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Posthumanism – Wikipedia

Posted: October 17, 2016 at 1:19 am

This article is about a critique of humanism. For the futurist ideology and movement, see transhumanism.

Posthumanism or post-humanism (meaning “after humanism” or “beyond humanism”) is a term with at least seven definitions according to philosopher Francesca Ferrando:[1]

Philosopher Ted Schatzki suggests there are two varieties of posthumanism of the philosophical kind:[12]

One, which he calls ‘objectivism’, tries to counter the overemphasis of the subjective or intersubjective that pervades humanism, and emphasises the role of the nonhuman agents, whether they be animals and plants, or computers or other things.[12]

A second prioritizes practices, especially social practices, over individuals (or individual subjects) which, they say, constitute the individual.[12]

There may be a third kind of posthumanism, propounded by the philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd. Though he did not label it as ‘posthumanism’, he made an extensive and penetrating immanent critique of Humanism, and then constructed a philosophy that presupposed neither Humanist, nor Scholastic, nor Greek thought but started with a different religious ground motive.[13] Dooyeweerd prioritized law and meaningfulness as that which enables humanity and all else to exist, behave, live, occur, etc. “Meaning is the being of all that has been created,” Dooyeweerd wrote, “and the nature even of our selfhood.”[14] Both human and nonhuman alike function subject to a common ‘law-side’, which is diverse, composed of a number of distinct law-spheres or aspects.[15] The temporal being of both human and non-human is multi-aspectual; for example, both plants and humans are bodies, functioning in the biotic aspect, and both computers and humans function in the formative and lingual aspect, but humans function in the aesthetic, juridical, ethical and faith aspects too. The Dooyeweerdian version is able to incorporate and integrate both the objectivist version and the practices version, because it allows nonhuman agents their own subject-functioning in various aspects and places emphasis on aspectual functioning.[16]

Ihab Hassan, theorist in the academic study of literature, once stated:

Humanism may be coming to an end as humanism transforms itself into something one must helplessly call posthumanism.[17]

This view predates most currents of posthumanism which have developed over the late 20th century in somewhat diverse, but complementary, domains of thought and practice. For example, Hassan is a known scholar whose theoretical writings expressly address postmodernity in society.[citation needed] Beyond postmodernist studies, posthumanism has been developed and deployed by various cultural theorists, often in reaction to problematic inherent assumptions within humanistic and enlightenment thought.[4]

Theorists who both complement and contrast Hassan include Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, cyberneticists such as Gregory Bateson, Warren McCullouch, Norbert Wiener, Bruno Latour, Cary Wolfe, Elaine Graham, N. Katherine Hayles, Donna Haraway Peter Sloterdijk, Stefan Lorenz Sorgner, Evan Thompson, Francisco Varela, Humberto Maturana and Douglas Kellner. Among the theorists are philosophers, such as Robert Pepperell, who have written about a “posthuman condition”, which is often substituted for the term “posthumanism”.[5][6]

Posthumanism differs from classical humanism by relegating humanity back to one of many natural species, thereby rejecting any claims founded on anthropocentric dominance.[18] According to this claim, humans have no inherent rights to destroy nature or set themselves above it in ethical considerations a priori. Human knowledge is also reduced to a less controlling position, previously seen as the defining aspect of the world. The limitations and fallibility of human intelligence are confessed, even though it does not imply abandoning the rational tradition of humanism.[citation needed]

Proponents of a posthuman discourse, suggest that innovative advancements and emerging technologies have transcended the traditional model of the human, as proposed by Descartes among others associated with philosophy of the Enlightenment period.[19] In contrast to humanism, the discourse of posthumanism seeks to redefine the boundaries surrounding modern philosophical understanding of the human. Posthumanism represents an evolution of thought beyond that of the contemporary social boundaries and is predicated on the seeking of truth within a postmodern context context. In so doing, it rejects previous attempts to establish ‘anthropological universals’ that are imbued with anthropocentric assumptions.[18]

The philosopher Michel Foucault placed posthumanism within a context that differentiated humanism from enlightenment thought. According to Foucault, the two existed in a state of tension: as humanism sought to establish norms while Enlightenment thought attempted to transcend all that is material, including the boundaries that are constructed by humanistic thought.[18] Drawing on the Enlightenments challenges to the boundaries of humanism, posthumanism rejects the various assumptions of human dogmas (anthropological, political, scientific) and take the next step by attempting to change the nature of thought about what it means to be human. This requires not only decentering the human in multiple discourses (evolutionary, ecological, technological) but also examining those discourses to uncover inherent humanistic, anthropocentric, normative notions of humanness and the concept of the human.[4]

Posthumanistic discourse aims to open up spaces to examine what it means to be human and critically question the concept of “the human” in light of current cultural and historical contexts[4] In her book How We Became Posthuman, N. Katherine Hayles, writes about the struggle between different versions of the posthuman as it continually co-evolves alongside intelligent machines.[20] Such coevolution, according to some strands of the posthuman discourse, allows one to extend their subjective understandings of real experiences beyond the boundaries of embodied existence. According to Hayles’s view of posthuman, often referred to as technological posthumanism, visual perception and digital representations thus paradoxically become ever more salient. Even as one seeks to extend knowledge by deconstructing perceived boundaries, it is these same boundaries that make knowledge acquisition possible. The use of technology in a contemporary society is thought to complicate this relationship.

Hayles discusses the translation of human bodies into information (as suggested by Hans Moravec) in order illuminate how the boundaries of our embodied reality have been compromised in the current age and how narrow definitions of humanness no longer apply. Because of this, according to Hayles, posthumanism is characterized by a loss of subjectivity based on bodily boundaries.[4] This strand of posthumanism, including the changing notion of subjectivity and the disruption of ideas concerning what it means to be human, is often associated with Donna Haraways concept of the cyborg.[4] However, Haraway has distanced herself from posthumanistic discourse due to other theorists use of the term to promote utopian views of technological innovation to extend the human biological capacity[21] (even though these notions would more correctly fall into the realm of transhumanism[4]).

While posthumanism is a broad and complex ideology, it has relevant implications today and for the future. It attempts to redefine social structures without inherently humanly or even biological origins, but rather in terms of social and psychological systems where consciousness and communication could potentially exist as unique disembodied entities. Questions subsequently emerge with respect to the current use and the future of technology in shaping human existence,[18] as do new concerns with regards to language, symbolism, subjectivity, phenomenology, ethics, justice and creativity.[22]

Posthumanism is sometimes used as a synonym for an ideology of technology known as “transhumanism” because it affirms the possibility and desirability of achieving a “posthuman future”, albeit in purely evolutionary terms.

James Hughes comments that there is considerable confusion between the two terms.[23][24]

Some critics have argued that all forms of posthumanism have more in common than their respective proponents realize.[25]

However, posthumanists in the humanities and the arts are critical of transhumanism, in part, because they argue that it incorporates and extends many of the values of Enlightenment humanism and classical liberalism, namely scientism, according to performance philosopher Shannon Bell:[26]

Altruism, mutualism, humanism are the soft and slimy virtues that underpin liberal capitalism. Humanism has always been integrated into discourses of exploitation: colonialism, imperialism, neoimperialism, democracy, and of course, American democratization. One of the serious flaws in transhumanism is the importation of liberal-human values to the biotechno enhancement of the human. Posthumanism has a much stronger critical edge attempting to develop through enactment new understandings of the self and others, essence, consciousness, intelligence, reason, agency, intimacy, life, embodiment, identity and the body.[26]

While many modern leaders of thought are accepting of nature of ideologies described by posthumanism, some are more skeptical of the term. Donna Haraway, the author of A Cyborg Manifesto, has outspokenly rejected the term, though acknowledges a philosophical alignment with posthumanim. Haraway opts instead for the term of companion species, referring to nonhuman entities with which humans coexist.[21]

Questions of race, some argue, are suspiciously elided within the “turn” to posthumanism. Noting that the terms “post” and “human” are already loaded with racial meaning, critical theorist Zakiyyah Iman Jackson argues that the impulse to move “beyond” the human within posthumanism too often ignores praxes of humanity and critiques produced by black people, including Frantz Fanon and Aime Cesaire to Hortense Spillers and Fred Moten. Interrogating the conceptual grounds in which such a mode of beyond is rendered legible and viable, Jackson argues that it is important to observe that blackness conditions and constitutes the very nonhuman disruption and/or disruption” which posthumanists invite. In other words, given that race in general and blackness in particular constitutes the very terms through which human/nonhuman distinctions are made, for example in enduring legacies of scientific racism, a gesture toward a beyond actually returns us to a Eurocentric transcendentalism long challenged.

