essentially endorses itself, leaving independent groups and ordinary citizens on the outside.”

Overall, only 23 per cent of the internet is classified as “free” by Freedom House, and even some of those countries are on the shaky list. Freedom House notes that the Trump presidency’s demand for see the names of those who protested against the inauguration is a worrying sign and may signal further crackdowns ahead.

In all, 14 countries this year passed some kind of legislation to restrict internet use. The Russians banned VPNs, 19 countries have staged some kind of internet shutdown around a political event, and the authorities are increasingly targeting live steaming of events.

Most worryingly, physical attacks against people speaking their minds online rose 50 per cent in the last year, Freedom House reports. In eight countries journalists or online commentators have been killed for what they put online, with Brazil, Mexico, Pakistan and Syria the worst offenders.

The forecast for next year is for things to get worse still, so enjoy your free internet while you still have it. Even better, take action to try and improve things. ®


The suggestions of the Netherlands minister of the interior to let the Govt intelligence dept monitor and maybe even filter the content on Internet in our country is nearly exactly what NOT should be done.

The government and the political parties are public opinion manipulators themselves. This suggestion of the new minister is like asking the maffia to fight crime.


jaap van till , TheConnectivist

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New book by George Monbiot “Out of the Wreckage”

I do recommend this landmark book. While many people, including our new NL government (Rutte III), firmly believe in “the invisible hand of the open market” it is rather visible that the Market is not open any more and fair : steered by monopolies and 1% er interests. Pure capitalism (aka NeoLib policy)  is obviously not working anymore and outdated as an ideology for everything in society*). Not only does it ruin nature but also it is extremely unfair and a-social. As you can see in the revelations from the “Parasite Papers”.

George Monbiot has written a thorough analysis of the NeoLib fairytale. AND he presents the idea’s which can help us recover and regain a better world, hence the subtitle.

Summary of this influential book “Out of the Wreckage– New politics for an Age of Crisis- :  A toxic ideology (NeoLib) rules the world – of extreme competition and individualism. It misrepresents human nature, destroying hope and common purpose. Only a positive vision can replace it, a new story that re-engages people in politics and lights a path to a better world.

My personal view is that we need all 3:  Business ventures rewarding risky ventures & Gov’t steering in the general long term interest & the commons+cooperatives of the civil society. See my Trias Internetica, described in other pages of my blog.

*) IMHO it is relevant to note that STUDENTS of the Science of Economics have noticed that what they get presented by some professors is not quite “up to date” to say it mildly. For instance in NL economics students in Rotterdam (Erasmus University) and at the University of Twente have insisted last year that the Curriculum should be brought up to the present views, post- crash of 2008. Students of the University of Manchester made a few steps further. They REWROTE the Economics Curriculum themselves, with assistance of some more wide awake teachers. The result is the book (published by Manchester University Press, 2017, and ‘Rethinking Economics’.  Visit the international network of students citizens and professionals that cooperate to rebuild economics for practice and teaching )

“The Econocracy” – The Perils of leaving Economics to the experts – Joe Earle, Cahal             Moran and Zach Ward-Perkins; with a foreword by Andrew Haldane, Chief           \ .             Economist at the Bank of England.

jaap van till, TheConnectivist

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Boze Burger reageert op opm. Buma


(( Update 3 november. CDA heeft zich bedacht en zegt het Referendum WEL serieus te gaan nemen. Moet staatsrechtelijk ook wel want de wettelijke procedure is netjes gevolgd en ook kamerleden moeten zich aan de wet houden, ook als die misschien in de toekomst veranderd wordt. link naar Telegraaf bericht: .  ))


Neen, mijnheer Buma, de burgers willen geen Gestapo.

