Communicating In The Age Of The Bubble

This is the speech I gave yesterday to the Public Relations Club of Indianapolis.

Democracies require ongoing discussions by participants who share a reality. Thanks to social media, conspiracy theories, “fake news,” and political polarization, Americans today occupy alternative realities. We talk past each other, not to each other, a problem exacerbated by distressingly low levels of civic literacy.

Most people have heard Daniel Moynihan’s famous quote to the effect that we are all entitled to our own opinions, but not to our own facts. Less famous, but equally true, is this quote from the science fiction writer Philip K. Dick: “reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”  I think Neil DeGrasse Tyson said something like “Reality doesn’t care whether you believe it or not.”

The problem is, without a shared belief in a shared reality, productive public discourse becomes impossible. When it comes to the exercise of democratic self-government, we also need a shared understanding of the basic premises upon which our system was built. People don’t need to be constitutional scholars, but they do need to know the philosophy of our system, what I call “America’s foundational values.” We don’t even have to agree with the principles and values the founders incorporated in our constituent documents:  we just need to know what they were, and how 200+ years of jurisprudence have changed and enlarged them.

People who know me know that civic literacy has been an obsession of mine for years. I’m not going to belabor it for my entire talk, I promise, but I do want you to understand what I mean when I say that civic ignorance is preventing informed civic participation by too many Americans.

For a number of years, it has been clear that what I call “civic literacy”—knowledge of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, the basics of American history, at least a nodding acquaintance with what is meant by the Rule of Law—has been in very short supply.

Let me just share some statistics that illuminate the extent of the problem. (There’s a lot more depressing research on IUPUI’s Center for Civic Literacy website.) A few years ago, the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs asked high school seniors in that state some simple questions about government. Here are a few of those questions and the percentages of students who answered them correctly—and let me also assure you that there are dozens of studies confirming that, unfortunately, Oklahoma isn’t an outlier:

What is the supreme law of the land? 28%

What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution? 26%

What are the two parts of the U.S. Congress? 27%

How many justices are there on the Supreme Court? 10%

Who wrote the Declaration of Independence? 14%

What are the two major political parties in the United States? 43%

We elect a U.S. senator for how many years? 11%

Who was the first President of the United States? 23%

A recent survey found only 24 percent of Americans could name the three branches of government—that’s down from that same survey’s result of a pathetic 36% just a few years ago. Fewer than half of 12th graders can describe federalism. Only 35% can identify “We the People” as the first three words of the Constitution. Only five percent of high school seniors can identify or explain checks on presidential power.

Americans are equally uninformed about important current events and issues: a survey taken during the widely publicized effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act found that a full third of Americans didn’t know that the Affordable Care Act and Obamacare are the same thing. Another survey found that only 47% of Trump voters know that Frederick Douglass is dead.  Closer to home, Indiana had the lowest voter turnout in the nation in 2014; when the Center for Civic Literacy fielded a survey asking why, 20% of the Hoosiers who didn’t show up at the polls said they didn’t vote because they didn’t know enough about the candidates or the issues.

One obvious problem with civic ignorance is that citizens who don’t know what the Constitution requires don’t recognize when proposed laws would violate it.  Here in Indiana, we have a legislature in which a number of lawmakers can’t tell the difference; As I’m sure you’ve seen in the news, both local and national, Milo Smith, a Republican from Columbus, has proposed a law that would require the owners of the Colts to refund ticket prices to attendees “offended” by athletes “taking a knee”– that is, by athletes exercising their First Amendment rights. (We can discuss the constitutional defects of that suggestion during Q and A, if they aren’t immediately apparent.) This proposal has generated national scorn, and made Indiana look like a backwater. Again.

Here’s my premise: Legislators and informed citizens should be able to recognize the difference between a policy they disagree with and one that is unconstitutional.

There is another “small d democratic” electoral problem with our dismal lack of civic knowledge; citizens can’t evaluate the performance of their elected officials if they’re unaware of the standards to which those officials should be held.

The ability of citizens to determine what constitutes accurate information—not just about our Constitution and legal system, but about science, about history, about economics, and about what happened yesterday—is critically important. Right now, even thoughtful people are unsure of who and what to believe.

That insecurity leads to distrust, and when people don’t trust their social and governmental institutions, society doesn’t function. Government doesn’t function.