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Gambling Addiction: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Posted: October 13, 2016 at 5:36 am

What is gambling addiction?

For the most part, gambling in moderation is a socially acceptable behavior. Gambling addiction is another story. If left untreated, a gambling addiction can negatively affect your financial situation, relationships, and other aspects of your life.

According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, problem gambling affects more than 2 percent of Americans. If you have a gambling addiction, you may feel an uncontrollable urge to buy lottery tickets, visit casinos, play slot machines, bet on sports, or gamble online. The specific type and frequency of your gambling behavior may vary. But in general, you will be unable to control that behavior. You will continue gambling, even in the face of negative social, financial, or legal consequences.

The majority of people with gambling addictions are men. But this type of addiction can also affect women.

People with addictions often try to hide their condition, but a gambling addiction can be difficult to conceal. You may need frequent access to casinos or online gambling pools. Even if you gamble at home when no one is around, your addiction may begin to show itself in other areas of your life.

If you have a gambling addiction, you may display some or all of the following behaviors:

You may also experience the following consequences from your gambling addiction:

People with gambling addiction dont always gamble frequently. But when they do start gambling, they may be unable to stop.

When you have a gambling addiction, an area of your brain called the insula may be overactive. This hyperactive region may lead to distorted thinking. This can cause you to see patterns in random sequences and continue gambling after near misses.

Your brain may respond to the act of gambling in the same way that an alcoholics brain responds to a drink. The more you feed your habit, the worse it will become.

With the right treatment, gambling addiction is manageable. Unlike someone with a food addiction, you dont need the object of your addiction to survive. You simply need to learn how to develop a healthy and balanced relationship with money.

Its important for you to quit gambling completely, since even occasional gambling can lead to a relapse. A program of recovery can help you develop impulse control. In general, gambling addiction is treated with similar methods as other addictions.

Although not frequently required, some people find that they need the structure afforded by an inpatient program at a treatment center to overcome a gambling addiction. This type of program may be especially helpful if youre unable to avoid casinos or other gambling venues without help. You will need to stay in the treatment facility for a set amount of time, anywhere from 30 days to an entire year.

Outpatient treatment programs are more commonly used by people with gambling addictions. In this type of program, you will attend classes at a facility. You may also attend group sessions and one-on-one therapy. You will continue to live at home and participate in school, work, or other daily activities.

Gamblers Anonymous (GA), or other 12-step programs, may also help you overcome your gambling addiction. This type of program may be especially helpful if you cant afford more intensive rehabilitation options. It follows the same model as Alcoholics Anonymous, helping you build a support network of other recovered gambling addicts. You may meet with group members one or more times per week.

In addition to group counseling or support sessions, you may also benefit from one-on-one therapy. Gambling addiction can stem from deeper emotional or avoidance issues. You will need to deal with these underlying issues in order to change self-destructive patterns, including your gambling addiction. Counseling gives you a place to open up and address these problems.

In some cases, you may need medication to help you overcome your gambling urges. Your gambling addiction might result from an underlying mental health condition, such as bipolar disorder. In these cases, you must learn to manage the underlying condition to develop better impulse control.

Dealing with the financial consequences of gambling is sometimes the hardest part of the recovery process. In the beginning, you may need to turn over financial responsibilities to a spouse or trusted friend. You may also need to avoid places and situations that can trigger your urge to gamble, such as casinos or sporting events.

If you suspect you or someone you love has a gambling addiction, talk to your doctor or mental health professional. They can help you find the information and support you need. Several organizations also provide information about gambling addiction and treatment options. They can help guide you to local or online support services.

You may find the following organizations and resources helpful:

Like any addiction, compulsive gambling can be difficult to stop. You may find it embarrassing to admit that you have a problem, especially since many people gamble socially without developing an addiction. Overcoming the shame or embarrassment that you feel will be a big step on the road to recovery.

A recovery program, one-on-one counseling, medication, and lifestyle changes may help you overcome your gambling addiction. If you dont treat your gambling problem, it can lead to serious financial issues. It can also negatively affect your relationships with family members, friends, and others. Effective treatment can help you avoid these consequences and mend your relationships through recovery.

Were unable to offer personal health advice, but weve partnered with trusted telehealth provider Amwell, who can connect you with a doctor. Try Amwell telehealth for $1 by using the code HEALTHLINE.

If you’re facing a medical emergency, call your local emergency services immediately, or visit the nearest emergency room or urgent care center.

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Twenty-fourth Amendment | United States Constitution …

Posted: October 8, 2016 at 10:22 pm

United States Constitution

Twenty-fourth Amendment, amendment (1964) to the Constitution of the United States that prohibited the federal and state governments from imposing poll taxes before a citizen can participate in a federal election. It was proposed by the U.S. Congress on August 27, 1962, and was ratified by the states on January 23, 1964.

In 1870, following the American Civil War, the Fifteenth Amendment, guaranteeing the right to vote to former slaves, was adopted. The Twenty-fourth Amendment was adopted as a response to policies adopted in various Southern states after the ending of post-Civil War Reconstruction (186577) to limit the political participation of African Americans. Such policies were bolstered by the 1937 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Breedlove v. Suttles, which upheld a Georgia poll tax. The Supreme Court reasoned that voting rights are conferred by the states and that the states may determine voter eligibility as they see fit, save for conflicts with the Fifteenth Amendment (respecting race) and the Nineteenth Amendment (respecting sex). It further ruled that a tax on voting did not amount to a violation of privileges or immunities protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. In short, because the tax applied to all votersrather than just certain classes of votersit did not violate the Fourteenth or Fifteenth Amendment.

During the civil rights era of the 1950s, particularly following the Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954, such policies increasingly were seen as barriers to voting rights, particularly for African Americans and the poor. Thus, the Twenty-fourth Amendment was proposed (by Sen. Spessard Lindsey Holland of Florida) and ratified to eliminate an economic instrument that was used to limit voter participation. Two years after its ratification in 1964, the U.S. Supreme Court, invoking the Fourteenth Amendments equal protection clause, in Harper v. Virginia Board of Electors, extended the prohibition of poll taxes to state elections.

The full text of the amendment is:

Section 1The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.

Section 2The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

amendment (1920) to the Constitution of the United States that officially extended the right to vote to women.

…the United States to deny federal funds to local agencies that practiced discrimination. Efforts to increase African American voter participation were also helped by the ratification in 1964 of the Twenty-fourth Amendment to the Constitution, which banned the poll tax.

…in Southern states into the 20th century. Some states abolished the tax in the years after World War I, while others retained it. Its use was declared unconstitutional in federal elections by the Twenty-fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, effective in 1964. In 1966 the Supreme Court, going beyond the Twenty-fourth Amendment, ruled that under the equal protection clause of…

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Abolition of Work – scribd.com

Posted: September 16, 2016 at 5:26 am

Loving & Understanding an Empath. _ Elephant Journal

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Patience, The Art of Intelligent Waiting – By Sara Childre

The Art of Self-Forgiveness _ Wildmind Buddhist Meditation

Needy Narcissism – Article by Dr. Lynne Namka

Filling the Hole in Your Heart Recovering From Childhood _ Psychology Today

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Live longer and better with these five immortality herbs …

Posted: at 5:18 am


A great number of the most effective herbs are known as adaptogens, which assist the body in its natural task of maintaining homeostasis – the delicate state of balance necessary to survival and healing. A body out of balance is considered to be in “negative homeostasis,” a condition in which the restorative (anabolic) and degenerative (catabolic) systems of the body may not function properly,eventually leading to experience symptoms of fatigue, anxiety, depression, insomnia, weight fluctuation and impaired libido. But adaptogens help the body adapt to and compensate for change. In a person with high blood sugar, for example, an adaptogenic herb might help to lower glucose levels in the body; whereas, in a person with low blood sugar, the herb would help to raise them.

Because of this ability to improve the body’s stress response, adaptogenic herbs can literally add years to a person’s life. Here are a few you should know:

Remember that medicinal herbs can have reactions with some medications and certain health conditions. Those who are pregnant, nursing or who have autoimmune conditions may be especially vulnerable to complications. Be sure to seek counsel from a health professional before you begin any new herbal protocol.

