PRAGUE CZECH REPUBLIC
My name is Jim Bell, and the reason I am here is 22 years ago, I wrote what became a well-known essay, called “Assassination Politics”, which I call AP for short. I'll tell you something about how that happened, but before my speech is over here, we could very well be making history. Tonight. Here. Now.
In early 1995, I was speculating on how a nation's population might work to get rid of a politician who spends too much public money. At that time, concepts such as digital cash and good encryption were very new, and it occurred to me that if enough people were able to anonymously donate money to a fund, they could offer to pay a self-motivated someone, also anonymously, to “predict” the date of death of the politician. If the fund got enough donations, somebody out there would decide to collect the reward, so he or she would make the guess, make the guess come true, and collect the money.
I gave the idea, and the essay, the very provocative name “Assassination Politics”, because rather than 51% of the public choosing which politicians or government employees to put into office, a much smaller portion of the population would be deciding which of them to remove from office PERMANENTLY. Forever. And I wrote this idea into my 10-part AP essay. And I published it onto the computer networks, under my own name, Jim Bell.
The principle now may seem simple. We have all heard of Bitcoin and many other forms of digital currency. Once an AP system is implemented, it would be possible using good encryption, the Internet, and some kind of digital cash, everybody would be able to anonymously donate money to named funds, each of which will also be paid, anonymously, to a person who correctly “predicts” the date of death of a named person. Once the fund gets large enough, the possibility will exist that somebody makes the death happen, and has predicted it, winning the money in the fund.
But before I wrote the AP essay, I extensively considered the implications of the idea. I realized that if this system could get rid of one bad politician or government employee, it would just as easily eliminate two, or 5, or 100. Or thousands. Or even millions.
I realize this may sound rather rude. But I have read a statistic that during the 20th Century, about 240 million people have died in the world due to government actions, often in wars or Holocausts. And that mass murder is far ruder than anything I described. Which is better? That 240 million people die, or alternative perhaps a couple million politicians and government employees would die? But even that latter figure may be seriously overstating the case: Once it becomes clear to these government people what is in store for them, I fully expect the large majority to simply surrender, to give up.
As I was considering this, it occurred to me to ask, “What would happen if a nation, say the United States, was to get rid of all its politicians and government employees. What if the army couldn't get paid? Wouldn't we be subject to invasion?” At that point, I realized that if any other nation was a threat, the people of America could just as easily donate money to get rid of the leaders and government employees of any nation that threatened them. In fact, the people of all nations could not only get rid of their own oppressors but also get rid of the leadership of any other threatening nation in the world.
It was at that point that I understood I had discovered, or invented, the most amazing tool that had ever existed on the face of this Earth. I was convinced I had discovered how to make the entire population of the world completely free of wars, militaries, politicians, governments, and taxes. And to do so very quickly and cheaply.
What a miraculous breakthrough! Naturally, I questioned whether this idea would actually work as I believed. But 22 years later, I have never heard of any serious challenge the effectiveness of the AP idea. In fact, using Google-search to find commentary about AP, I very rarely see commentary seriously opposing the idea.
Probably one of the reasons is that a person coming out against AP would be implicitly defending the current political, military, and social systems, with all of its faults. Including the deaths of those 240 million people killed during the 20th Century. Such a person would be saying, in effect, “No matter how bad the existing system is, you may not get rid of it by using any violence at all.” I think most people understand that such a statement would be highly unrealistic, even darkly comical.
Unfortunately, the world hasn't dealt with this issue substantially, or even hardly at all, in the subsequent two decades. Why? It isn't as if government violence and wars disappeared after 1996. Not at all! Wars of various types have been a common occurrence since then. Why, then, hasn't there been a serious and careful study of the possibilities and implications of my AP essay? If you believe that people murdered by government action are wrong, then why not learn if Jim Bell may have found a workable solution?
Well, I've run out of patience. I think that the people of the world have no legitimate reason to avoid at least studying my AP idea, and I want to prepare the world for its eventual implementation unless something better comes along. So I've decided to begin a project to formally do exactly such a study, and plan for its eventual implementation.
I will be seeking the assistance of volunteers and possibly paid professionals: This study will include lawyers, historians, sociologists, philosophers, political science people, libertarians in general, teachers, publicity people, and even people of other political philosophies. And yes, anarchists: Fundamentally, my AP discovery is what will have made true anarchism possible, without the chaos many people imagine would be the outcome. Long ago, I determined that the inevitable outcome of the running of an AP system would be a kind of orderly anarchism, which for many people sounds like a contradiction in terms.
