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Wage slavery – Wikipedia

Wage slavery is a term used to draw an analogy between slavery and wage labor by focusing on similarities between owning and renting a person. It is usually used to refer to a situation where a person’s livelihood depends on wages or a salary, especially when the dependence is total and immediate.[1][2]

The term “wage slavery” has been used to criticize exploitation of labour and social stratification, with the former seen primarily as unequal bargaining power between labor and capital (particularly when workers are paid comparatively low wages, e.g. in sweatshops)[3] and the latter as a lack of workers’ self-management, fulfilling job choices and leisure in an economy.[4][5][6] The criticism of social stratification covers a wider range of employment choices bound by the pressures of a hierarchical society to perform otherwise unfulfilling work that deprives humans of their “species character”[7] not only under threat of starvation or poverty, but also of social stigma and status diminution.[8][9][4]

Similarities between wage labor and slavery were noted as early as Cicero in Ancient Rome, such as in De Officiis.[10] With the advent of the Industrial Revolution, thinkers such as Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and Karl Marx elaborated the comparison between wage labor and slavery,[11][12] while Luddites emphasized the dehumanization brought about by machines. Before the American Civil War, Southern defenders of African American slavery invoked the concept of wage slavery to favorably compare the condition of their slaves to workers in the North.[13][14] The United States abolished slavery after the Civil War, but labor union activists found the metaphor useful and appropriate. According to Lawrence Glickman, in the Gilded Age “[r]eferences abounded in the labor press, and it is hard to find a speech by a labor leader without the phrase”.[15]

The introduction of wage labor in 18th-century Britain was met with resistance, giving rise to the principles of syndicalism.[16][17][18][19] Historically, some labor organizations and individual social activists have espoused workers’ self-management or worker cooperatives as possible alternatives to wage labor.[5][18]

The view that working for wages is akin to slavery dates back to the ancient world.[21] In ancient Rome, Cicero wrote that “whoever gives his labor for money sells himself and puts himself in the rank of slaves”.[10]

In 1763, the French journalist Simon Linguet published an influential description of wage slavery:[12]

The slave was precious to his master because of the money he had cost him… They were worth at least as much as they could be sold for in the market… It is the impossibility of living by any other means that compels our farm labourers to till the soil whose fruits they will not eat and our masons to construct buildings in which they will not live… It is want that compels them to go down on their knees to the rich man in order to get from him permission to enrich him… what effective gain [has] the suppression of slavery brought [him?] He is free, you say. Ah! That is his misfortune… These men… [have] the most terrible, the most imperious of masters, that is, need…. They must therefore find someone to hire them, or die of hunger. Is that to be free?

The view that wage work has substantial similarities with chattel slavery was actively put forward in the late 18th and 19th centuries by defenders of chattel slavery (most notably in the Southern states of the United States) and by opponents of capitalism (who were also critics of chattel slavery).[9][22] Some defenders of slavery, mainly from the Southern slave states, argued that Northern workers were “free but in name the slaves of endless toil” and that their slaves were better off.[23][24] This contention has been partly corroborated by some modern studies that indicate slaves’ material conditions in the 19th century were “better than what was typically available to free urban laborers at the time”.[25][26] In this period, Henry David Thoreau wrote that “[i]t is hard to have a Southern overseer; it is worse to have a Northern one; but worst of all when you are the slave-driver of yourself”.[27]

Some abolitionists in the United States regarded the analogy as spurious.[28] They believed that wage workers were “neither wronged nor oppressed”.[29] Abraham Lincoln and the Republicans argued that the condition of wage workers was different from slavery as laborers were likely to have the opportunity to work for themselves in the future, achieving self-employment.[30] The abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass initially declared “now I am my own master”, upon taking a paying job.[31] However, later in life he concluded to the contrary, saying “experience demonstrates that there may be a slavery of wages only a little less galling and crushing in its effects than chattel slavery, and that this slavery of wages must go down with the other”.[32][33] Douglass went on to speak about these conditions as arising from the unequal bargaining power between the ownership/capitalist class and the non-ownership/laborer class within a compulsory monetary market: “No more crafty and effective devise for defrauding the southern laborers could be adopted than the one that substitutes orders upon shopkeepers for currency in payment of wages. It has the merit of a show of honesty, while it puts the laborer completely at the mercy of the land-owner and the shopkeeper”.[34]

Self-employment became less common as the artisan tradition slowly disappeared in the later part of the 19th century.[5] In 1869, The New York Times described the system of wage labor as “a system of slavery as absolute if not as degrading as that which lately prevailed at the South”.[30] E. P. Thompson notes that for British workers at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries, the “gap in status between a ‘servant,’ a hired wage-laborer subject to the orders and discipline of the master, and an artisan, who might ‘come and go’ as he pleased, was wide enough for men to shed blood rather than allow themselves to be pushed from one side to the other. And, in the value system of the community, those who resisted degradation were in the right”.[16] A “Member of the Builders’ Union” in the 1830s argued that the trade unions “will not only strike for less work, and more wages, but will ultimately abolish wages, become their own masters and work for each other; labor and capital will no longer be separate but will be indissolubly joined together in the hands of workmen and work-women”.[17] This perspective inspired the Grand National Consolidated Trades Union of 1834 which had the “two-fold purpose of syndicalist unions the protection of the workers under the existing system and the formation of the nuclei of the future society” when the unions “take over the whole industry of the country”.[18] “Research has shown”, summarises William Lazonick, “that the ‘free-born Englishman’ of the eighteenth century even those who, by force of circumstance, had to submit to agricultural wage labour tenaciously resisted entry into the capitalist workshop”.[19]

The use of the term “wage slave” by labor organizations may originate from the labor protests of the Lowell Mill Girls in 1836.[35] The imagery of wage slavery was widely used by labor organizations during the mid-19th century to object to the lack of workers’ self-management. However, it was gradually replaced by the more neutral term “wage work” towards the end of the 19th century as labor organizations shifted their focus to raising wages.[5]

Karl Marx described capitalist society as infringing on individual autonomy because it is based on a materialistic and commodified concept of the body and its liberty (i.e. as something that is sold, rented, or alienated in a class society). According to Friedrich Engels:[36][37]

The slave is sold once and for all; the proletarian must sell himself daily and hourly. The individual slave, property of one master, is assured an existence, however miserable it may be, because of the master’s interest. The individual proletarian, property as it were of the entire bourgeois class which buys his labor only when someone has need of it, has no secure existence.