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What is DNA? | DNA Encyclopedia

Posted: September 14, 2016 at 1:08 am

In order to truly answer the question of What is DNA? one has to go back to the elementary or high school biology classes.

DNA is the complex chemical that carries genetic information.

DNA dictates life in two manners:

There are elements called chromosomes in each cell of the human body. To be more precise, each cell contains 23 pairs of chromosomes.

Youll be astonished to know that some 50 to 100 thousand genes are held within these chromosomes. Since each of these genes could take value from one of the two values of its parent cells, hence you can imagine the possible variability in this structure.

These genes are made up of what is called DNA that is Deoxyribose Nucleic Acids. Apart from these genes that carry essential genetic information and only account for 2% of DNAs structure, the rest of the 98% of DNA is still a mystery.

Biologists call it junk DNA as there are no known proteins or traits that are coded or built by this part of DNA. This junk DNA, as well as the genetic information-carrying part only, varies in structure owing to the presence of four nucleotide bases throughout the DNA in differing order and sequence.

Think of these four nucleotide bases in DNA as letters that form an alphabet. Just like the way the order of letters determines the meaning of the word that is formed, the sequence of these nucleotide bases concludes what information is available for the production of proteins that consequently take an active part in the formation and growth of the body.

Most of the DNA is present within the nucleus of the cells. This is known as nuclear DNA. Mitochondria also hold a modest quantity of DNA, which is termed as mitochondrial DNA. The latter is useful in tests related to someones distant maternal lineage.

What is great about DNA is that it has a very autonomous self-replication mechanism in action. The replication process makes use of the two strands of DNA. Each of these strands acts as a template and after going through a series of steps is converted into dual stranded DNA once again. This replication is very important because when the cell divides, the newly formed cell requires the same set of instructions for it to function and grow and the replicated DNA serves this purpose.

Summing up the answer for what is DNA, it could easily be said that its a well-designed program spanning thousands of lines of codes that has instructions for everything that the cell needs to perform.

DNA, no matter how short the acronym sounds, is a vast topic that requires serious dedication of time and energy before one can grasp what it is and how it affects the life within and around us.

This article sets the foundations for a series of articles in which we will cover various aspects of DNA, the concepts, the technology and its applications. Right now, without going into the peculiar details, we are only going to briefly introduce these topics. You can think of it as a short glossary for DNA terminology.

Learning about DNA starts with a sound knowledge of what is it made up of and how these chemicals interact with each other to form a structure that builds a DNA molecule. You have to look carefully at what essential functions DNA performs in the cell that it is located in, by the way, its present in each cell of human as well as a body of living organisms.

In most basic terms, DNA is the master plan of life that works all the way from inception to growth. It holds all of the hereditary information and passes it from generation to generation.

Once you have encountered the double helix structure of DNA, as proposed by James Watson and Francis Crick in 1953, you should move on to advance topics like DNA replication. DNA replication tells us that each DNA is able to produce an exact copy of itself and this is made possible with the help of DNA polymerase, an enzyme that takes an active role in the process. Youll also come across DNA synthesis, which is an artificial technique to produce copies of DNA and is based on the concept of DNA replication.

While DNA holds all of the information required for the cell to perform its actions and produce the essential proteins, it is important to note that DNA doesnt interfere directly with the elements of cytoplasm outside the cell nucleus and disseminates this useful information through a messenger RNA. This is done through a process called DNA transcription.

The buzz words that have really boosted the popularity of DNA among the masses are DNA cloning and DNA testing. Who has not heard of Dolly, the first ever cloned animal? DNA testing, owing to a large number of social, commercial and forensic uses, has drawn the attention towards further studies and research in DNA.

DNA is the short term for Deoxyribonucleic Acid. Almost every cell in an individuals body has the same DNA, as the DNA is located in the cell nucleons. People, most of the times, learn what is DNA and its importance for the human body, in school.

Anyway, properly understanding what DNA is, is always important, mostly if you are working in areas in which DNA results have importance on the evolution of some cases. For starter, to understand what is DNA, you need to know that it contains all the information used in the development and functioning of all living organisms.

What is the structure of DNA, is also a common question that people seem to ask?

Human DNA consists of about 3 billion bases and more than 99 percent of them are the same, for all individuals. Another important aspect of what is DNA is that it can replicate and make copies of itself. The use of DNA linked information has become more important in science and medicine, as researchers have found that it can be used to cure diseases, or better said to avoid babies from inheriting diseases their parents are suffering from. This currently, is considered to be a major goal for scientists, who are searching for treatments, cure and also for prevention when it comes to genetic conditions. DNA becomes even more important for people who think that such risks are higher in their particular cases.

Researchers aim to detect individuals who are predisposed to develop such diseases and that means that scientists can find treatments, to be used for the purpose to prevent genetic conditions. DNA is simple to understand, but the way DNA functions is more complex.

The discovery of DNA, in fact, revolutionized both science and medicine, having numerous effects on other linked domains, such as legal and social areas. Samples of DNA are, all the times, taken from the scene of a crime, and it is a safe way to find and convict criminals, being an accepted and trusted evidence in court.

What is DNA can be easily answered when you understand that it transfers hereditary information from one generation to another, determining, at the same time, the structure of cells.

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8 Mystical Herbs and Legal Psychedelics For … – LonerWolf

Posted: September 6, 2016 at 8:19 am

As a Shamanic Practitioner Im often asked to recommend substances that get you high (which is slang for enteringnon-ordinary states of consciousness)legally.

While I encourage people to carefully and mindfully explore the recesses of their minds, unfortunately there are many websites out there that advocate the use of legal psychedelics such as nutmeg, datura and morning glory seeds which all have dangerous side effects and even deadly consequences.

Its this type of misguidance that has lead to so many bad experiences, accidents and such a negative outlook on psychedelicdrugsin society, as though all mind-altering substances are one-and-the-same. Weve come to group paint thinner in the same basket as Ayahuasca but just because something can alter your consciousness doesnt mean it shares the same spiritual value.

However, there is a group of entheogens known as Oneirogens (from the Greek oneiros meaning dream and genmeaning creating), which produce and also enhance dream-like states of consciousness. These herbs and roots have been used for thousands of years for prophetic divination through dreams, out-of-body experiences, and to consciously awaken you during dream states (Lucid Dreaming).

Oneirogens represent only one specific class of entheogens that can be exclusively used for lucid dreaming, but there are many other types and classes of entheogens that can be used for other specific life purposes. I will expand on these other substances in future articles.

The following legal psychedelics can be safely consumed having minimal effect on waking consciousness, and will only exhibit their effects when you fall into a natural state of sleep.

Calea is perhaps the best known of all Dream herbs. The Chontal Indians of Mexico used this shrub traditionally for lucid dreaming. I personally prefer growing mine as the fresher the herb is, the better. Calea can be consumed in tea (the flavor is pungent and bitter) or by smoking the dried leaves. A combination of smoking and drinking an infusion of the herb before bed, setting intention and focusing on ones heartbeat creates the ideal conditions for dream-time spiritual journeying.

Effects: Apart from the intensification of visual imagery during sleep, you may find yourself feeling a sense of well-being, light-headedness and clarity the day after.

Use:Taking at least five grams of this herb is required to be really effective for most people. Drink the herb before bed, keep an intent in mind before falling asleep (e.g. I want to meet my Spirit Guide) and repeat for several nights until lucid dreaming occurs.

Mugwort has long been used by many cultures for prophetic dreaming and astral traveling (its Paiute name translates literally to Dream Plant). Smoking the herb directly into the lungs, or burning it as incense in the afternoon, assists with lucid dreaming. Drinking the calming, liver cleansing tea before sleep may also keep you longer in a conscious dream state (REM sleep). This herb often helps one heal while dreaming. Some users report having darker dreams that reveal hidden insights and core wounds, helping them to find closure.

Caution: Avoid this herb if you are pregnant. Mugwort relaxes the uterus in women and should never be drunk, smoked or even touched by expectant mothers. Mugwort is also potentially allergenic to people sensitive to plants in the Asteraceae (daisy) family.

Effects: Apart from the intensification of prophetic visual imagery during sleep, this herb magnifies the brilliance of your dreams and overall duration of your sleep. It is also popular among herbalists to aid in relieving menstrual pains, joint pains and headaches.

Use: 1 teaspoon per cup. Pour boiling water over the herb, cover, and steep for 10 minutes. Drink or smoke before going to bed (Mugwort has a floral taste when smoked).