Don’t kill this messenger, but the Public Relations profession bears a disproportionate responsibility both for the loss of trust and for people’s inability to sort the wheat from the chaff. I’m not talking about “puffery”—anyone who ever sold anything in the marketplace has been guilty of that, probably from the time of the Roman agora. I’m thinking of the far more sophisticated cultivation of purposeful distrust, that started really being socially problematic with its use by big tobacco. As I’m sure you all know, when science confirmed the health hazards of smoking, tobacco companies hit on a brilliant strategy: rather than debating the science, rather than responding with the dubious “findings” of their own shell “institutes,” they insisted that the jury was still out. No one really knows whether smoking is the cause of X, Y or Z.

The “who knows” tactic worked for Big Tobacco for a long time—if it hadn’t been for some industry whistleblowers, it might still be working. Today, that approach has been adopted by other industries that pose a threat to public health, most notably, the fossil fuels industry. Oil, gas and coal producers rarely argue anymore that climate change isn’t real; they say the science of causation is unsettled, that we don’t “really know” whether the changes that have become too obvious to miss are due to carbon warming the atmosphere, or whether they might be part of natural fluctuations, or something we have yet to identify. (What do 97% of climate scientists know, anyway?)

Then these profit-motive encouragements of uncertainty met the Internet, where conspiracy theories and political spin and propaganda intensified mistrust. These days, sane people don’t know what to believe; crazy people—whose ranks seem to be growing—believe all sorts of bizarre shit. Hillary Clinton is running a child sex ring out of the basement of a pizza parlor. Barack Obama was born in Kenya, and someone, somehow managed to get his birth announcement published contemporaneously with his birth in Hawaii because they knew he’d be President someday. Right.

I tell my students, if you want to believe that aliens landed in Roswell, I can find you five websites with pictures of the aliens’ bodies on them…

Rightwing and Left wing “news” sites constantly pump out propaganda that then is circulated through Right and Left social media bubbles. And to return to that horse I keep beating, if you are ignorant of how government works, if you can’t tell the difference between science and religion, if you don’t know the definition of “fascism” “socialism” or “capitalism”—you have no yardstick to apply, no way to evaluate the credibility of what your friends are posting, or the President is tweeting.

Words are the stock in trade of your profession, so it should really worry you that words are losing their meaning. If “socialist” is an epithet, rather than a description of a particular economic system, we can’t communicate. And you probably shouldn’t get me started on “liberal” and “conservative.” I think the GOP’s support of Donald Trump is pretty conclusive evidence that the party is not conservative—certainly not in the sense of political philosophy.

I’m a good illustration of how empty the words “conservative” and “liberal” have become—and how far the political pendulum has swung. In 1980, I was a Republican candidate for Congress. I was pro-choice and pro-gay-rights, and I won the GOP primary; when I lost the general election to Andy Jacobs, multiple people—most of them Republican– told me they couldn’t vote for me because I was “just too conservative.”  I have changed my positions on a couple of issues—issues where the “facts on the ground” have shifted, or I’ve learned more about them—but my basic political philosophy is the same as it was in 1980, and I have old position papers to prove it. Yet today, I am routinely accused of being a pinko leftwing socialist elitist.

The point of all this is: words matter. Facts matter. Trust matters. When words cease to have content, when facts become matters of personal preference, the communication that builds trust becomes impossible.

And without a basis of trust, democracy is impossible.

I don’t know how we fix the fix we’re in right now, but I know we’d better figure it out, and soon.

 

Thank you.

 

 

30 thoughts on “Communicating In The Age Of The Bubble

  1. Dear Ms. Kennedy – this is off the main topic, but figured this would be one you would NOT want to miss…
    We have a new kind of SNAKE in Minnesota:
    the money-grabbing PIT VIPER…Sheeeesh! Where do they find these people?
    “https://www.mprnews.org/story/2018/01/17/minnesota-gop-leader-seeks-cut-of-big-donations”

  2. I hope the public relations people that you spoke to last night will keep your message in mind when they are creating their next false message. I hope guilt steps in and guides them to be honest.

  3. And, I like to suggest that if it seems Republicans are more guilty of this than Democrats, it’s surely because the Republicans out-number Democrats in being politically active — not because they simply out-number Democrats as a % of the population.

  4. Wow, Sheila, how you do run on regarding your views on civic literacy – or the lack thereof (said with tongue in cheek).