Critics of wage work have drawn several similarities between wage work and slavery:

According to American anarcho-syndicalist philosopher Noam Chomsky, workers themselves noticed the similarities between chattel and wage slavery. Chomsky noted that the 19th-century Lowell Mill Girls, without any reported knowledge of European Marxism or anarchism, condemned the “degradation and subordination” of the newly-emerging industrial system and the “new spirit of the age: gain wealth, forgetting all but self”, maintaining that “those who work in the mills should own them”.[43][44] They expressed their concerns in a protest song during their 1836 strike:

Oh! isn’t it a pity, such a pretty girl as IShould be sent to the factory to pine away and die?Oh! I cannot be a slave, I will not be a slave,For I’m so fond of liberty,That I cannot be a slave.[45]

Defenses of both wage labor and chattel slavery in the literature have linked the subjection of man to man with the subjection of man to nature arguing that hierarchy and a social system’s particular relations of production represent human nature and are no more coercive than the reality of life itself. According to this narrative, any well-intentioned attempt to fundamentally change the status quo is naively utopian and will result in more oppressive conditions.[46] Bosses in both of these long-lasting systems argued that their respective systems created a lot of wealth and prosperity. In some sense, both did create jobs, and their investment entailed risk. For example, slave-owners risked losing money by buying chattel slaves who later became ill or died; while bosses risked losing money by hiring workers (wage slaves) to make products that did not sell well on the market. Marginally, both chattel and wage slaves may become bosses; sometimes by working hard. The “rags to riches” story occasionally comes to pass in capitalism; the “slave to master” story occurred in places like colonial Brazil, where slaves could buy their own freedom and become business owners, self-employed, or slave-owners themselves.[47] Thus critics of the concept of wage slavery do not regard social mobility, or the hard work and risk that it may entail, as a redeeming factor.[48]

Anthropologist David Graeber has noted that historically the first wage-labor contracts we know about whether in ancient Greece or Rome, or in the Malay or Swahili city-states in the Indian Ocean were in fact contracts for the rental of chattel slaves (usually the owner would receive a share of the money and the slaves another, with which to maintain their living expenses). According to Graeber, such arrangements were quite common in New World slavery as well, whether in the United States or in Brazil. C. L. R. James (1901-1989) argued that most of the techniques of human organization employed on factory workers during the Industrial Revolution first developed on slave plantations.[49]Subsequent work “traces the innovations of modern management to the slave plantation”.[50]

The usage of the term “wage slavery” shifted to “wage work” at the end of the 19th century as groups like the Knights of Labor and American Federation of Labor shifted to a more reformist, trade union ideology instead of worker’s self-management. Much of the decline was caused by the rapid increase in manufacturing after the Industrial Revolution and the subsequent dominance of wage labor as a result. Another factor was immigration and demographic changes that led to ethnic tension between the workers.[5]

As Hallgrimsdottir and Benoit point out:

[I]ncreased centralization of production… declining wages… [an] expanding… labor pool… intensifying competition, and… [t]he loss of competence and independence experienced by skilled labor” meant that “a critique that referred to all [wage] work as slavery and avoided demands for wage concessions in favor of supporting the creation of the producerist republic (by diverting strike funds towards funding… co-operatives, for example) was far less compelling than one that identified the specific conditions of slavery as low wages.[5]

Some anti-capitalist thinkers claim that the elite maintain wage slavery and a divided working class through their influence over the media and entertainment industry,[51][52] educational institutions, unjust laws, nationalist and corporate propaganda, pressures and incentives to internalize values serviceable to the power structure, state violence, fear of unemployment,[53] and a historical legacy of exploitation and profit accumulation/transfer under prior systems, which shaped the development of economic theory. Adam Smith noted that employers often conspire together to keep wages low and have the upper hand in conflicts between workers and employers:[54]

The interest of the dealers… in any particular branch of trade or manufactures, is always in some respects different from, and even opposite to, that of the public… [They] have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public… We rarely hear, it has been said, of the combinations of masters, though frequently of those of workmen. But whoever imagines, upon this account, that masters rarely combine, is as ignorant of the world as of the subject. Masters are always and everywhere in a sort of tacit, but constant and uniform combination, not to raise the wages of labor above their actual rate… It is not, however, difficult to foresee which of the two parties must, upon all ordinary occasions, have the advantage in the dispute, and force the other into a compliance with their terms.

The concept of wage slavery could conceivably be traced back to pre-capitalist figures like Gerrard Winstanley from the radical Christian Diggers movement in England, who wrote in his 1649 pamphlet, The New Law of Righteousness, that there “shall be no buying or selling, no fairs nor markets, but the whole earth shall be a common treasury for every man” and “there shall be none Lord over others, but every one shall be a Lord of himself”.[55]

Aristotle stated that “the citizens must not live a mechanic or a mercantile life (for such a life is ignoble and inimical to virtue), nor yet must those who are to be citizens in the best state be tillers of the soil (for leisure is needed both for the development of virtue and for active participation in politics)”,[56] often paraphrased as “all paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind”.[57] Cicero wrote in 44 BC that “vulgar are the means of livelihood of all hired workmen whom we pay for mere manual labour, not for artistic skill; for in their case the very wage they receive is a pledge of their slavery”.[10] Somewhat similar criticisms have also been expressed by some proponents of liberalism, like Silvio Gesell and Thomas Paine;[58] Henry George, who inspired the economic philosophy known as Georgism;[9] and the Distributist school of thought within the Catholic Church.