This plant was called Sinicuichi (or Sun Opener) by the Aztecs and is still used by Mexican shamans as a trance divination catalyst. This herb is regarded as sacred in that it enables vivid recollection of past distant events. Some users I have worked with have even reported the remembrance of pre-birth events!

Effects: Apart from the intensification of prophetic visual imagery during sleep, Sun Opener causes a yellowing of the vision and altered acoustic perception.

Use:Traditionally, fresh leaves are collected and allowed to wilt. The leaves are then put into a cup or jar, cool water is added, and the mixture is placed in the sun to brew and ferment for at least 24 hours. It is said that during the fermentation process, the knowledge of the sun is embedded into the potion, creating the elixir of the sun (hence the name).

Celastrus paniculatus is a shrub used in Ayurvedic medicine in India. Celastrus seeds and oil have long been regarded in India as beneficial to the intellect and memory which makes it a wonderful supplement in dream recollection. Apart from its effectiveness as a dream enhancer, Celastrus is a great mental stimulant, ornootropic, that increasesyour mental sharpness.

Effects: Apart from the intensification of visual imagery during sleep, Celastrus is an effective brain tonic.

Use: Take 5-10 seeds one hour before bedtime for 3 to 5 days until vivid dreaming occurs.

Silene is regarded by the Xhosa people of Africa as a sacred plant. Its roots are traditionally used by shamans to promote lucid dream states in healers and other shamans during initiation ceremonies. It is noted as a teaching plant that is considered highly sacred.

Effects: Intensification of visual imagery during sleep.

Use: Mix this herb in small amounts in water and consume prior to sleeping. Silene also makes an interesting tasting tea but it can be bitter, so the extracted shot form is recommended.

Although it is nicknamed the Blue Egyptian Lotus, the Nymphaea Caerulea herb is actually a Water Lilly thatshares no connection to the actual lotus flower. Nymphaea was used as a sacrament in ancient Egypt as a mild sedative. Today, the herb is used by herbalists to treat insomnia, but it has also been reported to induce lucid dreaming.

Effects: Improves quality of sleep and may intensify visual imagery.

Use:This herb is typically consumed in teas, elixir extracts, or by smoking it. If you have trouble dreaming or if you find yourself frequently waking up during dreams, blue lotus is a great supplement to use alongside one of the other substances mentioned in this article.

Tian Men Dong is one of the worlds top adaptogens and is also know as the Wild Asparagus Root in English, and Shatawari in Ayurvedic medicine. The Chinese word for wild asparagus root is Tian Men Dong, or heavenly spirit herb, as it was cherished by shamans, monks, and yogis for its heart-opening effects. Chinese Taoist monks placed much value on dream work, nicknaming Wild Aspagarus as The Flying Herb; they found it effective to help one fly through the universe at night, achieving magnificent dreams and moving in alignment with the spirit.

Effects: Improves quality of sleep, induces relaxation and stress relief, serves as a good anti-depressant and stimulates flying dreams.

Use: 1 to 3 grams per day in a concentrated form.

Traditionally used in African medicine to induce vivid dreams and enable communication with the spirit world, Entada facilitates entry into the dream world, and promotes increased REM awareness.This makes iteasier for the sleeper to realize that they are dreaming and thus gives them an edge in achieving lucidity. Entada contains several active compounds, essential oils and alkaloids.

Effects: Improves sleeping states by increasing depth, length and awareness.

Use: The inner meat of the seed is consumed directly, or the meat is chopped, dried, mixed with other herbs and smoked just before sleep to induce the desired dreams.

If you plan on smoking any of the plants listed in this article, I would highly encourage you to use a vaporizer for your own health. The right herb grinder can also do wonders in making the process easier.

I always recommend that you research very well any substance that you plan to consume and preferably grow them yourself. Keep in mind that the type, quality, age, storage and care of these herbs are all factors that will influence your experience with them.

Not only that, but the set, substance, setting and right dosage, along with creating a strong enough intention are all essential elements that must be carefully considered before exploring the depths of your mind. I plan to explore this topic more in future articles.

Have you ever tried any of the legal psychedelics above, and if so, what has been your experience with them? Let me know in the comments below.

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8 Mystical Herbs and Legal Psychedelics For … – LonerWolf

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Live Free or Drown: Floating Utopias on the Cheap | WIRED

Posted: September 3, 2016 at 11:36 pm

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Patri Friedman wants to make it easy for anyone to build an independent country: “If we make one seastead, there’s room for thousands.” Photo:Dustin Aksland

Several dozen conference-goers are filing into the Mendocino Room of the Embassy Suites Hotel in Burlingame, a San Francisco suburb, arming themselves with coffee and muffins as they shuffle to their seats. It’s the kind of scene that occurs dailyif not hourlyin the Bay Area, where techies and businesspeople forever squeeze into drab meeting rooms to discuss how they are going to change the world. But even by local standards, the attendees gathered here are chasing a dream so grand and exotic it makes the typical Internet confab look like an OSHA seminar. Anyone can build a game-changing social-network platform or a virtual community or a set of open APIs. But the people here want to start a nonmetaphorical revolution by creating their own independent nations. In the middle of the ocean. On prefab floating platforms.

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At 9:12 am, Patri Friedman stands up to address the group. A former Google software engineer, Friedman is 32 but comes off much younger, with close-cropped hair and a slightly nasal voice. He is executive director of the Seasteading Institute, the nonprofit he founded in April 2008, and this is the group’s first major event. He surveys the room, taking in a cross section of Silicon Valley culture: A white-haired nanotech millionaire in a suit sits next to a grad student in a Transformers T-shirt. If you were to break down the audience into high school classifications, you’d find a couple of hippies and goths, a few hipsters, and several preppies. The rest would definitely be at the nerd table. The male-female ratio is 7 to 1. “This isn’t enough to create a whole new civilization,” Friedman says. “But this is a seed.”

The morning sessions from the first annual Seasteading conference, held in Burlingame California on October 10th.

Friedman and his followers are not the first band of wide-eyed dreamers to want to build floating utopias. For decades, an assortment of romantics and whack jobs have fantasized about fleeing the oppressive strictures of modern government and creating a laissez-faire society on the high seas. Over the decades, they’ve tried everything from fortified sandbars to mammoth cruise ships. Nearly all have been disasters. But the would-be nation builders assembled here are not intimidated by that record of failure. After all, their plans are inspired by the ethos of the modern tech industry, where grand quixotic visions are as common as BlackBerrys, and they see their task not as a holy mission but as something like a startup. A couple of software engineers came up with an innovative concept, then outsourced it to a community and let the wisdom of the crowd improve on it. They scored financing from a top-tier venture capitalist and assembled a board of directors. They will be transparent, blogging their progress. If they failwhich, let’s face it, is the most likely outcomethey will do so quickly, in time-honored Valley fashion. But if they succeed, they have one hell of an exit strategy.

Friedman launches into what he calls “my standard rant”a spiel about government’s shortcomings and why they’re so hard to repair. In his eyes, government is a sclerotic monopoly that can count on high customer lock-in thanks to inertia and the lack of alternatives. “Government is an inefficient industry because it has an insane barrier to entry,” he says. “To compete with governments on existing land, you have to win a war, an election, or a revolution.” He points to the democracy that emerged from the American Revolution as the last successful rollout and attributes the subsequent dry spell to the lack of uncolonized space on the map. “We’ve run out of frontier,” he says.

But there’s still one virgin realm left, and it covers 70 percent of the earth’s surface.

The purpose of the Seasteading Instituteand of this gatheringis to figure out how to make aquatic homesteads a reality. But Friedman doesn’t just want to create huge floating platforms that people can live on. He’s also hoping to create a platform in the sense that Linux is a platform: a base upon which people can build their own innovative forms of governance. The ultimate goal is to create standards and blueprints that can be easily adapted, allowing small communities to rapidly incubate and test new models of self-rule with the same ease that a programmer in his garage can whip up a Facebook app. “You could roll your own government out of pieces copied from all the societies around you,” Friedman says. “Google set my standards for how fast something should grow. This has potential to exceed those standardsif we make one seastead, there’s room for thousands.”

You’re ready to move to the middle of the ocean. What will your new digs look like? The Seasteading Institute hired Marine Innovation & Technology, an oil rig designer, to sketch out a $50 million, 20,000-ton platform with multistory living quarters and helipads.

