Every once in a while — most recently with the collapse of online exchange site Mt Gox — the world starts paying attention to Bitcoin, the hacker-project-cum-digital-currency that has garnered the love of a certain subset of people on the internet. Who are those people? According to an online poll from Simulacrum, the average user is a 32.1-year-old libertarian male. By users’ accounts, those men are mostly white.
Breaking that down, about 95 percent of Bitcoin users are men, about 61 percent say they’re not religious, and about 44 percent describe themselves as “libertarian / anarcho-capitalist.” On the last point, the political ideology of Bitcoin users is evident from the fact that the whole idea behind Bitcoin is that it segregates economic markets and currency from a country’s government. Bitcoin aims to be a universal currency, connecting people “peer-to-peer” instead of through set institutions. It wants to replace our current economic system and practices in their entirety — changing the way we buy goods and distribute money. The libertarians, or anarcho-capitalists as the case may be, don’t trust the government to handle their money. They’re the same people who want to “end the fed.”
Why does Bitcoin specifically have this demographic makeup? Well, there’s a fair amount of privilege built directly into the currency: In order to buy the sometimes wildly expensive currency, Bitcoin users need to be wealthy. And they can afford to put their wealth into a currency that isn’t widely accepted or even recognized. Plus, they move easily through the financial and digital space — the process of “mining” bitcoins demands it; it is all about knowing coding and decryption and how to use an exchange. The sum total of these things — advanced knowledge of computer science, wealth — are also markings of the young, white male.
Read this article. Read it now.
And, if you want to see privilege in action, read the reddit thread about it.
More reasons Paglia is awful and a reactionary conservative.
Kathyrn Abrams describing Rush Limbaugh and Dinesh D’Souza
This is so true.
THEY GET A FREE GAME SYSTEM AND BLU-RAY? Meanwhile, Comcast flips me off whenever I try to call them.
Although I’m deep into the reporting of my next story about the Silicon Valley Techtopus, it’s hard for me not to get distracted by events in Ukraine and Russia. I haven’t lived in that part of the…
Mark Ames provides a good perspective on the events in Ukraine.
There was more coverage about Duck Dynatasy’s Phil Robertson’s right to be racist and homophobic than there was of Michael Dunn getting away with murdering a black teenager who “frightened” him with loud music.
Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide
If you want an evil sentence that encapsulates modern neoliberalism, here it is. It mixes in sexism, Orientalism, and capitalism into a tidy little mess of awfulness.
"Those backward leaders can’t possibly care about women; they only care about money and women are great for exploiting!"
Jesus Christ on the cross; thank God we have Kristof to save all of the women.
(This is two pages after he praises Bangladesh’s garment industry. That is the same industry that last year became an international scandal because of the treatment of its workers.)
Trevor Paglen has released these birds-eye photos of the NSA (National Security Agency, the “signals” intelligence organization, $10.8 billion dollar budget), the NRO (National Reconnaissance Office – in control of U.S. satellites, $10.3 billion dollar budget), and the NGA (National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency – the mapping [GIS] agency, $4.9 billion dollar budget). As Paglen notes, much of the discussion of the U.S.’ surveillance state lacks a physical, or spatial component. These nightime images, taken from a helicopter, are reminders of the enormous footprint that collecting planetary-wide data actually makes in the ground. Here’s the images, which can be freely distributed.