To Karl Marx and anarchist thinkers like Mikhail Bakunin and Peter Kropotkin, wage slavery was a class condition in place due to the existence of private property and the state. This class situation rested primarily on:

And secondarily on:

Fascist economic policies were more hostile to independent trade unions than modern economies in Europe or the United States.[60] Fascism was more widely accepted in the 1920s and 1930s, and foreign corporate investment (notably from the United States) in Italy and Germany increased after the fascists took power.[61][62]

Fascism has been perceived by some notable critics, like Buenaventura Durruti, to be a last resort weapon of the privileged to ensure the maintenance of wage slavery:

No government fights fascism to destroy it. When the bourgeoisie sees that power is slipping out of its hands, it brings up fascism to hold onto their privileges.[63]

According to Noam Chomsky, analysis of the psychological implications of wage slavery goes back to the Enlightenment era. In his 1791 book The Limits of State Action, classical liberal thinker Wilhelm von Humboldt explained how “whatever does not spring from a man’s free choice, or is only the result of instruction and guidance, does not enter into his very nature; he does not perform it with truly human energies, but merely with mechanical exactness” and so when the laborer works under external control, “we may admire what he does, but we despise what he is”.[64] Because they explore human authority and obedience, both the Milgram and Stanford experiments have been found useful in the psychological study of wage-based workplace relations.[65]

According to research[citation needed], modern work provides people with a sense of personal and social identity that is tied to:

Thus job loss entails the loss of this identity.[66]

Erich Fromm argued that if a person perceives himself as being what he owns, then when that person loses (or even thinks of losing) what he “owns” (e.g. the good looks or sharp mind that allow him to sell his labor for high wages) a fear of loss may create anxiety and authoritarian tendencies because that person’s sense of identity is threatened. In contrast, when a person’s sense of self is based on what he experiences in a state of being (creativity, love, sadness, taste, sight and the like) with a less materialistic regard for what he once had and lost, or may lose, then less authoritarian tendencies prevail. In his view, the state of being flourishes under a worker-managed workplace and economy, whereas self-ownership entails a materialistic notion of self, created to rationalize the lack of worker control that would allow for a state of being.[67]

Investigative journalist Robert Kuttner analyzed the work of public-health scholars Jeffrey Johnson and Ellen Hall about modern conditions of work and concludes that “to be in a life situation where one experiences relentless demands by others, over which one has relatively little control, is to be at risk of poor health, physically as well as mentally”. Under wage labor, “a relatively small elite demands and gets empowerment, self-actualization, autonomy, and other work satisfaction that partially compensate for long hours” while “epidemiological data confirm that lower-paid, lower-status workers are more likely to experience the most clinically damaging forms of stress, in part because they have less control over their work”.[68]

Wage slavery and the educational system that precedes it “implies power held by the leader. Without power the leader is inept. The possession of power inevitably leads to corruption… in spite of… good intentions… [Leadership means] power of initiative, this sense of responsibility, the self-respect which comes from expressed manhood, is taken from the men, and consolidated in the leader. The sum of their initiative, their responsibility, their self-respect becomes his… [and the] order and system he maintains is based upon the suppression of the men, from being independent thinkers into being ‘the men’… In a word, he is compelled to become an autocrat and a foe to democracy”. For the “leader”, such marginalisation can be beneficial, for a leader “sees no need for any high level of intelligence in the rank and file, except to applaud his actions. Indeed such intelligence from his point of view, by breeding criticism and opposition, is an obstacle and causes confusion”.[69] Wage slavery “implies erosion of the human personality… [because] some men submit to the will of others, arousing in these instincts which predispose them to cruelty and indifference in the face of the suffering of their fellows”.[70]

In 19th-century discussions of labor relations, it was normally assumed that the threat of starvation forced those without property to work for wages. Proponents of the view that modern forms of employment constitute wage slavery, even when workers appear to have a range of available alternatives, have attributed its perpetuation to a variety of social factors that maintain the hegemony of the employer class.[42][71]

In an account of the Lowell Mill Girls, Harriet Hanson Robinson wrote that generously high wages were offered to overcome the degrading nature of the work:

At the time the Lowell cotton mills were started the caste of the factory girl was the lowest among the employments of women…. She was represented as subjected to influences that must destroy her purity and selfrespect. In the eyes of her overseer she was but a brute, a slave, to be beaten, pinched and pushed about. It was to overcome this prejudice that such high wages had been offered to women that they might be induced to become millgirls, in spite of the opprobrium that still clung to this degrading occupation.[72]

In his book Disciplined Minds, Jeff Schmidt points out that professionals are trusted to run organizations in the interests of their employers. Because employers cannot be on hand to manage every decision, professionals are trained to “ensure that each and every detail of their work favors the right interestsor skewers the disfavored ones” in the absence of overt control:

The resulting professional is an obedient thinker, an intellectual property whom employers can trust to experiment, theorize, innovate and create safely within the confines of an assigned ideology.[73]

Parecon (participatory economics) theory posits a social class “between labor and capital” of higher paid professionals such as “doctors, lawyers, engineers, managers and others” who monopolize empowering labor and constitute a class above wage laborers who do mostly “obedient, rote work”.[74]

The terms “employee” or “worker” have often been replaced by “associate”. This plays up the allegedly voluntary nature of the interaction while playing down the subordinate status of the wage laborer as well as the worker-boss class distinction emphasized by labor movements. Billboards as well as television, Internet and newspaper advertisements consistently show low-wage workers with smiles on their faces, appearing happy.[75]

Job interviews and other data on requirements for lower skilled workers in developed countries particularly in the growing service sector indicate that the more workers depend on low wages and the less skilled or desirable their job is, the more employers screen for workers without better employment options and expect them to feign unremunerative motivation.[76] Such screening and feigning may not only contribute to the positive self-image of the employer as someone granting desirable employment, but also signal wage-dependence by indicating the employee’s willingness to feign, which in turn may discourage the dissatisfaction normally associated with job-switching or union activity.[76]