Now, don't get too excited. I didn't say that I would necessarily go so far as to implement and run an AP system. But I also didn't say that I necessarily WOULDN'T do that, either. It's way too early to determine if I, and assistants, will eventually run an AP system. I want to research it, to design it, and quite possibly build it. Research into laws and software will certainly be necessary. And I hope that it will be implemented and run by other people, probably multiple organizations with friendly competition. That's right: I don't have an exclusive right to this idea: It's free for anyone to implement. Don't think I would resent it if somebody else started it first. Not at all!!!
Whether I will run it or not, I can say that I want to take this project as far as it can legally go. But even that statement is somewhat vague, because there are at least 190 nations on Earth, and each of them has different laws. And it may sound odd for me to refer to “legality” because governments will probably want this thought of as the height of illegality.
Fundamentally, the AP system would look a lot like a Life Insurance system: Some people die and others get paid. The difference is that the person who dies is unable to have his friends or relatives benefit from the event. Life Insurance is, of course, legal, and is likely to remain so. And even if further regulation of it is attempted, that attempt will likely not succeed.
You may be surprised to hear that I don't necessarily believe that people must actually implement an AP system, to defeat the opponent, governments of all kinds. The reason is potentially simple: For an analogy, imagine that you are at the head of a huge army. If that army is large enough compared to your opponent, he might simply surrender, or flee in panic, once your army shows up. No swords must be unsheathed, no arrows will have to leave their quivers, no hammers will have to be raised in anger. This is obviously the best, quickest, and the most peaceful outcome we can hope for. I truly believe this is the way it will end.
Does this sound like wishful thinking to you? Well, 28 years ago, a miracle happened. The Berlin wall fell, actually, it was smashed to pieces, and one by one government in the east side of Europe fell. One dictator resisted, Nicolai Ceaucescu, and the older ones of you may remember what happened to him.
Once it becomes fairly well understood that the AP system will work, and it will eliminate all politicians, government employees, and militaries, it would be hard to imagine that these people will remain around to have to be defeated. But they can't run: There is nowhere to run to. If anything, they will likely simply surrender while trying to negotiate the best terms they can get. And maybe, for the majority, we will allow them to surrender if they return what they took for so long to work against the rest of the population.
So, my idea is to set up an organization to do the research, publicize the idea greatly, and convince some portion of the world that an AP system will be good. In fact, the publicity will probably be the most important factor. For an analogy, think of it as “sabre rattling”, or banging a weapon against a shield to make noise, or some other demonstration. The publicity I am thinking of will amount to informing the enemy what we can do to them, what we want to do to them, what we should do to them, and what we will do to them. They will soon wish to surrender.
They will be alarmed, discouraged, dismayed, and quite possibly even terrified, and at that point, they will have little reason to hope they will be able to resist us. Their surrender will look better and better to them, and in most cases, we will be prepared to accept it. There will always be some 'Nicolai Ceaucescu's' in every group, and they will eventually be treated as Nicolai Ceaucescu was dealt with. With very little sympathy.
How will this actually be accomplished?
That is an excellent question. Even in the era of the Internet, advertising (to buy the world's “share of mind”) does indeed cost money, as well as any professional help that will become useful. Right now, I don't have that amount of money. But I have an idea how this thing can be financed, and quite easily. But I need help. I need your help. But I have figured out a way to get a lot of help, and quite possibly in a way that will not only not cost a lot, but in fact, will pay you far more than you could give. That sounds impossible, right? Well, keep listening, because I will soon convince you.
Consider what I am doing right now: I am trying to convince the people in this room, and the people in the world, and especially the Bitcoin owners of the world, that eventually a system will be set up to drive away all governments and militaries. Unless you are a government employee, or a soldier, or some politician, you will see how my idea will improve the world. America's military budget, for example, will shortly surpass $700 billion. Just the savings of that amount is over $2,000 for every man, woman, and child in America. So everybody knows that this will represent tremendous savings.
Let's do a “Thought Experiment” like Albert Einstein did.
The value of a bitcoin is very volatile, especially in the last 9 months or so. Its value is very subject to rumors and news. In November of 2013 an anonymous person with the adopted name “Sanjuro” announced, publicly, that he would be implementing an AP-like system. Within a few weeks, the value of a Bitcoin had increased by about a factor of 3. Well, that promise was never actually fulfilled, for reasons we don't know, but we can see that this kind of news can have an enormous upwards effect on the price of Bitcoin. See this graph of the value of a Bitcoin during late 2013.
Think about what I am doing, here, and right now. I am announcing that I am beginning a project to research and develop the groundwork for an AP-system. Anyone who owns bitcoins, and many who don't, could easily become quite enthusiastic about Bitcoins' future value. What do you think will happen to that value” Will it double or even triple in a month or two?
What I am now asking you to do, I ask you to consider very carefully. I propose that for each 1 Bitcoin you own, you give me 1/1000 of a BTC. One thousandth. To me. Personally. You will keep 0.999 BTC. But it might not actually cost you anything, You might make a huge profit. Why? Think about it.