1// Living Platform

2// Water Supply

3// Foot Tanks

4// Engine Room

Illustration: Kate Francis

Friedman’s optimism is easier to buy into if you ignore the history of previous would-be nation builders. There was Operation Atlantis, created by Ayn Rand admirer Werner Stiefel in the late 1960s. Stiefel, who made a fortune selling dermatology products, devoted his life to creating a sovereign society with the freest markets imaginable. He started with a ferro-cement boat that made a single successful voyage on the Hudson River. He erected a system of seabreaks near the coast of Haiti but was run off by president Fran7ois Duvalier’s gunboats before he could put land on it. He bought an oil rig and tried to anchor it between Cuba and Honduras, where it was destroyed by a storm. Stiefel died in 2006 with little more than a sporadically published newsletter to show for his efforts.

In 1971, real estate millionaire and committed libertarian Michael Oliver dumped large quantities of sand on two coral reefs in the South Pacific and dubbed it the Republic of Minerva, a land with “no taxation, welfare, subsidies, or any form of economic interventionism.” Minerva was soon invaded by the nearby kingdom of Tonga, and it dissolved back into the ocean shortly thereafter.

The Oceania city project, a plan for a vast floating settlement off the coast of Panama, emerged in 1993. The founders took out a two-page ad in Reason, a libertarian magazine, promising to free prospective residents from governments “entangled in bureaucracy, corruption, and the free lunch philosophy.” The project was disbanded the following year due to lack of interest and funds. “The Libertarian party is small in number and too few members have the financial resources to bankroll their beliefs,” founder Eric Klien wrote on Oceania’s Web site.

Other projects still exist as hypothetical concepts. There’s the Freedom Ship, a mile-long floating tax haven, which will come into being just as soon as its organizers can drum up the $10 billion needed to build it. (They’ve accused their former president of absconding with the first $400,000 they raised.) The concept of failed aquatic libertarian havens has even entered the pop consciousness, providing the setting for the blockbuster videogame BioShock.

Wayne Gramlich will never move to the middle of the oceanhis wife forbids it. But when the former software engineer, who has been “on sabbatical” since the late 1990s, stumbled across the Oceania Web site about a decade ago, he was both enthralled by the vision and dismayed at the execution. An early Sun Microsystems employee who worked on browser security at the dawn of the World Wide Web, he thought what was needed was a dispassionate perspectivea realistic plan to build floating autonomous countries. “Oceania had a lot of pretty pictures, pretty concept art, but that was it,” he says. In 1998 he wrote a modest proposal, SeaSteadingHomesteading on the High Seas, to get beyond the grandiloquence. “Big and expensive projects will have a very difficult time attracting the requisite capital,” Gramlich wrote. An engineer at heart, he tried to devise a way to build islands on the cheap. His report outlined how thousands of empty 2-liter soda bottles could be used to create a floating platform.

That sounded like paradise to Friedman when he saw the paper on Gramlich’s site. He had always been interested in big-picture socioeconomic theories. The son of libertarian legal theorist David Friedman and grandson of the Nobel Prize-winning free-market economist Milton Friedman, Patri had until then expressed his worldview mainly through his lifestyle: engaging in “radical self-expression” at Burning Man, experimenting with drugs, living in intentional communities with several other families, and maintaining a polyamorous relationship with his wife. His BMW 328i has a customized license plate: FRRREAK.

Friedman had read about money holes like Oceania and considered them too fantastical to bother with. But the relative practicality of Gramlich’s ideas appealed to the software engineer in him. Here was a simple kludge for a floating platform that might be affordable. And if it could work, Friedman would love to be among the first settlers to live on the open sea. “My dad and grandfather write about stuff,” he says. “What interests me is doing something.” He sent an email to Gramlich, and the two discovered that they lived a few miles apart in Sunnyvale, California. In late 2001, they began to collaborate on a new paper on seasteading. They posted everything online, including their notes to each other. (Friedman coded a Perl script that would allow anyone to submit comments on each paragraph.)

Over the next couple of years, Friedman and Gramlich assembled a 150-page book on the logistics of seasteading. Their guidelines were intensely pragmatic, explaining everything from how to fend off barnacles (a “continuous discharge of low-level chlorination”) to how to fend off foreign navies (“sea-skimming anti-ship cruise missiles like the Chinese Silkworm are fairly cheap and quite effective”). They described the least far-fetched, least expensive design for a safe seastead they could findthe floating spar. The hypothetical dwelling looks like a giant dumbbell standing on end, with a large steel ballast underwater and a 48,000-square-foot platform suspended above, where 120 people could live. They estimated it could be built for about $3 million. “That’s the same price as a nice house in San Francisco,” Friedman says. (Their design has since evolved, as shown at above.)

Gramlich and Friedman’s online tome captured the imagination of like-minded geeks, who peppered it with suggestions and criticisms. It was also brought to the attention of millionaire tech investor Peter Thiel, who shared Friedman and Gramlich’s dissatisfaction with land-bound governments. Thiel was a cofounder of PayPal, and he viewed that company as a way to further his libertarian idealsa way to move money around the world as 1s and 0s without the involvement of nations or their currencies. After selling PayPal to eBay and walking away with a reported $55 million, Thiel started the hedge fund Clarium Capital, which made a fortune earlier this decade by correctly betting that oil prices would rise and the dollar would weaken.

Thiel has invested in Facebook, Friendster, LinkedIn, and Slide. He has also donated $3.5 million to Aubrey de Grey’s Methuselah Foundation, which seeks to extend longevity, and given money to the campaigns of small-government conservatives like Ron Paul.

“Peter wants to end the inevitability of death and taxes,” Friedman says. “I mean, talk about aiming high!”

Last April, Thiel pledged a $500,000 investment and installed his right-hand man, Joe Lonsdale, as chair of the Seasteading Institute. “Decades from now, those looking back at the start of the century will understand that seasteading was an obvious step toward encouraging the development of more efficient, practical public-sector models around the world,” Thiel said in a statement at the time. Three months after the wire transfer went through, Friedman left his job at Google.

Friedman is quick to acknowledge that not everyone will share his vision. “At first blush, this all sounds kind of crazy, and to see the potential beyond thatthat’s pretty awesome,” he tells his fellow enthusiasts at the seasteading conference. “There’s a lot of good craziness in this room!”

The afternoon sessions from the first annual Seasteading conference, held in Burlingame California on October 10th.

But good craziness alone will not make seasteads work, and most of the day is spent discussing the nuts and bolts of creating a floating community. First is the question of structure. “The ocean is a harsh and corrosive environment,” Friedman says. In addition to rust and barnacles, there’s wave motion, which is disorienting in the best of times and potentially fatal during a storm. The Seasteading Institute hired Marine Innovation & Technology as a consultant to solve these problems. Naval architect Alexia Aubault takes the lectern to describe the results of wave-motion analyses her engineering firm performed. To protect the organization from frivolous infringement lawsuits, she is barred by the institute’s lawyer from showing off the refined design until a patent gets filed. (That has since been done.)

And that’s just one of the legal torpedoes that seasteaders must dodge. According to the UN’s Law of the Sea, the jurisdiction of traditional nations extends up to 200 miles from shore, an exclusive economic zone within which countries can control fishing and mineral rights and police polluters. Friedman hopes there will someday be self-sufficient seasteads that can thrive on the high seas, beyond the purview of any country. But for the near future, he concedes, they’ll probably need to remain near shore and operate like cruise ships, which are bound by the laws of the country where they’re registered. Most governments won’t attack these kinds of vessels as long as they behave. “At this point, it matters who you piss off,” he says. (Raymond Peck, a former Reagan administration official, has agreed to do further research for the institute on the Law of the Sea.)

At 11 am, attendees break up into small groups to brainstorm business models. Seasteaders can depend on like-minded benefactors for only so long. Ultimately, these nations will need to pay the bills. Friedman notes that some enterpriseslike euthanasia clinicswould incense local authorities, but almost all the ideas attendees come up with would capitalize on activities that skirt existing laws and regulations: Fish farming and aquaculture. Prisons. Med schools. Gold warehouses. Brothels. Cryonics intakes. Gene therapy, cloning, augmentation, and organ sales. Baby farms. Deafeningly loud concerts. Rehab/detox clinics. Zen retreats. Abortion clinics. Ultimate ultimate fighting tournaments.