At the same time, employers in the service industry have justified unstable, part-time employment and low wages by playing down the importance of service jobs for the lives of the wage laborers (e.g. just temporary before finding something better, student summer jobs and the like).[77][78]

In the early 20th century, “scientific methods of strikebreaking”[79] were devised employing a variety of tactics that emphasized how strikes undermined “harmony” and “Americanism”.[80]

Some social activists objecting to the market system or price system of wage working historically have considered syndicalism, worker cooperatives, workers’ self-management and workers’ control as possible alternatives to the current wage system.[4][5][6][18]

The American philosopher John Dewey believed that until “industrial feudalism” is replaced by “industrial democracy”, politics will be “the shadow cast on society by big business”.[81] Thomas Ferguson has postulated in his investment theory of party competition that the undemocratic nature of economic institutions under capitalism causes elections to become occasions when blocs of investors coalesce and compete to control the state.[82]

Noam Chomsky has argued that political theory tends to blur the ‘elite’ function of government:

Modern political theory stresses Madison’s belief that “in a just and a free government the rights both of property and of persons ought to be effectually guarded.” But in this case too it is useful to look at the doctrine more carefully. There are no rights of property, only rights to property that is, rights of persons with property,…

[In] representative democracy, as in, say, the United States or Great Britain [] there is a monopoly of power centralized in the state, and secondly and critically [] the representative democracy is limited to the political sphere and in no serious way encroaches on the economic sphere [] That is, as long as individuals are compelled to rent themselves on the market to those who are willing to hire them, as long as their role in production is simply that of ancillary tools, then there are striking elements of coercion and oppression that make talk of democracy very limited, if even meaningful.[83]

In this regard, Chomsky has used Bakunin’s theories about an “instinct for freedom”,[84] the militant history of labor movements, Kropotkin’s mutual aid evolutionary principle of survival and Marc Hauser’s theories supporting an innate and universal moral faculty,[85] to explain the incompatibility of oppression with certain aspects of human nature.[86][87]

Loyola University philosophy professor John Clark and libertarian socialist philosopher Murray Bookchin have criticized the system of wage labor for encouraging environmental destruction, arguing that a self-managed industrial society would better manage the environment. Like other anarchists,[88] they attribute much of the Industrial Revolution’s pollution to the “hierarchical” and “competitive” economic relations accompanying it.[89]

Some criticize wage slavery on strictly contractual grounds, e.g. David Ellerman and Carole Pateman, arguing that the employment contract is a legal fiction in that it treats human beings juridically as mere tools or inputs by abdicating responsibility and self-determination, which the critics argue are inalienable. As Ellerman points out, “[t]he employee is legally transformed from being a co-responsible partner to being only an input supplier sharing no legal responsibility for either the input liabilities [costs] or the produced outputs [revenue, profits] of the employer’s business”.[90] Such contracts are inherently invalid “since the person remain[s] a de facto fully capacitated adult person with only the contractual role of a non-person” as it is impossible to physically transfer self-determination.[91] As Pateman argues:

The contractarian argument is unassailable all the time it is accepted that abilities can ‘acquire’ an external relation to an individual, and can be treated as if they were property. To treat abilities in this manner is also implicitly to accept that the ‘exchange’ between employer and worker is like any other exchange of material property … The answer to the question of how property in the person can be contracted out is that no such procedure is possible. Labour power, capacities or services, cannot be separated from the person of the worker like pieces of property.[92]

In a modern liberal capitalist society, the employment contract is enforced while the enslavement contract is not; the former being considered valid because of its consensual/non-coercive nature and the latter being considered inherently invalid, consensual or not. The noted economist Paul Samuelson described this discrepancy:

Since slavery was abolished, human earning power is forbidden by law to be capitalized. A man is not even free to sell himself; he must rent himself at a wage.[93]

Some advocates of right-libertarianism, among them philosopher Robert Nozick, address this inconsistency in modern societies arguing that a consistently libertarian society would allow and regard as valid consensual/non-coercive enslavement contracts, rejecting the notion of inalienable rights:

The comparable question about an individual is whether a free system will allow him to sell himself into slavery. I believe that it would.[94]

Others like Murray Rothbard allow for the possibility of debt slavery, asserting that a lifetime labour contract can be broken so long as the slave pays appropriate damages:

[I]f A has agreed to work for life for B in exchange for 10,000 grams of gold, he will have to return the proportionate amount of property if he terminates the arrangement and ceases to work.[95]

In the philosophy of mainstream, neoclassical economics, wage labor is seen as the voluntary sale of one’s own time and efforts, just like a carpenter would sell a chair, or a farmer would sell wheat. It is considered neither an antagonistic nor abusive relationship and carries no particular moral implications.[96]

Austrian economics argues that a person is not “free” unless they can sell their labor because otherwise that person has no self-ownership and will be owned by a “third party” of individuals.[97]

Post-Keynesian economics perceives wage slavery as resulting from inequality of bargaining power between labor and capital, which exists when the economy does not “allow labor to organize and form a strong countervailing force”.[98]

The two main forms of socialist economics perceive wage slavery differently:

Quotations related to wage slavery at Wikiquote

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Wage slavery – Wikipedia

Urban Dictionary: wage slave

Is a person with little to no education who works for wages. These people are usually slaves to their employer and have to kiss butt otherwise they will be fired. Being that these people don’t have many other job opportunities, they are forced to live the rest of their lives working for wages and being a slave. Their only other option besides being a wage slave is going to jail or becoming homeless. Because they lack job skills, they are very limited in the type of work they can do. Many adults who are wage slaves now, dropped out of school and got caught up in the popularity game. Or they are people who never took school seriously and instead wanted to party like a rockstar. These people are basically the physical labor of this country and if they misbehave at work they are fired. Then they lose their living quarters,cars,family, and their life takes a turn for the worst. Let me mention, that many of these people were born to low to middle class families which is why histroy is repeating itself.

