via Daily Prompt: Fraud
We steal. That’s the beauty of human ideas. Each one can generate another one. Good artists borrow, great artists steal. Or did I get that wrong?
Fraud is not quite the same as stealing, is it? They are clearly in the same universe of “Thou shalt not” , if you like Olde Englishe. Both are wrong, immoral, and just not nice. the person who harms another or the common good is a thief or a fraud.
I pretend to care. That’s a fraud, but can also be a kindness. Words are so messed up, when the only way to find Truth is to agree it is bipolar. That our minds create sharp categories, but biology is fluid.
All words lie. They can only partially express the Truth, if such a thing even exists outside of our minds. But this is where discussion starts getting futile, pointless and off the topic of fraud.
Sometimes, I feel like a fraud when I use “Kia Ora” as my opening greeting in an email. It’s because I only ever use the spoken greeting at formal meetings. It’s a wonderful Maori words that can be used to express all kinds of sentiments, wishes, and above all acknowledgement of a fellow human. We say it when we are touched by what we hear, when we want to encourage.
Literally, it means ‘towards health’, or to your good health. But most often used to say ‘hello’; a less formal greeting than “Tena koe” , which literally means “That you”. Just as the Hebrew greeting for ‘hello’, is Shalom Kia Ora reflects different cultural values than the wish for Peace of “Shalom”.
A wish for health, as the most important human attribute. Without health, what use is wealth? But it is the meaning beyond the literal wish for health, that I find so appealing. That connection that we share a joint “Ora” a healthy life. But do I live it?
I am a fraud. I pretend to myself to be other than I am, because it makes me feel more comfortable. I see the world not as it is, but as I wish it to be. And manage the pretence, despite evidence to the contrary as confirmation bias, backfire effects, and other cognitive biases trick my brain that it is right, when it is not.
Financial fraud is interesting. One can argue that many rich folk, are only so because of some kind of fraud. The shady dealings of President Ignoramus come to mind. Though I am told he would have been richer if he had just invested the money he inherited in the stock market, rather than leave the trail of destruction with his failed enterprises. President Fraud who claimed he was going to fix problems, while just bringing us closer to the brink of nuclear apocalypse and planetary despoil that could spell the end of humanity. And worse than these, has increased suffering among countless millions who are deported, abused, or impoverished by his administration.
I have proposed a solution to financial fraud: a single global financial transaction system, with full transparency for all transactions. When I was a child, I was taught of an all-knowing and all-seeing God. Google was the first step in its development, and still key in its further development added by Facebook and other platforms that connect every global citizen to each other.
The solution will undoubtedly create a new type of fraud based on mathematical wizardry and ability to exploit any weak spots in the software design of the electronic financial transaction system. Yet, there is hope that a shared ledger system that is well designed could at least detect it, if not necessarily prevent that kind of fraud.
What I find strange, is how today’s governments allow fraud (or is it blackmail or just plain theft) by computer hackers of various sorts to continue to grow as a business. Are they getting a pay-back? Or is it the cover of rogue states? I’d love to know the answer, as it would seem just a question of investing more technical capacity and resources to prevent this apparently ever-increasging threat of fraud through what should be the most sacred infrastructure of our society: our connectivity to each other.
Can we remove all fraud in out connections? Probably not. But we can do more to discourage them, and catch them early – rather than wasting resources protecting copyright, for example.
Yet, another fraud. How can Warner Brothers make millions of dollars on the Happy Birthday song, when its writers made nothing? Intellectual property is a fraud, since all human invention builds on earlier ones. Inventors need to be rewarded, but perhaps in a way that better incentivises common good than personal profit. Creators create because they have to, not because of the reward. So, support creation rather than rewarding its results. And how does it help creation to maintain copyright for 70 years after the death of the creator?
Fraud is the rentier economy, that is increasingly with us. The State allows a ‘fee’ to be demanded for use of knowledge or processes. Or even property. Why is this fair and and not fraud? What does it mean to say you ‘own’ the land. Only that you paid for it, and are part of the chain of ownership; but where and when did ownership originate?
We are not owners of our land, our assets or even our knowledge. We are stewards part of an interconnected species that started with a dozen or so humans about 70,000 years ago in Africa, who now exceed 7 billion and cover every corner of the globe. Wake up, don’t defraud our future.