Met uw opmerking, dat de regering de uitkomst zal negeren, tracht u mensen te ontmoedigen om op het voorgestelde referendum over de “Sleepwet” te gaan stemmen. Dat is ondemocratisch, en waarschijnlijk afgekeken van de US presidents-verkiezingen en het Brexit referendum, waar dat ook werkte.
Massaal werd het sprookje verspreid onder mogelijke tegenstemmers: “het heeft geen zin om te stemmen, joh”.
Of wilt u de burgers met opzet boos maken. De sleepwet is ondanks zeer grote
afkeuring door deskundigen en mensen uit allerlei geledingen toch aangenomen
door de Kamer. Wat we nu willen is niet meer ontraden of een “raadgevend” referendum, maar een CORRECTIEF referendum. En nog wel over iets binnenlands.
We willen iets rechtzetten wat als proces duidelijk mis aan het gaan is. Het gaat m.i.
helemaal niet om terroristen te vinden en te volgen. Daarvoor zijn al lang adequate
middelen, en een sleepnet voegt daar zonder een groter aantal goede rechercheurs
niks aan toe. Neen het gaat waarschijnlijk om meer controle en macht over de burgters
die blijkbaar niet meer worden vertrouwd om in vrijheid te handelen, te denken en
met elkaar te bespreken en te creeren. Een soort van thought-policing.
Dat willen we niet.
Oog in AL
Emotioneel geleuter? Nou neen. Af en toe zien we er al wat voorbeelden van zoals
bij het “huis van klokkenluiders”. Knap gedaan hoor, nu durft geen mens meer
,ook constructieve, kritiek op een misstand te geven. Als u het publiek wantrouwt
en ons slechts eens in de 4 jaar op een knopje naar keuze laat drukken, dan zullen wij
U en uw collega’s blijven wantrouwen.
Kijk eens wat verder voor u uit. Het is bij de deskundigen evident dat in een aantal landen het sleepnet gecombineerd wordt met bestanden van de social media (die te koop zijn voor commerciele doeleinden. Die big data systemen kunnen vervolgens mensen individueel en dus ook politiek) profileren. Daarmee kan je mensen in een aantal van elkaar geisoleerde bubbles stoppen waarbij ze alleen die info langs zien komen die bevestigen wat ze zelf ook al vonden. Heerlijk confortabel. Deden de media altijd al. En vervolgens kan je deze mensen met subtiele psyops met hele bubbels tegelijk in mening verschuiven (mass manipulation) om ze op bepaalde kandidaten te laten stemmen. Welk kamerlid wil dat nou niet?
De Albert Heijn doet dat waarschijnlijk al. Maar politiek is dit ongewenst omdat het
gelijk staat met diktatuur, zonder enige democratie. Autoritarianism heet dat en het steekt in vele landen de kop op.
Met andere woorden de sleepwet is een eerste stap in een ongewenste richting die
extremistisch geisoleerde groepjes Boze Burgers van ons maakt.
PS. Het doorzetten van deze wet zal leiden tot beschadiging van onze verbindingen en samenwerkingen omdat men de Staat der Nederlanden niet langer vertrouwt.
Bijvoorbeeld  (uit een Tweet van maandag 30 okt, #MuellerMonday) :

Concerns at the effect of The Netherlands’ new security laws could result in the country’s certificate authority being pulled from Mozilla’s trust list.The nation’s Information and Security Services Act will come into force in January 2018. The law includes metadata retention powers similar to those enacted in other countries, and also grants broad-based interception powers to Dutch security services.Mozilla maintainers worry that interception could be enabled by abusing SSL proxying, giving rise to the proposal that the national CA – the CA of the Staat der Nederlanden – be taken off Firefox’s automatic trust list.Chris Van Pelt, who reported the issue, writes: “This revision of the law will authorise intelligence and security to intercept and analyse cable-bound (Internet) traffic, and will include far-reaching authorisations, including covert technical attacks, to facilitate their access to encrypted traffic.

“Article 45 1.b, explicitly authorises the use of ‘false keys’ in third party systems to obtain access to systems and data”, he continues.

Van Pelt also argues that the law reaches far beyond The Netherlands, since the country is home to major transit services into and out of Europe


Jaap van Till , The Connectivist
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Nov 4th: European “Gimme Fibre Day”

Ik wil Fiber

Meaning this is what they want: FttBuilding

Screen Shot 2017-08-21 at 11.37.06

Get the Press Kit:

Press Kit Fiberdag

It is most urgent to have high QUALITY & future proof Network Access ASAP all over the country.