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Urban Dictionary: wage slave

Wage slave | Define Wage slave at Dictionary.com

noun

a person who works for a wage, especially with total and immediate dependency on the income derived from such labor.

First recorded in 188590

Dictionary.com UnabridgedBased on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Random House, Inc. 2019

Luckily he was a subordinate, not a wage-slave but a followerwhich was a restraint.

I was as faithful a wage-slave as ever a capitalist exploited.

Nature does not intend for one man to have capital and another to be a wage-slave.

Slave and slave-owner, serf and baron, wage-slave and capitalistso the classes have struggled.

The wage-slave lives for the evening’s liberty, the business man for his wealth, the preacher for his church.

wage slave

ironic a person dependent on a wage or salary

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Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

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Ripple Price Forecast: XRP vs SWIFT, SEC Updates, and More

Ripple vs SWIFT: The War Begins
While most criticisms of XRP do nothing to curb my bullish Ripple price forecast, there is one obstacle that nags at my conscience. Its name is SWIFT.

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) is the king of international payments.

It coordinates wire transfers across 11,000 banks in more than 200 countries and territories, meaning that in order for XRP prices to ascend to $10.00, Ripple needs to launch a successful coup. That is, and always has been, an unwritten part of Ripple’s story.

We’ve seen a lot of progress on that score. In the last three years, Ripple wooed more than 100 financial firms onto its.

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Cryptocurrency Price Forecast: Trust Is Growing, But Prices Are Falling

Trust Is Growing…
Before we get to this week’s cryptocurrency news, analysis, and our cryptocurrency price forecast, I want to share an experience from this past week. I was at home watching the NBA playoffs, trying to ignore the commercials, when a strange advertisement caught my eye.

It followed a tomato from its birth on the vine to its end on the dinner table (where it was served as a bolognese sauce), and a diamond from its dusty beginnings to when it sparkled atop an engagement ring.

The voiceover said: “This is a shipment passed 200 times, transparently tracked from port to port. This is the IBM blockchain.”

Let that sink in—IBM.

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Cryptocurrency Price Forecast: Trust Is Growing, But Prices Are Falling

Cryptocurrency News: Looking Past the Bithumb Crypto Hack

Another Crypto Hack Derails Recovery
Since our last report, hackers broke into yet another cryptocurrency exchange. This time the target was Bithumb, a Korean exchange known for high-flying prices and ultra-active traders.

While the hackers made off with approximately $31.5 million in funds, the exchange is working with relevant authorities to return the stolen tokens to their respective owners. In the event that some is still missing, the exchange will cover the losses. (Source: “Bithumb Working With Other Crypto Exchanges to Recover Hacked Funds,”.

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Cryptocurrency News: Looking Past the Bithumb Crypto Hack

Cryptocurrency News: This Week on Bitfinex, Tether, Coinbase, & More

Cryptocurrency News
On the whole, cryptocurrency prices are down from our previous report on cryptos, with the market slipping on news of an exchange being hacked and a report about Bitcoin manipulation.

However, there have been two bright spots: 1) an official from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said that Ethereum is not a security, and 2) Coinbase is expanding its selection of tokens.

Let’s start with the good news.
SEC Says ETH Is Not a Security
Investors have some reason to cheer this week. A high-ranking SEC official told attendees of the Yahoo! All Markets Summit: Crypto that Ethereum and Bitcoin are not.

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Cryptocurrency News: What You Need to Know This Week

Cryptocurrency News
Cryptocurrencies traded sideways since our last report on cryptos. However, I noticed something interesting when playing around with Yahoo! Finance’s cryptocurrency screener: There are profitable pockets in this market.

Incidentally, Yahoo’s screener is far superior to the one on CoinMarketCap, so if you’re looking to compare digital assets, I highly recommend it.

But let’s get back to my epiphany.

In the last month, at one point or another, most crypto assets on our favorites list saw double-digit increases. It’s true that each upswing was followed by a hard crash, but investors who rode the trend would have made a.

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Cryptocurrency News: XRP Validators, Malta, and Practical Tokens

Cryptocurrency News & Market Summary
Investors finally saw some light at the end of the tunnel last week, with cryptos soaring across the board. No one quite knows what kicked off the rally—as it could have been any of the stories we discuss below—but the net result was positive.

Of course, prices won’t stay on this rocket ride forever. I expect to see a resurgence of volatility in short order, because the market is moving as a single unit. Everything is rising in tandem.

This tells me that investors are simply “buying the dip” rather than identifying which cryptos have enough real-world value to outlive the crash.

So if you want to know when.

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Cryptocurrency News: Bitcoin ETFs, Andreessen Horowitz, and Contradictions in Crypto

Cryptocurrency News
This was a bloody week for cryptocurrencies. Everything was covered in red, from Ethereum (ETH) on down to the Basic Attention Token (BAT).

Some investors claim it was inevitable. Others say that price manipulation is to blame.

We think the answers are more complicated than either side has to offer, because our research reveals deep contradictions between the price of cryptos and the underlying development of blockchain projects.

For instance, a leading venture capital (VC) firm launched a $300.0-million crypto investment fund, yet liquidity continues to dry up in crypto markets.

Another example is the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s.

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Cryptocurrency News: Bitcoin ETFs, Andreessen Horowitz, and Contradictions in Crypto

Cryptocurrency News: Vitalik Buterin Doesn’t Care About Bitcoin ETFs

Cryptocurrency News
While headline numbers look devastating this week, investors might take some solace in knowing that cryptocurrencies found their bottom at roughly $189.8 billion in market cap—that was the low point. Since then, investors put more than $20.0 billion back into the market.

During the rout, Ethereum broke below $300.00 and XRP fell below $0.30, marking yearly lows for both tokens. The same was true down the list of the top 100 biggest cryptos.

Altcoins took the brunt of the hit. BTC Dominance, which reveals how tightly investment is concentrated in Bitcoin, rose from 42.62% to 53.27% in just one month, showing that investors either fled altcoins at higher.