During the Seasteading conference, Vince Cate showed video of a floating prototype of his own design: The WaterWalker, a tripod lashed to three soccer balls.

(Lonsdale has his own ideas. “Bazooka bikini bachelor parties,” he says. “You get there and a Lithuanian model hands you a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.”)

But in the end, the seasteaders may face an even more fundamental challenge. During an afternoon session, Friedman asks, “How many people here know how to sail?” Few hands go up. He says plans are under way to offer group instruction at discount rates.

The first annual seasteading conference adjourns at 6 pm. A kayaking trip around the bohemian houseboat community just off Sausalito has been scheduled for the following morning, but it is canceled because of high winds.

Forbes Island isn’t really an island at all but a 5,000-square-foot, 700-ton sea vehicle decked out with palm trees, a white-sand beach, and a lighthouse. A houseboat designer named Forbes Kiddoo, inspired by the science fiction of Jules Verne, spent five years building it. In 1999, he converted it into a restaurant that today floats near San Francisco’s kitschy Pier 39, serving $35 rack of lamb to tourists who watch sea lions flop around on the nearby docks. Tonight, the eatery is hosting the Seasteading Institute’s post-conference dinner.

Kiddoo himself ferries the seasteaders from shore to restaurant in a tiny pontoon boat. On the way over, he explains that obtaining clearance for his island was a nightmare. “I had to get city, county, state, and federal permits,” he says, shouting to be heard over the bellowing of sea lions. “I had to deal with the ADA, the ABC I had to become a merchant marine captain.”

Houseboat designer Forbes Kiddoo gives a tour of his manmade island. The structure, now converted into a restaurant, was host to the Seasteading Institute’s post-conference dinner last October.

Afterward, in the island’s bar, Friedman seems happy with how the event went, though he says some of his plans will have to be scaled back. He had wanted to hold a floating festival dubbed Ephemerisle on Fourth of July weekend; it was to be a sort of Burning Man on the high seas, where everything is permitted. But several conference attendees expressed concern about the logisticsand advisabilityof a free-floating bacchanal of guns and drugs. He’ll still host some sort of gathering to test a few miniature floating-island prototypes but expects it to be held in San Francisco Bay, not out on the open sea. “It’ll probably take a few iterations to get there,” he says. “But at least we’re doing something.”

Eventually, the seasteaders move to the Tahiti Room, which has a lovely moonlit view of Alcatraz. Chatter around the table gets louder as the wine flows, but the subject matter remains wonky. “The interesting issues are social and legal,” says Mikolaj Habryn, a site reliability engineer at Google. “You’ll get slavery. You’ll get drug dealing. Maybe there’ll be polygamous Mormons. The first people involved will inevitably be those who want to do things they can’t do on land, and we have to deal with that.” A ship passes, and even though Forbes Island is firmly moored a few hundred feet from shore and separated from the bay by a breakwater, the restaurant sways so much that some diners have to breathe deeply and focus on the horizon to settle their stomachs.

At the other end of the table, Patri Friedman raises his glass to make a toast. “I want to see us all at the 10th Annual Seasteading Conference,” he says, implying that he expects it to take place on an actual seastead, not in an Embassy Suites or a floating theme restaurant. “It’ll be in a bigger room, there will be a better view, it won’t move up and down as much, and there’ll be a better wine selection and better things to smoke!”

Friedman is joined by a raucous round of toasts. “To Peter Thiel for financing this!” “To having more women here!” “To being on the water!” “To freedom!”

Friedman wraps it up: “To being crazy in a good way!”

Senior editor Chris Baker (chris_baker@wired.com) wrote about Star Wars continuity in issue 16.09.

Originally posted here:

Live Free or Drown: Floating Utopias on the Cheap | WIRED

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NSA Architect: Agency Has ALL of Clintons Deleted Emails – breitbart.com

Posted: August 27, 2016 at 7:10 pm

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER PHILADELPHIA The National Security Agency (NSA) has all of Hillary Clintons deleted emails and the FBI could gain access to them if they so desired, William Binney, a former highly placed NSA official, declared in a radio interview broadcast on Sunday.

Speaking as an analyst, Binney raised the possibility that the hack of the Democratic National Committees server was done not by Russia but by a disgruntled U.S. intelligence worker concerned about Clintons compromise of national security secrets via her personal email use.

Binney was an architect of the NSAs surveillance program. He became a famed whistleblower when he resigned on October 31, 2001, after spending more than 30 years with the agency.

He was speaking on this reporters Sunday radio program, Aaron Klein Investigative Radio, broadcast on New Yorks AM 970 The Answer and Philadelphias NewsTalk 990 AM.

Binney referenced testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in March 2011 by then-FBI Director Robert S. Mueller in which Meuller spoke of the FBIs ability to access various secretive databases to track down known and suspected terrorists.

Stated Binney: Now what he (Mueller) is talking about is going into the NSA database, which is shown of course in the (Edward) Snowden material released, which shows a direct access into the NSA database by the FBI and the CIA. Which there is no oversight of by the way. So that means that NSA and a number of agencies in the U.S. government also have those emails.

So if the FBI really wanted them they can go into that database and get them right now, he stated of Clintons emails as well as DNC emails.

Asked point blank if he believed the NSA has copies of all of Clintons emails, including the deleted correspondence, Binney replied in the affirmative.

Yes, he responded. That would be my point. They have them all and the FBI can get them right there.

Listen to the full interview here:

Binney surmised that the hack of the DNC could have been coordinated by someone inside the U.S. intelligence community angry over Clintons compromise of national security data with her email use.

And the other point is that Hillary, according to an article published by the Observer in March of this year, has a problem with NSA because she compromised Gamma material. Now that is the most sensitive material at NSA. And so there were a number of NSA officials complaining to the press or to the people who wrote the article that she did that. She lifted the material that was in her emails directly out of Gamma reporting. That is a direct compromise of the most sensitive material at the NSA. So shes got a real problem there. So there are many people who have problems with what she has done in the past. So I dont necessarily look at the Russians as the only one(s) who got into those emails.

The Observer defined the GAMMA classification:

GAMMA compartment, which is an NSA handling caveat that is applied to extraordinarily sensitive information (for instance, decrypted conversations between top foreign leadership, as this was).

Aaron Klein is Breitbarts Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, Aaron Klein Investigative Radio. Follow him onTwitter @AaronKleinShow.Follow him onFacebook.

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Offshoring – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Posted: August 23, 2016 at 9:31 am

Offshoring is the relocation of a business process from one country to anothertypically an operational process, such as manufacturing, or supporting processes, such as accounting. Typically this refers to a company business, although state governments may also employ offshoring.[1] More recently, offshoring has been associated primarily with the outsourcing of technical and administrative services supporting domestic and global operations from outside the home country (“offshore outsourcing”), by means of internal (captive) or external (outsourcing) delivery models.[2]

India has emerged as a key offshoring destination over the past 15 years. The term is in use in several distinct but closely related ways. It is sometimes used broadly to include substitution of a service from any foreign source for a service formerly produced internally to the firm. In other cases, only imported services from subsidiaries or other closely related suppliers are included. A further complication is that intermediate goods, such as partially completed computers, are not consistently included in the scope of the term.[3]

Offshoring can be seen in the context of either production offshoring or services offshoring. After its accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, the People’s Republic of China emerged as a prominent destination for production offshoring. Another focus area has been the software industry as part of global software development and developing global information systems. After technical progress in telecommunications improved the possibilities of trade in services, India became a country leading in this domain,[citation needed] though many parts of the world are now emerging as offshore destinations.

The economic logic is to reduce costs, sometimes called labor arbitrage, to improve corporate profitability. Jobs are added in the destination country providing the goods or services (generally a lower-cost labor country), but are subtracted in the higher-cost labor country. The increased safety net costs of the unemployed may be absorbed by the government (taxpayers) in the high-cost country or by the company doing the offshoring. Europe experienced less offshoring than the United States due to policies that applied more costs to corporations and cultural barriers.[4]

Offshoring is defined as the movement of a business process done at a company in one country to the same or another company in another, different country. Almost always work is moved because of a lower cost of operations in the new location. More recently, offshoring drivers also include access to qualified personnel abroad, in particular in technical professions, and increasing speed to market.[2] Offshoring is sometimes contrasted with outsourcing or offshore outsourcing. Outsourcing is the movement of internal business processes to an external organizational unit. Outsourcing refers to the process by which an organization gives part of its work to another firm / organization and makes it responsible for most of the applications as well as the design of the enterprise business process. This process is done under restrictions and strategies in order to establish consistency with the offshore outsourcing organizations. Many companies nowadays outsource various professional areas in the company such as e-mail services, payroll and call center. These jobs are being handled by other organizations that specialize in each sector allowing the offshoring company to focus more on other business concerns . However, subcontracting in the same country would be outsourcing, but not offshoring. A company moving an internal business unit from one country to another would be offshoring or physical restructuring, but not outsourcing. A company subcontracting a business unit to a different company in another country would be both outsourcing and offshoring.