The UK can forget it to join the bandwidth race. Their government allowed BT to buy off the high Precario (municipal digging taxes) of the cities. Which gives BT an unfair competitive advantage over possible “glass” investors, while BT is not even eager to replace their last mile copper with optical fibres. The city councils moan that FttH and businesses is not rolled out but at the same time effectively block that by insisting on getting the tax money in.

Happy Gimme Fibre Day !!

jaap van till, TheConnectivist

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Two Dials To Restart Wealth Creation: The NECSI Paper


Graph from the NECSI Paper

It is kind of embarrassing for the Economics Scientists, politicians and central-bankers that a. they have stated that the 2007/2008 Financial Crisis came totally unexpected (meaning: they mean they had not seen it coming, or did not listen to the warnings of, for instance, prof. Carlota Perez) and b. what they did to get their economies out of RECESSION did not have a real effect. All they could think of is reach back to old (1980’s reaganista) NeoLiberal remedies, austerity and cutting social spending. Recently, that is 10 (TEN) years after the Crash, some indicators are back up to pre-2008 levels. Untrue since wages are still low despite new rising earnings in business. That is pathetic. And what makes it worse, some governments announced plans to continue with making the middle classes poorer and the rich even more shamelessly rich with Tax breaks (UK. USA) and tax exemptions for transnational companies (NL). Wonderful but will that result in more innovation, new jobs created and more value created. No.

A group of “Complexity Science” specialists, led by prof. Yaneer Bar-Yam, President of the New England Complex Systems Institute (NECSI), has completed an important and broad analysis of the US Economy as a complex eco system; and published a red hot paper about this work:

  1. ‘About the Paper’ and figures are at:

The pdf of the full paper is ===> 

2. Interview on  with  scientist & President on how to achieve economic growth.

The abstract is as follows:


We consider the relationship between economic activity and intervention, including monetary and fiscal policy, using a universal monetary and response dynamics framework. Central bank policies are designed for economic growth without excess inflation. However, unemployment, investment, consumption, and inflation are interlinked. Understanding dynamics is crucial to assessing the effects of policy, especially in the aftermath of the recent financial crisis. Here we lay out a program of research into monetary and economic dynamics and preliminary steps toward its execution. We use general principles of response theory to derive specific implications for policy. We find that the current approach, which considers the overall supply of money to the economy, is insufficient to effectively regulate economic growth. While it can achieve some degree of control, optimizing growth also requires a fiscal policy balancing monetary injection between two dominant loop flows, the consumption and wages loop, and investment and returns loop. The balance arises from a composite of government tax, entitlement, subsidy policies, corporate policies, as well as monetary policy. We further show that empirical evidence is consistent with a transition in 1980 between two regimes—from an oversupply to the consumption and wages loop, to an oversupply of the investment and returns loop. The imbalance is manifest in savings and borrowing by consumers and investors, and in inflation. The latter followed an increasing trend until 1980, and a decreasing one since then, resulting in a zero interest rate largely unrelated to the financial crisis. Three recessions and the financial crisis are part of this dynamic. Optimizing growth now requires shifting the balance. Our analysis supports advocates of greater income and / or government support for the poor who use a larger fraction of income for consumption. This promotes investment due to the growth in expenditures. Otherwise, investment has limited opportunities to gain returns above inflation so capital remains uninvested, and does not contribute to the growth of economic activity.

Press Release

Wealth redistribution, not tax cuts, key to economic growth

CAMBRIDGE (October 17, 2017) — President Trump’s new tax plan will follow the familiar script of reducing taxes for the rich in the name of job creation. Not only will these trickle-down policies not work—they’ll make the problem worse. A new report by a team of complexity scientists demonstrates an alternative: increase wages to create more investment opportunities for the wealthy, thus creating new jobs and a stronger economy.

In the ten years since the financial crisis, despite massive economic interventions and zero interest rates, unemployment rates have only now returned to pre-crisis levels. Poverty and debt continue to be widespread, and economic growth struggles to reach 3 percent.