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Cryptocurrency News: Vitalik Buterin Doesn’t Care About Bitcoin ETFs

Cryptocurrency News: New Exchanges Could Boost Crypto Liquidity

Cryptocurrency News
Even though the cryptocurrency news was upbeat in recent days, the market tumbled after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rejected calls for a Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF).

That news came as a blow to investors, many of whom believe the ETF would open the cryptocurrency industry up to pension funds and other institutional investors. This would create a massive tailwind for cryptos, they say.

So it only follows that a rejection of the Bitcoin ETF should send cryptos tumbling, correct? Well, maybe you can follow that logic. To me, it seems like a dramatic overreaction.

I understand that legitimizing cryptos is important. But.

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Cryptocurrency News: Bitcoin ETF Rejection, AMD Microchip Sales, and Hedge Funds

Cryptocurrency News
Although cryptocurrency prices were heating up last week (Bitcoin, especially), regulators poured cold water on the rally by rejecting calls for a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF). This is the second time that the proposal fell on deaf ears. (More on that below.)

Crypto mining ran into similar trouble, as you can see from Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.‘s (NASDAQ:AMD) most recent quarterly earnings. However, it wasn’t all bad news. Investors should, for instance, be cheering the fact that hedge funds are ramping up their involvement in cryptocurrency markets.

Without further ado, here are those stories in greater detail.
ETF Rejection.

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Seasteading – Wikipedia

Seasteading is the concept of creating permanent dwellings at sea, called seasteads, outside the territory claimed by any government. The term is a combination of the words sea and homesteading.

Seasteaders say such autonomous floating cities would foster faster development of techniques “to feed the hungry, cure the sick, clean the atmosphere and enrich the poor”.[1][2] Some critics fear seasteads are designed more as a refuge for the wealthy to avoid taxes or other problems.[3][4]

No one has yet created a structure on the high seas that has been recognized as a sovereign state. Proposed structures have included modified cruise ships, refitted oil platforms, decommissioned anti-aircraft platforms, and custom-built floating islands.[5]

As an intermediate step, the Seasteading Institute has promoted cooperation with an existing nation on prototype floating islands with legal semi-autonomy within the nation’s protected territorial waters. On January 13, 2017, the Seasteading Institute signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with French Polynesia to create the first semi-autonomous “seazone” for a prototype[6][7], but as of 2018 its status was uncertain.

Many architects and firms have created designs for floating cities, including Vincent Callebaut,[8][9] Paolo Soleri[10] and companies such as Shimizu and E. Kevin Schopfer.[11]

L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology, and his executive leadership became a maritime-based community named the Sea Organization (Sea Org). Beginning in 1967 with a complement of four ships, the Sea Org spent most of its existence on the high seas, visiting ports around the world for refueling and resupply. In 1975 much of these operations were shifted to land-based locations.

Marshall Savage discussed building tethered artificial islands in his 1992 book The Millennial Project: Colonizing the Galaxy in Eight Easy Steps, with several color plates illustrating his ideas.

Other historical predecessors and inspirations for seasteading include:

At least two people independently coined the term seasteading: Ken Neumeyer in his book Sailing the Farm (1981) and Wayne Gramlich in his article “Seasteading Homesteading on the High Seas” (1998).[13]

Gramlichs essay attracted the attention of Patri Friedman.[14] The two began working together and posted their first collaborative book online in 2001.[15] Their book explored many aspects of seasteading from waste disposal to flags of convenience. This collaboration led to the creation of the non-profit The Seasteading Institute (TSI) in 2008.

On April 15, 2008, Wayne Gramlich and Patri Friedman founded the 501(c)(3) non-profit The Seasteading Institute (TSI), an organization formed to facilitate the establishment of autonomous, mobile communities on seaborne platforms operating in international waters.[16][17][18]

Friedman and Gramlich noted that according to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, a country’s Exclusive Economic Zone extends 200 nautical miles (370km) from shore. Beyond that boundary lie the high seas, which are not subject to the laws of any sovereign state other than the flag under which a ship sails. They proposed that a seastead could take advantage of the absence of laws and regulations outside the sovereignty of nations to experiment with new governance systems, and allow the citizens of existing governments to exit more easily.

“When seasteading becomes a viable alternative, switching from one government to another would be a matter of sailing to the other without even leaving your house,” said Patri Friedman at the first annual Seasteading conference.[16][19][20]

The Seasteading Institute (TSI) focused on three areas: building a community, doing research, and building the first seastead in the San Francisco Bay. [21]

The project picked up mainstream exposure after having been brought to the attention of PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel. Thiel donated $500,000 in initial seed capital to start The Seasteading Institute, and has contributed $1.7 million [22] in total to date. He also spoke out on behalf of its viability in his essay “The Education of a Libertarian”.[23]

As a result of Thiel’s backing, TSI received widespread media attention from a variety of sources including [24] The Economist[18] Business Insider,[25] and BBC.[26][27]

In 2008, Friedman and Gramlich had hoped to float the first prototype seastead in the San Francisco Bay by 2010[28][29] Plans were to launch a seastead by 2014,[30] and TSI projected that the seasteading population would exceed 150 individuals in 2015.[31] TSI did not meet these targets.

In January 2009, the Seasteading Institute patented a design for a 200-person resort seastead, ClubStead, about a city block in size, produced by consultancy firm Marine Innovation & Technology. The ClubStead design marked the first major engineering analysis in the seasteading movement.[18][32][33]

In the spring of 2013,[34] TSI launched The Floating City Project.[35] The project proposed to locate a floating city within the territorial waters of an existing nation, rather than the open ocean.[36] TSI claimed that doing so would have several advantages:

In October 2013, the Institute raised $27,082 from 291 funders in a crowdfunding campaign[37] TSI used the funds to hire the Dutch marine engineering firm DeltaSync[38] to write an engineering study for The Floating City Project.