    Front page of the Indianapolis Star this morning, “Cold beer bill put on ice; panel OKs Sunday sales” “Diverging paths reflective of deal struck by big box stores, liquor stores”. This issue has been smoldering for years in the Indiana Legislature; will this vital state-wide question be at last resolved? How can you expect Indiana residents to answer your list of civic based questions intelligently when they don’t have sense enough to buy their liquor on Friday or Saturday and to put their beer in the fridge without requiring action by the state Legislature? Actually; the results of that last question on your list blew my mind, how can any American not know who the first president of the United States was?

    Below that vital Legislative issue of Sunday liquor sales and cold beer is a much larger article, with three pictures in full color, “Disco beats the blues”. Not and issue resolved by the Indiana Legislature but both articles show the priorities in this state need investigation. A 3rd article on the front page, “Hospital pays $50K ransom for patient information”; a Greenfield hospital system paid the ransom to hackers who hijacked patient information. Hackers are obviously smarter than Hancock Health who stated they worked with the FBI and an Indianapolis cyber-security expert for advice on how to respond to the attack. Hackers are an escalating problem not addressed in civics but which should be…it is the basis of the Senate and House committees and the Special Counsel investigating the election of the president of the this country. Rule of law has not yet caught up with progress in the medical and cyber media; the Trump/Russia issue was ignored as unimportant before Trump was the Republican nominee. Trump doesn’t call his high praise for Putin and other brutal dictators, while denigrating President Obama and past presidents, collusion or consider it treasonous. Is this issue addressed in those civics classes available to students today or is it all protected under 1st Amendment freedom of speech?

    “I’m a good illustration of how empty the words “conservative” and “liberal” have become—and how far the political pendulum has swung.”

    There is nothing “conservative” about the Republican party which is determined to destroy the Constitution and aid Trump’s minions in “deconstruction” of democracy. There is certainly nothing “liberal” about the silence and inactivity of the the current Democratic party. Are they all ignorant of civics; as well as the meaning of democracy and government “of the people, by the people and for the people” as they work with Trump to assure it WILL “perish from the earth”? How do we place our trust in either party today?

  5. When I started my research on the media, one of the first things I saw were misleading articles in the mainstream news. Radio, TV, and newspapers.

    While reality doesn’t care if you believe, neither does the truth. One of the checks in our “democracy” is a free press. We don’t have a free press in America. Chomsky notified five filters used in our propaganda model. It’s not the truth, it’s propaganda.

    Why has power concentrated in the hands of a few?

    Monopoly powers are even growing and the Trump White House is making it worse.

    The Knight Foundation just completed a study and trust is all but gone in media and our government. The starting point for many is the New York Times and Washington Post – both publish state propaganda. If you point out their bias, you’re called a Russian agent.

    One point in your speech that I disagree with is your negative comment about social media. Without an alternative media on the internet, Americans would still be clueless consumers.

    For instance, Twitter has become a major player in news. Well regarded journalists, who have been removed from the mainstream media because of the propaganda filters have found a major following on social media. The difference between their truth seeking and that of the media is striking. In the 20’s and 30’s, we had “muckrakers” who held the newspapers accountable for yellow journalism. This is what’s been going on the past several years.

    Meanwhile, we’ve learned the government and private sector are working diligently to censor these voices. Alphabet, Twitter, and Facebook have all been exposed for manipulating their sites.

    The ending of net neutrality is one step closer to letting the ISPs control what’s relevant and what’s not relevant.

    These are all forms of censorship. Why is our government so scared of the truth? What are private companies so willing to conform to government censorship?

    In basic problem solving with critical thinking skills, we need to understand the problem fully so we can make informed decisions (solutions). The intent of the government/media is to create an alternative reality. If we don’t grasp the problem, we can’t offer legitimate solutions.

    We don’t have a democracy. Albert Einstein eloquently pointed that out in the 40’s. It’s only gotten worse.

  6. An important issue for the public relations professionals is ethics. Does a campaign or press release intentionally mislead people ? Is it accurate? I wonder how many of these professionals have published something that they knew was false for a nice fee?

    If they don’t question a client’s honesty before publishing, aren’t they becoming part of the lie?

  7. Here’s an interesting question. If people believe anything preferred by 4 out of 5 doctors must be the right medicine, why do they find it so hard to believe 97% of climate scientists? Last time I checked 97 was higher than 80, or is that another “fact” that changed while I wasn’t looking? It’s not what you say, but how you say it.