The new complexity science analysis describes the flows of money through the economy, not just the overall activity. It shows that there are two cycles of activity that have to be balanced against each other. The first is that workers earn salaries and consume goods and services. The second is that the wealthy invest in production and receive returns on their investment. The two loops have to be in the right balance in order for growth to happen. If there is more money in the worker loop, there aren’t enough products for them to purchase. If there is more money in the investment loop, consumers don’t have enough money to buy products so investment doesn’t happen.

The paper shows that before 1980 there was too much money in the worker/consumer loop. That money was chasing too few products, giving rise to dangerously increasing inflation. After 1980, likely because of the Reaganomics tax changes, the balance tilted the other way. There was too much money in the investor loop and the result was a series of recessions. The Federal Reserve repeatedly intervened by lowering interest rates to compensate workers’ low wages with increased borrowing, in order to increase consumption.

The research shows that the way the government is regulating the economy is like driving a car with only the accelerator and without using the steering wheel. Steering means keeping the balance between the two loops in the right proportion. While Federal Reserve interventions have helped overcome the recessions, today we are up against the guard rail and need to rebalance the economy by shifting money back to the labor/consumer loop.

Since 1980 consumers have accumulated trillions of dollars of debt, and the wealthy have accumulated trillions of dollars of savings that is not invested because there is nothing to invest in that will give returns. This is the result of government policy reducing taxes for the wealthy in the name of increasing economic activity. No matter how much money investors have, these so-called “job creators” do not create jobs when consumers don’t have money to buy products. Increased economic activity requires both investment and purchase power to pay for the things the investment will produce.

The research shows that Reaganomics had the right idea at the time, but there is need today for a new, bold policy change in the opposite direction. The economy will grow if the flow is shifted toward workers/consumers and away from wealthy investors. The work cautions, however, that this has to be done in the right amount. Reaganomics moved things too far toward the wealthy, so shifting the flow in the other direction has to be done in the right measure.

The results suggest that current approaches to correcting economic problems by reducing government spending (austerity), while decreasing taxes for the wealthy to promote investment, are misguided. They may have been good policies in 1980 but they are long outdated today. It turns out that economic inequality is not just a social justice problem, but actually an economic problem. Fixing economic inequality will have dramatic benefits for economic growth.

FIG 1: Schematic model of monetary flow representing the wages and consumption loop and capital and return loop (red). Transfers from or to banks (savings and loans) and government (taxes, transfers, subsidies and other economic activities) are also indicated (black).

FIG 10: Plot of consumption versus investment between 1960 and 2015. The straight lines represent the dynamics of the economy if the ratio of consumption to investment were fixed. Recessions occurred in years marked by red dots.


FIG 3: Economic flows in the US from 1960 to 2015 according to categories of Fig. 1.

FIG 4: Fraction of economic activity for economic flows. The dominant flows are those of the primary loops in Fig. 1.


So instead of blindly keep bumping into the guard rail we should design a government steering wheel that balances at least the TWO mentioned loops. The American professor indicates in his podcast interview that this new analysis of the US Economy is only a first step in an urgent process to redefine the US policy to create wealth in discussion with specialists, policy makers and the public. And then create concensus for actions to make a real  turn for the better like was done in 1980.

And in EUROPE we should start the same process of more broad evaluation and rethinking policy instead of staying stuck in outdated measures or fruitless quarrels between leftist Keynsians and neolib rightwing back-pedallers.

Let us look forward and design together ways to improve prosperity worldwide.

(update Oct 24 2017)

From the analysis of the NECSI paper I suggest that our NL government does at least the following measures:

  1. Get the mortgage debts of households annulled.
  2. Invest in digging the physical layers (trenches and pipes) of all Fiber-to-the-Building connections = Future proof FttX Digital Infrastructure. This will boost SME and Farm connectivity.
  3. Get the Middle Class people interconnected and cooperating so they can get educated, active and creative again, so they can regain upward mobility.

Jaap van Till. TheConnectivist




Posted in #RobinHood, Complexity, ParadisePapers, taxation, Uncategorized | Tagged | 1 Comment