Related terms include nearshoring, which implies relocation of business processes to (typically) lower cost foreign locations, but in close geographical proximity (e.g., shifting United States-based business processes to Canada/Latin America); inshoring, which means picking services within a country; and bestshoring or rightshoring, picking the “best shore” based on various criteria. Business process outsourcing (BPO) refers to outsourcing arrangements when entire business functions (such as Finance & Accounting, Customer Service, etc.) are outsourced. More specific terms can be found in the field of software development – for example Global Information System as a class of systems being developed for / by globally distributed teams.

A further term sometimes associated with offshoring is bodyshopping which is the practice of using offshored resources and personnel to do small disaggregated tasks within a business environment, without any broader intention to offshore an entire business function.

Production offshoring, also known as physical restructuring, of established products involves relocation of physical manufacturing processes to a lower-cost destination. Examples of production offshoring include the manufacture of electronic components in Costa Rica, production of apparel, toys, and consumer goods in China, Vietnam etc.

Product design, research and the development process that leads to new products, are relatively difficult to offshore. This is because research and development, in order to improve products and create new reference designs, require a skill set that is harder to obtain in regions with cheap labor. For this reason, in many cases only the manufacturing will be offshored by a company wishing to reduce costs.

However, there is a relationship between offshoring and patent-system strength. This is because companies under a strong patent system are not afraid to move work offshore because their work will remain their property. Conversely, companies in countries with weak patent systems have an increased fear of intellectual property theft from foreign vendors or workers, and, therefore, have less offshoring.

A major incentive for physical restructuring arrived when the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) made it easier for manufacturers to shift production facilities from the US to Mexico. This trend later shifted to China, which offered cheap prices through very low wage rates, few workers’ rights laws, a fixed currency pegged to the US dollar, (currently fixed to a basket of economies) cheap loans, cheap land, and factories for new companies, few environmental regulations, and huge economies of scale based on cities with populations over a million workers dedicated to producing a single kind of product. However, many companies are reluctant to move high value-added production of leading-edge products to China because of lax enforcement of intellectual property laws.[5] CAFTA has increased the velocity at which physical restructuring is occurring.

The growth of IT-enabled services offshoring is linked to the availability of large amounts of reliable and affordable communication infrastructure following the telecommunication and Internet expansion of the late 1990s. This was seen all the way up to the year 2000. Coupled with the digitization of many services, it was possible to shift the actual production location of services to low-cost countries in a manner theoretically transparent to end-users. Services include administrative services, such as finance and accounting, HR, and legal; call centers; marketing and sales services; IT infrastructure; application development; and knowledge services, including engineering support, product design, research and development, and analytics. General criteria for choosing IT outsourcing development partner commonly include: communication and language proficiency (both oral and written), previous work experience in client’s industry, expertise in defined technologies needed, cost-effectiveness of offshore web development services, clients that are similar in size to the client’s company, company longevity, company time zone.[6]

India first benefited from the offshoring trend, as it has a large pool of English speaking people and technically proficient manpower.[7] India’s offshoring industry took root in low-end IT functions in the early 1990s and has since moved to back-office processes such as call centers and transaction processing. This spawned the neologism Bangalored, used to indicate a layoff, often systemic, and usually resulting from corporate outsourcing to lower wage economies derived from Bangalore in India, where some of the first outsource centers were located.[8]

Currently, India’s low-cost labor has made it an offshoring destination for global firms like HP, IBM, Accenture, Intel, AMD, Microsoft, Oracle Corporation, Cisco, SAP, and BEA[disambiguation needed].

Because of inflation, high domestic interest rates, robust economic growth and increased IT offshoring, the Indian IT sector has witnessed 10 – 15% wage growth in the 21st century. Consequently, Indian’s operations and firms are concerned that they are becoming too expensive in comparison with competition from the other offshoring destinations. To maintain high growth rates, attempts have been made to grow up the value chain and diversify to other high-end work in addition to software and hardware engineering. These jobs include research and development, equity analysis, tax-return processing, radiological analysis, medical transcription, and more.

The choice of offshoring destination is often made according to cultural concerns. Japanese companies are starting to outsource to China, where large numbers of Japanese speakers can be found particularly in the city of Dalian, which was Japanese-occupied Chinese territory for decades (this is discussed in the book The World is Flat). German companies tend to outsource to Eastern European countries, such as Ukraine, where the most number of IT professionals in CEE work (90000 IT specialists in 2016),[9]Poland and Romania, where proficiency in German is common.[10] French companies outsource to North Africa for similar reasons. For Australian IT companies, Indonesia is one of the major choice of offshoring destination. Near-shore location, common time zone and adequate IT work force are the reasons for offshoring IT services to Indonesia.

Other offshoring destinations include Mexico, Central and South America, the Philippines, South Africa and Eastern European countries.

The Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) made nearshoring more attractive between the Central American countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic and the US.

Once companies are comfortable with services offerings and started realizing the cost savings, many high-tech product companies, including some in Silicon Valley, started offshoring innovation work to countries like Belarus, South Africa, India, China, Mexico, Russia and Ukraine. Accessing the talent pools in these countries has the potential to cut costs or even shorten product lifecycles. Developing countries like India are also involved in this practice.

When offshoring knowledge work, firms heavily rely on the availability of technical personnel at offshore locations. In order to secure access to talent, Western firms often establish collaborative relationships with technical universities abroad and thereby customize university programs to serve their particular needs. Examples include universities in Shanghai, such as Tong-Ji University, where German firms and scholars co-sponsor labs, courses, and provide internships. Similar examples of collaborative arrangements can be found in Eastern Europe, e.g. Romania.[10] Additionally, EU companies looking for IT innovation often setup collaboration with universities in countries such as Belarus and Ukraine, which have a high percentage of ICT graduates and overall a very skilled IT labor.[11]

“Re-shoring”, also known as “backshoring”[12] or “inshoring”[13] is offshoring that has been brought back onshore.[14]

John Urry (distinguished professor of sociology at Lancaster University) argues that the concealment of income, the avoidance of taxation and eluding legislation relating to work, finance, pleasure, waste, energy and security may be becoming a serious concern for democratic governments and ordinary citizens who may be adversely affected by unregulated, offshore activities. Further, the rising costs of transportation could lead to production nearer the point of consumption becoming more economically viable, particularly as new technologies such as additive manufacturing mature [15]

Offshoring is often enabled by the transfer of valuable information to the offshore site. Such information and training enables the remote workers to produce results of comparable value previously produced by internal employees. When such transfer includes protected materials, as confidential documents and trade secrets, protected by non-disclosure agreements, then intellectual property has been transferred or exported. The documentation and valuation of such exports is quite difficult, but should be considered since it comprises items that may be regulated or taxable.

Offshoring has been a controversial issue spurring heated debates among economists, some of which overlap those related to the topic of free trade. It is seen as benefiting both the origin and destination country through free trade, providing jobs to the destination country and lower cost of goods and services to the origin country. This makes both sides see increased gross domestic product (GDP). And the total number of jobs increases in both countries since those workers in the origin country that lost their job can move to higher-value jobs in which their country has a comparative advantage.

On the other hand, job losses and wage erosion in developed countries have sparked opposition to offshoring. Experts argue that the quality of any new jobs in developed countries are less than the jobs lost and offer lower pay. Economists against offshoring charge that currency manipulation by governments and their central banks causes the difference in labor cost creating an illusion of comparative advantage. Further, they point out that even more educated highly trained workers with higher-value jobs such as software engineers, accountants, radiologists, and journalists in the developed world have been displaced by highly educated and cheaper workers from India and China. On May 1, 2002, Economist and former Ambassador Ernest H. Preeg testified before the Senate committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs that China, for instance, pegs its currency to the dollar at a sub-par value in violation of Article IV of the International Monetary Fund Articles of Agreement which state that no nation shall manipulate its currency to gain a market advantage.[16] Traditionally “safe” developed world jobs in R&D and the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields are now perceived to be endangered in these countries as higher proportions of workers are trained for these fields in developing nations. Economists such as Paul Craig Roberts claim that those economists who promote offshoring misunderstand the difference between comparative advantage and absolute advantage.