  8. The answer can’t be found in partisan politics at this point in time. We have to go deeper to find an answer. Neither Party can be trusted. From the Moral Majority to the Christian Coalition, and finally the Tea Party, there has been no effective response to these THIRD FORCES within partisan politics.

    And thus we now have to face the potential catastrophic end result ……… Donald Trump.

  9. It seems to me that if I was a publisher of current news here and my mission was to support democracy one thing that I wouldn’t devote space or time to is Trump’s daily Tweet storm, let the late night comedians do that in the right context of comedy.

    The single qualification Trump brought to the office is celebrity and he uses that to get undeserved attention. It’s a mistake to give it to him.

  10. Pete,

    “The single qualification Trump brought to the office is celebrity and he uses that to get undeserved attention. It’s a mistake to give it to him.”

    I would also include OUTSPOKEN RACISM and VEILED ANTI-SEMITISM.

  11. Marv,,

    You are right, but the politics of our education is a major contributing factor to having nit-wit politicians getting away with their alternative realities to get elected. My questions are: Why are our high school students coming out of school not knowing how their government works? Who is not teaching the civics classes? If parents are whining about their schools, why don’t they choose to invest in them?

    We are absolutely getting what we pay for in public education. Teachers remain the poorest paid professionals requiring a college degree. There are so many under-employed, educated people who would make great teachers, but can’t afford the pay cut. Is that what we think of our children, that we want to educate them on the cheap. The results, mentioned above in Dr. Kennedy’s speech and the subsequent commentary, speak for themselves.

    Maybe when we decide to invest in our children and our health care, we will have an electorate that actually understands what’s going on.

  12. Thank YOU very much Sheila!
    My big bugaboo is civic literacy as well or as I should say civic illiteracy. Like you, I am appalled at what people don’t know about their country’s political system, its history and also the world in general. You’re absolutely right, we cannot have a functioning democracy without the average citizen having some semblance of comprehension of how our government works and our role as citizens in that functioning.

    I remember back in around 1980, if I remember correctly, that a survey of freshmen students at the University of Southern California indicated that a large percentage of them, and I can’t remember exactly what that present percentage was unfortunately, couldn’t find France on a world map. I remember finding it impossible to believe that someone could get to college without knowing where France was located on the map while I had known where France was since I was a small child being a product of the Indianapolis public school system and also the son of a man who was in D-Day among other things during World War Two. That survey was conducted 37 years ago now. If it was taken again today Europe itself might be hard for freshmen students to find.

    Another example of this knowledge gap was relayed to me by the father of a close friend of mine who served in the Navy for over 30 years and was a Pearl Harbor survivor and who was a retired Chief Warrant Officer. My friend’s father belong to the Pearl Harbor Survivor’s Association and had a license plate frame from them on the back of their station wagon that was festooned with the famous “Remember Pearl Harbor!” slogan. My friend and his family moved all around a lot when their father was on active duty and my friend’s dad recalled to me how he had stopped in a gas station and while getting his gas a teenager who was filling up his gas tank right next to him turn to him and said “Is the fishing good at Pearl Harbor?” we laughed a lot about that but once again I wondered how this fellow had never heard about the Pearl Harbor attack and had no idea what happened there. I remember we all should our heads at that.

    This obviously is just the tip of the iceberg since there are no doubt all sorts of other things that should be common knowledge to every American that has had any semblance of an education. My views are slightly skewed I must admit because I studied political science and have been its net about American politics since I was a little boy that the information is all there and people should have had some exposure to it a long with an admonition that it was important stuff to know. Somehow, that was never conveyed or reinforced. It makes me glad, very glad, that I had the parents that I did who talked to us about such things, encouraged us to read, and were very informed of all of this themselves.

    What we’re dealing with today is the byproduct of such a knowledge gap and it’s only going to get worse for all the reasons that Sheila stated in her piece. Perhaps, as a result of this knowledge gap and the need for people to know such basic things it might provide a source of employment for all of us baby boomers in our retirement years who do know our history and our government’s role in our lives as volunteer teachers to supplement those active teachers who apparently struggle with conveying this information. I’m not faulting them in keying this but somehow, some way, this has to be fixed or this country is this going to continue to riot and waste away from the inside out. I can’t begin to tell you how distressing it is for me to key such a thing but I see around me all the time.

  13. Vernon,

    I agree with you 100%. But nothing can be accomplished until Donald Trump and the Movement which empowers him is effectively confronted. And that effort has to start NOW.