The total number of Bitcoins in circulation is over 16.5 million. Suppose everyone who owned Bitcoins gave me one thousandth for each one they own, that would be 16,500 BTC for me. And if the value of a BTC is $5000, that would mean I'd get $82.5 million. Does this mean I'm greedy?
Now suppose the world news headlines say, “Author of Assassination Politics Essay is given $82.5 million dollars by the world's Bitcoin owners to work on his proposed system”. What do you think THAT would do to the price of your remaining 0.999 Bitcoins, for each one you originally owned. I suggest it is quite plausible that the hysteria would be intense, and the price of BTC could double, possibly triple, and may even quadruple. Just as it has done before.
I would get that 0.001 BTC, and even if the value only doubled, an owner of a single BTC would double his money: From $5,000 to $10,000. So I'd get the equivalent of $5, doubling to $10, while the person who made the gift to me would see the value of his Bitcoin increase by $5,000. So, he's getting 99.8% of the increase, $5,000, and I am only getting 0.2% of that, maybe $10. I hope that shows you I'm not nearly as greedy as it may have initially seemed.
Now, realize that this is not merely now a proposal. I am here. You are too. I am telling you this will be done. News of this event will get out, within days possibly hours. Just my proposing this concept may double the price of Bitcoin very soon. Or triple it. Or quadruple it. Who knows how big it may become? Maybe I should give you a few minutes to call up your Bitcoin broker?
Sure, it does not take much thinking to realize that you don't actually HAVE TO give me anything. You could say, “I'm going to get this increase anyway! Why should I pay Jim Bell anything?” Well, I'll give you a few reasons. I took a great risk before by writing my AP essay and publicizing it, and I'm taking a potentially great risk now. It is conceivable that somebody in power may want to see me dead because of what I have just done. Shouldn't I be rewarded for taking such a risk?
Secondly, I suggest that my 1995 AP essay provided a vital road-map so that society could get away from governments, taxes, militaries, and all war. Does that earn me anything? Further, I suggest that my AP proposal provided an enormous impetus to accelerate the development of Bitcoin: Who knows when a Bitcoin-like currency would have arrived if nobody thought that it was good for much other than buying groceries (and drugs). It might have been years later, except that people understood what a digital currency would be good for. We certainly wouldn't have gotten a Bitcoin invented out of big government because they would have realized that their futures would be cut short.
At least the third reason is this: This won't be a secret! The more money I get, the more I will report getting to the world's media, and the bigger impact we will have on the people of the world. The fourth reason, I propose, is that the amount, 1/1000 of each Bitcoin you have, is eminently fair and if anything, is far less than I could arguably hope for. Could I realistically ask for a tenth of a Bitcoin, 10% of the total, AFTER you already see that the amount your Bitcoin went up? But I don't. Could I ask for one-hundredth of a Bitcoin for each Bitcoin? That seems very reasonable, doesn't it? But for right now, I'm asking for 1/1000 of a Bitcoin, for each you now own. Can we agree that's fair? You'll become much more wealthy, and I will be rewarded too.
The reason this can work is that Bitcoin isn't a “zero-sum-game”: If somebody gives you one Euro, you are one Euro richer, and he is one Euro poorer. Averaging you two, your total values didn't change at all. But suppose you give me 0.001 Bitcoin for each Bitcoin you own, and maybe the value of your remaining 0.999 bitcoins will double, triple, or even quadruple That is far from being a zero-sum game, isn't it? I make a little, you make a lot.
Is this magic? No. Where does this extra money come from? It comes from the hundreds of thousands, and ultimately millions, of people who have not yet bought into Bitcoin, but will do so over the next few months or years. They will see that there is a good reason to buy Bitcoin, and they will do so, and so the price of Bitcoin will go up. This is quite normal: It's the process that has been raising the price of Bitcoin from a thousandth of a dollar, in 2009, to $5000, today.
And the reason this could work is that I, Jim Bell, am not just another person. I'm the guy who wrote the Assassination Politics essay, and now you and everyone know what I'd like to do if I had millions of dollars to do it. If you make it possible for me to research, to develop, to plan, and to design, and we will all be much closer to a world that is far more peaceful and efficient and doesn't waste money on militaries. We will all be much closer to a world where governments have been taken down, and a peaceful society will permanently exist. I advocate essentially the total and involuntary shutdown of anything we now know as “government”. Once the world realizes what I want to do, and that you have given me the means to do it, we will both shake the world to its core.
The more money I get, the more advertising I will be able to purchase. And that will mean more news being released, the more excitement will be created, and a quicker change to a world without governments, militaries, and wars. I will make headlines. And we will make the world change.