The Economist reported in January 2013 that: “High levels of unemployment in Western countries after the 2007-2008 financial crisis have made the public in many countries so hostile towards offshoring that many companies are now reluctant to engage in it.”[17] Economist Paul Krugman wrote in 2007 that while free trade among high-wage countries is viewed as win-win, free trade with low-wage countries is win-lose for many employees who find their jobs offshored or with stagnating wages.[18] Two estimates of the impact of offshoring on U.S. jobs were between 150,000 and 300,000 per year from 2004-2015. This represents 10-15% of U.S. job creation.[19] U.S. opinion polls indicate that between 76-95% of Americans surveyed agreed that “outsourcing of production and manufacturing work to foreign countries is a reason the U.S. economy is struggling and more people aren’t being hired.”[20][21]

The increased safety net costs of the unemployed may be absorbed by the government (taxpayers) in the high-cost country or by the company doing the offshoring. Europe experienced less offshoring than the U.S. due to policies that applied more costs to corporations and cultural barriers.[4]

Japanese companies often exploits the foreign labors, particularly Chinese and Vietnamese, by violating the Employment Security Act, and Labor Standard Act set by ministry of health and labors in Japan using the name of offshoring.

Article 44 of Employment Security Act in Japan implicitly bans the domestic/foreign workers being supplied by unauthorized companies regardless of their operating locations. Law will apply if at least one party of suppliers, clients, labors reside in Japan, and if the labors are the integral part of the chain of command by the client company, or the supplier.

No person shall carry out a labor supply business or have workers supplied by a person who carries out a labor supply business work under his/her own directions or orders, except in cases provided for in the following Article.

Employment Security Act

Those deemed to violate will be punished with

A person who falls under any of the following items shall be punished by imprisonment with work for not more than one year or a fine of not more than one million yen

Employment Security Act states, Article 64

as well as the punishment defined by the article 6 of Labor Standards Act in Japan,

Unless permitted by act, no person shall obtain profit by intervening, as a business, in the employment of other

Victims can lodge a criminal complaint against the CEO of the suppliers and clients in the Labor Standards Inspection Office (only applicable to Labor Standards Act) or Public Prosecutor’s Office of the respective company location. Due to the risk of the CEO’s arrest, Japanese company accustoms to the private settlement with financial package in the range between 20 and 100 million JPY (200,000 – million USD).

With the offshoring of call-center type applications, debate has also surfaced that this practice does serious damage to the quality of customer service and technical support that customers receive from companies who do it. Many companies have caught much public ire for their decisions to use foreign labor for customer service and technical support, mostly because of the apparent language barrier that it creates. While some nations have a high level of younger, skilled workers who are capable of speaking English as one of their native languages, their English skills have caused debate in North America and Europe.[citation needed]

Criticisms of outsourcing from much of the American public have been a response to what they view as very poor customer service and technical support being provided by overseas workers attempting to communicate with Americans.

Some claim that companies lose control and visibility across their extended supply chain under outsourcing, creating increased risks. A 2005 quantitative survey of 121 electronics industry participants by Industry Directions Inc and the Electronics Supply Chain Association (ESCA) found that 69% of respondents said they had less control over at least 5 of their key supply chain processes since the outsourced model took hold, while 66% of providers felt their aggregate risk with customers was high or very high.[citation needed] 36% of providers responded that they felt an increased risk of uncertainty compared to their uncertainty risk before the rise to prominence of the outsourced model.[citation needed] 62% of respondents described as “problematic” at least two core trading partner management practices, which included performance management and simple agreement on results.[citation needed] 40% of all respondents encountered resistance to sharing risk in outsourced partnership agreements, according to the research.[citation needed]

The transfer of knowledge outside a country may create competitors to the original companies themselves. Chinese manufacturers are already selling their goods directly to their overseas customers, without going through their previous domestic intermediaries that originally contracted their services. In the 1990s and 2000s, American automakers increasingly turned to China to create parts for their vehicles. By 2006, China leveraged this know-how and announced that they will begin competition with American automakers in their home market by selling fully Chinese automobiles directly to Americans. When a company moves the production of goods and services to another country, the investment that companies would otherwise make in the domestic market is transferred to the foreign market. Corporate money spent on factories, training, and taxes, which would otherwise be spent in the market of the company is then spent in the foreign market. As production increases in the foreign market, qualified and experienced domestic workers leave or are forced out of their jobs, often permanently leaving the industry. At some point, dramatically fewer domestic workers are left who are qualified to perform the work. This makes the domestic market dependent on the foreign market for those goods and services, thereby strategically weakening the “hollowed-out” domestic country. In effect, offshoring creates and strengthens the competitive industries of the foreign country while strategically weakening the domestic country.[dubious discuss]

However, employment data has cast doubt on this claim. For example, IT employment in the United States has recently reached pre-2001 levels[23][24] and has been rising since. The number of jobs lost to offshoring is less than 1 percent of the total US labor market.[25] According to a study by the Heritage foundation, outsourcing represents a very small proportion of jobs lost in the US. The total number of jobs lost to offshoring, both manufacturing and technical represent only 4 percent of the total jobs lost in the US. Major reasons for cutting jobs are from contract completion and downsizing.[26] Some economists and commentators claim that the offshoring phenomenon is way overblown.[26]

One solution often offered for domestic workers displaced by offshoring is retraining to new jobs. Some displaced workers are highly educated and possess graduate qualifications. Retraining to their current level in another field may not be an option because of the years of study and cost of education involved. Anecdotal evidence also suggests they would be rejected for being overqualified.

According to classical economics, the three factors of production are land, labor, and capital. Offshoring relies heavily on the mobility of two of these factors. That is, how offshoring affects economies depends on how easily capital and labor can be repurposed. Land, as a factor of production, is generally seen to have little or no mobility potential.

The effects of capital mobility on offshoring have been widely discussed. In microeconomics, a corporation must be able to spend working capital to afford the initial costs of offshoring. If the state heavily regulates how a corporation can spend its working capital, it will not be able to offshore its operations. For the same reason the macroeconomy must be free for offshoring to succeed. Generally, those who favor offshoring support capital mobility, and those who oppose offshoring call for greater regulation.

Labor mobility also plays a major role, and it is hotly debated. When computers and the Internet made work electronically portable, the forces of free market resulted in a global mobility of work in the services industry. Most theories that argue offshoring eventually benefits domestic workers assume that those workers will be able to obtain new jobs, even if they have to obtain employment by downpricing themselves back into the labor market (by accepting lower salaries) or by retraining themselves in a new field. Foreign workers benefit from new jobs and higher wages when the work moves to them.

In the developed world, moving manufacturing jobs out of the country dates to at least the 1960s[27] while moving knowledge service jobs offshore dates to the 1970s [28] and has continued since then. It was characterized primarily by the transferring of factories from the developed to the developing world. This offshoring and closing of factories has caused a structural change in the developed world from an industrial to a post-industrial service society.

During the 20th century, the decreasing costs of transportation and communication crossed with great disparities on pay rates made increased offshoring from wealthier countries to less wealthy countries financially feasible for many companies. Further, the growth of the Internet, particularly fiber-optic intercontinental long haul capacity, and the World Wide Web reduced “transportation” costs for many kinds of information work to near zero.[29]

With the development of the Internet, many new categories of work such as call centres, computer programming, reading medical data such as X-rays and magnetic resonance imaging, medical transcription, income tax preparation, and title searching are being offshored.

Before the 1990s, Ireland was one of the poorest countries in the EU. Because of Ireland’s relatively low corporate tax rates, US companies began offshoring of software, electronic, and pharmaceutical intellectual property to Ireland for export. This helped create a high-tech “boom” and which led to Ireland becoming one of the richest EU countries.[29]

In 1994 the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect. As concerns are widespread about uneven bargaining powers, and risks and benefits, negotiations are often difficult, such that the plan to create free trade areas (such as Free Trade Area of the Americas) has not yet been successful. In 2005, offshoring of skilled work, also referred to as knowledge work, dramatically increased from the US, which fed the growing worries about threats of job loss.[29]

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Offshoring – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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