    Our only chance is for the Democratic Party to STAND-UP 4 DEMOCRACY by the November elections. I understand that is probably impossible. But we have to attempt, at least, to force the ISSUE.

    The effort must come from OUTSIDE the present Democratic Party Leadership. They are too compromised to change at this juncture.

    Wishful thinking on our part will amount to nothing more than political suicide.

  14. Vern,
    “If parents are whining about their schools, why don’t they choose to invest in them? ”

    Same reason the public whines about how bad the roads and highways are:

    We all want the best schools, roads, parks, public transportation, etc., but very few want to have to pay taxes to get them. Someone else should pay for them; instead of all of us paying a fair, proportionate share. Hence, Grover Norquist’s and the R’s pledge to never raise any taxes for any reason.

  15. I hate to nitpick about such a good presentation, but I believe the “Roman agora” should be the “Greek agora.”

  16. Two cases in point in recent ads from politicians and PACs:
    Senate candidate who built his apparently successful business all by himself forgot to credit his employees and the state for its enabling business tax and regulatory policies for that success. His not so subtle message about his “christian” status and his pledge to do away with “Obamacare” are clear dog whistles for the DT base.
    Anti-immigration ad from NumbersUSA that describes the process of immigration that has been going on for more than a century as “amnesty”. So blatantly xenophobic as to be laughable if it didn’t aim to underscore bias to the point of ignorant unreasoned hatred and distrust of the “other”.

  17. We need to find a common denominator that most ANYONE can understand. A warning of DEATH would be my choice.

    We must find a way to DESCRIBE the potential not only of the DEATH of our democracy but also the DEATH of our future………words are not enough.

  18. In my feeble opinion, I believe that most people have trouble remembering people’s names. And history is loaded with people’s names. I was not a good history student because I did not have any aids to help me remember what I should remember. My wife was a straight A student and had all kinds of little tricks to help her memory work at top capacity. That may have been the reason why she worked for Andy Jacobs for 25 years.

  19. The word “Socialist” has become an epithet. Back when I was campaigning for Bernie Sanders, it was alluded and sometimes said, that the word Nazi had the word Socialist in it. The flip side was a lecture I received from some mis-informed individual that Sanders must be a communist, since the word Socialist was a part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

    The group you spoke to Public Relations Club of Indianapolis and the McMega-Media is a huge part of the problem. The Indianapolis Star was always bent to the right and supportive of corporate welfare. FOX, CNN and MSNBC spew out 24/7/365 their own editorial positions with panels, etc., which almost always has something to do with Trump. Back in my early baby boomer days radio stations would play the same songs over and over again until the listeners tired of them. A similar tact has been taken by these so called News Networks other news of world or the nation is simply not reported.

    Back when I was in High School in Illinois we had to take a Civics course. That did not mean everyone was literate in civics. I took algebra also but it does not mean I could solve equations today.

    Now with the internet it has become easy to live in the silo of your political and social opinions.

  20. Paul Raikes, just remember in 1066 at the Battle of Hastings the Normans gave the Saxons a pasting.

  21. I, too, am appalled at the lack of civic literacy in this country. I am reminded of the removal of civics from the high school curriculum by the State School Board of Texas not so long ago, which suggests that there are those in power who want to keep students ignorant of our history so that they can be manipulated for political purposes. Perhaps we need an educational backlash by redesign, like a de-emphasis on STEM and a re-emphasis on the humanities since, after all, what good is a better mousetrap (or algorithm) on board the ship of state if we have no rudder?

  22. Business community lobbyists have harped for decades that we need more math, science, technology, and engineering preparation in school and have succeeded in that. I can recall only one occasion when they supported funding a change in standards. But somethings in the curriculum had to give when more requirements were added in STEM subjects. Civics was one of them. So were fine arts. It’s tougher to take 4 years of elective foreign languages when you’re required to take 4 years of math.
    I used to think the shift from humanities to more requirements in math, science, and technology was coincidental. But now I’ve decided that too many businesses don’t want employees who know their rights or how to exercise them, prefering humans who do what they are told without question – rather like robots. Yet business lobbyists say they want highly skilled workers who can trouble-shoot, problem solve, and innovate.
    They want people who are trained but not educated. They want good workers. I want both good workers and good human beings who are good citizens, parents, and neighbors.