In September 2016 the Seasteading Institute met with officials in French Polynesia[39] to discuss building a prototype seastead in a sheltered lagoon. Teva Rohfristch, Minister for Economic Recovery was the first to invite The Seasteading Institute to meet with government officials.The meeting was arranged by Former Minister of Tourism, Marc Collins.[40]

On January 13, 2017, French Polynesia Minister of Housing, Jean-Christophe Bouissou signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with TSI to create the first semi-autonomous “seazone”. TSI spun off a for-profit company called “Blue Frontiers”, which will build and operate a prototype seastead in the zone.[41] The prototype will be based on a design by marine engineering firm Blue 21.[6][7]

On March 3, 2018, a mayor from French Polynesia said the agreement was “not a legal document” and had expired at the end of 2017 in response to a challenger trying to make it an issue for the May, 2018 elections.[42]

In May, 2018 Blue Frontiers began raising funds through a cryptographic token to prepare for building in the Sea Zone when the French Polynesian government passes the SeaZone act. [43]

Cruise ships are a proven technology, and address most of the challenges of living at sea for extended periods of time. However, they’re typically optimized for travel and short-term stay, not for permanent residence in a single location.

Examples:

Platform designs based on spar buoys, similar to oil platforms.[46] In this design, the platforms rest on spars in the shape of floating dumbbells, with the living area high above sea level. Building on spars in this fashion reduces the influence of wave action on the structure.[32]

Examples:

There are numerous seastead designs based around interlocking modules made of reinforced concrete.[48] Reinforced cement is used for floating docks, oil platforms, dams, and other marine structures.

Examples:

A single, monolithic structure that is not intended to be expanded or connected to other modules.

Examples:

The SeaOrbiter is an oceangoing research vessel designed to give scientists and others a residential yet mobile research station. The station will have laboratories, workshops, living quarters and a pressurized deck to support divers and submarines. It is headed by French architect Jacques Rougerie, oceanographer Jacques Piccard and astronaut Jean-Loup Chretien. The cost is expected to be around $52.7 million.[53]

Blueseed was a company aiming to float a ship near Silicon Valley to serve as a visa-free startup community and entrepreneurial incubator. Blueseed founders Max Marty and Dario Mutabdzija met when both were employees of The Seasteading Institute. The project planned to offer living and office space, high-speed Internet connectivity, and regular ferry service to the mainland[54][44] but as of 2014 the project was “on hold”.[55][54][44]

Criticisms have been leveled at both the practicality and desirability of seasteading. These can be broken down into governmental, logistical, and societal categories.

Critics believe that creating governance structures from scratch is a lot harder than it seems.[56] Also, seasteads would still be at risk of political interference from nation states.[18]

On a logistical level, seasteads could be too remote and uncomfortable (without access to culture, restaurants, shopping) to be attractive to potential residents.[18] Building seasteads to withstand the rigors of the open ocean may prove uneconomical.[56][18]

Seastead structures may blight ocean views, their industry or farming may deplete their environments, and their waste may pollute surrounding waters. Some critics believe that seasteads will exploit both residents and the nearby population.[56] Others fear that seasteads will mainly allow wealthy individuals to escape taxes,[3] or to harm mainstream society by ignoring other financial, environmental, and labor regulations.[3][56]

The Seasteading Institute held its first conference in Burlingame, California, October 10, 2008. Forty-five people from nine countries attended.[57]The second Seasteading conference was significantly larger, and held in San Francisco, California, September 2830, 2009.[58][59]The third Seasteading conference took place May 31 June 2, 2012.[60]

Seasteading has been imagined many times in fictional works.

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Seasteading – Wikipedia

FreeSociety

What’s this project about?

For many decades, mostly libertarians have been trying to create a new country by various methods that have ranged from unsuccessfully claiming an existing piece of land (Minerva, Liberland), to creating floating structures on the water (Seasteading). Unfortunately, none of these attempts have succeeded so far and have encountered substantial resistance from existing governments or were technically or financially too difficult. Our conclusion is that, to really gain sovereignty, the most efficient way is to negotiate with an existing government. There are many examples of governments granting another nation sovereignty over a part of their territory, the more prominent example being Guantanamo bay (Cuba), which the USA leased as a coaling and naval station in 1903 for $2000 payable in gold per year. Other more benevolent examples are the current discussions between Maldives and other nations to sell them a piece of land in an attempt to have a solution for their people once their islands permanently disappear because of rising ocean levels.

We have started up preliminary talks with governments and interest is much higher than initially expected. For confidentiality reasons we are unable to disclose any names at this point, but we will do so as soon as we are allowed.

We plan to establish a rule of law based on libertarian principles and free markets. We dont see the need to recreate traditional government structures. The rule of law / constitution can be included in the final agreement of the land sale, and will be an extension of the existing contract that will be put in place with the government that granted us the sovereignty. Enforcement will happen through private arbitration, competing court systems and private law enforcement. It is important to establish a proper rule of law, as our project will set an example for the industry and create an important precedent with governments and the world. We want to make sure the constitution is solid but avoid the inefficiencies of existing government structures.

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FreeSociety

New SETI Plan: Detect Alien Starships Powered by Black Holes

A new paper suggests that we could spot an alien civilization by looking for signs of starships powered by the radiation thrown off by small black hole.

Alien Starships

To detect alien civilizations, astronomers need to make some assumptions about the forms they might take — and the traces their technological artifacts could leave behind.

An outrageous new paper by a mathematician at Kansas State University does just that, positing that a sufficiently advanced alien civilization would likely build starships powered by the radiation thrown off by small black holes — and speculating that astronomers could use gamma telescopes to spot evidence of these black hole starships.

Black Holes

The basic idea, according to mathematician Louis Crane, is that a spaceship powered by a black hole would leave distinctive spillover from gamma rays. He suggests astronomers could detect that spillover using a telescope like the orbital Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope.

“If some advanced civilization already had such starships, current [very high energy] gamma ray telescopes could detect it out to 100 to 1,000 light years if we were in its beam,” Crane said in a press release. “They could be distinguished from natural sources by their steadily changing redshift over a period of years to decades.”