  23. “Business community lobbyists have harped for decades that we need more math, science, technology, and engineering preparation in school and have succeeded in that.”

    Nancy Papas; how much of this will be maintained in the Trump/DeVos “God’s Kingdom” education system. None of these are contained in the Bible which will be the primary required text book if they have their way. We are in deep doo-doo at every turn; would you be surprised if they would actually BAN civics, not only drop the remaining courses?

  24. Marv,

    I read an illuminating interview by a reporter from a major American business journal with a major German CEO. The German mentioned his yearly salary and income and that he was completely satisfied that he could provide everything and anything for himself and his family for the foreseeable future. He wanted for nothing and even was able to invest for the future so that his family would also want for nothing when they got older. The reporter was aghast at the 55% income tax that the CEO gladly paid. He couldn’t believe that the CEO would sit still for that kind of taxation.

    “Look.”, retorted the exasperated CEO. “I want for nothing. I have plenty of money to do whatever I want, whenever I want to do it. But, all this wealth means nothing if I live in a poor country”.

    The obvious point is: If you don’t pay taxes to keep up the infrastructure and invest in your citizens, you are a poor country. Hello, America? By listening to Republicans, their agenda GUARANTEES that we are a poor country. With 50 million of the 325 million citizens living in abject poverty, doesn’t that sort of define a poor country?

  25. According to the organization,Center for American Progress,37 million Americans lived in poverty in 2007.

    According to a previous contributor above,there is currently 50 million in poverty. That’s an addition of 13 million in the last ten years. If that is the case,then the blame rests upon more than just Republicans. Was there not a time within the last decade where the Democrats had the WH and Congress? What did they do to combat poverty? And,why did poverty expand during the Obama years? If we really want to alleviate the mess the country is in(and we all agree it’s in a mess) ,we must look at our party much more critically than just merely continuing to support it and bring out the pom poms for every candidate with a D.

    We really need to take a hard look at the political milieu as to why the Democrats have become ineffective and UNWILLING to do the work on behalf of millions of Americans. Instead, we have an organization that has given up on its history/past and subsequently in recent decades the party has focused on the needs of the donor class. How many here are aware of the lawsuit against the DNC? I agree with the host,we should be aware of how government works,we should also be aware of how OUR PARTY WORKS as well.

    https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2018/01/democratic-party-wilding-et-al-v-dnc-services-corporation-et-al-gets-new-lease-life.html

    As the facts show,just voting for Democrats will not work. As others have suggested,we need better candidates (to run ourselves if necessary) and both of the leading political organizations need to be destroyed as they exist today.

    Here are the stats from the Center For American Progress wrt the numbers of Americans living in poverty in 2007.

    https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/poverty/news/2007/04/24/2923/the-poverty-epidemic-in-america-by-the-numbers/

  26. Vernon,

    “Look.”, retorted the exasperated CEO. “I want for nothing. I have plenty of money to do whatever I want, whenever I want to do it. But, all this wealth means nothing if I live in a poor country”.

    Thanks. Great comment. That should be the basis for our countervailing arguments.

  27. Vernon,

    The weakness of Trump/Pence/Bannon is the future they are creating which will be detrimental to us all, RICH or POOR, in many, many, ways. That’s what I mean when I use FUTURCIDE.

    Now I must prove it. Trump/Pence/Bannon have grossly miscalculated the “mind of the body politic.”

  28. There’s this idea that’s been floating around for a few years amongst internet watchers that there are really four distinct economies operating on the the web: the attention economy (clickbait & ads), the information economy (usually fee for service knowledge transfer), the reputation economy (often legacy media; the NYT has abdicated this over the last few months), and the trust economy (the one with the most long-term value).

    PR serves to degrade the reputation economy and can delay the growth of the trust economy. But most insidiously it works through those garbage Taboola links and “sponsored” listicles that drop little idea nuggets & “everyone knows” assumptions into impressionable minds – who, unfortunately, vote.

    Things are still shaking out: the Internet has been a going concern for only 20 years. I’m hoping the trust economy can fully establish itself, but I susect 30 years from now it will be a drastically altered reputation economy that we’ll have to settle for.

  29. Ron,

    “I’m hoping the trust economy can fully establish itself…..”

    It’s our only hope against the controlling fascist oligarchy. We must attempt to FULLY ESTABLISH the TRUST ECONOMY NOW, not tomorrow, before it’s too late. In this political environment, the possibility of a trust economy can be erased overnight.

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