Game SETI Match

Crane also said, provocatively, that he believes astronomers may have already spotted several gamma ray sources “for which no natural explanation has been given.”

He also speculated about what it would mean for a civilization to be capable of creating an artificial black hole — and it sounds absolutely epic.

“To produce an artificial black hole, we would need to focus a billion-ton gamma ray laser to nuclear dimensions,” Crane said in the press release. “It’s like making as many high-tech nuclear bombs as there are automobiles on Earth. Just the scale of it is beyond the current world economy. A civilization which fully utilized the solar system would have the resources.”

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Boeing Is Prepping to Launch Astronauts to Space Station

Commercial Crew Program

SpaceX isn’t the only company attempting to revolutionize the way we send astronauts to space.

Boeing, the largest aerospace company in the world, is looking to send up its own take on a passenger spacecraft, which it calls the CST-100 Starliner, to the International Space Station. Boeing is planning to launch the capsule — uncrewed for now, as a test flight — on an Atlas 5 rocket as early as April, according to NASA.

Starliner

Boeing’s commercial spacecraft shares similarities with SpaceX’s Crew Dragon: it can seat a crew of seven, be operated from a central control panel, dock autonomously with the ISS, and can also be reused multiple times.

Boeing’s Starliner is the result of a $4.2 billion contract signed with NASA in 2014 under the Commercial Crew Program. SpaceX signed a very similar contract for its Crew Dragon mission at the same time, although it paid SpaceX just $2.4 billion.

Race to the ISS

SpaceX successfully launched its passenger spacecraft to the ISS on Saturday, becoming the first ever private American spacecraft to do so. It also marked the first time astronauts launched into space from American soil since the end of NASA’s Space Shuttle program in 2011.

Boeing has tests to complete before it takes off.

“There still are many critical steps to complete before launch and while we eagerly are anticipating these launches, we will step through our test flight preparations and readiness reviews,” Kathy Lueders, Commercial Crew Program manager at NASA said in an official update.

SpaceX is planning a crewed test flight in July of this year. Boeing wants to do the same only a month later — and its first pilots are already on stand-by.

READ MORE: Crew Dragon and Starliner: A Look at the Upcoming Astronaut Taxis [Space.com]

More on Starliner: NASA Announces The First Commercial Astronauts to Pilot The Next Generation of Spacecraft

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China: New “Artificial Sun” Will Be Completed This Year

A Chinese official claims the nation is poised to wrap up construction on the HL-2M tokamak, a new

On the Horizon

In November, Chinese researchers announced that the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor — an “artificial sun” designed to mimic the nuclear fusion process the real Sun uses to generate energy — had hit a milestone by achieving an electron temperature of 100 million degrees Celsius.

Now, officials are saying they believe they’ll wrap up construction on a new artificial sun this year, and they claim this device will be able to hit a milestone in ion temperature — putting us one step closer to harnessing the power of nuclear fusion.

Hot Tech

On Sunday Duan Xuru, an official at the China National Nuclear Corporation, announced during the annual session of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference that engineers would wrap up construction on the nation’s HL-2M Tokamak in 2019.

“The artificial sun’s plasma is mainly composed of electrons and ions,” Duan told the media, according to the Global Times, “and the country’s existing Tokamak devices have achieved an electron temperature of over 100 million degrees C in its core plasma, and an ion temperature of 50 million C, and it is the ion that generates energy in the device.”

Tokamak

According to Duan, the HL-2M Tokamak will be able to achieve an ion temperature of 100 million degrees Celsius, about seven times hotter than the real Sun’s ion temperature. This meets meeting what the Global Times calls “one of the three challenges to reach the goal of harnessing the nuclear fusion.”

If he’s right, the device could serve as a template for future nuclear fusion reactors, bringing the dream of unlimited clean energy one step closer to reality.

READ MORE: Nation to complete new artificial sun device this year [Global Times]

More on the device: China’s “Artificial Sun” Is Now Hot Enough for Nuclear Fusion

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NASA Announces World’s First All-Female Spacewalk

On March 29, NASA astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch will leave the ISS to embark on the world's first all-female spacewalk.

The Female Frontier

Two of NASA’s astronauts are scheduled to make history this month.

On March 29, Anne McClain and Christina Koch will leave the relative safety of the International Space Station for a spacewalk to upgrade the craft’s batteries.

Though rare, a spacewalk alone isn’t history-making. What’s exciting is the fact that this spacewalk will be the first to feature only women astronauts — an inspiring sign that women are catching up with men in exploring the final frontier.

Spacewalk This Way

On Wednesday, NASA spokeswoman Stephanie Schierholz confirmed the all-female spacewalk with CNN.

“As currently scheduled, the March 29 spacewalk will be the first with only women,” she told the network.

In addition to McClain and Koch, Schierholz pointed out that two other women will play important roles behind the scenes for this spacewalk — Mary Lawrence and Jackie Kagey will serve as the spacewalk’s lead flight director and lead spacewalk flight controller, respectively.

A third woman, Canadian Space Agency flight controller Kristen Facciol, will support the spacewalk from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. She’s the one who first broke the news of the all-female spacewalk with an exuberant tweet on March 1.

I just found out that I’ll be on console providing support for the FIRST ALL FEMALE SPACEWALK with @AstroAnnimal and @Astro_Christina and I can not contain my excitement!!!! #WomenInSTEM #WomenInEngineering #WomenInSpace

— Kristen Facciol (@kfacciol) March 1, 2019

As with anything space-related, there is always a chance the spacewalk might not go as planned, with Schierholz telling CNN that “assignments and schedules could always change.”

Still, right now, it’s looking like McClain and Koch will spacewalk their way into the history books on March 29.

READ MORE: 2 astronauts are scheduled for the first all-female spacewalk in history [CNN]

More on the ISS: First-Ever 360-Degree Video of Spacewalk Lets You Feel Like an ISS Astronaut

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